I always said that I would move off. I always believed I was someone that was meant for it. People do it all the time but it’s a lot easier to dream about than to actually do. Being content is something that hasn’t been a significant part of my genetic makeup. That being said, deep down I always knew it would probably take some time to do so. I think God allows us to feel very unhappy for a period of time to allow us to know and be ready for the time we are called to leave where we are.
The summer before I graduated college I did some research and wrote several cities down I would like to move to. I prayed consistently for God to somehow work this out for me. Not only did I want to move, but I wanted a pharmaceutical sales position. After speaking to a few people in the industry I noticed a trend. They all said good luck and to not be disappointed if I had to do a few years of business to business sales first.
I am no stranger to hard work, but my gut (and my father) kept telling me that I did not need that. This isn’t me bragging I really, really promise but I have always been someone who gives my all in everything. The day I hear about an assignment I start working on it. I never crammed the night before a test. I went to class when I was too sick to even talk. I wrote a 15page group paper, did the PowerPoint, and went to my professors office countless time to make sure it was perfect without my teammates help. I memorized a 4 page soliloquy for bonus points when I already had a high A just for the heck of it. That is just me. I got to say that it’s really not necessary to be like me, it’s a little intense/psycho, but literally, I can’t help it. Bottom line, I was confident that if anyone could take on a job without experience, I was the girl to do so. I knew people had done it before, so why not me?
By the end of my senior year of college I was so unhappy I could hardly function. Being in a small town and not being able to relate to those around me was getting tough. I just have a different personality but by this time I could hardly take it anymore.
About a month before graduation I saw an ad for a sales job fair in Dallas, TX (about 4 hours away). After class the next day I headed to Dallas to get some interviewing experience. I showed up to the hotel and saw many middle aged people with their resumes trying to snag a job.
I’d never really interviewed before, but I knew that sales was an area I could excel in. Four out of the four employers I spoke with wanted another interview; however, I still wanted Pharma. After that job fair I had the confidence to pursue what I wanted. I kept receiving council from those in the industry and I continued waiting. One week later I received a call from a manager who’d gotten a hold of my resume, I was really shocked but excited. The position was a contract Pharma sales job in Mississippi- not my ideal location but I was willing to take it to get a job I truly wanted. Within two days I received another phone call from a regional manager for a position in a small, bio pharma company. The position available was in Raleigh, NC. So that was the position I decided to pursue. I never the ought I’d have two opportunities at once.
It turns out a old friend of my dads in the biopharma company was willing to meet me for an interview. So at a Starbucks in Dallas, TX (seems all my interviews have been in Dallas) I interviewed with the VP of sales and was offered the position days later.
I remember driving home being amazed at what God had done for me. Raleigh was one of the cities I’d written down a year earlier.
The next few months kind of felt like a major blur. I moved days after graduation -with a lot of help from my dad- and before I knew it, I was alone. I’m so close with my parents, they have been so amazing in my life so this was hard. I really was All alone in a new city 16 hours away from everyone I knew. It sounds so thrilling in theory doesn’t it? …..
For the first time in my life, I was literally alone.
The first day I met with my manager was a little.. awkward, honestly. He wasn’t the one who hired me and he wasn’t completely sure how to approach someone who’d never been in the industry. We basically stared at one another for a solid thirty minutes. However, he was nice and laid back and I felt like he had faith in me. A patient and laid back manager was exactly what someone like me needed. He’s also very sarcastic, which is great!
For months I drove around to offices to find that half the addresses I was given were wrong, some in my system had retired, and each office had unique rules and times for how they deal with reps. I guess I had an idea of what it would be like but nothing could have prepared me for it. Not having experience is one thing, taking on a large and underperforming territory in a state you’ve never lived in is another.
You don’t really know what you don’t know if you have no experience- basically I didn’t even know what to ask.
Ive spent many days stressed. I had a major wreck in my new car. A whirlwind of personal stuff going on over the past six months- it was tough. This is a lonely job. You don’t really meet coworkers, it’s just you and your car half the day. It’s certainly harder to meet people after college. Especially when you are in the awkward age when you don’t belong with college people anymore but are still very young. Some people in my offices are really awesome but I’m still not a part of their office and it is important to keep the relationship friendly but business oriented.
The industry, in my opinion, should be a valued partnership between reps and physicians and their offices, but many days it can feel like you are only as good as the snack or lunch you bring or that you are an annoyance in that offices busy day.
As a smart, driven person I have been very angry by how my position seems perceived by some people. I’ve had to learn unique ways to reach each Health Care Provider and their office. The point is, you have to discover what value you can bring to that office and their patients. The challenge has become, how can I show them I care and can provide value through our interactions?
I wish I could say I know the answer, but you can’t completely because each office and provider are not alike. But I guess that’s part of the fun of it, right?
You know what I have realized though? Many offices do find me valuable and that is enough to make the calls that do not go as planned worth it. It’s impossible to have this job “figured out” because you can’t keep the same strategy every quarter. Things are always changing. Each day I wake up inspired and with a game plan. How fortunate am I to have a job that highlights my strengths and what I love? A challenge. Presenting data and learning how to be of value.
It’s crazy that today I do have the things I was praying for last year. I am very grateful to those who have given me guidance and most importantly to God.
I don’t have this job completely figured out. Good grief I still have so much to learn, but I am doing well. Eight months in, and I am certainly holding my own and I cannot take all of the credit for that. A good work ethic and faith in God can get anyone anywhere though. I 100% believe that.
Things have gotten easier. I got a puppy, met some nice friends, and am more acquainted with the area. But there are still tough days. I still spend some weekends by myself, I occasionally feel like I just need a hug from a family member that cares about me. I also have days when I wonder what on earth I was thinking going so far away without anyone to help me out with little things- but it was all for a reason.
This plan unfolded with perfect timing. And I know it will continue to. I don’t plan on living here forever. But this is home for me now, and I am where I am supposed to be right now.