Upon graduating from college, like many, I had no clue what I wanted to do. One thing remained certain, my gigantic student debt wasn’t going to go away on its own. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I received a call from a marketing company. They were greatly impressed with my resume and simply had to get me in for an interview. Well who can say no to that? As I donned my new suit and glanced at myself in the mirror, I felt as if my life was finally beginning. I would crush this interview.
“Noah, I can tell just by looking at you, that you are a professional. No need for mindless questions. I want to get you out in the field with my best men so you can see first hand what this job entails.”
True story. Not a single question was thrown my way by the manager. As I had never been on a “real” interview before, I figured perhaps this was a new and innovative way to quickly find the most qualified candidates. No problem. I would prove myself worthy of a job that I really, to that point, had no idea what it consisted of. I hopped into a car with two other guys; one of whom was a graduate from Notre Dame. On our way to wherever our destination was going to be, the Notre Dame graduate pointed out poignant tidbits. “Did you know that billboards only have a 2% return on investment?” Wow. No I didn’t. This guy clearly knew what he was talking about. “What we do is so much more efficient than many of the marketing strategies out there.”
To this point I was still utterly clueless as to what the field work would consist of. 45 minutes later we had finally reached our destination. This destination was a lower middle class community. Our mission: sell as many $25 dollar coupon books as we could. Why? Why do I get myself into such situations? Door to door, we begged people to buy this coupon book. It was a steal. So many great deals. How could you say no?! The guy from Notre Dame told me in a knowingly voice, “See what I did just there? That person was unemployed yet I didn’t allow that to keep us from making the sale.” It’s true. He convinced her she needed the coupon book more than your average person. Being unemployed meant she couldn’t afford to not buy this book full of wonderful deals.
As I was contemplating about just how slimy this was making me feel, one of my comrades screams, “Run, damn it!! Run! It’s the cops!! Get out of here!” In a situation such as that, one doesn’t ask exactly why one should run. One simply runs. Jumping over fences, I of course managed to tear a hole in my suit pants. But damn it, I was about to get arrested for…well I didn’t really know what crime I had committed but I wasn’t going to find out. 5 minutes later we had made it to the sanctuary of the Jeep Tracker. We rolled past 2 squad cars…both of whom eyed us suspiciously.
On the way back, I was informed that you technically need a license to go into communities to sell these books. However, that costs money and takes time so the company ignores this horrific, big brother, regulation. Needless to say, I was offered the job. The manager was dumbstruck when I declined. He was positive he had closed the deal and was speechless when I walked away. The graduate from Notre Dame looked devastated when I told him I was going to look for other opportunities. He was close to my age and I think that perhaps he felt the need for some sort of validation that this job was legitimate and worth having. I felt sorry for him. Mostly however, I felt sorry for myself. I just graduated college. I couldn’t afford new suit pants!