A Man With a Plan
AT AGE 13, Jim Sabulski was already looking for a job.
“I set out to work because I liked being able to buy what I wanted,” declares Sabulski, now manager of Print and Mail Services for Misericordia University, in Dallas, Pa. “I didn’t like having to ask my parents for money.”
Initially, Sabulski had difficulty finding an employer in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., willing to take a chance on a kid. So his mother asked a friend who had just opened a print shop if he had any work for her enterprising son. He did.
“He had me hand collating six-part carbonless forms, thousands upon thousands of them,” Sabulski recalls. Paid $3 an hour, he worked happily after school, and was soon entrusted to run some bindery equipment.
His second foray into printing came at age 19, when Sabulski sought a job via an employment agency.
“The man there told me to turn around, walk out the door and go directly across the street to Schmidt’s Printery, which was seeking a bindery worker,” he laughs. At Schmidt’s, he also learned how to run a one-color press.
Sabulski got his big break when, unfortunately, owner Ed Schmidt experienced a bad break: a heart attack.
“He called me from his hospital bed and asked if I could get some jobs out the door,” Sabulski continues. He taught himself to run the press, fulfilled all the orders in the pipeline and even took on new business.
“When the owner came back a month later, he was amazed to see that I had kept the company afloat,” he says.
While working, Sabulski decided that he wanted to earn an English degree. “I wanted to be the next Great American writer,” he reveals, “but I didn’t want to accrue debt.”
In 1991, he ran into a friend who was attending college tuition-free because his mother worked for the school.