AWAI Writing Challenge Honorable Mention:
From Selling $10 Pizzas to Selling $100,000 Private Golf Club Memberships

My philosophy today is to think of everything in positive terms. Therefore, to write about my worst job ever could also be interpreted as my best job ever.

As a student at Michigan State University, I struggled like many to make ends meet. I held as many as three jobs at the same time while maintaining a full class load. So, it was during this time that I held one of the "worst" jobs ever in my history.

A friend of mine had just started working part-time at a pizza place located right across the street from where I lived. She said that they needed another person in the kitchen to help make the pizzas. She, of course, billed this as a fun place to work and that we would have a blast and of course, there would be free pizza to be had. And it was only a couple of nights a week. I was sold mostly on the fact that there was free pizza and then that would assist me on my own food budget.

A couple of days later I began my pizza making career. Yes, there was pizza to be eaten. Yes, my friend and I had a good time. But, it really wasn't very exciting for the minimal pay that I received. After a few days, I was already thinking this may not have been a good move and was more worried that my behind would suffer the most with extra inches from eating so much pizza. Hey, I'm half Italian … it all goes there.

Well, one day while we were making the pizzas, the manager came back into the kitchen and said, does anyone have a car? I did and I lived right across the street. Apparently, one of the pizza drivers called in sick and they were in need of a delivery person. Now this is 1982 and a female pizza delivery person was "breaking the glass ceiling", but I thought I was up to the task. I slowly raised my hand and said I would volunteer to deliver pizzas that night. In addition, I found out that you also got paid a 10% commission on each pizza you delivered … more money!

After I got my car and loaded the hot box (no thermal delivery bags like today), I was ready for my first delivery. Now, I have to set the stage a bit regarding my co-workers who were drivers. They were all male and none of them were college students nor college educated. Not that there is anything wrong with that but we were a big university town and most pizzas were delivered on campus.

Being that my co-workers were somewhat unfamiliar with the large campus many times they would return with the pizza because they were unable to find the dorm or building to deliver it. Here's my "Aha Moment."

During my many volunteer activities as a student, I had worked for the student government and gave bus tours of the campus to potential new students and their parents. I knew every nook and cranny of that campus. I am no math genius but it only took me a few seconds to figure out that I could probably deliver several pizzas in the same time it took these "gentlemen" to deliver one.

Here was my strategy – as the pizzas came out and were ready to be picked up for delivery, I would choose all that were to be delivered to the campus and put them in order of the most efficient route of delivery. I took 10 pizzas at a time and could usually deliver them all within 45 minutes. This is about the same time it took one of my co-workers to deliver one. And remember, that's 10% commission on each pizza. Needless to say, the manager was very happy as he no longer was receiving complaints about slow delivery and he was getting requests to "send the girl" when the pizza was delivered because they knew it would arrive in a timely manner … ok, it helped that I was cute back then and a delivery girl was a novelty.

I only lasted about a month or so at this job to get myself out of a pinch financially. Plus, I was tired of smelling like pepperoni. What I did learn from this job is that I was born to be in sales and to this day have enjoyed a fulfilling career as a sales professional … although now I sell $100,000 private club golf memberships instead of $10 pizzas.

Go Michigan State!

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Published: September 24, 2009

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