Cliff Jorgensen wasn’t always his own boss.
The longtime local insurance agent – has had an office in the community for 28 years – initially relied on his job as a factory worker to put food on the table and clothes on the back of his three young children.
But when his union went on strike for three weeks, Jorgensen was left scrambling to find some other way to come up with money. He picked up three part-time jobs in the process.
The union would eventually settle for a nickel-an-hour, and that left a bad taste in Jorgensen’s mouth.
“I did the math and realized that it would take 27 years to make up for the lost wages during that time at that rate, and that just didn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “I started looking for other ways that I could support my family, and I discovered insurance.”
For three decades he has been serving the community – with the same company the entire time – and says that he takes pride in being able to help people whenever possible.
One of the trade-offs to going into business for himself rather than sticking with his previous job was that he would lose paid holidays. His ability to work closely with his clients and develop relationships, he said, more than offset the excess work needed to stay afloat.
“I always thought that we should work on Labor Day and take the rest of the year off,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t get paid holidays anymore – there’s definitely more work that goes into being your own boss. You get out what you put in.
“But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I think that the thing that I enjoyed the most was being able to help people – whether it was just saying hi and being encouraging or helping them during a time of crisis. I’ve been blessed.”
And his work doesn’t end when he punches out at the office.
A Ripon resident, Jorgensen remains active in the community – taking roles on the Board of Directors of the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations.
His friendly demeanor earned him a Best of Manteca award for his business, and as he enters the twilight of his career he’s more than willing to reflect on the years he spent providing a valuable service.
“The thing about going to work for yourself is that you can work as long or as hard as you want. It’s really your choice,” he said. “It’s nice to get a day where you can look at that and take pride in what you’ve accomplished.”