Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life Lessons

Considering this is only my second post and my readership (to my knowledge) consists of my mom and my boyfriend, it seems crazy to agree to do something I'm dreading only because it'll be good "blog material." Nevertheless, when I was indiscriminately applying for jobs during my application binge, I happened to send my resume to a marketing/sales company. To explain a little, the job posting online led me to believe they were hiring "account coordinators," so with little else to inform me, I applied hoping there was some creative non-sales aspect to the position available, too. While I do have sales experience, I am not an aggressive salesperson--I'm more interested in customer service. Which product will best benefit the customer and how best do I persuade them without pressuring them?

So, I'd applied Monday morning, and by that afternoon, I'd received a phone call inviting me to interview. To prepare, I visited the company's website that had little to no information about their services or clients and was oriented mostly toward recruiting new employees. My instincts: not good. Was this a start-up company where I'd be cold calling all day and working on commission? Yuck, no thanks.

The other downside was the commute. 10 miles west of downtown, in a suburban office park area, I'd have to drive Adam's car and wouldn't be able to take public transportation. All negatives.

So, yes, I'm "open minded." But I say that with a hefty dose of sarcasm & skepticism. In fact, I didn't even get wigged out that my suit coat was slightly wrinkled or that I was forgoing my heels for flats. Viewing this interview as practice, I submitted myself for blog fodder.

First of all, Googlemaps owes me a big apology!! After hand writing all the directions, I felt confident I wouldn't get lost, but still gave myself ample time to get a little turned around. A little? A little? How about the directions were impossible (!) and the township of Minnetonka seriously needs to work on their road signage. At 3 p.m., when I was scheduled to interview, I was pulled over on the side of the road calling the receptionist to explain my delay and ask for directions.

I'd come too far to contemplate bagging it and going home, so I persevered and finally (but not without getting lost again) arrived at the office. Once inside, the only people I saw were the receptionist and two other job candidates. They were playing 90s soft rock on the radio as if we were in the waiting room for a nail salon. So awkward. Nothing felt right.

But when the hiring dude brought me in to his office for my pre-screening interview, I was nothing but charm, grace and confidence. He asked me some icebreaker questions, then cut to the chase. Somehow, despite my best efforts, he read right through me. He asked me why I'd want to do this job if I don't want to do sales? He caught me off guard, and then his patronizing tone completely turned me off. When I told him the lousy economy had me considering sales, he balked that the economy actually isn't bad (WHAT?) and that if he went to Careerbuilders right now, he'd find 200 jobs I could apply to (WHAT?) Ok, I was ready to leave but not without sounding like I sincerely appreciated his advice to apply to write for a newspaper (didn't he read that the Star Tribune filed for bankruptcy?)

If someone had been filming my embarrassment for a dark comedy, I'd have slipped on the ice in the parking lot.

Lesson learned: Discovering what you don't like isn't necessarily a bad thing. That's the last sales job I apply to!

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