Skip to main content

Picture of a women smiling
Play to your own strengths and make them into something even greater. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and show off what you’re capable of.

“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”

– Confucius

Finding a job that you want to wake up for can be a challenge, especially in today’s economy. But what if you could create your own job? I know someone who (almost) did this for themselves and this is his story.

Why share an almost story? Because the only difference between an almost-story and a happy ending is just in the way you interpret the “end”.

Charlie* was a student at SFU, working multiple part-time jobs to pay for tuition and all the other charges in life. He was completing multiple degrees and certificate programs. But he had a knack for sales.

One of his part time gigs was working once a week at Blockbuster. They had this rewards card that cost something like $10/year, and like most customer-loyalty programs and “up sales”, it was expected by his employer to sell these each shift. Competitions were held in-store for the employee who could sell the most per month. He was such a good salesman, that the store had to make a special exception in their competition. It was him (working only 16 hours/month) versus the entire store. And he always won.

He was so skilled at convincing people to buy the rewards card he had even made sales to customers after being told directly, “I’m going to buy it so you’ll stop trying to sell it to me”.

Charlie didn’t make the sales because he was a smooth talker; but because he had created a technique to selling this particular item. His manager asked him to teach the other staff members this technique, so he began formalizing his strategy and turned it into a well laid out document and presentation that he gave the entire staff. This proved to be such a success (even though the store still could not out-sell him, they narrowed the gap), that he ended up going to the regional manager to pass along the skills. Within two months, he was asked to make the presentation to the provincial head office. And so he did. He was able to sell his presentation as well as he sold the rewards program. However, in the end, bureaucracy entered the picture and Blockbuster had to hire someone from the corporate office to continue disseminating this information, rather than some part-time clerk that had natural ability.

Jokes on them as evidently there was no one else who could do what he did and Blockbuster went bankrupt (I’m sure there were other factors and not just the fact they passed on Charlie’s training assistance). But the fact remains, that through the process Charlie created a new training program from scratch, and developed the presentation skills that he never demonstrated previously. And while the job was given to another based on office politics, he still created a new position within the company that fit his niche talents and abilities. So why don’t you?

Play to your own strengths and make them into something even greater. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and show off what you’re capable of. Maybe your story will have the happy ending, instead of almost.

visibility  45
Mar 13, 2013

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Working on campus
The 10 Minute Commute – Resources and Useful Information for Working on Campus

Have you ever thought about working in a place that you are familiar with?  Perhaps a Tim Horton’s close by? For many students the idea of working at SFU might be a great option, if you prefer a 10 minute jaunt to work after class or an opportunity to learn more about how a university operates.

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

Job by its cover
Don't Judge A Job By Its Cover

I was hesitant to accept a co-op position because I thought that the skills I would obtain would not at all be relevant to my career path. As it turns out, I learned that trying out things that do not appeal to you 100% at the beginning is often a risk worth taking. Here's my story.

the author smiling by the garden
Co-op in Clinical Research: Tips for Succeeding in the Workplace

Fahimeh Karimi talks about her research co-op with the BC Children's Hospital.

Two students sleeping in class.
A BA That's Definitely Not Worth It

The Bold Academy is a 4-week 'potential-building' experience marketed at college students and recent grads. The strategic use of the letters BA suggest that the program is primarily directed at arts students, conveniently playing off the stereotype of the aimless arts student. It's an interesting idea, but is it worth the steep price tag?