Don’t “Burn Your Bridges” for Mary Kay

Written by SuzyQ

Tracy’s Note: This is one of my favorite topics in Mary Kay. Your upline is notorious for telling you to “burn your bridges” so you can be fully committed to Mary Kay. Nowhere in the real professional world would anyone else tell you that. Got a CPA license? No one in their right mind will tell you to let it lapse because of a new career “opportunity.” They’ll tell you to keep it current because you never know when you might need it in the future. But not in May Kay. Common sense and business acumen are thrown out the window in an attempt to make sure you never leave the big pink cult!

As some of you know, I was a non-top director and was in MK for 10 years… had a wildly successful quarter and the rest of my career sort of sucked. I moved up fast because I loved the attention and the trinkets (and my credit score was perfect)… Ended up with 4 MK cars (the last one was towed away in a mildly dramatic manner), 35 some stars (mostly emeralds), and queen’s court of sales (got the ring that a jeweler bought for $50 for the gold, the stones weren’t worth anything.) I used Pink Truth’s form to return my huge inventory so my senior director would not find out (apparently she was hit with a huge chargeback in June of that year, oops, soooooorrrrryyyyy).

Anyway, I was the one who was told to “burn my(professional) bridges” so that I would be successful in MK, and in English that meant nursing and therapist credentials had to go– I had a bunch of initials after my name… I hadn’t kept up with CEU’s for 2 reasons; 1) No access to professional trainings/work and 2) No money for internet courses/conference attendance/time for clinical practice… so my new mantra at my meetings became “I lost 12 initials after my name and gained freedom because of my Mary Kay career” and I actually said that with a convincing smile.

Fast forward a few humbling years… I found Pink Truth (it was called MK Sucks at the time) got out of MK as a result of what I learned, and then found it hard to get a job without my professional credentials,so I was working alongside young college students (I am old) who were thrilled to be making $9.35/hr. I was not thrilled, but I WAS lucky to have a job.

I can’t begin to tell you how many applications I submitted for any job that might pay my bills. I can’t tell you how many times I cried on the phone talking to Raisinberry and Tracy…how did this happen? I thought I was smart? What am I supposed to do? I didn’t get hired because I had too much experience, there was the age thing, people assumed I would move up too quickly, one organization told me I was too smart. It was devastating and frightening. Fast forward again.

Happy ending… I landed the job of my dreams and Tracy sent me a gift card to get some new clothes for the new job, when does that ever happen in real life??? Sigh, what a blessing she has been for me! Anyway,the job is perfect for me… AND through the grace of God and some state legislative changes, hard work, refresher courses, doctoral level classes,and some money (which I have now, who knew???) I will have all of my licenses, registrations and certifications back within 3 months. And truth be told, I will have even more initials after September because job is paying for another level of credentialing.

That is all wonderful and all, happy ending to a typical horrible MK story BUT… I want you all to learn from my experience. The MK career myth is a LIE. That’s all there is to it. There is no good reason to “burn your bridges.” I was lucky, many aren’t. I had support and resources to get through this maze, many don’t. For those of you with professional credentials/licenses/registrations– do whatever it takes to keep them… you know how hard they were to get in the first place.

For those who have decent day jobs, keep them… there is no reason to stop working in the “corporate” world– remember you were told how you could replace your income with MK? It’s not true, because it is not going to be consistent. Trust me on this one. If Mary Kay was capable of producing a consistent executive level income, why would there be a need for quarterly infusions of pink foggery? Why wouldn’t you actually own your business? If having a JOB was so bad, why would people on PT continually write about all expense paid training opportunities that their JOB provides for them? Remember the myth of free training? Just sayin’.

I was paying over $600/month for health insurance when I was in MK. I have a pre-exisitng condition. The $600/month included a $10K deductible. (Ten thousand dollars, OMG.) I am paying $53/month now, with $750.00 deductible, I have a stable income, I get raises, I work with positive people, and I buy my Olay age-defying make-up at WalMart, based on Raisinberry’s expert advice

I want you all to pay attention because I am old and wise… For those of you getting out of MK, please know that it will be OK. There is a grief process as you say goodbye to that dream. Your success is not related to your activity level. MK is MLM and MLM’s exist to prosper those in first. You were not first, you will not prosper.

