I hate the living sh*t out of my job as a current salesman. I hate sales with a burning passion. I need out. Please help.

donquixote2929's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 519

Hi everyone. I currently work for a top tech company (think IBM/Salesforce/Oracle/CISCO) selling SaaS and high-tech enterprise software. My base salary is $60k and last year, I made around $100k before taxes with commission. I'm 26 years old, and have been working in sales for 1.5 years. My job is in inside sales, so I mostly work from the office and sell via the phone. On the plus, I only work on average around 50 hours a week. I hate my work and don't find it fulfilling at all. If I keep hitting and exceeding my numbers, I could be promoted to a field rep position within a few years, where I could make between $150-200k year (although the hours would go up, and I'd be on the road a lot, although it'd definitely still be less hours than management consulting or BigLaw).

On the downside, while I am quite good at sales, it's A HORRIBLE FIT. It is completely opposite of my personality, my skillset, and my interests. I just did sales because I couldn't find any other work I wanted to actually do. I'm introverted. I don't like talking to people more than I have to. I hate wining and dining clients. I hate smalltalk. I was never the "life of the party." I was always the smart kid in class that others trusted to get the job done, but didn't necessarily want a beer with.

I'm fine with being that guy, I don't want to be a party animal. I don't want to be the "guy who knows everyone" or the "guy who everyone likes," but want to be "the smart serious guy who knows his shit and everyone respects to get the job done." Sales isn't who I am. It's the complete opposite of my personality. I'm an INTP. Sales is one of the worst career choices based on my personality type. The hours aren't bad at all (sometime I work 40 hours a week), but there's an extreme pressure to perform and close that deal right by midnight, which can be very stressful. Also sales is in pretty much no way intellectually stimulating or analytical IN THE LEAST. Sales is all about hustling, all about closing.

To succeed in sales, you have to be very socially adept, being funny, charismatic, outgoing, personable, etc. And despite being in the tech industry, we're taught to "dumb things down" in sales calls and instead do a lot of small talk on sports and other topics to get the ball going. We take clients out to lunch, play golf with them, butter them up and kiss ass, be a smooth sweettalker and showman, use weird tactics like change your caller ID if you're in nevada calling into texas, doing lip service and flattery, and other shit that's annoying. Working this unprestigious unintellectual has been a slow existential rot for me, where I feel I haven't lived up to my potential.

I work in a field where the stakes of what I do are pretty low. I'm more than happy to trade in my easy breezy, relatively lucrative job for a much more stressful and demanding and intellectually rewarding career. I want something intellectually rewarding and satisfying. Why the fuck did I even go to school in the first place?

Also, to succeed, you have to make it all about the customer constantly, and I find that exhausting. I hate doing this. I really miss being in college and just talking to my peers in an analytical and intellectually rigorous way. And while I make a good amount of money, no one really thinks highly of my profession in sales, and it's definitely not considered "prestigious." It's consider the job that people who don't have any other marketable skills go into. It's the job that "smart people don't go into." In fact, my manager even said "smart people don't go into sales." Sales people are very socially adept, but not in the least intellectually curious or analytical.

As someone who went to an ivy league undergrad (cornell) and got a 3.7 GPA in Applied Math and Economics, I really do miss being in an academic and intellectually stimulating environment, and being surrounded by brilliant peers. i failed all my ib interviews from cornell, and then got into sales because i was initially enticed by the good money, and it's good straight out of undergrad.

Half of my fellow sales reps, while making bank and are social animals, and have amazingly high social/emotional intelligence, are high school dropouts. A monkey could go do my job, and it's pretty low-skill all things considered. Just find that high school dropout who partied all day and ditched class, got Fs and Ds while flirting with girls and making friends, and instill him a good work ethic, and he would excel at my job.

As someone who always held myself to high academic standards, and excelled in high school and college, I feel like pretty much my entire schooling was put to waste, and I barely use my brains for my job. My degree seems pretty useless, since I could have eventually gotten the same job via going to community college.

This is what I want: I want to have a job where I actually use my fucking brain. Where I put my technical, logical, and analytical mind to use. Where I work with similarly smart and driven people. Right now, two career paths are opening up: management consulting, and biglaw. However, I have no idea how to get into these fields without further graduate education.

I took the LSAT in February, and got a 171, so I think with my 3.7 GPA, I have a good shot at the t14. If I went to law school, I'd want to pursue BigLaw, and then probably go in-house if I don't make partner track. I think I'd like the academic rigor of law school, and really miss doing analytical work and exercising my brain.

On the other hand, I have no idea if I want to be a lawyer. What I think, more than anything I want, is a job that requires some intellectual labor, and something that I can find fulfilling and where I can put my intelligence to use. Some friends suggested maybe I pursue an MBA to go into management consultant or something instead. But then again, I've never worked 60+ hours consistently, so I don't know if I would hate or regret pursuing a law degree or MBA just for the sake of "prestige" and "doing something intellectual." I took the GMAT and got a 730. I could get a dual JD/MBA too.

But I only have 1.5 years of work experience, so way too early to apply to MBA programs right away. Although I'm thinking about applying to just law school ASAP because I want to get out of the sales hellhole. I've tried applying directly to boutique consulting firms and law firms for paralegal jobs but have gotten rejected all the time BC my sales experience has pigeonholed me into sales positions. I got stuck in a job I hate, and can't escape it, the sales stigma on my resume always exists!! People don't think I have transferable skills to other, more analytical jobs :(

What other work do you recommend REQUIRES and UTILIZES analytical chops, intelligence, booksmarts, and technical acumen? Work that is detailed-oriented? That's not 100% based on soft skills/people skills (as my job is now?) I understand soft/people skills will always be needed, but I just want something way more analytical, since moving from Cornell to sales has been extremely, extremely jarring and I feel miserable. If you have any other job recommendations: such as corporate strategy, corp dev, operations, etc., that may be a good fit for me, please let me know.

