Retiring From Mary Kay

Written by A Former Sales Director

Twenty five years after joining Mary Kay, I chose to retire. And what did I get from the company? What did I get from my upline? Absolutely nothing.

My unit was in good standing but I had long ago burned completely out. I could not bear to make one more phone call—read one more crazy rant from my national, or tolerate the blind idolization Mary Kay people showed when they fawned all over their National Directors. And so I finally decided to retire.

Throughout my career, I had been led to believe that when retirement came, I would have a responsibility to recommend disposition of my unit members. I wrote a letter to everyone in my “area” plus corporate and respectfully asked that my unit be placed with my offspring. We’ve been told that we ARE in business for ourselves—right??? Wrong! That may be true in some areas but I for one, had very little input as to where my consultants would be placed.

No matter how insincere, to this day, my national has not had the common decency to send me a letter—including my senior national. These two NSD’s had confided in me many times over the years on how to conduct Mary Kay business—good, bad, or indifferent—whatever it took. Now that I was leaving, they didn’t have the time of day for me. So much for caring about people.

I had become an embarrassment to them—after all, nobody is ever expected to amass a retirement fund at the director level. Also, how dare I leave the cult? Especially on MY terms—not theirs! The nerve of me. I was supposed to be a “lifer.”

My national director, at many guest events would criticize companies who gave their 25 year employees a watch. I didn’t even come close to getting a watch!

Unbeknownst to me, the national director sent letters to my unit members giving them 3 choices. They would either be placed in the National Sales Director’s unit; the National’s DAUGHTERS unit; or my offspring’s unit. The letters instructed the consultants that if they didn’t mail the card back, they would be placed, by default, into the daughter’s unit! Many of them called me asking what to do. I suggested they send the card back and specify their choice of units. I never even got a COPY of the letter she sent out—well except for the one my unit member forwarded to me.

This woman was my personal recruiter, my director, my senior director and finally, my National! Based on my unit’s production, she was paid by the company thousands of dollars over the 25 years, and yet did not respond to my letter announcing my retirement. Instead, by trying to take my consultants for herself or her daughter, she did everything in her power to make my exit just another aggravation. This is the same woman who continuously spews bible verses and proclaims herself to be a “Christian.”

When I was in the clique, I soon learned that the measure of love toward me was based on ever tightening concentric circles—directly related to the amount of money that was spent on orders. My sister directors loved to hear me teach—they admired the many trinkets I had been awarded. They wanted to know my “secret”. My work put money in many pockets. And after honorably retiring, these people didn’t even bother to send even the smallest note of recognition and appreciation.


  1. Ruby Slippers

    Sorry to hear about that. Seems typical though. When I left Directorship, only a few called or texted. I suppose they didn’t want negative influence. Or they were too busy churning the milk to let the “cream rise to the top’ .
    You are better off anyways. I have about 2-3 friends left from a 20+ year MK career. It’s all Fake it till you Make it … including friends.
    Cheers to a MK free 2021!

  2. NayMKWay

    “Also, how dare I leave the cult? Especially on MY terms—not theirs!”

    You hit the nail on the head, right there. Everyone dislikes you now for leaving the cult. Your upline has lost your contribution to their income, and no doubt worries some of your recruits will follow your lead. Those who were under you probably feel deserted. But mostly, you showed them up, because they feel trapped and you got out. Not fair, in their minds.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that almost no one really likes working Mary Kay. Oh, there may be a few here and there, but most are slogging through, chasing the dream, shunting those nagging doubts to one side because the cult says negativity will ruin everything. They can’t even acknowledge to themselves that your life now is likely better than theirs, so they ignore you. Your life is a reminder that their life sucks, and that makes you a negative influence. Cancel, cancel, cancel!

    So try not to take it personally, and remember: it’s a cult. Watch Leah Remini’s series on Scientology and see how Scientologists treat former Scientologists; that’ll give you some insight.

    As to Corporate, they’re just plain evil. That’s why we’re here, warning others against believing their lies.

  3. Cindylu

    Twenty five years and so unappreciated. Most other regular jobs give gifts, a plaque, a lunch with co workers etc. This is too sad and mean spirited. Hopefully you can truly retire and relax. No more constant selling and recruiting, no more expensive conferences and seminar. You can now reach out and make real friends, go on a real vacation and enjoy all family or holiday events. I always found the elevation of NSD’s to be creepy. They are not movie stars or world leaders. All the best in 2021 and beyond. =(

    1. Mountaineer95

      “ I always found the elevation of NSD’s to be creepy. They are not movie stars or world leaders.”

