I've spent the last 6 months in a training program for Philips Lightolier. Yesterday, I completed my final presentation in Fall River, MA. First, I can't believe it's been six months since I started this journey. Second, I can't believe I finally did it.
My background is in Ops and my education is in English and Communications. How did I ever get into lighting? I know that people are thinking this when I tell them what I am doing these days. They also probably wonder if I am going to survive the sales world (don't worry - I will fake it till I make it). And yet, I wondered the same thing myself.
Selling light fixtures is certainly not the thing I thought I would be doing with my life - but I am enjoying it.
First, it's challenging. I never expected to use what I learned in shop class from Rob Hansen about electrical calculations (that could also be why I didn't remember how to calculate load when it came time to do it and I had to call my favorite guys at Philips Controls). While I hate that I haven't mastered it yet, I am also loving that I haven't mastered it (and grown bored with it). There is still so much to learn about lighting and how much it impacts the usefulness and the mood of a given space.
Second, I also never expected to sell product. In my last job, I sold change. A social movement, with the end game being a global movement, was somehow easier to conceptualize. I don't think I ever had what they call 'Call Reluctance' in the sales world when I opened the BB Programs in NV. I am already nervous about visiting one of the engineering firms I will be calling on - but I suppose like anything else, I will just have to fake it till I make it. And just in case, I have made sure to schedule meetings with other electrical engineers that I know I will be comfortable with to help build my confidence.
Finally, there is another element that makes this job more difficult, but motivating. This job will require that I spend a great deal of my time strategizing every moment, every day and every week to create a successful year. I've done it for other businesses, for non-profits, and service projects, but never to make money for myself. It always seemed trite and somewhat greedy to put myself in a place to sell things that made me money. That's probably why I always sold Mary Kay at a discount and ended that adventure with a loss. a 50% profit margin just didn't seem fair at that point in time.
But now the game has changed. I have more bills to pay than ever before and a little one who I'd like to send to private school and ballet classes and music lessons and the like. Somehow, when the end game comes down to the most important person in my world, the stakes are higher. So, even though I also think it's ridiculous to pray for myself, this is the one thing I pray I will excel in. I want to be able to send her off to college someday and say, wow - I did it!
So, here's to lighting systems and controls, lighting design and working my tail off to be successful! Here's to 2011!