Car Salesman? John? (Not Any More)

Car Salesman? John? (Not Any More)



How did I end up selling cars?

A while back as I was praying about how God might be able to provide a living wage for my family I was reading a magazine that showed an ad for a new car called the “SmartforTwo”. The ad mentioned a dealership in Memphis so I opened my eyes to the possibility of selling Smart cars because of their unique design and market. I thought surely this might be an open door to an unseasoned sales person.

So the next week I got ready to apply for a job and went to the Mercedes dealership where they said they were sold. When I got to the desk I mentioned why I was there and the man standing by returned my comment with a strong response, “NO, we don’t sell Smart Cars. WE TURNED down that dealership.” I wasn’t sure how I had offended him by my comment but there was something under the rug in his world for sure.

As I was driving away I asked God why in the world He led me there as I knew He did. My own thoughts wondered if it was just a test of obedience. I felt relieved because I really didn’t want to work there anyway. So, while I was out I went to two Starbucks coffee shops and gave them applications. They seemed more to fit my schedule and need for benefits.

A couple of weeks later I heard an advertisement for sales help at a local Toyota Dealership on our local country music station. I felt strongly that I was to go and apply for a job there. Maybe God had prepared me earlier in my heart by sending me to the Mercedes dealership.

Since I didn’t have a resume’ I quickly prepared one and got dressed in respectable clothing and went to the dealership. I handed my resume’ to the lady at the desk and she asked me to fill out an application. She said I would likely have an interview right away.

I was introduced to the General Sales Manager who was kind and affirming of me and of my skills. He assured me I would do well at this job. He handed me off to the Sales Manager who likewise was very affirming and said that due to my history I would likely be in management in a short amount of time. He said that he wanted me to interview with the General Manager of the dealership so off I went to another office. His first question was, “John, do you like to read?” He recommended that I read a book on leadership called “Built to Serve”. He thought I would enjoy reading it and after a few other affirming words sent me on my way.


I had gone over in my head many times my insecurities about applying for a secular job. After 22 years in ministry with a sexual recovery program and having never gone to college, I certainly didn’t have the cutting edge for getting a good job! I couldn’t imagine why someone would hire me. But in these three interviews, each person mentioned my resume’ and my job experience with positive reactions. They actually said that these tools showed them that I was exactly what they were looking for. One man said, “John if you can work with sexual recovery, you can surely sell cars!” It was apparent that God was in fact opening up the door for me so I continued walking through it. I had no idea what would happen next.

That fateful day, I was offered a job selling cars virtually on a silver platter. I returned in two days to accept the offer and a week later I began my training. I moved through several courses in Toyota University and asked a lot of questions of the others I encountered. I also heard a lot of comments about life as a car salesman. Most mentioned the “dog eat dog world” and the extensive hours spent at work.

Along the way my energy towards this job waned. Each person in their own way told me of how they had to often console their wives due to the time away from home. They spoke often of how some people were honest but others would go out of their way to get the next sale even it meant running over someone else to get there. Well, this is what I expected so I wasn’t surprised, just shocked that I was moving into something that felt like I was being swallowed up by a beast!

A bright spot during my training was when the sales manager told me to go get the keys to the cars and drive them! “You mean I can drive any car I want to?” I was in seventh heaven that day driving numerous cars to my heart’s content.

When I was released to sell cars the second week I felt comfortable and enthusiastic about this part of the job. I loved people and enjoyed cars. It seemed to be a good combination. I mean, if you have to go to work, it just as well be something you are familiar with and this seemed to fit the bill. My first and second customers were really enjoyable. I took some test drives with them and it seemed I was catching them with my knowledge and my intuitive ideas.

Well, after a couple of days my sense was correct, I was being swallowed up by a beast alight. I was drowning in the belly of a whale and didn’t know how to get out. I felt trapped by the job and drained of my heart. I had nowhere to turn but to the Lord. As I have prayed many times in my life, “God get me out of this!”

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4 Responses to “Car Salesman? John? (Not Any More)”

  1. Laura Leigh says:

    That “swallowed-up” thing is pretty bad. Still, the journey into something unusual and to have this experience under your belt is good. In fact, it can be relationally helpful. Thanks for sharing this part of the story.

  2. John Smid says:

    Thanks for the comment, Laura. I can say that my two weeks at the car dealership was relationally helpful. I met at least two men that I worked with that impacted my life. I plan on following up with at least one of them. Of course, there will be lasting effects that will come about outside of the job at a later point I am sure.

  3. Earl Adams says:

    I can understand not wanting a job that would keep you from doing God’s work. I am unemployed and have had no luck for the same reason. also I have tried with a friend to get a small company going selling DVD slideshows with music and great pictures from around the world, some with gospel music, only to find that we diidn’t have the funds to get the product sold retail. I am praying that God will allow me to put my Christain cd tracts out in stores and others places for free. I mail them to india and other places to anyone who asks for free. I am a seedsower. pray for me as i do you all.

  4. Drew VanDyche says:

    I too found myself in the belly of the whale! It was called a cruise ship and I was teaching aerobics as a fitness director for Steiner Transocean back in the late fall of 1995-96 working for Carnival and Silver Seas. I had everything I thought I wanted according to my wish list of goals (my To Do list), but I was horribly lonely and unhappy. And I remember sitting alone on the crew deck in the front of the boat, with Kathy Lee Gifford’s voice blaring in the background and I said, “God, if you can get me out of here, I will go back to California and pick up where I left off.” And off to my right, God answered me in this amazing display of light and thunder rippling through a pillar of clouds. It was like an affirmation that God was with me and had heard my prayer. Before I knew it, Christians began showing up in the gym, ministering to me, witnessing to me and one even gave me the Gideon Bible that they had stolen from their stateroom! LOL! It wasn’t too long after that that I made another shift in my life, that took me back to California in late 96 and then out to Nashville for Theotherapy in 1997 where I stayed till 2002. It’s really amazing how often God allows us to get into difficult situations that forces us to make a determined move towards wholeness.

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