Monday, June 29, 2009

Introduction (Life Under the Corporate Microscope---A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective)

After graduating from an institution of higher learning called Rockford College in 1974, and returning back home to St Louis to marry my college sweetheart, I was fortunate enough to have hooked on with a building supply company (Georgia Pacific) that would lay me off inside of four months.

Being young and naive, I never saw it coming, nor did I realize that being laid off was actually a blessing in disguise.  The recession in the housing market, which led to my sudden unemployment created the perfect opportunity to start another random career, this time, in the car rental business, with a company called "Executive Leasing".  I was hired, and stuck around for twenty-six years, while becoming one of its highest paid, and probably, most irreverent executives.

The company would change its name to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and I would be embarking on a career that would pay me more money than I ever dreamed possible, in a business I truly loved.  At the peak of my career, which happened to be my final year with Enterprise, I was raking in close to $4 million per year while overseeing one of the company's most profitable and fun-loving operations.

I retired after making it through the first year of the current millennium.  By that time, the company that I loved had evolved into a humorless bureaucracy; not that there's anything wrong with that; but I clearly didn't fit in with that type of environment, so it was time to go, with no regrets; except of course, I wouldn't be making so much money.

The history of Enterprise, through my irreverent eyes, examines the remarkable transformation of a company that only leased cars for the first five years of its existence, started its rental division almost as an afterthought five years later, thus inadvertently going on to become the largest and most profitable car rental company in the world.

This book captures my perspective of the events that shaped Enterprise and profoundly affected not only countless careers, but personal lives as well.  The observations I make are my honest opinion and may not be shared with others however please keep in mind that I'm usually right.

The company's success began with the simple, but not particularly "easy" goal of its founder, Jack C Taylor, to deliver the best customer service possible at all times; and remarkably has continued through the efforts of its front line employees, who so consistently; often thanklessly; take care of its customers, day in and day out.  These are the people who work the hardest and typically get paid on the lower end of the spectrum.  This book is dedicated to you.  Hang in there.  Someday, you may become a big shot.

After all, if it could happen to a guy like me, who never really took anything too seriously, it could happen to you.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who Said P.hDs Aren't Funny? Not Me!

Hey, Tweets!  (If you're not a fellow Twitter, sign up after you read this.) Lately, I've come across a lot of funny people on Twitter.  Uh, that's funny "ha-ha", not funny "hmm".  Big difference.  Funny "ha-ha" would be Steve Martin or Chevy Chase from the '70s.  Funny "hmm" would be Steve Martin or Chevy Chase today. What happened to them?  Martin turned into this whiny little weasel and Chase turned into a stupid googly eyed moron, who almost seems to be lampooning himself.  He's just not funny anymore, and should never appear on camera ever again; including his own.

On the other hand, ordinary people like you and me...We're f*cking funny.  Tonight, I got a random call to action from a nice lady who goes by VenerAbility (who also happens to be a hilarious P.hD)  in the Twittersphere, and she invited me to join some sort of group she's putting together on Linkedin because I'm "humorous with marketing ability"...Or something along those lines...

I say, "hell yeah"...Sign me up.  Now I've got to continue being hilarious.  No problem, I'm always funny.  Sometimes, I'm even funny "ha-ha".

I may have my hands full, here, however.  It seems VenerAbility has a tremendous ability to write hysterical stuff.  I read her blog and she's funnier than Steve Martin or Chevy Chase ever were in the '70s; and that's saying a least as far as Steve Martin is concerned.  Chase was funny enough...but today...don't get me started.

Dr VenerAbility has penned some hilarious stuff...Just a quick sample from what I remember was a faux headline she used in one of her witty blogs:  "Thailand Swallowed by Giant Clam".  Genius.  She had other stuff, and I got a kick out of reading her blog...It seems as though some people are really f*cking stupid; they didn't get it.  Dumb-asses.  I thought it was hilarious.  And I'm usually right.  Now go on, and get out of here, after you buy my book.  Bye.

Larry Underwood is the author of Life Under the Corporate Microscope---A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective (visit his author's webpage:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Unleash Your Own Thoughts---You're More Profound Than You Think

Hello to my fellow Tweeters, and welcome to the program.  If you're a first time visitor to the show, drop me a tweet & I'll send you a special gift.  No I won't, but I'll try to say something witty on my next post, and even give you the kids say.  I really don't give props, but I just wanted to segue into the topic for discussion here today---The overuse & abuse of quoting famous people. 

I have from time to time, tossed out a quote on Twitter from a famous person, because it was said so eloquently, and it alligned with my philosophy.  Peter Drucker has been a good source for me.  He was a genius, and his words usually hammered home a point in eloquent brevity.  I love it.

However, a lot of famous people may have said a lot of interesting things, but their observations have only been inscribed in granite (metaphorically speaking) because they once won a Super Bowl, or led the American League in Home Runs a few years ago.  In other words, they have good hand eye coordination, and can run fast, jump high, or utilize their strength in ways to make them skilled at their professions (I won't even go into any debate about possible steroid use at this particular time; it's not relevent to the subject at hand).

I think the ordinary people (like you and me, but not that guy) should start using their own imagination to produce some noteworthy observations.  Just think about a subject you're interested in, or have had some type of experience with.  Then start brainstorming.  You may surprise yourself with your brilliance.  To me, the satisfaction of spouting off something profound---and totally original---is almost as good as winning a Super Bowl or World Series.  When it gets retweeted on the worldwide stage of Twitter, there's nothing better; in my book, anyway.  Or my next book. 

Here's a sampling of some of my zany or even profound observations:

*Survival of the fittest often means having the loaded gun.

*I once said everyone should get married at least once, just to see what it's like.  From my own experience, I have to retract that idea.

*The only thing Corporate America has to fear is the culture of fear Corporate America has created.

*Humorless corporate hierachies usually have a bunch of unhappy, unmotivated and unproductive employees running around collecting paychecks, but not really engaged in the process of "work".

*Survival of the fittest often means being able to display charisma & confidence to some of the scariest people you'll ever meet.

*Personal success is often measured by the success others achieve, aided by your support & guidance.

And so on, and so forth.  I got a million of 'em.  The next time you're on Twitter, try one of your own original thoughts.  You'll surprise yourself with how smart you are.  Now go on & get out of here.

Larry Underwood is the author of Life Under the Corporate Microscope---A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective (visit his website: