Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Day I Almost Became a Mechanic

As you know, this blog is public. That means that employers have access (and have accessed) this blog through my professional website.

To protect the identity of the company I am about to mention, I will just refer to it as "anonymous."


So I applied for a Sales Rep position for anonymous several months ago. I was interested in the company because they sell products that restaurants and hotels actually need to function. My chances of selling things like detergents, dish washers and cleaning supplies sounded like a great opportunity for my first sales position.

Within a week I made it through an online personality test, a phone interview and was on to a face-to-face interview with the regional manager.

He asked me some basic behavioral questions then moved on to some really odd ones....

Him: "How would you feel working in dirty, wet conditions?"
Me: "Umm...What kind of situations are you referring to?"
Him: "Well it would be very rare. If a client calls in and says his detergent dispenser is not pumping correctly, you may need to go check on it for him."
Me: "Oh, well I worked in a restaurant. I know those conditions aren't desirable. If I occasionally had to check on a piece of equipment that I had sold, I think it would be fair for me to check in on the customer."
Him: "Ok, great!"

The interview continues with regular questions. By the end of our time together, I had forgotten he had even mentioned the dirty and wet conditions. It was just not emphasized.

So the next day I get a call from him, asking if I would like to do a job shadow before accepting the position. Heck yes I would!

At this point I am so excited. Becoming a Sales Rep is my goal, and anonymous is a very well known, stable company with locations all around the country. Not to mention my role there includes a free car.

A day later I am scheduled to meet a Sales Rep and follow him around for the day. I am told to dress business casual. This is what I wear.

I meet the Sales Rep, who is a man in his 40's. Really nice guy. I pray he is not reading this. He was dressed business casual with clunky non slip shoes and a lab coat. Interesting attire.

He introduces himself and tells me how great the company is. Then he shows me the equipment in his car.

You guys, I am not exaggerating when I say there were THOUSANDS of parts in there. THOUSANDS!!!!!!!! He took his center seats out and it was absolutely STUFFED TO THE BRIM with hoses and tools and screws and boxes.

I'm taken a little off guard, and start asking a billion for example, "What are all these parts for?" considering I had no idea how it related to this position at all.

Him: "They're for the machines and equipment."


I follow him inside a hospital here in Topeka. We go to this back closet for the rehab pool that is hot, humid and dripping.

He was apparently called in to do some water testing. The detergents were off to keep the pool levels accurate. I watch as he pulls out tool after tool to fix the leak.

At this point I'm like, "Ok, that wasn't exactly the best conditions, but I can handle it. I'm tough."

Then we get a call for a hospital's broken dish washer. We head over and I STAND IN A PUDDLE OF NASTY FOOD WATER while he goes at a rusty screw.

I mean he is GOING AT IT! Using all of his strength to get that corroded screw loose.

Then he asks me to pass him some tool that I have never heard of in my life. In the back of my mind I'm like "Are you serious right now!?"

Sorry man, I learned like 2 weeks ago the difference between a philips and a flat head screw driver. I cannot be depended on for handing you the right tools.

Next we get a call to service a dish washer at a Mexican restaurant. Why are we getting calls for servicing stuff? I thought this was a Sales job? His response...

"Ya, they kind of market this position as sales, but it's more service than anything."

Ya think!? I'm starting to catch on. This is a full on mechanics job with a glorified title.

We get to the restaurant and the guy I'm shadowing sticks his head in a humid dish washer to try and fix it. Gross.

Meanwhile, I am standing in the middle of a filthy kitchen, business casual, my hair curled, while some mexican cooks STARE ME DOWN. Then they ask me if I was on America's Next Top Model (probably the only good thing about my day). I AM CLEARLY OUT OF PLACE HERE.

We leave and move on to other dirty kitchens. Dirty kitchens all day. Dirty on top of more dirty.

I realize it's bad when I ask myself "How often would I cry in this position?" Weekly. Maybe daily.

The guy I'm shadowing then throws this little number at me...

"Just thought you should know, new reps wear all navy uniforms supplied by the company."


At the end of the day, I had to fill out a survey for my day on the job. "Can you see yourself in this position?" Nope. No I can not. Never.

The regional manager gives me a call the next day to tell me that he has never read a survey so honest. Ha. Then he asks if I still have interest in the job....

No. Just no. You kind of forgot to mention that this is a mechanical job. You also forgot to mention that I need to use tools and I have to stick my head in dish washers all day.

What I really told him was "I do not have the physical capabilities to handle this position."

Aka, I would be the last person in the entire world you would ever ask to take a corroded screw off of a dish washer. I mean look at me. I curl my hair. And my nails were hot pink during our interview. What on earth brought you to the decision to advance me through this process?

So that was a waste of a day. And I was bummed about not getting a free car.

Thank God (seriously...thank God) for the opportunity to shadow for a day. Otherwise I would be a mechanic right now.

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