Feel Like You’re Walking a Tightrope?

Oftentimes software sales professionals do feel like they’re walking the proverbial professional and personal tightrope.  At some point in everyone’s career, questions arise around work/life balance.

— Am I spending too much time at the office and not enough time with my family?

— Why haven’t I taken a vacation in three years?  

— Why is my manager texting me at 2:00 AM? What is he doing up at this hour?

— When was the last time I went to the gym…and how did I get that roll around my stomach? 

— Is the stress of this job worth it? 

— My last quarter was 150 percent of quota, why are they riding me this quarter? 

If you’re too young to have contemplated these questions, in time you will. Otherwise, virtually everyone who’s been in software sales for five to ten years plus has contemplated at least one of the questions listed above and/or have their own list of similar questions.

Let’s take our brief list one at a time….

  1. You can only raise your children once, so do the best you can to manage your time effectively. If you’re working for an employer that doesn’t understand why you need to be at your child’s recital or graduation (yes, I’ve heard stories), then it’s time to reevaluate that relationship with your employer.
  2. Vacation is meant to recreate…yes re-create! It’s necessary to get away from work, take vacation, and spend time relaxing and/or having some fun. In the long run this will make you more healthy and productive at work and home.
  3. There is no good reason for a Sales Manager/VP to be emailing, texting, or calling (yes, I’ve heard these stories as well) anyone other than their significant other at 2:00 AM in the morning. How long do you want to tolerate that behavior?
  4. It’s important to exercise, even if that’s just a morning or afternoon walk. Your physical and mental health is precious, so make time to nurture your health.
  5. Stress is processed differently by each of us. In addition, what types of stressors we encounter and how we each deal with them varies depending on the individual. When it comes to professional stress, we all need to find ways to cope with the stress or find an employer and manager we can live with over the longer term.
  6. Quotas! In sales, especially for publicly traded software companies or those seeking to go public, sales professionals are only as good as their last quarter. Is this fair? No!

Is it reasonable? Absolutely not, because some software sales cycles are quite long equaling 9-12 months or more.

You can only do what you can, and if your manager wants to know why company X hasn’t committed to buy Q3…well, you can’t put a gun to the client’s head and force them to buy just because your manager doesn’t understand mitigating circumstances. If you’re a manager, don’t be a jerk!

In summary, we’ve covered a good deal of ground here regarding work/life balance and what amounts to reasonable professional expectations. I’d written this based on a number of conversations we’ve had over the last several months with candidates.

Hopefully you’ve found this helpful.