In December of 2002, I opened the doors to the manifestation of a lifelong application to a dream. I did not want to own a business…I considered it a pain in the ass requiring behavior and decisions that I found repulsive. The most successful bosses I had worked for had been bastards…liars…greedy… unbalanced and selfish…. and they applied these “talents” to their customers and employees alike. There have been exceptions to this rule, but those exceptions have been extremely, extremely rare. If I did not become so sick of that pervasive mentality in business and the practice of medicine, I would never have decided to prove those bastards wrong….or maybe I had to prove it simply to myself… that natural order and balance can exist at least…if not succeed.
I do not suggest that I am completely immune from the same aforementioned evils, nor that I am always full of honor and shining light… only perhaps that I try to see the truth more than most, accept the existence of the selfish and fearful demons which plague everyone’s soul including my own, and that I believe “balance” among all is better than “over-dominance” vs “under dominance” (yes in all of life…including commerce and the business cycle) which creates neurotic parasitic irrational behavior for all…. it becomes the new norm… it is the new norm.
So despite my sins, my weaknesses, and my demons, I have fought with everything I possess to become progressively and perpetually more balanced as a person and maintain that same ideal and standard for my business, VCC. This is not easy when the “rules” of conduct and survival have been rewritten to overwhelmingly favor those who are unstable and overtly deceptive in the conduct of business and medicine. And sadly this has been done by all…all of society and in some element, I am sure that even you and I are also to blame for that occurrence. It is the easy default of all behavior.
We moved into the current free-standing building on May 1, 2008 without the cash flow to support such a move. Many banks laughed at me in my attempt to obtain financing for this project and it was only due to a small, local bank (now chewed up and spit out by the new norm system) that I was able to build my castle. The cash flow was predicted on the economy over the last 100 years.
The economy crashed hard and fast…and being in an emerging or developing area, VCC suffered more than those who were in a saturated area. I also went through a divorce at the time, that needed to happen, but cost me dearly in strength, effort, money, and time. My Ex attempted to destroy me and my dream.
Suffice it to say that it has been much much harder for VCC than almost everyone realizes. People often think I am independently wealthy when I live from week to week. Again, a significant contributor to this factor HAS BEEN FOR VCC NOT TO dive into that norm unstable parasitic business approach that everyone hates when it gets applied to them but secretly whispers to you that you should apply to every, every, everyone else….winky face…winky face. And again, I make no pretext of being perfect in my philosophy. I talked to a bankruptcy attorney once to seek protection and he told me that “You will have to file….if not now….in the future….let me know when you are ready to proceed.” I have had the IRS tax me on shit and at levels that seem inconceivable to me… lien after lien after lien… threat after threat after threat. Credit card companies have also taken bite after bite after bite. My dad once told me that “You just borrow too much…that’s your problem.” My divorce settlement, though fair in amount, mandated that I pay my ex $1,100 a month despite my piss poor cash flow (I have now paid her back almost $50,000). VCC also lost $70,000 in revenue from two separate rescue groups over the last two years. My car is a 2004. I do not have a home. My personal bank account is usually under $100 and frequently under $50. And I still get some people saying all kinds of bullshit about my prices and suggesting my motives are as corrupt as their own.
There have been a number of weeks I thought I would be knocked out completely, go down, tap out, once and for all, but somehow….somehow that seems and seemed almost inconceivable and dare I say miraculous, it never happened.
About 9 months ago, I set February 2014 as a mark; a mark that if I could reach, if I could crawl to, if I could even claw to, in some form or fashion, a mark that would signal my survival, the survival of VCC. VCC would finally come off of life support and walk out of the critical care ward for good if we could only make it through the February 2014 finish line and we have done so. Now that doesn’t mean life gets easy….it never does in a balanced system, but it does get easier. And given certain developments, everything can always collapse, including VCC even as we move forward. But we have grown slowly, steadily, and solidly. We are strong now, we are very stable, and we were not built on cards or paper or anything that might blow away with a strong gust.
A dream made it you see; a dream that didn’t change itself into the pervasive madness of the normal way of doing things “because everyone else is” or “just to survive”. It isn’t a perfect dream and it certainly has its own demons, but it is its own dream….its own damn dream. The sacrifice for sustaining the dream has almost been unbearable at times and often I have thought that I was the fool and that I should give up…. but maybe the dream never let me and I am glad it did not.
March 2014 and the rest of the future is now upon us.
Jeff Cribb DVM 2014