Workaholics in Mary Kay
Written by Raisinberry
It occurred to me the other day that Mary Kay Ash transferred her unhealthy workaholic tendencies to thousands of women all over America.
What seemed like good counsel was her notion that each achievement one attains should only be celebrated, briefly, with the next goal clearly in view. I believed this wholeheartedly. I won my first car in Mary Kay back in the days when they sent you a small car poster cut in 4 parts, and as each month of $4,000 wholesale was completed, then sent you the next part.
You were building a 4 part, 4 month, $16,000 finished picture of the Grand Am in all its glory. The minute the month was done, the next month was up. Before that, when I got into my Red Jacket, I remember the letter I got from Mary Kay telling me all I needed was 2 more to become a Team Leader. And before that, when I had one recruit, the letter mentioned getting into my Red Jacket as soon as possible.
There was my secret to success! Never sit on a new accomplishment. The minute one thing is achieved, it’s onto the next one. Run, run, run, to the top. Don’t think, just do!
I wonder if this mentality is for everyone. If we achieve something and enjoy it for a while, are we underachievers bent on personal laziness and unable to motivate ourselves for the next challenge? Does the leadership of Mary Kay secretly feel that those of us who do not want the stress, and pressure of blindly racing to the top, are sub-par consultants and directors, failing to stretch and “set goals that make us sick”?
Are we supposed to be striving and churning and racing and sick because our goals are so big we are in a constant state of nausea? Because this is the picture of leadership training in today’s Mary Kay. The best of the best FLY to the top and work like crazy to enjoy the fruits of living on the mountaintop.
Some of us valley dwellers are probably pitied in their eyes. We don’t “get it.” We were not willing to “pay the price.” We do not have that “executive income” because we rested on our laurels and they no doubt, wilted. Or did they?
Were all our achievements supposed to lead us to $20,000 monthly commission checks? Did each previous goal that we reached become meaningless because we stopped and evaluated where we were and what we had become? Does it really make sense to have “success” defined for you by someone other than yourself, whose life you do not admire?
If not resting on your laurels means you keep moving no matter what and never evaluate what has resulted in your activities and behavior, then those who have reached the pinnacle of success in Mary Kay are profound failures. They have failed to enrich the countless numbers of consultants who were never taught to operate a real business, never taught “real” selling, never took “real” stock in their operations, never evaluated “real” skills development, never assessed strength for directorship, never course-corrected low selling volume, never sent out evaluations or opinion polls of their consultants’ successes or failures and disappointments.
Racing blindly to the top speaking only slogans and platitudes, and stuffing their ears and humming out loud to the concerns voiced by Directors and consultants drowning in inventory debt, they parade their “achievements” for all to see and admire.
And beneath them is a sea of women, being told and believing, that they just didn’t do “enough,” they lacked commitment, they needed “bounce back ability” and failed to “believe and achieve.” The achievements waved above for all to see represents the hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit card debt, coast to coast, of women who were enticed by recognition, and prizes, and guilt, and manipulation, and wanting to help, and being a team player, and chasing a goal, and not wanting to rest on a laurel. Go! Go! Go! means you never THINK, THINK, THINK!
Sometimes racing helps a person quiet and calm a doubting soul. If you can’t think, you do not have to face the reality of your situation… your disappointments… or insecurities.
What drove Mary Kay herself, might have been after all, a childhood need for significance. Caretaker for her father who commanded much attention and a mother who was not there, were always expressed to show us her maturity and ability. Never have I ever heard how it may have shaped a driven personality, a wounded soul.
Not “resting” on a path to personal achievement is applauded in Mary Kay. That might be because if you did, you would see, the lack of success in your Unit and downline, and slowing down to course correct would mean loss of profits. Slowing down also reveals how fragile the MLM model is because the drop out rate of a unit’s attrition is chasing behind you. Unit attrition is not resting on its laurels either! If you slow down, it catches you. Therefore you must strive and work and move and go and achieve and race and press on in a flurry of IPA’s till you collapse at the Summit.
For a company that prides itself on Godly principles, one wonders how this passage escapes their notice:
“I am entreating then, first of all, that prayers, pleadings and thanksgiving be made for all mankind, for kings and for all those being in a superior station, that we made be leading a mild and quiet life in all devoutness and gravity, for this is ideal and welcome in the sight of our Savior, God, Who wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth.”
Paul is urging his listeners to appreciate and pray for those in authority over us for the purposes of the “ideal.” A mild and quiet life! A mild and quiet life, devout and serious in its intent seems to be a vehicle for honoring God’s will and realization of the truth.
Funny but, we are told in Mary Kay that our striving and racing and excellence in acquiring the next achivement is what honors God. In fact, the counter verse used against a “mild and quiet life” is Paul’s word to “run the race with endurance to obtain the prize.” The “prize” mentioned in the context, for those who run a race is a “corruptible” wreath. Something earthbound and decaying. Paul, by contrast, is asking us to pursue another type.
Paul prefers we win an “incorruptible” achievement… accomplishments that reflect a Godly life. How ironic that Mary Kay’s NSDs use a verse whose context defeats their teaching. The acquisition of all things material in a life devoid of personal evaluation and introspection, chasing the next goal and the next, is the opposite of a Godly life.
To be able to think clearly, one must stop, and calm and quiet the soul, and rest and evaluate. Have I lied? Have I been self-serving? Have I wounded anyone? Have I hurt another? Have I misrepresented myself and the facts? Have I manipulated someone for my own gain? Have I become greedy and materialistic? Have I lost my integrity?
Turns out that the wilted laurel, the one that represents stopping and reflecting with a view to a mild and quiet life, away from striving, honors God in truth. It is “the ideal.”