Wage Slavery 6: Just say no (to salespeople)

When last we left the WildeRix, he had caught a glimpse of his wage slavery future. Let’s see what happens next…

After spending a summer working for my dad again, I moved back to Texas.  I still planned on getting my in-state residency and going to UT Austin in order to get my MA and PhD in linguistics.   But I realized that just because I wanted to go to school in Austin didn’t mean that I had to actually live there until school started.  My old roommate from Austin had moved to Fort Worth and told me that the rental prices up there didn’t stick it to you quite as bad as they did down in the capitol.  So my girlfriend and I loaded up a U-Haul and headed down to Texas.

It didn’t take me too long to find a job through a temp agency.  I had done a little temp work in Austin after the taco gig ran its course.  An internet service provider needed a bunch of sales employees to handle their new promotional package: sign up for a year of our service and get a crappy, refurbished, sub-par computer of our choosing for free.

I had never worked sales before, so I didn’t know how lousy a sales job can make you feel when you either end up hearing everybody say “no” or else you try to pressure them into saying “yes” against their actual wishes.  It takes a “special” kind of person (read: asshole) to do that, and I don’t fit that “special” category.  But since people wanted a free computer, I found that I could play the game my own way and still make pretty decent numbers.

The commission system at the job offered a pretty decent pay out, so I convinced my wife to apply for the job too.  We both made pretty good pay checks — the best in my life up until that point, in fact.  My wife (we got married during the time when we worked there) actually did better at sales than me.  She doesn’t fit the asshole salesperson category either, but she has a prettier voice than I do.

We had a great time buying lots of presents for each other for our first Christmas as a married couple.  With all our new cashola, we bought ourselves a sub-par computer — brand new instead of refurbished — complete with a scanner.  Since the sales calls slowed down after the Christmas season, we spent our extra down time at work making a website of our wedding pictures.

Eventually, the ISP got bought out by Prodigy, and they cut all the staff.  We left before that.  But I will always remember the skills that I gained at that job:  mainly, the knowledge that you should feel free to say “no” to salespeople — or hang up the phone.  They won’t take a hint, so you should deal bluntly with them.  Don’t feel bad about hurting their feelings.  When they put on the mantle of a salesperson and call you up or knock on your door, they stop functioning like normal, friendly, understanding human beings.  They turn into snarling caricatures of carnivores, out to devour your paycheck for the sake of their own.  Feel free to make things abundantly clear to them, and don’t give in to any pressure you don’t feel comfortable with.  Seriously.  Just say “no”.

After we jumped ship from the ISP, my wife and I went back to the familiar waters of food service.  I took a job at Taco Bueno during the day and delivering Papa John’s at night.  My wife worked the closing shift at the Subway right next door to the Papa John’s.  I felt way better working in the blue collar world again.  I hated the pressure of the sales job, and the stupid requirements they placed on us — not to mention the tension that permeated that place when they found out about the buy-out from Prodigy.  I had returned to the comfortable “Punch in.  Punch out.  Happy.  Go home.” lifestyle that Chana had taught me about back at Taco Bell.

Since the Bueno sat on the same road that we lived on, I walked to and from work there everyday.  I enjoyed the mixture of Mexican and Serbian employees that I worked with.  I learned a little bit of Spanish and compared the similarities between Russian (which I had learned in college) and Serbian.

At my night job, I got to listen to the radio while I delivered pizzas.  Since our neighborhood sat on the outer western edge of Fort Worth, I would take all the deliveries that required me to drive out into the country, so I could enjoy the sunset over the barren fields of Texas while I jammed out to “Californication” on the radio.  It all felt a lot more free than things had felt in an office setting.

With the last bonus checks we had acquired at our ISP job, we took a trip to Disney World with some of our friends.  We had a great time there.  I had never gone before, but my wife had gone to Disneyland as a kid.  We not only enjoyed all the rides, but we realized that the people working there seemed to actually enjoy their jobs.  Who could possibly want anything more than to have fun at work and then go ride Space Mountain after you finish your shift?

So we formulated a plan.  We decided to move in with my wife’s parents, save up some money and then move to Orlando and work at Disney World.  I had always wanted to do something career-wise that could incorporate the love of plants I had gained from foraging, and I had hopes of getting on with the decorative horticulturalists at the Happiest Place on Earth.  So we broke our lease and once again packed a U-Haul to head back to Arkansas.

Next: Wage Slavery 7: Gang aft agley

2 responses to this post.

  1. Disney!? Yes! I go every few years, if I can, and it is the best plce on earth. It helped me to dream the impossible and Epcoch Center was the best. When you move to FL let me know so I can get a “hook-up” for my baby girl Grace. Seay


  2. Posted by Rix on 07/26/2008 at 5:21 pm

    Sorry, Hayden. The plans for working at Disney have turned into dust in the wind.


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