Written by SuzyQ
More than a decade after leaving Mary Kay, I think about the emotions I had when I left the big pink cult. It was big!
The first thing I felt was relief. It was really, really over, and I didn’t have to worry about Mary Kay any more. To this day, I still reflect sometimes on all the reasons I am happy that I quit Mary Kay. I thought I’d start with the top 50 reasons:
- Not having to worry about production. I know exactly what I will make each check, when it will be deposited, and I have all the usual “corporate” benefits from a J.O.B.
- I don’t have to go to events anymore. Events include the usual official ones like Leadership, Career Conference and Seminar, and all the others like weekly meetings, director’s meetings, area events, NSD events, retreats, power up days and on and on.
- My employer pays for all of my training. Everything. Really. No out of pocket expenses.
- I don’t get thousands of email rah rahs to pass on to my unit members, same song different day stuff.
- I don’t have to pretend that the 57 step MK skin care program really really works! I mean, I used it all, and none of it worked, but I convinced myself it did.
- I can tell people that Mary Kay cleanser really doesn’t cleanse.
- A little birdie keeps me up to date on my former “area wannabe” and it’s pretty grim, although just like lots of things—every now and then, they have a good month, so here comes that intermittent reinforcement thing that keeps the hamster wheel going… very much like gambling.
- I don’t feel embarrassed about telling people what I do for a living.
- I don’t have to update my unit website. Now, I guess it’s all the social media stuff that I would feel pressured to participate in.
- I don’t have to have a home office anymore and actually end my day at a reasonable time.
- I don’t have a co-pay on the car I own, and nobody can take it away. If I want a new car, I don’t have to re-qualify for it, and my insurance is cheaper.
- My credit cards are not maxed out to make production.
- I don’t have an inventory. And I learned again how much fun it is to cruise the aisles and the counters to see what’s new.
- The guilt is gone. No waking up in the middle of the night wondering how I am going to make all of this work.
- No more newsletters and the same old queens of everything, trying to get people to order more by comparing them to others, contests, scoreboards, uggh….
- No more “Fake it ‘til you make it.”
- Hanging out with the people I love without guilt, or without asking them to wait until after “prime people” time- 9 AM to 9PM.
- Not having to worry about how to spin the most recent corporate snafu to my consultants.
- Realizing on a deep level that truth is not negative.
- Not having to do the same thing over and over every month, every quarter, every year.
- Understanding that the MK cult is alive and well, but escape and recovery are possible.
- Knowing that the women who “keep the dream alive” are trying to rationalize their emotional and financial investment. I was in for 10 years, and I can’t imagine how painful it would be to have invested even more time, only to learn that this whole scheme will not work unless there is a gradual moral erosion as a director. There seems to be a sale of a soul to the devil under the mantle of “God” and “goodness.” How else can people be referred to as numbers—“It’s a numbers game. You have to work the numbers?” Ladies, please remember that those numbers are actual women with real lives and you are messing with them. (Unless you are being honest.)
- The cachet of being a director is comprised of sequins, smoke and mirrors.
- No more bees and stars everywhere.
- No more really ugly over-priced director suits.
- No more skirts, skirts, skirts. (And back in the day, closed toe shoes and pantyhose.)
- I can talk to women without an agenda.
- Learning that being in MK causes cognitive dissonance. We are told that if we can’t afford to go to an event, that is why we need to go to that event. Other examples:
- It takes money to make money
- You can earn executive income with a part time business
- You own your own business
- You can set your own hours
- This is a numbers game
- Mary Kay is not for everyone, but how will you know unless you try?
