Monday, January 27, 2014
I was an active participant in FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) in high school. My club was new and still figuring it all out which mostly meant more fun, less structure. We traveled in yellow buses and hung out in hotels watching late-night movies. We paraded around in business attire for competitions and won a surprising amount of awards.
One competition continues to surface in my mind from time to time. I had naively signed up for an event that was something to the effect of “Telephone Marketing.” In my pinstripe skirt and closed-toe pumps, I was shown into a small room with a desk, a telephone, and a prompt about some made-up company’s product. I had some time to study the prompt and then the phone rang. A man’s voice on the other line, low and deliberately slow, began asking me about the product. I was supposed to answer his questions, hitting all the bullets and features to effectively sell the product.
I was dreadful. I muttered and mumbled and stuttered and stumbled. I could hear in his voice that he knew I was doing a terrible job, and I’m sure he could hear in my voice that I knew that he knew that I was doing a terrible job. It was humiliating and my only saving grace was that I had those four walls to hide my shame.
Nearly ten years later, I will be at work and a project appears without much detail and a short deadline. And I have to chuckle because sometimes real life feels just like an FBLA prompt from an imaginary boss to prove my “deductive reasoning” and “quick action” skills. Seemingly I’m still 16 in a 25-year-old body just faking it each time I’m given any responsibility (people really trust me with things?!). I hope one day I will actually feel like a full-fledged, professional adult, but now I remind myself that I am not a Telephone Sales Rep for ABC Company and boy is life good.