Starting a Sales Career at 35 Can Be a Great Idea
There comes a time when you can look at your life over a bowl of cereal one morning and say, “Self, it’s time for a new career.” I know a career girl – let’s call her Savannah – who has been a successful hair stylist for several years now. Out of beauty school she went to work for a major “strip mall” hair cutting chain, and she knew right away that it wasn’t for her. So she searched around and found an apprenticeship. From there, she worked her butt off and built a clientele. Now she makes $80K a year easy, and she doesn’t even work a full 40 hours a week to do it.
Sounds like a dream job, right? But Savannah hates it. She dreads going to work, and some of her clients downright give her a case of anxiety. So what does she do? She’s in her late early 30s, approaching 35.
(If I may interject: The thing to take away from Savannah’s story is that it’s okay to realize that maybe you should be doing something else with your life. In fact, it’s okay to realize that maybe you should be doing anything else. Anything at all.)
People tell Savannah all the time that she’s crazy.
“You would walk away from a 30-hour work week that poops out something that close to six figures?” people say.
And Savannah says, “Yes. In fact, I’ve been thinking about applying to work at Trader Joe’s.”
For those of you who haven’t already Google’d it, the starting salary at Trader Joe’s seems to be somewhere in the $12/hour range. And for those of you who don’t already have your calculator app pulled up, that’s $480 a week, before taxes, assuming she could actually get a full 40 hours a week on her schedule. Multiply that by 52 weeks, assuming no time off ever, and Savannah could pull in as much as – wait for it – $24,960 in a year. Again, that’s before taxes.
Okay, Savannah dear, we need to talk. How are you going to work more hours than you do now and meanwhile drop-kick over 55 grand a year? How will you be able to afford to buy clothes at that rate? Makeup? Gas for your Toyota?
Savannah says she doesn’t care. That’s how much the client interactions in her life have sucked away at the very core of her existence. She would jump down from the lifestyle to which she has become comfortable in a heartbeat.
But I have another suggestion for Savannah: Start a career in sales! She’s cute, personable, funny, and hard working. And a sales career need not conjure up images of pot-bellied sleazeballs in cheap suits trying to offload a used car with sawdust in the carburetor. Nor need it offer the mental image of someone in an industrial park selling pipe fittings to men with plumber’s cracks. Nor need it bring out the anxieties associated with facing down the rest of one’s working life at a retail counter in a shopping mall.
You see, selling a plumbing fixture in Tallahassee is a different type of thing from selling a water softener in San Diego, which is a different type of thing from selling a wine list to restaurants. And that‘s the reason sales might be the carer for you to switch to at the tender, yet seasonal, age of 35.
The field is varied – from real estate to sports cars. Once you get past the fear of entering the sales career field, you can think of what you’re passionate about and give it a shot. Love sailboats? Try a career in boat sales. Love golf? Try a career in club sales. Think about it, and try a career in sales!