Let’s get one thing straight…I am nobody’s grandma! I have had this nickname “Nana” since I was a child. Also, it’s pronounced “Naw Naw” and it rhymes with “Donna”!
We are all born with gifts. Mine is the ability to figure out a way to go around an obstacle that may “seem” like it is in your way.
My Love for Getting the Impossible Jobs Was Born
This started when I was 24 years old. I was in my second corporate job with a less than recognizable company, Harte Hanks Communications selling print advertising. I was married and lived in a small town at the time, Tucson, Arizona.
The one thing I knew for sure was that I had to insure my future financially. I didn’t want to be at the mercy of losing my husband’s income and not knowing where to turn or what to do.
I think that mindset came from losing my parents, my mother at 16, and my father at 20. It was then I had to hurry up and finish college, and get going with my career. I really didn’t have anyone to depend on. I had half siblings in other states that were 18 years older with their own lives. I had no family in town. Just me. I never wanted to find myself in that situation again.
My strategy was, have a STRONG RESUME to better my chance of financially supporting myself. I wanted big corporate names on my resume.
Enter Philip Morris Tobacco- you know, Marlboro cigarettes and may more.
In little sleepy Tucson, in those days, big companies were few and far between. As luck would have it, the Sunday newspaper which had the biggest job section had an ad for a sales rep for the Tucson area. OMG!
That same Sunday night, I updated my resume, ran to the library to research Phillip Morris…In those days you got your information from the University Library..that was it.
The ad stated to call the number in the ad to request an interview.
Monday morning, as I was out doing my sales calls to my customers, I ran to the pay phone, put in 10 cents and dialed the number.
“Thank you for calling the DoubleTree Hotel”. Where may I direct your call?
WHAT???!!! A hotel? The operator told me that two people from Philip Morris were taking calls, but there were 10 people on hold, so I would have to call back. “GOOD Bye” the pleasant voice said, and hung up!
I quickly called back in hopes I would hit it just right…NOPE
In between sales calls, I ran to pay booths all over town. Each time I couldn’t get through. I had a full day of sales calls scheduled, so HOW was I going to get my chance to reach these people from Philip Morris? The clock was ticking.
Next to one of my sales calls was a Hallmark card store. I ran in with very little time and grabbed a lamest card, but the only one I could find that remotely could work.
Picture a coach’s whistle on the front in a multitude of colors. Obnoxious. I wrote a quick note explaining that I had been calling all morning, but with my current sales calls, couldn’t get through.
The final sentence was….are you ready….
“Whistle and I will come”!
I folded up my resume, put it in the envelope and drove over to the DoubleTree hotel, and went into the coffee shop. I ordered a quick sandwich, and then asked my server if I could order some room service for the people from Philip Morris.
“You are welcome to do so, but you may not follow me up when I deliver it.”
I learned the night before at the library 35 minutes from my home that Philip Morris also owned 7-Up. Since there were two people, I ordered a Coke, a 7-Up and 2 chocolate chip cookies which the hotel is known for.
Up to the suite went a server in his well pressed uniform with a silver tray containing my order, a flower in a vase and my card leaning up against the vase.
I waited downstairs. I was just SURE one of the people would run down to meet the ingenious person who got past the busy switchboard, and got through to them.
NOTHING…. And NO CAll after work, 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm…and finally at 9 pm my home phone rang!!!
The voice on the other end of the line said that they would give me an interview since I was smart enough to reach them. There was no other words spoken. No accolades for my efforts…just that I could come in and interview.
The next day, I met the two very corporate and seemingly intimidating gentlemen for the interview.
They told me that they had EXPLICITLY told the hotel that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES was ANYONE to know what suite they were in. NO INTERRUPTIONS..PERIOD
When there was a knock at the door, the two men were ANGRY. They both finished their calls, and both got up to see WHO was at the door. Meanwhile their phones were ringing with callers.
They had spoken to hundreds of eager job seekers.
They took the phones off the hook, took a break, ate my cookies, drank my drinks, and read my card and resume.
“You had our complete and undivided attention’, the older, more senior of the men told me.
We were very impressed. Anyone who interviews the way you just did, and has the gumption to go the extra mile to get where you want to be, needs to join our team. We have never seen anything like that before.