About that bumpy ride – Part 1

In my previous post Here it is, finally I said I would talk about that bumpy ride, here it is.

It wasn’t an easy decision to become a freelancer when you have 2 young kids and you are about to buy a house. Not the best time, if you ask me (or if you ask my girlfriend), but the timing was actually right.

The moment they told me I was let go, I wasn’t feeling stressed, nor anxious about my future. I was actually relieved. I remember I was even smiling, able to breathe again.
It wasn’t because of the company I worked for, Sentia. In the contrary, I was welcomed like I never was in any other company. These guys were genuinely good people, wanting the best for their employees. A special dedication to my ex-boss David and my colleagues Peter, Pieter, Vincent and Mara from the sales dept, but of course Kenny, Pieter (another one) and Sander, the architects. Maybe not Sander, he beat me at table tennis way too often.
Not the people, but the job as sales guy was the problem and it took me way too long to understand this. Account Manager, Business Development, Presales, Technical Account Manager, …

 

But why did it take me so long to understand?

 

If you ask my girlfriend, she’d tell you she knew from the start a job as sales guy wasn’t for me. And she was right, but don’t tell her.
I think I was too focused on the good things about being in sales, like:

  • It’s not a 9-to-5 job
  • Homeworking
  • The paycheck is good to very good depending on the job
  • You have lots of freedom
  • You get to meet new people
  • The big pimp-my-ride-like-cars (exaggeration might be possible)

These advantages blinded me to the one thing that matters to sales guys: Always Be Closing.

Some people will say it’s not only about the money, they will tell you it’s about helping (potential) customers be more productive or giving back their focus on their business.
While this might be true to an extend, you can’t hide the fact that money is still the greatest motivator to them.

 

There were 3 “clicks” that made realize I wasn’t a real sales guy.

 

The first one is when a saw a post on Linkedin called 8 signs that you don’t belong in sales. This was an eye-opener. It won’t surprise you as I say that almost all the signs were there.

Hans was my second “click”. This guy is just awesome. He calls himself Supplier of Optimism and there is no doubt about it.
I’ve never met a guy who was so relaxed, entertaining yet focused on his one goal: make you realize what your potential is. Go check him out and have a chat with him and find out on your own.

The definitive moment that pushed me to change is when I had to take a test where I had to make a list of all the criteria I found important in my perfect job.
My career coach Liesbeth, who I’ve hired to help me make the right decisions, asked me to do this and I’m glad I did. Things like a good salary, a company car or the ability to work for home came nowhere near my top 3 and it blew my mind.

What was on the top of my list?

 

  1. Job content… Boom!
  2. Nice offices (like wut?)
  3. Close to home for my kids (Yeah I know, I’m Superdaddy, don’t mention it)

 

When I compared these 3 criteria to the ones I thought were important to me, I realized two things: the first is that sales was no more an option in my future career and the second is that I was focused on the wrong things. So thank you Liesbeth for that final kick in the butt, but also for the talking and the way you make me rethink everything. If you are searching for some career advice, you should definitely contact her.

 

That’s all for now, in Part 2 I will tell you about my first steps out of my comfort zone.

Cheers!

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