A Worthwhile Career
“Seeking Analytical Chemists” is a welcome exposé of how analytical chemistry “used to be known as a service discipline” (C&EN, March 30, page 42). It is heartening to read that at least some companies now consider it to be “an integral part of the development organization.”
In the past, analytical chemists were treated as servants not only by biased and misinformed R&D managers but also by their colleagues in other disciplines. Analytical chemists often received lower salaries and bonuses; were slower to be promoted; and were not given proper credit for contributions to solving research, product development, commercialization, and patent issues.
I recall an analytical group supervisor in the 1980s who proudly stated that he would never hire analytical chemists. Some managers in the 1990s even suggested changing the title analytical “research fellow” to “service fellow.” Even today, the title “technical fellow” is sometimes substituted for research fellow to distinguish an analytical chemist from peers in other disciplines.
During my own long career at DuPont, my emphasis was always on helping to solve my colleagues’ problems; we were all most successful when we worked in a fully cooperative environment. Despite occasional setbacks and disappointments, I thoroughly enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of my career. It was never just a job. A few enlightened managers and cooperative peers made it all worthwhile.
Anthony ForisI had no idea that analytical chemists were treated in a less-than-equal manner long ago; fascinating stuff. Well, good to know that things have changed at least a little.