For those of you thinking about MK. Bad idea. Really. There is no way that the baloney they sell you isn’t past it’s expire date. Read on. Check out the archives on this site. Good stuff there, and remember, those of us who write on this site have nothing to gain. You are able to benefit from our experiences… pass it on.


  1. BestDecision

    I lost a lot of upward growth and income over my time as a Director. When I finally did resign, I had to paddle very hard to catch up to what I would’ve been making had I not left my original, college-educated career.

    Now, MK is an embarrassing spot on my resume. I hope an employer doesn’t ask about that time, and I cringe and swerve when they do. It’s so embarrassing that I did what I did! People don’t take MK seriously, and they think it’s just about peddling lipsticks.

    I was asked not long after I resigned if I regret doing so. NOT FOR A SECOND! I couldn’t wait to have my weekends and nights free again. I was so excited to finally be working with emotionally mature and educated people. I was using my brain again, and I didn’t have to keep up appearances.

    And I had a blast going shopping at Sephora for the first time!

  2. Jan RD

    This could easily have been my experience. In the past, I have been a customer and on more than one occasion a consultant persuaded me to watch a video or listen to the “Choices” tape. The business model always bothered me and the idea of sizing up every woman I meet as a potential customer didn’t appeal to me either. At this point I have found better and less expensive products and my motto is “If it’s not at Walmart, I probably don’t need it.” BTW, thanks for the tip on Olay.

    Though I am now semi-retired, this article reinforces the importance of keeping up with continuing education and maintaining my registration. I hope others reading this will come to appreciate how hard they worked for their credentials, as one never knows when an opportunity may come along. Thanks SuzyQ, for a well written and thought providing article, and Tracy, for this excellent website.

  3. Lazy Gardens

    ^^^^^ The bridge in question is the bridge back into Mary Kay.

    Because the same director who tells you that it’s OK to let your professional certifications lapse will plead with you to not return inventory and “burn your bridge” to Mary Kay.

  4. pinkpeace

    For years I believed the MK lie that if only I worked a little smarter and enhanced my “charisma factor,” I could make it big in the company – without cheating. Through exhaustive reading on PinkTruth, I came to realize exactly what Suzy Q says:

    “Your success is not related to your activity level. MK is MLM and MLM’s exist to prosper those in first. You were not first, you will not prosper.”

    The longer MK can keep a director believing the lie and scraping up production, the better for her NSD. And when that NSD encourages that director to burn her bridges, she’ll get years’ more production out of her, because the sales director is convinced she has no other choice.

    I have yet to encounter any sales director who has left MK who doesn’t say that her life is better post-MLM.

  5. enorth

    Notice how NSDs get to that level and then sell books? CDs? DVDs? Calendars? They’ve suddenly become business coaches and motivational $peakers, etc.?

    I’ve come across lower levels who are jumping into the “life coach” and “motivational speaker” gigs. Getting “certified.” There’s one who lost her directorship, is still in MK, and is now presenting herself as a motivational speaker. Looking at their websites, the focus appears to be speaking or coaching, but off in the corner of the website is a link to the Mary Kay opportunity.

    1. Beth

      This sort of reminds me of all the Beachbody people I’m familiar with – just because they can drink and sell shakes, all of a sudden they are “coaches” and “personal trainers”, and they want to help you get fit. But none of them have any education, training, or experience in anything except maybe they joined a gym once and maybe had a trainer. They aren’t dieticians or even nutritionists. So why again would I give any of them money and expect success?

    2. KayNotMary

      Those books, DVDs, CDs, and motivational speaking gigs – that’s how they actually make money for themselves because MK isn’t paying them squat.

  6. pinkvictim

    “If having a JOB was so bad, why would people on PT continually write about all expense paid training opportunities that their JOB provides for them?”

    If having a JOB is so bad, why do 5000 people each have a JOB at MKorpse? If the opportunity is “limitless”, why does David Holl have a JOB as CEO?

    Isn’t it hypocritical for MKorpse to even offer JOBs? Getting a JOB is for suckers (like the 5000 suckers who work at MKorpse), so why does MKorpse even offer JOBs? Shouldn’t MKorpse be trying to recruit all their employees if the opportunity is so much better than a JOB?

    The circular logic makes me dizzy…

    1. TRACY

      So very true. The NSDs continually harp on how being a MK sales director is the best opportunity in the land. If that was so, then none of the corporate employees would ever be corporate employees, particularly the executives. They would have the moxy to go all the way as NSDs!!!!

