By Mark St. JohnHow a small rural electric bill saving me from bankruptcies helped me find a way to live and work in the big city, a few months after I moved to rural Indiana.
The bill was so small that it made no sense to me.
It was only $3.50 a month.
The bills went by so quickly I had no idea when I’d be able to make my monthly payments.
I didn’t know the state’s bankruptcy law.
I didn’t understand it.
I thought, I don’t have a plan to pay the bills.
I was confused and I thought it was impossible.
I went to the state auditor, where I learned that I’d filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in November 2014.
I needed a plan and I needed a job.
The job was at a nearby business.
I had an idea.
I was the head of the office’s finance department, and I wanted to help customers in their financial struggles.
I wanted them to feel that I was there for them.
My new boss was a young guy named Matt.
I liked his attitude.
I liked his work ethic.
He liked me.
I had no clue what I was getting into.
He wanted me to run a small, community-based electric company.
Matt told me that I would be given a budget for a few years, then get an extension.
I knew that was the case because he told me so.
He didn’t want me to be a freelancer.
He just wanted me focused on what I had to do, to work on a plan.
It was a plan, and it worked.
It turned out that Matt was a good salesman, and he was an excellent salesman.
The plan worked.
He had me sign on to a program that helped small businesses get access to financing.
I got a discount on the electricity bill and I paid my bills.
The only drawback was that I had only a few days of vacation, and my new boss wouldn’t let me take the kids out of school.
I told Matt I would call him.
I wanted him to know I had been there for him.
I just needed him to see me, because I was in trouble.
He didn’t even ask me why I wanted him on my team.
He said, you’ve done well, but I have a couple more things to ask.
I asked him to get the plan out to the other staff, but he wouldn’t.
So, I was out of luck.
I called Matt.
We spoke for about two hours.
Then, he came to me and said, I think this is a bad idea.
The company is a little bigger, and you don’t want to be working with someone like that.
He told me I’d have to move on.
I moved out of the house.
I bought a car and started working for Matt again.
I worked nights, weekends, holidays, and nights on end.
I saved the money to pay for a home.
I couldn’t wait to retire and be able the way I wanted.
I did what I needed to do.
I made my monthly electric bill pay off.
I stopped working and moved into a house.
The next thing I knew, I got a phone call from Matt.
It sounded like he was about to come to pick me up.
The call was a little strange, but it was a very good call.
Matt had a good reason.
I knew he would be angry.
But he said, there is a job out there that you can do.
It’s a job I know I can do, and that I can be successful in.
Matt didn’t need any advice from me.
He asked if I had a plan or what I wanted out of life.
I told him I had never thought about going to college.
Matt explained that I didn-had a good plan.
I would start a business.
He suggested I take a $200,000 loan to invest in the business.
I loved the idea.
I’d invest in my own business.
My boss agreed.
I paid the loan and I started a company.
The idea worked.
The loan paid off.
The business started growing.
It made me proud to work for a company that did things the right way.
I paid off my loan.
I started the business and started paying off the loan.
It took me a few more years to make the money I needed for my business.
The plan worked, and the company started growing again.
The loans were paid off, and after another decade or so of growth, I had enough money to buy a home in the town where I’d lived for the last 15 years.
The house I had lived in was a gift from my dad.
I called him the next day and asked him how much it would cost to buy me a new one.
He gave me a good answer, but said I should go out and find another place.
I said, no, I’m not