Directorship Wasn’t What I Thought

Written by I Was Pink

I wanted to send you my story. This pains me as I have so many mixed emotions. I think it would be easier if I left Mary Kay directorship just mad. Mad that I’d lost money. Mad that I’d left my stable job for a year to pursue a pipe dream that I later realized was just smoke and mirrors.

But instead I leave it with also sorrow. Sorrow that I had to mourn a dream that I at one point believed and that I later found out wasn’t true.

I grew up in a saturated Mary Kay town so I knew what it was most of my life. In fact I remember as a kid my mom took me to a MK party and she later joined. She never did much with it but I remember seeing satin hands all over the house.

Later in my adult years I had a BEAUTIFUL girl DM me over Instagram claiming to be a makeup artist and wanted to do my makeup and feature me in her portfolio. I was so flattered. I mean she looked like a model so I said yes. I remember pulling up in her driveway and seeing the pink Cadillac, worrying that I was about to be pressured into buying stuff. Honestly,I had a great time with her. She shared about the business with me and while I didn’t join her team, we became friends.

A year later, life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to. And this girl… she seemed to have her life TOGETHER. I was so motivated by her. I wanted what she had. Her passion and zest for life. This girl had a reason to wake up in the morning and be the main character in her life, not a victim. So one day I reached out and you know how it ends. I joined her team.

I was her star student. I didn’t know this at the time, but I was every director’s dream. I didn’t want side money, prizes or recognition. I wanted her job. I wanted to be HER. I feel sorrow as I type that now. Not because she’s not awesome. I’ll spoil something right now, we are still friends and I personally still respect and love her. The reason I’m sad is because I was so miserable in my own story that I fell victim to trying to life swap. I was the perfect person to pour a vision into because I was vulnerable.

And that’s what happened. Our future national saw me on our weekly meeting and her eyes glimmered when she heard I had 10 bookings. Next thing I knew she was driving hours to come meet me at a coffee shop with a gift wrapped like it was a million bucks and I’m being told that I’m special and that I have everything it takes to be a director. What does that even mean? I don’t know. But someone believed in me in a moment when I didn’t believe in myself and I wasn’t going to let them down.

So I did the thing. I rushed and pushed and worked myself to death and in 6 months I went from a brand new recruit to a director. Was I tired? Of course. But I was told countless times that I just had to get through DIQ. I have my masters (yes. Even highly educated people can be idiots sometimes ) and my future national told me, “This is like getting your masters degree in Mary Kay. Just push through. It won’t always be this hard.” So I did.

Walking across stage as a director was a highlight of my life. I felt so proud of myself. I did something hard. I did something that only the “top 2%” can do. I was the pride of our area and the poster kid for DIQs who do it quick.

I left my stable job of 5 years, switched to part time so that I could pursue my new, exciting career full time. My future national was not happy I was only part time. She encouraged me to leave completely. I’m so very happy I did not.

To my surprise, come September, a mere month after walking across stage, the DIQ work didn’t stop. The hustle didn’t stop. The 30 faces didn’t stop. I got my “Mary Kay masters” but I still found myself in perpetual DIQ. I dreaded month end as much as I did month beginning because that meant that the cycle started all over again.

My senior director did not seem to understand my surprise at how much of unit had disappeared and that directorship wasn’t what I thought. When I came to her with my disappointment I was told that I needed to change my mindset and to “come talk to me when you have seen 30 faces” or “Come talk to me when you have earned a gold medal” (aka: recruited 5 people)

The answer was always new people. New faces. More faces. And more “high quality” faces which I came to later understand as ladies who have money they can put their hands on or a credit card. By January I was missing production and frankly burned out and mad.

By this point in my career I had earned not one, but 2 cars, and so I still looked like I was killing it.

I was less than a year into my career and I seemed like a rockstar. But I knew I wasn’t. I was breaking even or barely breaking even. I was watching women in my unit return product or leave angry. It was around this time that I got super real with my senior director, the one whom I fashioned my life after because I wanted to be JUST like her. And she finally got real back with me and told me that literally 2 months before I reached out, she was applying for other jobs. She also had felt this way was and was ready to leave.

I realized in a deeper level in that moment that this whole company is smoke and mirrors. As a director you can’t possibly be real about how it actually feels to have our role because then, how can you inspire? How can you recruit? At seminar that year I brought all this to our future national and I was told that I was, direct quote “being told Satan’s lies.”

