My fractured sense of ADHD self-esteem rules out sales as a career path.
by Bill Mehlman
Sales has always been the least appealing aspect of business to me, and, logically, the one at which I'm least skillful. Unenthusiastic salesmen don't do a good job of convincing potential buyers, regardless of the commodity. The best salesmen I've known could, with some training, have been successful selling stocks, real estate, used cars, antiques, pork bellies, software or Girl Scout cookies.
Personally, I would just as soon scrub floors. My fractured sense of self-esteem always sends up little balloons containing messages like, Why would they want to buy this? and, worse, Why would they want to buy this from a jerk like you? Beyond that, my ability to read people lies somewhere south of my ability to read Pliny the Elder — at least the possibility exists that I could learn Latin.
Classic ADHD stuff. You're trying to sell something, only to realize, after a few minutes, that the only person less interested in completing the sale than you is your potential buyer. Selling requires the clear, focused gaze of a raptor and the self-confidence of a high-wire walker. Not all selling is con, but the difference between the mindsets of a salesman and a con man are essentially indistinguishable.
I was brought to think about this the other day by these illuminating quotations come from a lovely mystery novel entitled, The Gwen John Sculpture, one of a series by John Malcolm. The man being described is the head of a French investment bank, or banque d'affaires:
I guessed that he was a fine persuader, using the attraction of his personality with judgment to gain support and having, behind the use of that skill, a quite cold and detached view of the person opposite as his raw material to be influenced. All great persuaders and salesmen are the same.
… would be a man whose mind had clear compartments, concentrations, the ability to isolate one problem from everything else, like all businessmen of his type.
(The emphases are mine.)
One might fairly assume that the gentleman does not suffer from ADHD.