Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Part III – The Cracks Start To Appear!

At the time I did not get the bigger corporate picture of what the company was trying to achieve. They had created this new telesales department to see if they could improve profit margins by lowering their overhead costs and by drastically improving conversion rates from prospect to clients.

Their new business model worked! Soon the department grew and within a year I was in charge of three more telesales people for the German speaking countries, involved in recruiting, training and motivating my own team of specialists.

Now the pressure was on with my own cost centre, budgets, concerns for targets and profit margins as well as staffing issues.

The 9 – 5 didn’t seem to be feasible anymore. There was always so much to do and as a perfectionist, I could not rest until everything was done, and was done, just right!

My superiors loved my enthusiasm and commitment and the more I was prepared to take on, the more they would throw at me. The incentives were becoming more enticing and soon I was completely sucked in.

Although I wasn’t home every night to tuck my little guy into bed, I told myself:” That’s o.k., I am there for him all weekend! And when we are together, we can now afford great outings to special places!” Thing is, did my three year old care about any of the fancy stuff?

I can tell you that my husband cared a great deal about having to take care of things especially now that my job had turned into a career.

To be continued…

Monday, January 19, 2009

Part II - Balance? But of course!

So there I was on my first day, enthusiastic, devoted and completely green to the corporate world!

Looking back it still surprises me how I persevered, overcoming language barriers and coping with new terminologies, complex software and services propositions and the sheer difficulty of learning the skills of telemarketing.

After my initial training week which was spent in all various departments including the manufacturing facilities, I was let loose on potential clients.
The company provided me with a phone, pen and paper and a telephone directory, wished me good luck and sent me on my merry ways!

In those days, a computer was a luxury and the internet was not really readily available, yet.
I was taught that cold calling is a numbers game! The more times you try, the greater the chance that you will speak to someone who is interested. And although I heard a whole lot of: “Not today, thank you!”, I was determined to keep this job.
It wasn’t long before I sharpened my ‘spiel’, refined my closing techniques and enjoyed my first taste of success. My first order was for 20 media cartridges and the value could have been not more than $240 but it felt as if I had just landed the biggest deal possible. I had made it!

That afternoon I went home celebrating with my family, treating us all to a special dinner – so far for any commission earned?!

While work was moving along and more little successes started to trickle in, my world primarily evolved around life at home. I worked to live and my husband and son always came first. That’s how it will always be, won’t it?

To be continued…..

Monday, January 12, 2009

Starting Out

I will never forget my first corporate appointment for a global IT company. My son Louis was only two years old when my husband, who had until that time served in the British Armed Forces, given me the opportunity to be a ‘stay at home mum’, spending the first two precious years with my little baby.

Now, that we were leaving the army there was no choice but to find a job that paid the mortgage. Initially working as a hotel receptionist, I soon found that the work/ pay/ life balance didn’t add up and when a position in ‘telesales’ with a normal 9-5, Monday to Friday opportunity came along, of course I did not hesitate. Ideal! Because at least I could spend the important bedtimes with Louis, cook a healthy meal and even read him a story. Perfect!

The IT company was looking to fill an international telesales position for the German market based out of Wales, UK and as a German National I was delighted to be able to utilize my mother tongue.

A minor detail was that I had no idea what ‘telesales’ actually meant. I knew it had something to do with sales. Well, and that was ok! But the only ‘tele’ I had ever heard of, was the television set in our home! I thought, “it’s regular hours and that is all I care about.”

Can you imagine my shock when I realized, I had gotten myself into a highly technical, totally male dominated industry?! And little did I know that this would be the beginning of an immense career, questioning the serene family life as I knew it.

To be continued….