Two Months In, the Transition to Sales from Engineering

It’s been an absolutely crazy couple of months since T and I landed here in Baltimore.  If you’ve read previous posts, you can see that we’ve managed to physically and emotionally transition our home from Cleveland to Baltimore.  We’re three weeks in our new house now, and quite happily settled in.

However, it’s been a while since I wrote to discuss what it’s been like to transition from engineering to sales.  Time to rectify that.

I officially started in this position on January 3rd, moving from Software Project Engineer (read that as a software project lead and design expert) to Account Sales Engineer (read that as account manager for products and services that are used in automation engineering).  In the last couple months we managed to squeeze our vacation to the BVI and the actual move of our stuff.  So, I’ve been on the ground for about 7 weeks at this point.

First point:  I absolutely love it.  The variety and pace suits my personality well.  I’m out in the world nearly every day, and I don’t have to make a 45 minute commute to the same damn cubicle every day.  Of course, I have to drive 2 1/2 to 3 hours to the Eastern Shore fairly often, but that’s COOL.  2 1/2 hours on the DC beltway is not quite as cool, but I can pull that down to 1 1/4 hours by timing it right.  And days that I’m not out at customer or distributor sites, I’m at home.  Varied and active – that’s me!

Second point:  I bring a lot of experience, energy, and maturity to the role.  I don’t always know what part of my knowledge and experience should be applied, or if I’m being effective yet, but I know that my talents and drive will make me successful.  It’s taking me longer to see tangible (read that $$$$ for Rockwell and myself) success, but I feel like I’m ramping up quickly and comfortably, and I know that I’ll be able to see the success feedback loop soon.

Third point:  My colleagues and friends at Rockwell and the distributor have been fabulous, generous, and tolerant.  I work with great people, and I feel like many of them are genuinely going out of there way to make me successful at this.  I want to return those favors – and soon – but I really appreciate the relationships (and a few solid friendships) that are being built right now.

Finally: I’m working too many hours.  Well, not really too many, but the boundaries between work and non-work are much more blurry in this role.  And because of point #2, I don’t know how much of the time is paying off yet, and where I’m sinking too much energy for no result.  But, it’s a startup, and I’ve got a lot of enthusiasm, so the hours are enjoyable.  I’ve just exhausted myself a few times in the last number of weeks.  I’ve got to calibrate myself: what can I really accomplish in a reasonable amount of effort, and how can I apply that effort most effectively.  Everything right now looks urgent, important, and BIG.  Only in the rear-view mirror can I get a more reasonable view of the experience.

So, am I happy I made this leap?  HELL YEAH!  Do I know what I’m doing?  Not often, but WHO CARES?  I’m having fun, and I know I am going to kick some butt, so keep doing, keep learning, and be patient for the tangibles to follow.

Thanks for listening.

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1 Response to Two Months In, the Transition to Sales from Engineering

  1. Anonymous says:

    very glad to see thermal and a quart getting the rounds internationally…erm, yes.. hardly the rounds.. but very glad to see someone heard them from elsewhere.. we used to be front row fans when they had their gigs in bangalore.. !! yaay!

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