It was just the other morning that my son looked me straight in the face and called me a poop. Like a good father, I addressed the behavior but this on top of earlier being told I was no longer his friend made it hard to win the day.
Maybe this treatment wouldn’t be so bad if my job didn’t require me to pretend to be happy. But my job requires zest, joy, and resilience. I’m in sales.
It would be great to have a job that didn’t require a good attitude, something like bill collecting or cage fighting. Those career paths don’t rely on a good smile and a firm handshake, the only requisites are the absence of a soul and a comfort with getting drop-kicked in the face respectively. In those professions, the verbal barbs of a child don’t hamper job performance if anything every comment fuels success.
It may seem trite but being told I’m a poop makes it hard for me to have the winner’s mindset that is common to salespeople. The winner’s mindset is the attitude all sales managers expect from their reps. It means we are positive, focused and indefatigable in face of rejection and verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse is a common response when dealing with people who won’t buy what your selling. And given that it’s a part of the job you’d think I’d be immune to my five-year-olds jabs. I should be he’s just a boy, but it’s different when it’s your blood, it hurts.
I don’t mind a prospect calling me a leech or even being told I’m cancer to their day. But being called a poop, from my son? It stings.
At thirty-five I know I should be stronger but I can’t help being transported back to the schoolyard. I think I could have dismissed the comment if, when hugging him goodbye, he didn’t pinch his nose and wave my breath away. That’s an image I won’t be able to cast off, it’ll linger the rest of day. Before every meeting, I’ll find myself repeating the ritual of blowing into my hands and smelling my breath. I’ll spend a small fortune on IceBreakers and be ever vigilant to stay away from ethnic foods at lunch.
With my new title, poop, and my stinky breath, there’s no confusion about my place in life. I’m a bonafide turd. At least, that’s what keeps running through my mind. It’s early, 7:30 am, and already it’s a safe to chalk today into the loss column. Tomorrow will be better.
Also published on Medium.