I received a shocking email on July 11th, one whose unexpectedness could only be surpassed by messages from President Bush apologizing for Donald Rumsfeld's performance in Iraq, and Penelope Cruz accepting my offer to be her first non-celebrity boyfriend.
In my Yahoo account, which allows me to unsuccessfully troll Yahoo Personals, I got a message from Yahoo Jobs. That was no big deal, as they send me one per week. When I read the subject line touting career opportunities at Eli Lilly & Company, however, I nearly choked on my Prozac. Here it is:Date: 11 Jul 2006 11:23:06 -0700 From: "Yahoo! HotJobs"
The Pharmaceutical Industry Keeps Growing
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry is expected to increase by about 26% from 2004-2014, while all other industries combined are only projected to grow by 14%. Check out this diverse and growing industry for your next career move. Companies Can't Find Sales Reps
In a survey by Manpower, Inc, employers identified sales representatives as the position for which it is the most difficult to find qualified candidates. Talented sales reps should take advantage of this hiring environment and pursue the many opportunities available.
Yahoo! HotJobs Featured Employer: Eli Lilly
Lilly is about breakthrough medicines and treatments to confront many of the world's most challenging diseases. While employing more than 41,000 employees worldwide and marketing our medicines in 158 countries, Lilly continues to earn consistent recognition for creating an exceptional work environment. The following are just some of the awards Lilly has received:
FORTUNE® magazine "100 Best Companies to Work For"
Money magazine "America's Best Company Benefits"
Working Mother magazine "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers"
Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (Nationwide)
Our goal is to become the premier sales force in the pharmaceutical industry. We are looking for diverse and dynamic professionals who want to be a part of a winning team and make a difference in people's lives. Ideal candidates will have a bachelor's degree.
Today and in the future, Lilly will provide answers that matter.
Discover the advantages of partnering with a leading employer of choice by visiting Yahoo! HotJobs, click on Sales Opportunities to view and apply for current openings.
Eli Lilly and Company is an equal opportunity employer.
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Until late March 2005, I was a part of that winning team and made a difference in people's lives. After three years as a sales rep in Lilly's oncology division, I was serving as a sales trainer, responsible for improving the sales techniques and results of 80 reps. But then I published "HARD SELL: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman," my lighthearted and self-deprecating memoir of my five years at Pfizer. Suddenly, I was no longer a no-brainer candidate for promotion, but a knee jerk casualty of termination.
Eli Lilly spokesman Phil Belt wasn't very complimentary in his statement after my firing. "In our opinion the book does advocate acts that we find inappropriate and in violation of company policy. And we consider this unacceptable particularly in a person charged by us with training our sales reps." As I said on CNN's In the Money with Jack Cafferty, "I hope Lilly's next drug is a sense of humor pill, because they need one."
Yet, here those mirthless mercenaries are, singing - with apologies to 70s rockers Player:
Jamie Come Back!
Any kind of fool could see,
there was something
in everything about you.
Jamie come back!
You can blame it all on Lilly.
We were wrong,
and we just can't sell without you."
Admittedly, I had a uniquely successful sales career; very few drug reps have finished sales years ranked #1 at two different companies. But that's not why the members of Lilly's HR department tucked their tails between their legs and invited me to return. Pharmaceutical companies suffer from a predictable, yet difficult to manage side effect after I depart: stock price sedation.
In May of 2000, I left Pfizer amicably. The day I cashed out my stock options, the share price was $42. Pfizer stockowners would kill to see $32 again, let alone the heady days of 40, as PFE hovers in the mid-twenties. Sadly, my departure had less of an impact at Lilly. When "We Lie Lilly," as many of its sales reps sarcastically refer to their employer, fired me on March 28th, 2005, the stock traded at $52. 16 months later, LLY is at $56. Coincidence? I would have thought so. But then I got that email asking me to consider a return to pharmaceutical sales with Eli Lilly & Company...
Now, if only Penelope would email. I know better than to wish for W's firing Rummy.