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Are you thinking about a career in sales? In this interview, a man who started in an entry level sales and marketing job shares his first experiences in the working world, including struggling to build effective relationships with his subordinates, and the discouragement he felt when he wasn't moving up the ladder as he had hoped.

Q:What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?

A:I was a field representative for a direct marketing firm. I worked for this firm for two years. Hardworking,optimistic, and ambitious are three adjectives that best fit me.

Q:What's your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what works best?

A:I am male and my ethnicity is Caucasian. I can't recall any incidences of prejudice or discrimination based on my race that affected my job performance.

Q:How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A:My job as a field representative was to talk to as many customers as possible about the client, which ranged from pizza restaurants to sports campaigns. As a direct sales field representative, my job was to venture out into the field, consisting of business to business and residential advertising. The goal was to increase the client's customer base by presenting a VIP card that saves them money through the use of vouchers or coupons. A common stereotype about direct sales is that representatives can be overly assertive at times, but I got to know a lot of professionals that were very passionate about what they did and that is sometimes misconstrued as arrogant or pushy.

Q:On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A:On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my job satisfaction as an "8", with 10 being extremely satisfied. Some aspects that would increase my enthusiasm would be less hours and higher commission per sale.

Q:If this job moves your heart. how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A:There were times when this job did tug at my heart. For instance, the office had a welcoming atmosphere for all returning marketing professionals, where you could feel the positivity and excitement. It created an enriching environment for current sales reps and prospective applicants. Reps who were able to reach a certain sales quota were able to ring the bell, which sent a surge of energy throughout the office. When I did not have an interviewee with me, being out in the field all by myself would make me wonder about the opportunity ahead of me. For a while, I thought that this opportunity was my calling in life, but I just couldn't seem to advance in the training program and eventually became burn out

I think a career in advertising or illustration which focused more on the design aspect of marketing might have been more appealing to me.

Q:Is there anything unique about your situation the readers should know concerning your experiences or accomplishments?

A:Something unique about my situation when I started with this company was that I was fresh out of college with no advertising or sales training. Also, the fact that I didn't have a car presented another challenge, but was not a major obstacle that hindered my job performance.

Q:How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A:I got started in this career by simply answering an ad in the paper that advertised that they were hiring hard working, motivated professionals to expand their offices. If I could go back and do it differently, I would have tried to have more fun and relax, as I was often accused of being too diligent when training others.

Q:What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led to this lesson?

A:A lesson that I learned the hard way when doing this job was to always lead by example and to build better relationships with my team members. This could probably be attributed to the fact that I was so young when I started with the company. Although I took care of my sales team, I was often more focused on making money than building a long lasting team. Something that happened specifically is that one individual that was on my team was not showing up to work with a positive attitude and not reaching the desired sales quota. As I attempted to work with him, I noticed that he began making sarcastic comments and arriving late to work. I soon learned that it was because I didn't develop a strong enough relationship with him.

Q:What is the singlemost important thing you learned outside of school about the working world?

A:What I've learned outside of school about the working world is the value of hard work and also not to let anyone discourage you in pursuing your dreams.

Q:What's the strangest thing that ever happened to you on this job?

A:The strangest thing that ever happened to me in this job was when someone said "I'll take four" after I completed my presentation. This is very unheard of in this business without some sort of prompting on the part of the sales rep.

Q:Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

A:What motivated me to get up every day was the amazing opportunity of the management training program and the fact that it gave me self-esteem. The week that I made century club, which was an honor reserved for those who reach 100 sales in one week, was the proudest event at the job.

Q:What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you want to just quit?

A:Outside influences that were beyond my control such as rain and snow made me want to quit sometimes, but I feel like these obstacles only made me tougher.

Q:How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable and healthy work life balance? How?

A:My position wasn't very stressful due to the fact that the office created a fun and relaxed environment, free from negativity. It was very hard to be stressed at this type of job because of all the supportive and positive people that surround you. A healthy work life balance was hard to achieve because of the long work hours.

Q:What 's a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A:A rough salary range was $20,000 annually. It allowed me to live rather comfortably in a nearby apartment and paid by bills without any major problems.

Q:How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

A:I didn't take a vacation while at this job.

Q:What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

A:The skills that are helpful in this job are good communication and marketing skills. It doesn't hurt to have a college degree in advertising or marketing.

Q:What kind of friend considering your line of work?

A:If a friend was considering this position, I would tell him or her to prepare themselves for adversity and a challenging career.

Q:If you could write your own ticket, what you like to be doing in five years?

A:If I could write my own ticket, I would like to be working as a freelance illustrator.