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Management = Inspiration and Perspiration (Part 2)

Last month we talked about how you will likely work harder than ever when you love what you do. But that flies in the face of the old adage that if you find something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life. However, I’m just not sure how true that is. Perhaps one might say, if you love what you do you’ll probably work harder than ever. Meanwhile you will enjoy it immensely and it won’t feel like it’s work at all.


The next topic we got into is this microwave generation of youngsters and, at times, oldsters who don’t want to work at anything they don’t love. Simultaneously they hate the notion of doing anything they don’t like and refuse to work themselves toward what they love if it means doing anything they distain, no matter how temporary. Zero sacrifice is their code. Pathetic souls. These shortsighted individuals do themselves and others irreparable harm. Meanwhile, they are probably living off of Mom and Dad or sucking our nation dry by relying on the system to keep them afloat.


We followed by emphasizing sometimes you have to take the back door to the things you love, even though the front door might not be all that loveable. Drywall? Not necessarily all that loveable. Writing, on the other hand, was my love. So then, to support my family, I spent 50 years as a writing drywaller, drywall contractor, that is.


To be honest, those years were bumpy at times. I built my first business in the seventies and lost everything at the end of that decade. Blindsided by a recession, I lost everything, and I do mean everything. Would you call losing everything moving my family into a borrowed tent? I would. That is a sad confession of failure that I hate to admit but necessary, though humiliating if I’m to make my point. However, that’s not the end of the story.


I eluded to that last month when I told you to Google “seven wildly successful people who survived bankruptcy.” If you did so, you found names like Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford and Walt Disney. I guess I’m in good company. I’ve learned some tough lessons, started from the bottom once and then had to do it again as I dug myself out of a hole. But here I am at retirement age, better off than I ever imagined and who’da thunk it? I’m writing! I’m doing something I love.


So which will it be? Will you do something you wouldn’t prefer if it takes you toward something you love, or will you persist in insisting to never make such a sacrifice and never get where you ultimately want to go? Many very successful individuals have completely failed at various endeavors, only to ultimately succeed and accomplish noteworthy achievements, some of whom I mentioned earlier in this article.


As for me, in utter despair, I went to work for a competitor, humiliated, starting at the bottom with the worst tasks imaginable. I persisted over several years and worked my way up to the top. I ran that company for nearly a decade and ultimately over many, many years wound up owning that company. That’s a long story and better told later, so let’s put that on pause for now and revisit it later. Suffice it to say that when it’s over, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over. It may well mean that you’ve learned some important lessons for future success.


No matter what your situation is and past failures, there is hope for you if you will only do what it takes to grasp it. Hopelessness is only hopeless if you fail to hope and give up.


I didn’t have the luxury of doing something I loved but somehow found my love through a back door and by doing some painful drudgery that through one twist and turn after another took me where I wanted to go all along. Hence the title: “Management = Inspiration and Perspiration.”  It was a discovery of something that I had as a lifelong ambition—writing, and something else as well that I also learned to love in the meanwhile—management.


This article is opening up some topics and commentary that I might not have revealed at another point and time in life. But now, with retirement staring me in the face, I have a different perspective and less vulnerability. Who cares if I share a bad-but-good picture that displays warts and all, if by chance my openness and willingness to be painfully honest, helps someone avoid similar pitfalls and learn something a little less painfully than I did. I’m doing someone a favor, and I hope it’s you. You will have to read on and see—next month, that is. Perhaps a better title for this is “Diary of a Drywaller.”

Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Contact him at

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