It was almost painful to wake up each morning, knowing I chose the all-time worst job. Enjoying humorous conversations with clients, and our family dog gleefully greeting me at home, helped me make it through each day.
“Our worst experience can prove to be our gift in disguise.”
Early in my career, I learned to spend as much time as possible in the field speaking with clients. Wherever possible, I injected humor. The laughter encouraged longer meetings and more substantial sales. There were times it was hard to believe I was earning money by being myself and having a good time.
However, it was a very different story in the office. The office manager and I could not see eye-to-eye. I was seen as a pain in the neck. I expected the delivery of services to be exactly as the client requested. The answer, ‘good enough,’ did not hold for me. As my client base grew, my pile of complaints did too.
One day an announcement came through that a corporate event was to be held at a beautiful hotel atop Nob Hill in San Francisco. Although nervous over the threat of being fired, I decided to enjoy the City, and my counterparts one last time, before having to say goodbye.
Unfortunately, the Sales Manager attempted to remain neutral. He proved to be my best coach and always applauded my effort. On the other hand, he had a family to feed. His priority was to protect his job. One day he took me aside to say the inevitable was about to happen. The Manager made it sound as if I shouldn’t dare go as the reception would be blistering cold. Each representative was to present on stage. His thought was I would most likely be thrown off the stage as a firestorm was brewing.
Two days prior (before mobile phones), I went to the store to pick up developed pictures. As I glanced through them, my doubt faded. Our son captured a picture that had me bursting into laughter. There was no doubt that I would find my way on stage and share a highly unusual story.
Upon checking into the hotel and walking toward the Ballroom, sneers were directed at me. The sales staff and I sat in the audience as announcements were made. Finally, one by one, each representative was called to the stage to speak for a couple of minutes. We were to reveal how we each provide service that encourages further sales.
As I walked toward the stage, a few people gasped, and others whispered, ‘Why is she here?’ With determination, I kept going forward.
Once on stage, I shared the following story:
“I’m known for doing things differently from everyone else. I provide a highly unique service. I tell my clients that in the event I am out of town, my personal chauffeur will pick up their files.”
Louder gasps were heard!
And then I signaled the cameraman to display my all-time favorite photo:
Everyone, including the executives standing in the back of the room, all broke into hearty laughter. The hilarity lasted several minutes. As I exited the stage, everyone gave me a high-five. Best of all, the executives came over to congratulate me on the outstanding delivery!
Humor and our family dog saved my job!
The lessons I learned:
- No matter how dire the circumstance, keep going.
- Use tasteful humor whenever possible
- Learn from every experience to move forward more quickly
The upside of the awful job was that it gave me excellent insight into how the industry operates. I became familiar with their Achilles heel in terms of service. Instead of selling services, I knew it was time to return to business equipment. The next job proved to be the best of my entire corporate career.