It Is Painful to Leave Mary Kay

Written by SuzyQ

You didn’t think it would ever happen, but as soon as you left Mary Kay, you were shunned… ignored… negative… didn’t work your business… didn’t do it the Mary Kay way….

It doesn’t take as long to get out of the pink bubble as it takes to get fully immersed. It starts with reading a “negative” website and asking a question or discussing one of the daily topics with another director.

I remember calling one of my sister directors to tell her about Pink Truth (then it was Mary Kay Sucks) to talk about what I was reading. She was horrified. I understood, I was horrified initially too. I kept reading though, and learning.

She was indignant. I was scared.

I mentioned “frontloading,” my sister director informed me that we had never frontloaded and furthermore, she had never heard of that term. Of course we frontloaded. Every time we brought in a “hobby” type consultant with a star, we frontloaded. Every time we brought in a $225 order, we used money we were supposed to be using to pay a bill.

I talked to my sister director about the numbers required to actually make it to NSD. She told me I was limiting my thinking and didn’t believe in the opportunity… that I needed to fall in love with Mary Kay again. I mentioned that we charged a room fee for meetings, and the training was supposed to be free. Isn’t that what we said? She reminded me that the room fee was a drop in the bucket in terms of how much our lease payments were, and $3/week wasn’t going to make or break anybody. We furnished all of the supplies, remember?

She finally went to read Pink Truth for herself and called me back. “It’s SO negative!!!! No wonder you are depressed! You must promise me that you will never read that site again!!! It is poison for your soul. It is the enemy, and he’s trying to rob you of your dream. Promise me!”

So my journey to the dark side continued, I just didn’t talk about it much. (Okay, I didn’t talk about it at all to any of my sister directors.)

I changed the way I ran my business and my unit, based on what I was reading on PT. I became the “negative one.” I started asking questions at director meetings. I made observations. I was summoned to a “chat” with my senior director.

Everybody was worried sick about me. I was told that if I spent as much time working my business as I did on a job search or my volunteer work, we wouldn’t be having this chat. I was letting my unit down. I was letting my sister directors down. I was letting Mary Kay down. What was I thinking? What had gotten into me? I remember sitting there with tears streaming down my face, unable to talk.

Gradually, slowly, painfully, I left Mary Kay.

When I didn’t get a job I had applied for, I was told that it was God letting me know I was not honoring His plan for me. When I decided to “step down” I was told that was honorable. When the stepping down changed to letting the whole thing die a natural death, well, it was not so honorable anymore. The decision to send my product back was plain stupid. I had a personal team that was ordering and I would lose those commissions, but more than that, I would lose the opportunity TO EVER BE A MARY KAY CONSULTANT AGAIN! (When I said, “Oh, really? All it would take is a heart-wrenching letter and an $1800 order,” my comment was met with silence and averted eyes.)

And that was that. No phone calls. No emails. No chats. Nothing. From anyone. Going from many phone calls and lots and lots of email to zip.

I understand, I really do. When someone leaves Mary Kay, especially a director, there is a huge reaction from those who are left. I know this because people left before I did. Many phone calls (email is not used for this because it can be saved or passed on accidentally or not-so accidentally).

The call starts with “OMG, did you hear? Jean stepped down! Can you believe it? I knew something was up, but I didn’t know it was that bad. She’s been so negative lately. It was hard for me to talk to her, she brought me down. If she had just worked her business! I can’t imagine not being a director, can you? What can she possibly do now? I used to really like her, but I don’t know anymore. She had so much potential. Oh well, listen, I have to let Sarah know, she will really be upset. I’ll call you back later.”

And life goes on. Except. But. These were women who had spent considerable amounts of time together, sometimes for years. Boundaries were for other people, sister directors shared way too much personal information. We knew more about each other than most people ever would.

We were together through births and deaths and divorces. We loaned each other money. We covered for each other, got each other’s backs. We stuck together. We partied together, did lunch together, spent time at each other’s houses, were Godmothers to our children. We talked on the phone endlessly. Sent notes to each other. Celebrated birthdays, arranged blind dates, bitched about consultants and other directors, had whispered “negative” secret conversations after too much wine in too many hotels in too many cities after events.

