Friday, November 5, 2010

OK So Here's The Plan:

I'm getting out of here. I don't know how, I don't know when, but it's happening. There. I'm glad we had this talk.

In Other News...

So it turns out I'm not a saleswoman. I know, I'm as surprised as you are. But as it turns out, succeeding at sales is very closely connected to wanting to sell things. This is where I fall short. It also turns out that I am not particularly competitive. The only part of competition that I truly enjoy is smack-talking my opponent. I can throw down smack-talk like a viciously competitive badger.
Vicious Badger

Ask anyone who has ever invited me to a Game Night (and lived to tell the tale). The game itself is unimportant. Games are stupid because they have rules. Take Scrabble, for example. Every single one of my friends loves Scrabble. I'll come right out and say it: I hate that game. It has too many rules. I just want to put whatever word I can think of containing the letters I have in my possession anywhere I want on the board at any time. But apparently, there are rules against that. Stupid game. But I digress. Where was I? Oh, right. So the outcome of the game itself does not matter, as I have written off all games with rules as pointless. What matters to me on Game Night is that by the end of it, the team I am playing against is crying, or at least has a temporarily lowered collective self-esteem. I couldn't care less about who wins. (The following sporting events are excluded from the preceding statement: Stanley Cup, World Cup, Capture the Flag.)

The reason I mention sales, competition, and my lack of interest in both, is that I recently secured full-time employment (yay!) in sales (boo!). I work for a company which works for a credit card company. I sit at a computer (which I thoroughly clean with disinfecting wipes multiple times a day, if you saw my co-workers you would understand why), don a headset, and wait for a call to show up on my screen. That is the best part of my day (besides my thirty-minute lunch and two fifteen-minute breaks). During this time between calls I get to email my friends at work (no outside emailing allowed), chat with the ones who sit nearby, and sip my coffee/tea/soda/water while wishing it was whiskey/rum/sangria/etc.

Then a call comes in. I chat with the people, I read the script, I make my voice sound really perky and smile a lot when I talk (I find this keeps people from yelling at me) and I say "I completely understand" a lot. The good thing about this part of the job (which is called "building rapport" in the industry) is that I get to see where the people who are calling me live. Luckily, I have either lived in/near, visited, driven past, or stopped over in an airport in many of those places, or at least know someone who has. Then I answer questions ("Unfortunately we will not be able to lower your interest rate today." "I am sorry about your divorce sir, I will be happy to change your address." "Of course I care what you think, we're on the phone, aren't we?"), and try to sell them products for their credit card. In all fairness, the products really aren't that bad. In fact, the calls themselves aren't that bad. And every once in a while if you make a sale, you get to pick a prize. Today, I reached my hand into a bag full of money... and pulled out a dollar. Woohoo!

The part that drains me is the competition. Apparently we're supposed to be "driven to succeed," whatever that means. And if what other people tell me is true, I think I can coast by without getting involved in the whole getting-really-into-making-sales thing for the next two, maybe even three months, which is more than enough time for me. It's just the atmosphere of competition that's slightly confusing and more than just a little amusing to behold.

Let me take this opportunity to say that I acknowledge that competition has its place in the world. Without competition there would be no Brazilian soccer fans! Imagine a world without them! I know, I don't want to either.

 Brazilian Soccer Fans
Also, I'm sure Industry in general wouldn't have happened without competition, maybe. Also jerks. We might not have as many jerks in the world without competition to give them an outlet for their aggression. Imagine that as well! It's like we would have to be motivated by happiness, or the spirit of helpfulness, or the will to band together and survive in this crazy world. No, but really, if you're competitive that's cool too. No worries. I will say this: if competition were eliminated from Planet Earth, I would sincerely miss public feats of strength. Call it my heritage, if you will, but yes, I do enjoy watching the occasional public feat of strength. World's Strongest Man Competition? Highland Games? Love them! (No, really, I do.)

Highland Games

I guess I should narrow this down. I feel like competition is annoying in the workplace when you pit co-workers against each other so that the company can make more money. I do like that my work gives us little prizes, that we get bonuses for our sales, that I can have monetary compensation which directly corresponds to the amount of success I have at my job. I'm just not cut out for this kind of thing as a career, make no mistake about that.

But it's fascinating to be surrounded by people who are! Well, not exactly surrounded, there are plenty of people like me, we glance at each other a lot during "Team Meetings" while everyone else is getting really pumped about making sales, silently reassuring each other that we're not alone in our lack of initiative. But I watch "The Others'" eyes shine, lit from within with the blaze of ambition, and I realize that the way they feel about making sales is the way I feel about expressing myself. Yes, being motivated by self-expression seems silly to some, hell it seems silly to me most of the time, but I can't help it if that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. And neither can sales-driven people.

I guess I'm just enjoying seeing the different things that motivate people. Money is a powerful motivator, that's for sure. But it just makes me wonder... How many different kinds of motivation for people are there? What motivates all of us? Are there general categories that we each fall into in one way or another? If you were to make a list of things you absolutely have to do before you leave the earth (this time around), do you notice a pattern? I sat down and wrote out my list the other night. I'm happy to say I've accomplished a number of things that were on my last list. Most of the items on my current list involve traveling and learning things, like physics and the flamenco. But what I want to know is, what does the Ultimate Salesperson want most out of life? Is it the same as what I want? Or are they driven by something else? I should ask one of them.

In the meantime, I've officially put it to the Universe that if It wants to drop a super incredibly amazing, brilliant, shining, glorious, impossibly perfect miracle in my lap, I'm ready to accept. We'll see what happens...

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