Advice: "I keep getting laid off. I'm wondering if sales may not be right for me"

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Dear Quota Team, 

I am wondering if you can help me. I’ve been in sales for just over three years. I started in car sales but then moved over to B2B, which I thought was a better fit for me and my personality. 

In the last two years, I’ve been laid off three times. Basically, I’ve been part of “cost-cutting” measures on multiple occasions. The managers all say that I’m a nice guy and that they didn’t want to do it, but that based on my performance, they really had no choice but to include me among the layoffs.

The first time this happened, I just chalked it up to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but now I am wondering if maybe this isn’t the career for me. Basically, I can’t tell whether these companies didn’t invest enough into training, or if they were just poorly managed. But I also can’t rule out the possibility that I’m just not cut out for this. Do you have any thoughts? 

Concerned in Florida    


Dear Concerned,

Without more detail, it’s pretty hard to say definitively whether or not you’re cut out to stay in sales, but three layoffs in two years isn’t a great sign. 

But maybe the best thing to do is rather than asking for advice, ask yourself a question: why do you want to work in sales? Is it a question you can answer easily, or is it something that takes a lot of thought and complicated rationale?    

Sales is difficult enough without a good “why,” but if you don’t have a “why” and aren’t performing, then there’s really no good reason (that we can think of) to keep trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. 

There are plenty of other career options out there, and if this one’s not working out, why torture yourself with endless 3-6 month stints. But if, on the other hand, you find yourself being drawn to sales and you can figure out why, then you should give it another shot. After all, a real salesperson would never give up. Good luck!

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