On Having Thick Skin

I wrote here about how, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten thicker skin, my feelings get hurt less often. It took me a long time to realize those slights I imagine from others have less to do about me and more to do about what’s going on with them and their life.  I’ve learned not to take everything so personally; the universe does not, in fact, revolve around me and most people are focused on their own world, not on what I’ve said or done.

I’ve started a new endeavor and it’s testing the thickness of my skin. I am undertaking a part-time sales job; I don’t want this post to be about the product but rather about the process I’m going through. If you’re interested in what I’m selling you can check out my page but no hurt feelings if you don’t. When I first discovered the accessory I’m selling I loved it! I bought one, then a few days later went online and ordered two more as gifts. My shipment was lost in the mail and an employee from the company called me to sort things out. Long story short, I asked about selling the line and, about fours weeks later, I am.

I work full-time as a sales rep in an entirely different field. If you’ve read anything about me (here’s one post, there are others)  you know I’m searching…searching, career-wise, for a job I can be passionate about, searching for fulfillment, searching for that next thing I’m supposed to do. I am struggling, feel like I’m in the middle of a change although it all looks the same from the outside. I have no idea if this new thing is the next thing I’m supposed to be doing but, for today, I’m doing it;  I thought I’d give it a whirl and see where I go, where I end up.

I am so excited about this line that I assumed, naively,  it would be an easy sell and I would often hear “yes” when asked if I can make an appointment to come in with samples. Of course it’s necessary to get through, via telephone, to the right person which is a feat in of itself these days. I know from experience in my full-time job that people don’t want to answer the phone, prefer email where they can read my message (or not) at their leisure. I have the good fortune of having built up relationships with my customers and can usually expect a reply. I’m starting from zero in this new situation, don’t have any contacts to speak of, am basically cold calling which has been a challenge. I have had to be resourceful in getting the right person’s contact information, usually being instructed to email them. I can read between the lines, understand my email is in a list of unopened, unread and unsolicited emails asking them to look at the next great thing. On the rare occasions I’ve talked to a live person, usually with the help of a mutual friend’s referral, I’ve assumed I would get the appointment. Instead of all those “yeses” I was expecting to hear I’ve been hit with one “no” after another. They’re very polite “nos,” explaining the line wouldn’t be a good fit for their store “thank you for thinking of us, but no thank you.”

Initially, each “no” brings a wave of disappointment, each “no” makes me question my taste. Soon after that gut reaction each “no” reminds me it’s not a personal attack on me or my taste. Each “no” reminds me I need thick skin if I’m going to try to sell an accessory line to a store that may be overstocked with accessories right now. Each “no” will make that first “yes, come on in” all the sweeter. If I stick with it I am hopeful of hearing “yes.”  I have a problem being patient; I want to hear “yes” now and every time. I have no idea where this is going to lead me but, for now, I’m going along for the ride, all the way. Who knows, maybe I’m not meant to sell anything, maybe I’m meant to learn patience.


2 replies

  1. I believe we’re all meant to learn patience. Bravo on going with sales! I would have been long dead from starvation if I’d ever gone that route. Onward with thick skin. 🙂

    • Thanks Eric. Here’s to patience and thick skin. I won’t quit my day job; would be starving right about now with this new opportunity. Thanks for reading and appreciate your comments. Have a great long weekend.

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