As a recent college graduate, I too, found myself slaving away for what was supposedly going to be "financial freedom". It began like this...
AIL REP: Hello, my name is "insert name here", with American Income, I'm calling in regards to your resume posted online. I'd like to ask you a few questions if you have a moment.
AIL REP: Are you currently employed?
AIL REP: Who was your most recent employer?
Me: I just graduated college, but I worked there.
AIL REP: Okay, did you have an opportunity to supervise or manage other employees?
Me: In previous jobs, yes.
AIL REP: Great! Let me tell you a little about us...
... and that's where it all began.
I scheduled a personal interview and went to meet with the people who were going to show me how to become financially free. As I arrived for the interview, I noticed that there were several other well dressed individuals that appeared to be interviewing for the same position. The receptionist had me sign in on a list following several other people who had their names, phone numbers, and then another random name by them. Again, this seemed very odd to me. As I waited I started a conversation with the person next to me about what they had applied for. They told me that they didn't know which seemed odd yet again, but gave me some sort of comfort being that I was no longer alone.
As we sat and waited for our interviews, more and more people kept coming in asking about interviews, but these people had ranged from other business looking professionals, to high school students, to construction workers covered with mud in overalls. As these people came in, others were shown either out the door or into what appeared to be a group interview. This place looked like a machine, people in, people out.
I was called for my interview, so I got up and walked with the gentleman, but was curious as I did not get to meet with the person that I spoke with on the phone, I got to meet with one of the managers. I felt pretty good about this as he said that he had already read over my resume and I looked like a great fit for the company and that I would make 50-60k first year and well over 100k each year after that. I was still not sure what the job was all about, but the money sure was enticing. I was passed onto stage two, the group interview.
Transitioning my way from the first interview to the second yet again seemed odd. Something just wasn't right but I couldn't place my finger on it. When I walked into the room for the group interview there were three other men in suits that were filling out some paperwork. I again struck up conversation as we waited only to find that none of us had any idea what we were doing there, but again, none of us wanted to argue with the money.
After waiting for twenty minutes or so, a confident well dressed man entered the room and said that he was the state director and he was going to give us a run through on how the company worked. He started telling us about how successful he was and how he started the company and bla bla bla... I started to fade away as he started going from confident to arrogant and obnoxious drastically quick. What I took from this group interview was how to make money, and this is where I found out that it was on a strict commission basis. I had never worked on commission and I felt uneasy about this, but as a recent college grad, I felt that I could accomplish anything.
After wasting an hour listening to the state director go off about not settling for "meterocracy" yes, I know how I spelled that, he actually said "meterocracy". He also mentioned that he gets "flusterated" yes, "flusterated". Was he making up words or was he just that dumb? I left the group interview and went home thinking about the money.
A couple days later I got a call about coming in for a third interview. I accepted the invite, thinking only of the money, still not 100% sure what this company did. When I went in for the third interview, the interviewer asked me when I could start making money and that was it, couldn't they do this over the phone? Oh well, a pointless meeting, but I got the job.
Very similar to many other complaints on this company I found myself in the "boot camp" period. This is where my social live took a dive, my family worried about me, and my girlfriend at the time started questioning my judgment. I don't have all day so I'll hit the most painful parts of the "job". During boot camp I was in training around 25 hours a week and I was "required" to ride along with other agents to learn what they were doing, this was roughly another 10 more hours a week. On top of this I was required to come into the office in the mornings and "learn how to be a manager" which consisted of making phone calls to prospective employees. At this time I realized why I was called. I was handed a stack of 100 resumes and told that before I went home, I had to set 15 interviews for that week. So I prepared to call and then I was told that they had to give me a copy of what to say to get people in for interviews. I though this was weird because it seemed like we had to coax people to come in for interviews. I was handed a script (yes a script) the same thing that I was told over the phone.
I called all morning, and not being a person that particularly liked the phone, this was not something I wanted to do. I called from 8:30 to roughly 2:00 and set a few, not the required fifteen. I stuttered on the phone and was not confident that I wanted to do this any longer and it showed on the phone, I was not good.
