Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fuck 'Em Good... In the Boiler Room...

These companies are like one of those girls who's only been fucked by one or two guys in their lives, and when they did, it lasted a minute. So, when you come around, they'll think you're Jesus or something. So fuck 'em good!!

In my book, anyone, especially a boss, who can equate selling leads to hooking up with an undersexed girl definitely wins some "cool points."

Today, I was introduced to the post-college, "real world," where your priorities change from "what am I going to do tonight" to "I need to get some sleep." The day itself actually started off on the wrong foot, when I got to work a half hour late on my first day. (Thank you, "4" train) Before I walked into the office, I was brainstorming all these bullshit answers I would have to come up with in order to avoid getting fired from the get-go, but thankfully, I wouldn't need to use my talents. At least, not for my new boss. Instead, the only person I needed to bullshit was myself, as in, "this job could work out for me" when all I felt deep down inside was complete disgust for the job I was being asked to do.

. . . . .

Last week, I went to a career fair that was being held not too far from Madison Square Garden in downtown Manhattan at some hotel. So, here I am, all dressed up in this suit, ready to go get me a job, when I walk in, and after waiting in a line for about 30 minutes (just to get INTO the friggin' fair), I realized that I got all purty for no reason. In other words, the companies that decided to show up sucked balls, for the most part. But whatever, I figured since I made the trip all the way from the Bronx to go to his friggin' thing, it wouldn't hurt just to walk in and perfect my people skills. So, after making my rounds and seeing who was there, I hit up about three or four companies I was legitimately interested in, all while dodging the nearby Army recruiter who had an apparent hard-on to get me to sign my life away. One of the companies I hit up was for pure shits and giggles; apparently the company's representatives thought it would be a great idea to create a 3-page informational "booklet" (read: three standard 8 1/2 by 11 pages stapled together on the top left corner) that was rife with spelling and grammatical errors. So, here I show up and talk to one of the two guys that was there taking resumes, and he gives me this huge run down about how I can make tons of money, and that it's not going to cost me anything, yada, yada. The guy kept on talking for 5 minutes, and at the end of it all, I still didn't know what the hell his company sold. Regardless, however, he told me to show up to an "open house" interview later on in the week and wrote the address to the place on the back of a business card he had.

Now, normally, I wouldn't give anyone the time of day when they couldn't even come up with a relatively typo-free take-away, but in this particular case, I figured, "hey, I need money now, and it's not like I have anything else going for me, so whatever." So, I actually went to the interview a couple of days later. The office building the company was located in was just off Wall Street ("not bad", I thought to myself). But the actual office, though, was kinda... sketchy. Basically, it was a small, one-room office that had a grouping of desks thrown together in the middle, and a partition on the side for the boss. Only three desks in the joint had computers. I remember the guy I spoke to at the fair told me that they had just moved into this office, so the whole time I was waiting to talk to someone, I kept on repeating to myself, "calm down, Ray, this is a new office, this is a new office..." After a little while, I finally got to speak with the dude that I spoke to at the fair, and we sat down for my "interview..."

Yellow flag #1: The guy spent more time selling me the company that he did actually "interviewing."

So, I got the job on the spot, but honestly, I don't think either of us walked out of that room knowing each other any more than we did at the career fair. I still didn't know what the hell they sold. It was something about "mortgages" or whatever, but hey, the only thing I cared about was that I needed a job, and he gave me one. So, that was that. I just knew that I would be getting paid on commission, and that I had the potential to "make more money in (my) first year than a doctor could make right out of med school." Yada, yada.

Curious to know more about what the hell I was getting myself into, I did a Google search on the company. I came up with a rather simple, uninformative, and overall tacky company site, three entries on "Ripoff Report.com" and an annual report from the NASD that stated that my boss was suspended this year for failing to "update information."

Definitely, Yellow Flags #2, 3, and 4.

I saw where this one had the potential of going, and when I told my friend, Anna, about it, her sentiments echoed mine. "This so sounds like something out of 'Boiler Room.'" (Yes, Anna, you said it first)

. . . . .

Regardless of the yellow flags, I still reported to work on the first day, just to see how things would pan out. After being given a script, I sat down at one of the desks in the sketchy office, and started cold calling businesses to gain interest in a "product" I still had no idea about. Now, I hate cold calling. Hell, I hate being on a phone. But here I was, reading off some silly script, trying to get people to do something as simple as giving me an e-mail address and a small sample of information. I'm telling you, that shit was harder than getting blood out of a stone. Between all the animosity that people have towards telemarketers, and the fact that the business managers I was trying to get in contact with apparently don't believe in working, I was lucky to get double-digit hits in a full day of work. The other two people I started with didn't even get past the single digits. It was incredibly ironic, given the fact that here I was, telemarketing some of the very same people that then go turn around and bug the shit out of us consumers at all times of the day to make adjustments to our mortgages or consolidate our loans. At first, I was nervous, and almost felt ashamed to do it, but then, by the end of the day, I realized that I was giving these people a taste of their own medicine. (Cue evil laugh here.)

Throughout the day, my floor manager kept on coming up to us three newbies, giving us pointers and telling us how to get past the "gatekeeper" secretaries in order to talk to the executives at the various firms we were calling. In the end, it was all good information, not only for cold calling, but for corporate communication, in general. Our new co-workers were also helping us out whenever they could, spitting knowledge and encouraging us to stick with it. Interesting cast of characters, they are. We got one who was a rapper, but then started working at this place to make "real money," a former stock broker who got into this because he felt it was easier for him to sustain a "good lifestyle," and this kid from Long Island who spent the whole day talking about how much he spends at nightclubs every weekend on bottles of Grey Goose. They're all cool, and they're also very good at doing what they do. Compared to us, they're like Jedi on these phones, making people say and do whatever the hell they want to. And Mr. "Fuck 'em good?" He's like Yoda of telemarketing. His occasional pointers throughout the day really changed everything for me and made it a bit easier for me to adjust.

So, overall, my first day turned out alright, especially considering just how many doubts I had about it when I first walked in. Will I stick with it? I still don't know, and apparently, neither are the other two guys I started with. For starters, the jury's still out on whether or not the company is legit. But, we're all just giving it a chance, seeing how far we can go with this during our first week, and then we'll evaluate it all this weekend. In the meantime, we're all still looking at other jobs; if someone happens to call with just the right offer, we'd all jump ship in a heartbeat. My bosses argue, in typical Wall Street fashion, that no matter where we decide to go, we're not going to make as much money as we would working at this place in our first year, but the one thing that they fail to understand is that money isn't everything. If I want to finish writing this book I'm working on, and I want to work on movies, I'm not going to have the energy to do it all working at this place. I already see that happening.

And that, my friends, can be THE deciding factor for me after this week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

a)what happened to your chatterbox? and b)why would you need excuses? If you tell them the truth (the 4 train was fucked up) they would've totally got it. Especially since the boss is already planning on how to ask you to marry him, he loves you that much.

2:30 PM  

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