Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Generational changes affect jobs requiring "sales culture"
One trend that I’ve noticed in the workplace since the 2000-2001 period is the proliferation of jobs predicated on building up lists of clients that one “takes care of” – starting with lists of leads. Since about 2006 or so, social media have become important in building these lists, so that the agent’s whole public identity is consumed by “selling.” There are many examples: life insurance agent, tax preparer, agent selling long term care, financial planner, etc.
This does not appeal to me, even though I have a lot of the technical background (particularly in the life insurance area) that would made me look attractive for such a “career switch”.
A couple of generations ago, people accepted the idea of receiving solicitations, by phone and door-to-door, from salesmen, and they accepted the idea that a “professional” agent takes care of a major part of their lives. This was seen as a necessary part of being a social creature, ready to fit in to society in such a ways as to survive in a group in a world with many unknown dangers. People (family members, chosen or not) were more important than personal interests and agendas. So I view my own resistance to this kind of work as double-edged.
My own father was a manufacturer's agent, but he sold to department store chains, not to individual people.