How Corporations Really Work And Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Life To One

In my book How To Sell, I outline an exit plan from the corporate world using sales as a catalyst to freedom, this article is a section from the book.

The reason I wanted to make this available to you for free is because I see so many guys giving their lives to corporations. I’ve seen it happen with all of my friends and all the guys I worked with. In fact, in all my years in the corporate world, I’m the only guy I know who has his own business.

If you’re planning on starting a business straight out of school, more power to you. However, I know that many of you guys might not be ready for business ownership just yet, either financially or emotionally. And I know that many of you will have to make a deal with the devil and get a corporate job, just like I did.

I just want to make sure that your job is a temporary situation, not a permanent one. Because the only person you should be working for permanently, is yourself. And it’s very important to be firm in this belief, because everyone around you; your friends, your family and your coworkers will be working to undermine your dreams.

The truth is, you’ve been trained to take orders since birth, from your parents to your teachers to your government.

Taking orders from a boss is just a natural progression of your programming.

I’ve seen it happen to to many guys.

Guys who told me they’d never spend their lives in an office.

Guys who told me they’d only be there for a few years.

Guys who told me they were going to start their own business.

But they didn’t make it out, they became a statistic.

Another guy sitting in traffic thinking about what could have been.

To avoid becoming another statistic, you need to understand what a corporation really is.

A corporation is a psychic prison. They tell you what to think, where to piss, where to sit and when you get to go home. When you work for someone you have to call another man your boss and all your resources depend on what he chooses to give you.

I know this sounds negative and nasty, but it’s not until you recognize that employment is wage slavery that you can start to see clearly. When you see clearly you realize the game is about surviving, thriving and getting out.

You’ve been born into a world where your natural ability to hunt your own food and tend your own land is no longer an option. A criminal monopoly called government tells you what to do, what to think and takes half of your income.

The buildings aren’t yours, your house and car are mortgaged to the bank and you have to slave away 50 hours a week just to get by. You are a completely expendable, easily replaced cog in the corporate machine.

In reality, your position is no better than a feudal level serf tilling the soil for his lord and king. Now don’t get me wrong, we live a thousand times better than our ancestors ever dreamed, but the game is still the same.

The world is the way it is and neither you nor I can change it. Most people will never get free, but with hard work, accurate thinking and excellent salesmanship, you can be one of the lucky few who make it out.

Civilization only works in your benefit when you make it to the top 1% and own your revenue stream. When you don’t, someone else will always own you.

A corporation, in its purest form is designed for one thing and one thing only, making as much profit for its owners as possible. If a corporation were a person it would be a diagnosed sociopath as you can see in the brilliant documentary The Corporation. This is because corporations are run and managed by sociopaths.

According to Venkatesh Rao in his seminal book on office politics The Gervais Effect, the operations of a corporation can be defined as follows: Sociopaths on top, clueless company men in the middle and losers at the bottom with the structure represented as a pyramid. Rao defines a company like this:

“The Sociopath (capitalized) layer comprises the Darwinian/Protestant Ethic will-to-power types who drive an organization to function despite itself. The Clueless layer is what Whyte called the “Organization Man,” but the archetype inhabiting the middle has evolved a good deal since Whyte wrote his book (in the fifties). The Losers are not social losers (as in the opposite of “cool”), but people who have struck bad bargains economically.”

At the apex of every organization sits a sociopath. Most normal humans aren’t capable of the complex machinations required of a CEO. The truth is, sociopaths are a necessary evil of life, just like insurance companies.

Sociopaths operate in plain sight in organizations like the military or the mafia but many employees don’t realize the same type of guy is in charge of their company. And usually the bigger and more profitable the corporation, the more ruthless the executives.

A corporation in fact, operates no differently than a mafia, with its only goal being profit. It just appears to operate differently because it works within the boundaries of the law (most of the time).

Corporations only operate within the law because on average it’s a better business decision to avoid competing with the government who hold a monopoly on the use of force. But if the boundaries of the law included murder you can bet that every major corporation would have an assassination department as well as the various ethical justifications to go with it.

In the hierarchy of the corporation you are the loser. Now I don’t mean that in a personal sense but in the sense of you having made a bad bargain: selling your time for money. A job is just an excuse to pay you less than you’re worth, and in sales you’ll see that you only take home about 20% of what you earn and that’s before taxes.

A good bargain is being an owner. As an owner you possess a perpetual money machine as well as a corporate structure to shield your personal taxes. This is the bargain you should be chasing, your own business, where you answer to no one and get to keep everything you can make.

As long as you can sell it’s always going to be in your best interests to be selling for yourself. But to get to that point you need money and to get that money you’re going to have to accept making a bad bargain, at least for now.

