I once knew a guy named Brian. Brian was a recent college graduate and he wanted to work for an environmental nonprofit, but he couldn’t find a job. All of the organizations that interested him could only offer volunteer roles, and Brian needed to pay his rent.
Brian received a job offer in pharmaceutical sales. At first, he was resentful – Big Pharma wasn’t what he signed up for when he went to college. But after thinking it over, he decided to take the job and make the best of it.
Brian used the huge company as his personal training ground. He talked to people in every department to learn about different functions of the business. He mastered the process of how new drugs were invented, approved, manufactured, and sold, and learned essential transferable skills including finance, marketing, IT, customer relations, and of course, sales.
Brian quickly became one of the top-ranked salespeople in his division and was promoted to manager. At this point, he was more marketable to the nonprofits, so I asked if he’d leave Big Pharma. “Why would I do that?” he said. “I want to do work that matters, and I’ve found a way to do that here.”
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