      —this especially irritates me about MK. I’d LOVE to come across one “in the wild”…say, double-parking, or cutting line at the Dollar General (because you know they would).. I would absolutely and publicly call her out, and it would be especially fun if she answers with a “don’t you know who I am” or similar sentiment. I would enjoy responding to that.

      Is it obvious that I’ve daydreamed about this? Lol.

  4. Char

    (Remember when the old lady driving home DRUNK after her Bridge Club would get a slap on the wrist by police? She was such a nice old lady that they probably escorted her home. Now, she would be breathalyzed and arrested. And we all agree that she should be. This reflects the attitude of my post below. The author is in two minds. She rightly calls out the cult, but then refers to her participation as a legitimate career. I am purposely playing the bad guy because the reality needs to be communicated.)

    25 years a scammer! You play with fire, and you will get burned. This lady feels slighted by her fellow scammers, but there is no honor among thieves!

    Funny how she uses words like “retire” and “career”, as though she wants to attach legitimacy to her pyramid scheming. This is the problem! I believe she herself has not a clue – just like the old lady bridge player. “But Officer, it was just Sherry in the early afternoon.”

    We must change the way we view MLM scammers, or people will do it and think they have a legitimate “career” like the author and expect to be treated as such. It only proves my point further – because she wasn’t treated as having a legit career. And, she agrees.

    This lady is a little delusional about her “career and retirement” in the context she uses them. But, it’s so nice to see her “rat out” her fellow scammers.

    I mention context, because technically it’s possible to be a retired career drug dealer, for example. I’ve actually seen movies about retired hit men – “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”. I use this extreme analogy to merely get the point across.

    I am certain she was not thinking of it that way, but this is where we need to be. MLMers with downline are scammers, and hence my comment.

    I’m grateful the author wrote in. My apology for using her story with such a harsh tone as an example. But, I have to point out that she herself did not once apologize for all the scamming and lying she did to others. In fact, she closed with this and I take issue with it:

    “My work put money in many pockets. And after honorably retiring, these people didn’t even bother to send even the smallest note of recognition and appreciation.”

    Sorry, but that’s a load of crap , extremely delusional, or both! You cannot honorably retire from being an endless-chain recruiter in a product-based pyramid scam like Mary Kay.

    1. coralrose

      I read the “my work put money into many pockets” as the pockets of her uplines, possibly corporate staff as well. It makes sense to me that she’d be bitter she got zero recognition (not even a card) after years of her uplines making commissions off of her orders & her putting in a ton of hours when she was TOLD part- time hours for full- time pay.

      I don’t know… I might have an unpopular opinion here, I don’t think most run-of-the-mill sales directors are scammers. I see most of them as victims. Many (All?) of them didn’t know how awful directorship was & what it took to make money until they achieved the position.

      I think many are trying to do business in an ethical way, not realizing the deck is stacked against them. The NSD directors, TOP directors, & MK Corp, it seems fair to call them scammers. I think there’s still a lot hidden from regular run-of-the-mill directors. I don’t think they intend to scam or financially harm people. They’re taught MK is the greatest business ever. They’re taught recruiting is good for the recruit/ they’re helping her. I don’t think analogies to drug dealers, or hitmen is fair.

      1. Char

        I don’t entirely disagree with you, but let me ask you using the analogy:

        What should we call the nice, old lady who drank sherry all afternoon playing cards with girlfriends, then drives home drunk, and plows over moms and kids standing in line at the food bank? — She would be flat out labelled a drunk driver – especially in these times!

        I do agree that the MLM con is intended to fool and manipulate. But that is precisely why I call MLMers, scammers. We have to change their image from the “nice old lady that had too much sherry” to drunk driver! This, to dissuade people in the future from doing it. Coddling the MLMer’s image won’t be as effective to protect future “willing-victims”.

