Chapter Twenty-Four

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It's a wonderful feeling to stand up for yourself, but it's a scary feeling to lack the security of a steady paycheck. I woke up early, had a quick shower, and got dressed in my white golf shirt and khaki pants. I found the nearest internet café and updated my résumé that I had saved in my email account.  

Once I was satisfied with the finished product, I printed out several copies and immediately hit the streets. The first place I applied to was Mike's Athletic Store.  

"Good morning," I said to the woman behind the counter. May I please speak with the manager?"  

"One moment please." 

I glanced around and tried to imagine myself working there. It was a lot smaller than what I was used to, but it was right on the main strip downtown. I thought it would be nice to get out of the mall and breathe some fresh air. Plus I lived right across the street - I could go home for lunch.  

"Hi, my name is Jay, I'm the manager here." 

"Good morning, Jay. My name is Trevor and I would like to speak with you regarding an employment opportunity. Are you hiring at the moment?" 

"We are, but only for a supervisor position." 

"Well, you're in luck, Jay; I'm exactly what this store needs. I managed the Athletic Surplus for the past year and was consistently the number one seller in the country." 

"Do you have a résumé?" 

"Yes," I carefully took out a freshly printed résumé and handed it to him. 

As Jay was looking over my résumé, I continued to sell myself.  

"I'm familiar with all the products you sell, I'm trained on the same computer system you guys use, and I'm an expert on store merchandizing, scheduling, and training." 

Jay looked up briefly, but didn't say anything.  

"So why did you leave Athletic Surplus?" Jay asked a very good question. 

"A new manager was brought in recently and we had a personality conflict. I was no longer happy being there, so I decided to move on. I'm still very passionate about selling athletic gear, so I immediately came here to apply." 

"Okay, let me get back to you, I'll let you know by the end of the week." 

"Sounds good, thank you so much for your time, Jay." 

I left Mike's and handed out the remaining résumés to every cell phone shop, restaurant, and clothing store in the neighborhood. I had nothing left to do except wait for someone to call me. 

A few days went by and I bumped into Jamie, one of my old managers at Athletic Surplus. 

"So, I hear you applied at Mike's," he commented. 

"How did you hear that?" 

"Jay is a friend of mine. He called me and was asking about you." 

"Okay, so what did you tell him?" 

"I told him the truth." 

"Which is...?" 

"I told him you're a hard worker, good with people, and a great seller." 

"Did you tell him why I left?" 

"Of course, I told him the whole story. He asked me if he should hire you." 

"What did you tell him?" 

"Don't worry, I told him to hire you." 

Later that day, I received a phone call from Jay; he offered me the supervisor position and I accepted it. I had once again landed on my feet. 

*** 

"Trevor, I was looking over the sales for last week. My top guy sold around $3,300 and you sold close to $12,000. That's incredible, you just about sold more than the rest of the staff combined." 

"I think I know the reason," I said. 

"Yeah, what's that?" 

"Over the past week, I really paid attention to how this store functions. I got a feel of the traffic flow, how the staff operates, the merchandising, and the sales manual. I made several notes on these observations as well as several other ideas I had for improving our store's productivity." 

I handed him a similar package to the one I made for the managers at Athletic Surplus. I wanted to learn from my mistake last time so I treaded softly. I did not want to outshine my new boss or be overly critical of anything he did in particular. 

"Jay, I don't mean to overstep my boundaries here, but seeing as I'm the newest member of the team, I figured I would offer you a fresh perspective. I hope my sales over the past week have demonstrated to you what is achievable in such a little store. My goal is to get everyone to be a sales superstar. 

"I had a look at the sales manual and quite frankly it's no good. I created a new manual that's ready to go. I think we should bring on some new people and train them using the effective selling techniques I have developed. I can retrain everyone, or host a sales seminar if you like." 

"Who did you want to let go?" 

"Jon and Marcy are the two most obvious choices. I think we can work with the others." 

"Okay, let me have a look at this stuff and I'll get back to you."

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