In the late 1980s, I made another “attempt” to change my life. I put my job application into a well-known women’s shoe company for an opening for an Assistant Store Manager. The hope was I would become the store manager.
During that period, Men held Management positions, not women. So, I was just happy to get an opportunity. (Note the word Opportunity)
On the day I showed up, I was introduced to another person who was also hired as the Assistant Manager….. So, began a test of my sales skills. The District Manager started to ask me to show him my sales skills. I had a shoe fetish, so selling shoes was probably the easiest thing in the world for me.
I didn’t sell one or two pairs of shoes, but 3 or 4 pairs of shoes.
So, you came in looking for dress shoes, great, let’s see what we can find. Then I showed the season’s sandals, walking shoes, and so on. So while the other girls and the new male assistant manager stood around and looked at each other, I sold.
None of the other sales personnel walked up to the customer; they let the customer pass them as they continued their little conversations. “Point here – don’t do what they did.”
Then the District store manager moved me to the front of the store. I pulled people in who were walking by the store. All fun for me. The sales personnel looked dumbfounded. My question is, what kind of sales training did the manager give them?
After selling 90% of the shoes that morning, the arrogant district sales manager said, Well, you have never sold anything out of the catalog. So let’s see how you do.
Ok, sounds good. And you wouldn’t believe what happened next. The following two women who walked through the door had size 10+ feet, and none of the shoes they were interested in were in the stock.
So, I sold two pairs of shoes to each woman.
It was pretty apparent that he couldn’t have two assistant managers. It was also evident that this was a male-dominated business, even though it was selling women’s shoes. So, I didn’t have a chance. And if you think that is anything new, it all exists today in most businesses. The opportunities go to people younger than you, of different sex, and on and on. Even when they are the least prepared for the position. But you just ignore the noise and move forward. Be strong and sing your fight song.
Later in the afternoon, I went to lunch. I thought about the distance I had to drive to get to the store, the pay, and the chances of becoming a store manager, and I never returned.
I typically would say that was a wrong decision. But, still, the truth is that it was minimum wage and a company with no leadership and no opportunity. I would hit a brick wall. If it was a simple walk or short drive to the store, no other options were available. I would have stayed, learned what I could, and continued to look for the next step, which would have been with a different company.
I would log all of my successes and update my resume.
I have long been in male-dominated industries. There will always be discrimination. I watched my husband being discriminated against in Education, which is female-dominated. Clear as day slapped him down.
I still encourage all women to go for the jobs in typically male industries, whether that be a sales position, plumbing, electrical, construction, trucking, and on and on.
Especially now, the pay is good, and there is Opportunity. So many people cannot pass a drug test; if you can, there is Opportunity.
I think you know why I say this? The pay is higher in those industries.
In the late 80s, when I started working in Cleveland, Ohio, I lived in Akron. My Dad could not understand why I would take a job in Cleveland and not stay in Akron. The answer, $20,000+ a year in Cleveland vs. $20,000+ less in Akron.
Is that a no-brainer?
So, you weigh, what is the Opportunity? And that should be one of your questions when you interview. What kind of opportunities are there?
You really have to toughen up. Keep singing your song, a file on your successes; no matter how small, you may think those successes all add up. Then, when asked interview questions, you will have your own little “arsenal” of responses you can speak on because you lived it.
Have a file folder sitting in a place you can easily access and put a note inside as you have things you can add, have learned, or experienced. When time permits, go back and organize and better explain the experience or success.
One of my favorite songs is “God Gave Me A Song” take a listen and see how you feel when you listen.
What to Write About? Writing Prompts
The discrimination you have endured and overcome
Decisions you made for the “Betterment” of your family or yourself
Why you need to add the word “Opportunity” to your vocabulary