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How I came to move from France to the US!

posted Jul 2, 2012, 10:05 AM by Philippe Leiritz   [ updated Sep 24, 2012, 9:15 AM ]
Only one life! Life is too short! Too many people live with regrets. They have desires, even goals. Some will take the first step some wont. And some will abandon 3 feet from the gold. Opportunities are missed because we did not go through that open door.
Your instinct tells you what to do and you continue rowing against the flaw with all your might until it's too late.
You're 80 years old and all you have is regrets.
I was 20 when I realized that.
A very abusive father and a submitted mom that I love dearly.
A younger brother and a younger sister.
I did very good at school and got my Mechanical Engineering degree. 
Then, it all started! No more love or hate against my dad. Relief and the doors showed up....

 

Coming in USA!

I went to work for Charmilles Technologies, in 1988. The company is in Geneva (Switzerland).
I live 5 minutes from Geneva, on the French side of the border.
First job in a big company.In 1991, they bought a company in Owosso, MI.


That was my "1st door".
I always wanted to travel and mostly I wanted to have an experience in USA. So, I talked to my boss about the possibilities to work in USA.
Then I waited.
Got married in 1992 and we had a baby.

One evening, in 1993, during a session of lay-offs, my boss came to see me. I really thought that I would have to name people and give them a pink slip. He took me in his office and looked at me seriously. He asked "Do you still want to go in US? There is an opening" We need to transfer the know-how and since you are the first one that asked about going there...?"
I did not wait for him to continue. I said "YES!”
My suitcase is ready. I have my toothbrush, I leave tomorrow.
He smiled and said that it would take a few weeks before I could leave. There would be paperwork, a contract and a visa.
He loved that I jumped on the opportunity. Little did he know that I was not far from quitting. I really thought that they forgot about me.
July 1993, my boss asked me if I knew how to speak English. I said "No". I learned German at school. So, I went to school and learned English in 20 afternoons. I learned "English", not "American". There are a few differences. A pant is not a pant in English. It is a "trouser"...and so on.


August 1993, I take my little family and we fly to Michigan (Geneva - Amsterdam - Detroit).
I start my new job and I love it. I can barely understand what the people are talking about. So I draw a lot and speak with my hand. It took 6 months to finally get through it.
Life is beautiful, 2 more kids. A lot of traveling all over the USA.
I buy a 65 Mustang. The dream!
The better I get at my job, the more responsibilities I overtake. I travel a lot. I fly all over the world. Over 300,000 flying miles a year. I gain weight (40 lbs) and... I barely see my family.
I am going straight to a hard attack before I am 50. The pay is good, but the quality of life is horrible.
Time for a change.
I have a secure job, a mortgage, a wife and 3 kids. I must be crazy!
One morning in June 2002, I go see my boss and I tell him that I quit. I go into some details why. He asked me, what I was going to do. I told him that I would go live in Montana. He told me that it was the dream of many people in Michigan. Well, I answered that I was not talking about it, I was doing it.


"2nd door".
I took a 2 months vacation. I was really drained.
Then my wife was tired to see me doing nothing and told me that it was time for me to go west and find a job. She would be taking care of the kids and sell the house.
I rented a U-Haul truck and drove west. Took I-90 and finally stopped in Missoula (MT). I figured, it is between Kalispell and Bozeman. I will open the paper and look at the job section.
The 3rd day I was working. Beginning of August 2002, I was hired by a small company that does landing gear parts for fighter planes. Yes, in Missoula! They were looking for a Production Manager.
I book a plane ticket for the end of the month, to look for my family. The house is not sold yet.
Comes the day of the flight. 2 hours before the take off. My wife calls me. We have a buyer!
I arrive in Michigan and we go straight to the realtor. We sign the papers then we go rent a U-Haul truck. We fill it up and we leave. All in the same day! Crazy!
It took 52 hours to drive to Missoula. That was a long drive. The kids did not mind though.
We unloaded the truck and we moved in the house I bought a week before.
Everything fitted perfectly.
18 months later, the company in Owosso (MI) closed its doors! A lot of good people were without a job.
I was just happy that I was able to listen to my instinct. Instead of fighting it, I just went with it. Every obstacle disappeared as soon as I confronted them. It was not easy, but it was not hard either.
Then in 2007, I started thinking about doing my own thing. I put all my energy into somebody else's business and they prosper. What if I was doing it for myself?
I went to see my boss and told him that I would start my own business. I would give him ample time to replace me and implement processes that would allow for the company to run without my position for a few days if necessary.
What did he do? He promoted me V.P. Really? Who does that?
Well, the time came and I left. It was 2009. I gave him 2 years notice.


"3rd door".
Those 2 years were the bootstrapping years. It allowed me to start the business and see if there was money to be made.
I started "Your Custom Cellar". I design and build Custom Wine Rooms (www.yourcustomcellar.com).
I still do it and the business is growing.
No regrets!
Go with the flow. Do what you love and love what you do.
You have only one life and when you will be on your dying bed, it will be too late for regrets!
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