Yesterday I had my first real New York City experience. I woke up at 6:30 a.m., put on my best give-me-a-job outfit, and boarded a Metro North train. I had an interview with Allure Marketing Group. Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect so when I got to the interview, which was actually a day of observation, I was surprised and overwhelmed. By the end of the day I felt like it had been one of the most unpleasant experiences in my life. HOWEVER, I learned something.
“I’m not signing any papers!”
It became very clear to me that this job was not the job for me after we entered the first business. It was a sketchy eyebrow threading shop near Fulton Street and the owner of the shop was frustrated that we had come in to try to convince her to switch her phone service to the company we were representing. The lady who I was shadowing for the day (I’ll refer to her as Curly) kept telling the owner that she needed to sign a contract today so that the price would stay “locked down.” I was thinking to myself how irritated I get when I am harassed by pushy sales people and I genuinely felt uncomfortable. Curly used every method in the book to try to get this woman to sign a contract and the woman wouldn’t budge. “You can come back as many times as you want but I’m not signing any papers,” said the business owner in a thick Indian accent.
“In 4 months you could open your own branch!”
One of the businesses that we visited was a kosher lunch café so we decided to grab lunch there. The owners of the place were two really friendly Jewish guys who chatted with curly for at least an hour. It seemed like two thirds of the job was bullshitting with people and the other third was badgering them until they bought into your proposal. When we sat down to eat Curly pulled out a sheet of paper with a layout of the corporate structure of the company and explained to me how Allure Marketing employees “pay themselves” and “are their own boss.” She said that the training length in based on your personal drive. “In 4 months you could open your own branch,” she said. This all looked great on paper, but I was starting to get flashbacks from my high school days as a Vector Marketing representative (aka Cutco Knives salesperson). If you aren’t familiar with Vector, it’s basically a Ponzi scheme. If you don’t know what a Ponzi scheme is, you need to get out more. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure companies like that can be great places to work for some people, but not for me.
“Am having full blown panic attack on train.”
My day didn’t end until 7:53 when I got on the train to go back to my sister’s house. All I had eaten were six pieces of a spicy salmon roll and a coffee. I usually eat 3 healthy meals a day so I was tired AND hangry (a mix of hungry and angry). 15 minutes into the train ride I felt my eyes begin to well up with tears and my throat begin to tighten. Then my chest tightened and I knew I was starting to have a panic attack. Since I started high school, I’ve had the occasional mild panic attack but I was always pretty capable of containing it until I could cry and hyperventilate in private. There was no containing this one so I texted my lifelong best friend, Meghan, because she always helps distract me from my attacks. “Am having full blown panic attack on train,” I said.
I cried the whole way home anyways and continued to practice calming breathes. I wanted to call my Mom and Dad and tell them that I wanted to come back home to the farm, but I realized that I couldn’t give up on finding a NYC internship because I had one bad experience. Just because I didn’t like the job I observed didn’t mean I was less capable of anything. It meant that I didn’t enjoy direct sales and marketing jobs.
Lesson I Learned:
Sometimes it’s easier to figure out what jobs you DON’T like rather than jobs you DO like. I might have to sort through hundreds of companies, but eventually I will find where I belong.