Friday, April 30, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 4/30/10 edition

Good morning! From April 27 until 11:30 AM GMT April 30, there were 27 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 7 (26%) are academically connected and 1 is from our friends at Kelly Scientific Research.

A flavorful position: Mars is looking for a PhD flavor chemist to head its flavo(u)r chemistry division. Sounds like fun; obviously, you need to be quite experienced for this job.

Dupont: It's nice to see the major companies come in with positions -- Dupont has posted 5 positions, including a B.S. chemist for work in its Stone and Tile products division.

Regulus: And on the other end of the size spectrum, Regulus Therapeutics has posted 2 positions in bench chemistry. They are looking for a B.S./M.S. chemist with 1-5 years experience for microRNA and oligonucleotide synthesis and also an associate director (Ph.D., 8+ yrs.) for the same field.

The Holton Lab: Robert Holton (of Taxol fame) is looking for an "assistant scholar scientist" to work on taxane syntheses. I don't typically post on post-doc positions in the DPT, but this one has a 65-72k salary. For Tallahassee, that's not too bad.

Positive reinforcement: Kelly Scientific Resources has done a remarkable job of improving the positions its been posting. No more food technician positions, mostly really lab-based. Nice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 4/27/10 edition

Good morning! From April 21 to April 26, there were 29 new positions posted on the ACS Careers database. Of these, 11 (38%) were academically connected and 1 (3%) were from our friends at Kelly Scientific Resources.

Avon calling...: Avon Products, Inc. is looking for a Ph.D. analytical chemist to work on R&D into cosmetic formulations. Previous experience with analysis of cosmetics is desired.

Vertex!: Our heroes of the last year are at it again, although with a temporary contract. Vertex is looking for a B.S./M.S. chemist to work in formulation development for 3 months -- good luck!

Like the name, anyways: Wildcat Discovery Technology seems to be looking at combinatorial approaches to developing new battery technology. They're looking for Ph.D. bench chemists with experience in electrochemistry and other energy-related fields.

Um, good luck?: The Transportation Security Administration is looking for a chemical engineer to serve as the Chief Scientist for the Office of Operational Process and Technology (OPT). Basically, it sounds like you'll be the scientific advisor for all the testing of screening equipment. Good luck with that -- hope that you can figure out a way that I can stop taking off my shoes. Please?

Friday, April 23, 2010


 Dear Mr. Government:

Why must you make predictions I don't want to hear?

Love, CJ

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April unemployment numbers: not much improvement

On April 2, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its unemployment numbers for the month of March. The official unemployment rate remained flat at 9.7%. Unfortunately, the broader measurement of unemployment (U3 + discouraged or marginally attached workers, etc.) was slightly up at 16.9%, from 16.8% for February 2010.

Thanks, as always, to the Calculated Risk blog for the graphic.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 4/21/10 edition

Good morning! Including April 17, there have been 27 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 9 (33%) are academically connected and none are from Kelly Scientific Resources.

Top Secret Analytical Chemist: Lockheed Martin needs an experienced (12+ years) B.S./M.S. analytical chemist to um, well, I dunno -- they don't say. But you do need experience with LC/MS, HPLC and FTIR.

And something else mysterious: Los Alamos National Laboratory is looking for a Research Technologist 1 in the Clean Chemistry Team in the Chemistry Division's Nuclear and Radiochemistry group. Looks like you'll be spending your time doing ICP mass spectrometry.

And the Cardinals are 9-5, too!: BASF seeks an experienced M.S./Ph.D. chemist to manage their pest control R&D team in St. Louis, MO. Sounds lucrative.

A major Dunder-Mifflin competitor: Georgia-Pacific's Gypsum Division is looking for a Ph.D. organic chemist with 3 years experience in coatings research. The position is in Decatur, GA.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What does Rudy write?

Over at In the Pipeline, chemblogosphere eminence grise Derek Lowe announced that he's been invited to serve on an advisory board at C&E News. He also solicited opinions to share with the staff of the magazine; there are no shortage of opinions (80 comments and counting!)

A comment reminded me of one of my favorite old hobbyhorses: the editorials of Rudy Baum, the Editor-in-Chief. They range from the innocent (wrens! pretty!) to the mundane (Pittcon 2040 - the Future is the Future!), but they can really veer into the controversial.

I was terribly curious as to how many editorials were of the politics/controversy type. Naturally, I dragged out all the available copies of C&EN that I had. Sadly, they only cover parts of 2008, 2009 and 2010. The results are tabulated here; the more controversial or personal editorials are highlighted. (Green for climate change, blue for everything else.)

