October 8, 2010
I woke up at 4:00am to get ready, left my place by 5:00am, caught one of three buses I had to take by 5:24am, and arrived in Englewood by 7:45am. I had to be there by 9:00am, so I figured earlier was better. Around 8:30am, I waited in the office for my second interview along with two other candidates. Both were female and around my age. One had a sort of mohawk. First bad sign.
At 9:30am, I met the person that I was shadowing for the day, “Bob” (name removed for confidentiality). My first impression of Bob was “frat boy” because of his long scruffy hair and beer belly dressed in a cheap suit. We left the building and headed to our transportation for the day…his Jeep. Usually, the business or company wants to impress their prospective employees. At least that is what I thought until I took a seat in Bob’s jeep. It reeked of cigarette smoke and looked like it was his personal dumpster on wheels.
Bob told me we were going to Arvada, which is his territory for selling. We stopped by a convenience store for snacks. I purchased a diet coke, while Bob purchased a pack of cigarettes and two fried “somethings”. As I walked toward the car, Bob started to light a cigarette and told me he had to smoke it before we left. I said, “Ok”.
As we drove to Arvada, Bob proceeded to blast blue grass music, wore a baseball cap slanted, and texted on his cell phone while driving. My take on professionalism at this point was basically close to none. Once we arrived in Arvada, Bob told me he was going to meet with clients that he had closed the deal on. The deal was that the business accepted to purchase office supplies from Q***, the company Bob was assigned to sell in Arvada.
Suddenly I realized I was working at Dunder Mifflin (the Office). So we proceeded to meet with these clients. Well, the first five clients were not in the office. To sum up the morning: we drove in loops around Arvada, listening to blue grass, me inhaling secondhand cigarette smoke, me gagging every time Bob hocked and spit a loogie, and walked into businesses where the clients were unavailable. Blisters started to form on my heels.
Lunch time. Bob took me to Smiling Moose and treated me to lunch. Oh, how thoughtful. We then discussed how I would be paid if I decided to join the company. My choice was between salary or commission. Bob recommended commission because salary did not meet his satisfaction. He showed me the structure of the company. It was separated into four categories formed into a pyramid structure. You gradually work your way up the ladder earning more money as you go. Once you are at the top, you are able to relocate to a different city, choose your clients to sell to other businesses, and hire people to work for you. May sound a tad confusing, but it screamed scam. I asked Bob who created this business structure. He didn’t know and didn’t care.
Once lunch was finished, Bob told me we were going to try to find new businesses to sell office supplies to. Yippee. We parked at one end of town and walked. We stopped by every building that appeared to be a business that seemed to use a decent amount of office supplies (i.e., law firms, insurance agencies). Every door we opened had a giant label reading, “NO SOLICITORS”. I think Bob truely believed he was not a solicitor. Oh geez. Almost every business we entered turned Bob down. The kicker: Bob would try to use ice breakers such as, “Hey guys, I heard it was happy hour here. What are your drink specials?” or, “Hey, I’m here with the IRS and I need to collect. Where is your accountant?” It was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. He said those lines with no enthusiasm and he thought that he was being clever or funny. AHHHH!!!! People do not want to hear that kind of stuff. He maybe was able to get two businesses interested in buying office supplies from Q***.
Oh yea, the marketing company (not Q***) does not give out business cards. Their theory, one of many idiotic theories, was to keep people in a state of fear. If you don’t leave a business card, then the prospective business will think that they missed out. No. The business will completely forget about the offer and continue to buy their office supplies from Office Max or Office Depot.
Finally, I thought to myself, “I want to get the f*** out of here.” I had enough and I was wasting my time. It was about 3:00pm when I told Bob that I was not interested in this job. I asked if I could leave. He told me that his boss, “Sheila” (named removed for confidentiality), would like to talk to me at the end of the work day and there is some liability involved. In my mind I was thinking, “Liability? What liability? I didn’t give them any of my information except my name and resume.” I also didn’t want to burn any bridges, so I sucked it up and continued to follow Bob around as he continuously got rejected. I kind of started to find amusement out of the whole experience. This is what door to door salesman go through on a day to day basis. How do they enjoy it???
We arrived back at the office by 5:00pm. I took a seat and waited to speak with Sheila. Two minutes later Bob comes out and tells me that I can leave. What?! I didn’t actually have to talk with Sheila. Figures. I darted out of the office and immediately called my Dad to vent. Bless his heart. He chuckled at my story, but reassured me that I did the right thing by going to check it out. I guess he is right.
Icing on the cake: I was locked inside a fenced in area that I had mistakingly got myself trapped in while searching for the bus home. There was no way out. I had to climb the fence. In flats.
So, here I am still on the hunt for a job.