If It’s To Be, It’s Up To Me

Written by Raisinberry

We’ve heard stories before of Mary Kay sales directors being with the company for 20 or 25 years. They try to build to NSD, but never get there. They are left without any retirement plan, and most likely, no retirement savings of their own. Even the younger superstars who try to get to NSD in 10 years. When they fail, they are left far behind their peers in terms of career development.

These stores hit me hard. Especially the older women. They have given so much time and effort to Mary Kay’s growth but will find themselves out in the cold come retirement age.

Just as important though, is the idea that after 20 or 25 years with Mary Kay, they have built nothing of substance.

The director awakens after all these years to discover there is no foundation to her empire, no security, and no resources. She hadn’t made enough to put a nest egg away. She may have even borrowed from her nest egg to “stretch” for the next goal.

Pink Truth has done commission comparisons for Cadillac and Premier Club Directors. There it is, out there for all to see, the truth that no one wants any consultants to see. After telling your consultants and guests your “highest Mary Kay Check” (to create the illusion that you consistently earned that amount ), how can you go back and reveal the reality? All throughout this business there is the projection of success, while underneath the surface, there is the reality of failure.

As we struggle and work and plan and prepare… follow up and follow through, no matter how great you are at sales, booking, recruiting, there is a variable that you have no control over. Other people.

“If it’s to be it’s up to me” is one of the greatest cons this company presents to us, because without a doubt, from day one to the day of awakening, you are feverishly building something that other people can destroy.

At this stage of the game, nothing you have done for yourself or this company will be foundational. There are no building blocks in place, no security exists. You have to outrun a myriad of destroyers and chase the “dream” tirelessly or you will be swallowed by various types of attrition. That’s why “fast is best”. But even arriving at NSD isn’t the end of the rainbow. You have to hold your area together or watch your average commission retirement dwindle.

Can you even imagine the terror that some NSDs are experiencing right now, as they see their income plummeting?

The push is on to get new “offsprings” to replace those whose resources (mind, spirit, and bank account) have been exhausted. In case you are one of those readers who thinks we all really could have done more, and you believe in “if it is to be it’s up to me”, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it up to you if your class didn’t hold?
  • Is it up to you if your hostess has an allergic reaction?
  • Is it up to you if your guest isn’t home when you go to pick her up?
  • Is it up to you when 5 other MK consultants book the same craft fair?
  • Is it up to you when your recruit turns out to have bad credit?
  • Is it up to you if your team doesn’t order enough to stay on target?
  • Is it up to you if you unit members fail to get guests?
  • Is it up to you if her husband refuses the product delivery?
  • Is it up to you if your warm chatters gave you the wrong phone number?
  • Is it up to you if your unit member returns merchandise for repurchase?
  • Is it up to you when you get bogus entries in your free facial contest?
  • Is it up to you to attend Leadership, Seminar, retreats and “advances” to curtail debt or will you pay a social price for thinking independently?

Sure we all have the scripts and training to attempt to minimize these obstacles, but the facts are there are variables to success because we are always working with other people. The MK line is of course, just do more!

If 30 of us all try to book appointments tonight will all of us get the same results? If we all hold 8 interviews this week, will we all have 2 recruits?

The answer is no. And it wouldn’t really make any difference in the long run, because the reality is that as many as are signed, are as many as leave, and the churning of consultants is an endless stream. You will always find yourself back at an earlier point in your career as the bottom falls out beneath you, once again.

Directors move women up the career path, only to have them resign and return back into the unit, or leave altogether. The unit swells and then recedes. “If it is to be, its up to me” is a hollow chant when your positioning for NSD crumbles away from you in exhausted, broke, and in debt offspring.

This chant is designed to make sure you never consider that maybe Mary Kay Inc. and your upline are the only ones who thrive off this pyramid.

If you think it’s up to you, you will never realize how much of a “no-win” that really is. You are the one who must chase the wind without any security from Mary Kay as to whether your contribution to their growth will be rewarded. Do not underestimate the power of these words. These are the words that kept you in, repeating stupid behavior because you believed that you alone had to “make it happen” when all the while you were at the mercy of a pyramid sales ploy.

It became humiliating to depend on others… begging for guests, sales and interviews and recruits, and we all ended up doing what any self respecting woman would do. If it is to be, it’s up to me… became the rationalization for “buying” whatever goal was critical at the time… with your own resources! Isn’t that the Mary Kay way?! And that decision was always rewarded. You got your applause and no one ever asked for the details. You “found a way.”

Please think about this. Because you have to see how outnumbered you are. You are at the mercy of hostesses, guests, and customers, who will disappoint, while you are at the same time being groomed to believe you are the one who “makes it happen”.

Above you is a woman who has encouraged every manner of activity she needs, from you, to get what she wants. Below you are customers, who being freely able to decline your requests, can leave you squished in the middle between disappointing your upline or disappointing yourself.

Sadly, we have lost much of our “deserve level” simply by associating with Mary Kay. How can we “deserve” success when we doubt our own integrity. And what’s worse, when we see someone in our own unit respond in like manner, we recognize that she is our next “offspring.” She has the “constitution” to buy in to the whole Mary Kay system of manipulation and financial abuse… and like it.

