Building friendships and staying connected are important to Earlene Webster. It's a theme that's run through her life for at least the past 30 years.
Earlene began her corporate career with Warner-Lambert in 1980 as a sales person in the Consumer Health Care division. For the next 20 years she and her colleagues helped Warner-Lambert, and later Pfizer, sell products to the consumer market.
"It was a great job — fun and interesting," said Earlene.
She found selling new products especially exciting because, she said, there often was a great marketing program to kickoff the product, and it was fun seeing celebrities like Olympic skating champion Scott Hamilton, who helped to promote the products. She also remembers the trips to San Francisco and Cancun that her team won for being the top sales team in their territory.
But what Earlene enjoyed most about her years with the company were the connections she made with her customers and colleagues. She remembers the relationships she built with customers, and the customers who became good friends.
Of her former colleagues, in particular, she says: "We were always helping each other out. If one didn’t have something, the other one did. When you do that, you get to know each other very well."
After retiring from Pfizer in 2000, she worked as a sales assistant for a builder for five years. She also enjoyed travelling to places like Ecuador and Panama and various locations in the United States. But it never kept her from staying in touch with her friends and former co-workers at Pfizer.
Earlene and several former colleagues make a point to keep in touch by phone and e-mail, and they meet whenever possible. In fact, each October a core group gathers in Beech Mountain, North Carolina, a town that sits atop the Blue Ridge Mountains. They spend a weekend sightseeing, talking and simply catching up on what’s been happening in each others’ lives. “It’s a great place to come to visit your friends,” Earlene said.
In addition to keeping in touch with friends, Earlene also stays connected with her community by volunteering wherever she’s needed. She is currently in training to volunteer with an urban ministry program sponsored by her church to help find homes for homeless families.
Ask Earlene what advice she’d give on how to enjoy retired life and her answer is simple: Hang on to your friends.