Part 11: My Trans Am Wannabe

My (soon to be) new ride…

At the conclusion of my last post, I was sitting at my desk in the dialysis unit, my ear pressed to the telephone receiver…

On the other end of the line was my homegirl-for-life (moonlighting as a head-hunter), MEC. The company she worked for was looking to hire a sales professional, she said — was I interested?

Take me! I'm yours!

Take me! I'm yours!

I began drafting my letter of resignation as soon as I hung up that phone. 

At 5:00 p.m., the Colt and I burned rubber out of the ‘hood and headed for Macy’s. I needed to find a business suit for a meeting MEC had set up with Mr. T, the regional sales manager of her company.

Before even looking at suits, I snatched up an eye-catching floppy bow-tie:

2704013666148080_1For women in the business world back then, this was considered a power accessory. Seriously.

Shoulder pads were popular, too, which presented a challenge, because who wanted to look…

like this...

like this...

...or this!!!

...or this!!!

Luckily, I was able to find a suit that did not make me look like a linebacker. 

For our power meeting, Mr. T and I were to convene at his venue of choice: the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria.

My adrenalin was pumping. I was both excited — and nervous. Everything in the 80s was about power dressing — power ties, power jackets, power hair (i.e., big), power skirts (always below the knee) — and the most powerful female ensemble of them all:

The Polyester Pants Suit

lkl290k8-200

Just thinking about all that power dressing exhausted me — which was probably why they invented the power nap.

I’d cued Mr. T beforehand to look out for a brunette in a blue suit. As soon as he saw me, he rushed forward, extending his hand and exclaiming in a delightedly un-sleazy way: “You’re so attractive!

I’ll admit that, at first, I was flattered by his enthusiastic introduction. But I soon came back to earth. He was, after all, a salesman.

To make this long story shorter, I got the job. I got the job!

And my life changed practically overnight. An all-expenses-paid, fully loaded, pre-registered, pre-insured brand new Pontiac 6000 (the closest I would ever come to the decidedly hotter Trans Am) was delivered right to my driveway.

I was also issued an expense account — the greatest perk on God’s green earth — so I could wine and dine my clients, and pay for my gas, meals and hotel rooms as I sold medical supplies throughout  NY and NJ. 

Our national sales meeting took place one month after I was hired …

cruiseshipSm8c4bfcff63363ab0

 

 

 

 

…on a cruise ship to the Bahamas. I can still hear those steel drums…

It was all pretty amazing. But, sales was super competitive. Other reps from other companies were always out to steal your business or trip you up. And I’d became a compulsive telephoner. Every time I passed a bank of pay phones in an airport or a hospital, on vacation or not, I was seized by an urge to dial.

To burn off all the stress, I did aerobics. A lot!

That’s how I survived the demise of the crazy 80s– and did well for myself and the company — until, alas, I burned out.

 

What I Was Reading: Presumed Innocent (Turow), Misery (King), Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), White Noise (Delillo), Stones for Ibarra (Doerr), Foreign Affairs (Lurie), The Myth of Freedom (Trungpa), Slouching Toward Bethlehem (Didion), The White Album (Didion), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera).

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