April 10, 2005

kangaroos, banjos and tyre-slashing

Iím sitting around waiting for the van to get fixed Ė someone, probably the Energy Australia guys down the other end of the motel, slashed a tyre and let the battery down. Leigh the team manager thinks itís not worth notifying the police. Just the way these people do business?

Itís an interesting ride, which at the moment I think Iíll probably go along with for a couple more weeks. Iím not raking in fifteen to twenty sales a day and making absurd amounts of money like some of these people, but I can see that the jobís doable. Iíve made 22 sales over six days, so at least Iíve passed ten and qualified for my first pay. On Thursday I made ten sales around a retirement village, then another three on Friday, so what I was saying worked for the old people. I had a great conversation with a razor-sharp 91-year-old who wasnít really interested in the power saving, but took it just as a favour to me so I could get my $20 commission. Sheíd been independent her whole life, run a business, travelled the world etc and now keeps mentally active with a lot of reading & writing and trips away. Her advice to me was ďdonít marry too youngĒ.

So Thursday evening I felt like I was doing OK, but then Friday when Iíd been all around the retirement village and back into the neighbourhood to talk to more middle-aged people, the pitch didnít work. I got 20 or so rejections. So Iíll have to learn to adjust it for different people. Selling is a specific style of communication, with the goal of taking control of the conversation and getting people to do what you want. I suppose the continuum would go journalism Ė PR Ė sales.

Being outdoors all day and talking to people (as opposed to menial labour or being stuck in an office) are definite good points. Hopefully itíll improve my communication skills and I can then apply that to journalism or public speaking or whatever. Only a small minority of people are actually unfriendly at the door Ė mostly even the people who say no are all very amicable. The weather this week was great, like having an extended summer for me. And if what the bosses (nearly all my age or younger) say is true, weíre in the middle of a boom time which wonít last much longer. It could be fun for me to be on the wave as it happens for once. On the other hand there are the 60hr weeks without any guarantee of earning a decent wage (there are no wages, just a $20 commission for each sale which then goes up to $25 if you sell 30+ in a week).

Iíve befriended an 18-year-old Aussie guy (with a broad accent and a Ned Kelly tattoo) Scott, whoís been working and flatting since he was 15, grew up in a rough neighbourhood, took hard drugs at school, knows how to fight etc. I love being out of Wellington right now Ė the whole liberal arts/music scene with the same faces all the time was getting suffocating for me. I do miss playing music Ė but Sundayís my one day off for the week so I think Iíll go shopping around for a guitar or a banjo. Iíve never played banjo but I like the way they sound, and if I can find a cheap one that feels good in my hands Iíll go with that Ė there are more than enough guitar players to go around. Banjo has a certain prickliness to it which would fit my aesthetic well Ė doesnít mean Iím going to automatically start playing bluegrass.

Anyway, I donít feel lonely as a stranger in a foreign country Ė it feels very liberating. And it turns out that Scott, who made 14 sales yesterday, filled in the paperwork wrong so they donít count! He can either write it all off and keep knocking new doors or he can go back to the people he saw and redo the forms Ė which would take most of the day anyway.

Taxi here Ė time to go to work for the day. I have enough detachment from the job to find the van tyre-slashing amusing, even though the delay cuts into my potential pay. And itís not like Iíd want a lifelong career in an industry where this kind of thing happensÖ


We hit a kangaroo on the way back from Sale Ė luckily its head was bashed in and it died instantly, no time to suffer. It put a big dent in the side of the van. Apparently kangaroos are a fairly common hazard on the roads here.

Itís after 11pm on Saturday and Iím on the Upfield train going from downtown Melbourne to my flat in Brunswick. Itís been a long week.

Posted by fiffdimension at April 10, 2005 02:26 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: Damian at April 17, 2005 06:43 AM

that was supposed to say 'psst' on it.

sale? if you ever have anything to do with a Reverend Tim Angus tell him Damian says hello.

Posted by: Damian at April 17, 2005 06:45 AM
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