When I entered the Dupont Medical Imaging sales force, I was forty four years old.
Too long in the tooth I thought , to be considered anything else than a temporary placeholder for a company that just launched a revolutionary new technetium agent.
After years of FDA wrangling, Cardiolite had finally launched and they needed positions filled.
I got a late night phone call on June 19, 1990 and the die was cast.
I went from loading dock to radiology reading room almost overnight.
Of course, I had none of the skills necessary to manage a large territory like Arizona and New Mexico. (Vegas would be annexed later)
I found myself in meetings nodding like I understood and trying not to panic as the technical jargon washed over me.
I didn’t know the difference between a technologist and a janitor. If you had scrubs on, I bought you lunch.
I couldn’t even fill out my own expense reports.
On the long plane rides back and forth while trying to get settled, I would wrestle with my decision to just up and move out west with no family and no support.
What would become of me?
I didn’t know anybody out here and I was suffering from imposter’s syndrome big time.
And I was terrified of being exposed by some condescending cardiologist.
I remember the night I sealed the deal with myself.
I was on a dead eye coming back from Boston and as usual, I was overwhelmed and anxious.
I may never understand this business like most of my educated counterparts, but I did understand people.
I had the emotional intelligence you get from the streets
I’ve had to survive in jail, in war and in detox. I survived in a family of twelve and learned to take a beating in Catholic school, of all places.
I figured if I had the street smarts to survive all that, I had a shot here.
Albeit a long one.
When I confided to my manager, Bob Sullivan about my fears, he told me, “Bob, sales is about people. We’re in a people business and you’re going to do great.”
And I did. 🙂