I recently interviewed for another job. I currently have a good job – they treat me well here, I do okay work for them; my pay is enough to take care of my responsibilities; things are really just fine. They’re comfortable, and I’ve worked a lot harder for a lot less in the past. I’ve also made more money in the past, but wanted to slit my wrists every Sunday evening because I hated the idea of going to work Monday morning, so I know there’s more to it all than just a paycheck.
There are some issues here (organizationally speaking, mostly), and I don’t know if there is much growth opportunity for me, position-wise or pay-wise, but I have to say it: I’m a year-and-a-half in on this job, and I have been able to keep up with my house payments just fine; there is always food in the fridge; I do not work nights or weekends; hell, I don’t even clock in or out at all. Nobody micro-manages me and they even think I’m a “driven professional” (their words, not mine).
I recently took my family to San Diego for a four-day weekend. We rented a condo a block from the beach; had lots of good food; attended an old friend’s wedding; took lots of pictures and just had a blast; and upon returning from the trip, I only had a remaining balance of about $160 on my credit card. My interview for the new job was three days after returning from that trip.
So, why would I apply elsewhere? Well, without getting too far into detail, I recently had some interpersonal conflicts with immediate co-workers. We disagreed on some things and because of power imbalances (my immediate co-workers are a VP and a Director – I hold neither of those titles), my input towards the issues we were working on was not taken into consideration in the slightest regard, which really made me feel more or less marginalized.
And the issues themselves are not important at this time; just know that I was ready to throw in the towel.
I have some friends and previous co-workers who are at another organization and they are doing well. And when I mean well, they’re reporting earnings back to me of good months of anywhere from $8K to $10K, sometimes more … and bad months of $5K to $6K. Yes, it’s a sales job, and no, I’ve never had a good month as good as their bad months, earnings-wise. Close, but I’ve never seen anything like $10K in a month – that just sounds too good to be true to me.
For anonymity-sake, I won’t mention the name of the organization at hand (or the one I work for), but I will mention that it’s a financial company that deals with debt-consolidation, and in comparison to my current earnings of just over $4K per month (in digital marketing), it seemed like an amazing opportunity.
My friends and previous co-workers there all seem to enjoy what they’re doing – it’s fun, they say; challenging and rewarding – and they’re being compensated WELL for their efforts. So, due to frustration with my current working situation, I submitted a resume, landed an interview, and went and met with a Sales Manager and Team Lead there for an interview.
I think the interview went okay, for what it’s worth, but I think about halfway through the interview, it became painfully apparent that we were just not good fits for each other. They clarified some things that my friends told that I may have misinterpreted – things about how the business works and what it takes to be successful there.
“You see,” the manager says, “they (clients) think they’re applying for a (debt consolidation) loan … but as a sales person here, you’ll tell them how they don’t qualify for the loan, but here’s a really good option …” To be fair, I think they do offer debt consolidation loans there, but hardly anyone qualifies for them and the sales persons are trained to explain why that’s not a good option in comparison to their debt negotiation program.
They then explained how their debt negotiation program works (this is where things got a bit uncomfortable for me).
They basically convince people to stop paying their credit card payments in order to “qualify” for a “hardship” so the company can negotiate their debts on their behalf. By going into default, the consumer would then be in a qualifying hardship, and the company can buy the person’s debt for a much lower amount and then sell it back to the consumer for a discounted amount. It sounds great in theory. A person would still take a hit on their credit scores by stopping payment on their credit cards, but it wouldn’t be as detrimental to their credit as bankruptcy.
The idea is, they explained, is that if a person owes an incredible amount on his or her credit card, say $30K in credit card debt, the person most likely isn’t going to pay that amount off. Ever. And their solution would help to reduce the amount owed and help them get out from under it.
Shoot, we all know credit card companies are predatory and authorize people every day for credit cards that they know can’t really afford – and $30K is a medium-sized fish in this example. I know being down even just a couple thousand can be detrimental to a person’s quality of life if the person has a lower-income. (I think the minimum to qualify for their program might have been $7500 in credit card debt, but I could be wrong).
So anyway, the clients continuously make their payments without putting any sort of significant dent in the principle balance and then wind up using the cards still because they spent all their free cash on the payments, and round-and-round they go, month-after-month-after-month, year-after-year … and I know this trap all too well. I lived it.
They were practically describing to me how I was back in 2013 / 14 (after the divorce) when I got to about $17K in the hole on two credit cards. I was making my payments, early and way over the minimums, maintaining my credit, but not really getting anywhere as far as actually knocking out the debt. I’d make big payments each month on my two credit cards and then wind up having to use them to pay for things, and then I’d look at the statements each month and saw I was going nowhere fast with that debt, especially when analyzing how the interest was calculated and seeing exactly how my payments were broken down and what was applied towards principle and what was applied towards interest.
I eventually did get out from under it, though – but I had the very fortunate and unusual circumstance of being able to go back to school (for a master’s degree) and use Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits – which paid my tuition AND gave me money for living expenses.
I worked full-time and went to school full-time, which was a bit of a blur for 2014 / 15, but I managed to get out from under that debt. I seriously treated myself like I was in a work-release program from prison for about two years where I would leave the house only to go to work and school (and the lake) – it was not glamorous at all, but I made it.
I still have my credit cards and use them (I explained some of this in the interview) and how I have 3 major credit cards with the combined buying power of $26K in my wallet, right now, and how after a trip to San Diego, I only owe about $160 dollars on one of them. I am super, borderline-neurotically-maybe-even-psychotically disciplined about not letting credit card debt get out of control ever again.
Two of my cards have amazing rewards programs – the one that I use frequently has 1.5 points earned for every dollar spent – and I use it, but never carry a balance from month to month. I currently have right about $200 in Rewards Points accumulated and I’ll let them build up because I will pay my boat insurance policy next year with Rewards Points.
I was asked about my previous performance in sales and we talked about certain things, i.e. numbers, metrics, strategies, etc. They asked me if I was capable of a one-call close or if I prefer to spread it out over a few interactions (they push for one-call close there).
I told them how I am capable of a one-call close if everything was done in a moral and ethical manner. I didn’t stop there, though – I explained to them how just because something is legal it doesn’t mean it’s moral or ethical (I could tell that my sentiments were not welcomed when they shot glances at each other).
Anyway, I was not offered a position there. But I swear: even if I was, I would have declined.