Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It all started when a time travel experiment I was conducting went.....

So just how did I get here anyways?

For really most of my post graduate life, I have worked in large ticket commissioned retail sales - specifically appliances. How I got into the business is interesting. When I was 18, I wanted to sell CDs at Best Buy because of my passion for music. They had no room for me at the time, so they stuck me in appliances. Much to my surprise, I found myself enjoying it. I moved to Sears during college as the commissioned pay was much better, and they were willing to give me part time work while I went to college.

After I graduated, I latched on to a prominent independent leader who was positioned in the marketplace as a higher end alternative to the big box store, both in terms of goods and services. While my employer was a multi-million dollar corporation, it was still a family business, and family members held all of the ownership and equity in the company.

There's no denying that selling high end household appliances during the housing boom was a fun and lucrative career. Commissioned sales developed my communicative abilities, both verbal and written. It taught me how to think on my feet and rise to challenges both efficiently and effectively. In addition to selling, I managed our outlet merchandise area, worked with purchasing to redo and order displays, developed the company's buying guides and blogs, helped implement our database and order entry software, and trained new employees among other functions.

However, when the market crashed, the industry suffered. Luckily when the tide came in, my company was still wearing swimming trunks. Many competitors went out of business. Even standing after the crash though, both commissions and sales volume were slowly but surely falling. It was becoming clear that my job as I knew it was becoming substantially more price driven, less specialized, and forever altered in a way that was not going to be in alignment with my long term career goals.

Furthermore, the opportunities for growth had vanished. While the short to mid term survival of my job was not in question, it was clear that I was going to have to develop new skills and move into a new position or risk stagnation. Unfortunately, upward and lateral movements just weren't going to be an option. I truly believe that my company wanted to give me the opportunities to grow into roles of greater responsibility, but given the economic conditions, it just wasn't going to be feasible.

Luckily I was at a point in my life where I could take a chance. Years of frugal living had built up a substantial reserve in the bank account for weathering rainy months. My loving and supportive girlfriend had moved in, bringing in supplementary income. Outside of my house, I had no outstanding debt. With the exception of two needy felines, nobody depended on me for food or shelter.

To be continued.

Day One Time Account:
1/2 hour lifting weights
1/2 hour biking
1 hour gathering prospective employer names

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