A Career in Sales Isn’t for Everyone

A Career in Sales Isn't for Everyone - picture of salesman with couple looking at wall of TVs

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This past May, my husband started feeling like it was time to move on from his 9-5 job at a mortuary.  He was tired.  He was burnt out.  And most of all, he wondered if he should do something different with his life.  You might even say that he was having some sort of mini-mid-life crisis or something.  But, after working alongside my husband in the mortuary for six straight years, I totally understood his frustration.

For those of you who don’t know, the mortuary business can be brutal for a person’s family and personal life.  Mortuaries literally work around the clock, and Greg used to get called out in the middle of the night all the time.  Can you imagine working from midnight until 6:00 a.m. then being back at the office for a full day’s work two hours later?  I can’t.  On top of the crazy hours and overnights, he also spent many weekends, evenings, and holidays “on call,” meaning that he was kind’ve off work but could be called out at any time.  Simply put, his job seemed to suck more than other people’s.  So, he started to wonder if he should consider a different career path altogether.

A Career In Sales

After a lot of thought and consideration, Greg started to embark on a new career in life insurance sales.  He had all of the makings of a sales super star.  At least, I thought so.  He’s good with people.  He’s charming.  He’s a good listener.  And, most importantly, he’s an extremely hard worker.  After deciding to try this new career, he started the company’s training program. He put all of his extra time into earning the various licenses that he would need to do the job.  During training, he left the house at 6:00 a.m. and returned home at 6:00 p.m. – only to play with the kids and then study from 8:00 p.m. until midnight.  He also found out that his new job expected him to quit working at Club Thrifty, which kind’ve broke his heart.  But, he got over it.  And more importantly, he worked really hard and did everything that he was told.  And from what I could tell, everything was going great!

Unfortunately, my husband was secretly crumbling within as he realized that he absolutely hated sales.  The new job required that he call 40 people per day, mainly family members and friends.  He felt uncomfortable.  He felt weird.  And, during that time, he realized that he also didn’t believe in the products that he was supposed to be selling.  And it got worse.  He started having panic attacks and waking up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat.  At a certain point, I noticed that he looked miserable and confronted him about it.  At first, he swore that everything would be fine.

Then, a few days later, he completely broke down.  “I hate my new job,” he said.  “I’ve ruined our whole lives.”

Life Goes On

Honestly, I should’ve seen this coming.  Greg was never meant to be a salesman.  It just isn’t in his soul.  When we worked together at the mortuary, I would constantly hear him give people advice on how they could save money on caskets, flowers, and vaults.  He never tried to upsell anyone, even when it would benefit him, and he felt uncomfortable when people spent more than they needed to spend.  And, that’s okay.  A life in sales isn’t in Greg’s future, and the truth is that he didn’t ruin our life at all.  I love my husband, employed or not, and I honestly have to say that our life together is currently the best that it’s ever been.

Yesterday I wrote about how I’m glad that we have an emergency fund.  Today, I add to that list.  I’m glad that we live below our means so that Greg can take some time off to figure out what he wants to do with his life.  I’m glad that he can stop and really think about where he’s been and where he wants to go.  We’re not sure what’s going to happen now, but I’m so thankful that we’ve experienced all of the crazy things that we have.  I married Greg in sickness, in health, for rich and for poor, and I meant it.  And, it’s nice to support him for once.  I’ve never been the bread winner before, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it while it lasts.

For the time being, Greg is going to help me work on Club Thrifty.  However, I’m excited to see where we end up.  He is he smartest and hardest-working person I know.  Regardless of what he decides to do with his life, I know deep down that he will find a way to succeed.  He always does.

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  1. Sorry it didn’t work out, I hate sales too so completely understand where Greg comes from. Don’t worry too much I am sure you’ll figure it out, and in the meanwhile make it work on one income. Every time I got a new job I regretted not taking enough time to relax and enjoy life in between, who knows the next time you’ll get a full week holiday after that.

    1. Yeah, so true. I am not sure what he’s going to do. We just want to make the right decision!

    2. I just started sales and already have anxiety should I quit I hate it

  2. I have personally played it kind of safe over the years and have not made any decisions I hate. However, I also haven’t made any decisions I absolutely love. I am tired of working for a corporation, but I feel I need to stay for another 5-10 years minimum as we are adding a third child soon and my wife is going to leave her full-time employment. Maybe my online businesses will take off and I am make that move. I would LOVE for that to happen as I would get the flexibility of working where I want to work and doing what I want to do.