This went on for two weeks, the calling, the training, the ride alongs and I was still yet to make a dime. In fact, I had to pay for union dues, a test prep class, and an insurance test which ended up being around $250. That is a lot of money for someone that just graduated college and has not been paid for work that they have done for two weeks. I kept asking myself, why I was doing this, but the promise and the lure of making 60k was on my brain.
As time went on and I kept coming in doing work for free, my friends and family were asking how much money I was making and other questions of the sort and I had to explain why I had been working for almost a month and had not made any money. I tried to come up with a reason, but couldn't. I felt like an idiot.
Throughout training I would ask questions and would frequently get the reply "You're too smart, just dumb it down a little". I had a difficult time "dumbing it down" so my manager told me that we were dealing with union people, they are not that bright, just get the sale. It's all about ALP. Keep it simple, stop giving them so many choices. ALP = Annual Life Premium
Back to the office...
I had started to learn the swing of how things worked and found that if someone calls you, and you come in for an interview and sign on, they become your manager. Huh, I thought, who is my manager? I asked around and found out that the guy who called me didn't get me and I went to one of the more experienced managers. The guy who called me realized that he wasn't making any money and left the company after a month. I then asked where the people were that I called in and why wasn't I a manager as there were three people that I called in that had signed on to work at the company. I was told that I was still in training and everyone I called went to the manager ahead of me. Sounded fishy, it felt wrong, but I passed it off as "paying my dues" BIG MISTAKE.
I continued to "pay my dues" for a couple of months and was full of anger that I was being taken advantage of, yet, I stayed with the company and decided to stick it out. Heck, I got this far, it must get better.
Long story short, nearly a year later I had seen agents come and go and found myself very high on the seniority latter in this branch. I asked where everyone else was before me and I was told that they were all promoted and moved out of state. That seemed a convenient get away answer as there was no one that could contradict what they had told me as I was very high on the seniority list and no one to contend.
In my time working for American Income Life I had counted over 30 agents had come and gone in the first two months and I couldn't see why. As time when on, so did the newness of the company and the "opportunities". I made a decent living while I worked there or so I thought(see below), but I was required to drive 8 hours away from home and stay in hotels frequently.
(from above) What they never told you... some of it anyway. You pay for all of the following... transportation (including gas), your own office supplies, you must pay union dues that you never get anything from, and office rent, yes office rent. After I calculated it out, I was nearly sick. I found that I had paid $200 per month to rent an office that I got no money for working out of. I paid under $50 per month for union dues. I also paid just shy of $4/gallon for gas that I spent driving to the homes of my appointments for which there was a %50 no show ration. Please read that again. %50 no show ratio. I spent all that money and saw what I thought to be a nice paycheck. I did not net much money while working here and I certainly have had a difficult time regaining my social life.
Other random things that happened while I worked there.
I was advised to give other agents my business.
I was told that women were not good workers, so don't rely on them.
I witnessed management get rich and screw everyone else.
The state director made sexist comments on women, daily.
The state director made sexual comments about female workers.
The state director made advances on my girlfriend.
The state director made sure that everyday we knew how much we sucked at what we did and we were not helping his net worth.
The state director told us on a regular basis that we were going to be "taken out", whatever that meant.
Much much more...
If you get a call from American Income Life, don't waste your time. I feel as if I have lost a step and my vocabulary has diminished after this unfortunate experience. I was promised that I would be out of the field after six months yet after nine months I was working harder then before, and getting yelled at more. The painful amount of verbal beat down that we would get daily is just short of abuse. No matter what you did earlier that week, you always needed to do more. If you wanted a day off, you were a fool. If you wanted two days off, you were on the brink of being fired. If you choose to work here, you are entering a prison. Your manager will need to know where you are and what your doing 24/7. I know, I was with this company and saw how it works from many angles. Leaving before a "promotion" to M.G.A. left me with enough bad memories to post this and reveal A.I.L. to anyone that asks. Please don't feed the machine, you will regret it.