UBC Day 19 : Lessons from a New Career
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.
I am sharing what ‘I Saw and I Learnt‘ at BlogAdda.com in association with DoRight.in.
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.
July 19, 2013 3:01 pm|
What an inspirational post Shilpa 🙂 Perseverance and hard work are the keys to success. I especially loved the lessons you learnt from experience. Bravo….
July 20, 2013 10:18 pm|
Thank you Vinita! True, life has ways of testing us. The urge to quit during these times is the highest but not quitting and working hard to remove the obstacles is the key! 🙂
July 19, 2013 3:09 pm|
When a child is born the parents teach the child, in school the teachers take care of, but when thrown into the whirlpool of real tough life there are no teachers to guide or user manual. One has to learn by observing, taking decisions which may be right or wrong and thus proceed. No doubt life teaches a lot.
July 20, 2013 10:25 pm|
Well said Kalpana. The support and nurturing that we get as a child is taken away as we grow up and then it is fighting your own battles and learning from them. And that is a great learning experience!
July 19, 2013 3:11 pm|
Wow, good one Shilpa! I didn’t know, you wer also into Branding. I started my career from Advertising. I was extremely drawn to advertising, I was the only one taken from my college to FCB ulka. It is still one of the high points of my life irrespective of the fact that I later felt I did not enjoy it that much.
Yes, the people who you work with make a lot of difference, and your own attitude. You chanelised it so well.
July 20, 2013 10:28 pm|
Wow, you worked with FCB Ulka! Superb! My last assignment was as Group Brand Manager and that was in 2004. In Pharma, our agencies were different. It was fun working with them…
July 19, 2013 3:12 pm|
Such inspiring post, Shilpa! Very brave of you and those pointers in the end are indeed handy! Thanks for that! 🙂
July 20, 2013 10:30 pm|
Thanks Naina. Glad you found this post useful. Good luck to you in your new assignment! 🙂
July 19, 2013 4:05 pm|
A motivating synthesis, shilpa. nice post:)
July 20, 2013 10:30 pm|
Thank you Asha 🙂
July 19, 2013 4:17 pm|
I loved the way you listed out your learnings in the end.
Great job girl in finally taking things in your hands. Nothing like hard work, smart work and perseverance. 🙂 Cheers!
July 20, 2013 10:31 pm|
Thanks Kajal. It is true, that God helps those who help themselves 🙂
July 19, 2013 4:23 pm|
You have inspired me!!! I need to revamp my working style!!
July 20, 2013 10:32 pm|
All the very best to you Smita 🙂
July 19, 2013 4:25 pm|
The only way to learn and move forward is to take the bull by the horns. What an inspirational post. Loved it Shilpa. And thanks so much for writing on my prompt and linking up.
July 20, 2013 10:33 pm|
Thanks for hosting such a wonderful prompt, Suzy! Loved writing for this one 🙂
July 19, 2013 5:43 pm|
Shilpa.it is so familiar.Iwas moved from manufacturing to branding and finally to marketing.
Learning from the experienced and knowledgable is a treat.I still consider my that time senior as my guru.
If someone was to asked me,brand building is the most challenging job one can ask for.Also,those who fall,really fall with a thud.
Very nice post.Very nice.
July 20, 2013 10:37 pm|
Wow, we are from the same field. Oh yes, time and life are world’s best teachers! They say, the years teach much which the days never know.
July 19, 2013 6:43 pm|
You always inspire me with your posts!
Btw, you can share this post on Blogadda. They have a contest going on with a similar theme 🙂
July 20, 2013 10:38 pm|
Thanks a lot for the info, Nisha. Have linked this post to Blogadda 🙂
July 20, 2013 11:10 pm|
You are welcome!
I love the new layout.. it’s sooo pretty! Maybe you can consider increasing the fonts of the header and tabs on top. Just a tad though.
July 20, 2013 11:13 pm|
Thanks for the feedback, Nisha! Will look into this ASAP 🙂
July 19, 2013 7:05 pm|
In a job, I feel that people pickup after a few months. The initial months are very blank for sure! It’s good to know that you have been through this cycle – It’s an important learning cycle and I am sure it will help you grasp many things easier in life.
July 20, 2013 10:46 pm|
True, everybody picks up things after some time, but the times when you are all lost and hopeless, it can drain you emotionally. Yes, this initial struggle and its learnings paves the way for future path.
July 19, 2013 7:47 pm|
You did the right thing. I would say you are a role model.
July 20, 2013 10:46 pm|
Thanks SG 🙂
July 19, 2013 8:56 pm|
Reema, I was in advertising till a year back as a strategy Planner, till I got slipped discs and had to leave my lifestyle and timelines of advertising. And as a matter of fact, by a weird twist of fate, I have just joined a pharma company as an assist Brand manager and cant stop marveling the game plan you set for yourself Shilpa. I exactly get what you meant by being curious and hungry to learn,all charged up to take the brand places, develop a persona et al and then feel like you are hitting a dead end. THank you so much for this post!!!!U have no idea..the myriad expressions that I went through when I read this post.
