The winter before my graduation, I received an email from ING Financial Partners about a job opportunity as a financial adviser. Given that the economy was bad and that I had an interest in finance, I figured this was the golden opportunity to secure myself with a great first job. Boy was I wrong...
My first interview wasn't an interview, more like a description of what the job was and the opportunities regarding it, as spoken by the VP. I signed up for a second interview and met with a manager, the third, with the VP himself. Eventually, I landed the job, and was beyond thrilled. Afterwards, I had to sign several different contracts regarding the job, I didn't think much of it at the time, but in hindsight, it seems shady for a place to load a college student with contracts.
I got a call from the manager that previously interviewed me, telling me he would be my mentor. Since I was still in school at the time, he said to focus on passing the LAH (Life, Accident Health Insurance). I should have taken more notice to the mass amounts of nagging I received from this guy; I was in some difficult classes my last semester, so it wasn't easy to read this lengthy, boring book in my free time.
Graduation happened, I was thrilled to have my job intact and to pass my LAH. After I passed, I was told to make lists of people to have sit-downs with and to talk to them, seems fair, until these meetings ACTUALLY happened. The entire time, I just listened to my mentor go through this pitch about ING and what the advisers do. Throughout this time, I would have rather watched paint dry than hear my mentor's dull, pushy tone. My first meeting was with my parents, and from the start they did not like my mentor, they hated him more when he would constantly call me to ask about them signing up.
Everything seemed suspicious from there on out, I was studying for my Series 6 and was nagged constantly to get meetings with people, even though I wasn't licensed. My only form of training were weekly meetings about how to nag people into getting meetings, about the products they pushed you to sell and nearly falling asleep to the dry personality of my mentor. I never got real training and was pushed to get sit-down meetings with friends and family.
The straw that broke the camel's back was after a meeting I had with a former teacher and her husband. After that meeting my mentor said "her husband was pissing him off and he wanted to punch him in the face," all because they did not seem interested in buying any products. Having gone through enough meetings and dealing with lectures of how I needed to be more professional from this joke of a salesman, I was done, mentally. Eventually I got a call a week later from the VP and mentor about how I was behind on having people sit-down with them and that I would be paying $800 if I failed out now. I resigned anyway, for my own freedom and dignity.
The entire time, I was seen as a sales hound, making friends and family have these sit-downs. They would say things like "if they really love you, they'll have a sit-down and listen to you." It seemed as if my mentor merely saw me as a tool to make HIM money. They would brag in meetings about how they took financial advisers from clients so they could be their advisers instead. We were told we would get bonuses for recruiting others as well. I look back, and it all seemed like a pyramid scheme that simply put ING on its name to look legit.
Also, in case you're wondering, I'm stuck with these books I've paid for and studied my a*s off for. I won't get any licenses from them, and was never paid by this "company." If you see an email from ING Financial Partners, DELETE THAT ASAP. I feel sorry for those who are stuck there, however, and will only be trapped in that cycle of lies and deceit.