"Get a Good Night's Sleep!" - 04/27/22 Edition
Stephen Says Column

Dear Stephen,
I am a sales representative at a manufacturer.  Business is good and getting even better because design firms are giving us face to face appointments again.  I hear that in many markets in the country, including mine, business just kept going, in spite of Covid. I am looking forward to Design Days in Chicago this year (that may give you a hint where I work).  My company’s national trade event happens to coincide with NeoCon. 

Life is good for the most part.  Inflation has meant gas prices have gone up along with food and everything else. I am hitting all my sales goals and our lead times are not as crazy as some of our competitors. I should be in a good place, yet I feel tired and anxious.  Physically tired and emotionally anxious.  I am not worried about Covid; everyone is my family has been fine.  I am just worried about what the new normal will be like (whatever that is and whenever it gets here) and I think it is distracting me from my job. 

I realize you are not a psychiatrist or mental health professional but an executive recruiter.  I am writing because I have seen you on TV and I’ve read your books and I look forward to your weekly column, and if anyone knows the pulse and temperature of our industry it is you. Have you heard complaints or uncertainty from anyone else?

What will DESIGN DAYS be like in June?  Are people going?  Are sales rep’s from dealers and manufacturers getting back to the routine?

Are there tips for getting my mojo back when it comes to my work and sales routine?  Right now, I am pulling off the act, but sometimes I feel like I am faking it.  What’s your advice?

Where’s My Mojo

Dear WMM,

My advice is simpler than you may think.  In my business, as in most occupations for the last couple of years, there’s been a tremendous up-tick in the use of ZOOM and TEAMS video meetings and one thing has become obvious to me as I observe people in various settings, in assorted attire, and at all times of the day and night. People aren’t getting enough sleep!

Now, there’s fewer video calls but I stick by my observation - everyone, in every walk of life, needs to get a good night’s sleep.  It is something that most people, of every age, never get enough of.  I am not a health professional, as you point out, and that bears repeating, but I feel strongly about this issue. I think back when I started to write a column for The Huffington Post, and Arianna Huffington wrote a great book called “The Sleep Revolution”, it helped me then, and I still listen to the audio version of the book every so often.

Her bottom line, and mine, is that everyone needs a good night’s sleep. Your cognitive functions are impaired if you do not get a good night’s sleep. Your emotional intelligence is degraded.  Believe me when I tell you, you cannot do your job well on 4 or 5 hours sleep. I talk to clients who own dealerships, sales people to regional managers, and VP’s of Sales to CEO’s.  Many share with me they are surviving on very little sleep, and they are not happy about it.

There is no “one size fits all” answer - for me it was a CPAP machine and some talk therapy. Someone else it could be a relaxation or a sleep App (yes, there’s an app for everything), Yoga or melatonin.

It starts with believing you need 7 to 8 hours of sleep no matter what your age is, then figuring out, perhaps with a healthcare professional, how to get it.  And do not tell me it’s just a sip of NyQuil for you!

Start now and make a plan. 

As for the rest of your question and the pulse of the industry, it is upbeat.  Everyone seems to be going to Design Days/Neocon.  Book your appointment with The Viscusi Group now!  Me and my team will be all over Chicago and to every showroom and if you are thinking career (everyone should, shouldn’t they?) than make sure you contact me ahead of time. And remember Neocon and Design Days is not just a trade show but a job fair for some of you to confidentiality interview or catch the eye of a new employer.  Come on, you know that is true.  Not to mention those of you who may be changing jobs now in May, so you can surprise your friends with your great new job, and let the new company show you off at Neocon/Design Days. 
Salespeople are excited about returning to real work and even the many who are not getting to go this year to Chicago may be having an event in their local market. People are excited. 

I am telling you it will be great this year.  The Mart is letting you in for free and I’ll bet whatever genius decided to charge a registration fee last year, during a pandemic, I bet is no longer there.  Looks like from the program at NeoCon, there’s some new faces along with some new ideas, and it’s good to see that. There are also many of the same faces -in our associations and in the media- some people who entered the industry the same time as the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman were introduced - and I can only hope that they’ve got something new to say.

Our industry is charged-up and ready to go, so get a good night’s sleep and see you in Chicago!