    1. Yeah, I would love for that to happen to him too!
      We’ll see what happens.

  3. I’m sorry the change didn’t work out but you guys are both handling it like total ballers. For Greg to have the courage to admit that just a few months in is huge. Most people would stubbornly plug along, refusing to admit to their mistake. And he’s also lucky to have you, who’s clearly 100% supportive and understanding as he figures out his next move. You guys have a really awesome thing going on and you’ll clearly figure out a different way to keep on dominating life.

    On a side note, THANK GOD he’s out of life insurance sales. I think by now you already know my feelings on the subject, but I have to say that it says a lot about Greg’s judgment when you write that “he also didn’t 100 percent believe in the products that he was supposed to be selling”. I’ve already written about this at length so I won’t get into it here, but his judgment is spot on.

    1. He could’ve kept going but we didn’t think it made sense. He didn’t want to waste people’s time by plugging along when he knew that it wasn’t going to work.

      Email me if you want more specific details!

    2. Jamala Blugh says:

      Can you send me what you wrote on the topic? Thanks!

  4. Sorry that job didn’t agree with Greg, but FWIW, all sales positions are not alike, so if he gets another lead it might be worth learning about. In his B2B sales gig, Mr PoP is virtually guaranteed that he will never be selling to anyone he knows, unless they are an existing client in a renewal. And when he started he did almost no cold calling.
    Mr PoP was offered positions in insurance, asset management, etc before he took this B2B sales job and I had no desire for him to take those. We both preferred him selling cell phones than hounding our friends and family for money.

    1. Yeah, it might depend on the specific sales job.
      He did sell things in the mortuary business after all- caskets, vaults, headstones, etc. But, he sold things when people had to have them so that made a difference.

  5. “When we worked together at the mortuary” is a statement that very few couples on the planet could make and it makes me laugh.

    I love my job and I can’t imagine working at something I hated. It would suck the life right out of you. Good decision to make a change even if you aren’t 100% sure what your future will be and another great reason to have an emergency fund.

    1. Ha! I agree, Jane!

      Not a lot of couples work together in a mortuary.

  6. Sorry to hear that Greg’s new job didn’t work out, but I’m glad he didn’t stick it out for years and years hating being in sales. I’m sure he will find a great career that he loves – the mortuary business sounds pretty rough so probably good that he got out of that as well. Sounds a lot like being a doctor (on call constantly, working all night/morning, etc.).

    1. Yes, a lot like being a doctor except for A LOT less money!

      The mortuary business is wonderful in a lot of ways. The only thing that was awful about it was the hours and working weekends and holidays. Other than that, it really is a great business.

  7. It definitely isn’t for everyone! Also, those sales jobs in those outfits really are more peer-to-peer marketing–Greg was smart to get out of that!

    I’ve seen ads for those jobs–I even interviewed for one in order to show the unemployment office that I had some activity when I was laid off–but the minute I learned I was supposed to sell to my family and friends, I knew it wasn’t for me. I’ve worked in a sales office and while no one would ever turn down a sale someone made to a family member or friend, they’re expected to cold call people/businesses in the market for their product, and/or use lists the company provides them to cold call or make follow up calls to. Even in those “regular” sales jobs, it’s stressful because you’re only as good as your current numbers.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with selling to family and friends. I just don’t think it was or Greg. A lot of people have those sorts of sales jobs and absolutely love them. It just depends on the person, I guess!

      1. Yeah, I agree. It’s not wrong, it can just be very awkward. And if you want a mile-high boundary between work and private life, it’s not a good situation!

  8. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for Greg, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. My job has an element of sales involved, but I’m the least pushy salesperson ever.

    “(With this prouct) You get benefits X, Y and Z – I’ll happily ring up the sale if you like but at least now you have the information to make an informed decision, have a good day.”

    Some people really appreciate that I’m so laidback about it, but other people who genuinely should be making purchases don’t because they are too indecisive and I won’t push them. I view my job to help those who want to buy, not to hassle those who don’t

    1. That’s exactly how Greg was in his mortuary position. He gave people information so that he could make an informed decision then left them alone. I really do think that people appreciate that, especially in a death situation.

  9. We’re in a similar situation now. 🙂 I’m looking forward to see what Greg does in the future. He may also want to look into a different kind of financial planning– I don’t know details, but the fee-only kind is much less skeevy. I think there are tests that need to be passed for certification.

    Being self-employed can be a lot like sales too, though at least my DH is having fun networking with people he knows, and he does believe in his product because it’s himself and he’s awesome. (If anybody needs a computer programmer…)

    1. Awwww…….we both have house husbands. Isn’t that adorable?

      I think it’s cool that your husband found a way to become self-employed!!!