I followed that path and now I live in live in Thailand making money from a business I love and creating content to help guys like you. Because I was a guy like you. But now I’m not because I paid my dues, banked my cash and got the fuck out – it is possible if you want it.

Understand this, you might have to make a bad bargain for now, but the difference between you and the company man is that you’re aware of your bad bargain and he’s not. The company man is happy to parade around in his company windbreaker oblivious to his wage slavery. You on the other hand are learning marketable skills and banking your cash for your exit plan.

Now that you know what a corporation is you’re going to be able to see how everything works with your eyes open. And once you truly internalize this stuff, you’re going to have insight that the 55 year old company man never will. This is a crucial mindset for you to develop, because it will give you the motivation to bank your cash and plan your exit.

With that said, it’s not all doom and gloom. You’re not working for a mining company in Africa slaving away in a cave all day. You’ve got air conditioning, cushy chairs, coffee and maybe even some eye candy – things could be worse. It’s crucial to understand the bargain you’ve made but just as crucial to stay positive so that you can survive and thrive.

If you’re new to the game you might not even mind the first few months in sales. You start having money in your pocket, you get to be friends with some cool guys, you learn valuable skills – but it doesn’t stay that way. With each passing year it becomes more of a grind as you learn to live and die by your monthly targets.

When you’re a rookie it’s easy to make 200 cold calls a day but 5 years in you’re going to be dragging your feet just to make 20. When you get to know the guys you work with you’ll see that many long term salesmen are weekend alcoholics, potheads, overweight or have some other vice to cope with the stress. You cannot let yourself end up like this.

That’s why you need to keep your eyes on the exit. Get in, get paid and get out.

  1. Hi Will,
    having worked in sales and owning an online business as you do, do you think being in face to face sales is a better or more enduring skill than being able to market products & intangibles from your website?
    And having done both, why do you think people talk past each other as if they were the same thing? (Not that they’re not hard, but marketing online products is markedly different from dialling for dollars.) I was at a networking fair and I was talking to randoms about my work history and I mentioned I’d been in sales and they perked up and asked ‘what’d you sell? infoproducts?’ and I said ‘no, I did delegate sales’.
    Anyhow, the podcasts on how to sell were pretty good, ta for those.

  2. At this point in my life, marketing products is more valuable to me, however a lot of my ability to sell products online came from learning how to sell offline. And not just with products, I look at every article as a sales tool that one, solves the readers problem for that issue, and two convinces the reader I’m an authority.

    If I had to go back to the job market though, face to face selling is my most valuable skill, same if I was going to start a service business. But at this point in time I’m putting my energy into putting out content and building a suite of products.

    As to why people talk past each other its because they don’t know what they’re talking about, all they know about sales is what they read in books and no one at networking events knows what’s going on, I actually wrote an article on why networking events aren’t all that productive.

    Hope that answers your questions and thanks for your support.

  3. Great post Will. Wish selling and running a business was something I had focused more on. Especially now. Freedom is so essential for your manhood and sense of well being. I’m making up for lost time with a vengeance but still wish I would have put in the time earlier. But the awareness is priceless. Learning that a corporation is never an escape route but always a prison is an essential step in breaking free from the matrix. Something that I get closer and closer to doing everyday.

  4. Hey! I bought your book how to sell recently. It is an amazing book, I especially loved how you broke down different sales job in it. I’m going through a dilemma i was hoping you could help me out with it. I graduated from university one year and a half ago and straight out of school, I found myself a job as a stock broker. I have been making good money and one great reason for that is that I have one corporate account of a company that one of my Uncles is a CFO off. That buys me a lot of leverage at work, however, since Im a political sciences major i have been having problems trying to make my clients money consistently in day trading. As most of my clients are under the assumption that you can double your investment through trading within a few short months. My company has given me quite a huge sales target, so I need to put to make risky trades in penny stocks in order to make more commissions to reach that target as one corporate account isnt enough to reach that. My colleagues, rather one in particular, she is this psychopathic woman, who intentionally pitches my clients who are unhappy and promises them to double their amount through day trading is causing me a lot of problems. Could you guide me of how I can turn the pressure back on her, and keep my upper hand on everyone in the company. I plan on working for one more year and save enough by then to get out and leave for starting my own business. But I want this one year to go smoothly with my only focus being on making more money and hitting the target. Your help will be much appreciated.

  5. Thanks Jack, I really appreciate your purchase and kind words and I’d be happy to help. With that said I’m not surprised whatsoever at the unethical targets and pressure your company is putting on you. As I outline in the book and my article, 95% of financial sales is unethical. After my day trading career ended I leveraged my experience into financial sales but I got out quick because all the guys I worked with we’re just ripping their clients faces off and laughing about it.

