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I'd Like to Get Out of Sales


14 replies to this topic

#1
Zerimar Nyliram

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Hey, guys. You're great for advice when I can't post something on Facebook because I might get in trouble with a certain audience.

Here's a quick back story: from the time I got out of college (I mean when I briefly tried college right after high school) in 2004 up until around 2011, I was getting nothing but factory and manual labor jobs. I hated them and was miserable at every single one, and I could never hold a job because I just always detested the jobs I worked at. But I thought those were the only jobs I could get because I had no other skills, and no formal education.

Then a temp agency helped me land a desk job at Verizon in 2011 as a call screener. They hired a bunch of us on when they released one of the iPhones to handle the increased call volume, then indiscriminately laid most of us off, regardless of skill or value, once the hype was over.

I gained a month's worth of customer service experience. Then I landed a sales job with a guy who had us doing shady job after shady job, closing one failed company and opening up another one. I worked here for three years and made very little money (despite constant promises that were were on the verge of "breaking through") and gained shrewd salesmanship.

When I'd finally had enough, I resigned and got hired by a very reputable home security company, where I worked in Inside Sales for another three years. I was very happy there and made lots of money. It was as if a weight had been lifted.

 

That feeling of comfort started to change as new upper management took over and made drastic changes to the company. For one thing, they dissolved our sister department, Account Management, laying off more than twenty people one afternoon completely without warning. As our department director pointed out, that easily could have been us, so the feeling of job security diminished drastically. At the same time, they took away half our sales program--existing customer sales, which I was good at--and gave it to another department, leaving us with only new customer sales, which was much more challenging.

 

All of this had me on edge. I would mute difficult customers and vent into the ether, cursing and banging my desk, to the point where I received so many warnings that I was eventually terminated.

I went on unemployment for a while. In 2018, I briefly landed another job in logistics with another shady individual from Turkey, who for some reason employed an entire room full of nothing but immigrant Russian women, and me. I was verbally abused by my impatient trainer here, learned hardly anything, and was terminated after a month. They challenged my unemployment claim in small claims court, where I easily won the case.

 

After a few more months, I landed my current job in April of this year. It is a startup environmental company located near the top of the PPG Tower in downtown Pittsburgh, being only about five years old. The atmosphere is very fun and relaxed, and we are not micromanaged. (They don't even mind if you drop some F-bombs as long as you aren't loud about it. I've had no warnings so far.) We do a 3:30 office-wide fist bump every Wednesday (it used to be every day), where the entire office goes around and greets everyone. We had a company-sponsored happy hour, parties, and other fun things.

 

But there are a few downsides. For one thing, I'm one of the older ones there. 90% of the employees are fresh-out-of-college kids getting into their first sales role. More than that, though, the pay isn't great. The commission is ridiculous and the parameters for attaining it are too numerous. Even the top performers aren't taking home a great paycheck. I think it'll be a great place to work at and make lots of money in about ten years or so, but I think the problem now is that they don't have enough capital to pay great commissions. (That's probably why they hire so many young people: all they remember about jobs is working at McDonalds, so they don't really know what a decent paycheck looks like.)

Now, the fact that I am trying to find a different job shouldn't be any surprise, but the thing is, I don't think I'm happy in sales anymore. Much like where I was in the beginning, I feel like I've worked myself into a corner where I can't move into a field where my worth isn't measured by monthly numbers, and which will pay decently. I could probably easily land any measly customer service job paying $12 an hour, but that won't solve anything. Many people in sales move on to marketing or human resources or other such fields, but I know that those things require an education, which I do not have, and which I can't afford to dedicate years of my life to right this minute. The move needs to be now, but I have no idea where to go or how to get there.

 

Also, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite, because I constantly encourage my young co-workers who are performing amazingly but are not enthused about sales, to stay in sales, albeit not necessarily with this company, because they'll do amazingly and have have landed a much better opportunity than I had at their ages when I slaved away in manual labor. And now I don't want to be in sales anymore!

Could anyone offer any advice?



#2
Tank

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What are you passionate about? I mean, other than Star Wars EU of course.

 

Some people might say to keep your personal joys/hobbies separate from work cause it can ruin them, but I have had two careers now in creative fields making use of my skills fostered in the things I love. I mean, I do have three degrees, so there's been a lot of former skill building, but I think passion is important and you're never going to love your work if you don't invest some of yourself in it.

 

I'm also very much NOT a work for the weekend person, so if you are, anything I say may not be valid.

 

But I think passion is important.



#3
Ms. Spam

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Uhm Sales will kill your zest for dealing with people. I have wanted to just buy a trailer and go live in west texas and not ever see another entitled "the customer is always" right person. But I like eating. And I'm not good at hunting. People are pure bonafide ***holes. 



#4
D-Ray Kenobi

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I'm betting that you already know what the answer is, I'm sure nobody here minds help encouraging you with it though.

