100K A Year To $10 An Hour

Bkono By Bkono, 20th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Work Issues & Stress

A story of how I chose to give up a well paying job to work at Wal-Mart.

Losing Who I Was

When I neared my college graduation in late 2007, I began to feel the pressure of finding work. My student loans were nearing their payments and I was quickly running out of rent money each month.

As many found themselves doing at that time, I wound up on Craigslist looking for job openings. There were posts here and there about one off gigs and some that looked remarkably like scams, when I came across an ad for telephone sales reps. The first thought that went through my head was "I hate telemarketers", but I was in need of a temporary job until I found where I would make my career.

I found myself in a chair, reading off of a script and calling name after name after name from the list provided. This was specifically a job for raising funds for a particular project, so it was a bit harder of a sale than pushing a tangible item. My job would be to "open" on a phone call, build an interest and hand off to a "closer", who would then work on finishing the deal. At first I actually found it fun. When I would finally find someone on the other end of the line willing to listen to me, I was able to play around with different ways of approaching the subject. I was friendly and personable, had the script memorized and even knew how to converse off the cuff about specifics that weren't listed.

As I was learning what it meant to be a good sales person, I was noticing little things around the office that seemed a bit strange. The owner of the company was very energetic and really worked on pumping us up (think Wolf of Wall Street style), but he would also exhibit some odd behavior such as hiring five new people every week with the guarantee of firing all but one every Friday. I understand that in the sales world this is really not uncommon, but he never told any of them that this would be the case. They would sign on for their minuscule hourly wage in hopes of making amazing commissions, but were never warned that only one of them would survive the week.

I saw this go on for the entirety of my job and after a while I found myself no longer being bothered by the fact this was happening. I was working a 9 to 5 and making great commissions on my sales, I was making a lot of friends since the turnaround rate was so high, and I had earned a spot amongst my boss' favorite employees. I learned to ignore his one off comments such as "All I care about is money, even more than I care about my family" or "You're only as good as your last sale, so keep it up or there's no reason for you to stick around".

By the time I had reached my 1 year mark, I had been privy to several "behind closed doors" conversations and seen a hundred employees go in and out. One day I was called into my boss' office and asked when my next sale would come in. They had not seen much movement from me in almost a month. I attempted to explain how the economy's downturn was affecting my calls, to which I got the response "But so-and-so made a sale last week". I then asked the real question of when I would see actual movement in the project we were raising money for as it had been a year and by this point a few million had come in. Looking back I suppose the reaction I received should not have been too surprising, but at the time I felt as though I was getting a heavy backlash for a legitimate question. The anger that flared was one I had seen before (even aimed at me) but not one I expected in that moment. He made it clear that my job was to raise money, not to stick my nose in the logistics I wasn't involved in.

He later came back to me calmly and gave me some answers as to what was happening, but by this point he had already planted a seed.

I began to take a step back and for the first time truly see what I had started to become. Every day I had been made more and more into who he was. Someone who had a short fuse over the simplest of things and who had stopped caring about anything other than money. I was surrounded by it and had accepted it and was sorely disappointed in myself. I took the job to pay my bills and yet I was standing there realizing that I had made more than enough to cover everything, and yet I was still broke because I had squandered it trying to keep up with our little "star group".

It was at that point I realized I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't let myself continue down this path of "money is everything and without it you are nothing". It was a mantra I would hear every single day and I just couldn't allow it to dictate my life anymore.

We were smack dab in the economic downturn in 2008 and the idea of finding another job was daunting, particularly in Los Angeles. Ultimately, I got an interview two hours north...at Wal-Mart. I went up on a Saturday and was offered the job...part time...at $10 an hour. You wouldn't believe it, but I was ecstatic. I had a friend in the area that said I could move in with her for next to nothing rent wise, and all I had to deal with was my bills. The next day I went in to the office and put in my notice. Luckily, I was told they didn't care about my notice and that I should "just leave now". Fine by me! In fact, as I was packing up my stuff to head out, I was approached by a member of my team that had been there since before I arrived in the beginning. He said to me "It kind of feels like being free from cancer doesn't it". Although I don't know that I could ever compare how I felt to a level like that, the exhilaration I felt was overwhelming. All I could think to do was turn to him and say "You've been here longer than me, you've made plenty of money, aren't you in a better position than any of us to walk away and let it go?" He merely gave a half nod and walked away with a "see you around".

I found out a few months later he had quit not long after I left.

I found myself at Wal-Mart for another year as I worked my way toward my ultimate career goal. I spent the time getting back to who I was, seeing the bright side of situations and bringing friends back into my life. It wasn't hard to do. The moment I walked away from the one thing turning my soul black, everything seemed brighter than it had ever been before.


Challenges, Change, Income, Life, Work

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author avatar Bkono
Knocking out life one article at a time

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author avatar brendamarie
21st Jun 2015 (#)

I am glad, that change made you feel better. Sometimes money isn't everything.

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author avatar LivelyAurora
21st Jun 2015 (#)

It was definitely a good idea to leave that place. If you haven't left there, you would have been like the greedy guy kicking out so many people and leaving one in. Usually, when you are surrounded in an atmosphere, you do get used to it. But after staying in it for a long period of time, it has effects on your personality, too. So if you are in a gothic atmosphere, you will definitely change. Or when you have been in a ghetto atmosphere, you may get adapted to guns, but may be more hostile.

In my opinion, having a job that pays a 6 figure salary like that is a pretty good job, but the best job is a job that you actually love and pays well. Sadly, you can't always say the same for an artist. May be entertaining and puts you in a good mood, but it doesn't even pay well of a job. Anyone would wish to be in a world where they can do their favorite hobby in order to get through life. Nowadays, money is the only thing that can make your wishes come true. One thing I learned was that

In this world, your rights can be stopped by a piece of paper.
In this world, the thing that literally rules is some objects that are not physically useful.
In this world, people desire for those objects and never uses them for the greater good.
It is practically like having the power of god, where if you have enough money, you could still be able to do something. No man or woman is able to handle that type of power. Once they have enough, they will turn to a creature that they would wish to never be.

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