by Ibrahim Akyunus
I was born in Turkey in simpler times. I grew up, had fun, went to school, ate great Turkish food, graduated and went into business for myself.
He was witty and wise.
Being a graduate of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Istanbul, my primary goal in life at that time was to start a pharmacy. What disappointment I felt, soon after I opened the doors when I learned it wasn't the challenge I expected.
"Give me an aspirin.
"OK, here..75 cents."
"What is your suggestion for a cough syrup?"
"Start immediately by taking 3 of these laxative pills. I can assure you, you will stop coughing, within the next half hour."
I don't want to remember the next 3 years I spent trying get rid of the pharmacy for a reasonably decent price. Financially I was doing pretty well but I was miserable. I hated what I was doing. My family, my friends could never understand why I felt so bad at a time when I was running a reasonably popular pharmacy.
Then I joined a leading multi-national pharmaceutical manufacturer in Istanbul as a Product Manager of Psychotropic Drugs. Soon I was feeling much, much better, and it wasn't because I was ingesting the drugs. My decisions had impact. The more ideas I created, the more they were turning into solid sales which in turn gave me a sense of satisfaction. I started loving my job and, sure enough, it paid off. I, quickly became Director of the Scientific Bureau, then Production Manager and finally the "Responsible Pharmacist" at a very young age.
Then I moved to Los Angeles. I started working in a research facility as a R&D Chemist. We were doing R&D work for the " biggies" in the cosmetic industry. I loved that job, too. I was making formulas that nobody ever had before me: the first sprayable body lotion, the first incorporation of waxes into clear microemulsions, the first usage of suspended materials in pump hair sprays. What a feeling of accomplishment I had after the successful launch of my own formulas. People say they feel like they are walking on the clouds; well, I felt I was walking above the clouds. Of course, success brought promotions, money and recognition. I became Research and Development Vice President to 3 midsize manufacturing companies. What a blast. I was soaring. I was at the top of my game.