At Age 24 Tesla wouldn’t hire me, so I bought one 3 months later
At age 24 today nobody seems to know, what they want to be when they grow up.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida I had always had an entrepreneurial mindset. From t-shirts to nutritional supplements, I had dabbled with just about anything someone with my skill set could do. Before college, I had set a goal for myself that I would find that one thing before graduating that would allow me to never have to join corporate America.
Upon graduation from LSU as a student athlete in December of 2013 I had continued a t-shirt business venture that I had started during my junior year. With my entrepreneurial confidence I bought a brand new, nearly fully loaded 2014 Mercedes CLA 250 (not the smartest choice of my life thus far). After jumping into business full-time with rent and an over $700 car note due every month, I had eventually realized that I was in over my head. After finishing up a big project for The Gate River Run, I had decided it was time to cut my losses and join the dreaded corporate America.
My first stop was LA Fitness as a membership consultant, that lasted about 1.5 months. After LA Fitness I ended up at Enterprise Rent-A-Car where you can “be your own boss” (Step Brothers crossed your mind didn’t it). Feeling discouraged, I “half-assed” the job for the first 2 months to only find out I was great at sales. Great, meaning I was performing above my peers in the company, month in and month out. I attended multiple sales achievement events and realized I needed to start getting paid commission on my sales.
Long story short, after 2 job interviews for different positions within the company, a 2-week notice, and “demoting” myself to a rental agent, I ended up in the Car Sales Division. How did someone with a college degree, entrepreneurial spirit, and an athletic background end up as a car salesman? Through humbling experiences.
Fast forward to January of 2016, I had picked up the skills to being an above average car salesman. 5 months into the job I realized that although I was making good money and doing pretty well, it still felt like something was missing. I was missing Passion. Without Passion in what you are doing, you will eventually get tired of it and there will be no meaning in your work.
Realizing I wanted to get out of the car business and escape the typical “car salesman” stigma, I began my search. Shortly after many personal reflections, somehow Tesla crossed my mind. I then thought to myself that there is something about Tesla that is just different than any other automotive company. There is a reason Tesla does what they are doing. I thought to myself “Tesla is my LAST resort for staying in the auto industry.” With an expected 25% pay cut to join the Tesla team I decided to apply.
I initially had a phone interview with a sales recruiter and then moved to the on-site interview with the store manager. Not the most professional interview atmosphere, but I will leave it at that. I typically follow up 2 days after my interview if I don’t hear back. Reached out, no response.
In summary, I did not hear back from the 1st recruiter or the store manager. I did not receive any feedback on my interview which is basically all I wanted at the end of it all. Still to this day I am under the assumption that they did not want me on their team because of my previous car sales background. This confused me because Enterprise Car Sales is very similar to the CarMax and Tesla buying experience with their no-haggle prices and low pressure sales.
Enterprise Holdings is also the largest buyer and seller of automobiles in the world with an extremely strong belief in customer service as a way of life. Going through the buying process with Tesla first hand, I can assure you that the Enterprise buying experience is simpler and smoother especially with communication through the entire process.
Presently, after all of the job transition stresses I am fortunate enough to have landed an Executive Recruiter position with Modis which is part of the Adecco Group. Enterprise also offered for me to become a part-time employee and still receive my benefits. I can truly say that out of any of my business experiences so far, the feeling I get when helping a deserving candidate through the interview process is unlike any other. It is a great feeling to go to work truly believing that you are helping others. I believe in Tesla 100% and I think that they are going to continue to do very innovative things.
“You gotta grow through what you go through.”
If you are looking for a new opportunity in the IT industry or are a business that could benefit from my service, please feel free to contact me directly!
Raymond De Padua