A Do For the Road Warrior


A hoarse pulsing alarm was sounding. Liz rolled over in her Hampton Inn bed and slammed her hand down on the radio alarm clock, found the button, and turned off the bane of her existence. She hated getting up a 5 AM but she needed time this morning.

Time was required to get the look just right – a bee-hive hairdo and a business suit with just the right amount of cleavage. She’d tested the look. It didn’t work on all customers, but it did for electrical buyers in the paper industry. And she needed this contract. One more large stores contract and she was up for that promotion that would take her off the road and place her behind a desk in Burlington, Mass for the rest of her career or until she got right-sized. Or whatever they call it now.

Her day was pre-planned. She’d used the sales mapping software Mrs. Cleaver had found to identify all of the accounts within 15 miles of her hotel room. She set up the route optimizer to allow for a last stop at the Berlin, New Hampshire mill at the very end of her route. No lunch stop today. Too many people to see and her Lindsay Diet said no lunches on Tuesdays.

After a shower Liz booted up her laptop. As she pulled her hair mountain together she reviewed the route’s turn-by-turn directions against the map. She done this trip a few times before but there were always a few new accounts and maybe one or two that dropped out each trip. She tweaked the list once more, based on Jerry’s voice mail, and reset the optimized route with one click. Jerry was her wound-up-tight Boston protégé who waited until the last-minute to tell her everything. He’d remembered to leave her a voice mail at two in the morning after the Bruin’s game at the Garden. Oh well, she’d probably fire him before summer, but the business mapping software was easily adjusted.

Liz clicked on her overall account list displayed on the map plotting software. She could see all the map syMap Business Onlinels color coded to reflect account status. Over twenty-seven hundred accounts that she had cultivated over the years, little beautiful colored dots all over the map. The red ones were the money makers. She’d miss those calls; the dinners; the innocent flirting. She’d especially miss calling on Rob Hathaway – the handsomest man in the paper industry. Rob never seemed to grow old. His dot on the map was a special syMap Business Onlinel – she’d imported a tiny picture of Bradley Cooper and used it for Rob’s office. Sure she’s married, but just because you own the restaurant doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu. Or something like that. At any rate Liz’s husband was in insurance. He had no clue.

After dressing Liz put the finishing touches on her bee-hive do and sat facing her laptop. She imported and reviewed the territory sales results Mrs. Cleaver sent to her last night. Not bad. With this contract her division’s results should be over the top. Best in the company, without a doubt. She could see all the colored sales territory mapping across North America, each one displaying their sales results for the quarter to date. She updated and saved her map and sent an interactive map link to her boss. Let him stew on that for the morning. She’d update him on the meeting from her home office tonight. She didn’t even remove handsome Rob’s icon. “I’m letting them know.” she thought, “This is my last run.”

Liz carefully set up her map layers and map views to display quarterly progress towards this quarter’s results. Each map view showed how over the last three years her team had shown constant improvement. She was looking forward to the presentation. She’d show how the accounts had shifted, how the territories had been adjusted to better reflect company goals and objectives. And each map led up to this glorious achievement. She was ready. Nothing like visualizing success, she thought.

Liz put a five dollar bill on the hotel dresser and packed up. One more time she reviewed her ensemble in the tall mirror. Better button up one more – don’t want to look too anxious. And with a final pat of her bee-hive, Liz was out the door, confident that her future was a little brighter and that she might just retire some day. Maybe not with Bradley Cooper but with plenty of insurance.

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