      1. Self-employed with no clients yet… But networking is a full time job. Eventually he’ll hit on something though. And if not, we pack up and move to CA.

        1. Well, at least he’s got a game plan and a talent. He’s got to start somewhere!

  10. Good for you, Greg! You never know until you try, and only wimps are too afraid to try. I’m like you, just lousy at being pushy and “asking for the sale.”

    However, you seem to be good a customer service and that qualifies you best for starting your own business. The trick, of course, is finding out what that business should be.

    And kudos to you guys for having the margin in your finances to absorb real decision making! 🙂

    1. Thanks William!!!!! I’m sure he will figure something out!

  11. Hey, Holly! If Greg wants to talk about this stuff with a guy who’s been there, have him give me a holler. I’d love to chat about where the road leads if he decides to jump into something better in a similar arena with a better firm.

    The sad thing about the financial advising business: breaking in is a bitch and you are often coached by people who are coaches because they were unsuccessful advisors. There’s so much money to be made by being good at that job, why would you take on the task of teaching new people?

    1. Kurt Wuerfele says:

      Hey Joe! I really liked your comment to Holly, and was wondering where you ended up as I’m in the same boat (reading this a little late).

  12. Love this post. Sales is definitely not for everyone. W gets extremely frustrated with his job at times, and I feel bad for him. We are working on changing that.

  13. Sorry to hear that it did not work out for Greg. I was in a very similar situation about 18 months ago. It was 100% sales, but at the end of the day they expected numbers and they did not care how you got them – even to the point of encouraging you to sell crappy products to people who didn’t need them. That said, life is way too short to be in something you don’t enjoy and even makes you miserable. Like Matt touched on, I have total confidence he’s going to find something he enjoys and is very fortunate to have you supporting him.

    1. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

      Well, I don’t want him working in a job he hates. Life is too short. I totally support him as long as he can find a way to make money.

  14. I would be horrible at sales also. Recently, when I negotiated a for sale by owner real estate transaction, I couldn’t sleep. Hated calling the buyer. I could never be pushy enough to be a good salesman. Before retirement my husband and I were very unhappy in our jobs but we stuck with them until retirement. He liked the duties of his job but hated the employer—the government. I didn’t mind my employer but disliked one very large duty associated with the position. So we sacrificed 30+ years of job satisfaction to get an excellent and early retirement. Was it worth it? I think I’d have to say yes since we are approaching year nine of retirement where otherwise we’d still be working for several more years. Everyone has to weigh the pros and cons. Hope Greg lands where he was always meant to be.

    1. Yeah, I agree.

      I’m sure that you’re glad that you aren’t working anymore. It’s just hard to say what the right decision is. I really do hope that he finds a job he enjoys.

  15. Yep, that’s definitely the plan!

    He’s always been a hard worker and great provider. It’s okay that he’s taking some time to figure his life out!

  16. I HATE sales, so I completely understand where Greg is coming from. Fortunately my job only includes a tiny component that is sales, so I’m mostly safe.

    Good for him for figuring out that it’s not his cup of tea, instead of just forging ahead because that was the “plan”. Looking forward to hearing what path he ends up taking!

  17. Years ago I tried the Life Insurance sales thing, and came to the same conclusion. We weren’t to sell to family and friends, but rather went through unions. Lots of cold calling, meeting people at their homes, loads of travel. I met some of the most wonderful, interesting people during those months. I also met many, many people with no money, living in conditions I never imagined existed in this country. And that’s saying a lot, since I grew up in a very poor area! At the end of the day I just couldn’t see convincing someone they needed a Whole Life policy when they lived in a home with dirt floors and no working plumbing.

    That being said, I agree with Mrs. Pop. While sales jobs aren’t for everyone, not all sales jobs are the same. Even all insurance sales jobs aren’t the same (although all life insurance only sales jobs seem to be). Of course, I never tried any other sales positions after that. One bad sales job has a way of killing your interest in the field.

    1. HA! I can see that.

      Yeah, I would have a problem selling anything to people who were already living in poverty. Some things are just “wrong.”

  18. Holly! Thank goodness Greg got out before he got in too far. And I feel the same way about Tammy. Her work ethic is so strong that it matters not the task at hand or the conditions. She’ll make the best of it and find a solution. Moreover, we’ll do it together.

    I jumped into a music teaching job from a social work type job 1998. After my first day of teaching, I should have resigned, but I went on with grim determination for 7 years. That was a putrid, hateful, nasty job no matter the district or the school in which I worked.

    I opened a guitar studio in 2005 and have never looked back except in fear, as in flashbacks. Glad Greg is out and you two have the opportunity to figure out what is next in relative comfort;) Have a wacky Wednesday!!

