Underemployed people are hard to categorize as a group. There isn’t one kind of underemployed person. We come from different backgrounds, age ranges, and cultures. Our levels of education, experience, and skill couldn’t be more diverse. And though the underemployed defy easy stereotypes, there is one job that seems to attract more than its fair share of them. I’m talking about sales jobs. Why sales? Money would be the obvious answer, and it definitely figures in. However, sales offers some attractive fringe benefits besides the promise of money. This post lists the top five reasons why so many underemployed workers choose a job in sales.
1. You can be free to be the worst version of yourself
Unleashing your id is what sales is all about. Breaking shit out of frustration, hyper-competitiveness, greed, unearned anger, and many other awful emotions are net positives when you work in sales. Can you be hateful, spiteful, and needy? Great, welcome to the job.
Sales people openly hate it when their peers close a deal, and love it just as much when they’re getting their ass kicked. Nowhere else will you see contempt and hostility for a coworker so openly expressed.
“What, you just sold a car? I fucking hate you. Die in a fire.”
“The guy bitched you out, and called you a sleaze. Hahaha!! That’s great. I love it.”
There’s also a weird camaraderie among sellers. You’ll burn the candle on both ends with them, attempt to fuck the other over if you think you can get away with it, and then be sad if they leave for another job.
Nothing sums up sales better than this anecdote. A salesman I knew, snuck into the store he worked for on his day off. He hid in a broom closet that was slightly ajar. The guy thought a customer he’d worked with the day before might come back, and a coworker would steal his sale. He stayed in the broom closet all day waiting to catch him. That is some grade A, FDA approved, crazy. Even funnier, that story was told to me proudly by the guy who did the hiding.
“Sales jobs are relatively easy to get. Lack of experience usually doesn’t count against you. Sales jobs also have the potential for uncapped income.”
2. Personal autonomy
The following is a short list of of jobs readily available for the underemployed: office administration, call center representative, retail store employee. That’s a murderers row of terrible, soul deadening jobs. Working sales may have its flaws, but at least you’re not stuck in one place all day long doing the same thing over and over. You’re also rarely micromanaged, have a degree of freedom to roam where you please, and can speak your mind. These are all key reason why you’ll find so many overqualified people working sales jobs. Also, and this is great, only in sales can you walk in for your work day carrying three 32oz cans of Monster Energy drink, a bag of Doritos, and a chili cheese hot dog from AM/PM, and not be judged, but admired for your food choices. (The word “food” is used loosely in this context)
3. Money money money.
Most people equate the word underemployment with low pay. That’s not always true. Sales jobs are relatively easy to get. Lack of experience usually doesn’t count against you. Sales jobs also have the potential for uncapped income. The key word there is potential. The truth is the income for easily obtainable sales jobs such as collections agent, wireless representative or furniture salesperson, usually tops out in the high 40’s early 50 thousand range. However, the promise of making more is real, and that’s attractive for people who don’t want to make terrible pay, and hate their job. Instead they can just hate their job.
4. Let if fly…farts that is
Shakespeare said it best.“To fart is human, to silent but deadly, divine.” American workers consume an enormous amount of coffee, bran muffins, donuts, and breakfast burritos. That’s a large heap of gas giving food. And trust me, that gas has got to be leaked. When you work in sales it’s easier to let her rip. Simple as that. Most sales environments have an open space design. Perfect for letting go an elegant squeaker or letting loose with a sophisticated combination of last night’s Brussels sprout meat loaf casserole. You may think I’m kidding, but this is an often overlooked benefit of working a sales job. You can pass the gas, where it’s least likely to last. Plus, for the politically correct among us, sales jobs offer a safe space for our micro-aggressions towards the air.
5. Alcoholics and smokers are welcome
Sales people love their alcohol. It makes sense. The job is stressful. There are quotas to be met, intense competition from peers, and customers to placate. It’s a never ending stream of high energy, up and down, live wire living. It’s also an alcoholic’s dream. You can drink if you did well or you can drink if you did poorly. “Give me a drink bartender, I had a rough day.” “Give me a drink bartender. I had a great day.” “Give me a drink bartender. I need something to wash down the Xanax in my pocket” Sales is the one job where you can drink yourself into your happy place every night, and still do your job competently the next day.
As for smokers; in a world that has little love for them, they have a home in sales. Smoking is the favored past time of salespeople. They just love to smoke, and sales is a job that caters to any and all types of smoker. Whether you vape, roll your own, or smoke brand cigarettes, you’ll find your peer group among salespeople. Every sales job I’ve ever had, the smokers outnumber the non smokers. Most jobs come with an employee handbook, sales jobs come with a pack of Marlboro 100’s.