Sunday, March 04, 2007

Always Be Closing II: Another company thinks I would manage sales people -- weird

I had talked about this a bit with my "Always Be Closing" on Nov. 29, 2006, at this link. About three weeks ago, on a Friday evening around 6 PM, I got a call from a recruiter about my resume
and it wasn't my Dice resume (for information technology). I went in to a suburban office park in Northern Virginia for the interview. The deal was that they make arrangements to sell surplus capacity of businesses -- especially restaurants -- by word-of-mouth salesmen at shopping malls, door-to-door, etc., offering deals with a lot of proceeds to go to a charity.

Now, my first reaction is, I don't like to be approached this way myself, so I don't approach people in public that way. But I can't pour cold water on the idea too much. Keep the ice cubes out. After all, going to a mall, be it Tysons in No. Virginia or the Mall of America in Minneapolis, is a bit of a social experience.

And think about The Donald Trump and The Apprentice. Many of his tasks involve having his teams set up kiosks or exhibits at malls or on NYC or (now) LA streets to attract customers. That is OK. If you have a contest, a drawing, prizes, or a benefit, and attract visitors (maybe even to meet a celebrity) and want to sell something (be it lemonade, paintings, or tickets to the opera), and have some proceeds for a charity, that is certainly fine. So I can see how that could be OK. In August 2005, in fact, I went to the King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia, where Teen People had an exhibit, and got to talk to both Gregory Smith (Ephram) and Chris Pratt (Bright) from TheWB Everwood while the Teen People exhibit blasted the song "It's hard out here for a p--p" from Hustle and Flow. Since I hang around the movies, and especially did so with IFP when I lived in Minneapolis, I can see how this kind of thing could work.

One area where there is a lot of excess capacity is movie theater seats, especially during the week. One idea to fill seats could be to play licensed tapes of concerts and operas, just as Regal has started some Saturday afternoon closed circuit broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera.

I worked 14 months as a called for the Minnesota Orchestra in the 2002-2003 period before coming back to the DC area. We would call for the Young Peoples Concerts for the Guaranty Fund for the Orchestra. So I am familiar with the concept of arts development and with the idea that it can go some where.

One other thing about this job call: I was supposed to supervise or train other runners in the mall or street after two weeks. There is nothing in my resume that suggests being a manager for the sake of being a manager, unless the job refers to content that I myself have developed. I wonder about this. If I take a job requiring direct reports just for their own sake, that can cause conflict of interest problems with my writing.

I will keep everyone posted.


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