Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Me and Herb Tarlek - we're like this!
As much as I hate to admit it, I am pretty good at sales. Over the course of my life it seems that no matter what business I am involved in, I have been required in one way or another to sell something. How can you be good at something you hate? Apparently I am not alone. The most recent issue of People magazine - the one with the Andre Agassi on the cover - addresses this exact phenomenon - turns out one of my favorite players of all time actually hated playing tennis. Great at it, but hated it. I could relate. Of course one MAJOR difference between me and the sexy Mr. Agassi is that he made WAAAAY more money playing a sport he hated than I could ever hope to make in sales. I have been selling shit since I was 14 years old, starting with cosmetics behind the counter at Super X Drugs in St. Catharines. It wasn't long before I graduated to more sophisticated products like G.I.C.'s and Short Term Deposits (thought I'd die of boredom doing that) so before you knew it, I was hawking half price chicken wings and cheap draught beer at the local bar while I was going to university. That was after a three winter season of slinging Tequila shots and mixing B-52's behind a bar in Banff. My first REAL job out of Journalism School seemed more promising, but as it turned out, a P.R. job for a microbrewery was nothing more than a glorified beer sales rep - I just got to write promotional propaganda to go along with it. So, thinking I needed to do a job that didn't involve late nights and alcohol, I ventured into the world of advertising. Advertising sales, that is. What could be more soul sucking than trying to sell empty magazine pages? OK, maybe there are a few jobs out there that are worse and less fulfilling, but for me, that was pretty much rock bottom. I didn't even think the magazines I was trying to sell space in were any good. In fact, they sucked. Try getting your heart into a job like that. No matter how much money or promises of promotions they used as an incentive, I just couldn't sink my teeth into that one. So, I moved to Vancouver. This time, I worked in the design business and you guessed it - selling more shit to people who didn't need more shit for a crap hourly wage, plus commission. It was dog eat dog at that place - or should I say design consultant eat design consultant? Same thing. At least I enjoyed being a bit more creative and surrounded by lovely things all day. It had its merits I suppose. Maybe it was time to go back to school. So I did. I needed legit credentials to run my own Interior Decorating business and that is what I did for the last 10 years. The problem with that was, I wasn't much interested in marketing - AKA - selling myself, so my business sort of stumbled along, never really setting the world on fire, but kept me busy enough and brought in enough income until last fall and the lousy economy affected my little shop to the point where I knew it was time to make a change. So here I am now, 3 weeks under my belt at a new job. This time, I am able to utilize my design skills, so that makes me happy, but of course, I still have to sell my clients all the stuff I recommend on the floor plans I create. It's as though there is a price to pay for what amounts to getting paid to sit in art class all day. I knew there would be a catch! Perhaps it is my destiny. No matter how hard I try, or what direction I move in, it always ends up the same way. I have to convince someone to buy something. I am good at it. I know I am good at it. My husband knows I am good at it, past bosses have recommended my skills at it, people who know me tell me I am good at it. Now I just wish I could actually like it. I feel your pain Andre, I really do.