Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Does This Sound Familiar? Part II, or "The Day of O"

The next morning you get showered and put on a nice suit or dress and the "comfortable" shoes you were instructed to bring. You're thrilled--you might finally get a real job and a big paycheck!

You walk into the office again, looking your very best and trying not to look nervous. Strangely, there are around 10-15 other people in the office despite the fact you were told very few people made it to the second round. Sitting down, you notice people walking in and out constantly, and hear loud music blaring with cheering and clapping the next room over. Maybe they're having a party, you think.

Finally, after an hour or two of waiting, a guy about your age comes out to greet you and tells you that you will be "shadowing" him for a day. This is your Day of Observation, or "Day of O". You follow the guy you are shadowing to his car (usually, an old and beat up car which will make sense later) and he begins to drive off. He tells you that you will be going to Home Depot (or possibly door to door) as a walking, talking advertisement and selling or generating "leads". He speaks to you about the "law of averages", which means for every 30 "nos" there will be one "yes", and its important not to let the many "nos" let you down. You nod and take notes, thinking this is very weird but could make sense later.

You arrive at a suburban Home Depot and walk inside, where the guy you are shadowing signs an official looking (but in reality, fraudulent) vendor list to give what he is doing a sheen of respectability. He then proceeds to go around badgering shoppers to sign up for a "Free" offer of a kitchen or deck design. He explains to you that for every "yes" he gets, he makes $20.

Starting to sound quite different from an "Entry level management" position, huh? Its really a glorified door-to-door or business-to-business sales job!

After four hours of seemingly endless walking the guy you are shadowing takes you out to lunch at a taco stand or fast food joint. Sometimes he will pay, sometimes not.He then goes onto explain the structure of the company--you will be a "distributor" while he will be your "team leader". In order to get promoted to a "team leader" you will have to make on average five sales a day for a week (including Saturdays!). Saturdays are "optional" but in reality required if you want to eat. After being promoted to team leader, you must hire and promote five new distributors to "team leader" and have at least one of those distributors also become a "team leader". After that, its onto Asst. Manager where you will finally make a (modest) salary of $1,000 a week plus a percentage of what the people under you sell. After 1-2 months of this, you can be promoted to manager.

He will tell you that you will make six figures--THIS IS A LIE. I repeat, managers do NOT make six figures. In fact, most of them are as broke as the low level distributors because they have to pay totally out of pocket for rent, supplies, receptionists, etc. In addition, the manager can only make money by taking it out of the pockets of people lower on the pyramid. See where this is going?

He then says he will give a good recommendation to the "manager" even though in reality any sucked with a pulse and an IQ of 70 can get a job in this business.
You follow him around some more until 8pm, and get back to the office exhausted with aching feet. Once again contrary to your better instincts, you do your best to pass the bogus "quiz" and the manager calls you in and tells you how great you are and that you are now hired and must start tomorrow.

You pause for a moment, thinking of all the red flags you have seen, but then you think how much it sucks to be unemployed. You shake his hand, and say you will be in at 9:30.

Does This Sound Familiar?

So you are searching for your first, real professional career and you decide to use an online service such as Craigslist, Monster, or Careerbuilder. While scanning through the job offers, you come across something similar to this:

COR Concepts is hiring for entry level sales and marketing positions. This job involves one on one sales interactions with customers.

We are hiring to train ENTRY LEVEL account reps for management positions. Our advancement policy is 100% promotion from within, so every candidate begins advancing from the same position. www.corconcepts.net

A combination of our client's demands and our proven track record lead to 300% growth in the last 36 months. We plan to double in size again within the next year. We currently have offices in the DC, Philadelphia, and New York markets. www.corconcepts.net


• Work ethic that is second to none

• An integral team player with a desire to succeed

• Career-oriented individual with the ability to multi-task and problem solve in an ever-changing environment

• Commitment to integrity and excellence


• Accelerated growth from entry-level to management while learning all aspects of the business (Sales, Marketing, Recruiting, HR, Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, Administration, Finance and Operations)

• Hands-on training aside the industry's top up and coming executives

• Projects with a few of the world's most successful and admired companies

• A work environment fueled by energetic, motivated individuals committed to success

Wow, management and no experience required! Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? So you submit your resume to them online, then go watch TV for an hour or two.

Then the phone rings. On the other end of the line is a cheerful sounding young woman who only gives you her first name and tells you that you can come in for a preliminary interview the very next day. You think its a little odd you got a response so soon with your limited experience, but at this point you decide to go to the interview just to see what its all about.

The next day, you walk in around 3 pm into an innocuous looking, if weirdly sparse office inside a typical suburban office park. Sitting at a cheap looking desk is the young female receptionist you spoke to on the phone. You say you are there for the interview, and she hands you paper work to fill out. After that's done, you wait about 10 minutes and then are called to a back office to meet with the "Manager".

As soon as you sit down the "manager" tells you how direct face-to-face marketing is the wave of the future for one reason or the other, and then talks incessantly about how fast his "company" is growing. He shows you an impressive looking map with little pins in it representing all their "offices" in the United States and the world. Even though you are barely to get a word in edgewise, he tells you you seem ideal for the job and would like a second interview. A second interview, tomorrow.

You are stunned this is being offered so quickly, after a mere 10 minute interview where you hardly spoke, but not wanting to miss a chance at a career agree against your better instincts to come in the next day.

So you walk out, happy, thinking you must have really impressed the "manager" to get closer to an offer so quickly. You go home and plan to come in the next day.

Of course, that's when your seemingly innocuous job opportunity begins to morph into a living hell. But you don't know that yet, of course...

A Bit About Me, and the Objective of This Blog

Finishing up College in your early 20s and looking for a job should be one of the most exciting points in a young person's life. Finally you will have the chance to get out of the classroom and get a real professional job! That is, if you don't become the victim of a very common fraud that has spread in the manner of a plague all over the country and especially the Internet in recent years. Those unlucky enough to be infected by this plague will have what should have been one of the best times of their life turned upside down into a state of being too bizarre and surreal even to serve as a script for an episode of the Twilight Zone.

I recently became a victim of this plague. The plague I speak of is a so-called multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme, known is less polite terms as a pyramid scam. The shysters who run this "business" go by many different names--DS-Max, Granton Marketing, Smart Circle International. Their local "branches" where unsuspecting job seekers are sucked in bear scores if not hundreds of different names that change quite frequently to avoid prosecution.

Using dishonest techniques and outright lies that would make even the most lowly, thoroughly corrupted politician blush, these companies claim thousands of victims each year, and so far they have avoided any responsibility for their actions.

But this will change. In the next few months these fraudulent businesses will be exposed for what they are, and at least in the Washington Metro Area where I reside, thoroughly exposed and embarrassed if not totally shut down.

But I cannot do this alone. If you or someone you love was a victim of these scams, I need your help. If you are a consumer advocate, I need your help. To the members of the local national media, I need your help as well.

To those of you currently working for these shady, lowly, professional rip off artists, you have two options if you want your life to return to any small semblance of normality. The first option is to get out now and don't look back. The second is to stay within the company, but only to help undermine and destroy it from the inside out. The third option--to stay with the "company", to continue to lie to people, to continue to believe the B.S. they throw at you, is to slowly have your life crumble into nothing. The choice is yours.

As to those low lifes at the top of the pyramid of deceit, your days are numbered. You're no better than common drug dealers, and I'll do my best to make sure you meet the same fate.