July 1, 2022
At any moment I felt like a camera man was going to jump out and say, “You’ve been duped!” It is a day that I never want to relive. I was finally out of college, degree in hand, and on a mission to find a job. This one in particular, was advertised as a public relations position; I was stoked to get the interview. I arrived at a portable building, no signage and a bit weird. I entered the room and it was full of applicants, all ages. The hum and smell of the overloaded A/C unit made me even more nervous, and if you know me, I was freezing. We sat and waited. As a large team of individuals came out of a conference room, we were teamed up one by one by a woman who was clearly "the boss". I had no clue what was happening. We made our way out and got into vehicles. Now that I think about it, it was definitely a red flag. I should’ve ran right then. I was confused and asked, “Are we going to your headquarters or something?” The two looked at each other and I could tell by their nonverbal communication that I had been misled by the advertisement for the job. All I could think was, "Uh-oh, what in the heck did I get myself into?" I must add, I was known for watching Lifetime Movies, so my head was all over the place if you catch my drift. I was kidnapped, I just knew it.
We parked in a neighborhood and they handed me a thick stack of perforated card stock. When I flipped them over I about choked on my spit. They were coupons for a pizza company. No joke. We got out of the car and began walking door to door and sold these coupons for $20 a sheet. It is July, I am in a suit, pantyhose, and heels. We were not allowed to retire for the day until all the damn coupons were sold. As we knocked, door after door after door, I kept thinking about how I could fake sick just to get out of this situation. The stack dwindled, but not quick enough. If I would have had the cash, I would have bought every single sheet. We got a lunch break and then it was back at it. I was exhausted but decided to stick it out. I was pissed though, no doubt about that. What started out as a trickle of sweat down my back every now and then turned into a full blown waterfall. The sweat stain view from behind must have been lovely. We finally got down to our last sheet of coupons and the woman we sold them to was an angel. I truly believe she saw the look on my face (along with my ripped up pantyhose) and handed that twenty-dollar bill over JUST for me. Bless her. When we arrived back to the portable building, I, along with a couple of others, were offered a "chance of a lifetime." I think you know what I said to that! Needless to say it took a while for the blisters to heal on my feet and the pantyhose, which came off while I was driving home, quickly retired to the trash can. It was awful.
Flash forward to one week later when I interviewed for another position at a bank. This job I wanted the most. I was trying to get a position in their pipeline program, basically starting out as a personal banker. This was NOT my dream job, but it WAS my chance to get my foot in the door. It was a great company to work for and I wanted “in”. My goal was to work my way into a particular department within the company as a graphic designer. I interviewed with five different department heads that day, the last being consumer sales. She asked me if I had ever had experience with hard sales before. It was then that the awful day full of blisters, torn pantyhose, and sweat stains came to good use. I told her, “I can give you one day. One hard day of walking door to door selling coupons for a pizza company.” You should have seen the look on her face. The tone of the interview took a shift and before I knew it we were laughing and conversing as if we had been friends for years. She loved the story needless to say and to top it off, I got the job. If it would not have been for that one day of hell, I would not have had anything to say during that portion of the interview.
So a little advice. If you are fresh out of college interviewing for a job, or maybe just seeking a change, take every situation and look at it as an opportunity. You are there for a reason, sweat stains and all. The obviousness of it won't be there, but one day it'll become clear. Who would have thought something good would have come out of selling pizza coupons for an entire day in the July heat?