Thursday, January 29, 2009

Personal advancement


I was just over at Lidian's "KitchenRetro" blog, reading her current post, and her retro ads reminded me of a telemarketing call I received several years ago about changing career fields.

The name of the company in question was something like "Foley-Belsaw" and they had ads on all the back pages of comic books and inserts in all the Sunday Parade magazines. Anyway.

At the time I was the Branch Manager for a Texas Savings & Loan, the tiny "branch" being located in far-away Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our purpose for existing was to originate mortgage loans, which the home office would then fund. This meant I spent half of my workday sucking up to real estate agents and getting them drunk enough to steer their buyers to my company when it came time for them to apply for their home loan, regardless of my interest rate. The rest of my day was spent fighting with FHA and VA bureaucrats, trying to convince them that my buyers were not really deadbeats, and the U.S. government should by all means insure or guarantee every loan package I placed in their in-baskets.

I was moderately successful. I may have even been responsible for the current economic crisis. Who knows. This was... ummmm... more than 10 years ago. I was a very young go-getter. Much too young and go-getting for such a responsible position which came with a new company car and a credit card, in addition to the keys to the office. But I was the only one who knew the ins and outs of government home loan programs (that's a different story) who lived in Albuquerque who was willing to work for a really paltry salary as long as I had a free shiny car to drive around. Plus the S&L president had no desire to leave Texas more than once, so he hired me immediately and I drove him to the airport and never saw him again.

The actual loan processing (verifications-collecting and government form typing) was done by my wonderfully inept secretary, Janice (not her real name)*, a young immigrant from England I had hired for an even paltrier salary because I owed her husband money. Janice was an incompetent typist who put all those extra "U"s in her words, who claimed to be a high school graduate from some unpronounceable inner-city London high school (not really unpronounceable, I just couldn't understand Janice), but was a friendly receptionist. Unfortunately it took her an hour to take a loan application because neither the husband or wife sitting in front of her desk could comprehend her accent. I don't know if it was cockney or what. It damn sure wasn't Oxford. Janice was my only employee. Affable, yet unwilling.

Honest to God, this post is really about a telemarketing call I received from Foley-Belsaw. Or whatever their name was.

So, one Saturday morning I am at home kicking back and the phone rings. A nice telemarketing lady from Foley-Belsaw. This was before the days when I automatically screamed obscenities and hung up on telemarketers.

Here I should say that as a teenager working at a movie theatre (that's how the owner spelled it) taking tickets for, like, $13 a week and sex from the popcorn girl down in the storeroom (also a different story), I was desperate enough to mail in a coupon for information about how to make something of my life from Foley-Belsaw. Or whatever their name was.

That is the only way I can think of that they got my name. Not sure how they got my phone number. Perhaps it was only a coincidence.

So the nice lady told me she was calling to help me improve my lot in life, employment-wise, and I'm thinking maybe she is going to help me get promoted to VP at the home office. Turns out her idea of career advancement involved learning how to repair small engines.

"Do you think you might be interested in something like that, sir?"

"Ummm... interested in WHAT?"

"Learning to repair small engines. Like boat motors and lawnmowers."

"No. Why would I?"

Here I could hear the pages in her script being shuffled in the background.

"Perhaps welding?"

"Welding? What about welding?" I still hadn't grasped the purpose of her call. "You're not from the home office, are you?"

"Yes, sir, I am. Foley-Belsaw. Or whatever our name is."

"Ummm... I work for a mortgage loan company. I am their local manager."

"Refrigeration."

"What?"

"I think your future might lie in repairing large commercial refrigeration units."

"Why would you think that?"

"I just do. Now let me just verify your mailing address... "

"Okay."

Pause.

"Well, sir, actually I don't HAVE your mailing address. I was wanting for you to give it to me."

"I don't think so. But I really appreciate your interest in me."

"Forestry technician."

Finally I got wise and hung up. But I said "Sorry, no thanks" before I did.

That's what Lidian's post today reminded me of.

*Actually Janice was her real name. Who cares?

6 comments:

Bill said...

It's a shame you disconnected at forestry technician.
I'll bet that saw blade sharpener would have been her next offer.

That's the way of life, though. Two roads diverge, and whether we take the one that's trodden black or the one with grass up to our armpits, there's no going back.

Relax Max said...

Hi Bill. Yes, they had quite a list of correspondence classes to offer. Saw sharpening was one of them I believe. Not that all of those are not honorable, just not for me at the time.

ettarose said...

You did not even let her get to dental hygienist, what the hell? I heard there is good money in that.

Lidian said...

I didn't even know there WERE forestry technicians! I particularly like how she asks you for address verification as a means to trick you into giving the as-yet-unknown address.

Thank you for the link, and I am so glad that KR inspired you!

Lidian

Janet said...

That's the most entertaining account of telemarketing I've ever read.

Relax Max said...

@Ettarose - Yes, dental hygienist would have been tempting, but she never got that far. Thanks for stopping by funny girl. ;)

@Lidian - Yes, I'm quite sure it was Forestry Technician. Not entirely sure what that is. But that is only because I didn't take the course.

I was so dumb I thought she was going to read my address so I could say yes or no. I am much smarter now. :)

@Janet - Hey, look who's back! And thank you for the compliment. You're such a smoothie. :)

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