Thank you so much!!! Please if you can let me know of a potential path to get to your recommendations. I appreciate it a ton!

Hate My Sales Job

The following advice is specific to this situation. The Brofessor chimes in with advice that is applicable for anyone who needs doesn't "fit" in sales. Specifically those with more analytical and solitary personalities. These people may be of the opinion that sales are not the most intellectually stimulating of jobs.
. from certified user @thebrofessor

it sounds to me like the lack of intellectual stimulation is what's the root of this problem, and I'd be willing to bet if you had interaction interspersed with deep thinking/problem solving, you'd be fulfilled. also, a common misconception is that introverts can't do sales, I don't buy that. introversion & extroversion are just ways of describing where you recharge your batteries. would you rather turn on Arch Enemy's pre-Angela work and rock out at home while you do the dishes? or would you rather go to happy hour and hang out with strangers? I find myself somewhere in the middle, because interpersonal communication (when done right), is exhausting.

here's what I'd do if I were you:

take an inventory, what are your marketable skills? specifics, like programming languages, technological proficiency like SQL, six sigma, etc. ask yourself where those could fit
find out if there are opps at your company to lateral. companies like those mentioned design customized solutions for clients (engineers) but have to have someone interact with those clients (sales guys). if you can be both, you can succeed, what I'm unsure of is how readily your applied math background translates
consider more schooling. would a masters in engineering be possible? this would get you directly into the technical side of your company but would be years off of work and without pay most likely.
reflect on your current situation, be brutally honest. is it your group, your clients, or the nature of your work? because the first two change over time without you doing anything, the third is difficult to change. if you're just surrounded by a particularly fratty group of guys, that will pass. if your clients are the issue, think of educating them as an opportunity to teach (I believe the highest form of intelligence is distilling complex concepts into layman's terms), but if it's the nature of the work (selling routers to corn farmers), then you need a change.

from certified user @dick_fluid

I feel there is a very strong potential that you will be disappointed with any job you take because people don't pay you to be intellectual, they pay you to produce. Fundamentally, that sounds like something you are uncomfortable with.


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Comments (93)

Jun 5, 2017

tell me more. are you just now realizing this? while those are all good companies, I have a hard time with an ivy education and great grades you fell into sales by mistake.

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Jun 5, 2017

I was gunning for IBD. I failed all my interviews, with Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, etc. I tried applying to consulting, but they didn't take any more interviews at that point. These tech companies did OCI at job fairs at Cornell for their sales divions, and I was enticed by both the high base pay + commissions. I thought that despite being an introvert, I could try out sales to see if I could do it, and challenge myself to be in a more people-oriented role.

At first I "faked it as I made it," and I can emulate salespeople, but I can't relate to them at all. I hate sports, for example. I like heavy metal/death metal music the most. I don't care about NFL, NBA, or whatever the fuck sales prospects always want to chat about. I don't care about the TV these people watch, I like Japanese anime and manga the most, and like to cosplay in my spare time. No one can relate to that in my field in sales. All my coworkers were the flashy, fratty bro types who were type-A jocks and popular kids in high school. I was always the geek, and am happy with that.

I can never "be myself." I have to be a chameleon. I was drawn to sales because of the incredible money it offered, and I did make a lot, and because I wanted to go out of my comfort zone to develop soft skills. Now after having done it for 1.5 years, I feel burnt out, and hate people way more than I did before. Especially the extremely vapid conversations everyone has all the time. I relate to Richard Hendricks from Silicon Valley the most.

I tried applying to other positions, but the recruiters for those companies (even at management consulting firms and even law firms) steer me into sales roles, given my "strong performance" at these companies.

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Jun 5, 2017

Also, are quite a few people hired as "sales development representatives" for my company (IBM/Salesforce/Oracle/CISCO/SAP) from top universities, like Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Georgetown, UMich, UVA, UNC, Wake Forest, Boston College, UCSB, etc. I got hired as a sales development representative.

Having said that, these people from good schools almost always got poor grades (like below 3.2, even in non-technical majors like communications) and were huge party/social animals in frats and sororities. So I don't belong at all even with the fellow Cornell people at work, they're not "my scene" or "my type." I was a nerd, who took academics and education seriously. They're not intellectually curious at all. It's my fault for not doing enough research on the company culture and the type of people who work in the roles beforehand, so I accept full responsibility for not doing enough advance research to find out it wouldn't be a good fit.

Best Response
Jun 5, 2017

thank you for the candor, I think you have tremendous potential. and do not fret, you can be successful and still like death metal (I'm a big fan, as is @In The Flesh ). I'm biased, because I work directly with some of the companies you mention (having several employees as clients) and one thing I've noticed (said this many times on this forum) is you don't have to be salesy to be effective in this world. all you have to be is able to communicate.

it sounds to me like the lack of intellectual stimulation is what's the root of this problem, and I'd be willing to bet if you had interaction interspersed with deep thinking/problem solving, you'd be fulfilled. also, a common misconception is that introverts can't do sales, I don't buy that. introversion & extroversion are just ways of describing where you recharge your batteries. would you rather turn on Arch Enemy's pre-Angela work and rock out at home while you do the dishes? or would you rather go to happy hour and hang out with strangers? I find myself somewhere in the middle, because interpersonal communication (when done right), is exhausting.

here's what I'd do if I were you:

  1. take an inventory, what are your marketable skills? specifics, like programming languages, technological proficiency like SQL, six sigma, etc. ask yourself where those could fit
  2. find out if there are opps at your company to lateral. companies like those mentioned design customized solutions for clients (engineers) but have to have someone interact with those clients (sales guys). if you can be both, you can succeed, what I'm unsure of is how readily your applied math background translates
  3. consider more schooling. would a masters in engineering be possible? this would get you directly into the technical side of your company but would be years off of work and without pay most likely.
  4. reflect on your current situation, be brutally honest. is it your group, your clients, or the nature of your work? because the first two change over time without you doing anything, the third is difficult to change. if you're just surrounded by a particularly fratty group of guys, that will pass. if your clients are the issue, think of educating them as an opportunity to teach (I believe the highest form of intelligence is distilling complex concepts into layman's terms), but if it's the nature of the work (selling routers to corn farmers), then you need a change.