- We don’t want sales people
- You don’t need to know a lot of people
- You can stay shy the rest of your life, or you can take the MK life improvement course
- It only costs $100
- You are not required to carry an inventory
- You can’t sell from an empty wagon
- I will match my time with your effort
- There is no competition
- There is room at the top
- Never recruit anyone you wouldn’t want to share a room with at seminar (unless, except)
You all have your own examples…
You really didn’t think I would do 50 did you? There are so many tangible and intangible benefits of being out of Mary Kay. It took a while for Mary Kay to get into me, and took another while to get me out of Mary Kay. It was incredibly painful at times. I burned my bridges to my former profession (as advised by my senior director—that would insure my success and motivation for Mary Kay) and I had pretty much lost my ability to speak or think of things not related to Mary Kay.
I learned that if I lost faith in Mary Kay, it meant I had also lost faith in God. My senior was fond of saying that when she died, she would have to face God and Mary Kay, and the two became somewhat interchangeable. I learned at a Bible study conducted by a NSD that it was perfectly fine to pray for production. I learned, too, that God wanted me to have a pink Cadillac because it would help bring other women to Mary Kay and God.
Other NSDs told me that God had a plan for me and the plan was Mary Kay. If I abandoned my “dream,” I was letting God down. I was taught that Mary Kay was my mission field, and that it was my duty to bring women to Mary Kay. I was the only Mary Kay some people would meet; I was the only Bible some people would read. AND THIS IS NOT A CULT? Oh, please.
So, there you have it. I know my experience may not have been your experience. I hope it wasn’t. I am learning about the power of the internet. So much is available to us now that wasn’t accessible before, what a gift information can be!
If you are lurking, or if you are wondering why a site like this exists, please continue to read. Just as there are all sorts of people in Mary Kay, there are also all sorts of people on Pink Truth. Some of the stories and experiences will resonate with you, some will not.
The Mary Kay experience itself tends to be different for those who were or are directors and those who are or were consultants. If Mary Kay is working for you and you are comfortable with your decisions, good for you! If you are questioning Mary Kay, good for you!
It’s been a wild ride. Here’s to many more Mary Kay-free days and years!
Great article, SuzyQ.
I am so happy every Christmas season that I get to sit in the season, enjoy it with my family, bake cookies with my kids, drive aimlessly around at night to look at lights and decorations. All without stressing about the percentage of retail business that happens in Q4 (yah, if you’re a real retail business!), or planning my next Super Duper Open House that takes hours to plan and set up only to have no one show up.
That’s when the thrill of NOT being in Mary Kay is strongest for me–around the holidays.
Working regular retail was horrible enough during the holidays (I can remember going around telling people in December “I don’t have to hate Christmas anymore!”) but at least you could stop doing it once your shift ended. And there were other people to unload stock, do merchandising/pricing/sales tracking and all the other scut work. I can only imagine the relief of no longer having to do it all yourself, then being told it was your fault when you didn’t make any money after working your tail off for a month or more.
I kind of admire God’s forbearance in not smiting these people with thunderbolts for worshipping a false idol while throwing his name around.
Oh my gosh, SuzyQ, this is sosososososo good! Well articulated and relatable by pretty much anyone who has emerged from the fog. I especially like the statement “There seems to be a sale of a soul to the devil under the mantle of “God” and “goodness.”” Kudos to you!
You really didn’t think I would do 50 did you?
I’ll have to admit it: I did. I’ll also have to admit I was relieved it wasn’t. As much as I like your writing, SuzyQ, 50 would have been a bit of a slog. But I’d have done it! For you, I would have done it!
Great article, by the way.
“I learned that if I lost faith in Mary Kay, it meant I had also lost faith in God.”
Proving once again that MLMs and religious cults operate from the same playbook.
Congratulations on receiving The Ridiculous Downvote™, Peggy L!
Speech! Speech! Speech!
Oh my, this is completely unexpected, and I’m so honored! I want to thank everyone on this site, my parents, my wonderful husband, my first grade teacher Mrs. Clifford who taught me to read and write, SuzyQ for writing this article I could respond to, my former cult leaders, my downvoters, and everyone who helped make this possible! You all rock!
I can just picture you in a pose wearing a beautiful gown, huge smile, and holding a skunk up high.
“Not having to worry about how to spin the most recent corporate snafu to my consultants.”