Back around 2013, I had to leave higher education.  I'd worked there for about five years and I was blessed enough to get a lot done.  I taught classes, managed a conference, was editor of the university homepage, all kinds of awesome stuff.  But after that five years, I pretty much ran into a dead end.  The President of the University left, politics got insane, and I just took the healthy option and took an online sales job in another town that allowed me to telecommute most of the time.

It didn't take long for me to realize I hated it.  The people that owned the small business didn't have an ounce of ethics in them when it came to leveraging Chinese sweatshops.  They also expected modern results out of a very old fashioned way of doing business, and no amount of explaining or data I gave them convinced them to change a thing about the way they did things.  I hated myself for having to peddle cheap things with an insane markup that kept some kid in what boiled down to an internment camp.  I was only there for around a year or so before I noped out of there.

I've had a few things since then, only one was bad since it more or less turned into the same thing, just higher quality products in a more corporate environment.  I've always known what I DID like to do, but it took a few tries to find out what I DIDN'T want to do.  I discovered that I loved doing the digital communications and communications strategy stuff, but for something that actually made a difference and was done ethically. 

One job I loved that I probably shouldn't have left was at an embedded tech place that made the touchscreens that are used in things like airplane seats or some vehicles.  It was a corporate place, but a small one that valued their employees tremendously and went a long way to make sure they knew it.  It was also cool to feel like I was a part of driving technology forward.  But then again, if I hadn't left it, I wouldn't have ended up doing kind of the same thing at NASA.  The seven year old me dreamed of working here, so I value it tremendously and plan on making a career out of it if I can get away with it.

Anyways, TLDR: Find what you do like, and also find what you don't.  Knowing both will eventually put you in the right place, even if it takes a few twists in the road to get there.


  • Tank, Jacen123 and Iceheart +1 this

#5
Darth Ender

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I am a Jim Collins fan.

 

I agree with everyone, I would also add what do you want personally?  Work from home?  Flexible hours?  High pay?  Work for a company you believe in?  What sacrifices are you willing to make?  Are you willing to have a long commute?  Are you willing to go back to school?  Be micro-managed?  Basically, what are your work values?



#6
Iceheart

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I wish I had known so many of us were in the same boat earlier. Oh well, never to late to misery klatch.

September 2018, the local media company I worked for was sold to an out-of-town company. After an EXTREMELY tense summer as the deal was going through and we non-managers knew something was going on but not what (not to mention I was in a severe 9 month fibromyalgia flare as this was all going down), and an even tense-er holiday season, I learned in February along with about a quarter of the company that my position was being eliminated.

In July I finally found another job... and I hate it. The customers are terrible, Im micromanaged by people in my department who are not my managers, one of those people in particular is just straight up mean and everyone thinks its funny, the work itself is a complete bore, and I just plain dont get along with the environment. Its so bad that I spent most of the summer in a deep depression that only lifted once I started the job search again in September.

Except there is very little out there in my area right now that pays a living wage, and that I have the skill set for. I was the first runner up for a job in higher education administration in November... but that just means I didnt get the job. Everyone else Ive applied to sent me rejections right off the bat. And no, I cant move to a better job market, Id have to move my whole family (Im a primary breadwinner and own the family home, where Im legally required to reside as part of my mortgage terms).

I tried the whole make what you love a career thing before, and I learned that that makes me hate whatever it is I loved before monetizing it.

So... yeah. Here we are.

#7
D-Ray Kenobi

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I'm in the boat that you should NEVER make your job your life. 

Unless you're somebody like Tank that earns a room in the Mount Olympus of your career path, you should work for yourself, not your employer.  I can't tell you how many projects fell out of priority at any of my jobs, but most of the time I stick with my own projects and goals until they happen one way or another.

 

I'm not exactly at my dream job, but I am working for my dream organization.  I still honestly place a bigger priority on my travel and music festival hobbies.



#8
Brando

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You likely have a few options, but they’re not necessarily all great.

 

1) Go back to school. Get a degree that’ll help you get a job you won’t hate.

 

2) Start over. Get a customer service job in an industry with room for growth.  This was my route, I don’t have a degree but I got good jobs. I started in high school shelving books at a library, worked my way up, leveraged that to get a job at a bank, took a detour into youth ministry and got out of that just as the job market fell apart in 2009, and then eventually started over in a customer service job with State Farm.  I learned everything I could about insurance, and worked my way up from a customer service rep to being an adjuster, and then went from their into a cushy job with the state in insurance oversight. 

 

3) Try to find a job that your resume will help get you in the door.  Depending on where you are, this may be easy or hard.  Your resume doesn’t seem super impressive the way you’ve described it, but I’m sure you’ve picked up a lot of great skills that will translate.  And there are a lot of jobs that care more about experience than education. 

