Getting a better job is a mixture of skills, timing, market conditions and sometimes, unfortunately, office politics.
However, that doesn’t mean that getting a good regulatory affairs job or getting a promotion is a random event. There are always underlying reasons, although sometimes not visible to us, like additional rounds of funding, restructurings, change in company’s strategy or failed projects that trigger shifts inside departments.
There are many things you can do, take initiative and get that regulatory affairs job.
So, what can you do?
Increase your value
This is the most obvious thing you can do but it’s the hardest one. In a regulatory world, this translates into more senior roles, exposure to crucial meetings with regulators and work on regulatory strategy.
You should always show initiative, volunteer, and ask for additional tasks and projects. Do them fast and be reliable. Come back for more when done. Your goal is to become irreplaceable and total master of regulatory affairs.
There are always webinars you can attend, there are always smart and hardworking colleagues you can ask for their opinion and advice. Write articles, join regulatory groups, attend seminars and regulatory events. Find a great mentor, if you can’t find one at work, try elsewhere, we are living in a globally connected world after all.
One of the good ways to get connected is asking to be involved in the DIA or EFPIA Working Groups of your interest. These Working Groups discuss the most recent changes and trends in our industry and are usually led and attended by the most knowledgeable people.
Understand the company’s culture
Are you working in a multinational pharma giant or a small cutting-edge biotech? This can decide your career progression. It’s usually much harder to become a director in a well-established pharmaceutical giant than in a newly formed biotech.
Analyse how your management treats regulatory people, especially your boss and boss of your boss. If you notice any red flags, well that’s going to be your job in future so think twice if you really want it.
As a regulatory professional, you expect your company to be supportive during critical regulatory authority meetings, preparations for big submissions (e.g. MAA, NDA, etc.) that require a lot of collaborative work over the long period of time, or any crisis, just to name a few.
Are your fellow regulatory colleagues happy in the company? Are you allowed to freely share your opinion, even if that means disagreement with some of the decisions your boss made? Good companies tolerate different opinions and encourage debate. Are people rewarded for their efforts and promoted or overlooked?
It’s crucial to understand what are values, beliefs and practices in your organization.
Don’t forget that one of your major tasks is to make you and your boss look and be successful. Therefore, try to understand what exactly is expected from you.
The law of supply and demand
Have you ever thought about future prospects of different regulatory jobs?
The filed is still relatively new and it’s still not oversaturated but that can change. Some regulatory knowledge is “more valuable” than other, or at least it becomes “popular”. For example, a good regulatory strategist will always be in demand.
Market will always give you a hint about regulatory knowledge that is sought after.
Maintain and expand your network
Meet new people, connect and most importantly ask. Be clear about your expectations with your boss. Also, be clear and honest about your own career path.
If you expand your network and your knowledge, communicate clearly and understand the organization you are working for, nothing can stop you from getting that regulatory job.