Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daily Pump Trap: 2/28/12 edition


Good morning! Between February 23 and February 27, there were 54 new industrial positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 25 (46%) were from Kelly Scientific Resources.

Logan, UT: Frontier Scientific, Inc. is looking for a Ph.D. chemist with experience in porphyrin chemistry. How to attract scientists to Utah? Good skiing is what I'm going to go with.

Florence, SC: IRIX Pharmaceuticals is a frequent visitor to the ACS Careers website. They're looking for a Ph.D. process chemist with 2-3 years of experience. Top pay is a little low slightly under the median.

Elkton, MD: W.L. Gore is looking for a Ph.D. material scientist to work on flame retardant materials.

Hmmm: So 3M is hiring Ph.D. chemists everywhere, apparently. US, Brazil, China, India. Which one of those might not be real?

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: SABIC, back with 3 more positions.

Probably Connecticut: Cytec Industries would like to (once again) hire a postdoc for a polymer research program. Where this position is, of course, is not mentioned.

ACS Career Fair watch: 15 positions now for the ACS Career Fair, 6 positions for the Virtual Career Fair.

25 comments:

  1. "Top pay is a little low."

    I love statements like these...Yes, we chemists can be so demanding - 85K in S.C.? Not too shabby, but please, CJ, keep the dream going that chemists should demand more pay and all of those jobs will just keep coming back from overseas.

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    1. I think you're being facetious, but I can't quite tell. Nevertheless, I've adjusted my statement to more accurately reflect reality.

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    2. Cost of living and location is a big factor- I turned down 85K in Jersey for 75K in Pittsburgh. Partly cause, you know, Jersey, but also you can stretch 75K a lot further here. Still got lowballed though. Grr...

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    3. ript>alert()ript>

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  2. looks like Frontier has one open position soon after they turned one of their synthetic chemist over to FBI for industrial espionage - for leaking a procedure for porphyrin precursor...

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    1. Nice call. My guess is that they will "buy American" this time around.

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    2. Here's to bloody wars and sickly seasons!

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  3. Everyone talks about learning Mandarin and Hindi, but I would start learning Brazilian Portuguese. Brazil is emerging as a favorable place to do business, without the authoritarian element. An extended professional assignment to Brazil would also be less of a culture shock to most Americans. I've spent some time in Brazil and wouldn't mind going back.

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    1. Anon, was your time professional in nature. If so, I'd love to hear your story.

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    2. I am not sure how much pharma research they do, maybe if you are process chemist you can find job in generics manufacture. If you are petrochemical engineer you can probably get a job in US

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  4. Semi-professional, I would say. After college, I volunteered for an extended assignment (> 18 months) with a non-profit. Having studied Spanish, I picked up the language fairly quickly (professional proficiency). Great country, culture, and people. After grad school, I never thought to include my volunteer time on my resume, thinking that employers were more concerned with hiring people with experience in Asia. During a job interview, my time in Brazil came up and I mentioned that I had an interest in brushing up my language skills and would be open to a Latin American assignment in the future. The interviewer took note, and within days I had an on-site interview and an offer shortly after. I don't know how much this information influenced the hiring managers, but I have friends in other fields who have had similar experiences and are routinely dispatched to Brazil. My impression is that global companies are always looking for people who can interface with R&D personnel at sites all over the world, not just India and China.

    One interesting sidenote, though. The Brazilian government is starting a program (see www.cnpq.br) that will pay for Brazilian undergrads, grads, and postdocs to study STEM in the U.S., so the PhD glut in Brazil may be imminent as well.

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  5. Not being facetious at all, I'm dead serious. 85K in S.C. isn't a bad wage (even the 65K can get you by pretty well). I love how you are the champion of chemists and jobs (and can't wait to have someone "tell" their story) that you keep making comments regarding "low" pay. Not everyone works in NJ/Boston/SF (hell, spoiler alert - not everyone works, period) and that pay can go quite far. If you are the champion of jobs, then champion jobs, not what you perceive as "low" pay.

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    1. S.C. I personally couldn't do it. I get what you are saying and where you come from and given the choice of going to China for 24k a year or S.C. for 64k a year, well yes I would obviously go to S.C., but I certainly wouldn't be happy about it, and I would most likely give up the profession all together and move back up north (but at least in S.C. I could afford the plane tickets to visit friends, family, girl)

      I can't even root for the Gamecocks.

