Is there life after sales?


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This week it’s all been about me giving back to my unemployed friends. No I don’t mean cooking them dinner and doing their laundry, I mean listening to their challenges and struggles as they look to secure a spot in a completely saturated unemployed market. I have these two friends which are among the 20% of unemployed males looking for work these days- that is a huge statistic. My heart goes out to the job seekers, the ones who get up each day and start their search. Some don’t know how or where to look while others don’t know what gets them excited anymore.

In the movie Up in the Air where George Clooney plays this hachet guy which is brought into companies with the lovely task of firing people.  We watch how some react to the news, the fear, the humiliation and even the promise of suicide after hearing the tough news. At the end of the movie, some of them are back in front of the camera sharing their journey being unemployed and they all have a sense of resolve about their situation. They sound hopeful and have unexpectantly found a new path they never expected.

My unemployed friend Bob has spent his entire career in sales. He was incredibly successful, always top of his game, the sales guy everyone wanted on his team. He quickly moved up the ranks to a Manager level, then Director of Sales, then VP and so on. He was traveling all over the place making tons of money and always in high demand. In the last few years, sales fatique and burn out have set in for Bob, he hasn’t hit numbers, his team members don’t think he is a good leader and he isn’t getting all the head hunter calls.

Bob admited he no longer wants to be in sales- says he’s done. My buddy is in his late 50’s and wondering what life looks like when you are done with sales. What is the next stop after sales? Do we run over to marketing to see if they’ll take us? What about finance? or engineering? or human resources? Really, where do salespeople go when they are done with sales? 

I don’t think anyone ever leaves sales- once you are a salesperson your entire persona is wrapped around sales. It’s the sales mentality that stays with us but the grind of generating revenue may not be sustained. What are your thoughts on life after sales?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Josiane Feigon
Josiane Feigon is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. A 2-year industry veteran, Josiane is the founder of TeleSmart Communications. Since 1994, this San Francisco-based solutions provider has been a leader in developing global Inside Sales teams and managers.


  1. I’ve been in software sales for over 5 years now. I’ve made more money than any of my friends have since college. But you know what? I’m so sick of all the crap I have to put up with on a daily basis! Its not worth it anymore. Customers treat you like crap. Management treats you like crap. And what does the future hold in store for you? Do you want to be 40 years old and in sales?

    I should have taken a chance on something more creative or dynamic right after college. No one was hiring or even interviewing a recent college grad unless he was coming from Stanford, Cal, Harvard, or the like. Now I feel like I am stuck in this crappy career.

    I’m done, man. I want to to work for myself or with my friends. I want to work on something bigger than hitting a number for some execs that can’t even remember your name. Seriously. I’ve been here for three years and the board members can’t even remember my name? I’ve said hi like 20 times at least. That’s pathetic.

  2. Either you grow up the sales ladder or u take the lattice route..

    Sales rookie to VP sales to Director Sales
    To related fields..

    To quote one example, from sales in banking:

    Selling credit cards to heading a team to sales training to leadership training to designing training programs in leadership development to talent development to HR strategy to Head HR to CEO
    Selling credit cards to getting a CFA certification to moving to private banking or asset management sales.. To selling structured products to High net worth clients to being MD or head of Private banking or CEO of an asset management company
    Tapping into the negotiation skills and other sales related skills in setting up one’s own training or high value negotiation venture in connecting crowd funders for people to people funding to setting up a kind of brokerage for high value deals.. The opportunities are limitless!!


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