19 December 2006

dealing with charlie

after a month-long stint as a project coordinator for Rx Review Center, i found myself with a handful of job offers. difficult decisions led to procrastination. then suddenly i'm on the edge, faced with what could be the one of the most important decisions of my life. i turned down a tempting job offer from Rx Review Center, called-off my pursuit of a previous offer from Novartis, and accepted an offer from L. Meyerf Pharma, a company i had no idea existed.

things happened so fast that i'm still digesting the events. half a year of online applications made an impression that it would take months before you can be scheduled for an interview, and months more before they call again. oftentimes you'll wait for a call that will never actually come. this time was a surprise. 3 days after the click of the mouse, i was called in for an interview.

it was a friday. sporting a long-sleeved black shirt and a baby blue tie, i went to L. Meyerf's office in Makati and looked for a certain Mr. Marquez. after a few minutes of waiting, Mr. Charlie Marquez introduced himself, shook my hand, and the interview commenced.

one thing i liked about the interview is its relaxed atmosphere. in less than a minute, my heartbeat returned to its normal rate. he candidly informed me that he was impressed with my credentials and that i passed his qualifications. a couple more minutes of chit-chat and i feel like i'm "in."

after the interview, he told me to wait for a text message or a call from the company, arranging a second interview. this time the interview will be done by the president and vice-president of the company. then came wednesday, 3 working days after my interview, charlie called me up to drop a bomb. instead of setting up my second interview, he asked if i would be able to start training on friday. my "yes" was numb.

training started and i felt that it would be a walk in the park. charlie was in-charge of the training program and was amiable at first. hours passed and he started to get on my nerves. i was also caught off-guard when i found out that the training program was for an account specialist (or an upgrade of a medical representative). i applied for the pharmacist position didn't i?

charlie is beyond his prime and was a former medical representative with no medical background. but he was a determined person, working his way up on the corporate ladder of the pharmaceutical industry. every little achievement, he deserves. i'll give him that. but somehow, i feel his success is getting to his head.

with my degree in pharmacy, he would often focus his pharmaceutical questions on me and i would answer to the best of my knowledge. i know my brain is full of cobwebs at the moment, but i know my pharmacy. no doubt. but there will be times that charlie would ask a question that i can't answer. the reason for this may be the ambiguity of his question or i simply answered the question wrong according to himself, when in fact i was taught different. who am i to believe? not charlie. but i kept my mouth shut and nodded along. who wants to get into an argument with your superior on the first day right?

it's now tuesday and i still have to deal with charlie. once in a while he still directs his medical or pharmacy questions at me. i would just smile, if i can't understand his question. he then would show disappointment and point out that i'm with the medical background and not him, a marketing graduate. it's a bit offensive, considering i'm burning with pharma pride. but what's worse with this is that there will be times that his answers and explanations are not entirely correct. i'd try to correct him but he would just dare me to look it up in a reference book. i'd rather not. i respect the decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry but your self-studying is a bit off charlie. a masters degree in marketing, years and years of encountering pharmaceuticals, i acknowledge all your achievements. but remember , i'm the licensed pharmacist here and not you.

this training program will be over soon enough. if not for my gut-feel that this company will go way beyond its potential, i would be back to my bum days in a snap. i really do feel that i made the right choice. but until then, i still have to endure this training program.

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