2 months later I stepped down formally. It’s hard letting go of a life that was painted for me and a dream that doesn’t exist – or maybe it does if you’re willing to hurt enough women. While my senior and I remain friends I have lost an entire community and my future national doesn’t speak to me anymore.

In conclusion: I bought a lie. I was love bombed into moving up into a position that wasn’t made clear for me. I met a TON of amazing women whom frankly I still miss. But I also met a bunch of liars, deceivers, and people who aren’t courageous enough to be honest with themselves.

Mary Kay is not what it’s painted out to be and if one woman reads this earnest story and spares herself the time, it’s worth it to me to share my story. I was always cautioned away from this site and now I know why: because it would be the threshing floor to air out the same wounds we all have.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story, I Was Pink. I can’t help but think that in a way Mary Kay was ahead of the times. I see young adults today presenting on social media a completely fake or inaccurate portrayal of their lives. Showing only the good (exaggerated) while downplaying or omitting the bad/hard/challenges. This is no different than MLM’s signature “fake it ’til you make it.”

    Both make me sad, as over time, the deepest human connection comes from those who are confident enough to be “real”. MLMs like Mary Kay forbid their members from being real. Which explains why so few relationships inside MLM survive outside of MLM.

    I remain friends with many former coworkers I met over my decades of working in the corporate world. And not because of who they pretended to be, but because of who they really are.

    The fakeness in MLM is every bit as dangerous as the fakeness of social media, leading to shallow and fake relationships. Instead of that, surround yourself with people who see you for who you are and love you anyway, and love them in return. These will bring so much more peace and joy than folks looking up to your pink car, and your basement full of beauty products you can’t sell.

  2. Data Junkie is right, mk was, possibly for the only time, on the cusp of the future. My husband will get perplexed at how person X can have so little issues, how everything is always so shiny and happy. I have told him over and over – people don’t post when things are bad in their lives, they post PERFECTION whether it has any basis in truth or not. And he does finally believe that. There definitely are people who post EVERY MOVE THEY MAKE, good and bad, but seems like that’s 1 out of 10 with the other 9 being shiny, happy people.

    A little off topic but worth mentioning. On NextDoor there is, of course, a woman who posts regularly seeking food and more for her and her children. At Christmas she posted they had no food and no presents for the children – WELL BEFORE Christmas actually. I did comment that she might want to watch what she posts cause if she cannot provide for her kids and she won’t utilize the resources so many offered her, childrens services can certainly read her posts as well and she could draw attention I am sure she doesn’t want to her situation. Needing help is not bad or wrong, but you can definitely overshare.

    • Good points Juliet. I think the problem of TMI exists in all forums, and most personal struggles are better shared in-person, as you point out. Meanwhile, I have seen too many folks decide their activities for the evening/weekend/vacation specifically for what they can post about it online later. This falls under the old, “Do it so you can say you did it” mindset. What joy is there in doing things only for others to see?

      I personally prefer the lesson Phil Connors learned, the hard way, in Groundhog Day. After years (well, hundreds or thousands of repeats of the same day) of trying, and failing, to impress Rita, he finally decided to just enjoy a day with her, with no motives. On that day she gave him a piece of advice that completely changed him. Instead of seeing his never-ending Groundhog Day as a curse, why not use it to become a better “you”?

      From that point forward, you will notice that not one of his accomplishments was for show, nor were they intended for Rita to see. He abandoned using the system to his advantage over others, and he concentrated on becoming the best person he could be (and even in that, he discovered there were limits). But instead of trying to impress Rita, he spent his energy on becoming intrinsically impressive. A great line from Phil in the movie, “Whatever happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now.”

      He had finally reached contentment, on top of all of his other accomplishments of self improvement, all of which turned out to be very attractive to Rita, even though that was no longer Phil’s aim. He had finally figured out how to enjoy the day, without worrying whether or not Rita (or anyone else) would be impressed by him. So much so, he was blind to it when she finally became enamored with him, and he was honestly confused by her attraction to him.

      Then there is this from “Oz the Great and Powerful”:

      Glinda: For the record, I knew you had it in you all along.
      Oz: Greatness?
      Glinda: No. Better than that. Goodness.

  3. All that time and energy & mental turmoil spent to just break even. ☹️ Simply awful. The phrase “They don’t pay me enough for this crap” certainly comes to mind.



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