I have been working at Southwestern Advantage full-time (Less than a year)
You will either gain a greater understanding of the tactics of a cult or simply be a member of one.
-Sugarcoated rationalizations of backward thinking
-Duping others into buying products that you wouldn't buy yourself
-Working 80 hours a week for possibly nothing
-Possibly spending the next year of your life in a depressed state of mind, engaging in alcoholism and other bad habits
-Engaging in the door-to-door industry, a dying business model that only makes money for the higher ups because of the multiple people who get sucked into the gig
Advice to Management
I worked at Southwestern Advantage part-time (Less than a year)
I don't have anything good to say about this experience besides the fact that I made best friends because any form of communal suffering bonds people.
They are very sketchy and unclear about what the job entails. I did not know what I would be doing until I showed up at sales school several months later. They try to brainwash you by telling you if you don't finish, you will forever be a failure. They took my phone from me, read all of my messages, tried to control what I ate, when, what and when I slept, showered, etc. this is a horrible company and the managers are absolutely awful. I would spend all day hanging out with families that I met and we would figure out how to get me out of this. Awful experience please don't do it. I wish someone would have told me these things before I went.
Advice to Management
Listen to the people you are working with. Not everyone can adapt to being robots and not having emotions.
Building relationships and traveling to a different state with other college students --- like a mini road trip until the work starts....
Makes you learn who to trust and I got stronger mentally because I realize that companies like Southwestern company may look fancy with their big office but in the end, the college students are nothing but baits.
Shouldn't work here once you have a degree because you are better than that.
They drop me off on the streets at the ghetto area at 9 am and then pick me up around 9-10 pm at night (and yes, still on the streets). The managers do not really care for your personal situation as long as you are giving them a positive result on your sale. I've had police officers told me that what the company is doing is unsafe especially because the area has a lot of gangs, registered sex offenders etc... They sometimes send me to the firefighters office and they demand that the manager need to start picking me up there for safety reasons. (My manager was really upset and told me I should've just waited on the streets by the bench).
I've had families help me by providing food, drinks and a shelter since we are pretty much walking outside from 9 am - 10 pm
You basically go door-to-door and hope that someone will let you in or answer the door without threatening to call cops or let you know you are trespassing. The company gives you a set of notes to memorize whenever there's an objection responded to you. You don't get paid weekly. You have to knock on people's house and beg them to let you live-in with them for a summer. (They give you notes for that by the way).
You get paid at the end of the summer after you go back to Nashville. They will charge you for the sample books that you show to potential customers and once you get your check, you realize that you can actually do this in any other job.
Advice to Management
You have to show sincerity for your employees. Stop talking bad about other college students especially freshmen students who decides to leave the program... It's like a hypocritical action. Managers want to do all the chants like: You can do it! Sell and think positive. Don't Give up!" but then when someone leaves, the manager will say: "Some people are just quitters and that's a failure."
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-You become a better communicator
-You can talk about your experience in an interview
-If you're a born salesman or have nothing else to do and are desperate, then you got yourself an internship
-I had moderate success so I was recognized, feels good but doesn't amount to much
-You become emotionally numb from 90+ hours each week of rejection
-Managers only look out for their interests and that of the company
-They expect incredible sales abilities with one week of "formal" training aka sales school
-Company treats you like a number, rather than a person, because when you think of it, they can always find some other college student to do their work
-Company loves to blame the individual for a bad experience by saying "we have plenty of campus wide meetings, or manager meetings, or workshops to help with that..." instead of owning up to their own lack of attention to their most valuable asset (their people)
-After a summer they'll try to recruit you again by saying you had a great summer on paper, and they'll even have the nerve to make you feel bad for refusing
Advice to Management
Focus more on the individual, even though your process is designed around the elite, it doesn't always work for everyone. Also focus more on training your managers to lead, seems like all that managers do on phone calls and Sunday meetings is ask for numbers and offer little to nothing else. SW leaders seem great at recruiting but really bad, but i mean bad at leading from all the other dealers I've spoken to confidentially. I guess they are learning but not too sure if they are really improving...
I worked at Southwestern Advantage (More than 3 years)
Networking, traveling, driving across the country, meeting fake people, and false confidence
A cult in all ways. This company is all about control. They want to control every aspect of your daily life and give you nothing more than a sense of urgency to work harder for them and the advancement of their culture.
Advice to Management
Spend 6 months completely away from the company and anyone associated with the company and you will begin to realize the koolaid is poison.
Learned to know when a job/"opportunity" sounds too good to be true, that's because it really is and the fall is mighty steep
No work/life balance, very cult-like, robot galore fest, brainwashing at its best
Advice to Management
Get some experience in interviewing
-Expected to work Monday-Saturday from 7 am-9pm
-Lied beforehand about what the job would be
-only paid by commission
-the families that buy stuff have a hard time getting out of paying for the website
-unsafe working conditions
They seem to hire everyone!
