I had the WORST job in the world!
Earlier in my career, I was working for an insurance company in Australia, on the phones as a sales advisor. My job was to take incoming calls and turn, “I just want a quote” into a sale. Not only was it forced upon me to sell to these unappreciative customers, I had to cross – sell to them as well. Basically the company wanted me to suck the dear life out of the call and do whatever I could to get as much business for them as possible, of course. Why wouldn’t they!
To be honest, I was freakin’ over the job. I’d be doing it a few years and wanted to move up into a manager’s role and coach people. I was really good at it. I was good at talking to people. I had been doing it so long that I could effortless maintain what they considered to be an “upper target” result. I wasn’t good because I knew how to screw people over. I was good because I knew how to communicate with people well and give them what they wanted and I had fun. But I was jack of it! I was starting to get hoarse in the voice and sore. I had proven that I could successfully maintain a good sales conversion month in/month out and I thought it was time to move up or OUT!
I applied for the management training program which was an absolute joke. I got an interview with the panel of 3 and turned up 5 minutes early. I waited about 20 minutes before the first of the 3 turned up late. Once they were all there we started to talk about why I wanted to become a manager. The smug guy who sat on the far left, slouched in his chair and sat on his phone the whole time (I think he asked 1 question), the guy in the middle was the genuine one, but still didn’t give a crap – just doing his best in life to keep his family happy I suppose. And the guy on the right was the a-hole. He was the guy that worked his ass off in the company to get where he was, then it was like the power went to his head and he turned into a monster that just screwed with people’s heads just to feel good. He probably had no relationship with his kids because he spent so much time at work, and his wife probably didn’t even know who he was anymore because all he did was work. After working his way up so high in the company, I hear he got the sack in the end anyway for being inappropriate with some of the female staff. Probably karma if you believe in that sort of thing. I think he deserved it for the way he treated me at least.
Anyway, half way through, the interview turned into an interrogation when he told me that all my answers were just “wishy washy”.
For whatever reason, these 3 “men in suits” couldn’t see my genuine desire to train and lead a team of passionate people. They refused to see that I had a passion to see my colleagues succeed. They weren’t even interested in looking at the 3 years of excellent performance as a sales person. It was like a game to them. I could quickly see, that I was just one of dozens of others they had to interview that day that “played the game” better that I did. I had shown my commitment to the company, I invested time teaching the new people how to succeed month after month but it wasn’t my time apparently.
I think I quit a month later after having written $1 million of business for them over a few years. I remember driving off on my last day holding the middle finger out the window at the building feeling like I had just been let out of prison after a life sentence.
I was free. But the difference was, I still had a soul!
Have you seen the movie Shawkshank Redemption? The main character Andy who chiselled his way through the prison wall crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of crap-smelling foulness to freedom. Five hundred yards… that’s the length of five football fields. It was pouring down rain on the night he got out too, which probably helped to wash all the crap off him. You should have seen the look of freedom on his face as he breathed in the air of freedom. Anyone would climb through five hundred yards of sewage for freedom I’m sure!
This was me on my last day. And I have never looked back. Now I have the job I’ve always dreamed of.
I believe you need to strive for what you believe in, and do what you love. If nobody wants to help you get there, then find new people to surround yourself with. Do everything you can to help yourself move toward the life you want, and don’t let anyone stand in your way.
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