Chapter Sixteen

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The job hunt was frustrating to say the least. My résumé was still essentially a blank piece of paper. I realized if I wanted to get something out of life, I needed to apply myself. Applying did not simply mean dropping off my résumé and hoping for a callback, I needed to force the action. What I was doing was clearly not working. The next day, I went back to the internet café and revised my résumé. This time I changed the format, the wording, the font, and made my name and phone number stand out in large bold letters. 

Now that my résumé looked a lot better, I wanted to update my look. I was beginning to realize the clothing I thought was appropriate was not exactly what the business world considered appropriate. I needed to adapt to my surroundings if I wanted to fit in.  

It was around 12:00 p.m. and I had just left the internet café. I decided to walk downtown again and get a new outfit at the mall.  

I was not sure what I was looking for, preferably something dressy that made me look more mature. I browsed around all the sales racks and discount stores to find something that looked nice without costing a lot. After about an hour of searching, I found a few things I liked so I went into the fitting room to try them on. I decided on a casual-preppy look, a white golf shirt with khaki pants.  

I put on my new outfit and went back to all the same places in which I had previously applied. This time, instead of walking in and dropping off my résumé, I asked to speak with the manager. If I could speak with the manager, perhaps I could impress them like I had done in Banff.  

These small changes made a big difference. Not long after I implemented my new approach, my answering machine had several messages from managers wanting to schedule an interview with me. Before, I had no callbacks and I was desperate, and now I had many companies interested in me. There had been a power shift in my favor. I changed my perception from me needing something from them, to them needing something from me. This allowed me to have a little more control over the process. Since multiple companies desired me, I could simply choose the job I wanted. This added level of confidence allowed me to excel in the interviews. I went to all of the interviews, even for the jobs I did not really want. I did this to get better at being interviewed. By the tenth interview, I was really comfortable and my answers flowed better.  

The interviews were going well, but I still did not have any offers coming in. There was one place I still hadn't applied to yet because the manager was never in when I went there.  

I put on my outfit and went back down to the mall. When I approached the store, I did not go in right away. Instead, I hung around outside remaining hidden behind a large plant. I wanted to stack the odds as much in my favor as possible, so stayed back to gather intel. I watched how the manager acted, what kind of mood he seemed to be in, and I observed the traffic flow to make sure it was not too busy. When all signs were green, I took a deep breath and walked confidently into the store. 

"Hi, I would like to speak with Marc Andrews please," I said with the confidence of an FBI agent about to make an arrest. 

"I'm Marc Andrews, how can I help?" 

"Mr. Andrews, my name is Trevor Morrison. I spoke with you on the phone a couple of months ago regarding a sales position." Before Marc had time to say anything I was already into my pitch. "If you recall, I was not available at the time, but I would like the opportunity to work for you now. I guarantee you I will outsell all of your top sellers."  

"Wow, that's a pretty bold statement, I like it," he said with a big smile. "I'm glad you came back, we only want the best sales people here, and you certainly seem like you're hungry for a shot at the best," he said jokingly. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Okay, I'm sold. When can you start?"  

"Whenever you need me." 

"Okay, how about you come in tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.?" 

"Okay, I'll be here. Thank you so much, Mr. Andrews. I will see you tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m." 

"Just call me Marc." 

"Okay, Marc, thanks again." 

I walked out of the store appearing calm and collected, but inside I was about to burst at the seams with joy. Thanks again to my hustle; I had an apartment, a little bit of pocket money from the other apartment, and now a job. I was beginning to see a pattern here.  

Now that I had a job, I could breathe a little easier. I had now put myself back on the path I once walked. I had to endure a few months of hell, but thankfully I made it to the other side.  

I reached into my pocket and took out my cell phone. I pressed speed-dial 1 and raised the phone to my ear.  

"Hello?" 

"Hey, Ashley, it's Trevor, what are you doing?" 

"Oh, hey. I'm just at work, waiting for my last table to settle their bill. What are you doing?" 

"Nothing, just walking around in the mall." 

"You're in the mall now?" 

"Yeah." 

"Why don't you come by?" 

"Alright, I'll see you soon." 

I walked around the mall for a bit and checked out a few stores. I arrived at Ashley's work a little after 2:00 p.m. 

"Hey. You look nice."  

"Thanks," I said. "This is my job-hunting outfit." 

"So how's that going?" 

"I actually just talked my way into a sales position at the Athletic Surplus upstairs." 

"Really! That's great, congratulations!" 

"Thanks. I'm really glad to go back to work. My first day is tomorrow." 

"So we'll be working in the same mall?" 

"I'm afraid so," I said sarcastically. 

"That's awesome, I'm so excited. We have to celebrate tonight." 

"Okay." 

"Let me just cash out really quickly and we can hang out." 

*** 

Ashley lived about five minutes away from the mall. When we arrived at her place, she headed straight for the bathroom. "I'm going to take a shower, I smell like pancakes. You can watch TV if you like. There's juice in the fridge and snacks in the cabinet beside the fridge if you get hungry." 

"Alright, thanks." 

TV with cable, a comfortable couch, juice, snacks - this was a life I could get used to. What may seem ordinary to some people was a privilege to me. For the past month, my diet consisted almost entirely of wieners and tap water. I would skip breakfast and lunch and have wieners for dinner. I couldn't even afford buns or mustard. I felt bad for taking so much from Ashley, but I vowed to make it up to her one day. For now, I sat back and enjoyed the ride.

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