This Is Not What I Signed Up For

By November 4, 2020LTEN Focus On Training

This Is Not What I Signed Up For

Help Wanted: High-performing sales representative interested in career  advancement. We have a headquarters-based training manager position available in the home office! And by the way, when we say “home office,” we mean your home office, not the home office.

Skills Required: Ability to stay home all day and make a perfect gluteus impression on your chair while staring at a computer monitor. Must be able to design and revise curriculum, coordinate classes, run conference calls, teach new hires you will never meet in person using Adobe Connect/Zoom/MS Teams/Skype, drink copious amounts of coffee and occasionally have the desire to get dressed for your day. Pants are, of course, optional. It will help if you smell nice, too, but no one will really notice.

HQ Benefits: We’d list them out for you, but you’ll never leave your house to enjoy them anyway, so we’ll get to that later. Maybe. In the meantime, you can check out all the posts on our SharePoint/Yammer/ultra-clunky intranet site to see photos from last year!

This is not the post you saw when you decided to take that next step in your career and apply for a position with the training department, is it? Chances are, you were excited to get the “home-office experience.” Corporate HQ. The show. The big dance. The place where it all happens. You wanted to see how it all gets done behind the scenes. Maybe you’d even get a peek in the secret room labeled “future plans for the sales force that we aren’t telling them yet.”

You wanted an office space without a steering wheel. You were looking forward to the chance to broaden your skill set and your network. You saw this as an opportunity to learn and grow. But most of all, you wanted to own the classroom, to walk the “U,” to share what you’ve learned all these years on the road, to make connections like the ones your trainers made with you …. to make an impact.

And then our world changed. Your world changed. The home-office experience changed. No, this isn’t what you signed up for. The pandemic will end, but the toothpaste is already out of the tube.

What you must do, then, is adapt the way you’ll get your home-office experience, just as you will ask your learners to adapt to how they get their onboarding experience.

To start, ask yourself these questions:

  • What did I want from the home office experience when I originally pursued this opportunity?
  • Make a list and reflect. Then ask: What would getting these things do for me?
  • Using these new insights, ask: How can I get them anyway?
  • And finally: Who can help me and when will I ask them?

Focus on yourself first. It’s OK, it’s not selfish, it’s empowering. Besides, you can’t take care of your learners if you aren’t taking care of yourself, too.

And when it is time to take care of them, ask yourself: Am I simply adapting how we used to do things into a remote setting, or am I using the tools I have in a remote setting to meet the moment and shape how learners get what they need?

Now is the chance to be bold and different. Go get the experiences you wanted and harness the possibilities for innovation. This is opportunity knocking at your door. Don’t ignore it: Get dressed and go answer it.


Jim Page is the director of commercial training & development for Sandoz, a Novartis division, and is a member of the LTEN Advisory Council and was named one of the 2020 LTEN Members of the Year. Email him at



About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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