    1. Oh, it’s totally wacky. I’m wearing a shirt with paint all over it and Greg is still in his jammies. We’re totally winning.

  19. For the longest time I wanted to be a financial planner. I thought I would be good at it because I am good with money and wanted to help others be good with money too. No one thought my career change was a good idea. I was told my new career would really be about relationship building – no one will buy from you if they don’t trust you and sales. Then I thought I would be a financial counselor. That is until I talked to one. She felt her job was more of a marriage mediator than anything and I would need counseling courses before I could be hired at her agency. Too bad your husband had to experience this, but he did learn a lot about himself. And his hours at the mortuary were horrendous. That is one reason why I want a career change. I feel as if I am always working. Looking forward to seeing where he ends up.

  20. Life is too short to detest your job that much — I’m glad he got out and I’m sure things will work out!

    It was extremely heartwarming to read you say, “I honestly have to say that our life together is currently the best that it’s ever been.”

    THAT is what life is all about!

    1. Yeah, I totally agree. Our family life is more important than money or anything else.

  21. Glad you figured it out! Sales gives me the heebie-jeebies. I work very well with people, but I cannot seem to get to the point where I sell something to them for my own gain if I truly don’t believe in the product. Think about it…we run frugality sites!!!

    1. Yeah, exactly! And unfortunately, I can only sell ideas here, not stuff.

  22. I’v been doing sales for the last 15 years and I couldn’t do insurance sales. Certain sales jobs requires aggressive people while other are more soft sell. It seems that job requires the aggressive sell, I know I would struggle with that.

    1. Yeah, I agree. I’m aggressive in some ways, but not in others. I would totally suck at sales unless I was selling something that I thought was the most awesome product on earth!

  23. I think from many people, if you don’t absolutely believe in your product you can’t sell it. That’s why I’m not richer from optical sales. I can’t make myself push someone toward buying $400 glasses when a pair or readers from the dollar store would work just as well. It sounds like you are bringing in enough income to support the family, and that’s awesome that it gives Greg time to think and decide without having to feel pressured.

    I know this isn’t a post about finding Greg a job, but I’m going to throw this out there anyway. I don’t know how hard it it to break into, but almost no one, at least in our area, does optical equipment repair and maintenance. I don’t think people even know that’s a job. We recently had to pay a guy to travel 8 hours at $220 per hour for travel and $120 for labor once he got there for less than an hour repair. That’s a pretty good day’s work! The cleaners who maintain the thing the doctor has you look through when they ask you
    “is it better at one or two” come about once a year from the far reaches of the earth and make about $300 for less than half an hour. I swear sometimes I think I should learn to do it. Anyway, I have no doubt that you guys will come out on top, no matter what you decide.

    1. Ha!

      That sounds like a pretty cool career if you could get your foot in the door!

  24. As other comments state, life is too short to hate getting up in the morning. I am also glad that he can come back and help you out with the blog if he wants to. What I love the most about this is post is that your family has the option to try something new or to move on from something you hate because you have prepared for it ahead of time. Feels good I bet! Good luck!

    1. Thanks Diane!

      It does feel good to have options!

  25. You’ll figure out something! Sorry sales didn’t work out for you, but at least your realized it fairly early on and before you had to compromise your values just to sell something you didn’t believe in.

    Personally I know I would be a terrible salesman. I know that when someone says no it isn’t personal, but it would still drain on me. Also like you, I would have a hard time selling something I didn’t believe in.

    1. I would be a terrible salesman just because I don’t think that people should buy things they don’t need. People do need life insurance, of course, but I couldn’t sell anything other than just basic term policies. I would just tell people to save their money…and I wouldn’t make any money!

  26. I totally understand where Greg is coming from. I am a personal lines insurance agent and absolutely, positively hate sales. It just feels forced and sleazy. If I can help somebody out my saving them money and providing them better coverage I am all for it.

    However, I am not a cold caller or a door knocker. Nope. No way.

    Luckily my job is 75% servicing existing policies and 25% bringing in sales. If I wasn’t paid hourly I wouldn’t be able to make it on this job. However I can barely make it on the $11.50 per hour the job pays now. I cannot wait to quit!

    1. I think that Greg could do inside sales, no problem!

      I can’t wait until you quit your job too. What is holding you back?

