Defining Career Moment: Stand your ground & ride into the sunset

The Cambridge dictionary describes a career-defining moment or action as “one that is very important in making someone successful in their job, or in deciding how they will be remembered.” At Mantech, we have talked about such moments a lot recently, and have decided to share some of ours to give you an insight into who the team are, and how they came to be where they are now.  Here, Pat Munro talks about career armageddon, intuition and standing your ground.

When you first start in sales you just want the prize, and to heck with the aftermath! During the deal making stage, everyone is friends and contracts are for when things go wrong. The following experience defined my career as it taught me about the importance of contract wording, and how a little discomfort, whilst standing your ground, can save your company and your reputation!

Before I became an IT recruiter I trained as a chemical engineer, then went into selling chemical process equipment with prices ranging between $1-6 million. The lead times on these projects were anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. We had finally become the preferred bidder on a contract, and with final negotiations in motion it was my job to complete the process. I was dealing with very experienced contract engineers from a 1st tier contracting company, whose job it was to give all the contractual risk to the Minnow subcontractors like us. At this stage I didn’t have a full appreciation of contractual risk, because as far as I was concerned the deal was done, and it was my job to mop up the formalities and start popping corks!

However, my nasty boss saw it differently. He would not let go of a couple of specific changes he wanted in the contract and he was literally riding me not to back down.  So I would go back to them and like a cunning fox this client would stroke my ego, dangle the contract and say “don’t worry about it, everything will be alright, do you want the project or not”. So, I would revert back to my boss and he would yell at me to eat a spoonful of concrete and harden up. After 2 weeks of toing and froing I was just about to have a nervous breakdown.  I thought career armageddon was upon me and that I was about to lose the contract of the decade. But I dug my heels in and we kept the sunset clause in the contract.

3 years later my boss had moved on and I spoke to the new MD. I asked how the project went, because I had also since left. He said “Terrible”. “Oh No”, I said “did you lose hundreds of thousands of dollars”, in anticipation of a long awkward silence. “No, they had to pay, thanks to that sunset clause” he said, with a big smile on his face, “ and we made money!”


Do you have a career moment you’d like to share for a chance to win a $150 David Jones gift card?  Like the Mantech Careers Facebook page, then tell us about your experience in the comments of the ‘Jerry Maguire’ post.  Entires close 7pm AEDST Tuesday December 6th 2016.


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Pat Munro

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