Can I Get an Opinion? (Long Day)

I was fired from a job I thought I’d have for many years. This was a little over a month ago. I’m pretty happy go lucky, so I didn’t really work to find a job, just kind of looked and let things fall in my lap.

About two weeks ago a fellow calls me up because he saw my resume on Says he was interested in my sales background and if I had any management experience. Says he’s looking for a sales manager for a niche market. Ok. I agree to an interview, which turns out to actually be a presentation. There are 3 of us, and he basically tells us what he does, does the presentation we will have to do, then explains things to us.

The next Monday we start training. Two hours, four days, two weeks. We’re actually not sales managers, but sales agents. And after training we have to (two of us, the Asian didn’t make it past the first day. I think the guy didn’t like that this guy was trying to change the training time. Plus he had a hard time speaking.) run around to get our packets done. This means I have to get a document from the police because I have a class C misdemeanor (PI) and get fingerprinted and get it all notorized. I get this done in about 3 days. We are supposed to be memorizing the presentation. We don’t do a good job at that.

Week two. We don’t go in on Monday because he had to go to Dallas. That’s fine, lets me be free. Today, I go in at nine, and because I still don’t have the presentation memorized, he tells me to go home and memorize it until 2:45, then be back at the office to go out on appointments. That was fun. No one signed up for the life ins. Most weren’t even qualified medically. Another wasn’t interested. And the rest weren’t home. This is how I get paid. People sign up, and I get a percentage of what they pay, usually about $60 a person, sometimes more, sometimes less. But, I can’t get paid until I get my license. I can’t get my license until I get certified. I can’t get certified until I take the $150 class in Austin this Friday. Then, after PASSING the certification tests there, I get a certificate (duh) to take the actual test. Study materials (a comb-bound 200 pg booklet) were $140. None of this guarantees a license, and without a license I don’t get paid.

The only reason I’m going through this is:

  1. I’ve already paid into it and I’m fairly certain I can’t get any money back.
  2. I don’t have any other offers, and no money.
    That’s not entirely true. I think I can get a job at Starbucks when it opens, someone knows me and likes me. But I’m afraid it won’t pay what I need.

So, after all this I’m asking, begging… for an opinion. Should I make the starbucks call? should I get the license and try out that thing for a couple weeks? what. I dunno.
plus I can’t really work on my bobafett costume because I have to do all this crap.

Well, I’m missing something here. What does “memorize the presentation” mean? You mean he already hired you, and you have to go out and make this presentation to other people? Sell them something, in other words? And you want to know if you ought to keep this “presentation” job, or go apply at Starbucks, or work on your Boba Fett costume?

Keep this job. It’s a job. You like to eat? Can’t eat a Boba Fett costume, babe. :smiley:

Brood, pal, what sort of license are we talking about? Is this something that may or may not pan out with this employer but the state certification/licensing offers other opportunities? With the little I have to go on, I’d say you might want to stay the course but go ahead and stay in touch with your Starbucks contact for the near term. But I’d really like to know more about what I’m talkin’ about.

Somehow I think Duckie’s better late at night. That’s just me.

Good luck, pal!

I’m a bit confused as well. What I’ve gathered from your OP, and this could be completely wrong, is that this is sort of a business pyramid scheme. You get hired on, have to pay the company for materials, so that you’re qualified to train others. To do what, I dunno. Sell steak knives? Environmentally safe products?

Maybe I’m completely misreading it. But if I’m correct I say cut your losses and run. Run fast. The only way you make your money is by getting others less suspecting than you into the deal. You should NOT have to pay a company like that. The company should be paying you.

I had a commission sales job for about six months. I worked for a snarky dude. It wasn’t a good thing. I surely wish that I had seen “Glengary Glen Ross” before I agreed to take that job.

Sales can be okay if you believe in the product you’re selling. But if you don’t, it can be pretty painful.

This sounds like a scam to me for some reason.

If it was me, I’d beat feet to Starbucks and wait until something better comes around. There’s got to be something better out there than that job.

What Ender said about not having to pay for courses, but rather that if the company hired you, they should be paying.

Coupla’ questions, though:[list=1]
[]What is your background. That is, I’m assuming you don’t have a degree or you wouldn’t be looking at Starbucks, but do you have a few years sales experience?[]What is the long-term goal of this company? Are they looking to build you up to handling cases instead of cold-calling folks or to a management level or are you, like Ender wondered, just supposed to continue recruiting other people?[]Is this something you want to do? Is it something you enjoy being a part of. granted, Starbucks might not be either, but if you are already questioning this job…[]Can you accept that whichever decision you make, the money you’ve already spent is sunk and it might be better to cut your losses? Not saying that is the best course, but if it comes down to that, could you just look at it as tuiton in the college of Life?[/list=1]Good luck and hopefully, with some more info, we might be able to help point you in some sort of direction.

This sounds much like a scam.