  27. I’m interested to hear what you guys did in the mortuary business…didn’t know they had to be on call. As for Greg’s job…sorry it didn’t work out. My friend out of college did it for a year and he kept calling me to convince to get life insurance. I almost did it cause I felt bad for him, but that would have been a financial mistake in my opinion and I probably would have blamed him. He moved on to something else. When my father retired (forced retirement), he also became a life insurance salesman…very very briefly. Once again I almost bought it (even though he himself did not believe in the product!). Good luck to Greg in his future endeavors. I’d be interested in what he decides to pursue.

    1. Greg was a mortician and I worked in the office. He embalmed, met families, and ran funerals. I mostly filed death certificates, completed required paperwork, and did other administrative tasks.

  28. Woohoo and six thumbs up for you and Greg! I love your honesty in sharing your feelings with us.

    Back when we were both in public education, I could see CJ slowly losing the sparkle in his eyes. In fact, when I read how Greg broke down and admitted to being so unhappy, I got tears in my eyes because I recall similar conversations. CJ left public teaching because I insisted. He went for training and started his own guitar studio where he continues to work. He loves the guitar, not elementary music teaching! At the time, I was very sick and we had to put our house on the market. We didn’t have an emergency fund. Eight years later, we’re happier than we’ve ever been. That decision was the catalyst that set into motion many, many changes. We’ve never looked back and thought, Wow, wish you were still teaching at _______ Elementary.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing Greg here. I came late to the game at Club Thrifty, so I don’t “know” him yet! What fun!

    1. You’ll get to know him soon! I’m pretty sure he’s going to start writing again now that he doesn’t have a job that forbids it.

  29. Sorry it didn’t work out but, as you said, sales just isn’t for everyone. It really is a tough gig and, you’ve gotta have a filter in your mind to cut out all the negative to make it work out. I can’t necessarily say I’ve ever met a sales person that liked their job after a prolonged period of time so, maybe it’s for the best. I’m sure you guys will make it just fine on one income. After all, you are club thrifty…thanks for the great read!

    1. I really do know some people that LOVE sales. And I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with sales. I just now that neither of us want to do it!

    2. I started insurance school a week ago it was not long until I realized how much cold calling is involved in this job I always hated sales don’t know what I was thinking but I am bailing so glad I found this blog thank you for helping me decide not for me

      1. Hey Carol,
        I felt the same way. I don’t know what I was thinking either, and I really beat myself up about it. However, there is no shame in knowing yourself and realizing that it isn’t a good fit. Although it was tough, 2 years later I’ve come out in a much better position than I would have been had I stayed there. I’ve been able to ditch the 9-5 and create my dream life. You’ll find your way and come out better for it. There is no reason to stick with a job that is going to make you miserable.
        Best of luck, and thanks for stopping by! Visit us again soon 🙂

  30. Quitting his job and trying this new one out could have been the best thing that ever happened to you. You two are resilient, and hardworking people always find a way. It would be great if you two could work on the blog together. It seems like you are bringing in enough to support the family. I know it’s scary and variable but you both work so hard and to think you could travel and take your job anywhere is a huge opportunity. Kudos to Greg for following his heart. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it just right. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your supportive comment! Honestly, it’s tempting for him to stay home and work with me. We worked together for six years and made an awesome team!

      However, it’s scary to go that route. It’s not just us…we have kids. I don’t want to make a financial sacrifice that required them to suffer in any way.

  31. I’m really sorry it didn’t work out but glad he got out of it before it really affected him, his health, the family, etc. It’s not easy to come to that decision and I hope you all can figure things out. I know you will! 🙂

  32. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for Greg, but at least it was realized sooner than later. If he still wants to stay in insurance since he has his licenses, maybe he can go into supplemental insurance or something? A friend of mine does that and his client base are employees at a hospital chain, so it’s not people that he knows but rather people who are considering the insurance, anyway? I hope he finds his path soon – your marriage is so strong, I don’t doubt both of you will come out even better.

    1. Yeah, he might consider a different career in insurance that doesn’t require cold calling family members and friends. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that. It just wasn’t for him.

  33. Sorry to hear it did not work out. However, you guys had already established yourselves to live with very little and like you said this will give him ample time to figure out the best path to take. At least he tried out and he knows it is not for him rather than not try and keep saying I wish I tried. All the best in the future.

    1. Yeah, I agree. You never know whether you will like something until you try!

  34. Hey Holly –

    I completely understand your husbands situation. My wife thinks I would be a great financial advisor because I am a talkative guy, but I know I would fail miserably as I am definitely not into cold-calling, door-knocking sales and trying to sell something to someone just to sell something.

    We all have our expertise and I’m sure your husband will figure out what’s best for him.

    Good luck

    The Warrior

      1. No hope needed. Just focus! Wish him luck!

        The Warrior

  35. Good luck Greg. Don’t get stuck in something you hate. At least you realized early on that it’s not a good fit for you. Keep looking and you’ll find something that works for you and your family.
    Good luck!

