The reason I want to write about this experience is that at one time I had some introvert traits. I just didn’t like customer service. When I worked, I’d rather just work in the back end and not have to deal with people I didn’t know. During that time, I’ve only worked at a restaurant as a line cook only having to be in the back and as a car dealership lot manager only having to make sure the cars look clean. Not having to deal with any customers was my comfort zone and I’ve only wanted jobs that only deal with less to no customer interaction.
Things do change in life and as I became more aware of my thinking, I realized that customer service was an important skill to have. I managed to leave the car dealership I worked at on bad terms cuz it’s such a cut throat industry. Always having to point fingers to make sure you're not at fault for anything that has gone wrong. Let’s just say I left without a 2 weeks notice and ended up working at a shitty automatic line car wash. Washing other people’s cars had me figuring out people's personalities. This would be another story on it’s own. I was working with either students, ex-cons, or just straight skidders and this got me realizing that I really needed to do something different.
Inside, I could feel this was not for me and I’ve always fought it thinking I’m not good at talking with people. Meanwhile, my fellow co-workers loved working with me cuz I was fun to be around. I had a close circle of friends and we were all at a point where we were all “Growing Up” and had to find “Real Jobs”. Doing some research, I saw that most high paying jobs in demand were in either Health Care, IT, & Sales. I for sure DID NOT want to get into health care. That’s something I know I don’t want to do, so I definitely scratched that off my list. Most of my family/friends are in health care, so I give everyone in the industry my Salute because you're doing all the hard stuff in my perspective. I sorta had a knack for Technology and I did have interest in the subject, but I hated troubleshooting and didn’t have the patience for those types of situations. Finally I looked into sales and this is where the story begins…
Best Buy was an upcoming store that had a storm behind it because it was very popular in the US. The 1st store opening in the Greater Vancouver Area was opening up in my city of New Westminster. I remember seeing the sight of the new location and a sign on the fence saying that they’re now hiring. Online applications were totally new in the world and I got the information down on how to apply. I’m not gonna lie, when I had the thought of even wanting to apply, I got really scared. This was all new to me. I’ve never worked in retail before and I know that we will have to deal with customers. I guess what was also convincing me to try was that Best Buy marketed themselves as Commission Free, No Pressure Sales company. I liked the fact that I didn’t have the pressure to meet quotas and could just learn at a pace that would suit me.
As I was fighting with myself on whether to apply for a job or not, I then started to visualize myself selling at Best Buy. My friend Noel is really into cameras and he showed me cool stuff on what different types of camera’s do. In my mind I pretended to sell a camera to a person who was just as into cameras as Noel. Didn’t put a face on the customer, but just saw myself showing this person the different functions and features. I even watched myself closing up the sale at a register. I didn’t even know how that register would work, but saw myself taking paying and giving the camera to the customer. I then realized that I could actually do this. I went online and applied. I didn’t put any pressure on it and just let the universe take its place.
I can’t remember exactly what I was doing at the time but I just remember my mom telling me that I had a message on the answering machine. (I didn’t have a Cell Phone just yet because I was waiting to get something I really wanted.) I checked the message and heard that I got an interview with Best Buy. I was given a number to call back to book the interview and wrote it down. I knew I had to make a decision to call back or not and gave myself some time to think about this. If I chicken out and don’t call back, I’ll forever be stuck in my comfort zone but I’ll probably end up working at some dead end jobs with no room for growth. If I gather the courage and take the leap, I would be heading into the unknown and would be facing a lot of fears. I chose adventure… I picked up the phone and called back. The HR personal gave me my time slot for my interview as they were doing mass interviews for the store.
This would be considered my first real interview. My last couple of jobs I had, I knew someone who was already working there. I didn’t really have a formal interview. Just met up with the manager, went over my application, asked my availability, and got started. I’m so grateful that we had the internet at the time, the technology was really new and not a lot of the “adults” who earned the money understood the value of it yet. With the internet, I researched on job interviews and surprisingly there was so much information on it. I think I used the Microsoft Internet Explorer web search engine before Google became huge. I found out about how you're supposed to dress when you go to an interview and that got me totally thinking.
Being into Hip Hop, I didn’t really own any fitting clothes. The baggy look was still really huge that time. My Dad and I are around the same size, so I knew he had some casual/dressy clothes I can borrow, well at least some fitting pants. I asked if I can take a look in his closet and found a pair of black slacks that I can use. All his tops weren’t vibing with me though. I then looked into the back of my closet and found a casual crew neck sweater that one of my aunts gave me one christmas. Tried on the clothes and looked casual enough for an interview. Now that I had that covered, I wanted to prepare for the actual interview.