I may think of more later, but hope is not lost, you just need a couple things: some self reflection/realization, a reset (maybe mild, maybe severe), and a challenge.

    • 13
Jun 7, 2017

I used to work with actuaries and you sound like you would fit right in. Have you considered that route? As far as I know, you need to pass 2-3 exams before you get a job but it sounds doable with your background.

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Jun 5, 2017

Subtle

"There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can't do business from there." - Colonel Sanders

    • 2
Jun 5, 2017

The jobs you mentioned at the end (corporate strategy, corp dev, operations) might be a good fit for you if you don't want to take the long hours and don't have enough work experience yet for an MBA.

As someone interested in sales, does working in a sales role always imply dumbing down your thoughts to a customer? I would've thought you would at least talk with some people that know equal amounts or more of the product market you're in.

Jun 5, 2017

Thanks for the suggestions! The problem is it's hard to break into those other roles internally. There is a stigma against hiring people from sales backgrounds because they aren't perceived to have technical chops. Other people mainly view us as smooth talkers, the fratty types who talk our way through things rather than have substantive skills.

And unfortunately yes. In sales, 99% you can't act like a "Harvard scholar." You need to keep things short, sweet, and simple to understand. Our manager encourages us to talk like Donald Trump because of his 4th grade speaking style. We need to dumb down product features to a significant degree. Maybe that appeals to some, but not to me, since being an "ivy league scholar" is who I am.

What happens is that the salespeople prospect, find leads, qualify the client, and then schedule a demo. For the demos, we have our technical experts come in and do a technical demo on the software features, going into the weeds and being very intellectual/analytical. The problem for me is that in order for someone to become a "sales engineer" or "technical expert" who works on demos, you need a CS or STEM background, which I don't have.

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Jun 5, 2017

That sucks, and it seems like you're in a pigeonhole based on your other replies. You're in a great firm now, reach out to people internally and show them you got to know all ins and outs of the products your selling, and you can use that to take a role that requires a high level view of the company and industry, or express you want to work in a role that goes deeper into the finer details of the product.

Jun 5, 2017

I feel there is a very strong potential that you will be disappointed with any job you take because people don't pay you to be intellectual, they pay you to produce. Fundamentally, that sounds like something you are uncomfortable with.

    • 6
Jun 5, 2017

I understand this, but I even if the focus is on producing, I'm sure there are jobs that are still far more analytical and technical than my current sales job. I'd want a job as analytical as possible. That might not have to be a focus, but has to be a key component. For example, you can't be an unalaytical idiot and thrive as a corporate lawyer or MBB management consultant. You need razor sharp brains.

Jun 8, 2017

The business models of MBB, BigLaw, and IB are like any other, in that there are armies of peons doing mind numbing grunt work for every one senior person with actual authority and agency. The thing that differentiates these industries is not that they do more interesting work necessarily, but that they hire more elite people to do it.

But you will not feel very elite when your also-elite boss walks in at 5:30 PM and says he needs a 500 page document section checked and cross referenced by tomorrow AM.

And while it makes a big difference to feel like you work with intellectual peers, you may find your sense of self-worth conflicts with the very mundane and grueling way that your brain will be used in the early and middle stages of these careers.

Jun 5, 2017
donquixote2929:

What other work do you recommend REQUIRES and UTILIZES analytical chops, intelligence, booksmarts, and technical acumen? Work that is detailed-oriented? That's not 100% based on soft skills/people skills (as my job is now?)

...engineering never came to mind?

Jun 5, 2017

No, I was an idiot. I focused 100% on trying to get IBD, thinking if I did well in class and tried to network, my Cornell degree would guarantee it. Now it's too late to do an engineering degree, although that might have been the best fit for me. A perfect back office role where I'm doing analytical work and not speaking to people. The problem is while I'm decent at math, I'm horrible at the other hard sciences (chem, biology, physics), so I don't think I have what it takes to get a top engineering degree. That's a deficiency of mine. I such at physics, which you need for engineering.

Jun 5, 2017

There's a lot of pretty dedicated number-crunching and analysis that isn't IB. You might like working at an economics consulting firm, almost like a little think-tank. Or if a bigger company is more your style, maybe you'd want to do risk analysis at an Aon Hewitt or Willis Towers Watson or some equivalent.

Personally, I think most people try to get away from those roles, because the work is mind-numbingly dull. But maybe that's a better fit for what you're looking for.

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Jun 5, 2017
donquixote2929:

I such at physics, which you need for engineering.

I'm sure your strength is not in physics. However, you "such" at spelling much worse.

Jun 5, 2017

Haha you were that guy on /r/sales.

I thought you were dead set on going to law school.

    • 1
Jun 5, 2017

I'm strongly considering it, but I wanted to weigh all my options and make sure I wasn't being super impulsive.

Jun 7, 2017

Most attorneys are extroverts. They're always talking.

Jun 5, 2017

If you want a transition from tech sales to finance, I think you should definitely consider Master of Finance programs. These programs are made for transitioning early professionals like you. Have you considered that route?

Jun 5, 2017

I haven't, to be honest, but I'll definitely look into it! Thanks

Jun 5, 2017

Masters of financial engineering might also work given the applied math and Econ background (would pigeonhole you into quant roles, but those are certainly more analytic than standard finance roles if you're looking to be the slightly weird dood who likes metal but does good work it's definitely easier to have some technical skills).

Jun 5, 2017

hahaha, that reminded me exactly of christian bale's character from "the Big Short!" i play the drums too and love metal music, while being smart and knowing my technical shit. yeah, i want to be able to be myself to the highest degree possible, while others want me around for my technical skills and expertise more than my "soft skills." i think financial engineering is a good fit. thanks!

