I thought the reason I wanted to leave my previous company was simple, but it turned out to be much more. There were many reasons I wanted to leave, but only a few that pushed me to actually do it.
Why would I share my reasons with the world? Why would I share it with anyone looking into Beyond? Simple. I struggled with this decision for a long time. Answers came slowly. Perhaps you’re struggling with these same things, with this same decision. Perhaps I can help.
I couldn’t grow.
I came from the beer industry, and it’s what I called a “lifer” job. Those who stayed in for more than 5 years seem to stay for their entire career. That’s great for the company, but it creates a lot of stagnation in the ranks. Among some 50 salesmen, there were a handful of area managers, and a smaller handful of sales directors. My supervisor wasn’t going anywhere, so neither was I.
I couldn’t grow in title or income. The company didn’t do raises, at least not that I saw. Prices would creep up and if you were paid on commission, parts of your portfolio would lift your income. My pay, however, was only about 60% commission and the rest incentives. The incentives seemed to shrink and become more restricted. All in all, it became clear I wasn’t going to improve my earning potential beyond what I was already making.
Note for next opportunity – must be able to grow.
I couldn’t do my best work.
It’s hard to put into words, or more accurately, it’s hard to put into less than 1,000 words — I had roughly 76 accounts, many of whom were twice a week visits. A standard visit was: fill the cooler, stock the shelves, take inventory, do an order, speak with a manager and collect a check. With over 100 stops in four days, it became impossible to do any selling.
When I first started, I had help. On occasion, another team member would help me on busy days so I could take the time to set up products & promotions. But as time went by, the job became more and more isolated and the support became impossible to obtain.
Note for next opportunity – must have a strong team.
As a salesman at my previous employers, you were responsible for everything. Merchandisers didn’t rotate product? Driver didn’t pick up a check? Office misapplied a payment? Customer didn’t pay a bill?
All of these things, despite being outside your control, were your responsibility. Each person in the supply chain had severely limited accountability. It ultimately fell onto the salesman.
Note for next opportunity – must have authority over my responsibilities.
I never felt welcomed.
It’s a little hard to admit, but not feeling like a valued and important part of a team ate at me. Triumphs were never celebrated. The nitpicking was obnoxious, but the real thing was my employer made it feel as though I was being given a gift by being allowed to work there. I wanted to be on a team, not just in my area, but for a company as a whole.
Note for next opportunity – must have focus towards on-boarding employees, celebrating and growing successes, and providing support. Culture is vital.
That review though.
There’s a fine line to walk when giving an employee a review. Mine were brutal. My customers ranked me in the low 90s out of 100. Based on that year as a whole, I would have given myself an 80. Adversely, my internal company reviews were a 14/40, leaving me with a 35%. One of the categories was “Value of Work Completed” in which I scored a 1 out of 5. This was the kind of review that was able to shut down even a loyal employee.
The major flaw of the review process was that categories were too broad. A person who largely executed, grew sales, achieved incentives, and had great customer relationships still often ended up on the southern end of the “Value of Work Completed” scale.
Note for next opportunity – expectations that are reviewed should be quantified. 360 degree reviews are vital when reviews are in place. Reviews shouldn’t be once a year and coaching should be constant.
I stayed for the benefits.
For several months, I found myself staying at my previous employer for the benefits. I was staying for the paycheck. Even though it was decent money, it wasn’t getting me to my goals. When compensation or benefits are the only reason you’re staying, it might be time to move on.
Note for next opportunity – find meaning beyond the check, but the check has to be great.
Too good to pass up.
Some of these situations caused angst and some were near crippling when it came to my desire to do my job. The real reason I severed ties and left was the opportunity that lay in front of me.
I am fortunate enough to have met some stellar people, and through them, I was offered something I couldn’t pass up.
Beyond was built better.
- I have unlimited financial growth potential. I have to earn it; it’s not a cake walk, but the ceiling doesn’t exist. The people I bring on board have unlimited growth potential. The sky is the limit.
- I have an incredible team. The founder of the company sold his last business for $4.3 billion. My manager is motivating, and everyone who comes aboard in this early stage is an owner with nothing but winning the day in mind.
- I can do my best work. My talent lies in helping a business by bringing the weird combination of all my experiences to bear. Our products and services are top notch, our service team is the best. I can focus on what I do and allow my strong teammates to do what they do best.
- I can control my outcome through effort, training, and talent.
- Our conference calls and meetings have been centered on building the best culture to keep the best people.
- Performance is my review. As a VP, I won’t just cop out and review my reps. I will help them be their best on a continuous basis. I will ask them how I’m doing and work to get better.
- Meaning and unlimited earning. Yes, please. Give Something Back, Beyond’s beneficiary, facilitates college education opportunities for kids who would otherwise not have the chance.
- Seriously too good to pass up.