Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

2 Questions That can Turn Your Life and Career Around: The Post It Test

I received a call today from someone who was not happy in their current job and needed a change.  The problem?  The same problem I hear time and time again from overworked medical device sales representatives; they put in over 60 hours a week in their job driving their companies business and they give 0 time for themselves at almost every level. They are burned out or if not burned out, they have done 0 homework on something really important: deciding what the next steps are in their career or where they want to be in that career within 5 and 10 years.  I found myself saying, yet again, "Please do an exercise for me AND more importantly for YOURSELF".  I call it the 2 Post It Exercise to discovering where you are and where you want to go BEFORE you make a move to your next job!

It sounds sort of crazy, but many people (especially sales people) don’t sit down long enough with the silence of their own thoughts to think about where they are in their career or personal life and really dissect what they like and what they don’t like about their current circumstances.  They somehow feel if they begin interviewing WITHOUT really knowing what they truly want in a new job that they will know it when they see it!  So they see something, it looks good and they jump right into a new career, more accurately known as a career landmine; BOOM! (Remember knowing thyself is item No. 17 from the earlier parent article; Is the New Job Loaded With Landmines For Your Career? 19 Things You Must Understand).

I read a book many years ago about dating and finding your best partner for life; the author felt that the divorce rate would be reduced if men and women did one thing BEFORE they even went out on the first date (yes, there are a lot of similarities between dating and interviewing…..I am not kidding!).  What was that one thing?  He advised making two lists placed on a yellow post it (I didn’t say this was high tech!) on your bathroom mirror next to your sink so you could read it every morning while brushing your teeth (I am assuming you brush your teeth at least once a day!):




1.       The Deal Killer List

You list the things that you absolutely WILL NOT ACCEPT in a new boyfriend or girlfriend (ok, now think job as I write this out, but the dating list is more fun!).  For instance, I put these on my Deal Killer List: I don’t want someone who smokes, not my religion, doesn’t want kids, and needs to be taller than I am (hey…I did short and I am a tall gal…so sorry, but this is MY list!) and there was more, but you get the idea. If a person had even ONE of the items on my Deal Killer List…I did just that, I killed the deal.  THE KEY IS TO MAKE THE LIST BEFORE YOU DATE (or BEFORE you job hunt!).  That way, you set the rules BEFORE you meet that hot babe or guy and TALK YOURSELF into how you can overlook what WOULD have been on the Deal Killer List! 

Now this is how it works; sometimes you will know right away if a person possesses one of those Deal Killer characteristics when you first meet them.  If you see it, then don’t even go on that first date (think of smoking on my list!).  Sometimes It may take another date or two to uncover if your date has one of the Deal Killer Traits, but you must abide by the rule; you kill the deal once you uncover that your date has something on that list!  They are just wrong for you, great for someone else, but NOT YOU; just like a career opportunity!

Here is an example of a Job Deal Killer List (figure out what yours are!):

  • No job making less than 150K
  • No more than 3 overnights per month
  • Low to no account service maintenance (we also added detail for measurement)
  • High growth company that values a hunter mentality

Now we have a list of items that you can measure all future jobs against AND you would know (from our example) what questions to ask to uncover IF the next job is just that: a Deal Killer!  But you need more than just a Deal Killer list to find the job of your dreams (or minimally one that you will be way less miserable in).  On to The Wish List!


2.       The Wish List

Of course no one wants to pick a life partner or a job just because they don’t have any of the evils of the Deal Killer list (unless we are, of course, hard up….see, I told you it is a lot like dating!).  Yes, you need to create a wish list and place your biggest and most important wish at the top of the list.  What quality would you really wish your dream job or new mate have (You are wishing they are both hot…right)?  Well, define that a bit more and place those of lesser importance in descending order.  After all, if you are gainfully employed, why not get a job that has as many of your wish list items as possible!  The more that job offers, the chances are the happier you will be! 

Example Wish in order of importance: 

  • Opportunity for advancement
  • Exciting product line that may be even cutting edge (ok to have older products in line too)
  • A progressive immediate manager that will support creative ideas and input
  • A culture and commission plan that values and supports their sales force
  • Company provides Stock Options for top performers
  • Company car issued vs. an out of pocket lease car
  • Offers continuing education benefits

After you have made YOUR list, get your significant other involved.  If your husband or wife is not happy with what your job is doing to you, they aren't happy either; your job is doing it to them too!  Have them add or edit your list, but both of you must agree that these are things your are looking for in your next job! 


As I told my caller today, please take the hour to begin this exercise!  It could change you career and maybe even your life for the better. 

©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved

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Tags: career advice, career strategy, company for you?


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Comment by Tina Newman on February 3, 2013 at 6:47am

Great advice Linda!  


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