Jun 6, 2017

Hey man, I can definitely relate. I work in real estate and most people I've encountered in the industry are extroverts/sales types who aren't as intellectual as people working in, say, HFs/PE firms. Nothing against sales, and I think it's a very valuable skill, but as an introvert with different interests it's hard to really bond with people. I'm fine at faking interest in sports or politics but ultimately don't care for these topics and would much rather talk about geekier things. Thankfully my role doesn't require me to travel much or wine/dine clients like you, but I know I would hate it if I had to.

Most of my closest friends are engineers so ultimately I think working in a tech company is where I want to be. It might be tough given I don't have a technical background (was also garbage at physics) and employers tend to pigeonhole you, but that's the end goal for now.

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Jun 8, 2017

A lot of geeks are into sports.

Jun 6, 2017

i'm almost sure OP made this post to brag. " omg i hate my life... i'm 26 making 100k a year working a mega tech firm. I hate sales and i'm not built for this.... but i keep crushing quota year in year out. If i keep up with shitty trajectory i'm on i'm going to be making 200k a year making it rain. I'm really not made for this guys, what should I do. " Op has prove he kills the sales game, claims he hates sales....wants to go into consulting where it's basically a totally a sales game of ideas at the end of the day. OP, to be great in life... you need to realize it's all about sales... and you clearly have a gift for it even if you hate it. Maybe you should slink deeper into your depression and you might make a million dollars a year lol. Or maybe you should change your outlook on life and be blessed that you have the job and opportunity you do right now. You do understand that every single ceo that has come out of IBM has had a sales background. Most people's first role sucks, keep proving you kick ass at your job and eventually more responsibilities will fall on you. Volunteer to help with more jobs, prove that you are leader, and soon you will be managing a staff of medium sized swinging dicks who will make you look even better as a manager. Op... you have a golden gift. embrace it.

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Mar 26, 2019

You are correct. I made an account here because I feel very similarly to the original poster about my current job. I have been put into client facing roles when I went to a great school and am very analytical. However, whose fault is it except your own? If you failed IB interviews, you could take a different route and try to see where you could get within your current company or keep an open mind. Some people expect things to fall in their lap. I didn't get a high GPA, but I am still grateful to have a job, challenge myself/learn skills of extroverts. Although complaining can feel good, that is not what is going to get you a job you like more. In actuality, I learned that extroverts can have a major advantage, so I would keep that in mind before assuming they are all stupid and you are superior. A lot of people hate their first jobs and not everything comes easily.

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Jun 7, 2017

lol, I am a software engineer, but I actually want to get into sales since I am really good socially.

Jun 7, 2017

Considered becoming a CPA?

Jun 7, 2017

I really don't want to be too dismissive to this post... but I can't help but think that you (OP) have not thought twice about the jobs that can offer what you're looking for.

Beginning with you initial goal: banking. Do you realize that for the first 5 years of any standard banking career, you're paid to check for formatting errors on 100 page powerpoint documents, and make photocopies?

And your second consideration is law.... you think you will be paid to be anything more than a footnote reader and fact checker in your first five years? Come on...

The majority of the career paths you listed do have some minute room for intellectual curiosity, but multiple years of mind numbing due diligence and b*itch work that comes before any man gets paid for their independent analysis or creative problem solving.

Frankly, I think I can jump to the conclusion that you're not big on networking, or doing enough research into the jobs you're considering, which you should consider investing more time and effort into. I can't emphasize enough how important that is.

And two words: Asset Management.

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Jun 7, 2017

It sounds like you should do a 1 year masters, intern while you complete your program and pivot towards a new career. MSF, MSE, or even an MSFE sounds like a good fit for what you would be looking for.

My advice?
Save up, get into a top program (like MIT), and get the hell out of there.

Jun 8, 2017

Sell your own shit

Associate at Family Office
"Investing is not a game of Possibilities but of Probabilities."

    • 1
Jun 8, 2017

Come and work for me. I will sponsor you to run your own company with whatever title you want (like Chief Visionary). I will give you staffs and resources. I will give you your peace and never let you do sales. Whatever thing that you produce, I will pay you bare minimum and sell it to someone for at least 10x amount I pay you for in salary.

It is a joke.

Whether you like it or not, to be in a job or have any career progression, you need to be in sales. It doesn't really matter whether you like it or not. The fact that you haven't moved into another role or switched to academic is because 1) such roles does not exist, or 2) academic career - teaching jobs won't pay you that much for it.

You are typical arch type of "I went to a good school and everything else is below me". Come down and see how us normal people try to do a living. If you keep staying up in your Ivy tower, you will be destined to fail in life.

This is also the reason why I have seen a lot of Ivy League kids turned out to be good employees but never as employers/ enterprenuers because they are a bit far off from the reality and don't really like to mingle with people. It is much easier to live comfortable in your own little box; but then the real world is actually outside of that box.

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Jun 8, 2017

I doubt law school's a good fit for you. It's far from being analytical and intellectually stimulating. I think something like S&T could work really well for you, a lot of working on your own, being able to come up with your own ideas, and getting constant feedback (P&L after all). Your strong background in maths will only help you here. So maybe consider something like MIT or Princeton MFin programs? Pick up some CS and you could break as a quant, Princeton offers some good quantitative courses. Also maybe look up some financial engineering programs which really like math majors and don't necessarily require previous CS knowledge (at least above intro level).

Jun 8, 2017

As someone who works in biglaw in one of the top global groups for my specialty, I am telling you now that you are romanticizing it. Lots of brainy types do go into law, however if you think you'll be doing "intellectual work", good luck. You will spend your first few years as an associate slogging it out in the muck on due diligence or doc review depending on transactional/lit focus, and then basically doing more and more complex/high stakes deal/case management as you go up. If you are lucky enough to make partner, it will only be because you are a salesman and can bring in big business.

