MSL Job Satisfaction: Job Hopping Traps

1372480_wheat_germ_1_1Once upon a time, I was a medical science liaison, gaining experience so I can shuffle to greener pastures.

Once I gained experience I shuffled to what I thought was a greener pasture. After a while, and enough times of shuffling, I began to realize that:

1. The grass looked greener over there because I had a specific shade of green in my mind as “greener” versus that grass being truly greener.

If my greener grass was about more money — and let’s face it — often it really is about the money, then I was probably not measuring how much it would cost me to get that money. I wasn’t looking at the number of hours of work travel I’d take away from home, which I personally did not like although for others they may enjoy being away from home.

How to avoid this trap? Assess whether you are paying an intangible / tangible cost to earn that extra money.

2. The grass may look greener because I’ve neglected my own patch.

If I didn’t water my own lawn, the best plot of green will dry up and die. Maybe I was waiting for my manager to come give meaning to my job, maybe I was hoping for the sales reps to change and stop looking at me like I’m their dedicated tech support….

How to avoid this trap? Do your part to make your job meaningful beyond the money and manage coworker expectations.

Learn how to say “yes” and “no” nicely; yes, this is easier said than done.

3. The grass is greener because the grass is truly greener.

Maybe that company’s boss is more enlightened about the value of MSLs, maybe the internal stakeholders have mostly gotten along, maybe the MSLs are “appropriately” compensated and recognized for their contribution…

How to avoid this trap? You don’t — if this is indeed the case, then you would join a company like this.

For many of the MSLs I’ve talked with, I’ve observed that the above scenario tends to be the “start-up MSL culture” of a “start-up company.” Because they’re the first employees, their opinions are heard and they are acknowledged. They are big fishes in a small pond.


Know that these situations are rare because as soon as this state is attained someone buys the garden, fires the old gardener or brings in a new “alpha gardener”, installs a fountain that is a gross status symbol not to mention a drain on resources, and ignores staff and employees who have withdrawn from tending the garden.

I still say — look at #1 and #2 because the “grass is greener” trap crops up more often within these 2 assumptions.

Jane Chin, Ph.D.