Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Too good to, ah, er, no comment

"Laboratory Safety Program Manager

Under the general supervision of the Manager, Research Safety Division, manage the Laboratory Safety Program in the department of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S). Oversee laboratory inspections and ensure quality control, assist departments with the development and implementation of health and safety policies, assist with laboratory design, as requested, determine and recommend appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use in laboratories, and ensure the safe operation of laboratory equipment including fume hoods. Also responsible for preparing technical and administrative reports as well as the development and coordination of laboratory safety training."

Location? The University of California, Los Angeles.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Culinary school = getting a PhD in chemistry?

From a recent interview with Anthony Bourdain, a 28 year veteran of professional kitchens, where he's asked by a young caller about the possibility of becoming a professional chef (25:00, transcript done by me -- hope there aren't too many mistakes):
Caller: ...For the past 4 or 5 years, I have a huge passion for cooking, mostly just for family and friends. As the years go by, I've considered getting into it as a career myself. What would be your advice to break into the industry, would it be culinary school or jumping right into the kitchen and working my way up? 
Bourdain: Well, before you, uh, you're right on the age limit right about now. 27, 28, beyond that, it's going to be very, very, very tough for you, by the time you're trained up and ready to really work and make money in the industry. It's going to be late. You're practically Methuselah at 27. 
What I would definitely recommend before you quit your previous profession is work for free, if necessary or just get a few months, six months, in a very busy restaurant. Any busy restaurant, you know, get your butt kicked -- see if you really like it, before you spend money on culinary school. 
Because, no matter how good the culinary school, you're going to be rolling out of there and the best you can hope for is like a ten dollar an hour job for the first couple of years. You're not going to be paying back that student loan any time soon. So just make sure you love the business, that it's for you, that it's a passion, that you're willing to suffer for it and do without any kind of reasonable amount of money for quite some time.
Host: ...what do you tell young people thinking about getting into the kitchen as a professional chef? 
Bourdain: ...It's like rock'n'roll in the sense that you better just love playing rock'n'roll for playing rock'n'roll. If you think that you're going to be a star, as most any musician will tell you, that's not a reasonable expectation. 
Do it 'cause you love it. And most importantly, get out there and do it first, find out if the life is for you -- chances are, it's not. You'll know it after a few months in the business. And then, culinary school is a very worthwhile enterprise. 
So here's my question: how much is culinary school like graduate school in chemistry?

On the face of it, really, not much. Culinary school (so far as I understand) is shorter and you have to pay the tuition; it's rare (non-existent?) for graduate students in the sciences to need to pay tuition. Usually, they pay you. Salaries are different, too. If you're working for $10/hour with a master's degree in chemistry, friend, you're getting waaaay ripped off. But the long hours and the long time before you'll be making decent money? Yeah, that does sound like getting a doctorate in chemistry.

I think a significant difference between chemists and cooks is the concept of "doing it because you love it." I don't think chemists need to rely so much on that aspiration to replace the concept of a liveable wage after they're out of school. I hope not, anyway.

Friday, June 11, 2010

CJ's postulates: lab supply location

CJ postulate 1: The amount of time searching for laboratory supplies (and asking other workers for supplies) is directly proportional to the managerial* seniority of the searcher.

*UPDATED: added the word "managerial" for clarity.

Daily Pump Trap: 6/11/10 edition

Good morning! Between June 9 and June 10, there were 19 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of those, 4 (21%) are academically connected and 3 (16%) are from our friends at Kelly Scientific Resources.

Pfizer: Pfizer's Cambridge, MA site (the RTC, I believe) is looking for a B.S./M.S. chemist to join their product purification group. Like mass-directed separations? This is for you.

Winding wire: SuperiorEssex desires a M.S. chemist for research into wire and wire products; the company is " the world's largest producer of magnet wire, also known as winding wire, an insulated copper or aluminum conductor used by major original equipment manufacturers and distributors." Huh.

Big Oil (services): Schlumberger desires a Ph.D. chemist for work on "the development of chemical measurement systems for the oilfield and, more specifically, on the development of an H2S measurement method." 

Kelly: How about some applause for Kelly, which continues its (amazing!remarkable!) run of relevant postings. Want to be a catalyst technician ("job hoppers" not wanted - snerk), an NMR analytical-type or a pharmaceutical analyst

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 6/8/10 edition

Good morning! Between June 2 and June 8, there were 33 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 11 (33%) are academically related and 1 position (3%) is from our friends at Kelly Scientific Resources.

Hmmmm: The Sierra Club is looking for environmental specialists. "Professionals with advanced degrees or engineering licenses are sought for non-litigation and litigation projects." Huh -- gee, what's the pay for this?

