Sales Manager Trades Flex Time for Family Time

Matthew Marshall had wearied of telecommuting with a California office; then OpsLadder and a networking campaign helped him find a job in his hometown of Reading, Pa.


Matthew Marshall had well-defined criteria for his next job.

The sales manager wanted to move into procurement, and he wanted to work for a global company, somewhere he could use the multiple languages he speaks and the experiences he had living in Germany, Mexico and the U.K.

He also wanted to work in an office again, but without a long commute. After years of telecommuting from Reading, Pa., to his company’s California headquarters and two-week-long trips every month, Marshall wanted a way to be part of the team everyday, without missing his family for weeks at a time. It also needed to match his salary or come close. He wanted the best of all worlds, and he had little hope he could find what he was looking for near his home.

When he found the perfect job, Marshall pulled out all the stops and operated an unorthodox job search to land it.

“I did much more than I had ever done in any previous job search,” he said. “How many times do you find a global manufacturing company five minutes from your house? I needed to stay hungry and keep pushing.”

He also kept looking for other procurement jobs and landed a backup in case perfection proved impossible, he said.

Time to leave

When Marshall began his last job, as a national sales manager and senior business leader for a modular-buildings manufacturer, he was happy to telecommute. It seemed a good fit for a father with two young children. “When I was first offered the job, I thought, ‘Hey, flex time, that’s great.’ But it doesn’t work for me.” He wanted to get back in the office.

He didn’t like being out of the loop. He missed interacting face to face with colleagues. “I think it helps to be in the office if you want to move up in the company,” he said. “Those side conversations you have in an office — ‘What do you think about this?’ — could be the icing on the cake that could get you the next position.”

When he got his wish, it created another problem. The company began demanding Marshall’s time on site. “I was traveling one week each month. That turned into traveling once a week, every other week. It was time to look for a new job.”

Close, but so far

Marshall’s first fruitful lead on the job search was a job with a federal agency about 90 minutes from his home. The job appealed to him on many levels, and it would mean he would work in the office and be home every night with his family. But the thought of a 90-minute commute seemed arduous to him. That’s when he found another job, the perfect job.

Marshall found the job listed on OpsLadder. The employer was a publicly traded, global company with nearly 7,000 employees globally. And the job was in Reading.

It was a surprise to find this company, he said. “Reading is a small city, and my wife has lived here since she was six years old,” he said. “We didn’t know about this company, which is the global leader in industrial-battery manufacturing.”

He sent his resume immediately. He wasn’t surprised by the slow response from such a large organization, but he decided the job was too perfect to chance. He launched an all-out campaign of contact and persuasion. He wasn’t going to wait for the company to contact him.

“I called the headquarters, got the name of the hiring manager and her e-mail address, and started sending her notes and cold-calling her,” he said. “It took over a month of phone calls and e-mails until an HR person and I connected. Finally, I had a foot in the door.”

While Marshall waited for a response from the Reading company, he did all he could to find out more about the battery-manufacturing company, “so that in case I did get an interview, I would have some background about the people and the company,” he said. Finally, in May, he got an interview. After a second interview a few weeks later — a dinner with an international team member — he was offered the position of senior procurement manager with the company.

By that time, he had already been offered a position with the government agency for a higher salary. But, Marshall had other priorities. After thinking about what was most important to him, he was happy to accept the local job. He started work in June.

“It fit my salary range, it was a global headquarters right in my backyard, and it has career potential for me,” he said. “It’s run by very dedicated managers; it’s a family-oriented environment but global players.” He’s back to traveling once a month, “but it’s planned in advance for a shorter period of time, it’s not every other week, so it’s much more manageable.”

And for Marshall, work and life are once again in balance. “I’m back in a competitive, energetic environment. But I can also do some exercise and pick up my kids. Those are the positive things you can’t put a dollar value on.”