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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Road To Apple

Oh no, first time posting to the amazing Blog that is thedigitallifestyle.tv! I expect lots of mercy to be shown, folks. I wanted to tell a brief story of how things happened that led to my being hired at Apple Retail. I had been a long time Mac user and evangelist, starting with the Lisa in 1983. I was working for a restaurant company and they had asked me and my then wife, to check into computers to use at our stores. I spent a ton of time looking at every type of machine available, and there weren't that many, and was frustrated beyond comprehension. One day, on the way home from a meeting, we stopped at this tiny hole in the wall computer store, the incomparable Sunrise Computing in Chambersburg, PA. While I was listening to the salesperson sling the pitch, my wife had sat down and thrown together a spreadsheet to use for scheduling the staff! She had little computing background, and so that was it for me, we had our machine, the 512k Fat Mac from Apple Computer. I was completely enamored with that machine, and spent every waking moment playing...er... working on it.
Over the years after the big discovery, I worked at various types of places, all involving the Mac, ComputerLand, Computer Factory, and so on. I took a few corporate jobs during that time as well, usually helping companies ramp up a Mac launch, or something along those lines.
I met many folks involved with Apple, and became friends with a few. I always joked with them that they should hook me up with a job with the mothership, Apple itself. That was just a dream, what could I possibly qualify for?
Hmmmm, then came Apple Retail!
I moved back to Pennsylvania, and heard that an Apple Retail store was opening in (my area), just a few miles down from where I was living. I freaked and got my application to them as fast as I could. Alas, I was not in time to get considered for the opening crew. I was devastated, but at least I had a job at the time supporting Macs at a great advertising agency in () PA., so it was all good!
I stopped in at the store frequently, and left my resumé one day, and was told that they would be calling soon. I was confident my resumé (CV for your overseas folks) had the stuff needed to get considered. I had truly been there, done that, and had a ton load of t-shirts!
But, again, no call. Again, the heartache of not getting in.
But all was not lost. A few months went by, and one day I had a call from their one assistant managers, and she wanted to know if I was still interested. I was cool, and smooth as silk. I screamed YES I WAS. Ahem, then we talked a bit, and she was wonderful and encouraging, two things you don't get too often with managers looking to hire. We set the date up for an interview with another assistant, which went super, and the manager and I met that same day. Paperwork was sent in, all things came together, and I was in! They only had a part time sales spot open, but I did not care, whatever it took, I would do, and wait for my chance.
The remarkable thing was the feeling I got from the interview process. At every step of the process, I was treated so well, like family. I told all of them that I had never come out of any interview process before feeling better about myself than when I went in! As an older guy, I thought I had seen and experienced it all, but I was wrong. Those three ladies remain with the company to this day, and have succeeded wildly.
I was a nervous wreck my first day, but within minutes, the management team, and the employees made me feel like I had been there all along. A few weeks passed, and one day during a lull in the action, I was asked if I ever had heard the story of how I cam to be called for the job. I said no, but was dying to hear the scoop.
It seems that the manager who called me had been cleaning some filing cabinets out and found my crumbled up resumé behind the bottom drawer! She read it, spoke with the other manager, and the rest is history.
For bonus points, can you guess who the person was that took my resumé? I believe he is a big shot at thedigitallifestyle.tv.
I have nothing but fond memories of my time with Apple. I rose up through the ranks quickly, and enjoyed and remember every single moment. The friendships, the laughs, the love, the learning, the converts to Mac, what a time.
I know that times change, and people change, but one thing will always remain a constant with me, the friends and relationships I developed at Apple,(including another location,) a store I went down to help open up. Those people, though I have not always stayed in touch with them, have always been there when I have reached out. Those of us that were employed during that time, and at those stores, truly were blessed. I have visited some stores recently, and have to say that things do feel different. Apple is hugely mainstream now, and it just isn't the same. But at the core of any Apple Store, there remain people that truly do care that you have the best experience, that truly want you to love your Mac, or iPod, or iPhone. They would work for Apple just for the staff shirt and lanyard. Seek them out, buy them a cup of Starbuck's, and enjoy the stories they can share. You will be impressed.

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