Amgen: The folks at Amgen are looking for a M.S. chemist to do synthetic work. Sadly (or not), the position is in Cambridge, not Thousand Oaks. Sigh.

Polymers: Solvay is looking for a polymer chemist in Alpharetta, GA. Experience with compounding and molding equipment desired.

Biopolymers: Cargill is looking for a M.S/Ph.D. polymer chemist to work on biopolymers. Good luck trying to understand the ad, although experience with "quantitative analysis" and championing "technology development" is desired.

Chemjobber C&EN Index: 5/31/10

Industrial positions (non-academic, non-governmental):
Total number of ads: 2
- Postdocs: 0
- Permanent positions: 2

- Ratio of US/non-US: 2/0
Area: 45

Governmental positions (US, international):
Total number of ads: 1

- Postdocs: 0
- Permanent positions: 1

- Ratio of US/non-US: 1/0
Area: 47

Academic positions: Total number of ads: 4
- Postdocs: 1
- Tenure-track faculty: 3

- Temporary faculty: 0
- Lecturer positions: 2
- Staff positions: 0
- Ratio of US/non-US positions: 5/1

- Area (square cm): 321

Yeah, it's been awhile: Yes, this is the first Index in months. Not to worry, I'll catch up. Really!

No, nothing much has changed: I've been looking, just not blogging about it. 2 industry positions, neither really exciting for the typical chemist.  Well, maybe the Algenol position.  

Small college of the week: Mt. Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA, student population: 2,200, SA-LUTE!) is looking for a senior laboratory instructor in organic chemistry. Sounds like fun, especially if you're into the rural thing. Good luck!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Question: good resume writing services?

Anon12:00 asks "I am wondering if you know a good resume review and writing service for organic chemistry/phd background."

Well, really, I don't. I've had success (in my opinion) from the free career consulting that the ACS Careers people put on at ACS meetings. I met with John Borchardt and thought he did a nice job of correcting/editing my resume, which was appreciated. I believe the ACS Careers website has a (free!) personal career consulting service; I've not heard any reviews of its quality. (That being said, I think there's real room for a market here; certainly there are a lot of people who could use one and people who could use the work.)

Anyone know of a good resume writing service for organic chemists?

BREAKING: May unemployment rate at 9.7%, situation is not good

Good morning. You may be hearing positive reports about this morning's BLS jobs numbers, which show that the U3 unemployment rate fell from April's 9.9% to May's 9.7% and that 431,000 jobs were created.

411,000 of those jobs were temporary positions with the US Census. While those are indeed "real jobs", they're not permanent. This is a cause for concern, I'd think.

The invaluable Calculated Risk suggests that the fall in the unemployment rate has to do with a lowered number of participants in the job market. As CR continues analysis, I'll pass it along. Finally (to end on a sort-of good note), the broader U6 unemployment rate fell from 17.1% to 16.6%. Thank God for small blessing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Well, that's something I didn't expect

Okay, so I have A LOT to write about. Really. But first, I need to get some sleep. But first...

Do you want a job as a cosmetic chemist? No, really. It's a serious field (and I knew that before today), but I found out there's a blog for that. The folks at Chemist's Corner are professional cosmetic chemists and can tell you all about picking out raw materials and formulating.

(I can't tell you how many people I know who were drawn into chemistry by Ashley Abbott, who was apparently a chemist on The Young and the Restless (a show I know next to nothing about...))

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 6/2/10 edition

Good morning (and welcome back, DPT!) There are 48 new positions posted between May 21 and June 1st on the ACS Careers website. Of those, 11 (23%) are academically connected and 1 (2%) are from our friends at Kelly Scientific Resources.

Are things getting better?: I dunno, but there seem to be more positions these days. "Seem" is the key word here.

Life Technologies: They're hiring these days; 3 positions (bioinorganic chemist!) in the last week or so and a position or two every month, it seems.

Are things getting better? (cont.): Sure seem like a lot of these positions are in the "Ph.D. 5-7 years" range. That's good news for someone, I'd think. (e.g. Pharmasset, Flamma, Agios)

Jobs of the future?: Clean Fuel is looking for a lab quality control manager; they make biofuel and the like. I'm going to guess that this counts as a "green collar" job. 

Dept. of little lost lambs: Invista (a polymer company, granted) is looking for an Electrical Reliability Engineer in the (virtual) pages of the American Chemical Society. Good luck.

Kelly positive reinforcement: One ad from KSR, in the "food chemist" vein. Hey, that's an improvement.