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But when I started my own business in the 70’s, it turned out that the Santa Cruz market could not support my company and me. I had an elegant office on what was then called the Pacific Garden Mall, it was the heart of Santa Cruz in the 70’s, a brilliant and creative time. But some clients didn’t pay me and it took a heavy toll. I should have moved my office to Palo Alto, but I was overly optimistic, thinking my design awards would bring more business to me. They did not. I was tired of feeling low because of money problems.
I closed my office and decided to go into my family’s land title insurance and escrow business. It was disheartening as I started at a low-base pay, but by then I had two small sons to take care of, David and Ian, so I appreciated the steady paycheck. My older brother, Warren Junior, had worked for the family business since high school and resented me working in what he felt was his domain. Looking back now I cannot blame him. I learned to be an escrow secretary, an escrow officer and had a knack for marketing the services. But essentially I was still financially “paralyzed”, even though I had made a positive difference in terms of increasing the volume of business. I received several raises over time, but I believed my efforts and accomplishments were misunderstood and minimized.
I had been frustrated in my design business, but in retrospect I now see that I jumped from a financial frying pan into a psychic fire. I was working for my family – the key word being “for” – when I should have been working “with” them. I had become stifled; I was a mental time bomb waiting to explode and I didn’t know it. I felt that because I was not privy to the net financial benefits of the business, that I was not really part of the family.
To make matters worse, my marriage was in serious trouble. My first wife brought distrust into our marriage from a previous relationship with a boyfriend who had cheated on her. She saw everything I chose to do and my outgoing personality through a filter of distrust, skepticism and jealousy. For my part, I had allowed my own selfishness and frustration to come between us. The marriage had disintegrated to the level of her deciding that I was someone who could not be trusted and, from her standpoint, was always wrong. I developed a good case of passive aggressiveness and soon the relationship was doomed. I had come from a family with a very strong matriarchal core and had vowed personally never to allow myself to become emasculated.
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