  36. Your husband is lucky to have you as a supportive partner. Praise the emergency fund:)!

  37. Sales jobs are not for everyone and it’s good that Greg realized this early on. Even better that he has your support and a solid emergency fund so he can take some time and figure out what he wants to do next. It is hard in the beginning where there is lots of pressure to make sales so you have to turn to those you know or make the dreaded cold calls. I started my career in DC, so no family (which was a good thing) hated cold calling but found my salvation offering financial education seminars to businesses. As you said, Greg is smart, capable and a hard worker – he has endless possibilities in front of him. And I look forward to seeing him back at Club Thrifty!

  38. Working in sales must be extremely hard for a person who has such a big passion for PF, so I can completely understand that it was the wrong job for him. The way you describe your husband makes me even more sure that he will figure out what he wants to do. Could something like an economic adviser of some sort be a thing? Then he could work with people while also helping them?

    1. I don’t know what he’s going to go. For now, he’s just taking his time so that he doesn’t jump into something else that he doesn’t like.

  39. Great post! It’s a good thing he realized that sooner rather than later (I can definitely relate). I’m sure he’ll find out what he wants to do soon and sometimes that process includes finding out what you don’t want to do first.

  40. It’s important to know what you want to do. Sure, he had to take some classes and some time, but it’s good that he realized that sales wasn’t for him. When I was younger, I had a similar experience with a job selling knives. It was horrible!

    1. Selling knives sounds awful! Who did you sell them to?

  41. Greg had a tough decision to make. I applaud him for admitting that sales isn’t for him. For the record, there is a reason why sales people at companies usually have the best perks. It is because being a salesman sucks! From what I know of Greg, I don’t doubt that he will bounce back from this stronger than before. Everyone deserves to be happy in their job!

  42. So sorry to hear the new job wasn’t what Greg expected. It’s awesome though that you two are in a financially stable position where Greg doesn’t have to work a job that would make him miserable. Life is too short for that.

  43. Wow, good for Greg!

    I’m quite early on in my career but already trying to contemplate how to head towards something more enjoyable. Sounds like being a saleswoman is probably out for me too!

    1. It probably depends on the type of sales you did!

  44. I know how Greg feels. While I didn’t leave my job for a sales job, I left a sales job for my current job. I was never good at sales. I don’t like trying to get people to buy things they don’t need. It is not in my nature. I thrive when I am behind the scenes, making things work.

    Good luck Greg!

    1. Same with Greg. There wasn’t really anything wrong with the job itself. It just isn’t his personality.

  45. Hey Holly. Please do not take this the wrong way but I am glad that Greg is not working in sales…at least in that particular industry. I am not at all a fan of sales OR the insurance industry and I am sure it would have crushed Greg’s spirit more than it has already had he continued.

    And how dare they state that he couldn’t continue working at Club thrifty!!! That would have definitely been cause for the one finger salute!!

    I obviously do not know you or Greg personally but I can tell that you are both hard-working folk and deserving of all the good that you get, so keep the faith and I’m sure there a few wonderful opportunities for Greg just around the corner 🙂

    Take care and all the best.


    1. I think that there were legal reasons that he wasn’t allowed to work on the blog. It had something to do with one of the licenses that he had to have!

  46. As someone who’s felt enormous pressure to be the bread winner for the whole 3.5 years of our marriage, I have a completely different perspective on this. Honestly, I can’t wait for my husband to at least earn the same amount I do, if not more. It would alleviate a lot of the pressure off me. I would love to have the flexibility your husband has. Good for you guys and it’s wonderful that he has time to explore what he really wants to do.

    1. I understand that.

      Greg has been the breadwinner for the last 8 years so I don’t mind pitching in for a while. But, it will be nice when he is earning again. Two incomes is always better than one!

  47. Sucks that it didn’t work out. Glad he has some time to figure everything out! Excited to see him back around here again!

  48. Greg is a baller, straight up. And what an awesome demonstration of marriage here, showing how you both support each other. The song “lean on me” comes to mind.

    With that much drive and skill, Greg is going to be set real soon, I just know it. Sounds like it’s time to network and have a little fun finding a new path. 🙂

    1. He’s working on it!

      He’s just trying to take a little extra time to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He’s either having a late “quarter crisis” or an early “mid-life crisis!” I’m just trying to be supportive!

  49. Selling insurance would be something I would hate too! Good for him to realize it and have the cahones to get out and find something he enjoys.

    1. Thanks Kyle!

      I think some people are just made for sales and some aren’t.