They stopped calling me. And I didn’t call them either. I knew that the phone wire went both ways. But what would we talk about? I could ask them how thing are and they would say “great!” They would ask me the same and I would say the same. We would not have talked about Mary Kay, so what was there to say?

If we were to talk like we used to, I would be raining on their parade. I know the drill, the avoidance of negativity (although it still baffles me that the truth is negative. I always believed that truth is neither negative nor positive, it just is) the hope of a new month, a new hot shot recruit, the rejuvenation of spirit after a company event. There will be no honesty, just the preservation of the same.

Perhaps the real shunning in Mary Kay is the avoidance of the truth.

People come and go, but the pursuit of the dream requires rigid adherence to the party line. No negativity, work hard, book another class, gold medal, get the suit, get the car, ask everybody, let the dead reds be, “It’s easier to give birth than to raise the dead,” never give up, “You can’t follow a parked car,” if you can’t afford to go- it means you really need to go, don’t watch TV, don’t read the paper, be dressed to impress and at your desk by 9AM, “no” means “next,” if you think you can’t, you’re right, Mary Kay is NOT an MLM, and “We’re Number 1.”

Call me when it’s over.


  1. Leaving the pink bubble was a major reality check for me. I gave back my directorship and felt a weight being lifted. When I stepped away entirely, I felt as if I could breathe again. (Stupidly, I didn’t send product back, although I should have.)

    Like you, I found this site as I was contemplating leaving directorship. I had tried to change how I did things… make them better for my unit and those around me. But I couldn’t. The changes didn’t work. My senior claimed that I had integrity issues (go look in the mirror, my dear), and we had a massive blow up. I told her never to contact me again because I had had enough of her toxicity. She claimed that *I* was the toxic one, and when I pointed out the things she had said and done that were incredibly toxic, she shut up. It was at that point I walked away entirely. I serviced the customers I had for a few more months with the inventory I had, and I told them to go buy products off eBay.

    When I was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few months later at the age of 35, not a single person from my supposed MK family contacted me. Not. One. The ones who did reach out were the ones in my adopted family. I had spent over six years with them, and we had been through thick and thin. THEY cared. My adopted NSD cared. But my former senior, NSD, and others? Nope… nothing. Only later did I realize how that was a benefit.

    • You’re story sounds identical to mine! I was labeled a “quitter” and “toxic”, too. My Sr told people I didn’t have “the heart of MK” and lied about all the reasons I told her I was leaving. She made fun of my former career that I was returning to and said I’d not be making more than she did. When asked how much her expenses were and her net income on taxes, she said she never tracks that information.

      To this day, she has brainwashed or maybe even put the fear of disloyalty into my offspring and unit members that still exist. I’m happy to report she is in the exact same place she was in over 20 years ago—no promotion, no Cadillac, and a bad reputation locally.

      I resigned from Directorship but didn’t send my inventory back initially, but I remember the first weekend and full week without a single appointment, meeting, or guest event was exhilarating. Completely free of the burning business cards in my purse, I was able to shop without stalking. BestDecision ever!

      Pretty sure Karma arrived on a chariot.

        • We’ll, OK, well let you get away with it just this ounce!

          (I hope the only typos are my three deliberate ones, ’cause I’m pretty tired. And yes, BD, I’ve definitely been there! Once I crossed “affect” with “effect” in a company newsletter and it’s bugged me ever since. It was 30 years ago!)

  2. Thinking back and reading this great post today, part of the low point experience is that the product romance to the MK sales rep is part of the con handed by corporate during the experience.

    Now soap is soap, cleanser is a cleanser meaning part of the leaving MK is again being objective about ALL the available products.

    Part of the loss if you do not send product; back IS chucking it. Domestic abuse centers are rife with RED MK lipstick in CO. Forgetaboutit!

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