      As often is the case in the south, a cheap standard of living is usually code for serious poverty issues, and I would not want to settle down there, and I would rather not send my kids to public schools there. (and I really really would not want to be black there either). Being a displaced Yankee can be socially hard enough, there are so many other better places to be as a young professional Yankee south of the Mason Dixon than S.C.

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    2. I think that's fair and will remember your comment.

      Maybe I'm not being clear, but I really think I'm pushing back against my perception that whenever I see a position advertising its wage, it's at or below the median for the years of experience. (See here: http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2011/12/2005-acs-chemcensus-industrial-salary.html for data).

      If you're going to advertise your pay scale AND they're lower than average, I think it's worth me pushing back against, right? I see it as the employer saying up front, "Take it or leave it."

      That said, on an absolute scale, you're right that 65k is not a bad living. It's nearly twice the median household income. I started my first position with a salary less than that. There's no shame in it -- but there's no honor either.

      Lyle, in all sincerity, thanks for the criticism. I appreciate it. If you're interested in having a more detailed conversation, please feel free to e-mail at chemjobber -at- gmail/dot/com. Confidentiality guaranteed.

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    3. Seriously, Anonymous? Pardon me, but you are a frickin' tool. Okay, we get it, you're too big a snob to move to S.C. - good for you. "Displaced Yankee" code for: a serious asshole.

      "As often is the case in the south, a cheap standard of living is usually code for serious poverty issues..." Really?!? What a cheap standard of living usually means is: it's not so f-ing crowded that I have someone up my ass my entire commute or when I'm on line in the store. I'm pretty sure you can live pretty well in many areas of the south and their cheap standard of living without living in a hut.

      CJ: Pay is always relative. Lower than average for one area of the country is living quite well in another.

      Full disclosure: I've never lived in S.C. Would like to put a monorail there, though.

      The quality of postings on the internets never cease to amaze...

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    4. Lyle, your substantive comments here are very, very welcome. Your name calling isn't appreciated, though -- please attempt civility.

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  6. So, everyone in the south is poor, a deadbeat and on welfare, but Anonymous can't be an asshole? Got it.

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    1. Do you know what the magic word in your comment that caused me to say something? It wasn't "tool" or "snob", it was "you."

      Again, your substantive pushback (and full-throated defense of the south) is welcome here, but personal attacks aren't. Thanks.

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  7. Sorry, I call it like I see it (and BTW, this one was an easy call). Can't say it won't happen again.

    For me, you can substitute South with North or West or East. I don't really care - it's not a defense of the south, but rather calling out the asinine post.

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  8. Lyle,

    Didn't mean to inflame you so much. I wasn't trying to diss the South collectively. I just don't want to drop my standard of living even further. If you read closely, I should have been more specific, there are better places to live in the south, Chapel Hill, Atlanta. I have many relatives in NC and Virginia, and I love Baltimore.

    There are cheap places to live all over the country, from the Midwest, to even parts of California and Oregon, but they don't sell it or defend it so hard so I didn't really think about it to deeply. Moving to rural GA, from day one, I was told "this community is great, the standard of living is so cheap", and after the umpteenth time of being sold this, it just got more and more obvious what they were trying to defend.

    And no not everyone in the south is poor, you are reading way way too much into that ... but ...

    I grew up quite poor, or at least I thought I did, until I moved down here and see the adversity that real poor people have to go through. And yes, southern hospitality is very real. Everyone is quite nice and friendly, but it starts to get really grating when they start making up excuses to burden poor people! Cut education, infrastructure, and depreciate wages. 84k a year will get you the very nice house and all the status you could want in S.C., Alabama, Arkansas. But if you aren't made of stone, it's exhausting to hear people crap on the values and opportunities that you had to make you what you are, that they consistently deny to the underclass.

    And it scares me to death, in that, given my level of income as a child, had I grown up in the community I live in now, I would have never gotten out of poverty.

    Unless you are made of stone, how can you not be personally affected by this? It's not about being a tool, it's about acknowledging the sacrifices that your parents, the tax payers of your home state, worked so hard to provide for you and your future (and how lucky and appreciative I feel because of this).

    I get southern pride and all, and hence why I've slowly learned to bite my lip and back off and try to be supportive of the things I like, but I can't stand the "cheaper standard of living" argument. I can't help myself. I've lived it, and I know it's code for depreciated wages at the expense of infrastructure and education.

