New career steps at 60+
Hi. My name is Reinhold, I’m in my sixties and I’ve been working as a pharmaceutical field sales rep for over 30 years. Before I became part of the Bayer team, I worked for three family-run companies and the third one, Steigerwald, was bought by Bayer in 2016.
At the time, it hit us all hard and we had real concerns about our future. Like most former Steigerwald employees, though, I’m still here because Bayer has treated me very fairly, honestly and openly. Yes, there have been a few misunderstandings and some friction. It wasn’t always easy to reconcile the different mentalities and approaches, especially in the beginning. Now, though, I’ve become a loyal member of the Bayer team and have learned to understand and appreciate the benefits and advantages of a large group company.
The company car is my second home
Being a field sales rep means you’re sometimes a long way from your base – normally somewhere in your particular sales area, visiting physicians, pharmacies or hospitals and telling customers about the benefits of our products. I myself come from Bamberg in Franconia and, like so many of my fellow field sales reps, I changed career paths. I switched to sales when doors failed to open once I’d completed my teacher training. The field sales team is a rather mixed bunch, but we share the goal of getting our products out there and generating sales.
The photo shows me at my main place of work – the company car. Some of us call it our second home! There’s no way I personally can imagine having an office-based job now, even though it’s sometimes not much fun being out and about when the weather is miserable. That does make you appreciate good weather all the more, though.
Winning the away game
Field sales reps are constantly on the road and never have a “home game” as it were. You’re always on customer territory, in the lion’s den. You’re your own boss with no time clock to punch and no colleagues or boss always looking over your shoulder. Each day you’re at a different location in a different area with different customers. Things never get boring and there are surprises on an almost daily basis. You do, however, need to be self-disciplined, have the ability to keep motivating yourself, be a good organizer and have the flexibility to deal with all kinds of different situations. You also need to be a good listener because that’s the starting point for correctly analyzing customer requirements and being a successful sales rep. And of course, having the gift of the gab can’t do any harm!
Internationality and new discoveries
Finally, a look back to when I first became part of Bayer. I had to re-assess some of my prejudices about large companies and was happy to do so. At Bayer, I’m not a number, as I initially feared, but a name – and I’m able to express my own unique personality. Especially as a field sales rep, knowing I have a company like Bayer behind me gives me a certain stature and makes me feel more secure. I like the internationality of the team because I, too, lived abroad for a time. I also appreciate our mutual tolerance, including from the top down. When I look at the career opportunities at Bayer, I think I’d have liked to have spent another few years abroad if the takeover had happened 20 years earlier.
To sum up, I never wanted to work for a big company but I’m now really proud to be part of the Bayer team.
This post is also available in: German