Thursday, June 4, 2009

Give the People What They Want!

So my last post was a true account of an event I would like to scratch from memory, but seeing as how it was 10 years ago (yes people....10 whole years) I'm confident this one will go down with me. Many of you expressed joy in my pain and had a good laugh with me.....and by with me I mean at me. It's ok, I can take it. This isn't my first rodeo. In fact, last night I was sitting with some precious friends over dinner (I was in Dallas for work the last 2 days, so I got to have dinner with my sister and her besties) and we started telling funny/embarrassing stories about ourselves (and by ourselves I mean anyone other than ourselves) and the following story popped into my head, but there was no time to share it. I figured I would do it here, for the entire world wide web.....

I should write a book....

It was back in August of 2003 and I had just graduated from College. Not 10 days earlier I had walked the stage at Texas A&M University and proudly accepted my diploma, eaten my celebratory lunch at Cheddar's and hit Highway 6 bound for career glory. Although my mind told me to be realistic with my expectations, I had a secret hope that I would be the one to get that crazy dream job and break the "starting salary" mold that so many that had gone before me had fallen victim to. Armed with my degree in Communications I set out on a pretty broad job search. I was submitting resumes left and right and trying just about every contact I had ever made. I came across a "marketing" job online and happily applied. To my surprise I received a call back within 24 hours and I had an INTERVIEW! Woo-hoo!! My parent's were elated!! Did I mention I was living with my parents?? That's right, in the weeks following graduation I moved into my parent's house in Austin while my job hunt spanned the major cities of Texas. That's always a lot of fun when your failure to secure a paycheck is examined each night at the dinner table. :) I I woke up on the big day and put on my suit and headed off to knock'em dead!

I was dressed to impress and I met with a fairly handsome, fairly young (Early 30s) charming as anything guy. You know, before I tell you this next part, I'm just gonna say hindsight is 20/20. He was telling me that they did "marketing" although never really fully explaining himself. And that by doing this marketing I could make BIG money! They "market" for large companies, golf courses, sports venues, etc across the Austin area and I would be on an account and "market" them throughout Austin. I would have a low base salary and then make commission depending on my sales. Well, it doesn't sound so bad, does it?? To make things even more appealing, I was just what they were looking for! Young, bright, talented, a "go-getter", strong work ethic, etc. To my great delight I was invited back for a second interview and a "job shadowing day" where I would be able to walk side by side (foreshadowing) with one of their "sales directors" and get a good feel for the operation.

Holy Moly. I'm on top of the WORLD! I call mom, she's elated, I think we even had a celebratory steak dinner in light of my looming second interview and I got my only other suit ready for day 2. I was to be there at 8:00am, so I got up, got dressed in my BLACK suit...pants and jacket....and put on my blue J.Crew button down straight from the cleaners. Woo-wee I was lookin' sharp! Off I went and visions of Benjamin's danced in my head. I think my dad gave me a, "go get'em" and my mom gave me a, "break a leg!" She wasn't just so sure how close she had come to predicting the future.

I think I jammed a bit to Shane and Shane and maybe a Rich Mullins tune thrown in there on my way and thought I was prepared for my day of shadowing. I walked in, met 3 other young and unassuming schmucks just like me who were also there for their shadowing. Soon, 4 people walked out of a back office high fiveing and elated that they had just finished their super stellar morning meeting! The handsome guy that had done my interview the day before explained that each of us would team up with one of his "sales directors" and our day would begin. He paired me with a girl in a one time white suit, a little rough around the edges, but nice all the same and my day began. I thought we were going to head into her office, and essentially we did, but instead of a corner office with a window we headed out with another pair and got into the back seat of their 2 door Grand Am. I was sitting there thinking, what on earth is going on?? But I'm not the type to say something, so I rolled with it. Pretty soon we were jamming to Sublime and the windows were rolled down as the 2 "sales directors" were getting their morning buzz from their Marlboro's. Before I could say "uncle" I was dropped off in a neighborhood (In what I NOW know was Southeast Austin) with nothing but my "sales director", my BLACK SUIT (did I mention it was AUGUST and I live in TEXAS) and my high heels. No lie, it was 104 degrees that day. No.Lie.

