Edinburgh has been full of new experiences on many levels for me thus far. Earlier this week came an experience that I never expected to have but for experience sake I was glad to have it.
I recently applied for a job in marketing as I am open minded with regards to trying something new. However, to say that it was not what I expected is quite an understatement.
I had an interview on Monday with a marketing company that I will not name. It did not start great, at their end, as they were 45 minutes late to interview me. I was given the impression that the job was to be involved in marketing campaigns on behalf of big companies and advertising their brands. I was invited back for an interview the next day and was told that this would involve shadowing one of their professionals with a client. I was completely under the impression that this would mean sitting in the office at the back of the room with a notepad whilst someone closes some kind of deal. Was I naive? Probably, was I misled? Definitely.
The next day I leave to attend my second interview which was scheduled in for just after midday. I was guessing that this would take perhaps an hour for the interview and an hour for the shadowing, although I did not know for sure. I arrived on time to see the room full of other people also wearing suits, it looked like we were auditioning for the apprentice! I again waited at least 30 minutes to be seen. The irony was not lost on me given they are representing other companies and their ‘cutomer service’ if you can call it that gives a poor image for lack of punctuality. It was never explained to anyone that there was any kind of delay.
Eventually, a guy who I will call ‘S’ introduces himself and tells me that I will be shortly shadowing him with a client and that I should remain professional at all times. He tells me to follow him, I completely expect that we are going to another room in the same building. We exit the building and walk down the street into Sainsbury’s. He tells me that we need to get some food because it is lunch time, and to be fair it has just passed 1pm. We then leave Sainsbury’s and keep walking and we stop at a bus stop get on it and travel for 20 minutes. It is now clear that this is not what I expected but I am happy to see what he does. He starts testing me with (in my opinion) bullshit business talk such as the “8 steps of this” or the “5 steps of that”, “pros and cons of this and that” etc etc etc. Step 2 of one of these abstract lists was “punctuality” (still ironic). I am making a lot of notes even though I think that it is bollocks. In some way i am enjoying the surreal nature of it, although I am aware that I am probably wasting my time, but I have some free time anyway.
Eventually, we get off the bus in an area called Royston within Granton? Or something like that! Now this has to be one of the worst areas in Edinburgh. It’s certainly on par with the worst areas in Nottingham. A few of the people we spoke to had been stabbed there, apparently for no reason within the last few weeks and they showed the wounds to prove it. Nobody here had a job, or a bank account and many of the people were very clearly junkies - which was nice.
S then said that we were going to knock on every door and do 3 laps. Fast forward 5 hours later of literally running up and down stairs S reveals that he intends us to keep doing this until half eight at night. I suppose I had been duped as it was basically door to door sales (never mentioned to me in interview) in a dreadful area trying to get people’s direct debit details for a charity. It felt unethical and uncomfortable to me when I stood by and experienced his insincere pitch to vulnerable women in their 70’s, in their own homes, one of whom signed up. I remember him saying to me “never say charity”, say “organisation” - it was clear he has had training to mislead…
Clearly, this is not a job for me. However, it was enlightening to see first hand this other world of “sales”. I will stick to focusing on applying for university jobs for the time being. Yesterday I applied for a second university job, by the end of today I will have applied for 4 more. Wish me luck!