Below is a chart presenting the 2009 editorials in the issues that I have in hand:

I'm surprised that the ratio of the mundane to the controversial was as low as 1.9:1. I expected the ratio to be a lot lower and my memory was just biased. (Man, it seemed like in 2005, I found something to be mad at in every one of his editorials.) I'll also note that I scored the controversy with a pretty weak threshold and with a eye towards including editorials I agreed with, like the one that railed against "The Story of Stuff". (On that one, right on, Rudy!) Also, I'll note again: this is just for the issues that I had at home. THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE TABULATION, FOLKS.

As for Baum's editorials, I used to really get irritated at the more political stuff, but I learned to just deal with the fact that they were one man's opinion. Life goes on, and I'll probably still read them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 4/16/10 edition

Good morning! Including April 14, there have been 21 new positions posted on the ACS Careers jobs database. Of those, 8 (38%) are academically connected and none are from Kelly Scientific Resources.

More, please: Boehringer Ingelheim is hiring in Cleveland and Bedford, OH. They must have a process plant somewhere there; they're looking for a Ph.D. analytical chemist and a B.S. chemist for process development. Overall, there are 5 positions. Nice!

Flavors and fragrances: Takasago International is looking for a M.S. organic chemist for synthesis of new flavors and fragrances. Sounds like a nice position.

Oooooh: The National Gallery of Art seeks a Ph.D. analytical chemist to work in photography conservation. They'd like somebody with experience in X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and FTIR.

And there's always Arkansas, too: Dr. Reddy's Laboratories apparently has a facility in Shreveport, Louisiana; they're seeking 2 B.S. chemists with QC experience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who gets laid off first?

The last post ("Who gets hired first?") has attracted a great number of comments, many of which I intend to address in the coming days. Thanks to all for the great commentary. But the corollary question hasn't been asked here; that is, when it comes time to lay people off, who gets the ax first?

Layoffs are particularly painful for a company. In my short industrial experience, I saw 2 of them and there was a third within a year. The following chart represents what I've seen in layoffs:

While layoffs often appear random to the bench-level chemist, it does seem that they affect the more experienced a lot more than the less experienced. In addition, middle management appear to be affected more than most (thus the "1st" tag on moderately experienced PhDs.) Ugh. This stuff needs to be analyzed, but is so unpleasant.

I'd love to get an insider's perspective on this. Also, I don't think the above chart is entirely correct. Maybe I need a poll. Readers, is the chart accurate? What are your thoughts as to how this happens?

Daily/Weekly/Monthly Pump Trap: 4/14/10 edition

Good morning. So it's been a while since the last one of these (life intervenes.) From March 17, 2010 until April 13, 2010, there have been 156 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 35 (22%) are academically connected and only 1 (<1%) are from our friends at Kelly Scientific Resources.

Things are...: Well, it's hard to say. For not doing this for nearly a month, I certainly hoped that there would be a lot more out there than this. That being said...

Good, but not perfect: Good: Albany Molecular is looking for experienced chemists. Not perfect: Hungary, India and Singapore.

Safety specialist: The United States Pharmacopeia is looking for a B.S. chemist safety specialist. Sounds like fun, and probably a stable position.

So that's a little specific: Cabot Microelectronics is looking for a senior research scientist to work on R&D in their sector, semiconductor polishing slurries. Don't know what that is, but it sounds neat. (No educational requirements made.)

And the benefits, well: E&J Gallo Winery is looking for a B.S. analytical chemist to work on testing of well, everything: "alcoholic beverages, grapes, grape products, corks, oak, water/waste water, incoming goods and materials, product contact materials, and other related materials."

First wine, then: Trader's Point Creamery (located in the well-known dairyland of Zionsville, Indiana) is looking for a cheese making and shift supervisor. Why they decided to come to the ACS Careers website is beyond me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Who gets hired first?

Paul Hodges (of the great "Chemicals and the Economy" blog) recently said that the global recession is more or less over; now we're just waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for the recovery.

So who gets hired back first? Some of this comes from Anon3:20 from yesterday, who's concerned about being young and competing against much more experienced folks. I have a (W.A.) guess:

Here's my boring theory: first, you hire good, high quality worker bees. Then, you hire new folks, once you run out of experienced people. After that, you hire folks to manage all of them -- presumably, you need a good bit of experience to be a manager of chemists. I suspect that it would take quite a robust economic recovery for people to get absorbed into senior management.

This makes sense to me, even though my theory does not bode well for folks with more than 10 years of experience. What does everyone think of this?