Thursday, September 14, 2006

I thought I was tired before... turns out I didn't know what tired was yet.

Thursday was a LONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG day for the Lizzle. As I mentioned before I was scheduled to have an all day interview thing with a marketing company. As tired as I was last night, I didn't sleep well. And in order to get myself together and get downtown to where I needed to be I needed to get up early. So going into what I knew was going to be a long day I was already tired.

I get down there. I mentally prepare for what I think the day should be. I rapidly come to find that my idea was totally malformed.

I heard the original interviewer tell me that the all day interview thing would be a kind of "day in the life" of entry level personel in the company. That we would be going out to the client and that I would essentially be observing what the underling staff does.

I thought that this meant I would be going to the office of the client and watching the lower-level staffers figure out what the client wants, and how we can make that happen. I figure at some point I'll be asked questions about myself, what I want, what I see myself doing in this situation or that situation, blah blah blah. I figure I'll probably be asked questions to see if I get the overall gist of what it is they do.

I was wrong.

No. What they wanted me to observe was essentially a physical version of cold-calling. Basically I observed as an entry level person and her supervisor literally walked door to door and tried to push a product on people that the poor unsuspecting folks at home didn't ask for. So for the sake of clarity let me refresh you here; "A day in the life of entry level staff in a rapidly growing marking firm" = "walking door to door hawking unwanted goods and services on John Q. Public," and "entry level personnel" = "door-to-door-to-door-to-door salesman."

Given the pitch that I'd heard from management back in the cushy office, I wanted to be sure I was giving this a fair shake. So I stayed on long after I learned how unappealing the entry level part is. At lunch the "supervisor" showed me how the company works the advancement angle. And on paper it looked good. Especially if the numbers she was showing me were genuine. But I have my doubts. There was something a little hinky about being asked to spend X-amount of time doing the company dirty work out in the elements, (which with the Chicago winter months coming was dramatically even less appealing,) and then be promoted to this ultra-fabulous ultra-lucrative career in the office in the long term (which on paper is relatively short, but as it isn't exactly written in stone, I have certain issues with.) So like I said, I stayed on for a while to be sure I was giving this a fair shake and a close enough look. I didn't want to judge too harshly too fast. But as we stood at the doorway of a young hispanic woman with a few small children in her basement apartment, and the supervisor pulled out more trick plays from her little book, trying to sell this poor woman on something she didn't want, didn't need, and hadn't asked for, I watched the supervisor keep pushing the sale on her... She smelled blood in the water, and she was in it for the kill.

About ten minutes later, (at roughly 6 PM) during a break in activity, and about two hours before the scheduled finish of my day long interview process, I'd had my fill. I didn't want to do that to people. I didn't want to be a part of that. Hell, I didn't even want to watch it anymore. The guilty conscience in me felt like even though there was a tangible product being offered, it was like we were conning these poor unsuspecting folks whose only mistake was being at home when we made our rounds. It just felt so wrong. It wasn't me. It made me feel gross... and I wasn't even doing the selling. I was only observing... I really wanted to shower at that precise moment.

I shook hands with the supervisor. I thanked her for her time. Thanks but no thanks. It's not for me. Yeah your long term looks great on paper, but I don't want to sell my soul to get ahead. You might want to check that parka at the door, you won't be needing it, because it'll be a cold day in hell before I use my people skills or my college degree to sell unwanted shit door to door. At least when I was selling behind the bar the people came to me for a product they knew they wanted.

But I've got other good prospects. A second interview on Monday. (Because after today, my tired ass needs a day off! I'm going to the beach on Friday dammit!)

Let's pretend that the lizzle has already cleaned her apartment and done laundry and dishes so that she can enjoy that time at the beach... Yeah, that's a total fiction, but if it helps me to enjoy a few hours laying in the sun on the sand with a good book, it's a worthy fiction, right?

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