Featured On The Job

Know Your Elemental Personality to Prevent Stress in Pharmaceutical Sales

With shifts in the markets, clientele needs, and working from home, it is undeniable that the past year or so has affected pharmaceutical sales jobs. And, as much as we may dread it, it’s beginning to feel inevitable that the next few years will continue to change the workplace in unexpected ways. 

As such, you’ve had to adjust your sales strategies drastically to accommodate all these transitions, and you might be about to face even more. 

A 2017 American Psychological Association (APA) survey suggested that employees who had undergone a recent change at work were more than twice as likely to experience chronic stress than those without a past, current, or anticipated change. 

That’s why it is crucial to learn how your personality affects your responses to stress. You need to find balance in your sales job now to avoid burnout from the upcoming transitions at work.

It’s challenging to pin down precise personality types to help you reach that understanding because nobody fits perfectly into any box. But there are some ways of approaching it that can be revealing and beneficial to your work-life balance. 

For example, the element you most connect with can illuminate how you perceive and interact with the world. 

Check out these descriptions to discover which burnout tips will likely work best for you based on how you connect with the natural world: 

Water – Pause before getting carried away by your emotions

Water is one of the most popular elements — picture beach days, long baths, and learning about the ocean’s mysteries. 

This element connects to intuition, sensitivity, observation, and creativity. 

If you believe you fall into this category, you likely have higher levels of neuroticism and perceived threat. That means you may respond to both major and minor frustrations with moodiness and anxiety. According to research published in Personality and Individual Differences, this combination leads to higher levels of stress. 

One indication that you’re feeling stressed and on the path to burnout is if your observations and intuition lead you to believe you’re unsafe in an environment where you tend to feel comfortable. The 2017 APA survey mentioned that when change becomes a stressor, Americans are three times more likely to say they don’t trust their employer and also say they intend to seek employment outside the organization. 

But as much as it may be instinctual to jump ship, the reality is that all pharmaceutical sales jobs are in the same boat right now. 

At work, try learning all the information about a situation before you start to worry. It may help to talk it out with colleagues or your team leader to gain other perspectives. 

At home, consider using video games to prevent burnout. They can help interrupt your work anxieties and boost your mental health by providing a fun way to connect with others. 

Earth – Step away from responsibilities to reflect

It should be no surprise that those who feel connected to the earth like to spend a lot of time outside. Whether it be hiking, gardening, or even bird watching, these folks love any opportunity to engage with the natural world. 

If you’re drawn to this element, you probably have strong ties with your loved ones, like to feel grounded with a plan and direction, and practice self-discipline.

Generally, earth types are also less social than other elements. According to research published in Human and Veterinary Medicine, this lower social presence and occasional low empathy can lead to higher stress levels.

One way to notice if those stress levels are too high is if all the responsibilities that go into pharmaceutical sales jobs begin to affect your personal life more. The 2017 APA survey revealed that stress from a change could lead you to feeling more cynical and hostile toward others, eating or smoking more, and falling short on some non-work responsibilities. 

To prevent these responses, you can practice writing out notes to yourself at work. They could be reminders that the people on your team are good workers facing a hard time, that clients just feel a little lost navigating in-person sales again, and that everyone is doing the best they can. 

At home, try going on a 15- to 30-minute walk by yourself a few days each week. During this time, you can reflect on your day and take a break from all the responsibilities you manage. 

Fire – Be intentional about avoiding isolation

People who resonate with fire look forward to hot summer days, love campfires more than the average person, and have a bit of a candle obsession.

If you fall under this category, you’re likely an extrovert, passionate about self-love, and deeply invested in what’s important to you. 

As odd as it may sound, that extraversion is a factor that can increase your stress. The research from Personality and Individual Differences found that it was associated with greater stress levels during the pandemic compared to after. 

If you don’t get as much social interaction or networking as you need, your stress symptoms may include depression. You can lose sight of your self-confidence, have little interest in your hobbies, and even find it challenging to find the energy for socializing. 

To prevent isolation, take the initiative to invest in your relationships at work. In pharmaceutical sales jobs where reps frequently work independently or aren’t available for chats due to sales calls, being intentional can make a big difference. Have lunch over Zoom with a buddy, schedule a phone call during a mutually available time, and make the most out of client interactions with the COVID restrictions. 

At home, push yourself to spend at least a half hour on a hobby every day. Doing something active or something that you love can make your time alone a little more enjoyable. 

Air – Focus your energy on maintaining deeper friendships

You know you powerfully connect with air if you find comfort in heights, enjoy the sound and feel of the wind whipping past you, and love excuses to stare up at the sky. 

The air tends to represent intellect, communication, and connecting with others. 

As COVID has made it more difficult to develop meaningful bonds with others and spend quality time with friends, air types may find themselves with less emotional support, decreased feelings of friendship, and more loneliness overall. 

This loneliness can lead to lower mental health and more stress. And indicators of such will likely appear as more turbulent emotions than usual. 

APA’s 2020 Stress in America Report indicated that 20% of individuals experience unexpected mood swings when stressed, another 20% get angry very quickly, and 17% yell at a loved one. Given that those who connect with air are usually excellent communicators, these interactions are unusual. 

At work, engaging in group chats throughout the day isn’t enough to get that deeper connection that you crave. Instead, focus your energy on reaching out one-on-one to the people you have the healthiest relationships with at the office. You can also consider setting up a time to get to know each other outside of pharmaceutical sales jobs. 

In your personal life, maintain a reasonable social schedule. Know who is worth your time, and consistently keep up with them. You can also look into playing board games with friends or online. Although they may not lend to the deep conversations you love, they do offer a chance to get to know new people and apply your natural intellect. 


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