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MarkHeftler's avatar

Help me decide on this job offer?

Asked by MarkHeftler (182 points ) July 16th, 2008

I’ve recently graduated college and am working at the same place I’ve worked the past 4 summers. The job is easy, the pay is fairly low ($440 pre-tax) which is ok because I don’t have a great many needs yet, but it’s not a job for a college grad and promises no mobility or even really useful for resume building.

I was just offered a job as a sales rep for a company selling organic foods (all the rage these days). At this company, I’d be receiving a $300 weekly draw, $100 for expenses (gas), 11% commission per sale, plus benefits after 3 months. According to the individual who interviewed me, the average sale is $5,000, so that would be (in theory) $550 commission per sale. There is also the chance of becoming something better, like a sales manager (I have leadership experience, and when the interviewer came across that he seemed excited for leadership possibility), shortly down the line, as this is a new office of an established company and they’re looking to fill it and will be needing people for these higher positions.

I think I covered all that; my question is two-fold. First, for people in sales, does this sound good? I’m in a fairly wealthy area (North Jersey) and the people I’d be selling to would have organized appointments for in home consultation so it’s not like going door to door or cold calling (or so I was told anyway). If I understand the draw correctly, it’s taken out of your commission, right? So I mean if I only make $600 in commission a week, that’s me taking home only $300, which isn’t great. So, advice on that. Second off, should I take the job? It’s not exactly what I’m looking for (English Major, not sure what I want), but it could be fun and in theory make a good amount of money if I’m good (I also did a great deal of theatre, so I’m fairly personable).

What are your thoughts?

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7 Answers

marinelife's avatar

This is a bit of a backward approach to your post-college life. I think you need to stop and take a deep breath before jumping into anything more than a placeholder hob. One reason is that once we start down a path momentum is created, and it gets harder to get off the path. So, we had better make sure it is the right path.

You say that you are not sure what you want to do with your life. Most colleges have career centers for alumni. They usually offer testing. I think you should do some personality and aptitude testing and get some career counseling. From that base of knowledge about you and helpful input from a trained advisor, you can make a more informed decision about what you want in a career.

Sales is very specialized. It is probably not right for you if you are not naturally drawn to it as a job. Also, my own experience is that the promised average is not met by most.

Good luck.

MarkHeftler's avatar

I’ve spoken with a few people, and I agree, this job isn’t right for me. Thank you so much!

richardhenry's avatar

I agree with Marina. Good luck. :)

scamp's avatar

@MarkHeftler What part of North Jersey are we talking about? I’m in Central Jersey and work for LabCorp. The oportunities here are great, and the pay is better than what you described above. Send me a private comment. Maybe I can hook you up with something.

sndfreQ's avatar

While the prospects and potential for the company sound attractive, they have no track record because they’re new; if I were in your shoes, I’d want to know about their competition, what their competitors pay, and what that company’s chances of penetrating a market that is either saturated with competitors or so “out of the box” that their ramp-up time may be indefinite.

Always look to the bottom line, and the bottom of the bottom line at that (the base pay before commissions). You may also do some good for yourself and do some labor market research; you may find your skills are broad enough to be able to move into an industry where growth and sustainability are built-in. All depends on the kinds of risks you’re willing to take at this early stage in your career.

Remember you can always change careers, but it gets more difficult to do as you get older and have “obligations” in life i.e. family, S.O., and assets.

allengreen's avatar

Especially if it is “Town and Country Foods”—DO NOT DO IT—I DID AND THEY DID NOT PAY ME!

jballou's avatar

It doesn’t really sound like a job offer at all. I’m glad to hear that you declined. I’ve had many friends (and even had a brush myself) with these type of commission-dependent sales rep type “jobs” and the results were never good. There was always a momentary payroll issue, or some unexpected expenses that come out of your commission or sales “meetings” that fall through at the last minute. Blah blah blah. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a scam, but it’s a well known way for upstart or struggling companies to find cheap labor. Not paying them.

In the design world, we call this spec work.

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