So I had to go through three interviews to get the job in marketing, and all of them were rather intimidating. Nothing really prepared me for what it would be like once these suits got the ball rolling. My interviews were, naturally, around mid-day so it took about 45 minutes to get to their office. I was ok with that, a commute merely ads to the ambiance of being a young professional, after all! Except when I needed to be there by 9am, it took an hour and a half. Erm….
The week of orientation I got to sit in on their morning meetings without going to the home improvement stores to do the sales portion of the job. I needed to perfect my pitch and be lectured on the material. The vibes during these meetings were completely unexpected. The woman training me, “Hester” (I’m calling her Hester because I really didn’t like her), referred to this as morning atmosphere. They played rap/pop music, loudly, while people practiced their pitches to each other and bragged about their recent numbers. High fives were mandatory. I repeat, mandatory. When I didn’t high-five someone sharing good news I was told I had to by Hester…. so, I did. Once our boss man walked in they killed the music and everyone scrambled for a seat around the conference table. If you didn’t get one you had to sit on a widow ledge or table around the parameter of the room.
Our boss man was attractive to the point it was somewhat distracting, but as soon as he started talking the arrogance quickly disfigured him. The man said things like, “Now when I got out of college I had a hundred thousand dollars in student loans. I did not have time to laze around making 65k a year. I did not have time to wait around for my 6 figures. I’m assuming if you’re in this room you don’t have time either.”
(^this, I believe, was part of the brain washing to make people believe they would be making that much ANY DAY NOW!)
Also, “I’m not one of those lazy people who can’t miss the family reunion. Who wants Saturdays off. Who has to make it to happy hour at five. Those people are never going to make it, and they don’t deserve to.”
I would have just LOVED to drop him off at the tent city of Occupy Pittsburgh downtown and watched things implode. After these sort of outlandish statements he would say JUICE like a state trooper grad (I’ve been to a state trooper graduation, intensity.) The rest of the room would respond JUICE! I was smart enough to know this meant something besides breakfast beverages, but not smart enough to ask. I figured it was somewhere in the paperwork I was supposed to have memorized already.
That was generally how training went, I was given a ridiculous amount of materials and acronyms to learn. I gave myself a long weekend (See the series of vice vacation entries!) and expected to resume communication upon my return on Monday.
I was wrong. Hester texted me every day. During orientation she called at night to see if I was understanding the material, that seemed obnoxious at the time, but at least made sense. Then she started texting me while I was out of town, “Hey how is your week going?”, “Hey do you have any questions for me?”, “How’s the studying going?”, and even, “JUICE!”
So, finally, I asked what Juice meant.
Join Us In Creating Excitement!
That’s what these people had been barking at each other every morning during orientation. Join Us In Creating Excitement. I still haven’t come to terms with it, but I just responded,
“Ohhhh. Juice! High five!”
When I arrived on Monday, having woken up at 5am to leave my house by 7 to get to the morning atmosphere meeting at 9am, Hester had me practice my pitch. She had me practice my pitch, which was about 45seconds long, at least fifty times to at least ten different “seasoned” cohorts. By all accounts, I was destined for greatness, so much encouragement, yadda yadda. Then it was time for musical chair scramble and Boss Man’s motivational JUICE rant.
“Today we’re going to be talking about relationships, and not your boyfriends, girlfriends, or hook-ups. Business. In business there is nothing as important as the relationships you build, especially on the road to management. We’re expanding here, we’re gonna need to be all over the country, you need to be management material. We do not work for the home improvement store, we work with them. Get to know the store manager. Make friends. They don’t have to be your real friends. They’re not mine. I’m better than them. Why? I make more money. I dress better.”
At this point, I laughed. It was an audible, unintended spasm of shock and I hadn’t fully realized I had done it out loud until I looked up and fond the swarm of JUICE people eye-balling me. So then I coughed. Forming a pattern of weird sounds to mask my laugh was clearly the best route.
Then it was time to head to the stores! JUICE! High-five! Scatter!
“Hester, do you have the address of where we’re going so I can put it in my gps?”
“Oh, you’ll ride with me.”
“Oh, I’m ok taking my car, I don’t mind.”
“It’s policy. It’s good team bonding.”
I had to climb in her car and get back into traffic. There was a nightmare bottleneck outside one of the tunnels. It took us an hour and a half to get to the store we were assigned to and Hester kept our conversation completely work and goal oriented the entire time. She asked me what I would do with the bales and bales of money I stood to make.
“Umm, pay my student loans I guess. Get the dents popped out of my car.”
“Or you could get a new car.”
“Eh, I like my car. It just needs some love.”
Hester planned on opening a bar/theater/art gallery.
“You know Natasha, people in our business retire when they’re forty,” she said.
I realized we were playing FANTASY LAND and thus offered, “I’d open a chain of used book stores and spend all of my time traveling.”
It was a long car ride.
TO BE CONTINUED….