Walking in another department's shoes
"Hi, this is Barbara Lombardo," I began. "I'm calling from The Saratogian newspaper ..."
"Don't say newspaper," interjected my boss, Publisher Mike O'Sullivan, from the desk behind me. "People know what The Saratogian is."
The publisher, the department heads (me as managing editor, plus the directors for advertising and pre-press composing) along with the human resources manager, Ballston Spa Life editor Joe Rocha, and some of the circulation folks who were extending a day that began well before dawn, had a telemarketing blitz to bring former subscribers back to the paper with a terrific offer of $1.99 a week for 26 weeks. I think that's better than my employee rate.
I am grateful for the people who answered their phone and were polite in their rejection; I'm even more grateful for those who signed up. I apologize for disturbing those who were already subscribers and were on the list in error; I would have liked to take the time to chat with those people, but my job was to make as many sales as I could.
I burst out of the gate with the first sale of the evening on my first call. But like the thoroughbreds that break too early, I fell behind; my second sale was one of the last of the evening. That was still 100 percent more than my boss, who could have done better with more dialing and less chop-busting. Meanwhile, sitting next to me, spending what I thought was too much time chatting with people, Joe Rocha quietly sold four of the 26-week subscriptions.
Lauren Rose, the ad director, made four sales, which is only two more than me — or 100 percent more, depending on how you look at it. In our cozy quarters, she couldn't help but hear me fumble through the prepared text.
"Stick to writing," she advised.