Uncomfortable with New Job.

Updated on April 23, 2010
R.K. asks from Menasha, WI
22 answers

Hi All:
I started working for a company that publishes an independent phone book, they also have internet ads. Recently they started pushing us to sell internet ads for all customers. Now they are telling us that will no longer accept contracts for new business without internet ads. They told us we could drop the price of the book ad the price of the internet ad. But the customer has to take an internet ad. I am very unhappy about this. I feel that everyone has the right to freedom of choice. If I go into a store looking for a pair of pants I don't want the store to tell me I need to buy a top too. I don't need the top even if they drop the price of the pants equal to the price of the top if I don't want it or need it why should I have to buy it? Why should I have to tell a customer it's all one package, book and internet you get it whether you want it or not? This is also a religious issue for me. My religion teaches free will and it is against the teachings of my religion to force anyone to do anything they don't want to do. I don't know how to handle this without losing my job. I am job hunting but in the meantime I feel that I am being forced to go against my personal beliefs to keep my job. Does anyone have any suggestions?


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So What Happened?

I think maybe I didn't explain very well. I NEED this job!! I am continuing to look for something else.
The area I am woring in is rural Wisconsin, many of the cities have a population of less than 1000 people, the economy is down and some of my customers are litterly having to chose between buying food and paying bills. Also many do not have computers or use the internet so they do see the value in an internet ad. They have never googled or had email. What the company is trying to do is get more content so when someone looks for a product or service in google our ads come up in the first couple of pages. So our scores are higher. I understand what the company is doing and why. I just don't believe that anyone has to do anything they don't CHOOSE to do. I have only been with this company since mid-Feburary and these changes have been thrown at us all of a sudden. You also must realize that the sales people for this company work on salary + commision but the salary is so small we need to be able to make sales to survive. Currently I adverge almost 200 miles a day, with a car allowance of $50 a week, we also must use our personal cell phone to make tele-marketing type calls, often going over our minutes with no reimbursement from the company. The cell phone use was not discussed in the interview and I understood that we got milage of .55 / mile so either I was lied to or that changed without notice. Believe me the compensation for this job does not justify the expenses. The life expectancy of a sales person with this company is 6 months to a year, with many leaving before they get a new job.

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answers from Denver on

You work for a company that publishes a (expletive deleted) phonebook and you're worried about them coupling their advertising? The last time I used a phone book was over 10 (TEN) years ago and I hate it when companies feel the need to continue to drop one at my door....talk about lack of freedom of choice. I never choose to get the (expletive deleted) phonebook, and yet without fail every couple months is a new one.

Think of the of the coupled ads as being more "green" and earth friendly.

If not, think of the poor people this (expletive deleted) phonebook will be foisted on, noodle on that for a while and see if it helps. If it doesn't think of the other businesses that do the same thing, like cable companies that give you "packages" rather than a la carte. It *is* accepted practice to do so. GL.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

They are selling a package deal, just like many other advertising and cable companies. It's the business owners choice if they wish to advertise like that.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you own the company? No? Then do your job or quit. Financial survival for a company or an individual these days is not a frivolous issue. Start your own company, then you can call the shots.

Religion? Free will? Really? How naive are you? Did you choose the country of your birthplace or your parents - where you have the 'free will' to decide to buy a top and matching pants or not? Some countries have children who wear the cast-off clothing of others or go naked. Did they choose their country or parents? Don't confuse the important concept of free will with arbitrary choice.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

It is not like they are being denied basic civic service (i.e. medical care, police service, the right to vote, etc.). This is capitalism at work baby. Your clients can "vote with their $$s" and by saying "No thanks" to your company, they can force your company to re-evaluate it's offerings. Either your employer will have read the market right or they will fail.

I would suggest that the days of print advertising (ye gads especially those annoying phone books/directories dumped on my doorstep and immediately recycled) are numbered and that your employer is trying to change with the times, stay in business and thus not have to lay-off their staff.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Your job is to sell your employers services/products. The choice the people you pitch to is to buy it or not. They have the freedom to walk away and not spend a dime. You may disagree with the choices your employer offers and you can walk away from your job. The next employee will have no ethical problem with doing whatever they have to in order to earn the paycheck. Business does not always appear logical or fair unless you happen to be a CEO or a VP. They have the bigger picture in mind - the long term business goals. If you have better ideas, start your own company. People do it all the time. You have worked in the field. You know what the competition will be like. You could be the new start up company of the year! Go for it!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I really don't understand how this goes against the teachings of your religion. The company you work for is offering a product/service. If the customer doesn't have the product/service he's looking for he simply goes somewhere else. If the custome says "no thank you, I'm not interested", what do you do?... How do you force him to against his free will?

It sounds like the company is just trying to make good business choices that will allow them to suceed with all the constant changes in technology. Printed phone books are very quickly becoming obsolete.

If you're that unhappy in your job and you don't like this company, then just give them your two week notice and be done with it. Don't make yourself miserable.

