You probably know that the employment climate for both new chemistry graduates and experienced chemical scientists is as bad as it’s been in a long time. Even more distressing is that most experts predict it will remain so for some time. As a community, we simply must pull out all the stops and launch special efforts to help our colleagues in distress—not just for them personally, but for our profession. [snip]
Today, thousands of chemists are out of work. You probably know some of them. In fact, you may be glad you’re not one of them. But are you willing to pass on what someone has likely done for you? You see, what I do as president is not nearly as important as what you do in your local communities. It is the collective impact of more than 163,000 people that makes a difference. So my challenge, even plea, to you is this—between now and the end of this year, do one of two things: Give your personal advice or support to a job seeker, or pass on a job lead at the new “Paying It Forward” online employment forum on the ACS Network at www.acs.org/payingitforward. Members can communicate useful job leads and help displaced colleagues by facilitating local events and networking opportunities. We will track the top “payers” and recognize them in some way at year-end.
ACS is also working closely with local sections and divisions to facilitate other easy ways to assist your colleagues with their careers. Next week’s Comment by Lisa M. Balbes, chair of the ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs, will focus on specific collaborative ways to grow your network and help others do likewise. The following week will feature a Comment by Connie J. Murphy, chair of the Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs. She will discuss ways that you can influence policymakers on the local and federal levels to favor initiatives for job creation and growth in the chemical enterprise.
After that, Valerie J. Kuck, a longtime ACS career champion and adviser, will highlight regional employment trends as well as pressing needs and key ACS services in this area. You will hear how the North Jersey; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and other ACS local sections support local job clubs and networking receptions that can pay handsome dividends. The fifth and final Comment in this series will focus on chemical unemployment trends and career challenges among underrepresented groups. Allison A. Aldridge, chair of the Committee on Minority Affairs, will highlight the value of mentoring for all chemists and the added value that mentors bring to the professional development of minority scientists.
We all know that chemistry creates solutions to global problems, but most of us do not take time to consider the smaller-scale, personal impact that we can have on the lives of others. But we should, because just a few minutes of our time could greatly affect another person’s chances for success, particularly in today’s economic climate. What you choose to contribute to this endeavor will pay it forward and shift your cosmic chemical karma in a positive direction—because someday it might be you who needs the help. Will you join me in this effort?We're nearly 4 years into this current employment recession for chemists. ACS's own numbers suggest that this is the worst employment environment in over 20 years, with most folks believing that it's the worst ever. I can't help but find "Paying it Forward" to be a very poor (and delayed) response to a ACS-threatening existential problem. If a new section on a somewhat moribund social network is the most significant effort (financial or otherwise) that ACS can put together, consider me less than impressed.
All that aside, I can't help but hope something good comes out of this effort and I'll be tracking the efforts on "Paying it Forward" daily or weekly. Best wishes to all involved and I'll do my best to help as well.
Readers, what do you think?