Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is a good job for a chemist?

An anonymous commenter left a couple of interesting and challenging comments on the July 22 Daily Pump Trap. The excerpts follow (edited for clarity):
Sure, we all get preconceived notions about companies/positions but [we] should not be so closed-minded since there are likely matches for some chemists and hidden potential in others. I know, for instance, that (from on-campus interviewing many years ago), Clorox used to be involved in more that "cleaning products" and had dedicated R&D efforts for Industrial Scale applications so [I] presume still may be the case here. indeed, there are (were?) diverse job opportunities for chemists out there at companies like Clorox. I have even known chemist[s] employed [as] clinical lab techs, formulators and QC/QA types so [I was] reacting to that too but [I] didn't jump on you specifically there (likewise it is typically easier/cheaper to create a single generic ad that is run in various publication that might be geared for different audiences). I think there is a widespread view that exists in US in that chemists often get sold on "working in academia" as the highest calling then failing that, [they] can be "pharmaceutical med chemist", [which is] acceptable as [a] fall back.
There is a world of chemistry and chemists out there. While medicinal chemistry and process chemistry positions in Big Pharma are certainly among the most desirable (pay/prestige-wise), I wish to make it clear: While I can be quite snarky/jokey about certain positions, I do not denigrate any position, no matter how humble. I do look askance at the proliferation of postdocs, as there does seem to be some level of either exploitation, abuse or futility with it all.

The Great Whatever of 2007-whenever and changes in Big Pharma, I fear, will bring strange new respect to many chemistry jobs, be they chemical/industrial, small company, overseas contracts, contract research, governmental or academic. Here's what I hope: that chemists be safe/protected from the machinations above, that people who wish to stay at the bench can, and that they can support their families on the income from those bench jobs. May it forever be so.

1 comment:

  1. I believe a good job is doing something that you love and making your living at it.

    May you always work to live and not live to work.

    L.A., the Chemist/MBA