Generally speaking, I think you romanticize life as a worker in modern capitalism. Nobody gives much of a fuck about your capacity to be academic and thought provoking/creative unless you work in a milieu that demands it - for instance, some types of engineering. Save these exceptions, your brainpower is generally going to be levied against the task of optimizing various processes.

If you are not building a better widget in today's world, you are just helping accomplish some facet of its journey to market. Most often; this involves work that is fairly repetitive, and rewards the ability to win business in a competitive field. If you think BigLaw, MBB, or IB are an exception because they're "preftigious", id be willing to wager that you have never seen the inside of one of these firms.

Jun 5, 2017

I hear you. I'm aware of the mind-numbing due diligence work of biglaw associates. Having said that, I started salivating when you said a lot of "brainy types" go into law. I crave being with "people like me." There are no other brainy types in my division/team/hub, so I feel like a fish out of water, a horrible fit culturally and personality-wise. I feel even if the work isn't great, if you have a great team where you truly feel like you belong, and your co-workers are great and an awesome fit, you have a much easier time enduring and getting through the work. I want to be in a line of work where I'm with other elite, intellectual, brainy types who value education and being generally smart. That'd make me a lot happier. I don't want to be with dumb fratty types who aren't intellectually curious in the least but make sales because they just know how to smooth talk. I'm with them 40 hours a week, I have to interact with them, we go out on happy hour, and I feel miserable. I just know a lot of people at t14 law schools, and I fit much better with them socially than I do with other salespeople. I just can't relate to salespeople or like salespeople all that much. They brag about not taking school seriously, about getting Ds and Fs, about how they did horribly on the SAT, and their mentality just fundamentally goes against my values as someone who really heavily values education. In fact, before going industry, I was heavily considering the PhD route for Economics. I love learning, teaching, and research. But I didn't do academia because I want money too. I just can't relate because I studied my ass off for the SAT and got a 2340. So when someone brags about a 1390/2400 on the SAT, like my salespeople co-workers have, it makes me cringe, like I fucked up horribly in life to be in the same position as them. I grave the eliteness and prestigeness of biglaw, that I'd be around similarly high-achieving smart hardworking no-nonsense people. I like being around smartypants, not jocks.

They are too "alpha" and "not smart" for my tastes. Even if the work isn't that good, at least I know that if I go into biglaw, I will be with other people who are smart, who went to top schools, who got good grades, who destroyed their LSAT, etc., and people I can sustain interesting conversations with from time to time. I just miss being around super smart peers at Cornell all the time, and it's super jarring working with "average joes" coming from that, if that makes sense.

Jun 6, 2017

you are so delusional. wait till you get to big law and realize it's all a bunch of bros who probably drink harder than they did in undergrad on the weekends/ any available time they have. They aren't all smart, and they probably don't want to discuss the theories of nietzsche with you in their free time.

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Jun 8, 2017

Maybe it is how you see things. If you change the way you look at things, it might be a bit better. A good example would be this.

During a visit to the NASA space center in 1962, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, "Hi, I'm Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

"Well, Mr. President," the janitor responded, "I'm helping put a man on the moon."

To most people, this janitor was just cleaning the building. But in the more mythic, larger story unfolding around him, he was helping to make history.

Here's the point: No matter how large or small your role, you are contributing to the larger story unfolding within your life, your business and your organization.

And when your entire team embraces that type of attitude and belief system, incredible things happen.

    • 9
Jun 8, 2017

@Naoki Hanzawa I like this.

Jun 5, 2017

Well I can easily come up with a countering example. You know the parable of the bags of gold? OP is obviously gifted with intellectual ability that had him to study at an ivy league university. It's a sin to waste his talent. He needs to be working at a more intellectually challenging job. Perhaps this guy stuck being content with his high paying sales job is settling for a convenient choice than the right one.

Jun 8, 2017

Just curious about your comp., but is 100k all in with 1-2 years experience on the upper end for enterprise software sales? Also, what are the directors and VPs comps. at your firm?

Jun 8, 2017

Cheer up, it seems like compensation is an important factor for you. One way to view things is that you're probably making on par or a bit more than a top bucket 2nd year at an IB on a per hour basis [assuming 155-160 total comp. and 80+ hours a week].

Also, depending on the banking groups, some can be quite social/collegial; given your description of your personality, I think it would be reasonable to say you'd be miserable in this environment ~15 hours a day.

Another poster said that you should network and reach out to people in order to learn about the roles you're interested in. Doesn't seem like you've done much diligence yet and you may very well be dealing with some degree of a 'grass is greener' situation.

Jun 5, 2017

Standard for 1-2 years. It could be as high as 200 in some cases.

10 years out 250-1m is what I have gathered.

Jun 8, 2017

Have you tried leveraging your network to get something else within your current company? You could easily get into sales finance or marketing I'd imagine (given your background and experience). Just something worth exploring if you're not going down the law school path because you still might want to wait a bit before going after an MBA.

If you somehow don't have any sort of network after 1.5 years then make one.

Oct 5, 2017

Deleted

Jun 8, 2017

Look into being an actuary. You have to take a ton of exams in math and statistics and everyone who does it comes from a technical background.

Jun 9, 2017

Don't sit back like a paper tiger talking shit on your coworkers who seem perfectly content with their lives simply because you are not.

You are not pigeonholed due to any other reason than your shitty attitude. You cannot escape society, and you must "go along to get along" to a certain extent- no matter what job you find.

You are not any better than any of those "animals" who got D's in college. In fact, I would almost bet money that their journey from a less than ideal paper trail to a six figure career has put them in a better place than you.

Good luck with your job search- but it's not the job that is holding you back.

    • 3
Dec 19, 2017

Agreed with what is said.

Blaming others is not the answer.

No pain no game.

