As an undergraduate, I attended [medium-sized state school] and majored in chemistry. There were several options in the chemistry major--you could pick the ACS certified option, general chemistry, or the biochemistry (the options have further diversified since then). Because I loved chemistry but also wanted to do biomedically-based research, I completed both the ACS certified and the biochemistry options--4 extra classes in total. At the time, I did not think very much about it; I was still in that strange undergraduate phase of loving learning for the sake of learning, so I enjoyed taking those extra labs and analytical chemistry lecture courses.
Fast forward to grad school. Unlike many of your readers, I did not go into organic synthesis. I attended [prominent R1 school] and did a biophysical chemistry-project in [very, very famous professor's] group. This meant that I learned a lot of molecular biology very quickly, but also had to be reasonably adept at other aspects of chemistry... making me a jack of all trades, master of none type of scientist. Exactly the type industry does NOT want. Why did I pick this path? I was fascinated with the science, and Professor [redacted] makes one heck of a sales pitch. Also, I was not sure what I wanted to do after grad school; I thought I could keep my options open for a bit longer, maybe teach at a SLAC.
For personal reasons, I looked for a job in [small East Coast city] after grad school. I ended up doing a postdoc in a cancer biology group, which was great, because coming out of a chemistry group I knew I needed a better understanding of biological processes as well as technical training. Three years later, the two-body problem reared its ugly head again, and my spouse and I decided that the greater Boston area gave both of us the best chance to have fulfilling non-academic careers, especially given the stresses in the academic world right now. [They] found a job almost immediately, but I spent 4 months in total looking for a job.
I applied for a research associate position with a small contract research organization, [redacted], on a day when I was feeling desperate for a job. I was overqualified for the position, but the HR rep realized that I fit the qualifications for a recently-opened industrial postdoc position. and here is where the analytical skills come in: the HR rep requested all of my transcripts, because the position required understanding and problem-solving skills in analytical chemistry. Even though I took those courses 10 years ago, the mindset was still there. My biology knowledge will be useful, too, for characterizing biologics. I had a great interview with the company--this included a technical interview so that I could demonstrate problem-solving skills--and I will start the position [very soon].Thanks to YP for their story -- best wishes to them, and to all of us.