Wee Sean's Last Call

Published on 16 March 2024 at 21:02

Wee Sean, nearly 7ft of him, was my first employee, a salesperson, but not really.

He had none of the traditional sales skills, not a persuasive bone in his body, a slightly weird habit of laughing loudly at inappropriate moments, and he couldn't close a door.

He was a good guy though, he didn't overthink, in fact he didn't think at all, just picked up the phone and made the calls, was untroubled for long by rejection, was loyal, and; crucially, he was happy to work for a song, which is pretty much all I could offer in those start-up days.


We had a loft in a splendid Georgian town house, the cheapest, and we thought the best, office in town, and every morning that summer we would take our phones, on the longest extension leads in the world, out to the table and chairs on the roof, and sit in the sun making our sales calls.

It was idyllic, apart from the increasingly difficult fact that, try as he may, Wee Sean could not get a deal to save his life, or more accurately, his job.

I had picked up a few contracts with local clients, so business was ok, but good as I can be at turning a blind eye, the time came to do the difficult thing, and tell my lovely, funny, positive and hard working salesperson that we had to talk at the end of the week. Wee Sean was not particularly worldly, but everyone knows you do not want a meeting with your boss at 5pm on a Friday.

The day came, still no sales, and on my way to a local gig I stopped at the bank and got what cash I could muster, put it in an envelope, put his name on it, and put it in my pocket. I didn't want to leave him completely high and dry.

It turned out that I didn't get back from the gig until nearly 6pm, and I wondered if Wee Sean would still be there, but he was, just coming off a call as I walked in, and he didn't look up, just dialled again.

'Make this the last call' I said, quietly and firmly, knowing the time was nigh, and now, nearly, and sat at my desk, waiting for the inevitable.

I barely listened to the call, just pretended to be engrossed in the delegate 'Happy Sheets' from the gig, but a couple of minutes later I couldn't quite believe I heard him say, 'Yes, we can do that, if the price is right', and he came off the call with a meeting booked for me, first thing Monday, to run a five day course in Lagos, Nigeria, and the next Friday I was there, running the course for many times my usual fee, and that's how I got my first international client.

Over the next couple of years I would go to Lagos a lot, and and apart from the regular attempted kidnappings, having to bribe my way in and out of the country, despite my valid visa, a couple of military coups and armed soldiers busting in to the hotel bar, and dragging some pour soul away, the dead man left in my hotel room one sunny day, it was absolutely brilliant, one of my favourite places in the world, still to this day.

Wee Sean never made another sale, and a couple of months later I came back from a trip to find a note from him, saying, in block capitals, that he had left to join a commune in France or Finland, or somewhere like that, or maybe it was Wales.

Dear reader, never, ever despair, the next call you make might just change your life, and Sean, if you are still alive, and reading this, I have an envelope of cash, with your name on.


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