Great things never came from comfort zones…
Today is my last day as Marketing Coordinator at Sartorius Stedim BioOutsource, a contract testing organisation based in Glasgow, UK. When I joined the company almost 2 years ago, I didn’t know very much about the drug development pathway (well nothing at all actually) and the considerable amount of testing that is required in order for a drug to make it to commercialisation. This probably had something to do with the fact that I’d stopped taking science classes in high school as soon as I was allowed to (about 16 years old) and had immediately opted for classes such as business studies etc. as that is what I wanted to do at University.
My first couple of weeks working at BioOutsource were pretty crazy, there was so much information to take in and it honestly felt like everyone was speaking in a different language, I would go home from work and be in bed for 7-pm most nights because my brain was just exhausted. I remember thinking, “I’m never going to understand this in enough detail to be able to market it”, actually at that point I wasn’t even comfortable sitting in meetings. I was petrified someone would ask my opinion and I’d have to confess that two months in, I was still trying to process how all of their services worked.
Fast forward to present day however and I can confidently discuss various promotional aspects and digital strategy for their variety of services. I am comfortable presenting to large groups of people, I have designed campaigns, written and implemented a social media strategy, turned my hand to writing the occasional high level scientific copy, designed brochures, flyers and posters on services from scratch and successfully ran social media promotions. Alongside this I’ve had the opportunity to launch and maintain an intranet platform for more than 175+ employees, coordinated and managed large scale branding projects for 7 office locations, as well as being given the opportunity to go to Sartorius HQ in Germany and learn all about their products! To top it all off, I’ve met some great people along the way and with the support of the company gained a range of certifications, in particular my Digital Marketing Certificate with Squared Online in association with Google.
The biggest thing though that I’ve learned from my time at BioOutsource is, if you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask questions – you’ll normally find that because you are showing an active INTEREST, people are more than happy to help you! Sometimes I think we’re so concerned with appearing out of the loop or not as fast a learner as the next person, that we skip this instrumental part of the learning process – so make sure to get the answers you need! I did so many times and had meetings with scientists, directors and managers in order to develop a deeper understanding of the drug development world and the best thing was they were all very encouraging and wanted to help me learn. I even made a ‘Biotech Bible’ with all my notes, print outs and drawings from the meetings. I’m a very visual person when it comes to learning, I like colour , pictures, diagrams and flow charts- so always do what works for you, even if it’s not the norm. Everybody’s mind is different when it comes to processing and retaining information!
Building on that, what I’ve also learned, is not to put limitations on my own capabilities. When I was in school, the two subjects I was least confident in were maths & science and because of that I had it in my mind that I wasn’t any good at them and as a result should steer clear of any marketing jobs surrounding these subjects. However, in an interesting turn of events, I’ve had nearly 3 years’ experience in the financial industry with Tesco Bank and now 2 years in the Biotechnology industry with Sartorius Stedim BioOutsource. During those 5 years I’ve forced myself out of my comfort zone, which has in turn made me more confident in my own abilities and allowed me to push past the mental block I’d developed in school for science & maths. I now have a strong understanding of how both of these industries work and I would not hesitate to apply for other marketing jobs within either of these areas. The more you put yourself out there and try new things, the less scary and daunting the thought of it becomes!
So with that being said, in 2 weeks’ time, I’ll be making the 3,200 mile move away from all my friends and family in Glasgow, to New York, to permanently immigrate and start my new life in America with my fiancé. Thank you to everyone at BioOutsource who made my time there so enjoyable, to all who took the time to explain the really scientific side of the business to me and to everyone who partook in my countless countdowns to see my other half – I will miss you all!
Whilst I’m waiting for my US work authorisation to process, I will be concentrating on writing full-time. Follow my blog to keep up to date with my immigration process & life as a newly married Scot, in New York.