They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Metanoia Ergasia

Six months in, and I am still very much at odds with the concepts of Sales and Marketing as a whole. I am also at odds with working with my Dad. However, I am slightly more comfortable with the daily dynamics of that, than I am with my lingering reservations about this shift in my career. I am learning quite a bit through this process--not so much necessarily about sales only, but about myself, how I react to Life, and how others react to Life as well.

Firstly, I have come to understand that while I was a Scientist, it was of common, professionally-held value to maintain an attitude of diffident skepticism; one of "No, That Won't Work." Being able to prove that notion, empirically and efficiently, was an added benefit. (This shows perhaps how limited my science experience really was.)

On the other hand, I have learned while I have been a Salesman, adopting an attitude of "Yes, That Will Work," is valued. As a result, the ability to use both creativity and relationships to actually make it so, seems to differentiate one Salesman from another. Being able to do it quickly and efficiently is the difference between a good salesman and an outstanding one.

I have learned that many, many people, either through deliberate intent or social stupidity, are perfectly comfortable using emotional manipulation and false data to manipulate an individual into assisting them. I have learned that such people rarely understand a sacrifice made on their behalf, should one buy into their web of deception. Individuals can be roughly hashed into two different groups: Energy Makers, and Energy Takers. There are both subtle and obvious signs for either. Determining who is an Energy Taker preserves one's own mental energy. (Subnote: by using such kitschy expressions, I inadvertently put my Life in the hands of other trite platitudes that may find homes on Bumper Stickers, fortune cookie tags, and Successories(tm) crap. Undecided about appropriate level of worry required this point.)

I have realized that, as a general rule, I am still Working for Money, whereas I should instead be Creating Money. The difference is important to understand, being a quasi-business owner, née corporate lab drone. I am accustomed to managing the fallout; the mess-ups; the repairs. It feels natural and comfortable to me--even when someone is yelling down the phone--I feel in my element when I am managing someone's Drama. What I must learn instead, is the part inextricably tied to actually selling. It is infinitely more productive, at least in theory. It's in the mode of Creation, rather than Repair. Whole new worlds of thought.

Lastly: Mentors.

I have learned that not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have a mentor in all areas of their lives. Sometimes, it would seem that one is asked to tackle the Big Events without any buffer, or any real reliable advice or guidance. This realization has been a tough one. I think I rather expected some sort of Indian Guide to appear on the scene and endow me with the knowledge to handle things in a cool-as-dammit matter. Instead, making it through such challenges seems first and foremost, to require intuition. Waking up my sense of intuition has been a slow process, that proceeds in a fashion roughly similar to how I wake up on a Monday morning. (By hitting "Snooze" several hundred times. )

In those moments where one may fervently desire the guidance of a mentor or a guru, but none seem available, friends make an excellent resource. They can usually pull you sufficiently out of a cycle of self-denial and admonition that has no utility.

On an ultimately personal note:

I cannot expect my Dad to operate in the capacity of a mentor. This is a realization associated with some sadness and surprise. Dad may know things I don't, but he doesn't have the raw materials to explain them to me. As a almost-ironic consequence, I do not have the character fibre to listen to him become agitated with me when I ask questions for my own clarification. With attempting to figure out a problem or a challenge, I have learned, as I have in childhood, that it's best not to ask.

People in college and at work have pointed out in the past that I generally operate by two standards in my life: 1) Do it now, worry about forgiveness (or input) later. 2) Remain occluded and vague about any given plans or intent. I used to think that this seemingly-innate capacity for Omerta was just part of my personality. Now I know it has everything to do with how I have operated as a kid. I have to decide now, as a result of this realization, what the heck I'm going to do about it.

It's interesting, how all of this stuff cracks one open, psychologically-speaking.