The Sales Raise Dinner

6 months after perpetual beat down, heart tissue shredded despair from cold calling IT Directors twice my age at the tender of age of 22 in LA with no promising relief in sight, I was finally able to slam the phone down on the receiver and yell with emphatic, triumphant vibrato, “Deal”, as all my fellow IT agent recruiter sisters and brothers in arms all put down their phones in symbiotic unison and my bum rushed my section of our open office boiler room to give me one kick ass high five after another. Prior, to bawling my eyes out after winning Most Improved Basketball player at Sleepaway Camp, it was the happiest, most joy spewing moment of my life. After spending many afternoons at 5:30 PM, crying in the bathroom stall, after being hung up on all day again for 6 months straight, getting my 1st deal under my belt was equivalent to Forrest Gump getting to bang Jenny in her dorm room after her fake news original Blowing In The Wind striptease act. Then again, Hair Metal wasn’t invented yet, so you can’t be too harsh on Jenny for trying to reinvent herself as a hotter, better stacked, Joan Baez cover act in the making either.

Once you did your 1st 3 deals at Remington International, the big machers, meaning all the big-time billing managers would take you out for a fancy sales raise dinner to give you a taste for living the high life again. Steve Winwood lives post Traffic, holla, thank you very much. Understand, the sales raise wasn’t substantial at all and made zero difference after taxes for my biweekly take home paycheck. Granted, I could still afford to pay the rent on my rent-controlled apartment in West Hollywood, see a movie once a week in the Century City Mall and splurge on the Sunday NY Times pre-fake news to get my brain back in working order after puffing the green with my ex or doing E once my dealer in the valley got access to it frequently post Y2K, but that was it. None of us dignified, scrappy, resourceful yet lowly IT agency recruiters in my position made enough money to survive really, because none of us made actual commission on a 20 grand placement there, a 25 grand rip there, but at the time my illustrious sales raise dinner at Morton’s in Beverly, Hills that its, totally made up for it, Dice lives, holla, thank you very much.

The festivities started with a Grey Goose and tonic or 2, before the scallops wrapped in bacon appetizer arrived. Understand, despite growing up in the upper middle class affluent confines of Westchester County, only 50 minutes north of Peter Luger’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I had zero exposure to fancy schmancy steak house appetizers of this holy shit good magnitude. Every bite was perfect. The bacon wrapped around this sumptuous, high end scallop that was never rubbery chewy bland for one second, was bursting with bubbly, over the top crackling, in your face flavor. Outside of my mind melting from relishing such a tubby bitch, fine dining steakhouse appetizer at the same Morton’s in Beverly Hills, which used to be the go-to afterhours Vanity Fair party hot spot after the Academy Awards, it was impossible to not derive a communal sense of shared brotherhood with the older management crew in attendance, who all hailed from back east like myself, living it up like senior agents for freaking CAA for Christ’s sake. Pete Clochaney, the former wrestling stud from upstate in Buffalo, the living legend Michael Burns, from Greenwich, CT, who toured with Dead, bartended at Kelly’s Korner and made us watch Rudy for inspiration one morning before our daily cold calling assault resumed and my direct boss Alex Dubovoy a garbage sons from Brooklyn, done good. I loved how much vicarious pride they derived from me making it to that table with them. For once, I felt I truly earned my keep. They all wore really nice Canali suits who possessed a working knowledge of obscenely expensive brown liquor shots such as Louis the 13th cognac. My head was spinning from being accepted and encouraged to do even better under their sales leadership direction, feeling like a waste of height no more and my succulent, divine blessed, Porterhouse, sorry Kosher God hadn’t even arrived yet.

Outside of savoring every juicy, heaven sent bite, my mind veered toward my Dad for a second, who was a rainmaker himself, helping build a 90-million-dollar packaging busines in Union New Jersey. Still, it drove me nuts at the time, thinking how much my father dropped the ball, never exposing me to any motivational shoot for conquest steak dinner like this, because prior, I was only accustomed to eating the perpetually shitty, anemic, consistently mushy kosher kind. My father grilling what flavor they once possessed didn’t contribute to my complete lack of enjoyment factor from eating trying to act, I was ever into them either.  

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the balls and fortitude to not throw in the towel during my 1st six months on the job as an IT agency recruiter, a long, long, way from home, with no Vince Vaughn pep talks to rouse my depressingly downer weepy spirits at the time either. Becoming an IT Headhunter in LA and paying my own way in this world made me the man I am today. College is so overrated, knowing I was the only putz to graduate from a top communication school back east with a debilitating stutter.  

They say the true definition of failure is giving up on yourself, so by that definition, my stint as an IT Headhunter at Remington International, my 1st real deal professional working white collar job was a smashing success. All those double Turkey Burgers with glops of mayor, fine shredded lettuce, draped in mounds of American Cheese on Santa Monica Blvd. were sublime to, because I earned them from not giving into the fear of failure or more perpetual shot down rejection I endured my 1st six months on the job, which provided the impetus behind the funny man with a plan I am today. Granted, my dear, lovely LA of yesteryear has morphed into a shit show tent city of biblical proportions, yet no politicized COVID lockdowns, bullshit Dominion defamation lawsuits or post woke Twitter twat celeb blather, siding with the Wicked Witch Of The East, Baby Face Omar, King Of the Persecution Complex or Obama Be Good can every take that sales raise dinner away from me.

Michael Kornbluth