  7. Formykids

    Has anyone seen the most recent issue of Applause……there are under 100 NSD’s with commissions of $10,000 or more. I have never seen it below 135 since I have been following it. Is that the lowest it has been?

    1. BestDecision

      I think so. I’ve noticed the numbers dwindling. Notice, too, that the units/Directors that made the top 100 haven’t all done $32,000, which would be the bare minimum for Cadillac production. It used to be that all of those units were doing well over $32k.

    2. BestDecision

      From the May Applause – Only 10 NSDs are on target for Inner Circle. Only 10 units nationwide added 20 or more new Consultants. Only 96 NSDs are listed for grossing over $10,000 for the month. There’s more than one Trip Director not even doing Cadillac production for January. People I personally know and that have bragged for years about making an “executive income” only grossed $5,000.

      It’s a simple math lesson. To all of you customers that are thinking of being a Consultant and to those of you already in, $5,000 gross income x 12 months = $60,000. Subtract taxes, and it’s $45,000. Then, subtract expenses. This example is of a current Cadillac Director whose unit did NOT do enough production to maintain that Cadillac level. There are HUNDREDS of others. If you’ll just open your eyes, do the math, and realize you’re being lied to, you’ll see it’s a farce.

      1. Lazy Gardens

        And also … about the 100 top paid directors you see listed: Don’t look at the TOP and moon over it. Look at the BOTTOM commission check and think about the several thousand directors who are making less than that.

    1. BestDecision

      If you even remotely talk to your Director about that position, be ready for her to tell you it’s expected of you to leave your career. We were taught at New Director Education that MK Ash scolded people for doing both. So many of us felt the pressure because it “didn’t sell the image and wealth of Directorship” too still work another job.

      Why didn’t I jump then?! It was all about keeping up appearances. Can’t believe I fell for it and for so long.

  8. formykids

    Gwen-I think you just admitted that you do not own your own business but are beholden to MK, without any of the benefits of a real Job…..would love to see your schedule C’s from over the years…..

  9. MSgtK

    Never regretted dumping MK and getting 100% benifits and education in the US Air Force and traveling full time in my RV around the country after 20 years of service. No, never had to work again:) Thank God it took me two whole seconds to figure out the gig and didnt loose but 4 or 5 hundred bucks. Back in the 80s training, ethics, etc. were a lot better than now and I did learn a lot of good things to make me a great, honest Air Force recruiter. No, I didnt have a choice about being a recruiter for 4 years but MK made tge difference between failure and success.

  10. I have so enjoyed reading Pink’s articles on MK and LLR. A well composed writer that kept me reading beyond the first LLR. My daughter and son both left LLR just under one year before the deadline to return on new policy… enough said on LLR. I wanted to ask a few questions on MK. Since my memory is getting tired of me, let me ask quickly. Between the years 2001 and 2005, during my daughter’s university time, I purchased the complete new MK rep kit, and asked her to sell to those around her and put an ad in paper that she is selling MK…. then states, MOM, they will not let us sell to people on BYU campus. Crap>>>I thought, step in without consulting her first…My error…so my longtime Director friend who got me hooked up with the Kit, said, so why don’t you sell it. I said no, I manage a jewelry store on the Mall for past 16 years and I am not giving that up. So, basically, I bought from her and she would (she said could) not take or buy back, even for a new upcoming rep to buy from me. So I shoved the damn huge kit under the bed and there it stays…………With your expertise, do I have any recourse with the corporate MK? Any ideas, please.

  11. Bunny

    When I saw your headline, “Don’t “Burn Your Bridges” for Mary Kay”, I was sure I was about to read an article about losing friendships and relationships.

    I’m handicapped due to a chronic disease. I’ve lost three friendships with long-term friends because I got tired of being told that I needed to buy Plexus, or doTERRA/Young Living oils to “cure” what can’t yet be cured.

    I’ve been told that my doctors (I have about a half-dozen specialists) are liars hiding the “cures”, that chemo will kill me, and that only pink drinks and oils can fix me.

    I’m better off without those friends. I simply couldn’t take it any more.

    They’d have been much better off without MLMs. Theyre throwing their human decency out with their cash trying to “build their business”.

    Thank you for your site.

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