Written by SuzyQ
The process of deciding to leave Mary Kay is daunting. There are so many unanswered questions, a lot of fear, guilt, anger and grief. We get into Mary Kay and Mary Kay gets into us.
At one time, the inculcation process seemed healthy and good and God was guiding our journey. For some of us, it was the first time we had ever been told we were doing what God really wanted us to do. It was powerful and so potentially destructive. To question anything in or about Mary Kay was to be avoided at all costs. We were criticized for thinking too much.
The doubts do not fade away. The small voice inside of us gets louder and harder to ignore. After a period of time, a period of reflection, of personal accountability, and ambivalence, we entertain the idea that we may have to leave Mary Kay.
During this period of questioning, nearly everyone attempts to strike a tenuous balance between following the pack and veering off the path. To do what is right as opposed to doing what is taught. Many of us start reading PinkTruth to determine what NOT to do with our units or our businesses. The cognitive dissonance we feel is overwhelming at times. When old “friends” are sought out for support, we are criticized and shamed backed into submission.
When we reach our tipping point, there is no turning back. There appear to be as many tipping points as there were reasons for us to start Mary Kay. The decision is made and the die is cast. Finding the tipping point seems to be more difficult for directors. We were quite simply immersed in the fog. We lost our identities. Our emotional and financial investment was greater. The pain and guilt runs deeper. The sense of betrayal and manipulation is gut wrenching.
It is very much like a little death, complete with the stages of grief. The biggest difference — the most important difference, is that we are finally in control. The pain is a reminder of our growth and our determination to help others behind us and beside us on the path out of the pinkness and into the light. And that, my friends, is pretty wonderful.
Leaving is complicated when you’ve invested time, money and belief. We were supposed to become successful. We were supposed to be with a trustworthy, caring company and women. It wasn’t about selling, facials or products. It was about building something wonderful. Sadly that dream burst when products didn’t sell, facials cancelled, the company constantly changed the product line on a whim, recruits failed and training offered no 21st century strategies that work. We look at the basement full of unsellable products and the sadness of hundreds of No’s. Afterwards the PTSD from the waste of time and money takes years to get over.
Oh yes…we grieved. We grieved the dream that didn’t materialize. We grieved the loss of friendship of women we thought would be our life-long friends. We grieved the loss of positions. We grieved the loss of recognition. We grieved that we were no longer part of something bigger than ourselves. We grieved not making a difference. Who were we if we were not striving for a goal?
Sadly, truth breaks through the fog and the grief is compounded by recognition that it wasn’t real. The dream only works if you manipulate and deceive by omission and commission of false claims. Women are your friends only as long as you benefit them financially. The positions were made up titles built on the financial destruction of other women. Yes, we were part of something bigger, but it wasn’t positive. On top of all of that, we may have put ourselves into a financial hole that cost us our spouse and even our home. The never-ending recruitment and take-over of one’s life cost us family and friend relationships.
But then…hope. Relationships can be mended. Debts can be paid. Skills gained can be used in a real job. Your past in Mary Kay can help someone else escape the pink pyramid. And best of all, you can actually go on vacation or to a holiday party and enjoy it! Let me tell you, I still remember how free I felt when I tossed out my records of client information – burned it – and thought, ” I don’t ever have to call anyone again asking if they had a quick minute.”
First of all, many thanks to SuzyQ for sharing her story.
All I could think while reading this was: “Cult, cult, cult.” And “That poor woman.”
Is Mary Kay a cult? Some would say, “Not a cult; they just do cult-y things,” but to me that’s a distinction without a difference. The parallels are difficult to miss:
1. The group brainwashing sessions, in the form of Mary Kay weekly meetings and large conventions. There’s chanting, there’s singing, there’s applauding till your hands are numb, and is there anything quite as strange as the Cadillac Dance (or whatever they call it) to one outside looking in? Is a car worth making a public spectacle of yourself?
2. Accosting strangers trying to recruit them into the fold. “Have a flower!” says the Moonie; “Let me rub some cream* on your hands!” says the stranger in the women’s bathroom.
3. The distorted worldview. “Fake it till you make it” pretty much says it all, but there is plenty more, like flashing your largest check and pretending it’s typical, pretending the car is really “free,” lying about retail sales, about the company’s industry rank, about how many 6-figure earners there are, etc., etc…
4. Near-total control of the lives of members. Do not let “negative” thoughts intrude upon your consciousness, lest ye fail. Speak not of troubles, but believe in your heart that all is well. Say the wrong thing in a meeting, and you will be publicly shamed.
5. If someone does leave, immediate backlash ensues. She is ostracized and made a pariah for daring to abandon all her pretend friends. She is now one of the untouchables; have no contact, lest her “looser” ways rub off on you.
But SuzyQ said it best when she said, “The process of deciding to leave Mary Kay is daunting.” Any life change can be difficult, but changing jobs (or careers) shouldn’t involve running an emotional gauntlet that takes months or years to recover from. It just…shouldn’t.
* – I really wanted to say “Satan Hands” here, but I didn’t want to plagiarize GMB_SUCCESS.