You mean you SELL BOOKS? Door-to-DOOR? HA. LOL. LMAO. ROFL. Jokes. Right.
Some form of this natural reaction is that of the 95% of those who first hear about Southwestern Advantage. Southwestern Advantage is not just a “book-selling company”; it is a company that takes seemingly sharp, inexperienced college students, and molds them into hard-working, committed, smart, hilarious human beings that have a unique intelligence that can only be gained through the program this company offers.
In early February of my sophomore year at UNC, I was in a bathroom on campus when I got a call from a random number. I ran out of the stall to pick it up on the last ring. “Hey, is this Kate? My name’s Charlie, and I’d like to meet with you about an opportunity for an internship this summer.” LOL. “Umm ok? I already have an internship lined up but I’ll hear what you have to say.” And this was true, I was in the running for a competitive internship with a financial advising firm that I was 100% already set on doing. But I am open-minded and agreed to go to an info session. I arrive and meet this Charlie. “Dapper” is probably the first word that came to mind — fratty, smiley, fit, well dressed, a subtle neck beard? As I sit down, he starts explaining the logistics of the internship — door-to-door sales, working long hours for 12 weeks, resume building, moving to another state, blah blah blah. Then, he gets into the good stuff — the feeling of accomplishing goals, defeating a challenge, building relationships, working hard. All of these things appealed and mattered to me. But there was no way on this earth that I was going to actually do this. After the info session, Charlie set up a time to meet up with me the next day. As I leave the building, I’m thinking, sounds kinda cool but definitely not gonna happen. I call my mom and tell her about it, and she says, “Kate, you do not want to sell books.” And I giggle, as if I was actually considering it. Another LOL. The next day I call Charlie and cancel my meeting.
He responds and says, “You know what, Kate, you don’t have to do this. Just meet with me for 5 minutes.” OK, OK, GEEEZ. Long story short, our 5-minute meeting turns into 2 hours and I leave his office on a Friday night, having a tough decision to make over the weekend. The final round of my interview for that other internship was on Tuesday. I had to decide by then. Financial advising job or Southwestern Advantage? When I thought about it though, that really wasn’t the question. The choices were either to be average and comfortable, or to be extraordinary. It instantly became obvious. I chose the latter.
Charlie taught me everything I needed to know in order to do well. I was committed to this job, and eager to learn how people could possibly succeed at this job. He kept it simple. “Kate, all you will be able to control this summer is your effort and your attitude. If you understand that, you will do well.” See, we all know this. All we can control in our lives is ourselves. When selling books, this is easier said than done. However, what is so incredible about Southwestern Advantage is that it gives you countless opportunities to apply this knowledge. You learn it, believe it, master it, commit to it, and live it. This is fantastically difficult, and the hardest times are the biggest opportunities for growth, even though at the time one might not realize it. Southwestern Advantage gives you the chance to learn the skills and values of service, perspective, confidence, compassion, persistence, courage, hard work, the list is endless. The best part is that all of these lead to relationships with other like-minded people. And isn’t that what we ultimately want? People that get it? People that hold you accountable, actively listen, have similar morals and values, and have a genuine desire to help you accomplish whatever it is that you want in life? These leaders help you in your own life, but also take it further by steering you to positively influence and lead others. Not to mention the unmatchable humor that stems from a summer on the bookfield. I realized that everyone has this distinct deep-in-your-gut, shaky, make-you-look-scary laugh that can only be stimulated from this experience. And all of these people get it. Hilarious, authentic, extraordinary people: that is the community of Southwestern Advantage.
This job is as raw as it gets, but it helps you discover what you actually want. You learn to believe in the control of creating your own circumstances, as well as peace by the lack of control of what each day brings. Not only does it help with what you want, but more importantly the kind of person that you want to be.
And it all started with a phone call by a trim fellow named Charlie. So, take a lesson from me: Always answer calls from random numbers.
Connect with Kate’s Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/KatetheBookgirlGray
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