As a former employee of a Smart Circle office, I cannot even begin to describe how unethical their business practices are. I am writing this in hopes that I can deter someone from making the same mistake I made. I am sure you are reading this post because you (along with 70+ other individuals) have recently received a recruiting call informing you that you were selected for an initial interview. Now, the exact position you applied for is questionable as there are numerous misleading job postings on the web. However, please note that everyone is applying for the exact same position. So, to begin, I’m going to explain the three-part interview process. During phase one, you will come into the office and meet with the “President,” u201cExecutive,u201d or u201cCEOu201d. He or she will talk at you about contracts they have with top u201cFortune 500, big-box retailersu201d. Due to overwhelming u201csuccessu201d and u201cgrowthu201d, the u201ccompanyu201d you are interviewing with is expanding. Thatu2019s where you come in. You have applied for a u201cmanagement in trainingu201d position and will be told that in just 6-12 months you will be given a portion of the u201cclientsu201d to manage on your own. Now, let me be clear, the individual interviewing you does not have a single personal contract. He or she is one of the many incorporated offices working for The Smart Circle (the parent company). Your interviewer makes zero decisions when it comes to the products represented, and he or she has no control over the success of the individuals coming into the company (you). If you are selected for a second round interview, you will be on-site at one of the big-box retailers receiving a u201cbirdu2019s eye viewu201d into everything that position entails. During that interview, you will spend about an hour shadowing and speaking to someone in u201cEvent Management,u201d u201cCampaign Management,u201d or another similar u201ctitleu201d. You will be shown an event (and at that moment you should realize that you have simply applied for a sales position). If you decide to stick around for the second half of the interview, your interviewer will attempt to paint a picture of the u201csuccessu201d that you could have, and they will explain how you move up within the company. Everyone begins in u201centry levelu201d. Your interviewer will tell you that your promotion is based off of your ability to master and duplicate/train a skillset. But, please donu2019t be fooled! Your u201cpromotionu201d within the company is 100% based off of your ability to recruit and maintain a u201cteamu201d. The u201ccompanyu201d you have just applied for is the perfect example of a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme. Simply put, it is a pyramid scheme without the u201cinitial buy-inu201d. What your interviewer wonu2019t tell you is that if you accept this position you will work countless additional hours off of the clock (in addition to the 10+ hour u201csolou201d days, holidays, and weekends you are already clocking). You will be required to attend and/or conduct unpaid one-on-ones, breakfasts, u201cbusiness dinnersu201d, Saturday morning meetings, and team nights. You will begin distancing yourself from your true friends and family in order to maintain an artificial friendship/relationship with your u201cowneru201d (yes, u201cowneru201d is what your new boss is called) and team. An u201cownership mentalityu201d will be drilled into your head, and, once brainwashed like I was, you will begin thinking u201ctime now for time lateru201d. I know of multiple people (including myself) who have given up on their dreams because of this scheme. Dreams including: finishing undergrad, attending grad school, applying for the ideal job, and attending weddings, funerals, and showers. Please donu2019t fall down the rabbit hole! Now, I donu2019t want to go into too much detail when it comes to pay because the structure varies from office to office. However, you will essentially make minimum wage plus commission; all while dreaming of making upwards of $75,000+ during your first year in executive management. (For the record, my bi-weekly paychecks rarely exceeded $600 after taxes). If youu2019re still drinking the Kool-Aid, the third round interviewu2019s purpose is to clear up any questions you may have. And, hopefully at this point you have a lot of questions. If you are offered a position with the u201ccompanyu201d and accept, congratulations? Once employed, you will attend Monday-Friday morning meetings (and Saturday, once you are promoted out of u201cEntry Levelu201d) where you will take notes on impacts and workshops focused on: how to maintain your attitude, how to avoid negative influences (i.e. u2018 people in your life encouraging you to see reality), and how to sell (you are a salesperson, after all!). Ownership mentality, time now for time later, and going the extra mile will be the anthems of these meetings. Your owner will frequently run u201copportunityu201d meetings where they brag about how much money they make or how much money another owner in the business makes. Researching The Smart Circle a little further will prove that owners are almost always lying about their yearly salary (this is based off of reports from former owners). After the morning meeting, you will head off to your assigned event. You will be responsible for your own gas and car maintenance (while being paid for travel only when you travel from the office to an event, from an event to another event, or from an event back to the office). Sometimes your commute will be upwards of one-hour, one-way. If you ever take a u201croad tripu201d or u201cbusiness tripu201d trough the company be prepared to share a bed and pay for every meal. If you decide to stay with the company and begin building a team, say u201cgoodbyeu201d to free time. In addition to constantly being on the phone, your owner will encourage you to u201csecret shopu201d (AKA u2018 spy on) other employees. Networking with individuals in your office and around the country, employed by different offices, will be required constantly. You will have to u201cbreak down your dayu201d (AKA u2018 pull out negatives and set goals) after each shift. And, once you begin building a u201cteamu201d of your own, your pyramid will begin calling you daily so that they can break down their day. Itu2019s a good thing I had unlimited minutes… I know of multiple individuals who are/were in u201cthe businessu201d for 2+ year. Yet, they havenu2019t been promoted to u201cownershipu201d (Thatu2019s a really long u201c6-12 monthsu201d in sales, if you ask me!!) Now, if you happen to build a team and make it through the u201cmanagement in trainingu201d program, you will move away to open a u201cnewu201d Smart Circle office in a city where a previous office likely failed. I really could go on and on, but Iu2019ll leave you with this. No, itu2019s not a u201cscamu201d. It is possible for you to open up an office of your own. But, you will have to ask yourself, u201cIs the personal investment and sacrifice really worth it for minimal financial gain?u201d I encourage you to make your own, educated decision. But, please be cautious! They say, u201cTime now for time later!u201d But, just remember, you canu2019t get lost time and memories with family and loved ones back once itu2019s gone.
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