• May 1, 2018
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Last Call

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Dear readers, I guess you’ve noticed you haven’t gotten a new column from me in quite a while. At least, I hope you’ve noticed; maybe you just think I’m really that repetitive. It’s a good thing that CRM has such a large archive of my work—“classics,” as I think of them—because I wouldn’t have wanted to leave them or you without something fun to read. But that’s what I’m about to do anyway, and you deserve an explanation.

You might recall that I had to go on disability last year due to some silliness with my CPAP machine. Sleep apnea is a nasty condition, and it can do significant heart damage over time. I was without treatment for three months, so I think you can see where this is going. Two weeks after returning to work, I had a heart attack and wound up needing a quadruple bypass. The good news is that I feel much better now, at least where my heart is concerned. The bad news is that it did a number on my head.

This is where most people would start explaining how the experience shook them up, or how they realized that life is short and that nobody ever made a deathbed lament that they wished they’d spent more time at work. That’s not what’s going on with me. I’ve expected for a very long time that I would not be winning any longevity contests, and I’ve always firmly believed that we work to live, not the other way round. Nothing changed on that front, and in fact I was totally cool when I was lying in the hospital bed waiting for surgery—I knew that I’d either feel much better in the long run (once the awful recovery period was over), or I wouldn’t be waking up again.

Nah, my post-op issues are different. First, and most pertinent to this discussion, I have a much harder time focusing and concentrating on my writing than I did before. The amount of effort it takes for me to churn out content for my day job leaves me with not a whole lot left over for Pint of View. Second, compounding the problem, when I see the absurdities perpetrated in an industry supposedly devoted to serving customers better, my instinct now is to shake my head rather than craft a witty tale about them.

The third reason is much more mercenary in nature: I’m financially comfortable for the first time in many years and actually have an outside shot at retiring some day. That has become my goal. It won’t be anytime soon, but I want to get there. I would be proud to take after my dad in any way other than this: He was in the process of retiring when he died, and so he never got the chance to settle in for a well-deserved rest with my mom.

It is for these reasons, among others, that I am making the painful decision to bring Pint of View to an end. I had a 13-year run that I can be proud of, but it’s time to step away while I can still be proud of it; anything I wrote beyond this point would be less than my best, and less than you deserve.

I’d like to thank the editorial team at CRM, present and past, for allowing me this page for so long and for putting up with my foibles and tendency to treat deadlines as fragile things that must never, ever be hit. I was able to build a brand here, one that put me on the road to stability and respect, and that’s something I can’t overrate.

All that said, you might not have seen the last of me, O Noble Reader. This magazine has been part of my life for far too long for me to cut all ties with it. Whether as an expert source (ha!) or guest contributor, the future of my name in these pages has not yet been written.

Marshall Lager is still a senior analyst in Ovum’s Customer Engagement practice, so he’s not disappearing altogether. Hint: Try marshall.lager@ovum.com or www.twitter.com/Lager.

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