Monday, September 23, 2013

Now that's a way to find a position in chemistry

should also be subtitled "IHOP - the ultimate in #altchemjobs."

I want to come back to this article by Deirdre Lockwood about people finding chemistry positions in places other than the coasts. Here's a rather wonderful story about someone looking for a Q.C. position in the Pacific Northwest, ultimately ending up in Missoula, Montana:
Although most people relocate only after they’ve found a job, Becky Winnick, an R&D chemist at Blue Marble, took a different path. After graduating in 2011 with a B.S. in environmental chemistry from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., she worked at a series of unpaid or stipend-based internships in environmental science, and for a few months at analytical chemistry firm Dragon Analytical Laboratory in Olympia. Then she decided to take a road trip to find work in a place she wanted to live. She “couch surfed” through Spokane, Wash.; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Kalispell, Mont., researching opportunities in libraries along the way. “I was hoping to find a simple quality-control job,” she says, but she had no luck. 
Once Winnick reached Missoula, she fell in love with the town’s combination of access to nature and a vibrant music, art, and social scene and was determined to stay. She found a place to live on Craigslist and pounded the pavement of Missoula’s fledgling biosciences scene, networking with University of Montana professors and dropping off her résumé at several companies. When none of them hired her, she took a job at an IHOP restaurant for the summer and volunteered with a wildlife refuge, planning to move again by winter if nothing panned out in terms of starting a chemistry career. 
Last October, Winnick saw a job posting for Blue Marble. She was hired as an intern and moved up to a permanent position in January. Now the 23-year-old works on projects from inception to scale-up, testing different extraction methods to fill requests from potential clients for such things as a natural blue food coloring and determining how to make the extracts in larger reactors.
I don't think this is a viable route for most (any?) Ph.D. chemists, but I think that, for the right person (relatively young, no familial responsibilities), this approach to finding a job in chemistry can work well. Read the whole thing! 

1 comment:

  1. I did something similar when I was young. After I got my bachelors and my girlfriend dumped me, I went on a road-trip to some big American cities and stopped at one. Taught some German, did an illegal job of which I'm ashamed of now, then got interviews at a couple of biotechs and did quite well, but one of them didn't take me because they said they were afraid I would start grad school and leave them. So, I went to the local university and applied to grad school. The accepted me a week later. It was a decent job for five years.