In response to "so what happened"...
Have you worked in sales before? It really seems like this is not the type of work for you. It sounds like your trying to make them the bad guy and using your religion as reasons to quit. To me this isn't justified, as the company is only asking you to sell their product. If you don't beleive in the product then don't sell it. The choice is yours. I stick with my original answer, give your 2 weeks notice. FYI...The IRS decreased it's milage rate from $.55 in 2009 to $.50 in 2010.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Hi RR,

Wow. I just read everything, including your shouting, and it seems to me that (almost) everyone is missing a major point or two.

First of all, many religions make a point of having you open up your heart and mind, so, please do so before continuing.

Okay, everyone calm? I'm going to give you another way to view things. (I lived in rural MN and a small town in WI, before the internet, so I know the places, landscapes, incomes, and mindsets of many people in non-urban areas.)

As a salesperson, the first thing you ask yourself is, "How can I make my product irresistible to the customer?" and find your answer. Usually, the answer is from the customer's point of view in the form of a question. "What's in it for me?" The salesperson should also be asking themselves, "How can I help my customer?" at all times (Good Samaritan - ish).

The way I see it, the company you work for is trying to get more exposure...for itself, AND it's customers. Your sales approach can be one with the tone you have shown here (not so good, you won't make anything) or with the approach that the company has decided to make things easier, simpler, streamlined, and at little to no extra cost to the customer. AND, BONUS! The customer gets not only the exposure of the phone book, but also the internet! The internet has a membership of billions of people...the phone book has how many? More exposure to more possible customers for the phone book company's customers? How can that be bad for business? How can that be bad for the area's economy? How can that NOT work for them? It doesn't matter if your customer has internet access or not...it matters if possible prospective customers of theirs has access and can get their contact info online.

In the end, though, it is the customer's choice to purchase an ad or not...if you are forcing them to take an ad, are you putting a gun to their head? Of course not, so it is still their choice. Companies make policy changes all the time that customers aren't always thrilled about, but they can choose to do business with them or not. Remember the days when you could return something and not have to pay a restocking fee???

Bottom line...use your beliefs to help yourself see the good in things and people and to help others whenever possible...it all comes back ten-fold.

Now, as to your compensation, keep accurate, detailed records. Whatever the company doesn't reimburse you for, you can claim on your taxes, so you're not completely out the difference.

I hope this helped, I hope everyone is a bit calmer and looking more on the bright side of life. And, I hope everyone can find at least one thing in their lives to be happy about and grateful for...even if it is only that it's Taco Tuesday. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

They have freedom - to do business with your company, or not. Nobody is forcing them to do business. You company has really just one product now (that is, the bundle with the internet ad.) A business owner who wants a listing can buy it, or not.

Your difficulty is in explaining this - selling the change. But I really don't think it's unethical. If the customers are that unhappy, your employer will lose business and then they can decide to change their sales structure again.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Honestly, if these companies are not wanting to buy an internet ad, they'll probably be extinct pretty soon. Every time I get a phone book it goes straight to the recycle bin- clutter, even the little ones.

" Believe me the compensation for this job does not justify the expenses. The life expectancy of a sales person with this company is 6 months to a year, with many leaving before they get a new job."

I think you answered your own question. If you don't like the strategy that your company is using, then find another one. I think the previous ladies here have given some good advice; the matter now is if you choose to follow it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So.. they are making the internet ad free - the same price as the book ad? Using your example - if the store told you your pair of pants came with a free top, would you refuse? Maybe your managements presentation stinks and they made you feel like you have to force your customers. I think I would say that management is trying to encourage the use of internet ads so they are including a fee internet ad with the purchase of your book ad. You get twice the advertising for the same price.

I can't see a company having a problem with this. In business - more advertising is a good thing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Hi RR, I am sure it is all in the presentation. I photograph weddings and then host the event online. If the client doesn't have a computer to view the photos, it is still placed online and there is no credit back. It is part of my package. I am not shoving it down their throat, it is part of my business. My presentation to them is that in the past we used to make an appointment and offer proof prints. Then all the relatives would place an order with the bride and groom and they had to worry about collecting, shipping, and handling. Now the guests are provided the web address and they can view and place orders on their own, leaving the work to me and not the bride and groom.

Just let your clients know the truth, many people are looking for their business online and it is the way so many people are going.

If you were selling/buying swimwear, you would certainly take the matching bottoms. Everyone does and the store has no use for an extra pair of bottoms.

If they don't want it just let them know, it does come with the printed ad. It is their choice and really it is not so bad.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

OK, I think you are being ridiculous by saying this is a religious issue of free will. The companies DO have free will!! They can chose not to advertise at all with this independent phone book, right? You are seriously making this into something it isn't. It seems to me that if you go in the store and they say if you buy the pants you HAVE to take a free shirt and you insist you don't want the free shirt you can say thanks but no thanks, you'll just buy the pants somewhere else and walk out. Businesses don't have to advertise at all with you if they are uncomfortable having an internet ad..... And what I don't get is why any company who wants to stay in business would refuse the free internet ad anyway!.......... Bottom line is if you can't get over (and realize how ridiculous you are being) then it's time for a new job

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

Well I am hoping you found a new job because it sounds like you were not happy from the start and when you are not happy you do a bad job . I am just speaking from my job and the people we hire that find out that they have to work at their job . If you are looking to quit because you say they are expecting you to do some thing against your beliefs well then quit but do not expect unemployment . They are not doing any thing wrong .

