When the announcement came out, I knew there was no going back. “I am pleased to announce that Marielena (Maty) Mata will be moving into a new development role in the Oncology Strategic Marketing group on July 1, 2012”. It was a Friday afternoon and, though many of my colleagues were on their way to ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology), the messages starting pouring in from Blackberries and iPhones: “Congratulations,” “Best of luck,” “we’ll miss you,” “smart move,” “Congrats but you are moving to the dark side.” If industry is the dark side of science, apparently, marketing is the dark side of industry, who knew?
This was the beginning of a new assignment, a 1-year rotation in Strategic marketing, learning about the commercial side of drug development. As I come back to blogging after a two year hiatus, I hope to share with you the trials and tribulations as well as the successes of going into a completely new phase of my career and the return to science.
10 months have passed since I started the new gig in Strategic Marketing and, as my rotation is coming to an end, I have spent a great amount of time assessing its value (obviously, I am starting to think like these guys…). I am also preparing to return to R&D, back to the same group, but in a different capacity. I’m going back “home” but both “home” and myself have changed enormously in the past year. So I wonder, how will that transition go?
When I think of what this past year was like, I compare it to two other periods of my life that have been pivotal. When I finished high school back in my native Venezuela, I came to the United States for a year
as an exchange student. The primary objective was to learn English, a language that would open up a world of
possibilities. While I did achieve that, I gained something greater that year. I learned more about myself in those 12 months than I could have hoped for, and I discovered a side of myself that turned out to be extremely valuable: I was funny! I could make people laugh and put them at ease. That one discovery allowed
me to come out of my shell and build amazing relationships for many years to come. That one year was a turning point in my life.
The second period that comes to mind was the first year of motherhood… talk about going to the dark side: a year of sleepless nights, soothing babies and changing diapers. You are thrown into parenting, a completely unfamiliar territory, with no training and no real awareness of what is about to hit you. But as you come out at the other end of that first year, you are a different person, stronger, wiser and with a very different perspective and set of
I have yet to really grasp the extent of how much I have learned this year or how much I have changed. Yet, I look forward to going back “home” to the science I love and discover how this past year has altered my perspective to make me a better scientist.