I looked up typical questions asked at interviews and gathered up a list. Again, I visualized myself getting interviewed and answered the list of questions I put together. I even rehearsed in front of a mirror to make sure I didn’t have any bad physical facial habits. I did this a few times a day in preparation for the upcoming interview. Even with all the preparation, I was still nervous and scared. I still had thoughts of just jumping ship and taking the easier route, which was to not go through with it. I feared something that didn’t even happen yet, doing all this prep and then feeling disappointed if I didn’t get the job. I was telling myself that if I didn’t go through with this, at least I won’t feel the pain of not getting it. What I’m doing now is pretty easy and I’m already good at it. It might be too late to learn this. All these negative statements kept on popping back in my mind. I can’t remember what exactly made me choose to take the interview, I'm just glad I did it.
Finally the day came for the interview. I left a bit early because I didn’t want to be late for it. The parking lot was huge and was able to find parking pretty easily. I saw the big blue and yellow price tag sign on the building and walked towards it. My heart was pumping hard and I started to feel the shakes. I even remember a statement “It's still not too late to jump in the car and go back home” said in my mind. I just kept on moving forward. I entered, passed the automatic sliding doors and was greeted by the greeter (I knew it was security). I told him that I was in for an interview and directed me to the customer service desk. I already saw what looked like a line for interviews. When I went to the desk, I told them my name and my time. They registered me or something like that and was told to take a seat and someone will call me shortly.
I went to the waiting area where other people were hanging out to get interviewed and found a seat when one was available. I can’t remember too many faces as the process seemed quick. When I was finally called, I stood up and was greeted by this manager who was like 7’ tall. I looked up and had this huge hand reaching out for a hand shake and had a Blackberry in the other hand. Gave him a firm handshake and followed him into the interview room. When I entered, I saw that another interview was already in progress and went to the table where I had mine. When we started, I found that the manager had a really cool and chill personality. This gave me a sense of relief and I felt so much more comfortable with the interview.
On the online application, I was able to tick off more than 1 department to work in. I chose Car Audio, Music/Movies, & Home Stereo. He explained to me what each department would expect and some duties each representative would be doing. They would provide training and all that type of info letting them know why they are great employers. The job duties for the Media Rep (Music, Movies, Gaming, Room Stereos/Computer Speakers, & Headphones) seemed pretty laid back. Pretty much all I would need to do is help customers find what they’re looking for and make sure all the Video Games, CDs, & DVDs are organized and tidy. I know I can start off doing this. The dept totally fit my type of personality. After a few more questions, I can tell the interview was going well. He asked me which dept I would prefer and I really wanted Media. I was told that I will get another call in the next couple of days for a second interview with the GM. I felt really good leaving the place and knew that I would’ve regretted this experience if I chickened out. I felt really confident that I could nail the second interview.
I got the call and was booked for my second interview. Again, I did the prep and visualization techniques leading up to the day. I went out and bought a Dress Shirt & Khakis for this interview. When I arrived I was told to go have a seat and they will let the GM know you're here. As I was sitting down, I saw the guy ahead of me and he was wearing a suit! (We actually got hired together) I got nervous again thinking I was underdressed. I saw the other person leaving and they were wearing something more casual than a suit. I had a sense of relief. The guy in the suit had his interview and I would be next. When the suit guy was done the GM came up to me and asked if today was the correct day for the interview? I was in a bit of shock and got anxious again… I didn’t know if it was my error or theirs. I told him that I’m pretty sure it’s today. He looked at his Blackberry and said he’ll be right back. He then returned and said I was right and asked to follow him. We stopped at a couple of stools next to the Home Theatre dept and had the interview there. I got a bit more nervous cuz I had to do the interview in front of customers. However something in me gave me the inspiration to give an awesome interview.
All that prep work and visualization I did in my mind made me feel confident. I knew I was fully capable of doing this. When we sat down, again he was looking down at his device, put it away and started the interview. I was educated with Customer Service and I knew how people liked to be treated. I was just myself and he was asking me questions which I confidently answered. As I look back at this, I do remember acting the part, like I already had the job. I remember some laughter and good energy. When the interview came to the end, he offered me the job. I accepted and after that I went to the Customer Service desk to find the other manager. I was booked in for the orientation in a couple of weeks.
This is where my journey began to lead me into Sales.
This was a huge turning point in my life. If this didn’t happen, maybe I wouldn't have had the confidence to do face to face Customer Service Interaction type of work. I’d still be working at some warehouses or in the back kitchen, wishing I have done something different? Who knows? All I do know is that I was unconsciously competent in getting what I wanted in life. I was not educated or aware of the real definition of visualization and mind power. In fact, I started reading self-help books a few years later. I just went for it and jumped, but I had the right attitude. The goal was to get the job, I didn’t really know how I was gonna get it. I just kept focus on it and everything came into place.