It is my pleasure to publish ‘Guest Blog’ Post. This post has been contributed by Mr. Hasan Jamal, a longtime veteran of Pharma Industry. The Guest Blog Posts are also published on http://pharmaveterans.com . You are welcome to contribute. You may write your own story or about some memorable events of your career or about Pharma Industry. Please send your posts to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Continued from previous……
To me job in pharmaceutical selling in that era was fun and hedonistic, albeit very challenging, demanding and competitive. The satisfying thing was the taste and touch of intellectualism attached to it. All activities were well documented and monitored keenly by seniors. The systems were well defined and inexorable. Overall this was the period of great learning in a number of ways, but learning through a hard way, quite taxing and consuming. The newcomers were exposed to five-star hotels, which were, and I believe still are, the loci of sales meetings, trainings and seminars. Participation in conferences and other activities of various associations of doctors was another charm, academic exposure and an opportunity to learn.
In-house trainings and mock detailing sessions were quite intense and high-pressure occasions. Particularly mock detailing used to be conducted in the presence of a sizable group of colleagues and seniors. We would enter the meeting hall with initial trepidations. Everyone had to take the grit of detailing in the face of a captious group.
LtoR. Attending a Training with Asrar, Hafeez, Tasleem, Rasheed, Masaud & Others; Outside a shopping mall in Kualalumpur with Asrar, Ghayas; Farewell of Pharma Director Heidkamp with Iqbal Ahmed, Tariq Umar, Ghayas, Asrar
Visits to the doctors were a joy, but one had to be well prepared and equipped with appropriate knowledge and communication skill to face the situation and be successful, as doctors were much more knowledgeable, educated, sophisticated and formed the intelligentsia of the society. If one realized, this was a learning opportunity too. Traveling which has always been my passion was another charm, that I enjoyed to the fullest, specially five-star travelling when became senior.
We would wait for the year ending as that was the time to celebrate, eagerly awaited, Annual Sales Conference, an ecstasy and full of fun. Everyone even the ‘Terror Manager’ (SKM) would be in jovial mood, would be friendly and cracking jokes.
Within the company the level of training which was imparted to us, the exposure that we got at different forums, doctors as well as in-house discussions, the substance-rich material we used to carry with a good command over it and the presentation and communication skills that we acquired and developed, gave us a high level of confidence. We had very strong feeling that we are not just conventional salesmen but scientists working to serve the ailing humanity.
In those times, a lot used to be done to promote education and I vividly remember that our company used to procure many rare and expensive books, magazines and literature containing latest knowledge and research work for doctors and even medical students, from within the country and outside.
Company used to invite renowned doctors and researchers from outside the country for lectures and workshops at different teaching and non-teaching forums of the doctors. On these occasions besides practicing doctors a huge number of medical and pharmacy students used to turn up. As such knowledge based, academic activities were a common place in those times.
Company undertook academic initiatives for even pharmacy students and faculty members, who were not directly commercially beneficial to the company in short term. I remember we were actively involved with the pharmacy department of Punjab University and some highly qualified experts were invited from England who delivered lectures and gave practical demonstration on various subjects at the department attended by a large number of pharmacy students and the teachers and I could figure from their jabbering that lot of knowledge being imparted was a precious addition to their prowess.
During my career with Hoechst I have had the privilege of meeting and interacting with some wonderful colleagues and personalities and I would certainly be proud to discuss them in my future writings, if my account is worth publishing and I could continue sharing my experiences at Pharma Veterans , and more so for Mr. S K Manzar who in the true sense was the avatar of sales, marketing and training.
Then the nightmare came and a down turn to my career started. I was gainfully employed in the company, things were going fine for me and I was successfully following my career path. At the end of the year 1994 I made a colossal mistake of my life and took the decision of changing my career for some other pursuit. This was the blunder that I would rue for the whole of my life.
I want to put few lines about my ordeal just to caution those who are planning change of career, which is a very crucial decision in one’s life. One wrong move and misstep can ruin you and throw you and your family in agony and miserably out of balance for life.
While planning a change in career, one has to be fully mindful of all pros and cons and weigh your aptitude and resources by being absolutely practical and emotionless. Do a thorough SWOT of yourself and the career you are planning to embark upon.
Change can DO or UNDO. If it is not well thought of and logical, the chances of latter are bright.
System once derailed becomes very difficult to be back on track. Lucky are those few who get extricated from such crises and have another chance to find the right vocation, otherwise you yearn into a never-ending mire.
I had to start struggle all over again and am still trying to come back to the main stream pharmaceuticals, which if works out at this age (as they say “age is just a number”) would be a miracle but losing hope and despondency is no option. My voyage, struggle and fight are on with complete belief and reliance on Allah Almighty.
Struggle has to go on till the last moment of life and never succumb to odds. This is my advice to all those who are toiling up the cliff path for career.
A quote from Christopher Columbus “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”