July 20, 2013 10:50 pm|
Wow! You work as a BM in a pharma company! How cool! So glad to note that we share the same professional background! All the best to you girl, achieve great heights in your career 🙂
July 19, 2013 8:56 pm|
Wow Shilpa You are really great. You are an achiever right from the beginning! You are a source of inspiration and motivation to several others like me. Loved reading about your success story. God Bless you.
July 20, 2013 10:51 pm|
Thank you so much for your warm wishes, Ma’am 🙂
July 19, 2013 11:18 pm|
If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop. – Love this the most 🙂 Nice post Shilpa!
July 20, 2013 10:52 pm|
Thanks Swaram. 🙂
July 20, 2013 12:04 am|
Vow you are such a go getter.. only a person with such a hard desire to learn can go to this length.. well done Shilpa 🙂
July 20, 2013 10:57 pm|
Thanks a lot, Sunita for your kind words of appreciation 😛
July 20, 2013 1:58 am|
That is so very inspiring. There was a time, when I felt lost and discouraged too during initial phase of my career. Good to see how you bounced back.
July 20, 2013 11:11 pm|
Thanks Nandana. Guess, that’s part of the learning curve. Am sure you are applying the learnings of the past experiences now. Good luck to you 🙂
July 20, 2013 6:17 am|
Inspiring lessons there Shilpa… 🙂
July 20, 2013 11:14 pm|
Thanks Jayashree 🙂
July 20, 2013 8:30 am|
Great going Shilpa, life is all about learning and enjoying the lessons:)
July 20, 2013 11:16 pm|
Oh yes and moving ahead 🙂
July 20, 2013 9:11 am|
You have demonstrated how a person can learn if she has the will!
One who has the right teacher/guide/mentor can be an Arjuna; one who has no teacher/guide/mentor can be an Ekalavya! Of course, the modern Ekalavyas should retain their thumbs!!
July 20, 2013 11:31 pm|
Hi Proactive Indian. Loved your analogy. In the corporate jungle most of us are Eklavyas, learning to work around on our own. Very few are lucky to have mentors like Arjuna. 🙂
July 20, 2013 10:15 am|
Lessons learned :). I am really glad I have google now. Now, one can move ahead one’s senior in skills if one wants to. Hierarchy will stay though.
July 20, 2013 11:33 pm|
Oh yes, sometimes I wonder, how we survived without Google then 😉
July 20, 2013 10:27 am|
This was filled with inspiration and great advice. So glad you found your niche and began to enjoy the job.
July 20, 2013 11:34 pm|
Glad you connected with this post, Kathy. Thanks 🙂
July 20, 2013 1:21 pm|
that’s a very inspirational post. very true there are people like that supervisor who love to act as if they know best and no one should know better than them! not just on the job, everywhere we encounter people like these and the tips u’ve given are truly wonderful. I’m sharing it on my personal fb page…
btw, did i ever tell u I started my career with the pharma industry too?
July 20, 2013 11:46 pm|
Thanks LP. Actually these are the people who are very insecure. They do ot believe in sharing their knowledge and information fearing that others would surpass them. And yes, such people are everywhere!
Wow, that’s cool. 🙂
July 20, 2013 3:24 pm|
Inspirational post… 🙂 But more than that, right now I’m making a wish, that I could jump ships right now! I have been wanting to, but reading your post is kinda pushing me to take that leap…
By the way, love the new look of the blog 🙂 🙂
July 20, 2013 11:48 pm|
Take that step, Bhavya! All the very best! 🙂
July 20, 2013 4:59 pm|
Often the journey towards our goal gives us much more than the goal itself…… inspiring post….truly
July 20, 2013 11:52 pm|
Well said Shelly. It is important to focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. 🙂 Thanks.
July 20, 2013 7:18 pm|
Shilpa am I the only one who is noticing your new look for the blog? I went through the entire comments set and no one has mentioned. I thought perhaps I have come after sometime here but no I was here yesterday? If i am not going mad you have changed the design na? Its looking very nice! and as for the post well well the story that goes is that Shilpa turned out to be a pro in whatever she tried- work or blog 😀 😀
July 20, 2013 11:59 pm|
LOL 😀 Dont think so much, dear Richa!! The new look was live today afternoon. See, today’s post and everybody has given feedback about the new look.:D
Thanks for kind words, am beaming 🙂
July 21, 2013 8:38 am|
okay, sorry, I could not read your post because I am so mesmerized by your new look!! What a find!! I just love it!
July 21, 2013 10:52 am|
You liked it so much, Roshni!!!! Wow! Thanks 🙂