Try something new
“I think you should do some free work”, I told my nanny.
Danielle was ambitious. I have always known it as I witnessed her feel bored in conversations with people her age. We were in the middle of moving, and she was likely to lose her job as a result.
“I’m worried I’ll have to take work I hate if I can’t find...” she started.
“Why not try something different?” I wasn’t very patient with Danielle - she has so much potential.
What I could not tolerate with her as a nanny was what I wish she could do more of as a woman: take a risk.
“Why don’t you pitch my movers on better copywriting for their website?” I asked as I taped up my second donation box.
“Their website is pretty bad,” she smiled. She tried to pull up the moving company’s site on her phone as she folded a baby’s swimsuit.
I knew she had a great eye for style. My daughter always had subtle matching hair ties, belts, and socks.
“You can give them a proposal of how you would make it better when they come by to give me a quote.” I tried to sound natural. I admit it was even out of my comfort zone.
“Sell them while they try to sell you?” she laughed uneasily.
“Yes, exactly. Let me know when you want to practice.” I made strong eye contact and switched the topic.
In the next two days, Danielle managed to come up with a few bullet points in a black-and-white printed brief.
“I love the minimalist design of your site, but I just had a few suggestions.” She stood in front of me with a paper in her left hand feeling as ridiculous as the proposition.
“Change but to and. And avoid just.” I encouraged. In my professional training, I would have had to deliver feedback in a slow drip. Because Danielle trusted me, I was able to be direct and lightning fast.
She practiced around twenty times in front of me. I later learned she stayed up the night before practicing double that amount.
The owner of an independent, local moving company arrived in the morning. He surveyed the house inventory and delivered logistics.
Over his shoulder, I saw Danielle was pacing. I moved towards her to take my son from her arms.
I introduced her to the mover, and took a step behind the door. I pretended to be grooming my son.
I saw her awkwardly smiling at the man. She lost her rhythm and a few words. He even finished a sentence for her. I continued to remain by the door.
I then saw her increase her tempo. She had more energy. She made a joke. She started to sell harder! As he left, she told him to contact her with any more questions.
“How was it?” I asked, almost afraid.
“It was...” she had an unfamiliar look in her eyes, “exhilarating.”
That was the last time I saw Danielle. We moved with the assistance of the company with the bad website. Life took over. I would receive emails from her occasionally. She said the movers never contacted her for any questions, let alone offer her work.
Then, one day, during my lunch hour, I noticed a missed call. Danielle.
I took a bite out of my sandwich and listened to her voicemail.
“I wanted you to know that I’ve settled in with a new family. I also did a sales pitch to a laundromat with facilities in other states to improve their website marketing and they are giving me contract work based on my ideas. I hope the kids are well. I miss them.”
I closed my phone as my office door opened.
“How is everything?” my colleague asked.
I finished my sandwich. “Exhilarating.”