Pressline was a great system but in retrospect it was doomed from the start. It went online on February 1, 1996 which was right around the time that more and more people were being exposed to Al Gore’s fantastic invention. Yes, I’m talking about the internet. As I mentioned, Pressline enjoyed a very successful first year but as more people in the Nashua area went online at home the call counts started dropping. Once the monthly call counts starting dropping, the advertising revenue started dropping as well. I started having to spend more and more time on the sales end but despite my efforts, more and more businesses decided to put their dollars into the internet. The Telegraph had launched its own website during 1997 which didn’t help matters. Looking back I should have seen the writing on the wall earlier but nobody really knew how tremendously widespread the internet would become at the time. So I plugged away despite declining revenues and an increasingly frustrated boss who I’m sure was getting pressure from his boss to get things turned around. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my job was in serious jeopardy. But what could I do? As usual, I had very little prospects to fall back on if and when it finally crashed. I panicked a bit and started looking for other jobs just in case. I knew that eventually the internet was going to kill Pressline and so I figured maybe I could get out before that happened. But as usual, the only jobs that I was qualified for were sales jobs and after getting burned twice, I was reluctant to seek a third torching.
Things got progressively worse. I’m embarrassed to admit it now but at some point I basically gave up on Pressline. I got so disenchanted with making sales calls – which 99% of the time ended in rejection – that I started spending much of my time in my office on the internet scouring job sites and want ads from around the country. This only made me more depressed as it made me realize how unqualified I was for so many things. The dearth of new advertising dollars meant my commissions were suffering as I skated by on the backs of my core clients. The hits kept on coming as one day my roommate came home and announced that he was going back to school and would be moving out at the end of the month, leaving me stuck. Unable to find another roommate on such short notice, I was forced to do the unthinkable: move back in with my mother. Shudder.
So here was my life. I was 26 years old, a college graduate, working at a job that I was miserable at and that had no future, living at home with my mother. What passed as the social aspect of my life was in the toilet as well. Almost all of my friends had gotten married and some were already having kids by this time. So my single status often wasn’t compatible with their newfound domesticity. Plus, my only single friend worked night shift at his job so I seldom ever saw him. Although I wasn’t always miserable or depressed, I was alone much of the time. I would spend the weekends driving up to the mountains to go fly fishing or hiking. When the weather got cold I’d spend entire weekends in Barnes and Noble slamming cappuccinos and scouring the out of town newspapers for anything that would get me out of Nashua. The highlight of my week was Thursday nights when I’d go over to my best friend Mike’s house and watch Seinfeld with him and his wife. This was my life.
(Click HERE for Part VII)