Greta the Pharma Rep

BathrobeGreta looked at the mileage on the rental car and made a physical (not mental, that got her into trouble in Houston last month) note of the number.  Luckily this was not a very long trip, she would just dip into Cleveland, hit a few of her regular doctors and head right back to the airport.  She didn’t even need a hotel room.  When she took this job right out of college she had envisioned a little bit more comfort – after all, whenever she stayed in hotel rooms then, she always loved the soft bathrobes, the plentitude of towels, the ability to order room service and a movie and have them both come to her rather than the other way around.  That was a big part of why she got into pharmaceutical sales.  But now she relished the short trips like this where she could spend the night in her own bed, enjoy her scented down comforter and wake up to her coffee with skim milk and whole wheat toast without having to worry how many calories the hotel may have snuck into then.  She probably would have gained weight over the years were it not for the very clear company mandate that female sales reps were expected to maintain their starting weights, plus or minus 10 pounds – and yes, there were weigh-ins involved.  She was 5’8” so 10 pounds didn’t give her as much leeway as it did the petite girls, most of whom had married or aged out of the profession at this point anyway.

She hadn’t yet.  It had been 12 year now, and she still expertly packed her suitcase and rolled it into the longest security line, guessing correctly each time that that one would move that fastest (a counterintuitive move it took her 3 years to fully commit to).  She had never moved up, never become a regional rep – she just kept on with the small sales, the cold calls, the nights alone.  She knew that maybe she ought to leave the field to try and find a leadership position, but she liked being given her printed itinerary and clear instructions about her goals for the trip.  They would probably give her a desk job soon.  She could see the wrinkles in her forehead and had no doubt her overseers did as well, but for now she would write down her mileage, drive the speed limit to her first stop, and sell, sell, sell.

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