It’s a problem a lot of youth finishing high school would love to have.
"I was making more money than I knew what to do with," says Mohammed Ahmed, an energetic 29-year-old who sold cars for a living when he was 19.
It wasn’t easy at first. People walking into Attrell Hyundai Subaru in Brampton to buy a new car didn’t know what to make of the shaggy-haired youth.
"I was the youngest kid on the block for sure. I sold just three cars in my first month and made about $700." Ahmed thought his manager was going to fire him for his poor sales, but he got a reprieve and a lesson.
"He taught me that it’s not how you sell a car; it’s all about how you help people find the car they want," Ahmed says.
So he dialed back his high-pressure tactics and took the time to listen to his customers. He sold 12 cars in his second month and made $3,500.
The money soon became intoxicating and Ahmed left for seemingly greener pastures at other dealers. He sold nine cars in one day at a Toyota dealership, but he could never shake the feeling he wasn’t fitting in with other salespeople.
"I didn’t golf or do anything they liked to do. I was definitely an outsider," he says.
Like many young people who enter the workforce after high school, Ahmed grew disillusioned with his employment and decided to pursue higher education.
"I had gone to visit friends at Centennial College and became very comfortable with the place, so I enrolled."
Ahmed studied Business Information Systems, a two-year program, and graduated in 2001. But not before immersing himself in campus life by joining the student government and establishing the Desi Student Association.
Organizing campus parties and special events led to his interest in entertainment, and that brought him to OneRoof.ca, a multimedia service company.
Ahmed started out by building websites for clients, but the tasks quickly grew to include shooting music videos and planning large-scale events, like the upcoming international cricket tournament at Rogers Centre (www.cricketfrenzy.com) on March 3.
Ahmed credits his college year to his success, specifically the communication skills he acquired and the relationships he fostered.
"It was part of my journey. I learned many things I use in my job and personal life," he says. "I used to be a quiet person. Imagine that."
For information about Centennial College, visit www.centennialcollege.ca.