Maybe my life isn’t all that epic. So maybe some of this story is slightly embellished? I guess you will never know. <insert creepy winky face here>
I can at least promise that most of what I write here will be mostly truth.
I grew up in your typical shitty small ish town. The kind that everybody hates, but no one ever leaves. Mine was known for two things. Both bad. One was a devastating tornado that destroyed a significant amount of homes and businesses. The other, was the overabundance of meth labs in the area. But there were good things too! The best burger joint to ever grace those dirty streets, or any street for that matter. And a lot of bars. Not great bars, but they had alcohol.
In May of 2013, I was sitting in my car smoking a cigarette like I did every day at lunch time. Considering what would happen if I were to just drive away and never show my face in that eyesore of a building again. Whatever would happen, it had to be better than putting that headset back on and making another phone call. I was counting the minutes. Every one of them quicker than the last. It was 11:23 when I decided that I just couldn’t continue to be this person anymore. I didn’t make enough money, I was too dependent, and I wasn’t doing anything worthwhile. I felt like my life was a big joke. Nothing like I pictured when I was younger. I always said that I would grow up to live in a big city and be fabulous. So rather than talk the talk, I decided I was finally going to walk the walk.
I started by applying for jobs everywhere in the country. Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania. No matter where in the country it was, if I thought I had a chance of getting the job, I applied. And then I waited. And waited. It was agonizing! I am a very impulsive person, so I wanted this all to happen yesterday. But this was taking forever! Ok.. maybe I’m being a little dramatic. It was only about a week before I got a call. And wouldn’t you know it, it was the very job that I wanted most! It was in a city that was close enough for weekend vacations back home and it was far enough away that I could avoid going back. Perfect!
The position I was called about was an inside sales position at smaller company. I had experience for certain aspects of the position, while I had about zero experience in sales. But hey, how hard could it be? I explained to the woman from Human Resources that I had full confidence that I could do this job, however inexperienced I may be. She apparently liked what I had to say and I had good feelings about our entire conversation.
Let’s call this woman “Mary”. Mary called me back the next day to set up a second interview. This time it would be with the Sales Manager and the Marketing Manager and it would still be over the phone. I was feeling bulletproof beforehand. “I got this!” I said to myself.
I was wrong. So so wrong. I stumbled my way through. I pulled a lot of what I said straight out of my ass. But, it worked. I couldn’t believe it when they called me back again to set up a third, in-person interview. I was on cloud nine. Up until I pulled into the parking lot of this company that I knew nothing about. I hadn’t prepared myself, which isn’t exactly surprising if you know me at all. My heart started pounding so hard I could barely hear myself think. My hands were shaking, and I was about to freak out. Interviews are terrifying!
I had already gotten my hopes up about this whole situation. So I decided that I had no choice. My hopes and dreams were riding on this interview, so I had to wow them. I had to walk in there and own the room. I had to be amazing.
Which is exactly what I didn’t do. I was sitting in a room with the same three people I had done interviews with previously. In my mind, I was comparing their real appearance to what I had pictured from their voices. The sales manager was terrifying. I imagined him to be your typical corporate suit. In reality, he was closer to a slightly more professional version of the average Joe. But his stare and general demeanor were more intimidating than anyone I had ever met! This man was going to be my boss?! The thought of it made me want to run out of there crying. Let’s call this man “Tom”.
Tom was an engineer. Which should say a lot. He was a very technical person, and would pick things apart until there was nothing left. He had the attitude of someone in charge, someone you don’t want to mess with. And sometimes, even when he wasn’t, he came across as a very angry person. But I straightened up, looked him in the eye, and told him what he wanted to hear.
Then Tom tossed his pen at me and said “Sell this pen to me. Make me want to buy it.” My hands started sweating, my voice broke a little. I didn’t know what the hell to say! Which made me feel like the world’s biggest idiot. Who goes to a sales interview and is shocked when asked to “sell” something to the interviewer? Me.. apparently.
The only thing I remember from this was that I butchered that sale. I’m pretty sure that anyone listening to me would have gone out of their way to not buy that pen. But as people tend to do with extreme pain, I blocked that part out.
I walked out of there knowing that the job was not mine. I spent the next week in a weird, depressed, pessimistic yet optimistic mood. I would go back and forth between telling myself, “You suck at life. You are going to be unhappy forever” and, “It’s ok, there will be more opportunities. Better ones even!”
But to my utter and complete surprise, they called me back again and offered me the job. It came with my own office, a full benefits package, and better pay than I could have hoped for anywhere else. In an instant, I went from being an expendable, non-human call center drone, to a valued human being. So, on August 2nd, 2013, I packed up my car and hit the road to begin my new life in a place with no familiar faces.