Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you the career story and advice of Bob Grilliot, longtime colleague and friend at JIST. At 14 years, he has the most seniority of anyone at the company. Here's what he has to say:
How did you get your first job in publishing?
I got my first job in publishing in a very traditional way: I answered a newspaper ad! However, I had worked in the book industry for about ten years before I started working in publishing.
What education and experience do you think helped you get that job?
It was my bookstore background that helped me get my foot in the door in publishing.
What jobs have you had since your first one?
I’ve only been with one publisher--for nearly 14 years! However, in that time it's felt like many different companies, with several management changes and a buyout. I’ve filled many different sales roles in those years; it seems every couple of years I have an opportunity to do something a little different. It has kept the job fresh.
What do you love about publishing sales?
There is a lot to like about publishing sales. You meet some interesting people; I’ve seen many cities I would otherwise not have seen; you can make a living and still sleep at night. I’ve been lucky also to have lots of variety in my roles, which has been a huge plus for me.
What's not so great?
When I traveled a lot, it got tedious at times. And I don’t think anyone is getting wealthy in publishing sales, though, like I said, you can definitely make a living.
What's a typical day like for you?
There are no typical days. The best days have lots of customer contact (and, hopefully, orders). The worst days have unproductive meetings and customer service problems to be fixed. Not every day is exciting but there is an opportunity every day to make that day significant, which is another huge plus to the career.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into a publishing sales job?
Know yourself--what are your career priorities? If you want to get rich, go into a different industry. And like any career, you get out of it only what you are willing to put in.