Having sold Kirby vacuums, I can understand how you got sucked into it. :smiley: But if there’s no product, that’s a really bad sign. Even Kirby, who sold a (debatably) worthwhile product uses a technique similar to this, where they don’t tell you what the product is until the second day. But I have to say that this sound suspiciously like a pyramid scheme and you’d be better off selling lattes then ripping people off. Cheers

Mr. Grace has some experience in this type of sales environment. He worked for a company (now out of business) that basically hired everyone. They weeded out people as they went through the process of training, studying for the exam, and even after they actually started employment. No one got paid for training or while you studied for the state license. You basically footed your own bill until you started bringing in commissions. This includes paying for all your own materials.

I would proceed with caution. Look around. Where is the office located (believe it or not, this makes a difference)? Talk to people in the business who are not affiliated with the company. Get a feel for the company’s reputation. If you get negative feedback or you’re feeling uneasy, accept your losses and get the heck out. You’ll be a little lighter in the pocket, but you won’t have wasted more time on this endeavor.

I don’t think it’s a pyramid scheme. He’s not recruiting people for anything. I understood from the OP that he’s going door to door and selling life insurance. The presentation he’s memorizing is the speech he’s giving to the customer about the benefits of ABC Insurance.

Sorry I was a bit mysterious in my post. It was a long day and I was about to pass out.

The company is American Income Life and they sell insurance. Whole life is the main one, because that’s what my pay is based on. The more Annual Life Premium (ALP) I collect, the more money I get paid. There is a standard presentation I have to memorize that’s about 13 double spaced pages long. I have it pretty much down now, except for the last couple of pages. Once I’m licensed by the state of Texas, I can sell this insurance to people (which is really a good deal, if you are a commercial driver in Texas or belong to some other group that AIL works with) and make commisions based on that. The reason that training isn’t paid for is because technically I can get licensed, then take that license and go somewhere else. I have no obligation to them whatsoever. I am not on the company payroll until I sell my first whole life policy.

This Friday and Saturday is the test prep/certification class in Austin. I just read the info that was emailed me yesterday. 30 Hours of self study. If I start now, I can get some of that in… sheesh. It says I don’t have to present my certificate to take the state exam, but in case of a random audit, I need to have it. “It is your company’s responsibility as well to make sure you prepare for the exam through a proprietary school as well,” is directly from the info I was sent.

DDG: sorry I didn’t give more info, but I was tired…

beatle: I hope the above better explains the situation. And when are you gonna be in Waco? I’d like to meet up and have a drink. Unfortunately, there is no Joe’s crab shack here.

ender: no, it’s not a pyramid scheme, but it is set up in a way that if you manage agents under you, you get a small percentage of what they do. They have to be under you for a certain amount of time for you to be ‘promoted.’ New agents get 40%, then after selling a certain amount of ALP you get 50%, then when you get 2 agents under you for 3 mos, you get to be a supervising manager. Then after you have more people under you, you get 52.5%, then when you have a lot of people for a longer time, you get 65%… They say the amount of money is endless. They don’t pay for training because of the license thing above.

geekbooks: Yeah, I’ve never been big on commision jobs… but the money looked good when I started… now, i dunno. The job is Mon - Thurs. 7a to 9 or 10a then it can be from 1p to 9p or 10p depending how the appts go. At 40%, making the minimum 8 sales a week, that’s about $8.50 an hour on 55 hours a week, which is what it looks to be…

BG: I don’t really get the scam feeling, but I am calling the lady at starbucks today.


  1. No degree, a couple years in retail sales.
  2. Long term goal is to sell and maintain policies with the groups it handles, commercial drivers, nurses, credit unions. No cold calling. All the appts are made the day before. And you recruit after you get to a certain point. A definate caffiene junkie speed freak job.
  3. I’m not sure I want to. After yesterday I was pretty disgusted at spending $300 to sweat and listen to people decline the insurance or not be there at all. I only am in this for the money. He said that an agent in the first year can earn up to $65,000 which was my biggest draw.
  4. This is what I’m concerned with. I thought there was an opportunity with sprint, but it was for a Houston position, so it wasn’t possible for me to act on that. I am afraid that if I don’t act soon, I may miss an opportunity, and be stuck driving all over the ‘heart of texas’ listening to people become medically ineligible or be rude or not be there at all.

I’ve talked about it with my fiancée, and she said that if I wasn’t happy, I should do whatever. She’s cool with losing the money. I’m not terribly upset, but it was $300. Right now, my plan is to take the course, if I pass it, then I’ll work on the license. If I get licensed, I’ll work with AIL for two weeks. If I don’t feel very good about it then, I’ll look for something else. In the meantime, I’m calling Starbucks and seeing if that is a possibility. It may not be.

I appreciate the info, and again, I’m sorry I didn’t provide enough info to obtain some true insight from you. Hopefully since I’m a little more alert, this makes more sense and enable you to have a better opinion.

Grace, you’re right, but as I said above, it’s not even door to door, it’s just addresses of people that are in the group.

Whoa. I just got a call from the guy who recruited me. He said they just let him go this morning. I’m supposed to call another guy in Dallas this afternoon. I think I just cut my losses and moved on. Sheesh. If they canned him, what’s to say they won’t can me?