On Being Unemployed

For those of you that don’t know me, I believe the old adage that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. A few months ago I sold my share of a company in China. After 8 years of living and working in China, my wife and I decided to take a break and spend time in America. I was unemployed.  I looked around at some timeshare and real estate opportunities but haven’t found anything that really interests me.

Honestly, I’m 56 and have spent the last 15 years of my life living abroad. When I go to talk to companies, it feels like they have a hard time relating to me, believing me, or they think I’ll be senile in 4 more years. So maybe I don’t interest them either. I believe I’m one of the best and most knowledgeable salespeople in the world, but don’t we all believe that about ourselves? I don’t believe situations like this are either right or wrong. They just are what they are.

After sending out almost 100 CV’s, I’ve had a couple of interviews over the past week. I must say things are very interesting on the interview front now. After being told for at least 15 minutes how great the guy interviewing me was, I had a chance to speak.  So I see on your resume’ (Americans always call it a resume’) that the places you work, you only stay for 2 years at a time, can you explain that to me?

“Uhm… because I love to build and it only took me 2 years to double sales revenue/double marketing efforts etc. After that, they felt they could do it themselves or wanted to cut my pay so I left”; was the truth and what I should have said. Instead, I said, “for the last 15 years I’ve been in travel mode and the lure of working in new cities and or countries appealed to me.”

About that time his partner the marketing manager walked in. I was introduced and the next 15 minutes was spent telling me how great of a marketer he was. And of his accomplishments. He asked me when I started selling timeshare. “1980,” I said.

“Old school Timeshare,” he said. “OG of timeshare”. They laughed and gave themselves high fives as he walked out of the room.

I sat there thinking. “What the hell does OG of timeshare mean? And “Old School Timeshare?” Do they not do a greeting or a warm-up anymore? Is the closing process different or maybe they don’t do a proper discovery or read body language? “What the hell do those two things mean?”

I remember when I first got into this business we were taught there are 5 steps to a sale. These are attention, interest, conviction, desire, and close. The emphasis back then was on KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid. Now its Keep It Simple Superstar.  I guess in our day and age of political correctness, the word stupid offended someone. Hey, if the shoe fits…

I didn’t have time to ask if this was what they meant as the original interviewer explained to me again how great he was and how great this project was going to be. I was then dismissed and told they would call me if they were interested. They called. I told them I wasn’t interested.

The other interview went well but after calling back and never getting an answer one way or the other I decided to abandon the thought of working there. How in the world can someone so weak that they can’t tell someone they aren’t interested in them become a boss? The world has gone crazy.

So I decided that I would send my CV in for an evaluation because after sending it to so many places I just couldn’t imagine not getting calls. I mean how many people out there have over 35 years of direct sales experience and have trained thousands of salespeople to be successful? Apparently, more than I thought.

The evaluation for my CV came back and one of the things that it said was instead of using passive words to tell what I did, to use active words and to talk about my accomplishments. I thought it was good advice. Then I thought about it for a while. How can you have accomplishments in every job you have ever worked?

Here’s what my CV would look like if I included my first job.
Sales Rep.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
I was 18 and couldn’t give the product away for the first 6 months I worked there. The only reason I kept my job was because the project director was my fathers best friend. But after I sold the first one I progressively got better until I became one of the best!

Now I think it should read: “I floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee and no one was as pretty as me. I was the greatest on my first day of sales and I’ll be the greatest on my last.”

Or what about the off-site office I worked for where I learned what a love line is and couldn’t give the product away to the clients I was given?
Sales Rep.
Denver, Colorado
I just left a regional directors job and went to work for this company with high hopes. Here is where I learned what a love line is when I had to tour a homeless guy. I gave him 5 dollars for a bus ride back to his bridge. I also learned about humility when I couldn’t give away this product in the 6 weeks that I worked there.

Now I think it should read: “My butterfly wings broke and my stinger fell out, but I rose to the top, Was there ever a doubt?”

How do you tell the truth and tell about your great accomplishments in every job you ever had? Has everyone had amazing accomplishments in every job they’ve ever worked? Does No one fail anymore? Do we have to have someone besides ourselves to blame these days?

Is not being able to sell and study and learn your craft an accomplishment or is it determination?

When you learn about a love line for the first time. You are on the bottom of that love line, and have to tour a homeless man that lives under a bridge. Is that an accomplishment or is it a learning opportunity?

Is not being able to sell an accomplishment or is it a lesson in humility?

As a man that has hired hundreds if not thousands of salespeople. If someone came through my door touting about how he was the greatest or of how he closed 40% in his last job my question would be; “Then why did you leave?” Or, “Why were you let go?”

If his answer was blaming everyone but himself, I wouldn’t hire him. Isn’t this like sales where some negatives make you more believable, and more human? Has our country really changed that much in 15 years?

I guess it’s like our court system and government. The winner is the one that can lie the best or blame someone else the most. I just have a problem with lying or blaming and have a hard time lowering my standards at this stage of my life.

I guess it explains my interviews.


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