Aug 15, 2017

OP I feel like we have similar issues but maybe from an opposing outlook. As you mentioned in college I was very advanced when it came to my studies but from a social standpoint i wanted more. I never joined a fraternity and ultimately ended up connecting with the economics and business clubs but to me they were a snore. From my perspective I'm not looking for intellectual stimulation because in reality some of the smartest people aren't always the coolest people to hang out with. Ive considered going in technology sales for that exact reason because a lot sales people are usually ex athletes or fraternity members that know that social side of life and I'm looking for that social stimulation in a sense. From someone on the outside looking in I would look for something that allows you to have the perfect balance of both social and mental stimulation. Great topic and i wish the best!

Jan 4, 2018

Hi OP,

It's been half a year or so since your post but I wanted to reply you because your situation sounds extremely similar to mine, except I had the outcome you wanted and am now looking for an out in sales that makes good money.

You're an introvert, an INTP, went to a good university, did a quantitative course and we're roughly the same age. You are/were stuck in a job that you don't need a degree for and feel like you want to make the switch to a more 'challenging' and 'intellectually stimulating' role (trust me, I used to tell people that I could have done my previous job without a high school degree). You think sales is beneath you (I had an opportunity to switch to sales, but decided to take the more 'intellectually stimulating' role that pays less actually because I looked down on sales - jokes on me).

I was in the same position as you with the same background as you less than a year ago, and successfully made the switch to a more structuring/IB role. The only difference between you and me of the past is that I was from a role that didn't pay as well (think somewhere along the lines of Fintech/marketing in a bank that wasn't directly linked to revenue generation). Some would argue that it's not the most intellectually rewarding role around, but if you think management consultancy is intellectually stimulating (I've done an internship in one before, trust me when I say it's not), then you'll think my role is intellectually stimulating. My desk also has the reputation of hiring the 'smarter' people compared to other desks.

My take? You will hate it. I am now looking for an out in institutional sales. Here's why:

  1. You think these roles are intellectually stimulating; it is not. Stuff like Markov rule, time series, etc? You will never use them. Unless you're working in academia, banking and management consulting may hire smart people, but the work done isn't exactly difficult. Just tedious. (On a side note, you may use a bit more of this in a quant's position, but to move up the quant route, you'll need a masters/phd)
  2. Expect a lot of mundane work. You will be printing stuff for people, 'reviewing' documents (ie. catching spelling mistakes and formatting mistakes), chasing people for their part of the work, etc.
  3. As an intP, you will hate how structured the industry is. But it's that way because regulations are clamping down on everyone. You will not have place for creativity. You are nothing more than a production machine, and the faster you produce, the better.
  4. I'm not too sure about law, but be sure that it's something you're looking for. I was very good at maths and sciences and economics as a student, but I absolutely loathe the legal documents I deal with these days. What I'm trying to say is just because you enjoyed and were good at maths and economics doesn't mean you'll feel the same way about law. They're entirely different disciplines.
  5. I won't necessarily discount your colleagues. These high eq people are actually the ones who climb highest in any role. Use it to your advantage. You have the brains, now you're learning the street smarts. You'll do amazing when the time comes.

I got my role because I managed to solve a very 'complex' model within 2 days without prior experience. Stayed up for 36 hours straight on some kind of trance state and played around with excel till I fixed it. The hiring desk was so impressed, they fought for me till I got the role. I'm grateful to the people, but miserable with the work. And I am looking to move to sales now.

Just get the money from sales, do the good hours (investment banking may pay you roughly the same absolute amount, but do you think I can do anything outside of work if I'm constantly leaving the office past midnight? I read a joke article on how our cost per hour is as bad as a McDonald's worker. They weren't joking.), and find your passion outside of work. Start a business, learn a new skill, do a part time masters, earn enough to finally quit and do a full time masters... do whatever that satisfy your need for intellectual stimulation, the key is to find a role that pays well and has less hours and pays well.

    • 3
Jan 6, 2018

Hi OP,

I'm actually in a pretty similar situation as you. I just started working in tech sales at one of the top tech companies your mentioned above, but graduated with a degree in engineering from Stanford (3.9 GPA). A lot of the inside sales reps I've run fit into that fratty/sorority kind of category, but I will say that the best field reps I met make enterprise software sales an incredibly intellectual stimulating job.

I actually made the choice to go into sales after graduation, because I wanted to stay in tech and learn something about business without having to do something like banking or consulting because those jobs seemed pretty boring. Even though there are people that can succeed at sales just with hustling, I believe that only gets you so far.

Most of the customers that I speak with, I've never brought up sports or weather or any of that other useless crap. I make the job interesting by asking questions that make me seem credible (despite the fact I'm only 23) and make my prospects curious about what I have to say. Yes sending emails and making cold calls is incredibly boring and could be done by a guy with a high school degree, the skill comes in understanding the ins and outs of the product you sell and their use-cases for different customer segments. It comes in having conversations about customer challenges that you can then use to get meetings with higher level decision makers. I sell products related to analytics and machine learning and have gotten some deals done that started with conversations with data scientists and engineers. Our small talk was talking about the models they deployed and the tradeoffs they've considered. I can tell you most salespeople wouldn't be able to ask those kind of questions or build the kind of credibility to get a Chief Data Officer interested in chatting.

I think the most successful salespeople are those who are naturally curious and just willing to think through the business challenges their prospect have, guide them through their challenges and then actually tailor their solutions for them. Unless your selling a widget like a router, the world of solution selling is pretty intellectually stimulating.

    • 2
Jan 6, 2018

Also $100K overall with commission is good, but the top inside guys I know are making $250K to $300K a year with a $50K base.

Jan 7, 2018
donquixote2929:

Hi everyone. I currently work for a top tech company (think IBM/Salesforce/Oracle/CISCO) selling SaaS and high-tech enterprise software. My base salary is $60k and last year, I made around $100k before taxes with commission. I'm 26 years old, and have been working in sales for 1.5 years. My job is in inside sales, so I mostly work from the office and sell via the phone. On the plus, I only work on average around 50 hours a week. I hate my work and don't find it fulfilling at all. If I keep hitting and exceeding my numbers, I could be promoted to a field rep position within a few years, where I could make between $150-200k year (although the hours would go up, and I'd be on the road a lot, although it'd definitely still be less hours than management consulting or BigLaw).

