It was the year 1997, like any other person, I came to Mumbai with dreams in my eyes. No, I was not there to pursue any celluloid dreams but in pursuit of a dream career. Having worked for 2 years in the Sales function of a leading Pharmaceutical company of the country, I realized that that my career path should move towards Brand Management. When I was transferred to the Brand Management Team at Head Office, it was truly a dream come true.
After induction et al, I was given some brands to handle. I was ecstatic. Before, I could do the real brand management work, I was given folders and files, books and manuals to read all about my brand. A very logical and a fair thing to do.
A week or 2 later, it was time to start doing the real brand management thing ie designing strategies, creating promotional material, working with artists, agencies and printers, gift suppliers etc. I was to work with another brand manager initially for a month or so to learn the ropes of the brand management business. A curious and eager to learn me, would ask her the questions and she would either dodge them completely or give only a part of the information or would do the task assigned to me, herself. The technical jargon she used to explain, stumped me.
Those were the days when computers were just entering the corporate sector and internet in office was in its nascent stages (I remember, we had a dial-up connection for internet and it was available on only one computer in our department). So, taking the help of Google the God was out of question.
Being a newcomer in the team, it was a trying time. In weekly meetings with the seniors, I was totally ignored and if somebody had any question, they would be answered on my behalf, by my temporary ‘manager’.
After sulking and crying for weeks, a realization dawned. Here I was with a job about which I was dreaming since the day I joined the company and now when I had my dream job, I was lost and dejected. I realized that it was time to take control over things. It was time to learn… time to learn the basics of the job…. time to learn all by yourself. And learn, I did… How… you may ask…
- Learnt from the experts: I met the artists/agencies, printers we worked with, at their work places and learnt how they designed, what were the various stages in their line of work, the technical terms and their meanings, the specifications, briefs that they need to work on…
- Acquired new skills : While others gave their work for typing to the secretarial pool, I learnt to operate computer on my own during the lunch break. And very soon, I was on my own.
- Took initiatives : Whatever new projects were rolled out, I made sure that I was a part of them. I had my fingers in every possible pie.
- Met the customers : There’s nothing like learning a thing or two from the customer. The doctors were our customers. Learning about newer techniques or current trends in surgery or their preferred treatment options or even understanding about a disease, nobody could explain it better than a practicing doctor. And this knowledge helped in designing better promotional strategies.
It was a great learning experience and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Soon enough, my work spoke for me. My enthusiasm to learn and taking initiatives was recognized and it helped me to grow and progress at a faster pace.
My lessons from this experience:
- A blocked path also offers guidance.
- There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream, but every step is worth it.
- If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop. You’re on to something big. Because hard work isn’t hard when you concentrate on your passions.
- Guide the next generation and forgive the last.
Today’s post is also in response to the Writer’s Post Thursday Blog Hop #86
which is hosted by Suzy Que of Reflections of My Soul.