It was showering around the 5th Avenue outside the glass windows of the stores when I pushed the stroller in which my little daughter was gently nudging against her soft coat and sleeping well into a L’occitane shop. “How can I help you?”, the sales executive politely asked me with a smile. I usually would say that I am fine and would ask for help when I need. However, this time, I felt like he was not speaking those words like a parrot and so keen and sincere that I said “I am finding some night cream and a natural lip balm.” I then asked a ton of questions just like an interviewer asking a sales candidate about how well he knows of the products (did I say that I had been in Human Resources for 9 years conducting a lot of job interviews, and well, my little one was sleeping soundly enough for me to converse longer) only to be over-impressed later on. After showing that the lip balm is certified organic which what I needed, he gave me some sample to try not forgetting to say that he had just cleansed the surface so I felt safe to put it on. It seemed to do its job well serving my lip so I decided to buy the balm with no further questions. “Well, for this night cream, it is recommended that you use it within 6 months from opening. You may want to use for a bit longer period but it may be less effective, especially this cream contains vitamin C which does not stay that long in oxygen.”, he explained when I asked about the “longevity” of the product, followed by really a thorough brief and demonstration about how one should apply the cream. I then asked about the membership and point system which I used to have back in Singapore, and he kindly answered that such program was not available here; however, he would put me under the VIP customers and give me gifts.
When making payment, I asked “You must have been working here for long as you know about the products so well!”. “I have been here for 5 years. I use the products myself and believe in them.”, he said, again with a gentle smile. We finally asked each other’s name, then ended up staying aside the counter for a chat while his co-worker was in charge of the counter. Bobby, as he introduced his name, used to pursue an acting degree but had to quit mid way, writes sometimes, and now is finishing a psychology program and dreams to be a psychologist after that. I introduced myself as a life and career coach, after quitting my job last year and also shared about my plan to take on a creative writing course in NYC. We conversed about a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called “Eat, Pray, Love” which I was reading, about my love for her style, and I then mentioned about her YouTube video about a Creativity God on Ted Talk, to be continued by Bobby’s sharing that he attended her “Big Magic” book launch and “Pre-love” is so good. “In Big Magic, Ms. Liz debunks a lot of myths about the creative process. For example, usually, people would think writers stay in a nice cabin having all the time to write throughout the day. In fact, she writes from time to time as each of us has other things in life to attend to, like our full time jobs, paying the bills, or children.”, Bobby told me, looking at my daughter who was still kind enough well in her sleep.
“I really love people who dare to get out of their comfort zone and do what they want in their life. Who knows you will soon be a psychologist!”, I said to Bobby while tugging my shopping bag again onto the stroller handler being ready to go, or not stealing his time to be exact.
We were saying goodbye when I got a really nice surprise with Bobby handing out to me three hand cream tubes as extra gifts.
Rain still kept dropping onto the busy streets of New York, but my heart felt warm and my feet felt happy. I told myself as I reflected on my interaction with such a gorgeous sales executive at the store: People who love what they do and do it really well are usually on track towards their career dream. It’s just that it is one of the tracks to get there, and what matters is being great at their jobs will shorten the route or enrich the journey. Does sales have anything to do with psychology? Who doesn’t say yes? Doesn’t the experience as a store assistant understanding what customers are thinking come handy for a study of and practice about human minds and its functions? Who would say no?
So for whoever out there being nervous about where or what next in their career, from my experience in Human Resources and my own career path and observation, I would just say: Be Bobby! Do the current job really well, dare to dream, and have an action plan with an unwavering determination to execute it. So you don’t have to worry that you will get nowhere, as you will get somewhere, somewhere great!
Did I also mention that Bobby excited me in return by saying “And here you are in NYC studying creative writing!”