Last week, I had the good fortune to be able to attend RILA’s annual Asset Protection conference in Denver. I was representing both LP Magazine and The Loss Prevention Foundation. I won’t recap the conference here, as that was done well by posts from both RILA and LP Magazine last week. But the conference was a huge success, especially for the LP Foundation.
Not only did the Loss Prevention Benevolent Fund (accepting donations to help LP professionals and their families in time of need) raise over $6,000, the Foundation enjoyed record traffic at their booth in the expo hall, discussing membership and LPQ/LPC certification. The record traffic in the booth was based on one principle—that of friendship.
Earlier this spring, Terry Sullivan, president of the Loss Prevention Foundation, was looking for a way to get more traffic at the booth and more engagement from those who did drop by. To that end, he recruited members of the LP Foundation board of directors who were in attendance at the conference and asked them to spend thirty-minute shifts in the booth at various times. Thanks to Mike Lamb (Kroger), Paul Jaeckle (Meijer), Steve Hyle (AFA Protective Systems), Paul Jones (CKE Restaurants), Frank Johns (LPF), and many others, traffic was at an all-time high. The reason? As mentioned before, friendships.
As you can imagine, LP Foundation board members are well connected in the industry and have many friends developed over the years. Friends stopped by the booth to chat, generating traffic and piquing curiosity from those passing by. As a result, the Foundation made a lot of new acquaintances, some of who who may not have been familiar with the LPF and its work around LP education and certification.
There is a moral to this story. That is, go find someone you like, make friends, and work hard to keep in touch. It’s important. Some of those friendships will become lifelong and make a huge contribution to your life. True friendships are often formed at work. I started my retail career by accident, but I was fortunate enough to start at a retail powerhouse, learn from a great mentor and work for, above, and alongside some fabulous people. Call it luck, fate or whatever, it can happen to you, too.
From a personal perspective, it’s what you do with it that counts. Sure, you are not going to become best friends with everyone you work with. Some you won’t even like. But if you are fortunate enough to work in a good environment with people who care, lifelong friendships can be made.
Over the past 45 years, I have worked for seven companies, three of which were the best in their industries. I could name good friends made at most of them but my three lifetime “best friends” (and their spouses) were made at my first real, “adult” job in retail after college, one that lasted thirteen years. We were all young, poor and worked long hours—but we loved what we did. I guess it was that set of conditions that brought us all close together. We’re still together today, 40+ years later. Me in Florida, one couple in California, and two in Nevada. We have seen and done a lot together since those early days. The connection is special, it happened at work, and it can happen to you.
So, get going. Go find someone you really like, become friends, and stay in touch over the years. You won’t regret it.