The Hamster Wheel of Sales – Why do so many people choose this career path? Or is it the case that what ever profession we choose to pursue, you end up stuck in a “Hamster Wheel”?
Let’s think about what we wanted to be when we were children? Did you want to be a doctor, a footballer, a vet, an astronaut? Perhaps a lion tamer or a superhero? Regardless of whatever the child version of yourself chose, money or salary is unlikely to have been a factor in your decision making process.
When we look at our childhood career choices, we tend to pick roles that offer a large amount of intrinsic reward.
(Left to Right: Beau - Zookeeper, Andy – Vet, Aisling – Hairdressers, Stew – Superhero)
So why do so many of us choose to work within "Sales"? Especially when the average Sales persons annual salary is only £36,717 p.a. (Ranging from Telesales circa £24,000 p.a up to Sales Director circa £88,455 p.a)
I personally believe that, whatever profession you are in, we are all in "Hamster Wheels". The only thing that changes is the size of the wheel and how long it takes to make one full rotation.
At this point you may be thinking that I have lost my marbles, so here are a couple of examples that may help you understand my thinking:
Teacher: 1 Term or 12 Weeks
This persons "wheel" starts at the beginning of each term and ends approximately 12 weeks later.
Sales Executive: 1 Month
This persons "wheel" normally starts at the beginning of each month along with some form of revenue target and ends 4/5 weeks later.
Surgeon: 5 Hours (average surgery time in the UK)
This persons "wheel" starts from scrubbing in, operating and completing paper.
Traffic Warden: 15 Minutes
This persons "wheel" starts from viewing the offending vehicle and printing the ticket.
What’s The Right Size Wheel for You?
I believe that the longer it takes for you to complete one rotation of your wheel, (By “wheel” I mean the completion of your main task) the greater amount of intrinsic reward the individual receives. If you imagine you are working on a project for a year, or completing a Degree over 3 years, the feeling you get when it’s finished is much more than something that takes a day to complete.
Alternatively, you might be the type of person who is very short term and enjoys quick wins. This would mean that your preferred “wheel” would be much smaller, giving you lots of smaller intrinsic highs.
How To Escape?
Do we pack it all in and become an off-grid spoon whittler? Do we keep buying lottery tickets hoping we can escape that way? Do we resign a have a complete career change? (Remember we might just be changing the size of our wheel)
I don't believe that there is a "one size fits all" answer for how we escape the wheel. In my experience, being spontaneous, not always having an agenda / objectives, long walks and generally just living in the moment will help you for just a few minutes, maybe a few hours, a whole day or even longer.