|Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2006 - 09:46 am: |
That old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"? My family and I are living it. After almost fifteen years, I'm stepping away (mostly) from my day job as State Manager of the Louisiana Commodity Supplemental Food Program (I say "mostly" because it looks like I'll be staying on one day a week to provide reporting, bridging, and training services until my replacement is up to speed). With all the increased costs of living in New Orleans after Katrina, Dara having been out of work ten months following the storm, and her taking a part-time job recently rather than a full-time one (necessitated by our boys' needs), I'm finding myself needing to bring in much more income than I'm able to do working for the State. So, starting this Monday, I'm making a big career change -- I'll be selling Saturn cars for Saturn of New Orleans, adding sales experience to my previously government-service-only resume.
It's not a sure thing, financially, as once I'm past my first three months with the dealership, I'll be surfing on commissions only. However, based on other salespeople's past and current experiences with this dealership, I'm confident that I'll do better than I'm doing now. How much better remains to be seen. What attracted me to a Saturn dealership as opposed to, say, a Toyota or Chevy dealership, is the Saturn sales philosophy of no-haggle, one price for everybody, low-pressure, high-satisfaction sales. I just don't have it in me to try to wring the last fifty bucks out of every customer who walks through the door. This is a small, family-owned dealership on the West Bank in Harvey. I like the other salesmen I've met there, as well as the sales manager, and I think I'll fit in there just fine.
I'd been sending out resumes and letters within my field of government and non-profit management for several months and experiencing a very demoralizing lack of replies. A great majority of our local hospitals and clinics were flooded during Katrina and have remained shuttered since; I'm pretty sure there are an awful lot of health administrators and public health types out there looking for a vastly decreased number of jobs. But I wanted to make the best effort I could to keep my family in the New Orleans area and be a part of the community's recovery. So I find myself making what some people think is a pretty weird career change. I'm looking forward to it, though; I'd gotten pretty stale in my current job, and I'm excited by the thought that I'll get to exercise some different muscles at work and pick up some fresh skills.
I'll be done with my training by early August and selling new Saturns (and various makes of used cars, too) at Saturn of New Orleans, located at 3621 Lapalco Boulevard in Harvey, Louisiana (504-341-1500; www.saturnofneworleans.com ). If anybody perusing these boards is in the market for a Saturn (or a recent-year used car) in South Louisiana or has a friend that will be in the market, please get in touch or drop by the dealership. And if you're out of town, why not combine a vacation in New Orleans with buying a new car? Heck, even after the storm, I can recommend dozens of great restaurants! And more are reopening or opening for the first time every day.