This is a question that I have been thinking about for some time now. In the wake of some of my biggest failures this year, and the pain those failures have caused I have, late in the night, wondered if it would have been better to have never tried. To be ignorant of the experience, and avoid the pain of failure.
In 2012 I took a job with a company in Seattle. It was a small company, but had enormous potential, and I was excited to be working with them. I started on the 1st of July, and began working in their sales department. On my first day I made a sizable sale. The feeling of accomplishment was like a drug to me, and it fueled me from one sale to the next. But, like all drugs eventually I wasn’t satisfied with making $1000.00 or $2000.00 sales. I wanted more. So I started targeting larger companies. Companies with problems that my product could solve. In October of 2012 I brought in my companies first big client in several years. A contract worth $21,000.00. It was a tremendous feeling, and accomplishment. The deal had taken a lot of work, including phone calls, emails, meetings, and more. In the end I thought it was worth the extra time I had spent on the deal, but my boss thought otherwise.
The man I was working for had no experience in the field we were working. Furthermore he had little to no experience leading people or groups, and I would go as far to say that he was the worst person I have ever worked for. He was a pessimist, bully, and most of his leadership tactics included passive aggressive behavior. The bottom line, he was bad. After I brought in my first big client my boss started to express displeasure at my choice of clients because in his words “Big clients require effort and work.”
Despite my bosses objections I continued seeking out larger and larger clients, and my boss started doing everything he could to stop me. He discredited my name in front of co-workers, leaders, and the owners of the company. He withheld resources, and manpower in hopes that without it I would be unable to sign big contacts. He even went so far as to tell certain member’s of the staff they were not allowed to talk to me without his expressed permission. However, despite all of that, I still came out on top.
At the close of 2013 I was the only sales rep to sell above my yearly quota. I had brought in several of the largest clients the company had ever seen, and opened doors to relationships that would blossom into amazing opportunity for the company for many years to come. And yet, according to my boss I was the worst sales rep on the team. He said I didn’t play by the rules, and that I was not a consistent sales rep. He said all this because I didn’t sell consistently month to month. I would usually sell one big deal every 2-3 months, and then I would have 1-2 months of average sales.
At the start of 2014 I decided I wanted to play a more forward role in my company, and started making aggressive moves to help drive my company forward. I used contact in my industry to secure speaking engagements, and write several articles for the company. I even held private webinars for the company, offering our clients my expertise and experience, free of charge. My boss on the other hand started making aggressive moves of his own. He couldn’t fire me, because it would raise too many questions. So he decided to launch an all out assault on me.
In the first 3 months of 2013 he alienated me from my team, drove me out of the office, cut off communication from almost everyone I worked with, and stole valuable leads and clients from me. In the end I was forced to resign.
Never before has a job meant so much to me. Never before had I put so much of my time, resource, and talent into a job or a company. Never before had I wanted so badly to succeed. My boss and his actions made no sense to me! I could understand him not liking me. There are a lot of people who don’t like me, but to deliberately destroy your top sales rep to satisfy your own personal vendetta is a mystery!
When I left this company I felt like a failure. I felt like I had lost something extremely important to me, and for months it has torn its way through my insides like a poison. But in the last two months I have started looking at my experience differently. I was faced with an almost unattainable objective. I wanted to be successful even though my boss was doing everything he could to make me fail. Despite his best efforts, I still won! Despite his best punches I am still standing, and even when he knocked me down I kept getting back up again, and again! I don’t know why he did what he did, and even though he made my life hell in the first quarter of 2014 I learned an important lesson.
I can walk through hell, and survive. I can endure the hot flames of the underworld and keep moving forward. I can be successful despite extraordinary opposition.
So while I may have failed at my original goals, and yes I went through some sever depression and anxiety over my time at this company, what I took away from it is even more important, and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life!