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01/04/2006: "hello, where's your boss?"

This morning I was sitting in a quiet house (only the cats and I were awake) listening to Episode Three of Radio Free Burrito by Wil Wheaton, when my dreaming of doing my own podcast was rudely interrupted by my cell phone. My cell phone is for business purposes only, and while I have it on as soon as I'm dressed, I don't usually expect a phone call at 7:30am.

It was China calling. Bob and John were supposed to be getting off a plane in Bejing at 3pm local time, and they hadn't arrived yet. I haven't talked to Bob since December, but these people were calling me to see where he was, and why he wasn't in China yet. Huh? It all go straightened out eventually (a connecting flight was late arriving), but it was a strange, quasi-frantic morning.

So, Bob and John made it to Bejing, bringing me to my seamless segue into the reason for this post: the hope, prospect, allure, and pitfalls of a five figure commission.

I'm not going to get into details, but I will say that we ("We") are working on an order for a company in China. In a total role reversal, it is the Chinese that want to buy from us Westerners. (China is very good at producing many things, high-quality, low-quality, and everything in between, but they are still having issues with batch consistency. The going theory is that North America's consistency is the driving force behind this order.) It is a very substantial order, and as the salesman of note, represents a very substantial commission for me on the order of five figures.

Why I am telling you this? I want to get it out in the open now, because if I tell you after it's happened, it's going to sound like I'm gloating, which I'm not. I only wish to share in the excitement and anticipation that this sale is absolutely packed with for me.

To be certain, this isn't a done deal. Yes, we sent them a quote. Yes, they sent back a contract. Yes, we revised it, signed it, and sent it back. Yes, Bob and John are there for the purpose of meeting the company officials in order to get the order going. However, as I've been told my Bob many, many times, doing business with foreign companies (not just limited to China, I'm sure) is fraught with many financial dangers, and it is entirely possible to not only not get paid, but be out-of-pocket for a huge sum of expenses in the process. (The trip to Bejing alone is likely somewhere North of 10 large.) Even with a down payment (which we don't have yet) nothing is certain.

Still, the prospect of my first commission cheque being equivalent to many months' worth of standard paycheques is very nice, to say the least. Of course, my life won't change because of it, as I owe great amounts to both my mom and dad, have a line of credit and credit card to pay off, and a mortgage that we'd like to pay down sooner than later. Still, it's money that we wouldn't otherwise see, and will go to good use.

Let me state right now that the only way I earned this commission (if it ever does materialize) is by writing some e-mails, and making some phone calls. That's it. Everything else was pretty much handed to me, a gift from God if you will. I really, really don't want to gloat about it, but at the same time I'm never going to be able to hide the fact that I will be really, excrutiatingly happy if that cheque does arrive with my name on it.

Maybe I should just let it alone, see what happens, and go play on my piano.

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