It was April 2010. Mitsubishi Gearbox Magazine was barely six months old, and I was sitting in a dimly lit conference room on the second floor of Mitsubishi’s North American headquarters in Cypress, California, talking about Mitsubishi past, present, and future, with Rob Lescaille, Nate Russell, and Moe Durand.
We talked about why the turbocharged, all-wheel drive models everyone seems to think Mitsubishi should be offering (but wouldn’t buy even if they did) have faded away and how Mitsubishi was looking further down the road to a time when fuel prices and insurance would drive people to smaller, more efficient, presumably electric vehicles.
Nearly four years later, Rob does PR/Social Media for Hyundai, Nate is an Account Director for a talent agency (which, among other things, arranges the other models you see at autoshows), and Moe does Product Communications for Toyota. They’ve long since moved on, but I just applied for one of their old jobs yesterday.
YESTERDAY WAS THAT “SOMEDAY”
As Rob walked me past rows of cubicles on our way back to the reception desk after our chat, I’m not gonna lie – I wanted to work there. Not that it was some kind of fantastic, Google-would-be-jealous work environment, but because I wanted to be part of the brand which has made such an impact in my life. When the lady in the elevator noticed my “I love my Mitsubishi” shirt and said, “Nice shirt. Me too,” I knew I was in the right place. That’s one of my favorite Mitsubishi memories, by the way.
As I walked out to my crusty, 92 Galant VR4, I took a good long look at the brand new, RHD, D:5 Delica parked right next to it. I glanced over to the iMiEVs charging further up the row. And I wondered which of the windowless buildings surrounding the parking lot housed the never-been-registered Evo VI the guys told me they loved to sneak out for “team building activities.”
That’s when it hit me. Someday, I’m going to come across an opportunity to do something to help Mitsubishi, and on that day, I’m going to jump at the chance to do so. I guess, in my mind, the idea has evolved over time – just like GBXM! I went from not having any idea what I could do for the brand, to having a vague idea, to waking up yesterday to an email from LinkedIn advising Mitsubishi had just posted the exact opportunity I’d imagined.
LIVING OUTSIDE CHANCE
Considering the job is almost 400 miles away in Cypress, California, my family would do bad things to me if I announced we were packing up their 1-year old, almost-talking granddaughter and moving away, and California Air Research Board (CARB) would surely issue crush-on-sight orders for my Pajero, I kinda doubt I’ll get the job – or even a phone call.
What’s more, though I have a LOT of friends in SoCal and would LOVE to be closer to them, I have a feeling my wife and I would be spending upwards of three hours a day commuting in from someplace like Beaumont. Even if Rob and Nate put in good words for me with decision makers, there’s only an outside chance I’d actually land this gig. Unless they were cool with lots of telecommuting.
All the same, it’s not every day you wake up and see the job you’ve had in the back of your mind for nearly four years is suddenly available. It’s even more rare to be prepared to confidently apply for it because there’s a chance you might be the one candidate they’d consider for such concessions – because you know you could kick ass in the role and would be thrilled to see all the pieces finally come together. I had the shot, so I took it.
I’ve been saying for years we are more than our résumés. There’s the widely accepted list of carefully spun past titles and accomplishments done for pay, and then there’s the why-isn’t-anyone-paying-attention list of all the responsibilities and accomplishments done for the sheer joy of it.
Beyond work-life balance, there is something called work-life-parallel, where the things we do because we love doing them supercharge our value propositions. If we’re condensing all we have to offer potential employers into a single sheet of paper, why aren’t our automotive pursuits included? You realize that all matters, right?
We make our own luck. You can sit there and wait for the world – or some corporate entity – to give you a chance to gain experience you’ll be able to use to get your dream job one day, or you can get off your ass and seek out that experience because it’s something you genuinely want to do with your life and be ready to throw your name in the hat when that opportunity comes along.
I don’t know what’s going to come of my applying for this job, suffice to say, while so many others are quick to criticize Mitsubishi and armchair quarterback from the relative anonymity of the pre-NSA internet, I’m ready to step up and DO something to help my favorite brand. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. It could go either way. Like I ended my cover letter, if it’s meant to be, it will happen. If not, well, I’ll still be out here doing what I can in the trenches.