Thursday, November 08, 2007

The death of common sense

During the "do you have any questions for us?" phase of my L.A. Youth job interview, I noted that the students come in basically on Fridays only yet the editors (who work with the students) are in the office Tuesday through Saturday full time, which led me to ask quite candidly "So, given that you see the students really only about once a week, then, and how do I say this delicately, what do you do every day?"

Working in a small office, I've learned that it's a LOT of everything. Today I copy-edited page proofs, re-sized images in layouts, scheduled a guest speaking visit, corrected an error in the media kit, sat in on an unofficial, impromptu relocation meeting, plugged in our new battery backUPS, panicked about the website in my webmaster role, e-mailed students, blahblahblah. Honestly, no big. I also answered the door when a sales rep knocked.

Now, I'm not trained in sales, in fact I think I'd suck at it. I'm not pushy, can be shy, and can sense when someone else doesn't want me around (and get very uncomfortable when that happens). But, I think a lot of it is common sense and I could probably manage to not totally blow at it.

First off, since I'm selling stuff, I'd remember my lesson from Tommy Boy: They're not just buying your product they're buying you. So I'd shave and make sure that I was dressed appropriately, which is COMPLETELY unlike the dude who knocked on our door. He had stubble. He tripped on his words. His shirt/tie was Zach Morris-style—the tie knot was loosened and the top button of his dress shirt was undone. Are you motherfucking kidding me? I literally had to resist the urge to coach this joker.

And the coup de grace, his partner wasn't even there when guy 1 knocked, but showed up about one minute later. Partner looked like he might tip over with the way his posture leaned and he had the most disinterested face I'd ever seen. It was literally embarrassing to behold.

Yeah, this post was kinda soft, but an e-mail exchange with my friend, Jon, who cares more about writing as craft than virtually anyone I've ever met sparked me. He made me realize that I can't be a hypocrite about writing. I tell students all the time that they won't get better if they don't write. So I figured that if I want to be a better blogger, I need to blog, eh?

Go Sabres!

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