Friday, October 31, 2008
....just thinking aloud (WARNING: this one may be boring)
People blog about everything right?? Blogging isn't just to keep the people back home entertained with shenanigans and half-witted stories, its a modern day journal of sorts, on the go - yet for the world to read and form their own opinions of the thoughts that, before, were usually kept in a "private place." So here ya go...
So I haven't been here a week yet and I haven't seen much more than a ton of SCUBA shops that all look the same. The language barrier hasn't gotten to me yet, doubt it really will because in this country a smile works just as good as any common word. The Thai people are wonderful and the location is paradise, what more could you want? A free trip out here? Well amigos, I was taught a long time ago "theres no such thing as free lunch."
I studied Politics and Spanish in college, two things that don't get you too far in a European- driven SCUBA diving market, based halfway around the world from everything familiar and dominated by languages far from romantic. I believe some people were born to sit behind a desk and crunch numbers, and I know that population didn't include me - unromantic languages here I come. I have never been satisfied with simple and easy and I now have a dream job ( and no I am NOT writing that just because my boss has a link to this), that is far from simple and its not easy. I never once thought it would be, and so par for the course accepted the challenge paired with an opportunity to travel, took the sales position and didn't look back.
Let me tell you, selling SCUBA books is every bit of the challenge I thought it would be. Jumping in feet first to an industry I had no previous knowledge of has only increased it. Its like learning another language, however unromantic it maybe, "need a BC?" "hows the viz?" yeah those are the easy ones. Not so much like riding a bike.
This sales trip was a bit different of a set up. I will be paid a base salary to be here in Thailand for 8 weeks, was handed a plane ticket, hotel reservations and a car and told "this place is a gold mine"... yet, it ain't free folks. I'm not out galavanting around, sight-seeing and meeting new people, this is what independence and self-motivation is all about. Make the money first and then you can play - well then you can AFFORD to play.
I guess the one thing I did learn in Politics and have brought to the table is a tough skin. To be repeatedly told NO and yet keeping going back for more is something not everyone is cut out for. "No I don't like your book." "No these aren't the species people commonly see in our waters." "No my divers DO NOT speak english" "No I dont want to take a chance on your new product, what we have right now works just great" "Nope sorry too expensive" "NO NO NO NO NO"
Shit, if I had given up at the first NO I would have stopped at West Plam Beach back in June. But telling myself that, in all honesty, doesn't make it any easier. As glamorous and jet-setting as my job may seem thats far from reality. My friends tease me.. I constantly get messages "So what country are you in today?"... Don't get me wrong I have enjoyed every minute of my travels with SCUBA dictionary, I have seen more in the past 6 months than most people could imagine seeing in a lifetime, but guys lets face reality - people aren't knockin' on my door to buy what I am selling.
Its tough disappointing people (especially the boss man), its tough dealing with the bullshit people try to feed you, its tougher introducing a new product to such a money driven industry (they like what they have and they are sticking with it), but such is sales. You aren't going to please everyone all the time - yep thats what my mom always tells me. Ya just move on and do what it takes to get the job done, no excuses.
Not ever have I really known what it feels like to HAVE TO stretch my money. Up until now I have had a steady, twice a month pay check to count on, that was enough to pay my bills, have fun, AND travel without second thoughts. This job has been an eye-opener; when your paycheck is based 100% on the outcomes of your efforts it is stressful. When you outcomes are effected by the weather (ie: hurricanes) or the economy (Thank you Mr. Bush - yep I went there, sorry guys) it is stressful.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, DO NOT GET ME WRONG! I would not trade this opportunity for the world... it has taught me a lot about myself, my abilities to step outside my comfort zone, my motivation to meet my goals and the worth of my independence and self-drive. I don't want to go home, I don't want to quit, and I don't want to be poor (who does, right?).
I just need a little time to regroup - and NO - not with a brightly colored drink with an umbrella, handed to me by Fabio, while doing some faux soul-searching from a lounge chair on the white sands of Phuket. I need to stop and absorb the feedback, recalculate my strategies and try again, because giving up doesn't pay the bills (and the only Sugar Daddies over here are the ones looking for Thai women). I am not discouraged, I haven't been here long enough to even try and claim that one, just trying to gain my footing in an unfamiliar & rocky territory in which everyone else seems to pass through with ease and security.