 

4) Go to trade school and learn a skilled trade. If you want an office job, this isn’t necessarily going to be the answer.

 

5) Learn to code.  It’s still an industry where knowledge and skill matter more than education. 



#9
Ms. Spam

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I quit teaching and came back to it. I work now in a charter school. I've managed Taco Bells. I work part time in a call center. I've been a temp secretary. I just know every job has douches you avoid and you have to interact with people so its hard to not avoid them. If I could make a living fostering cats that would be my job. Because I know a cat will attack and it will hurt that's in pain or scared or something. People are just so unreadably and undeniably ugly and dumb and will take stuff out on you at the drop of a hat. And everything has to be "Benchmarked". 



#10
Tank

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I feel like I should clarify since everyone seems to be disagreeing with me... I'm not saying one should monetize their hobbies and loves, I'm suggesting that training and skill building around things that give you passion may make for not hating work.

 

It was a total lottery that I have broken into screenwriting, but I went to school for writing knowing it would still give me useful skills. My initial plan was to get work doing technical/copy writing on the side while I worked on my own stuff.

 

When I went to art school, I was interested in fine art and getting into galleries, but I used the skills I learned to work in graphic design for ages. 

 

Even film school-- that was to give me the technical know how to work on set. The industry is full of skilled crew personnel that are journeyman in various fields and aren't interested in being a director or other above the line creative.

 

I'm saying build skills in what makes you passionate. If you can make a living doing the thing you love, great-- but you can also do something adjacent to it that flexes the same muscles without being your actual passion if making money at it would ruin it for you.



#11
Brando

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I don’t see that everyone is disagreeing with you, just offering different perspectives.  My job doesn’t exactly meet my passions, but it does allow me to use my skills.  I write a lot in my job, even though it isn’t fiction, and I like to think it’s made me a better writer in general.  It also allows me to do research and be a know-it-all, but I wouldn’t do the exact job without the money.  Insurance isn’t interesting, but I do enjoy getting into the nitty gritty legal stuff. I’d hate being a lawyer, though, because I can’t stand the idea of speaking and writing just to take up time and bill people for extra hours. Lawyers have a strong belief that you should never use five words when you could use 100 pages to make the same point.

 

My biggest passion is my family, so having a nice, cushy job that lets me come home for dinner every night and allows my wife to be a stay-at-home mom is most important to me. So as long as it isn’t a job that will kill me, like my last job almost did, I’m glad to do it.

 

I think the main thing is, we all have different experiences, and they’re going to change the advice we give.  Your advice is great, but you also acknowledge that you have a lot of education that assists you in making money from those passions.  Zerimar doesn’t have the education, and doesn’t really seem to indicate if he’s willing to go that route.  It sounds like he’s in a bad situation and needs out now, or at least very soon, so my advice is more based on that.  

 

I agree that life is too short to do something you hate, but different people have different priorities.  I’m probably never going to sell anything I’ve written, unless I self-publish on Amazon and my mom buys a copy, but my real passions are met outside of my daily work. But, again, I’m not doing something I hate.  When I was in that situation, I didn’t have time to go to school, get a degree, and change careers.  If I had waited that long before I jumped ship, I legitimately would’ve died.


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#12
Ms. Spam

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Yeah, Seth. Not disagreeing with you. I bet when you get distracted or have writers block it's just as frustrating as a kid barfing on your shoes in my class. HAHAHA. 



#13
Destiny Skywalker

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I think loving what you do does temper having to work, though. I mean, I've wanted to be an engineer since I could talk. But in the last week I've had to do the work that a senior engineer has been avoiding for months because he's too good for it, put up with tons of obnoxious personalities and one of them is my manager, and work late to do it. But I tried the non-technical path before and was absolutely miserable. I will have to put up with jerks everywhere but at least I am doing work I enjoy.

Kind of the same with my volunteer work with Girl Scouts. I'm surrounded by idiots and the parents are barely functional adults, but I'm making a difference to those girls who really need that influence and a place to grow.

#14
Ms. Spam

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Once I realized all people are ***holes and I don't give a **** what their situation is I can kind of get through the week at my second job. I chat so when people flip out and say mean things I'm able to laugh it off. I work with a girl who takes chats and yesterday she got a guy she had to give a phone number to call and get help because she couldn't help him in chat. Her name is Sharonda. This guy who didn't even try the correct phone number he was given wrote in his chat at the end before he ended it  "Sharonda couldn't help me. She just gave me more phone numbers that don't work. More like Sha-tarded." then he did the internet version of stomping off and ended chat. We even made a new tag for her name to put on her pod.



#15
Zerimar Nyliram

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See, I get through it by taking the opposite attitude: that people are good and amazing, full of potential, but we easily succumb to the things that prevent that goodness from showing.

I'm enjoying the answers so far. Thanks, everyone.





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