On the downside, while I am quite good at sales, it's A HORRIBLE FIT. It is completely opposite of my personality, my skillset, and my interests. I just did sales because I couldn't find any other work I wanted to actually do. I'm introverted. I don't like talking to people more than I have to. I hate wining and dining clients. I hate smalltalk. I was never the "life of the party." I was always the smart kid in class that others trusted to get the job done, but didn't necessarily want a beer with.

I'm fine with being that guy, I don't want to be a party animal. I don't want to be the "guy who knows everyone" or the "guy who everyone likes," but want to be "the smart serious guy who knows his shit and everyone respects to get the job done." Sales isn't who I am. It's the complete opposite of my personality. I'm an INTP. Sales is one of the worst career choices based on my personality type. The hours aren't bad at all (sometime I work 40 hours a week), but there's an extreme pressure to perform and close that deal right by midnight, which can be very stressful. Also sales is in pretty much no way intellectually stimulating or analytical IN THE LEAST. Sales is all about hustling, all about closing.

To succeed in sales, you have to be very socially adept, being funny, charismatic, outgoing, personable, etc. And despite being in the tech industry, we're taught to "dumb things down" in sales calls and instead do a lot of small talk on sports and other topics to get the ball going. We take clients out to lunch, play golf with them, butter them up and kiss ass, be a smooth sweettalker and showman, use weird tactics like change your caller ID if you're in nevada calling into texas, doing lip service and flattery, and other shit that's annoying. Working this unprestigious unintellectual has been a slow existential rot for me, where I feel I haven't lived up to my potential.

I work in a field where the stakes of what I do are pretty low. I'm more than happy to trade in my easy breezy, relatively lucrative job for a much more stressful and demanding and intellectually rewarding career. I want something intellectually rewarding and satisfying. Why the fuck did I even go to school in the first place?

Also, to succeed, you have to make it all about the customer constantly, and I find that exhausting. I hate doing this. I really miss being in college and just talking to my peers in an analytical and intellectually rigorous way. And while I make a good amount of money, no one really thinks highly of my profession in sales, and it's definitely not considered "prestigious." It's consider the job that people who don't have any other marketable skills go into. It's the job that "smart people don't go into." In fact, my manager even said "smart people don't go into sales." Sales people are very socially adept, but not in the least intellectually curious or analytical.

As someone who went to an ivy league undergrad (cornell) and got a 3.7 GPA in Applied Math and Economics, I really do miss being in an academic and intellectually stimulating environment, and being surrounded by brilliant peers. i failed all my ib interviews from cornell, and then got into sales because i was initially enticed by the good money, and it's good straight out of undergrad.

Half of my fellow sales reps, while making bank and are social animals, and have amazingly high social/emotional intelligence, are high school dropouts. A monkey could go do my job, and it's pretty low-skill all things considered. Just find that high school dropout who partied all day and ditched class, got Fs and Ds while flirting with girls and making friends, and instill him a good work ethic, and he would excel at my job.

As someone who always held myself to high academic standards, and excelled in high school and college, I feel like pretty much my entire schooling was put to waste, and I barely use my brains for my job. My degree seems pretty useless, since I could have eventually gotten the same job via going to community college.

This is what I want: I want to have a job where I actually use my fucking brain. Where I put my technical, logical, and analytical mind to use. Where I work with similarly smart and driven people. Right now, two career paths are opening up: management consulting, and biglaw. However, I have no idea how to get into these fields without further graduate education.

I took the LSAT in February, and got a 171, so I think with my 3.7 GPA, I have a good shot at the t14. If I went to law school, I'd want to pursue BigLaw, and then probably go in-house if I don't make partner track. I think I'd like the academic rigor of law school, and really miss doing analytical work and exercising my brain.

On the other hand, I have no idea if I want to be a lawyer. What I think, more than anything I want, is a job that requires some intellectual labor, and something that I can find fulfilling and where I can put my intelligence to use. Some friends suggested maybe I pursue an MBA to go into management consultant or something instead. But then again, I've never worked 60+ hours consistently, so I don't know if I would hate or regret pursuing a law degree or MBA just for the sake of "prestige" and "doing something intellectual." I took the GMAT and got a 730. I could get a dual JD/MBA too.

But I only have 1.5 years of work experience, so way too early to apply to MBA programs right away. Although I'm thinking about applying to just law school ASAP because I want to get out of the sales hellhole. I've tried applying directly to boutique consulting firms and law firms for paralegal jobs but have gotten rejected all the time BC my sales experience has pigeonholed me into sales positions. I got stuck in a job I hate, and can't escape it, the sales stigma on my resume always exists!! People don't think I have transferable skills to other, more analytical jobs :(

What other work do you recommend REQUIRES and UTILIZES analytical chops, intelligence, booksmarts, and technical acumen? Work that is detailed-oriented? That's not 100% based on soft skills/people skills (as my job is now?) I understand soft/people skills will always be needed, but I just want something way more analytical, since moving from Cornell to sales has been extremely, extremely jarring and I feel miserable. If you have any other job recommendations: such as corporate strategy, corp dev, operations, etc., that may be a good fit for me, please let me know.

Thank you so much!!! Please if you can let me know of a potential path to get to your recommendations. I appreciate it a ton!

JD MBA

Do the Bruce Wasserstein approach. JD/MBA, then M&A law, then business (M&A).

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jan 7, 2018

This is so exceptionally similar to my situation in almost every aspect, from the personality traits (introversion), to interests (otaku) and also our career choices.

