Wednesday, August 25, 2004

the company

last night i went to a meeting of my Company, for the first time as a licensed agent. i heard an incredably intense story while i was there: you see my company is a strange one. and news along the grapevine has told me a number of things; that they have ill-repute amongst their industry, that they have disenfranchised those they've promised to help, and also that the ones who become the most disenfranchised and cheated by this Company are new agents like myself, and i have already seen and heard the signs of the encroaching intrusions, the invasions and the attempts to clone--- i was told in fact, that if i was wise, i would aquire the licenses and "walk" as soon as possible--- of course, that was told me by a paranoid and all-around negative person... anyways, it's a kind-of odd company that resembles church more than anything, sometimes. At the commencement of the meeting i encounter a guy about my age-looking, who says he's been with the Company about 3 weeks, not licensed yet: but that he heard that the record held for getting all the licenses was 7 weeks, and that he wanted to talk to *THAT* person-- i thought to myself, wow-- that must be someone indeed to have a conversation with... after going to the lecture room, the branch CEO stands up and gives his introductory talk, and then he asks a certain young lady, blonde and age 19, to stand up, and says that it is SHE who has the record for getting all the licenses in 7 weeks... and not only that but she has a recent award for selling the most VUL's-- a package that the Company praises the most, above all others... and everyone applauds. Now the CEO tells the girl to tell her story. She shyly asks "my story?" and he says yes. she tells us that a few weeks ago she made up her mind that she was going to go forward with the Company "with all my heart", and at this point she tells us that if she starts crying, just ignore it, at which people chuckle; but now she starts really watering up, her little face turning red; and she tells us that she has no car, no phone, no car insurance, and that recently, her parents told her that they were disowning her- and she starts full-on sobbing in front of us-- and the room grinds instantly into a silence rounded by a mournful moan... the CEO comes and puts his arm around her shoulder, and he says, "Now her parents are doing that because they love her." (at this point i think: if my parents did that to me that would NOT be the way I would read it-- but anyways) The CEO begins, "what happened was--" and he continues her story-- i could hardly believe what i was hearing; it was almost too intense... the CEO says her parents intended her to be a doctor. and then he says that if she were to take that path, she would be in school X years, rack up a whole bunch of student loans-- people in the audience vocally nodding and agreeing here-- and he says "and would she be a doctor then? No! then you've gotta go on residency for a few years. and would she be a doctor then? No-- she'd have to practice for a few years before she would be a full-blown doctor. And so, by the time she's 34, she might have JUST become a full doctor, and she'd have all this debt, and be making about XX a year... now, if she stays with this Company, do you know where she could be by the time she's 24?" the room rouses up with cheering, he says; "she could be one of the most successful and wealthy women in America! And THEN her parents will be like: 'oh honey, we're sorry we did that to you back then! we didn't know it was this good!'" the room clapps and clapps... He continues, "and i've tried to call them-- they don't want to talk to me, and you know why: cause i'd write them up right away!" hollars of laughter and clapping, "i'd have CODE numbers for em!" laughter and laughter and clapping-- "but what i'm going to do is write her parents a letter-- she doesn't know this yet---" he hugs her, her face is still red-- "it's ok if i do that, right?" he asks her, she nods, wiping her face. she's wearing very teenage-looking silver eyeshadow, and an all-white 2-piece office suit that in-elegantly reveals the young-looking striped shirt underneath it, both above and below the single button on the jacket's front. her shoes have bowties on them, and i noticed that the pen she was using to take notes had a fabric flower attatched to the top. i think; when i was 19, i was graduating high school, just leaving foxtown for the first time in my life to live elsewhere, just entering college; just coming to live in Cloud Mountain with kids from places i'd either only visited or heard of on TV, who had never visited foxtown and never, ever would if their life depended on it... the CEO says, "i'm going to write her parents a letter and tell them I'm proud of their daughter and that they should be proud of her too--" soon the gathered crowd is standing up and clapping for her, a standing ovation, she is just standing there with a red face and an unfrowning/unsmiling expression, looking somewhat flatly out into the crowd somewhere-- i stood up too just in case it would help-- the people were shouting encouragement, saying that 'they'll come around SOON!'-- and it was one of the most intense experiences--- just knowing that those parents might not open a letter from her boss... just knowing, a part of me knowing, just what those parents were thinking; that this was a cult and their daughter was just forking over her life to a pyramidial anthill... or perhaps they just really wanted a doctor; who knows... and then to hear the other side of the coin; that ringing hollar whooping up from this host of believers-- the wierd dual-hopelessness-of-communication of the situation left me stunned, unable to speak or respond except to do what others around me were inclined to do, which is i suppose what you do when under such pressures... and then the CEO left to give his speech to the crowd in the other room, and it was her who was designated to give the lecture for the evening; on sales terminology. her high voice quivered and waivered greatly the whole time, not stabilizing once through the whole evening. she went over her top 11 reasons why the Company is great, and over reasons one and two she literally broke into sobbing right there at the podium, for which the whole audience applauded.


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