From Part 1:
I’m all for the “work grind” mantra – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lives and breathes it and so does Daymond John, “The Peoples Shark.” Sure, I may not seemingly practice that because I update the blog once in a while (switching jobs is not as easy as it looks – a lesson I’ll take to heart, while moving (as in I’m FINALLY bringing some belongings over to the new place) and dealing with transportation for the new job), but I really am trying – right now, my main concern is keeping my head above the water.
You can ask anybody who did an MLM adventure – one way or another, they will tell you that they felt relegated to doing the above, except that they had someone who consistently raised the water level to the point where they’d sink into financial ruin.
The MLM I signed up with, Market America, I was fortunate enough to have my parents as my upline and even then, they were thankfully not aggressive about it. Granted, they’ve been in a few themselves before where I wasn’t a downline to them, but there were other MLMs I got indirectly involved in where I didn’t have that pleasantry.
The first was with Amway / Quixtar. I don’t know if they still operate under Amway because Amway is now synonymous with MLMs in mainstream knowledge, so the company decided to rebrand itself to be less obvious about what they are. My ex boyfriend had a friend, Alondra*, who became involved with Amway as a means of providing additional income to raise her two children as a single mother. He wanted to support Alondra and he also wanted to be self-employed, so he figured that by doing Amway, he’d be knocking two birds with one stone.
At this time, I was developing a deep-seated wariness of any MLM company. I don’t recall if I had left Market America by the time my ex went into Amway (this is why you never down 3 small cups full of Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey when your ex and his side piece show up in a party that you foolishly decided to attend too, never knowing they’d arrive), but I do remember that his friend tried to convince me to join as well as a show of support for my ex.
I resisted. As much as I loved and adored my ex, I couldn’t realistically support him in that venture. I was barely making bank working part time in retail, trying to pay my student loans – how on earth was I gonna be able to back him up financially?
Instead of discouraging Alondra and her upline Charles*, my resistance only encouraged them to work harder to convince me otherwise. My ex was, on the surface, hooked in. But I’ll never know if he ever went through the barraging that other former Amway IBOs went through when they didn’t perform to their Upline’s standards. I do recall him telling me how pressured he felt, but he figured it was either just nerves or hater-talk (the fact that Charles was black may have also played a role – my ex wanted to support black-owned businesses more).
The first meeting did not go well. I had to watch my ex call up everybody on his Contacts list and recite the infamous MLM pitch about a business opportunity that would be beneficial for him and whoever he had to call up. Now, my ex’s friends know how he talks, so to hear him with that pitch sent red flags up and center on their ends. I didn’t hear what they said to him on the phone, but I already could tell their choice words of response.
I do not have a good poker face. My internal cringe must have been visible to both Charles and Alondra, but they either ignored it or pretended I wasn’t cringing. But my ex knew better. We remained polite as best we could until we were in the safety and privacy of my car, Sweet Pea. After that, my ex boyfriend’s friends did not hesitate to berate him for trying to reel them into Amway as well.
My heart hurt when he told me what had happened, but it was only the first of many that followed. Charles would constantly call my ex almost daily, asking him if he had convinced any of his friends to join in and my ex had to tell him over and over that none of them wanted in. Not even his first and second best friend.
Charles got on my nerves much sooner than he did to my ex. I didn’t care that he was black – I was becoming angry and stressed at his constant nagging towards my ex, who was becoming more agitated and irritable to the point where he’d lash out to anyone.
It just so happens that I was on the receiving end of a good number of them. I knew that my ex didn’t like to be barraged or nagged or anything of the sort. But I also didn’t know how to help him or get him out of what was slowly, but surely, becoming a terrible mistake.
To be continued in Part 3
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of former (and possibly still) MLM participants.