People around me have often told me that they didn’t like selling.
Now that I look back I find it immensely hard to explain to everyone that everyone is selling something if not they will have a very hard life.
Maybe I will try to recount what has happened to me for the last 20 years.
When I was 24, I faced with what I deemed to be a career dilemma.
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Since I like to read book so much and like to go to the bottom of things, I was really pondering whether I should become a sexy academic like Albert Einstein. Constantly swooned by pretty girls because of his supreme intellect.
And my peers either rightly or wrongly told me that as an academic I don’t need to learn how to sell. So that was my impression (and my impression was wrong!).
In the end, I chose something else. The reason was stupid. I chose not to do academia because before 24 I did not do any significant scientific research that would land me the nobel prize.
Since I am not going to get the Nobel Prize, I am NOT going to be an academic!!
I was not going to be an academic without pretty girls swooning over me.
So maybe I would be better off learning how to sell and do a career that is not academia based.
Off I went to learn how to do sales and do up my own business.
Over the last 2 decades I met up with some of my old genius friends. I was in quite a selective student program where I got to know some top brains in the country / school. Everything has come a round circle.
What they have told me shocked me. Okay, this is for drama effect. I know some of the things they told me from media / publications but hearing it from my friends’ mouths is different.
They told me, as academics, they have to;
1) Apply to the funding authority to fund their research. Get funding basically for their research work.
2) Making their research relevant to the market. Sometimes presenting to people from the industry, and basically selling to them.
3) Office politics, avoiding bad bosses, backstabbing from academic colleagues.
4) There are market trends to research areas, sometimes garnering more funds because of that, and sometimes funds just avoid your areas.
5) Even with their PhD degrees, they are also exploring some business investment opportunities.
My first reaction to that is, isn’t this what I have been doing for the last 20 years?!?!
And my second reaction is, where are all the pretty girls that are supposed to be swooning over sexy and intelligent brains?
In the end, I discovered all of us have grown over the last 20 years. For some reasons, I may have thought that I was making a decision to go to business to learn sales, but the decision to learn sales was not a decision I can make at all.
Even if I did stay in academia I had to learn sales.
For some of my friends who may have wanted to stay in academia because they want to avoid office politics ended up right in the smack of office politics. Office politics with high IQ academics may be a different mountain to surmount compared to out of academia.
This is my own personal story and to the academics, I know they will use one term to describe my article. It is anecdotal (cheem words right?! that is what academia do!) – layman it means that argument by example – even more layman is does not mean it happens to Raymond Ng it would happen to everyone.
In any case, I would like to put forward the humble opinion that you can never ever avoid doing sales. The fact that you are married, the fact that you are employed still, the fact that you are even surviving in this world receiving benefits from anyone means that you are selling something.
Try that thought for a while. 🙂
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