Life of a Salesman

I had not realized that it has been a little over three months since I last posted here until WordPress notified me that my blog was now two years old. Life has kept me busy, and my apologies for having neglected you, my loyal readers.

So, what have I been up to? On June 10th, I started my first full-time job. The long hours have me concussed every night by about 11 or 12 (yes, I know that is shocking), and not wanting to even look at my blog, let alone my laptop. As you can guess from the title of this post, I work as a salesman of sorts (for those of you that don’t get the reference, go read Death of a Salesman). My official job title is “recruitment consultant” in the oil and gas industry. So, what exactly do I do?

Recruitment consultants are glorified matchmakers that earn significantly more money than our romantic counterparts. Essentially, we play the middle men and women that find suitable candidates/employees for our clients/employers. Whether or not this match made in heaven lasts for just a few months (contract placement) or an eternal happily ever after (permanent placement) is entirely up to the wants and needs of our client.

Jokes aside, the reality of the job is a large database of CVs, several hours a day on the phone, and an intricate mix of goals, jargon, and good old fashioned swearing on the sales floor. Every day I walk into work, I feel like I have teleported back into the UK. With a healthy mix of expatriates and Singaporeans, the company I work for is based out of London, so the majority of the senior management and consultants are British. The following are some gems that I have heard on the sales floor during my first month:

“Is this a sponsored silence now? GET ON THE ****ING PHONES GUYS!”

“Do you have Whatsapp? You know, that new-fangled thing that youths are using nowadays?”

“There are now five pregnant women in the office. [Girl’s name], you better be careful. It’s going around.”

“Is that a rooster in the background!? Mate, can you do something about it…like cut its head off or something? It’s costing you a job.”

Needless to say, my days are very interesting, if not extremely tiring. On paper, my job hours are 9am to 6pm, but like all sales jobs, the reality is not so pleasant. Work hours start at 8:30am, and we usually do not start leaving until between 6:30 and 7pm. I do not want you to get the impression that this is a bad thing; the time flies by and it often does not feel like there are enough hours in the day to finish what you need to do. The company is aware of how hard we work – we do get longer lunches on Wednesday to help us overcome Hump Day Blues (otherwise known as Wednesdays, for the uninformed out there), and they do try to make us go home earlier on Fridays…or at least move work downstairs to the pub.

Also, with a British working environment comes a British drinking culture. Beers (and sodas for those that do not or can not drink) are served to the sales floor on Friday afternoons, and more often than not, people leave work to hit the pub – usually with the bosses buying rounds. Incentive lunches and paid-for vacations also involve significant amounts of alcohol, but it is a fantastic way for colleagues to bond and unwind together. The company has even made a special arrangement with the pub downstairs: every employee at our company gets 1-for-1 drinks any time, any day. We spend approximately 12 hours a day together – more time than with our families – so why shouldn’t we enjoy playing hard together after working hard together?

It also helps that I have a couple of friends that also work in the same company. Though we work for different brands, it helps to have people that are living the same life as you are and you can make jokes with them outside the workplace. Also, built-in lunch group – enough said.

Is is a stressful job? Yes it is. Is it a lucrative job? Not yet, but I know it will be. Despite the hours and the difficulty, for a first job, I feel like I have hit the jackpot. I have wonderfully supportive colleagues, patient bosses, and a company that rewards hard work. What else can you ask for?

Now, if only my brain would stop hallucinating the sounds of 20 phones ringing all at once…

Photo credit: Six Figure Phone Sales

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