No matter if you have 1 year in or 25, you are in a system that wishes to extract wholesale dollars from any cash on hand availability you have, and convince you that everyone above you is so happy and successful, you would be foolish not to embrace it.

As veteran Executive Senior Directors will attest, the end of the rainbow produces broken dreams and silent knowing that all the “working your business” in the world will not “make it be.” If you are ethical, you will lose. If you are cutthroat, you may win, if you are a good actress and only to find yourself in an endless churning of activity that will never build a thing of substance… because the bottom, like the heart of this company, is rotting away.


  1. Jen

    Yes, exactly!

    Of curse, this also goes for nearly any other job too – not to undermine your point, but to *expand* it.

    Too many people think they should get rewarded for their hard work *alone*, too many people raise other people to think that, all actively shunning people skills in the process. That’s not how things work whenever you are trying to get stuff *from other people* (whether your boss, your customers, or whomever).

  2. Kristen

    “…only to find yourself in an endless churning of activity that will never build a thing of substance…”

    But those sitting comfy at the top of the pyramid are just fine with this. They don’t care who leaves as long as enough are conned into making that initial first inventory order. Oh, and that they don’t send it back.

  3. Cindylu

    It is disgusting that a company has been built on exploiting and abusing women for decades. It seems that everywhere we look many women are being taken advantage of. At least if you work for out of control multi million dollar companies you know indirectly what their end game is. You will work for decades in fast food, retail or as a cleaner etc. Some will offer you a discount on their products, some will have some kind of pension plan and others you at least get a free meal there. Sadly during this pandemic mostly females are being laid off. Also many women are keeping families together. What MK and mlm’s have done for decades now is prey on the desperation of many women. MK does not empower women. MK destroys women in far too many ways to list. If I work for Uber or delivering pizza, I get a regular pay and in some instances a decent tip. With MK I simply get BS fantasy and false promises. I cannot imagine being with MK for decades and waking up knowing that as a Senior I’m at the poverty level. Also with MK you will have used up every single favor and friendship you ever had.

    1. raisinberry

      Yeah…that too. The secret dread knowing that really nobody wants to pick up the phone to talk to you because they expect to be put through the ringer to reorder, book or join.

    2. Char

      “At least if you work for out of control multi million dollar companies you know indirectly what their end game is. You will work for decades in fast food, retail or as a cleaner etc. Some will offer you a discount on their products, some will have some kind of pension plan and others you at least get a free meal there.”—

      You mean like working for Mary Kay vs. being an endless-chain recruiting “direct buyer” of their products? 😉

      I like to occasionally repeat post the advertised benefits when working for Mary Kay. They are a salary, plus:

      Medical/Dental/Vision Coverage
      Short- and Long-Term Disability
      Flexible Spending Accounts (Health Care and Dependent Care)
      Life Insurance/Accidental Death and Dismemberment
      Tuition Assistance
      On-Site Training Opportunities
      Holiday Bonus
      Pink illustration of heart and heart monitor symbol.

      FREE On-Site Fitness Center (Corporate and Manufacturing)
      FREE On-Site Health Clinic (Corporate and Manufacturing)
      On-Site Mammograms, Flu Vaccinations and Health Screenings
      Mother’s Room
      Tobacco-Free Campus
      Pink pie chart broken into three pieces.

      Profit Sharing
      401(k) Plan
      Illustration of pink hourglass with dollar sign.

      Vacation Time
      Floating Holidays
      Parental Leave
      Personal Time

  4. Not a Bot

    This is a no win system. As long as there aren’t enough retail customers to support the consultants, the consultants wind up being the customers. They are buying a dream that has a very small chance of happening..and even if it does, it is a parasitic business where the one who makes money does it off the backs of many others losing it.

    When I’ve read scripts that talk about recruiting people, hosting 3 parties a week, selling $X of product a week, I think there has to be people willing to buy the product, host the parties (and invite guests who show up), and people who want to join (or will be manipulated into joining). There are very few people out there who want to do that (and I can’t say I blame them). Of course some people make a way by lying to recruits about money to be made as a consultant and the need for inventory.
    All businesses need customers and are dependent on other people. Problem is MK business owners have very little control of their ‘business’. They are limited in the ways they can sell and the product and the price at which they can get the product. They also have no control over the number of other consultants in their area pushing the same products (unless they recruited them). The phrase ‘if it’s to be it is up to me’ should end with ‘to put it on my card’.

    I sell pre-owned items online. There are certain things about my business I can’t control, like if people decide to buy my items or the pandemic, but there is a lot I can control. I can look into what an item is worth online and if I think the initial investment will be worth it. People buy my items because they actually want them, not because my friends and family make pity purchases or they buy something in hopes I leave them alone for a few months. Also for most items, my return is well over 50% (often 5 -10 times and sometimes more) what I first paid for it. Most of all I enjoy the challenge, I don’t have to attend costly silly meetings, I make money, and I can run my business honestly.

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