As human beings, we always have a tendency to pop on our rose-colored glasses and talk about the “good old days.”
Remember the good old days, when pharmaceutical manufacturers were almost constantly growing and profitable? When expansion was the norm, not the exception? When a career arc was fairly secure unless you really fouled it up?
Now it’s all about lean. Entire sales forces drastically cut, or eliminated, or re-organized. Career people suddenly without careers. Downsizing sometimes feels more like capsizing.
We’re on a roller coaster these days, and with all the turmoil of the ever-shifting healthcare environment, that’s not changing anytime soon.
So what is a pharmaceutical professional to do?
Do yourself a huge favor. Build your network. Build it now, even long before you end up looking for a new professional direction.
There is no corporate safety net. There is only your opportunity network.
I’ve given small and large workshops on professional network-building to industry audiences, and have also spoken to I don’t know how many dozens of colleagues in the industry who are having to re-assess their direction, usually unwillingly.
One very common regret – not pro-actively building a network ahead of time.
Universally, for our industry, I’ve pointed to LinkedIn as the best place to build your professional network. Don’t worry too much about Twitter and some of the other avenues (unless you’re deep into social media for other reasons). There are ways to be effective using LinkedIn that any intelligent person can employ without a huge investment of time.
This is where your colleagues are. You contacts outside the industry that should be cultivated. And probably, your next job.
If you’re in our industry, feel free to connect with me and let me know what you’re seeking to accomplish. I’ve built the Impactiviti network for you, not just me. We’re a bunch of us helping each other find what we need – not just optimal vendors, but new professional opportunities.
Steve, your analogy about the health care roller coaster is well put. The ability to flex has rescued many a career in this field.
“Dig the well before the drought.” Unfortunately, many people actively network only when they are job seeking, and this is a missed opportunity for helping others and growing personally at the same time, I believe.
Steve Woodruff says
Andrew – I see that “scramble to build a network when I need it” behavior all the time. But, it’s not really network-building. It’s a desperate (fear-driven) attempt to find a life preserver.