I think I speak about this quite openly in real life but online I sort of hold back which is weird because that sales cult took one year of my life. Now it wasn’t an actual cult it was a multilevel marketting scheme, and they way they sucked me in was horrfying. I was young, vulnerable and watching people who graduated in my year acheive successful jobs. I’d also just left my writing internships and was honestly just ready to finally make money, because let’s be honest unpaid internships are scams in themselves.
So this post could be about the actual sales cult itself, but I’m trying to find a way to write about it in short and sweet segments, because I have a lot to talk about and honestly one post isn’t enough. So this will be focusing on the after effects of the actual cult itself and how the year of constant manipulation left me numb to pretty much everything. The cult itself was a lot like ‘Wolf of Wallstreet’ in terms of atmopshere, everyone was trying to acheive massive goals in a short amount of time, we were prepared to grind, but I don’t think we were prepared for the environment itself.
There was a lot of manipulation, harrassment, bullying and overall degradation as a means of inspiring those in the managers good books. We worked 14+hour days and it was 100% comission, which to this day I don’t really mind, however it was the lack of transparancy when it caim to quality control that really bugged me. I spent that year trying to prove to everyone that I could acheive everything, I fought against their female stereotypes, faced the wrath of a masculine environment and also the side effects of having weak men be insulted by your lack of interest (spoiler alert – it led to a fuck ton of bullying and humiliation that was made even worse by the manager).
Success meant drinking with the right people, looking a specific way and in some cases sleeping with higher ups and I just wasn’t prepared to do that. It also didn’t help that the friends I made were not people my manager liked, so I got a lot of grief for being their friends. When your manager is a bully, a horrible person, a sexist and entitled it leads to him promoting a disgusting atmosphere. I faced open sexual harrassment, multiple open attempts by him to control my friendship groups, my sex life and my actual life. I felt trapped and honestly it got hard.
To top it off I overworked myself into a migraine condition which then effected my performance. So I went from being someone who was considered quite good at sales, to someone who was seen as the shit beneath their shoes – which wasn’t fun.
Now lets skip to the day before my 24th birthday as I did state I don’t want to spend too much of this post actually talking about the role itself. I started before my 23rd birthday, so when my next birthday came around I saw the position I was in and honestly I didn’t want to spend another year in that hellhole, so I quit. I called my team leader and explained the situation, and spent my 24th birthday knowing I was finally out of that disgustingly toxic environment.
I knew I’d need to look for a job, but when you spend a year overworking yourself, you prioritise sleep. So I slept a lot, and chilled a lot, and that’s when I realised that I’d lost a part of myself. It didn’t happen straight away, the pieces went away so subtly that by the time I’d quite, I felt like I wasn’t a person that I was proud of. I wasn’t ‘me’. So that’s when I knew I needed to get back to my roots and that meant speaking to the friends I still had, because during this job I worked 14 hour days, 6 days a week so I didn’t socialise a lot.
Through spending time with my friends and my family I slowly started to recover, my health was still in a horrible place, but my mental health was gradually improving. I then went on to find a job, I had a plan and that involved getting back into the world of job hunting – I must have been super lucky because it only took a month to land something, and that’s not something that happens in Birmingham.
Being in a sales cult ruined my mental health, my physical health and honestly there’s a lot I’ve mentally blocked out because there were months of consistent bullying and I really just can’t focus on that – I know blocking it all doesn’t really help, but for now it’s what I’m going to do. I will admit I have taken a lot from the job itself, I learned a lot, I grew in ways I couldn’t in a normal job and honestly pitching different people everyday gave me job experience that no other standard form of employment can offer. I know now that I’m a lot tougher than I give myself credit for, but I also know that I can’t allow myself to ever be in an environment that toxic ever again.
I always make jokes about the job in real life, but when I’m with my group of friends who were also working alongside me, we spend a lot of time actually talking about the realities of it. I think the fact that the role was so focused on building a future means that we spend a lot of time making plans and trying to inspire one another – we also spend a lot of time being stupid.
Would I ever go back into a role like that – No.
Would I change the past and never do it – I’m not sure.