For the vast majority of my working life, I have spent my days in the retail industry, primarily the retail food industry. My very first job was in a convenience store when I was 15 years old. I started a couple months before my 16th birthday in order to earn money towards a car. Through high school and college, I worked in the retail stores at night and attending school during the day.
After I graduated from college, I worked in the stores for another year or so. At one point, I considered a retail management career, but I really wanted to have a regular Monday-Friday, 9-5 job with weekends and holidays off. Eventually, I was able to land a job backstage in the buying department of the grocer chain that I was working for at the time.
I spent the next 18 years with that company working my way up to a management position within the buying and merchandising department. My last position with them was to be in charge of the promotion and sales of our store branded product. Things were going great for me up until the time that our corporate office decided to centralize the bulk of our merchandising functions to the corporate office in another state.
After losing a job that I had for 21 years, I had a difficult time finding work. It took me over a year to find a full time job again, and that was in the days when you only got 26 weeks of unemployment, not 99. After spending my career on the buyer side of the desk, I decided to try my hand on the sales side of the desk.
My first sales job was selling insurance/benefit packages to small businesses. I spent a great deal of time making telephone calls trying to reach business owners or benefit managers to make my pitch. I also spent a lot of time on business databases on the internet trying to find names and phone numbers. It was not something I was very good at. I might have been able to do a better job had I had access to an email list of decision makers in the businesses I was targeting.
My next sales job was back in the field where I had spent the majority of my career. This time, I was calling on buyers of grocery store chains selling them a retail dry ice program. At least it was something that I knew something about. I knew what buyers were looking for, and I knew how to tailor my sales pitch to be able to benefit retailers. Still, it was not something that I was happy doing on a daily basis.
Eventually, I got back into the buying side of the retail world. I had one position where I managed a program for a distributor selling to retail customers. After that business failed, I landed where I am today as a buyer for a chain of convenience type stores. My current company is on good solid ground and I hope to be there for quite a while into the future.