Today was just one of those days. Some days you win. Some days you lose. And some days you hit the jackpot.
It was by no means an early start. With last night’s milk purchase, I knew I had hope for a breakfast of cereal so I raided out still vast stock of food nesting in the van and found a box of granola. I’m pretty certain not a single day has gone without me consuming some form of granola product. It may be in my Top Five foods behind steak, flopjacks, and anything from In-N-Out Burger.
Faro magically pulled an interview from his bag of tricks this morning. But not just any interview; we were scheduled to meet with some folks at Adidas. We had no idea what we were getting into.
Leah Harrison greeted us warmly and guided us from place to place throughout the day. She’s a wonderfully bubbly and conversational lady, and made out time at Adidas a remarkable experience.
Our first interview of the day included Jim Gatto, the Director of Global Sports Marketing. He had some interesting things to say about his time and duties with Adidas. He also delineated how he likes from time to time seeing and chatting with his boys Chauncey Billups, Kevin Garnett, and Dwight Howard. You know, just a regular office guy doing regular office stuff.
After that Leah escorted us to the soccer side of things. There we met and spoke with Ernesto Bruce and his team. They were a fun crew to spend time with. They explained to us a bit about what they do, and what a typical day there is like. During this segment, they unveiled to us several pieces of merchandise that won’t be revealed until 2010. That’s right, we’re in the know about cutting edge Adidas products. Also, we all were able to touch, fondle, and caress a pair of soccer shoes that will eventually wrap around the feet of David Beckham. So I’ve pretty much played soccer with David Beckham is what I’m saying.
Then, as if we hadn’t had enough fun yet, Leah introduced us to Tony Holmes who is in charge of the heritage footwear for the US. This guy has been working with Adidas for 20+ doing more jobs than he cared to describe and was very down to earth. We just chatted about his experience and he shared a bit of wisdom with us about the working world and the Adidas organization. For this staunch Puma aficionado, he softened my heart towards Adidas. I may be a convert in the making.
Then crazy events began to unfold. Derek and Brett found themselves the fortunate recipients of a pair of free shoes from Adidas. Their feet are the size that sample shoes come in so they benefitted well.
But soon after this gift all our lives were changed.
Leah explained to us that on campus Adidas had a store. She was taking us there so we could go shopping. Employees get a 50% discount on all merchandise. We didn’t got that discount, too. But we didn’t end up using it because Leah also informed us that we each had a $150 limit (which was flexible still) on anything in the store. Yes, she said grab clothes, pile shoes, snag socks and short until you have a pile of merchandise in your arms that comes out to about $150. The joy of this moment was washing over me like Niagara Falls. That experience was better than Christmas, and if you know me and know how much I love Christmas, then you understand how epic that was. We said goodbye eventually to all our new friends at Adidas and gave Leah a hug. Adidas: great people, great product.
Later my joy was renewed whenever I thought back to that shopping spree and realized it wasn’t a dream. It was real. I really had a bag of stuff from Adidas sitting in the van waiting for me to wear and enjoy.
After Adidas, we traveled five minutes down the road to meet with Todd Bausma at the Portland Trailblazers arena. Todd has a vibrant personality and the interview was both casual and very informative. We heard an insider’s perspective on the organization and the specifics of what they’re trying to do to improve it. He gave us a tour of the facility and posters of the stunt team and cheerleaders before we left.
From our many interviews today, I heard a theme of relationships and community running through most if not all of the conversations. Getting jobs isn’t strictly about background and qualification. It’s also about the person you are and the relationships you’ve built. An employer who cares about the business doesn’t want just any Joe-schmo filling a position. He wants the right person for the job. (Everyone reading this is probably like, “Good advice recent college graduate. I, however, am financially secure and have a job. Good luck making money in this economy.)
The afternoon found us napping back at Jordan’s house on the sofas. We watched the tube to wind down as well. Brian Williams, fascinating job on following Obama and the White House for a two-part special.
The night ended with us watching Last Chance Harvey (since we didn’t get it in last night). Touching story. It’s no Runaway Bride but it’s pretty classy as far as chick-flicks go.
Tomorrow starts the beginning of the long trek home. Wow. It’s tough to think the return is nearly upon us. What a trip it’s been.
- JD and the boys