I chose a Sales position over an Equity Research position at a top BB (GS/MS/JP) because of location, better hours, and better pay. The ironic thing is that I've never tried Sales and that I loved my time in ER because it was quite intellectually challenging and exciting in spite of the regular grunt work. I've went out clubbing for a total of two times in my entire life, and I've probably consumed less alcohol ever than what some of my peers could do in one night. I'm in the exact same position as you in the sense that if I wanted to, no one would ever realize that I was a weeb that would rather spend a Friday night playing video games than going out.

I've yet to start the Sales position, but boy this sounds exactly like what I would post in a few years time...

Jan 7, 2018
inhopesofshorterhours:

I've yet to start the Sales position, but boy this sounds exactly like what I would post in a few years time...

Whaaaat?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jan 31, 2018

law - intellectually stimulating? lol ok. Maybe if your on a clerkship...
IBD - Cant speak on it but from my knowledge, its all mundane modeling until your a VP or MD, and then guess what...its sales
MC - My MC buddy i know, said its not intellectually stimulating. That he was traveling all over the East coast and midwest and sitting in crappy hotels churning out mind numbing models...you do this until your a partner and guess what, you are back in sales

Also you are a SDR. SDR jobs are shit. My suggestion is keep with it until you go into enterprise sales. You would like that. Or switch to being a solutions engineer or something like that.

Business is not about intellectual stimulation...its about profit

Jan 7, 2018
datguy345:

law - intellectually stimulating? lol ok. Maybe if your on a clerkship...

  1. you're
  2. M&A law is intellectually stimulating to me

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jan 31, 2018

Hedge fund, promotion or b-school

Jan 31, 2018

it's extremely hard to get into HF from sales from afaik.

you can always stay in sales. if you make it to the top of the sales ladder you'll still be in the 7-8 figure range.

not as hard to get into trading from sales as people make it sound. if you really know your products you can make the jump.

Jan 31, 2018

Then why does everyone say Sales -> HF ?

Jan 31, 2018

sales -> HF doesn't work because your skills as a sales person is to sell. you're not expected to be knowlegeable of the products. even if you're really good at knowing your products, you're not gonna be as good as a trader. you're not expected to be very analytical in sales either.

in HF's you need to not only know the products inside out, but you need to be able to take on positions and take on risk. doing sales doesn't prepare you for any of this. the closest thing you can get to HF experience is prop trading.

    • 1
Jan 31, 2018

That's not always true, particularly if you are involved with more derivative products or structured products (like structured Rates/FX), in which case sales-people know the products very well and often need to come up with RV plays or be involved with the structuring process (and sometimes help in the pricing also). I would say these types of sales-people are best situated to make a transition to HF.

Jan 31, 2018

true but even then that's such a small slice of the sales world...as a general rule of thumb i wouldn't try to get into HF's thru sales.

also, no matter how knowledgeable the sales guys are, they won't have experience taking risk. you can make the correct analysis, but if you're not allocating your assets/risks properly, you're not going to generate enough of a profit from your trades.

obv i'm not saying it's impossible to get into HF's from sales, just saying there are a lot of skills required that you won't learn from sales.

Jan 31, 2018

Agreed, it's a smaller slice, just thought it was worth mentioning. Spot on about the managing risk part, it's probably the biggest reason Sales to HF is more difficult than Trading to HF.

Jan 31, 2018

the guys i've known that made it to the director or MD level in sales are doing VERY well for themselves. so it's pretty good once you make it up there. no need to switch to other careers imo unless you absolutely HAVE to trade or whatever...a few mil a yr is nothing to scoff at.

Jan 31, 2018

Well JPM is definitely a huge place, but why not try to build your network there to all different areas of the bank? Try to meet people, who know people, who know people. Use your people skills from sales and relationship management to get in touch with others. I don't think you need to be pigeon holed into any standard exit opportunities with any job. It's all about getting in touch with the right people and having the right story (i.e. making them believe over time that you're qualified for the job and they would like to work with you / vouch for you).

Jan 31, 2018

You can work your way to PWM side but don't think you can get into any of the institutional or i-banking side of the business. If you are well liked and have a proven track record you might be able to get into management with your background. I suggest trying to go PWM as it is an amazing job if you can get past the first 5 years.

I'm Texas Made Texas Paid

Jan 31, 2018

What kind of Sales? Makes a difference if research sales/fund marketing vs. the sales portion of sales and trading. If the former then IR/biz dev for a fund complex is probably the "optimal outcome." If the latter depending on the product you could get a trading, then eventually PM role (have seen it done in FICC products).

Jan 31, 2018

the sales portion of sales and trading

Corporate financial/business analyst looking for career/MBA/CFA advice.

Jan 31, 2018

Yes, salespeople can go from sales to a hedge fund or another asset manager. Also, it's too soon to think about exit opps.

Jan 31, 2018

You're an intern. Take a deep breathe and feel it out during the internship.

Jan 31, 2018

communications skills may be useful in pwm

"What we can, we must; and because we can, we must"

Jan 31, 2018

In the good days when hedge funds were all around I would say HF. However now, I think you either gotta find a job in another career, like being a teacher, or try for your MBAs.

Jan 31, 2018

I think your options may be limited in terms of exit ops to HF these days as previously mentioned, but why would the possibility of moving to the trading side be ruled out? Or the possibly of moving up the ladder?
Didn't Lloyd Blankfein work mostly in sales?

Jan 31, 2018

So did John Mack.

Jan 31, 2018

I'm also curious about this. Also, is there any type of average tenure of someone who enters into sales? I know traders either make money or they don't, and some places give them a book less than a year in. What about sales? Do you just do backup coverage as an analyst and once you hit associate you might get your own clients?

Jan 31, 2018

I've heard of sales people move into HFs to become PMs, but obviously if you aren't good enough to stay in sales you won't be good enough to get into that PM position... I guess marketing & investor relations is always an option

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.

Jan 31, 2018

good question. also, can the answerer elaborate on the day to day duties of a CDS sales professional?

From the ghetto...

Jan 31, 2018
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Jan 31, 2018
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Mar 19, 2019