Good morning SOTGC readers.
This post is inspired by someone I met at work last week, we’ll call him Mr. Brown. I was in one of my accounts waiting for a case to start when a new face came walking towards me. I’ve been around long enough to know most of the implant reps so I assumed this was a newer associate sales rep. Turns out I was right. Mr. Brown had recently graduated college and immediately got a job as an orthopedic associate sales rep. When I found out he had come from a well-regarded university and had numerous opportunities in front of him I asked him why he had chosen medical device sales and what did he think about all the crap we have to deal with? He looked a bit taken back and said something along the lines of “I like the challenge, who WOULDN’T want to do this?!”
His answer got me thinking, mostly because his genuine enthusiasm and excitement to be there reminded me of how I was when I started out in this industry a little over four years ago. As stated in previous posts, Salient Surgical was my first medical job, and I went from doing business-to-business sales right into the operating room.
I remember when I started I was SOOOOO pumped to be there. During the first two months of field rides with other account managers in the company, and the corporate training class, I was literally bouncing around in excitement. WOW! I was in the OPERATING ROOM!!!! I was watching surgery and interacting with surgeons of all different specialties!!!! I was right there watching and learning enough about my product and anatomy that when I graduated training I would be able to step into an OR and talk about technique and treatment areas with surgeons in my accounts.
By the time I made it through the myriad of new product committees and got into the operating room in my own territory I was SOOOO happy to have survived that gamut that I would talk about my technology with anyone who would listen to me (surgeons, operating room purchasers, nurses and surgical techs, heck, I even followed the cleaning crew around talking about it.) I didn’t even have to be in the hospital to be ready to talk up a storm. Anytime my friends and I would be out and someone would ask us what we do for a living, I’d launch into how excited about my job I was and the benefits of my technology.
Now, a little over four years later, when someone outside work asks me what I do I give them a short “medical device sales, not pharma” answer. When someone finds out what I do and asks how I got into it and do I have any advice for them on getting a job, my answer has been “I do have some advice for you. Go watch a German Shepard chase its tail around for a few days and then come back and tell me you still want to go into medical device sales.”
The love for my products and my belief in the technology is still there. The attention and care I give my accounts will always exist. However, the wide-eyed innocence, the raw enthusiasm and excitement that had me bounding out of bed every morning and led to my survival and success in opening this virgin territory has been sadly lacking.
I watched this rep during the three cases we had that day. I saw him take diligent written and mental notes on everything from the size of the Doctor’s gloves and his preferred music channel, to the extensive instrumentation systems they were using that day. I noticed how the Doctor responded to him because of how enthusiastic and hungry for knowledge Mr. Brown was. And I remembered a time when I had that hunger, that enthusiasm, that innocence that I’ve felt flicker and fade over the last couple years.
The more I thought about this, the more it got me thinking, and the more annoyed with myself I became. As I was figuring out how to write this post, I spoke with a couple of the surgical techs and other sales reps I have become friends with in the course of my career. They explained that having that “new kid” energy gives them a new perspective on how lucky they are to be part of a team that enhances and saves lives. That no matter how stressful their day is, they are reminded of a time when the stress was second thought, and the love of the experience was first.
I look back and smile at those first couple years, the amount of learning, the crazy hours I worked, I can still FEEL the excitement I took with me every day. There were several surgeons that gave my product a shot simply because of how passionate I was. I also realize that I have to take full responsibility for the jaded viewpoint I have taken as of late. And after spending a day with Mr. Brown, have decided that it’s time to make a change. Over the last few years I have met some of the most amazing, caring, intelligent and wonderful people who have offered me amazing learning experiences. In the grand scheme of things there are only a few people who have caused me to feel cynicism toward my role, and the vast majority remind me why I love what I do.
So going forward, I have made a conscious decision to bring back that innocence. To wake up each morning and start the day with the same wonder, joy, and enthusiasm that got me through the starting period that was so crucial.
How about you? Have you found that you’re losing love for what you have been doing, be it career, relationship, or personal struggles? If so, can you look back, and put yourself in the frame of mind with which you started your career, relationship, etc? Can you reset your way of thinking to return that passion and love that got you involved in the first place? Can you make a conscious decision to bring a return of the innocence?