Advice: "I'm making great money in sales, but I don't enjoy it. How can I transition into a new career without taking a huge paycut?"

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Dear Quota Team

I’ve spent the last four years in sales, and have been pretty successful by nearly all metrics. Last year, I made just under $160k, which is the most money I’ve ever made before. I’m certainly happy about it, but going into the new year, I can’t say I’m feeling overly optimistic.

I used to think making a lot of money would make me happy, but it doesn’t feel like it’s working out that way. The truth, I think, is that I don’t really enjoy the work. I am enough of a self-starter where I can do what I have to do, but I have zero passion for it, and am just going through the motions most days. I also find the stress to be too much at times, and feel like I’m trading my health for money.

But I also don’t want to give up the income. Making close to $200k a year is pretty great, and it would be a shame to walk away from the money. What do other salespeople do when they want to transition out of a sales role but keep their income at a high level? Are there any good lateral moves to make, or do we have to choose between high income and stress or low income and contentment. How does one decide? 

Unfulfilled on the East Coast  


Dear Unfulfilled,

Some sales reps are able to match their high incomes with transitions into executive management, but very rarely can you make a “lateral” move and match your income. 

Salespeople are paid so well precisely because it’s a difficult job that requires sacrifice and hard work. Most reps who decide they no longer want to make that trade-off end up taking significant pay cuts. Some of them are happy with their choice, while others end up back on the phones. 

There’s always the possibility that you can switch roles and eventually (after many years) come close to what you’re making, but it’s unlikely to happen overnight. You should think about what’s more important to you, money, or a role that you find more fulfilling. Only you can decide. Good luck.

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