The suit just does not fit anymore

Original article by James Surek, LinkedIn

It’s essential, just like breathing, to wake up every day and want to take on the world.

The Suit just doesn’t fit anymore!

We all feel this, maybe every day or every week or whenever we just feel like something is just not right. This damn suit just doesn’t fit, this day just doesn’t feel right, and I just don’t want to be here anymore.

But, I have kids, a mortgage, college to pay for and much more, so what the hell am I going to do.

Almost everyone, and I mean almost everyone feels like this, there is a percentage of people who never feel this because they fit right in, right into that paycheck and stay right where they are. There is nothing wrong with that at all, whatever drives you or makes you feel comfortable at the end of the day is what matters.

No other person’s opinion matters, you have to find your fit; a suit, a dress, a uniform or whatever.

The problem for a lot of us is that we can’t imagine what it is like to be that person who goes for it and makes a decision to go rogue and veer off the normal safe course our parents told us to stay on.  It makes some people very uncomfortable when their friend or peer make the jump because deep down inside want to make that move, but the stability holds us back or the fear of failure.

When I was growing up I would listen to the adults around me complain about their job as if it was a punishment, I then grew up thinking work was going to be a prison and that instilled in me to not to follow the “normal path”.

Because my brain became wired to avoid the path everyone else was taking I made a move to the startup world early on in my career and never thought twice about it.

My dear friend Tim Stacy, who sells hips and knees in Chicago, helped me get my first medical sales job and when he opened the door for me to work for a Zimmer distributor, I was thrilled.  But…….., it always starts with a big but, I was talking to a Danek distributor in Chicago about a spine job. Now understand, I had no clue what I wanted to do, what I was good at, or if I wanted to work for anyone or anything because I needed to avoid the “normal path”.

Everyone told me I should work for Zimmer, everyone and I mean everyone told me to stop talking to Danek. Spinal implants back in the early 90’s was a four-letter word because of all the litigation around pedicle screws.

So, like a crazy person, I did precisely opposite of what everyone told me, and I went to work with Pat Pilcher as a distributor rep for Danek in Chicago. Thank you, Pat, for hiring me, I might not have told you this, but you changed my life and my family’s future.

The problem from the beginning was the suit just didn’t fit, what everyone was telling me to do or to be, didn’t fit, and the suit was itchy. I couldn’t do it.

I left Medtronic after they bought Danek and everyone told me I was crazy to go to Advanced Bionics Neuromodulation division and build the sales force and training from scratch.

I left Advanced Bionics after the Boston Scientific acquisition to help Jeff Greiner and Al Mann rebuild the commercial side of the Advanced Bionics cochlear business, and everyone told me I was crazy.

I went to Entellus to re-build their sales force and training when their first attempt at commercialization failed, and I was told I was crazy.

All of the companies were acquired for a total of over 4 billion dollars.

The suit never fit, it never will, I have a strange fire in me that makes me “crazy,” you might be crazy because you feel like I do but what you haven’t done is admit that you are crazy. But you still can. It might mean you stay in your job and find those other side hustles to light that fire or anything that makes your day a greater blessing to you and those around you.

The problem with the problem is that I don’t have the answer, jump into the unknown or stay where you are….the choice is yours…the solution is yours…I can’t help anyone make that decision, so hopefully, you have people around you to help you make sure the suit fits.

The answer isn’t startups for everyone. The answer is in making the suit fit for you, maybe that’s leaving sales to go to marketing, or going into training to help others. Don’t stay in the same spot if your hunger is begging for something else to keep you motivated, keep growing, it’s a choice to grow as it is a choice not to.

We have a great profession, and it’s time we shared our stories or as I call these “Storicles” half story half article. I’m hoping to build a community around medical sales where we can come together and share our experiences, our success and our failures so we can learn from each other and slightly entertained.

Have some fun out there; life is too short, make someone laugh today, share a learning moment in the medical sales world and send me an email telling me about it. I’ll post it on the website so we can all learn from each other, if you want to be anonymous that’s fine with me, I want to us to start sharing, learning, laughing and maybe cry a little together.

Go to and sign up for our podcasts and touch base. We have a great community and let’s have some fun while we are making a life for our family and ourselves. One last thing, I’m not trying to sell anything. However, I am trying to raise money for the Shriner’s hospital and those beautiful kids. You can find a donate button on the website. It’s time to give back to the field that has given us so much.

Hang tough and remember your value + your why = Your Defined Success


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