A Misleading Ad
As I closed with in Part 3, I was living in Lincoln, NE most of the time from 1969-75
Then in October of 1975 a friend and I hitch hiked to San Antonio, TX. It was in San Antonio that my life took a major turn and set me on a completely different path – though it was one which still wouldn’t be free of drugs and alcohol. But October of ’75 did result in a major shift which altered my life and set a new course for the future.
My friend and I stayed at my sister and brother in laws house when we got to San Antonio, and we started looking for work. I answered a misleading ad in the newspaper which I remember word for word to this day. It said, “Wanted, several sharp young men and women to work in our order department. $190 week guaranteed. Long hair ok. Call ________ and ask for Mike”. That’s the exact ad. The only thing I don’t remember is the phone number.
This ad appealed to me for several reasons. First, it said “long hair ok”. Though I’d recently cut my hair it was still long compared to what most potential employers wanted. Second, it guaranteed $190 a week. In 1975 that wasn’t too bad to earn starting out. Finally it said “to work in our ‘order dept’”. I thought, “For $190 week I can work in someones order department.”
So I answered the ad.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
You’ve probably already guessed it but what I ran into when I arrived for the interview was a door to door sales job. The “order dept” was you went out in the field and wrote orders. The “$190/week guaranteed” part was guaranteed if you made 3 sales a week.
Not knowing yet this was where things were headed I walked into a room which was packed with job candidates, an extremely positive receptionist, and a couple guys walking around in 3 piece suits. I was really impressed by all that and especially by how upbeat and positive they were. This was unlike anything I’d ever been around.
The meeting started and rather than an individual interview they proceeded to tell us about the company by launching into a super slick sales pitch about selling memberships to a buying service that enabled you to buy products directly from the manufacturer or distributor. I was mesmerized as they flipped the pages and dazzled us with their charisma, wit, and charm. And I was sold – hook, line, and sinker. This was my first exposure to a sales environment and it fit me to a “T”.
The God of Money
It turned out I was really good at selling. I’d say the main reason was because as I said, I was completely sold. Reel me in. I couldn’t imagine anyone NOT wanting what we were selling. Plus, I did everything exactly the way they said to do it.
For example, they’d drive us out to apartment complexes and tell us to run between doors (even up flights of stairs, etc.) – so that’s what I did. I ran between doors. And I learned my sales presentation as good as the guys who taught it. And I started selling like crazy. And making a lot of money.
Before long I was a sales manager with my own car, etc., and I started hiring and training sales people and making an override off their sales.
From Oct of 75 ’til August of ’79 I lived on the road out of a suitcase staying in Holiday Inns. I worked everywhere from Key West, Fl to Atlanta, GA; Pensacola, FL; Jacksonville, FL; up into S.C,; all along the gulf coast; San Antonio and Dallas, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; Las Vegas, NV; Santa Monica, CA; Honolulu, HI and finally London, England.
I had weekly paychecks of anywhere from $300 – $1,700 and spent money as if I’d never run out. We’d go to the bars at night after selling and spend money as fast as we earned it. I was arrogant and thought I had the world by the tail … and money was my god.
I was also drinking every night, smoking pot daily, and using assorted other drugs as they were available. By the time I landed in London, England in the spring of ’79 my life was completely out of control. And God had plans for a different future for me, as I was about to find out.
Next – “How I Found God – Pt 5″ The Quija Board