  50. It is so great how you are so supportive of Greg! I love it. I have no doubt you guys will get through this and that Greg will end up being more successful (and happier). It’s not worth it to drag yourself into work everyday, as you already know. That is seriously crazy that they expected you to be back into work after working overnight, though. I have friends in IT that are on-call, and if that happens, they at least get to go in later! I wouldn’t like the possibility of being called into work at any time to loom over me, though. Best of luck to Greg – I am sure he’ll figure things out.

    1. Being “on call” is difficult, but it’s just part of that job since it’s a 24/7 business.

  51. Since I am on my 8th career, I was searching! The first 7 careers were all business related and I enjoyed them for the most part. It helped that I already achieved financial success. I could dabble or make changes without financial risk. I love to teach, but even that is changing.

    1. I can’t believe that you’re on your 8th career! That is great that you’ve had so many options!

  52. This hits close to home for me. My boyfriend experienced a very similar thing (without a family to worry about supporting). He felt that he was told to cheat people, to get them to hand over money and that was just not in his character at all. I felt horrible and sleazy. He left that job out right….he worked a 2 other jobs in completely different fields for a 1.5 years or so. Now he is using his out going and people personality (the personality that he thought would be good at sales) to teach elementary school in the city schools. He is loving it and thriving. Hang in there!

  53. Holly,
    I am very glad that you have been such a wonderful support to Greg in his tough times. I wish Greg all the best and hope he will definitely come up with a good career decision shortly. I made a career change rather I can say I said good bye to my 9 to 5 job not because I hated it but I wanted to get out of that regular 9 to 5 race. Now I am enjoying and doing what I loved to do.

  54. This is proof why everyone should have an emergency fund and live below their means. Life is too short to stay in a job you hate–for a lifetime or even a month!

  55. Hang in there Greg. Another opportunity will come!

    Having a quota to call 40 people a day sounds horrible. At least you know what you don’t like so you will not wonder what could have been.

    Best, Sam

    1. That’s what I said. He really did think it would work but “doing it” ended up being entirely different than the idea of it.

  56. Ick, sorry for Greg. Sales are not fun and I would hate to be in them, too. I’m glad he realized he hated it and made a change, though it would make me nervous to just up and quit. Luckily you are making enough money from home!

    1. It didn’t make him nervous to quit once he realized that it wouldn’t work out. It was 100 percent commission so he wasn’t getting paid!

  57. Greg is not the first person to burn out during the beginning phase of insurance sales. It’s hard work, and cold calling gets ugly very fast. The churn rate for first year insurance sales people hovers around ninety percent.

    From your description of how he handles customers, it sounds like he is very gifted at sales. Helping people make the right choice shows that he puts customers first. Selling isn’t about squeezing every last nickel from people. It’s about meeting needs and cultivating relationships.

  58. I know that can be a difficult realization to come to. I felt the same way about teaching, and tried to fake it for a while but I knew it wasn’t for me. It takes courage to tell yourself & others the truth, especially when you’ve devoted so much time & effort to the “wrong” career.

    I wish you two the best on your next chapter.

  59. Thank you for this honest and beautiful post. It’s hard to face reality, especially when we take big risks and fall on our a$$. But at least he realized this now and didn’t make himself miserable for 10 more years! He tried, he learned, he will try something else. The point is he had the GUTS to leave and try. That is courage, not failure. Love how you guys are keeping each other going with all the changes in your lives!

  60. You are a great wife to support and trust him so much! He is very lucky to have you as his partner!

    At the start of this year I was very unsure of what career path I would take and that has been the case 2 or 3 times before but it has worked out for the best every time!

    1. Thank you, Lloyd!!!!!

      Glad your situation is working out too =)

  61. I’m currently in the insurance sales business, and I feel like I’m in the same boat as Greg was. Unfortunately, I don’t have an awesome career in the mortuary business, so I’m glad to hear he has that to fall back on. It’s definitely a tough business, I thought I would give it a go, see how it worked out (hoping for the best, of course), but now I’m only a few months in, and I’m worn down and beyond frustrated with this job. I was so happy to find that someone else has had the same experience as me, its comforting to know that we’re not alone on this rollercoaster of life!

    1. I can totally understand. I have been in the insurance industry since 2008. The ups and downs, the “honey, I’m not getting paid, AGAIN,” the constant need to find people to talk to about things they don’t want to talk about. All I can think about is when can I stop doing this. I think it’s time for a transition; I need to clear me head. Thanks for your devotion to your husband no matter what. My wife is great, too!

