Death of a Salesman (Fribble) August 3, 2000

Fribble Death of a Salesman

August 3, 2000

In the average sales job, you work hard every day, and hear "no" a lot, and you're elated when one person buys from you. I know because I started selling as a door-to-door Fuller Brush guy, pushing soap and vegetable brushes to housewives with three kids, and grandmas trying to make me remember the old times. Nineteen was a gullible age -- I remember "Kid, you can be rich!" pep talks.

Then I tried cars. They tell you, "So you're so good? Sell three cars this weekend or out you go!" The next day you find out the worst snow storm of the century just hit! You're out the door and they don't have to pay health benefits or unemployment -- you learn the true meaning of "revolving door."

Next was electronics, door-to-door!

Well, not quite -- first contact the buyer, see if he has interest, get him to lunch... only to find out that he doesn't have interest. Then move on to the next, and the next. Those were the '80s for me -- pushing cable, diodes, and electronic parts. My wife recalls all the long drives and lost nights of sleep. The endless road trips, barely breaking even. Boy, am I glad those good old days are gone.

Then I moved on to financial services. The biggest company on earth wanted me for my prowess in selling, demeanor, and perseverance. I hustled for years and years, learned all the closing techniques (tricks of the trade) and all the marketing ideas. I worked like a dog, and I was rewarded with the coveted office and wood desk -- everyone knew I was Mr. Pru, the guy who could close anyone.

You wake up one morning and realize how burned out you are!

You remember the lessons taught: You never are to sit idly by, so you invest in the next big thing. You lose most of it. So a few years out of the burn-and-churn office, you wish you were back. You have no need for things like pension plans, 401(k)s, and health insurance when you're a young salesman, but try to find them when you're older.

So don't whine about that sales job. If you hate what you're doing, then move on.