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Q: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field?

A: Sales Associate for an electronics store for twenty years.

Q: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A: I take care of the customers who come into the store, helping them to select a product, and then ring them up at the register. In order for me to do my job well, I need to know about my product. The most common misunderstanding about what I do is that people think electronics sales associates are just trying to sell the most expensive television to the customer so they can make the most commission. This may be true for some associates, but many associates are actually interested in selling the customer the best product for their needs and within their budget.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A: 7. I think that if my store offered better promotions, I would have more to offer my customers. When my customers leave happy, then I am satisfied. Also, when they leave happy, they are more inclined to send their friends my way. It’s great when I can make lots of sales based on one sale going well and leading to referrals.

Q: If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A: I’m not sure that this job is my calling, even though I have been doing it for so long, but it is not a bad job. However, I believe my calling is to be an author. I love to write and it gives me much more satisfaction than selling electronics.

Q: Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

A: I am successful with what I do because I not only know my product, but my goal is to sell the customer what they are looking for. However, the customer may have already decided on a particular television prior to visiting the store, but once I determine their needs and the room in which the television will be located, I may suggest a better option. Sometimes the customer is adamant about buying their first option, believing that they know what they need because they have done their own research. In these situations I just sell that television. If I push my suggestion to a customer who is sure they made the right pick, I will only aggravate the customer and probably lose the sale.

Q: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A: I applied for the position when a friend of mine, who was working at the store, told me there were some openings. Had I known what I know now, I would have pursued a junior position in publishing. It’s so much easier to start off in an entry level position when you are fresh out of school. Employers don’t expect much from you except an education. When you are older and looking to break into a professional field, such as publishing, employers expect an education and work experience in that particular field.

Q: What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this hard-learned lesson?

A: I need to know what I am selling. I have to do my homework by seeing what is available in the store and what needs to be shipped. I have lost sales when I assured customers that product was in-house, only to find it had to be shipped.

Q: What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

A: It’s only as good as I make it. Also, no matter what I do as a job, whether it’s my chosen career, a stepping stone toward my career, or a means to make money as I decide what I want to do with my life, I have to do the best I can do. I have to work hard and give it my best. Working hard is a healthy work ethic that always leads to success, no matter what I do. Also, I now recognize that I must learn everything about the work I do. I don’t just do a job, but I become an authority in what I do. Even if the position I am in is not my chosen career, the experience I gain here is invaluable.

Q: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

A: I don’t think anything strange has happened. But I have had people try to return items that they stole.

Q: Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

A: My family is my motivation to get up and go to work every day. I feel proud that I am able to provide for my family, not only giving them what they need, but splashing out now and again on what they want. I am also an example to my children. I have taught them that if they want something, they need to go out, get a job, and make the money so they can afford it. From a very young age, my children have understood that I work for money so that we can live in the home we have, buy food, and pay bills. That’s an important lesson for anyone, no matter what age. And I am proud that I am instilling those values in my children.

Q: What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you really want to pull your hair out?

A: My challenges are selling to customers who think they know better than I do. These customers are adamant that I am just trying to selling them a product with a higher commission. They don’t believe that I actually have their best interests at heart. I want to pull my hair out when they insist on purchasing something that I know they will not be happy with, and then days later the item is returned.

Q: How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?

A: It’s pretty stressful. I have to balance my life, not my work life. I have to include healthy, stress-free activities outside of work, like going to the gym. I also need to create a healthy balance between my work and family. Even though I am tempted to complain about my day to my friends and family, I realize I need to let it go and just relax when I am home.

Q: What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A: Honestly, I make what I earn in commission. You can make between nothing $30,000.00 to $70,000.00. Some retailers offer other options for making more. Personally, I live within my means.

Q: How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

A: I take 2 week vacations and some days off here and there. I don’t think that it is enough, but it’s what most people get.

Q: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

A: There are no real qualifications needed for this position, although good communication skills are a plus, as well as knowledge of electronics.

Q: What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

A: Know what you are talking about. You cannot make things up. The customer will find out the truth and return the product eventually. And then you lose all credibility and potential referrals.

Q: If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

A: Writing a novel.