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Could you talk to your bosses about allowing the cost of the print ad to be lowered slightly to help make up for the internet ad? I was in radio sales for quite some time, and when we were forced to add on internet streaming ads, I was usually able to "make up" the cost somewhere. (i.e. I would cut down the cost of the ad from $50 to $45, then charge the customer $5 for the internet ad.) It was definitely shady, but we usually told our customers that they were receiving the internet ad for free; even though we just worked our numbers around to make the sales look right. I know it isn't a great solution, but if you have some leeway with your pricing, it may help you get by until another job came along.

I also suggest being upfront and open with your long-time customers. Explain that corporate is making you do this, and that the internet is actually exactly where they need to be. Force your company to come up with internet statistics (how many people come to their site, etc.) that you can bring with you to your meetings so your clients know where their money is going. I used to sell things all of the time that our customers didn't fully understand, but I could get them to understand WHY they needed it.

Good luck...it really stinks when corporate throws something like that at you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I guess I don’t really understand the issue? Your customers do have a choice and it is there free will to utilize the services offered by your company or not(whatever those services may be). They do have a choice. You always have a choice in life, even if its to just walk away. My only concern is, whether or not your company is being shady and ripping people off, than that’s another thing. If your company offers print, internet and a combination of both but you are being instructed by your superiors to lie and say they have to purchase both then you have to figure how to take the next step/ go to the next level of mgt or check out new job options.
In my life’s experience there have been many times where I have been give no alternative but to move on to the next option. I Honestly think that your issue is more with your customers no t being able to purchase print ads or internet ads separately and it does suck…. If that is truly the policy, not just a scam to get people to cave and spend more$$$$$ But it doesn’t sound like a religious/moral issue (unless there is some dishonesty involved) but more of a personal pet peeve.
You stated you have been in sales for 30 years? That indicates to me that you are not some young kid right out of college or HS working your first job. You know who you are and you seem to feel strongly about your beliefs … trust your instincts, do what you feel is right.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If the compensation does not justify the means, then get out of this job as soon as possible. The company sounds like they are working a scam if they are not paying your appropriately for your travel or compensating you for the use of your personal cell phone.



answers from St. Cloud on

They do have a choice. Do business with your company, or not. You are not forcing them to do something they don't want to. You are simply explaining that company policy has changed and that with business going more to the web, the internet ads are part of the package now. They then have the choice to take it or leave it. You are not dipping in to their account without their consent and taking money for things they have not agreed to. It is simply that a la carte is not available anymore.



answers from Lincoln on

It sounds like you've answered your own question.
This new practice is causing you more stress than you need to endure.
Your religion tells you not to push something on another.
You've been a successful professional for 30+ years and you know in your
heart the difference between right and wrong.
What's the problem? You know what you have to do.
Take a leap of faith and stand up for yourself.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there.

I dont' have much advice to offer, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing by looking for a new job. Hang in there until you can make something work.



answers from Houston on

I certainly can sympathize with working at a company where your values and ethics don't necessarily align. BUT, they aren't asking you to do anything illegal...at least from your characterization of the situation. It is your responsibility to do the job as you are instructed.

You have to consider also that this is likely a move to increase a waning income from the printed book...I can't tell you the last time that I used a phone book (of any kind) to look up a number. The internet ad sales likely create a larger return per dollar (for the company and the advertising company) than a printed ad.

This isn't a case of free will or lack thereof...they can choose to take their business elswhere if they don't want the internet ad. Just like you can go to another store...or I can pay a higher price for one of something at the grocery store when the "two for" price is better because I know it will spoil before I can use it.

We've all had to do jobs we didn't like or didn't agree with. We stick it out for as long as we have to...and then you move on. For the most part, personal and religious beliefs should have NO accomodation in the workplace. You are never going to love everything about a job...start your own company if you want workplace utopia.



answers from Minneapolis on

I can sense your frustration.
I think Terri C. had some great advise. Companies change policies - and we can either focus on the negative or turn into a positive. It does sound like the company has a big turn over - and that for me would be a bigger concern.
Here are a couple of points:

I believe in freedom to choose as well, however you are offering you customers an additional bonus serivce for the same $ value - they can choose to accept or to take their advertising elsewhere.

If your funds don't allow you to quit your job before finding another, grin and bear it until you do. There are far worse jobs and situations. Just say as ethical to you beliefs while not compromising your job.

It sounds like you have been in sales for a long time. Have you ever tried direct sales/party plan? I have been involved in party plan sales for over 10 years and have had very good success. There are a ton of great companies that offer great products, generous compensations and flexability. Even though I am passionate about the company I am involved in, I would be happy to share what I know and help you get connected with a company that might be a great fit for you. You can email me at: [email protected]____.com if you would like to "chat".

All in all - try to remain positive and keep looking.

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