I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped to make my time in this business so enjoyable. There are some amazing people in this industry – crazy ones, loud ones, funny ones, generous ones, argumentative ones (sometimes all of these things!).
BearingNet has been in the Bearing & PT industry for over 21 years. In that time, employees have come and gone but one particular staff member has stayed to provide her expertise for nearly 20 years. Jenny Palling has been the glue of the company – arranging accounts, reading through marketing collateral and organising meetings for hundreds of people! With Jenny now retiring from her many roles at BearingNet to go on adventures with her husband, we asked her to reflect on her years in the industry…
We’re so sad to see you go, Jenny! How did you come to work for BearingNet?
I know! I’m sad too. It’s definitely mixed emotions for me. Before having children, I worked for the National Audit Office in London. I resigned after my son was born as I didn’t fancy the combination of night feeds and an early commute. I did a few local part-time volunteer and paid roles while my children were young, eventually ending up in a firm of local accountants. I didn’t enjoy it very much so when I saw an advert in the local paper for a part-time bookkeeper to join a young internet company I applied for the job. I knew nothing about the internet or bearings (many will say I still don’t!). I remember the interview with Peter – he wanted to know what my foreign language skills were, so I told him I could order two beers in any language. That seemed to do the trick and I was offered the job.
How has the Bearing & PT industry changed since you started?
Well, from our point of view the major change has been the increased use of technology. I remember in the early days doing a Roadshow in France to demonstrate BearingNet to local distributor companies. Many of them said it was a great idea, but it would have to wait until they had installed desktop computers in their offices and connected to the internet. After the Roadshow we went out and successfully ordered two beers – it’s a shame there were three of us!
Is there anything from your career that you would change if you could?
I would probably have avoided that job at the accountants!
Is there anything about BearingNet that you’ll miss?
Tons of things! The main thing will be the
salary people, both colleagues and customers. We are a small company and over the years I have probably spent more time with my colleagues than my family. It feels like a family (we even have arguments about who does the washing up and takes out the bins!) so it’s going to be a big change not coming in every day and hearing the latest gossip. I’m going to miss them all terribly.
What won’t you miss?
Washing up and taking out the bins!! Only joking. I won’t miss the alarm clock (I’ve never been a morning person) or the rush hour traffic. I also won’t miss restricting my holidays to a maximum of two weeks.
Who’s been the stand out character that you’ve worked with?
Two stand out characters – Peter and Gary. They are completely different personalities but together they have made BearingNet the success it is today. They took the risks in the early days – working all hours in the basement of Peter’s flat to get BearingNet up and running and to convince sufficient companies to load their inventory and use the site. Since then they have continued, and still continue, to devote their time and energy to constant improvement.
How have the BearingNet User Meetings changed since your involvement?
They have changed hugely. The first one I was involved with was in Prague in 2005 – we had 94 delegates. I carried everything we needed for the delegates in one bag (which I accidentally left in the bar on the first night). Since then the meetings have grown considerably. With Nicola’s help, we have been able to develop the potential of the meetings with sponsorship, premium locations and the Manufacturer’s Showcase.
What’s been your biggest satisfaction working for BearingNet? Well, it has to be the satisfaction of being part of a young, start-up business and helping it to grow and develop. When I joined BearingNet we had 370 customers. We now have over 1870! I remember we sometimes worried whether we could pay the salary bill in the early years, and there were only four of us in the company. Now we employ 16 staff, and they all get paid on time.
What are your retirement plans?
My immediate plans are a two-month trip with my husband to Singapore, Australia and Bali. We have family and friends in Australia who we have visited before, but never had the time to travel to other parts of the country. We’re taking the Ghan train from Adelaide to Darwin, calling in at Uluru on the way so we can see sunrise and sunset at the Rock. When we get back I want to get work done in our garden and I’m looking at local volunteer roles. I will continue to be a shareholder in BearingNet so I will be calling in from time to time to see how business is going.
You’ve had quite a career in the industry but your next adventure is on the horizon. Any closing comments?
I know, my husband and I are very excited! I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped to make my time in this business so enjoyable. There are some amazing people in this industry – crazy ones, loud ones, funny ones, generous ones, argumentative ones (sometimes all of these things!). I couldn’t go without saying goodbye to many people, so I will be at the Warsaw User Meeting in October, hopefully looking more relaxed than at previous meetings because Nicola and her team will be handling all the stress!