    As an ex day trader I can tell you making consistent money is exceptionally difficult. Doubling your return on your investment in a year is monumental, let alone in a month. I made good money for a while but only because I had 3 mil in company money to leverage, an ultra fast execution system, ultra cheap trades negotiated by our company and an arbitrage opportunity that didn’t last more than a year. The average day trader gets destroyed. Even when it comes to professionals, not one single guy I worked with is still trading. And in terms of return, the best guys in the world, George Soros, Warren Buffett etc. don’t do more than 20 to 30% on average, year after year. Here’s everything you need to know about trading and why you should avoid it like the plague

    As for this broad, she’s a sociopath, and as I outline in my book you can’t compete with sociopaths in sales because they have no conscience. How can you compete with someone who will tell their clients anything to get paid?

    Unfortunately it sounds like you walked into a chop shop/boiler room – think wolf of wall street. These types of companies are exceptionally unethical and in many cases operating illegally. The first thing you need to do is avoid not day trade your Uncle’s account, you don’t want to have to live with losing your families money.

    My advice is to line up another job. I get that you want to bank cash and get out but it’s going to be hard to sleep at night when you’re robbing people in a penny stock scheme. Not only that but you probably won’t last long, companies like that have something like a 95% turnover rate, it’s built into the system. Their whole mindset is burn and churn both with salesmen and clients. I’m not saying this is your fault at all, you seem like a great guy, but that is what’s going to be expected of you. The good thing is you’re young, motivated and can sell, there are thousands of jobs with your name on it. Within a month you could find a new job without insane targets and sociopaths trying to steal your clients. Hope this helps.

  6. Hey Will, I read/ listen to quite a bit of your stuff and I agree with a lot of what you have to say, but I feel this article is pretty biased, I don’t agree that corporations are evil. They are only doing what benefits them — pretty much what every human being does. The bottom line is profit, without profit, there is no business. And people are paid what they think they’re worth. Whether they overvalue or undervalue themselves is on them.

    For some people, it’s not worth the hassle and headaches to operate their own business when working for someone else is just as lucrative.

    I feel most of your biases are due to your experience working in sales. I’ve personally worked in sales as well, but failed to generate income with it. You’re right, sales is absolutely brutal.

    Right now, I’m almost done my Engineering degree, and I’ve done a couple work terms at a few companies. The current one that I’m working for is a massive utilities company, and I’ll tell you right now that working for them, I’m a lot more happy than working for small businesses at my previous job. I have very little work-related stress (compared to previous jobs), plenty of autonomy, decent pay (esp for a student), and great coworkers that are intelligent. I understand that this isn’t the case with everyone’s experience, my point was that working at a large firm isn’t as bad as you make it out to be.

    Having said all this, I plan to eventually start my own consulting firm after I build enough career capital working for companies for a few years if I can. But if I can work at a company and make 6 figures, dictate my own work hours, and work wherever I want, I may reconsider. Making a clear goal and hitting it is more important than getting caught up in how you achieve it.

    Now I got a question for you Will, would you still work for a corporation if you were allowed to dictate how you got results for the company, and how you got paid?

    An example would be that you could do your work independent of location, dictate your own hours, etc… The conditions would similar to what you have now.

  7. Thanks Wil,

    I understand where you’re coming from but the answer for me is no, I would never consider working for a company again. And when I stress business ownership, it’s for guys who are like me. With that said if you’re happy with your job, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    My big keys are:

    1) Never having a boss or someone to report to
    2) Never having to work hours
    3) Travel anywhere
    4) The money – I won’t get rich as an employee

    But if you’re happy, then that’s great.

  8. corporate american was horrible. working in the us empire was akin to controlled dying. Even the so call ed 6 fig bossess–CONARTISTS GALORE. Tons of office parties, company men (losers), the wind breaker comment was dead on. So many usa-ers wearing the company logo, singing the corporate usa song, and chanting. Sickos in a dying empire.

    Tons of instability, lay offs smiling asshole bosses, back stabbing usa-ers. All hu$tlers and hucksters. Thanks Mr.Freeman! You are Free Man!

  9. Respectfully—Wil–your comment appears quite likely very usa-ian. The brainwashing and propaganda becomes imprinted by 5yo in the us empire.

    THe corporate worship, the everyone/thing is like that too, (It’s not), is seen from a rather limited lens. As Dr. Morris Berman stated, the wool is not being pulled over the american’s eyes, the wool IS their eyes. Wil–you’re one publically traded quarterly earnings report from being shit canned. You are replaceble, regardless of what your conartist/shyster boss tells you. What happens when your company is sold, merged, sold again, etc..etc…you’re at their mercy, and they have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders/board members not their idiot clueless rah rah goodie goodie employees.

    Plus if you are very unfortunate to be in the us empire–you have the very unique usa employment at will doctrine–meaning your boss can shit can you for ANYTHING or NOTHING.

    Best wishes and listen to WIll Freman–he’s spot on.

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