        I am not literally comparing MLMers’ acts to hit men. I am saying hitmen can “retire” too. They can have a “career” as hit men. These two words typically connote something ethical and sounds impressive. That’s where our brains go first. I’m pointing out that that isn’t necessarily the case. The author, in fact, had a career and retired as an MLM scammer! That sounds far different than, “I had a career as a MK consultant and recently retired.” I’m sure the hit man says, “I’m retired from a career doing freelance work.” Lol.

  5. BestDecision

    I left after a decade of Directorship and have been ignored, but resigning kept me from becoming like them. And the attention-seeking Dacia, Pam, and Gloria. My skin has never been in better condition, and I no longer stick out for having more makeup on than any woman in the room. The black and charcoal eye shadows with way too much sparkle compared to the market, the overuse of “awesome”, the obsessive need to check production multiple times a day, the worry at month-end and quarter-end over what my paycheck will eventually look like, working New Year’s Eve, constantly creating clever promos and contests to awaken the dead, “dead Red”, coercing my unit to spend money on Career Conference, babysitting my unit at CC and Seminar, overcoming the objections my intuitive and intelligent unit members gave when you could see they’ve figured things out…

    Their true colors have shown through, and I’d rather be out than fully believe they were in my corner. Haven’t missed a day of it yet!

    1. Mountaineer95

      BD, I really value the experiences you share here. I’ve never been in MK, and from you I’ve learned a lot about the ugly aspects of MK that anyone under Cadillac level ever sees. But more important, the MK IBCs and Directors who “stumble upon” this horrid website can learn from you, and we only hope that they do. Thank you for your posts!

      Also, have there been any new embarrassing posts on Dacia’s Instagram? I feel like there should be a thread dedicated solely to Dacia on the boards. Maybe titled “Deceitful Dacia” or similar. I can’t wait to see what feminine product she’s now trying to sell.

  6. Juliet

    I am honestly curious how many people the writer shunned in her years in MK.
    Surely she could not have ridden above the crowd, for 25 years, hobnobbing with the outcasts, those excommunicated by the mk royalty.
    Surely she must not have EVER frontloaded an unsuspecting victim – excuse me – “recruit”.
    No, she should not have any shame, she should be honored for a quarter of a century of scamming women to scam other women to scam other women to scam other women….
    Here’s your golden parachute! Whoooooppppsssss it was packed by Mary Kay……

    1. Mountaineer95

      “I am honestly curious how many people the writer shunned in her years in MK.”

      —that’s a really, really good point. I wonder if she weighs her shunning against how any of her previous underlings felt when she shunned them, and believes that their experience of being shunned is not as important as hers because they hadn’t been in for 25 years, or reached director level, or whatever reason she might use to suggest that what was done to her is much worse than what was done by her to anyone under her.

      To be misled and then dropped by anyone can leave lasting scars, and directors with 25 years in the churn aren’t some “protected class” when it comes to feeling misled and abandoned.

  7. Heather

    When I read between the lines of your story, I see a woman who is bitter. You *knew* as a plain SD that there was no “retirement” plan for you. You *knew* that you weren’t in the “Big Girls Club,” so you decided to graciously bow out. Were you expecting seminar-level applause and adoration? Because I hate to tell you, only those NSDs are getting that. It doesn’t matter how long you were with MK and what role you had. You were just a money-making number.

    When I left directorship over 10 years ago (I was a director for 7 years), it was the best thing ever. I was shunned and cast aside because I wasn’t one of them anymore. Heck, just 18 months after leaving, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Did I hear from any of those supposed friends? Nope. Not a word. (Although my adopted NSD and many friends – most of whom are ex-MK – did reach out to me. I’m still friends with many of these women today, and only 1 or 2 is still with MK. The rest have all left within the last 15 years.) Was I angry? Yes, for a short while. During and after cancer stuff is when I truly realized that I didn’t need them. To quote Joe Pesci, “I got no more use for dis guy.”

    Fall on hard times in MK, and you will REALLY see who your friends really are.

  8. Coffee Canuck

    The shunning is what hurts the most and me, being 3 years out of MK, it still hurts. I thought that those people who, I spent every week with and chatted on the phone about our lives (not just MK), were truly my friends. And it hurts that when I quit, I lost that perceived friendship. I had one reach out to me and say “I am not supposed to talk to you but, you are my friend and we will continue to be friends.” Just 1 out of the group that I thought were my friends. That still stings. And it took a while for me to realize that they were not truly my friends.

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