Advice: "I just started my first white collar job in sales. I love the money, but I hate the day-to-day. What should I do?"

Vadym Pastukh/

Dear Quota Team,

I’m kind of embarrassed to even be writing this, but I feel like I can’t talk about it to anybody at my current workplace. I’m brand new to sales. I only started in the industry less than six months ago. I work as an inside sales rep and am responsible for both inbound and outbound prospecting. 

Here is my dilemma: I don’t know if I can picture myself doing this job as my career. It’s not at all what I expected. But maybe I should give you my background so you can understand where I’m coming from. 

I’m from a lower-middle class family. We really never had much money, and my dad worked in the trades until he died pretty young. So for me, going to college and getting a “high-paying” job has always been incredibly important. I don’t have anything else to fall back on. 

I went to community college for two years, then took out student loans to finish my undergrad (business major) at a state school. This is my first white-collar job. Before this, I worked landscaping, in restaurants, and other odd jobs. 

I am now making more money than I’ve ever made in my life, by far. But I am also more unhappy than I’ve ever been. I wake up kind of dreading having to do the job. And since I am not treated badly by my employer, I’m worried that it’s the job (sales) and not the company that’s the problem. 

There is almost nothing I like about the job. I don’t like bothering people. I don’t like having to start at zero every month. I don’t like the sports-type workplace culture. And I don’t like haggling over money. The only thing I like is getting a nice paycheck at the middle of every month. All day long, I daydream about buying a camper and going across the country, or working as a park ranger somewhere beautiful. But then I think about how my family lived and try to tell myself to snap out of it or I’ll end up living paycheck to paycheck forever. 

Is there any advice you have for me? Should I just get used to this and be grateful, or am I already doomed?     

Conflicted in the Northeast  


Dear Conflicted,

Don’t quit. Not yet anyway. And forget about all the “doomed” talk – you just started your career and still have lots of time to figure things out. 

Maybe sales isn’t for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t make a hasty decision and waste a great opportunity, especially not without a plan. 

Here’s what to do instead: make a list of the things you want to do, whether it’s switching careers or buying that camper and going cross-country. Then, figure out how much it would cost to try these things for a year, for two years, or three, while still having some money left over after.

Once you’ve got a grand total, use your current income to start saving. Work harder, close more deals, and minimize your current expenses as much as possible. You’re working towards a goal, and investing yourself into your current job will allow you to do the things you’ve only dreamed of. And before you know it, you’ll be ready to go live your dreams, and you’ll have learned quite a bit about yourself in the process.

Of course, you could just quit now and hope everything works out. And maybe it will – it certainly has for many others. But why rush it if you can sacrifice a bit now to enjoy yourself more in the future? It’s the smarter play, and once you’re on the other side, you won’t regret it. Good luck!

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