Monday, January 14, 2013

Why I don't like the idea of selling services to individual clients, as a "second career"

During the past twelve years or so – ever since the December 2001 layoff that ended my “formal” IT career,  I have been approached, without solicitation on my part, to become involved in a number of marketing-oriented jobs, some of which would involve building lists of leads and potential individual clients.

A few of these ideas have been life insurance agent, financial planner, tax preparer, credit counselor, cash flow, real estate and mortgages (that’s a good one), and multi-level marketing distributor (for a number of products, like phone cards). 

It is true, some seniors do very well with this idea.  People work as tax preparers or financial planners into their eighties or (in at least one case in NYC), mid 90s.  One attorney in Texas is 101.  (One surgeon in one of Oprah’s “Blue Zones” is 94.)

It is common, when people “retire”, to meet an expectation that they will get into some sort of marketing arrangement, because they are supposed to “know” people and have contacts.  Ten years ago, some pundits said, “anyone worth his salt can make $200000 a year easy”, as a huckster.
By the time I was 55, I had already gotten pretty far into “citizen journalism”.  I had actually decided to write my first book at a singular moment when I was on vacation in Colorado in 1994, at age 51.  By 2000 or so, I already realized that a “search engine presence” could cause serious conflicts with marketing oriented jobs.
Social media would, of course, design the new game for professional reputation.  But, imagine my being an insurance agent or financial planner.  I would have to devote all of my online presence (particularly with Facebook and Twitter) toward finding leads.  I could no longer say and publish what I think “the truth” is or may become.  I could not touch controversy with any honesty.  I would have to pamper people to sell to them.
That provides a background for my insistence that I see my plans through to the end.  I’ll have more details soon, but these plans include a formal release of a DADT Part III book (on Kindle), a novel, my music, a video, and trying to market a screenplay set up by the books.  I could not pursue this if I made another “career switch”.  Teaching, as I’ve discussed on other blogs, has presented its own problems.
My decision may seem arrogant, or it may sound like resignation, during one’s last act.  Perhaps a bit of both.   There is a bit of potential contradiction of integrity here.  If you want people to read you or listen you, shouldn’t you have to care about them and like them?  (A therapist cares about his patients.)  You should. 
But does that mean you should be ready to help take care of them professionally, or even personally?  I would have not thought so before, but the sequence of unsolicited calls and inquiries, seemingly prompted by my visibility during all those days of debating “don’t ask don’t tell” and Internet censorship, seemed motivated to give me a sense of the same interpersonal responsibilities most “real life people” face.

I have been quite impressed with the observation that many people predicate their income-earning on theri ability to manipulate others, through creating urgency and "overcoming objections".  Or, "Always be closing."  Truth doesn't count.
What could force me into a crisis is external disaster or "purification" . It could be physical (the power grid collapses after a solar storm or terror EMP attack, major Atlantic tsunami), or it could be financial (right wing bullies destroy (or "deconstruct") the financial system, to produce anarchy and their own style of “revolution”).  It could be a targeting born of indignation.  But if the world around me is destroyed (or if I am destroyed), I doubt I have much to offer it anyway.  I might not be around.   I think I need to finish what I started, efficiently.  Maybe if I do so, I will find a "legitimate" opportunity, on a cable television network, talk show, or even a "real" film production company.  (I need to look good if I do that, just as I would to "sell" -- that is "dress for success" and even make a "Clear Choice".)   Again, there are no victims.  People succeed and people fail.  On this planet, that’s it. 

 See related post Oct. 6, 2012.  

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