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So…in the past the thought has occured to me that I occasionally self-sabotage my success in relationships, recovery, jobs. I make bad choices sometimes. It’s a bit like the old devil on one shoulder/angel on the other scenario. Well I definitely had to face down that tendency when it came to starting this new job.

Let’s hop in the wayback machine and go back a couple weeks. I interviewed with the Vice President of the marketing company (that I actually work for, not the paper itself) who was up from Florida, then the district manager who lives here contacted me to come out and observe him and another guy selling subscriptions for a couple of days. On Saturday October 15 I was with the district manager – I’m going to call him Terry – in front of a Hobby Lobby. We don’t always set up outside, depends on the store (more about that later). It was a sunny day, but a little on the windy side. Most normal people would probably like it, I hate sun and wind so of course I was miserable.

I stayed out there with Terry for a couple hours while he invited Hobby Lobby shoppers to come and get their free copy of the paper and a Hobby Lobby gift card. He explained the deals they have to me, the two most popular deals (with the best commissions) are the prepaid daily or Fri/Sat/Sun subscriptions that come with a $10 or $15 gift card that constitutes their first month free. We went over the forms and the card scanner that we use, etc.

About 2pm he wanted to go get something to eat so he said, “Why don’t you see if you can sell some papers while I’m gone?” OK. The gauntlet had been thrown. After he left I did something that I’m not even sure I believe in, but I said to myself, God, and the universe, “If this is the job for me, then let me write at least one subscription order while Terry’s at lunch.”

He was gone for a good half hour, maybe 45 minutes. The time ticked away, people came and went, I called them over just like Terry did. Some of them talked to me, some ignored me, some said they already take the paper (we can only sign up new subscribers who haven’t had home delivery for the past 30 days), no one took my bait.

So that made me sad and I left that day thinking that this wasn’t for me.

On Sunday I had dinner with Mom and Iris and they convinced me to give it another shot. That afternoon I met Terry at the local Tractor Supply (Yes, I live in a part of the country that has Tractor Supply stores. What the freaking freak?). I don’t know why, but by the end of the day I was ready to give it a shot.

Which brings us to Monday morning October 17, I had a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment at 8am that morning. After that I was to meet Terry at his place to get started. He would give me the papers, gift cards, portable kiosk, and tell me where I would be working that day.

Leaving the doctor’s office and coming back home to change into some nicer clothes the devil on my shoulder started to get my attention:

“Joe,” the DOMS said. “You don’t want to do this today. You already had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to go to the doctor. Call Terry and tell him you’re sick and you’ll start tomorrow.”

To this the angel on the other shoulder ever so gently said, “Bullshit! Don’t listen to him. This is the guy that always gets you to make bad choices and sabotage your chances at good things.”

They went back and forth like that for a while but in the end I listened to the better angels (or angel) of my nature, put on my big boy clothes, and went to work.

How did it go?

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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12 thoughts on “The Devil On My Shoulder – My Adventures in Sales, Part 1

  1. MDR, Pheebs, BEG:

    Ain’t I a stinker?
    I promise I won’t make you all wait as long for Part 2 as you’ve waited for (ahem) Part 3 of my jail saga.

    sorry 😦

    PS. Long story short, I got out of jail.

    • May it go without saying that you are endlessly hip…and to be honest the Tractor Supply had a lot of cool stuff in it.

      You must understand I’m from LA where our primary exports are drug addicted celebrities and bad remakes of 80s movies. Fruits and vegetables don’t come out of the ground, they come from the produce section at Vons. When you mention “John Deere” in LA they say, “Is that the dude who just took over Paramount?”

      But I guess we are the ones who are out of the norm. The rest of the country needs tractor supplies to harvest all that squash or kumquats or whateverthehell they grow out there.

    • When I get back there you’ll have to come visit!

      Actually there are a lot of wonderful people there and the air is a lot better than it used to be (but don’t tell anybody that, traffic is bad enough as it is).

      • Yes, wonderful people . . . two ex-husbands . . . seriously, my daughter lives in Long Beach and works Downtown . . . garment district. I always thought I’d go back, but its been 13 years and I haven’t made it yet. You, on the other hand, are going to make it.

        So, its a date . . . L.A., date to be determined.

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