If anyone is currently looking for work out there in the UK, you might have been contacted by some random employer like I was.
The message will read something along the lines of ‘Hey, we read your CV it sounds fantastic, it’s exactly what we’re looking for.’ And if you’re like me you’ll think Great! Here I am searching for a job and here comes one straight into my lap… literally.
So they send you a bunch of information that doesn’t really make sense. You do a bit of online research and you can’t really figure out what the job is but you think hey, sounds fantastic. Why? They like me. That happens rarely. For me anyway.
So they send you an interview date on Skype. Covid-19 regulations. Have you had an interview on Skype before by the way? I actually preferred it. I was able to have a shot of vodka right before my interview and I didn’t have to wear any pants.
Anyway, fast forward two weeks and you find yourself in the street at an ‘event’ which basically consists of a wooden table and a few booklets about the product you’re selling and a face shield with direct splash protection written on it.
Now, if you’d told me 10 years ago there was going to be a pandemic I wouldn’t have believed you and I would of labelled you as a conspiracy nut.
If you’d told me that just after the pandemic I was going to end up being a street salesman convincing people to switch their gas and electric I would have shuddered. An introverts worst nightmare…
And yet there I was, jumping in front of people’s faces. Talking to anyone and everyone knowing in my mind the likelihood that I could sell anything to anyone was very slim. I resisted the urge to hide in a toilet and cry whilst drinking gin.
I lasted four long soul destroying weeks. interestingly, my confidence sky rocketed. I was literally pushed out of my comfort zone, like being pushed out of a flying helicopter without a parachute and off I went hurtling through the swirling vortex of unbelievable uncomfortable-ness.
I stayed for four weeks too many, I was just too afraid to say ‘I quit.’
One day I attempted to make small talk with a disheveled looking man. He wasn’t the type of person I would ever strike a conversation with normally. He asked me where I was from, he could tell I wasn’t local, I began to passively tell him I lived in Holland to begin with, his trust in me shattered instantly, (he must of been a Brexit-er) he shouted at me ‘go back to Holland then’, and stormed off.
I finally worked up the courage to quit. Thank you mean man.
I will never forget those four weeks, what made them so memorable was just the sheer amount of negativity that was thrown at you and learning to just shrug it off like it was nothing. I’d watch coworkers take horrendous verbal abuse and they’d smile and say ‘have a nice day.’ Deep down I think they actually meant it.
They were absolute beasts, there with one goal. Sell gas and electric. Run with the Borg. Assimilate.
I didn’t have that kind of barrier at first. Every insult, tut and look of disgust cut deep into my soul, it mirrored how I felt about the job and myself.
To my surprise, I managed to make sales. I started to feel confident. I converted nine people‘s gas and electric without knowing a thing about gas and electricity. My inner maverick took the reigns.
To those nine people I am sorry, I hope I have not convinced you to make a bad decision. I did it because I had to, I had to make money to survive and feed my kids.
To all the people out there who threw savage insults my way, thank you.
I spent my life avoiding negativity and you threw it right in my face. I had nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. It made me braver. If you struggle with confidence nothing makes you more confident than facing your worst fears.
I was taught that my voice was too monotone, the way I spoke made every sentence sound like a question, I had bad conversation skills, I didn’t make enough eye contact, I didn’t pronounce my words properly, I mumbled and most importantly I didn’t project my voice.
These were all things that made me bad at communicating with people. It was hard to hear, I felt like my character was being pulled apart but in reality these were all the things I needed to hear to understand why I struggled with communication.
These are skills, like confidence that you can work on and improve. If I hadn’t jumped into this opportunity I wouldn’t have learn’t this. I’d still be struggling in life with poor communication skills.
So even though this job opportunity wasn’t right for me it still opened a door.
Never be afraid to try new things, that’s how you learn to grow.