Y'all.....we were selling COUPONS door to door! WWWWWHHHHHHHAAAAAATTTTTTT??? Freaking Mr. Gatti's coupons door to door. I almost started crying, but what was I going to do, insult her? "NO MAM! I am NOT selling pizza coupons door to door!" So what did I do? I walked for EIGHT hours in my suit and HIGH HEELS with my BRIEFCASE through the streets of SOUTHEAST AUSTIN selling pizza coupons. This is not what they advertised in my freshman year orientation.

The other group came and picked us up around 12:30 for lunch at the local Schlotsky's and I went into the bathroom and took off my jacket because I was literally about to pass out from heat exhaustion and my shirt was DARK blue from sweat. I stood in front of the hand dryers trying to dry my shirt back to it's original color. And my hair? Oh, don't even go there girlfriend! My 7:00am freshly straightened hair was now soaking wet and kinky curly. My feet were solid blisters because heels were never meant for 10Ks and I could.not.believe. what I was doing.

They took us BACK out to our neighborhood and had us "finish the route" and at 4:30 my hell day was semi-over. I was never so happy to be sitting in the back of a trashed out GrandAm getting second hand smoke in my life! When we got back we all had to sit in the lobby and be called into now not-so-handsome-but-totally-misleading-guy's office where I STAYED to meet with him! He sat there telling me how I was PERFECT for that job and I would certainly reap the rewards and then seemed TOTALLY stunned when I turned down his totally appealing (read completely CRAZY) job offer. He proceeded to completely bash my career dreams and tell me "good luck trying to make more money somewhere else!" and not to let the door hit me on my way out.

I got into the car, where my cell phone was, and it was now closing in on 6:00pm. I had about 15 missed calls from "Home" and "Mom Cell" and about 8 voicemail messages. I called home completely SOBBING at the sound of my mom's voice and she went into panic mode. Of course, with me leaving in a fantastic mood thinking I would shadow someone for 3 hours, have a job offer by mid-afternoon and be home in time for a celebratory "I'm a working girl" dinner, my 6:00pm first contact was a far cry. She thought I was dead on the road somewhere and she wasn't that far off! I was almost so tired I could hardly drive home, I was soaking wet through all of my clothes, and my feet were in the worst shape of my life! I made it home, limped in the door with my curly hair, and it began! Mom saw me and started crying and dad saw me and got completely upset. Mom had told him the story and he could not believe it! The first words out of his mouth were, "You have been walking the streets of South Austin selling COUPONS all day?? Where was your cell phone?? Someone takes you somewhere and drops you off in a neighborhood and you STAYED? You didn't call us to come get you? We didn't send you to 4 years of college to be this stupid!" ha ha ha ha. In his defense, he was SO worried about me. They just could not believe it. And in his defense, it was pretty dumb of me not to call, but what was I going to do? Like I said, I hated to insult what they actually do for a living.....

It was the But now, it is completely hilarious and one that we joke about often. Mom and I even laughed about it last night and my dad's words, "We didn't send you to college to be this stupid!" Ahhh...words of wisdom.


lesli said...

You should write a book! I could co-author with you, because I totally did this SAME thing in Austin once on a job interview! I think we were selling golf course memberships. I left after lunch, but I was much older and wiser... haha! How do they get people to actually stay and do this?

katie newton said...

OH. MY. GOSH. ME TOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Your post was like re-living my day from hell!!!

Tiff, I went to my job shadowing, and ended up in SAN AN-FREAKIN'- TONIO!!!! Then for lunch, I got "treated" to a Mr. Gatti's buffet! We were "selling" phone book space, but I'm sure I would have eventually been working for a major sports venue or top 5 fortune company.

WHAT A JOKE!!! And I never called to have someone come rescue me either! I think maybe you go into an absolute state of shock. Then, when you come around, its not good. Not good at all.

Feeling your painful memories,

kristin fulghum said...

i would read your book in a heartbeat. that is hilarious.

Elicia said...

Lol! You poor totally crack me up. That sounds so horrible though. Yikes!

Andi said...

OMG! I had an almost identical experience. So creepy. I told the people it wasn't for me and left 15 minutes in.