I told people I waitressed to pay the bills, but I was a writer by trade.
I was 18 and moved into the Big City on my way to Australia. Everything I owned in my red, 3 on the tree Chevy Nova. My sister rode shotgun. My parents picked her up after the adventures of the first week. They surprised me with a bed, a kitchen set, and a china cabinet.
I had no china. I said thank you, gave them a hug, and looked up in time to see the fading image of a map to Australia in the cabinet’s glass doors.
Fast forward. I was okay working reception and in the parts department and was hired! Computer parts warehouse gal! Helping techs go Fix! Fix! Fix! Stuff.
Go ahead! Ask me the part number for a VT100 monitor board – 70-16175-01…hang on, nope, 70- 13195-01….-02 for the upgrade. LA120 printer motherboard was….yeah, I know. Now I’m just showing off.
Not my dream, but $7.50 an hour was not to be sniffed at in 1984. I had worked at a small paper as a cub – minimum wage. University was not going to happen because ….well, that story would cost half a bottle of wine. I’m okay sharing.
I learned a ton – I flew all over western Canada. My dad said to take care of my job. I was trained, challenged, and learned to drink coffee by the pot! I met my husband – that’s an entire bottle of wine story, mostly because I will have to share it with him!
Along came Quality Service Training- this was the late 80s. Hosted by the Big Managers.
It was a terrible session – whiteboards and transparencies read to a room of adults. I don’t do boring well – not even during the mess that was my early 20s.
The very important manager called for volunteers. Cue collective groan – No one loves roleplaying – but I was bored, and I’d been doing it since I was 4. (See future blog)
I gulped hard and flickered to the front, grabbing a paper napkin along the way, and suddenly, I WAS the preacher lady, destined to Divinely Inspire and Proclaim the Truths and Path to Quality and Beyond!! Details are fuzzy…. I was 21, and now I am…. well, not 21 anymore.
I felt fantastic! The room joined as I sang, swayed, and hyped us all to Quality Baptism with a paper napkin collar, whiteboard, colored markers, and a most spectacular southern accent!
My accents are legendary. I lapse into them when around actual accents. Until the gal from Mexico starts talking Spanish or the guy from Ukraine assumes my English is bad… there was the time….but yeah – that’s a tequila story for later.
I inspired sales professionals, engineers, and management toward the Bright Light of Quality Service and Ultimate Salvation.
How had I hidden in the warehouse? Manager meetings were scheduled.
Linda was the worst. She stopped taking notes and closed her binder. My volunteer work and speaking experience were fine…. but no actual education.
Apparently, I wasted her time.
A sales gal recommended me to a wine company. They loved me and my enthusiasm, but there were too many people with beautifully framed certificates to pick from. The summer I spent selling vacuum cleaners as a student didn’t count.
I don’t drink that wine – actually – I don’t think they exist anymore.
An office equipment company hired me. Me plus 3. Only one would be left standing. I decided it would be me.
Four years later, I was painting my kitchen. My phone rang. Several times. A radio station I didn’t listen to needed a salesperson, and it sounded – to the people phoning me – that they were looking for me.
I didn’t hear the ad, wasn’t looking for a job, and I sure didn’t like that station.
But maybe, I would meet the office manager and then sell them office stuff. The station was two blocks from my house, and I dropped off my resume.
Six interviews later, I wasn’t going to another one. I didn’t need to.
28 years later, I’d say the ad worked for them. And me.
I love radio recruiting. Word of mouth to the next level. Not education or experience unless you are a nuclear physicist. Even then, it’s about who you are, the kind of person a company needs. People who hear the ad and think, “Hey, I better call Leah…they are looking for her.” You get the person who is not looking. Current employees and clients hear you are growing and the type of person you hire. It’s a glowing spotlight.
Radio recruitment. Talk to the parents, friends, and tribe of the people you should hire.
It’s a pivotable part of growing your business.