Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Some thoughts on the causes of the financial meltdown in the U.S.

I have been in the insurance business in the past, and I can tell you some facets of it that bothers me, it bothers me about sales work in general in the U.S.

1. The rah-rah sales meetings. No emphasis on doing the job correctly, ethically, just on sell more more more.

2. Magical Thinking, the idea that your attitude will create Unlimited Boundless Wealth.

3. Payment by commissions and bonuses only. If you are subjected to the first two factors and then victimized and esploited by the third factor, it is a recipe for disaster for the individual, his or her customers and society at large.

I do know people who have managed on the bonus only payment scheme, but even they would far rather have a steady, reliable salary and modest bonuses.

My own experience of those rah-rah meetings was that I knew I was being lied to, and I didn't like it, and it hurt my productivity EVERY time. I was the sort of person who always got at least SOME sales, what ever job I was in, even bad seasons, even at times when things could be expected to go wrong totally. I wasn't the kind of person who sold fabulous amounts. The kind of person who sells fabulously one day may sell nothing whatsoever for weeks.

They may go away on a coke-fueled bender for half the week, come into the office and drive everyone nuts with their hyper voices and general pushy-ness and sell a ton of stuff that doesn't stay sold and then go on their next bender a few days. That's how it works.

Meanwhile the people who do the job right have to suffer the disdain of their bosses for having less stellar but far more reliable results. I mean what's the point of selling something, anything if it doesn't STAY SOLD?

So a whole society runs it's business that way and then it all crashes. Why am I so unsurprised?

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