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Dave Salkin: Stay Sane

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STAY SANE

Keep yourself mentally, physically and spiritually healthy.

BY DAVE SALKIN

Published in the September 2014 issue

Sure, you love your jewelry career. You eat, drink, think and breathe it. But guess what? There’s life outside your store.

You can be as passionate about your store as you are about anything else in your life, but if it’s all you do … how long can you last before you burn out?

I’ve been in the jewelry business since I could see over the top of a counter. I’m 48. I was maybe 13 when I started “tinkering” with soldering. Turns out, I’m creative and I liked making things with my hands. Fast forward a few decades, and I graduated Rutgers, earned a Master Graduate Gemologist degree (GIA & IJO) and own the store with my brother.

Do I love what I do? Most of the time. There was that day when Mrs. Gotrocks told me what a great customer she is, because she got her battery changed here nine years ago and was very disappointed that I was going to charge her $10 for another one.

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Moments like that, I’d rather be at the dentist, but generally speaking, I love what I do for a myriad of reasons. Here are a quick few:

I’m way too stubborn to work for anyone else after being my own boss for almost 30 years. (Plus, I get to pick the music.)

I get to handle beautiful diamonds and jewelry, some of which truly is artwork.

Many of my customers are awesome people, and I get to be a part of their biggest occasions. I often wonder how many “wow” moments happen on Christmas morning because of us. I love that!

So let me ask you: How do you keep sane, working with the public every day, year after year?

Personally, I murder dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of people. Heck, sometimes the violence scares even me.

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I should clarify. It’s only on paper. I’ve written a dozen novels, seven of which are published, and I’m excited about my eighth coming out this year. My first hard-cover will be released this month, and it’s got synthetic diamonds, the Russian mob, the FBI — everything you need for a thriller.

Oh, and I’m also the mayor of Freehold Township. Sometimes I can’t believe folks read my books and feel safe voting for me, but this is year 20 of being an elected official, so I guess I’m doing something right. I also belong to several volunteer organizations like the Philip Reynolds Detachment of the Marine Corps League and the Veteran’s Community Alliance.

You starting to get the picture? I like being really busy — but not just with my store. I’m pretty sure if I devoted all of this energy to just my store, I would have been burnt out 15 years ago. Let’s face it, the public wears you down.

My point is this: Keep yourself mentally, physically and spiritually healthy. We work to live, not live to work. And no matter how much you love your store, you need other interests. The more you have to talk about, the more connections you have to your customers. It’s good retail, but it’s also good mental health! The bottom line: Make time for yourself! Whoever has the most fun wins. I am currently in first place.

David “Diamond Dave” Salkin is co-owner of Salkin’s Jewel Case in Freehold, NJ and author of several novels, including his most recent, Deep Black Sea. See more at davidmsalkin.com.

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