My first reaction when the new marketing director suggested that I sell myself surprised me.
“Why didn’t I think of that?” I asked.
I was being facetious. I hope.
“Because you’re not in charge of marketing and promotion,” M answered with a self-satisfied smile. She was as serious as a successful sale.
We had bonded immediately upon M’s employment as the second woman hired in a non-secretarial positon at the company.
Six months earlier, I had become the first female in the northeast office to sell outdoor advertising space.
Now, each morning when M and I arrived at 8:30, the doors of the bleak old building flew open to our new ideas, fresh enthusiasm, and bold determination to “make it” in a men’s only enclave.
Think of two women throwing their hats at tradition (Mary Tyler Moore-style, for those of you old enough to remember).
I was already halfway there; sales from my visits to Mom & Pop stores were booming.
M wanted to create a crescendo.
“You’re young and pretty. We can use those attributes to increase your sales,” M explained matter-of-factly, throwing out charts and statistics on how my brand of selling could outpace the “big guys.”
“They just wine and dine the same old chaps from the tobacco and alcohol companies to get contracts renewed. We’re going to reach a newer, better market,” she asserted.
M pitched her idea to the President and Vice President.
The two men loved her proposal.
With their approval, M developed a new marketing brochure for the decades-old firm, a promotion startlingly different from their staid black-&-white-font-on-stiff-white-paper that stated: “Outdoor Advertising Sells,” with a bunch of numbers that supposedly proved the claim.
Now, BOLD red letters on the front page of a glossy brochure proclaimed:
Do It on the Road
Underneath the words, a color headshot,
of me . . .
and my name.
Despite my discomfort, I acknowledgd the brilliance of the design.
Short and Snappy
Clever and Cute
Less is More
M mailed hundreds of the brochures to current and potential clients.
I lost count of how many I delivered to small stores in a 40-mile radius of our headquarters.
I received chuckles as doors opened for me to explain how outdoor advertising could help sales for the gift shop, the garden nursery, the dry cleaner, and the bookstore.
My sales rocketed.
But I heard Pauline’s voice every morning as I drove down a New Jersey country highway to a prospective client (see A Towering Tongue Twisting Career Turn).
Pauline, my first boss . . .
. . . for a feminist newspaper.
“Pamela, what the hell are you doing?”
Her voice got so insistent that I started defending myself, out loud, while alone. Although I never visited Pauline or called her or asked her advice, I knew how she’d answer my lame justifications.
I listened to my gut. I explored deep inside.
I picked up my hat and ….
… I quit.
Have you ever left a job because of a moral or value-based decision?
Thanks to Google images.