Pitched to be a great paying job, but instead its just a door to door sales job where you MIGHT make UP TO $8k. Work at Mcdonalds instead.
I worked at Southwestern Advantage (Less than a year)
Your fellow students/suckers are generally good people and fun to be with. The shared misery bonds you.
Where do I even begin. First, the important thing to realize is that you are an independent contractor to them. You are not an employee. They owe you nothing beyond a cut of what you sold at the end of the season. Their "managers" and company employees are master salespeople...they could sell ice in Siberia so your average inexperienced college student is at a major disadvantage. They basically try to indoctrinate you. They sell you on the fact that if you are successful in this endeavor, you can basically be the CEO of any company out there and if you fail...well, you're a failure who will be derelict drain on society for the rest of your life.
Things you need to understand:
-Your parents or some other financially stable individual has to essentially cosign for your employment. Basically, if you don't sell, you or your cosigner has to pay them back for materials (i.e. initial books, samples, training material, etc.)
-You have to pay all your expenses out of what you earn. This includes rent, food, gas, possibly utilities (based on your situation) and other necessities. If you're only an average seller and since the company wants you to remit 75% of what you make back to them, this leaves very little with which to live.
-If you don't have a car, God help you because you are completely at their mercy. They want you to work 12 hour days, 6 days a week. If you don't have your own transportation, you will be dropped off in your selling area and left there until they come back to get you.
-Let's do a little math kids. Southwestern has stated that a first year students who works 20 days earn a gross (so before all those expenses I just mentioned) of $2569 a month on average . So if you're working 12 hour days that's 240 hours. $2569/240= $10.70 an hour. That's not great for the amount work you're putting in and may not even be minimum wage depending on what part of the country you live in.
-They are less than honest. One of the major concerns of my parents was where I was going to live. My recruiter/manager assured them that they had already gotten places where we could live lined up and we would be staying with local families. This patently false. There was no such place lined for my sub-unit of three guys so we were forced to rent an apartment.
Things that Happened to Me (These are all true!)
-Let's talk about that apartment. My recruiter manager had 7 guys in his team after attrition throughout the training process. The team he directly led (4 guys) was based out of a pretty upscale suburb of St Louis. My team (3 guys) were sent out into central, rural Missouri. As I stated above, there was no family willing to take us in so we had to rent a one bedroom apartment over a laundromat. Luckily, it was partially furnished so we rotated sleeping arrangements: one in the bed, one on the couch, the other on the floor. We had to go buy sleeping bags so another expense! It had no tv or air conditioning but at least it had one overhead light in the kitchen and a light in the bathroom so it kind of lit the whole apartment. (For reference, the 4 guys and our manager who were living with a family...turns out they were sleeping on cots in an unfinished basement.)
-I was struggling so they paired me up with one of the female managers to observe her techniques. On the third door we knock on, a dog comes barreling out of the backyard barking like crazy. Without a word, she turns and starts running. She ran track. She was much faster than me. Luckily, the dog lost interest after I ran through some bushes.
-Speaking of dogs...I drove up what I thought was a dirt road but turned out to be the driveway to a farm. As I got up to the house, the three dogs roaming free surrounded my car and trapped me in it until a grump old farmer came out and told me to get off his property in no uncertain terms.
- I knock on a trailer door and a shirtless man with nipple rings, who is obviously hungover, answers. Undeterred, I talk my way into his living room. On his coffee table are three handguns with cartridges loosely scattered across the table. He asks me to come back that evening when he is more of a frame of mind to listen to me. I agree, get out of there, and never go back. I'm not saying he was going to murder me but I can't say he wasn't.
-I get questioned by the police as a suspicious person in the area. I am obviously the out of town stranger with my New England license plates and southern university stickers/gear. They ask me to the station and start asking me questions about some local thefts, going so far as to tell me they know I'm lying despite by professions of innocence and ignorance. This is the last straw and I start the cross country drive home that night. My manager doesn't even notice I'm gone for three days.
-More of an observation...the easiest people to sell were the folks who could least afford it. I engaged a woman who lived in squalor, was in a motorized wheelchair and was obviously living on disability. Somehow I talked her into buying these borderline useless things but I was so desperate for a sale, I did it anyway. I am a scumbag.
Bottom line- This is a borderline pyramid scheme. The company and managers will tell you anything to get you out there. The pay isn't worth the hassle and uncertainty for the average person. Unless you were born to sell, it's not worth the stress, hours, and expense. And above all, it's borderline dangerous. They drop you into an unknown area which they don't really know anything about and neither do you. Do yourself a favor...just stay away.
Builds character but can be dangerous for workers
- Long hours
- A lot of uncertainty
- Pay is not good
Advice to Management
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