      1. Thanks for sharing, John! It sounds like it might be time for a change over at your house. At least you are willing to admit it and determined to change your situation. I’m glad your wife is supportive. I just wanted my husband to be happy!!!

  62. Hi Holly, what does your husband do now? Did he find his calling?


    Ryan (I hate my sales job, and I’m looking for a positive story!)

    1. Hi Ryan!

      He went back to the funeral industry for about a year, but ultimately started his own side business so that he could come home and work with me.

      When he took the job with Northwestern Mutual, it was supposed to be about living the dream and being his own boss. But the reality was actually quite different. Not only was he expected to work a gazillion hours per week at an office, he HATED it.

      Now that he owns his own business, he really is his own boss. It took us a while to get here, but it sure does feel great. Sales jobs suck unless you have a certain kind of personality that thrives on it. Hope you find something!

  63. Hey Holly!

    I’m so glad I stumbled across your article. I just quit my sales job (after about 6 weeks). I hated every single second of it. Calling family members and friends was probably one of the most awkward feelings I’ve had in my whole life, and being rejected by them, made it worse. Many of them who knew I was going into it also told me from the get go not to call them because they’re not interested/we have a good relationship so “lets not make it weird”. I still tried with some of them but it was a terrible feeling for me and I was shaking for every single phone call! I was surprised to see that your husband also had panic attacks because I did as well and I was wondering why I was having such a unique/abnormal reaction to it. I too woke up in the middle of the night, several times a week, terrified. I was always uneasy, even in my sleep. Finally when I got another job offer, I took it eagerly and breathed a sigh of relief. My only fear is that sales is essential to business and that if I should own my own business one day, I’d need to be good at sales. But for now, I despise it; I felt unnatural and way too much out of my element to be comfortable doing it, especially for a living. I wish your husband best of luck on whatever part he decided/decides to take. And I commend you for how totally and completely supportive you are/were during his transition,

    1. Hey Jamala,

      It sounds like you and I took a very similar position with similar reactions. I’m now 2 years removed from the situation, and I couldn’t be happier. Clearly, you were not a good fit for that job. But don’t worry, not all sales is the same. If you were in the same type of job I was in, it was very similar to a multi-level marketing. I got the feeling that they didn’t care all that much whether or not I succeeded. What they wanted was for me to buy their product and introduce them to everybody I knew. That way, when I eventually gave up, they had connections with people I knew.

      Anyway, glad to hear that you took a new position! Good luck and keep your head up. Sometimes great things come out of bad situations.

  64. Your husband unfortunately doesn´t know how to sell. First lesson….. if you are selling something that is more expensive you need to show the value and reasoning for your clients to pay more. A pitch needs to be developed for that. Second there is no problem in selling a product or service at a lower price and trying to save them some money, but you need to show your client you are trying to adapt to their situation and that alone has itsvalue. Not every company sells a good product or is good supplier of the good or sevice they offer. If that s the ase then change companies and try again.

  65. Milleniaire says:

    I know I’m a few years late to this party, but there aren’t many articles like this out there. All I can say is Wow what a blessed man to have such a loving, hardworking, understanding wife. The way you talk about your husband: your respect for him shines through! I am in my 4th month in life insurance at a very similar company and have had similar panic attacks and developed several very unhealthy habits to cope. I feel just like your husband did, that by failing I will ruin our family’s life. We don’t have kids yet but we have BIG dreams and I left a $60k job (at 26) to do this. It’s nice to hear people say nice things about him, especially his wife. It just might give me the courage to make a change. Thank you.

    1. Hey, thanks for writing! Hang in there! Know that sometimes things work out (or don’t work out) for a reason. Greg ended up much better off with the path we’re on now, and I’m sure you will, too!

  66. “Sales jobs suck unless you have a certain kind of personality that thrives on it. ” – that’s SO true!

    I also quit my sales jobs around 2 months ago and, honestly, couldn’t be happier! I didn’t choose sales in the first place – I was forced to do something in order to survive when I moved countries and that’s when the whole sales adventure started for me. I spent nearly 4 years doing something I utterly hated! The funny thing I wasn’t bad at sales but I just couldn’t hate it more than I did.

    I am going back to teach English as that was something I was trained at and used to do.

    Good luck to all of you! Don’t waste your life in a job you hate, it’s simply too short!

  67. Hi Holly,

    This was probably written a while ago but I came across this when I was trying to see if anyone else feels the same as I do. I am always told I’m a kind, outgoing, and extremely empathetic person. I thought I had the makings of a great sales person. Boy was I wrong. I am TOO empathethic! It’s just who I am and doesn’t work out with a career in sales. Your husband is a lucky man to have you!

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