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Mad Marv

Know When to "Fold 'em"

Now that the ‘do more with less’ period is over, you might be fantasizing about greener pastures at some other store. Before you pull the trigger, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

March 11, 2011

Should you go or should you stay? That’s a question some of us have had to ponder while walking our chosen career paths. And if you’ve spent any amount of time in the car business, you know you’ll face insurmountable obstacles along the way. We all have maximum tolerance levels, so how you deal with those bumps in the road will determine whether it’s time to pack it up or stay the course.

As for me, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I love what I do. In my opinion, few professions can compare to the excitement and reward of working in an automobile dealership, especially the finance office. The thrill of putting impossible deals together is a feeling I just can’t do without. I especially like that no two days are ever the same.

But even I know that working conditions can get complicated. It’s a harsh reality we all must face. Sadly, the problems that drive us out of our jobs are usually rooted in our own egos.

You know how it goes: Everything is going along smoothly, sales are robust, grosses are great and your commission isn’t bad, either. Then it happens. Staffers start taking each other for granted and personal respect goes right out the window. Tempers begin to flare, even over the tritest issues. Soon, you’re caught up in the melee. The thought of coming into work turns your stomach, and the money you’re making isn’t worth the hassle of interacting with your coworkers or your boss.

That’s when you begin fantasizing about greener pastures. Kenny Rogers said it best: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

Nobody relishes the idea of changing jobs, but sometimes it seems inevitable. However, before you make your decision, be certain the problems you’re facing aren’t fixable. In fact, here are six questions you need to answer honestly before you start updating your résumé:

•What is best for my long-term career?

•What is best for those in my care?

•What must I have from this job or employer to stay?

•What will I absolutely not tolerate if I stay?

•What will I lose if I leave?

•What do I expect to gain if I stay?

I can’t answer these questions for you, and neither can anyone else. You must analyze your own situation and weigh the answers carefully before proceeding. The answers are even more serious and complicated if you’ve been at your present store for a long time, so tread carefully and be honest with yourself.

It’s vital that you understand what’s motivating you to consider a job change, because you’re doomed to end up in the same situation with your next job if you don’t. It’s also important that you don’t overreact to the situation you’re facing, and that you plot your course with great care. And remember, a few months’ worth of bad turnovers or low finance penetration is an internal issue that can be corrected. I’m talking about far more difficult issues here, such as:

•Dealers downwardly modifying your pay plan

•Constant battles with co-managers

•Verbal or sexual harassment

•No resolution of internal problems that hurt your performance

•Unacceptable market conditions that are impacting your pay

•Increased work schedules with little time off

•No F&I backup person, making vacation time nearly impossible

•Being pressured to commit fraud

There are times when you’ve gone the distance and can bear no more, leaving you to decide whether to “hold’em” or “fold’em.” But when you take the plunge — for better or worse — own that decision. Don’t look back and get caught in the “coulda-shouda-woulda.” The new job will have its ups and downs, but remember why you left and be the best you can be.


  1. 1. Kathi Kruse [ March 12, 2011 @ 09:11AM ]

    Great post.
    I've had every one of these issues happen to me! I've usually stayed too long and that brings it's own kind of pain. We all have a voice inside--our "gut" that tells us when it's time to go. Ignore that at your own peril. Our heads say, "Oh, it'll get better" but it never really does. Shining the light on the issues and answering these questions honestly snaps us out of denial. It's never comfortable but growth and success are only achieved outside of our comfort zones. Thanks for your insight Marv.

    Kathi Kruse
    Kruse Control Inc.

  2. 2. Marv [ March 12, 2011 @ 10:33AM ]

    Experience is a wonderful teacher. I too, have stayed too long hoping I could bring about positive change and it cost me big. Few employers take the time to truly understand the problems going on among their staffers because they're so busy running the company and worse yet some become desensitized due to the level of responsibility they shoulder. My advice to dealers would be to slow down and visit more with your employess and you may uncover problems that can be resolved that would prevent a them from looking elsewhere. We all have tolerance levels and should be honest with ourselves about them. Kind of like what Clint Eastwood's character, Harry Callahan, once said "A man's got to know his limitations."

  3. 3. klay kelso [ March 15, 2011 @ 05:49PM ]

    Two old sayings come to mind Marv; Don't become a 'Prisoner of Hope', and 'The best opportunity is the one at hand'. Many don't even try to make the situation they're in at work better. They just quit, and there's no futrue in that. On the other end of the spectrum, I've been on that 'Prisoner of Hope' ride and life's just too short for that trap. It takes wisdom gained through experience to make these kinds of decisions. Thanks for the wisdom.

  4. 4. Bob B [ March 16, 2011 @ 10:09AM ]

    Nice article Marv. I went through that thought process over the past year before deciding to move. No support from my CEO and a company that was dedicated to standing still while others were growing. Coming to work each day knowing that priority one was to tread water made it hard to motivate myself. Leaving a job is never an easy decision and should always involve careful, realistic, thought about where you are and where you want to be.

  5. 5. KM [ March 29, 2011 @ 05:46AM ]

    So many DP's are their own worse enemies. I can handle the ups & downs of the markets, but when the workplace becomes toxic, and the DP doesn't's time to go. I suffered a few years at one shop because of the great pay, but when I saw the owner didn't care about peopke, I had to bounce.

  6. 6. Marv [ April 13, 2011 @ 04:25AM ]

    Interesting piece.

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Author Bio

Marv Eleazer

Finance Director

Marv is no insider. He’s an actual F&I manager with more than 20 years of experience. Get his from-the-trenches take on the industry every month at

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