    Of course my lab is moving now. So I guess, it's time for a new cultural education.

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  9. Wow. Everything I stated in my first post was just substantiated. It is interesting how you paint an entire portion of the country with such a wide brush from your ONE experience. Only an "blank (sorry CJ won't let me say it)" can do that. News flash. There's poverty up North as well - try going to rural Maine - no different than the rural south. Heck go to Western NY, rural PA, the Pinelands in NJ.

    Cost of living does not in any way mean depreciated wages at the expense of infrastructure and education - again paint with that wide brush. Let's take a look at NYC vs. Nashville. Or Boston vs. Raleigh. Loss of infrastructure/education? Nope.

    Again, full disclosure: never lived in S. C. and only below the Mason-Dixon once in D.C.-area. Just calling a spade a bloody shovel. God bless the internets.

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  10. And rural Vermont. I was living there after they passed Act 60, I believe it was (it's been so long). For what it was worth, at least Vermont tried to address education and opportunity inequalities in the state.

    Sadly, the only thing VT got for it's trouble was a fast, negative, population growth as their newly educated populace flocked to states with major cites.

    D.C. is the other end of the extreme, my Seattle friend didn't care much for it. I can see how that can get exhausting.

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  11. For what it's worth, here's my $0.02:

    @CJ: Yes, low-balling of chemistry wages is (sadly) becoming common place. Exploitation, however, is a matter of perspective. Would you (or any of the above coast-preferring Anons) rather have American chemists remain unemployed because of a $10K/year salary differential instead of earning a living wage? Ideally, one would not have to sacrifice personal living expectations (i.e., Broadway Theater and sushi bars) for the sake of employment. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal and probably won't be in the near future. Despite the efforts of minority activists, underpaid, overworked, & undocumented migrant labor continues to agricultural harvesting, janitorial services, restaurant services, landscaping, housing construction, etc. American citizens, regardless of their race or creed, are often shut out of such "glorious" professions due to perceptions of our "high" wage requirements.

    I don't consider myself xenophobic, however I do feel that our economic recovery requires a bit of protectionism coupled with belt-tightening. Even at my company in "Flyover Country", I have personally witnessed the hiring of foreign nationals (with visa sponsorship) instead of qualified citizens/permanent residents. Why? Because they are perceived as cheap and tractable. Throughout the recent global recession, the German workers have avoided massive layoffs by compromising with their corporate leaders in regards to salaries and benefits. Shouldn't Americans be capable of the same strategy?

    All this bashing of the South has got me hearing the soundtrack to "In the Heat of the Night". Incidentally, I am an American minority who was raised in the South. Yeah, I had experienced racial discrimination in my youth...whatever, I got over it. Besides, most of those bigoted SOBs ended up as trailer/ghetto trash. However, I was not expecting to hear racial epithets directed against me while in grad school in suburban California or attending ACS meetings in Boston and NYC. Apparently, bigotry is not bounded by geographic boarders or exclusive to certain races.

    @Anon108: Since you're so full of empathy, what have you done to mitigate the lack of socioeconomic opportunities in rural Georgia? Teach for America? Big Brother Big Sister? Habitat for Humanity? If you're going to be snob, at least try not to justify your own biases with problems that are beyond your control. Be thankful that you were not incarnated as some stereotypical red-blooded American, destined to get blown up in Baghdad or Kabul!

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    1. A0816:

      For what it's worth, it seems to me that the German model has produced better results. That's a disappointing truth. I don't know if our polity could accept such a model, either.

      As for jobs, I don't think 65-85k in SC for a pharma position is exploitative. I think it's what I've described it as: "a little low", or "slightly below the median".

      If I were to come up with CJ's hierarchy of job desire it would be: high-paying job > moderate paying job > low paying job > job >>> no job. I think that would be most people's priority ranking. But I don't think there's anything very wrong (or very prescriptive, for that matter) in me using my bully pulpit to point out jobs that claim to pay well or admit to paying not-so-great wages.

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    2. it also matters how meaningful is the job and how abusive are to bosses - respect and self-respect are important. I would warn people against going to a CRO sweatshop for a low pay but a small process company manufacturing APIs with a less-than-awesome salary might be a good choice for someone out of job - at least you can get to write patents about your research.

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