In the summer of 2012, I was interning with Redbus as a sales/marketing/ops intern. In spite of being a Computer Science undergrad, I liked the business side of things and was leaning towards taking up Sales and Marketing as a full-time job.
Then something happened that changed my thinking on how I evaluate a job or a career.
During one particular sucky day when we were getting rejected by everyone we went to meet, were standing in the summer heat, sipping a Pepsi, my then Manager made a point that stuck with me.
“90% of sales is getting rejected, walking in the heat, meeting clients. The highs of closing a new client will soon go away and will be replaced by the lows: missing lunch, running after new clients, getting crushed by endless rejections. If you can’t handle those aspects of Sales then maybe this is not the right job for you.”
I am paraphrasing here.
I give the same advice now to juniors who want to apply to Product. Most of PM’ing is not thinking about cool ideas which will put you in the same league as Steve Jobs. It is not writing strategy memos. It is not tweeting platitudes like ‘distribution > product’. It is sending out meeting invites to people who don’t even know you exist. It is crying at night because your QA applied for last min leave, now your release is delayed, and you have to go to a product cadence with the bad news and face your CEO.
So here is the advice when it comes to thinking about picking something as your career: Think about the other sucky 90% bit. Like Beyonce said, “If you can’t handle your job at its worst, you don’t deserve the best.”