Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cast a Wide Net

After Tuesday's post (covered graciously by Derek and Chemjobber), I received plenty of well-wishing and interesting emails pointing to potential jobs. I'm truly thankful for all of the kind responses.

One persistent question came up in multiple venues: What type of job was I looking for?
Was I, perhaps, being too picky?

Below, I've listed a smattering of the job titles I've applied to in the past three years. I'll let you be the judge(s):

Scientist I
Scientist II
Scientist III
Sr. Chemist
Project Leader
Principal Scientist
Research Investigator
Polymer Scientist
Consultant / Manager
Flavor Scientist
Technical Adviser
Patent Associate
Asst. Professor
Adjunct Professor
Educational Assistant
Asst. Editor
Social Media Manager
Science Writer
Medical Writer
Lead Chemist
Business Development Associate
Business Development Manager
Marketing Rep
Sales Associate
Customer Affairs Rep
Organometallic Scientist
Accounts Manager
Business Analyst
Applications Development
Metallurgy Engineer
Research Chemist
Food Scientist / Engineer
Team Leader
Asst. Director
Metabolism / Fate Scientist
Research Asst. Professor
Technology Transfer Specialist
Product Specialist

(more as I dig 'em up...)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


A few days ago, I made a sardonic comment on Twitter about the never-ending scientific job quest:
So, was I just being over-the-top? Let's do some math.

In the past 4 years, I've held 3 different jobs; I'm currently looking for Job #4.

Jobs Applied To, by cycle: 184, 43, 126 (so far!) = 353 jobs
@ 1 hour per job (discovery, cover letter, emails, recommendations, etc.) = 353 hours

Phone Interviews, by cycle: 13, 3, 10 (so far!) = 26 phone calls
(Just 15 minutes? In my experience, they last 45): 26 * 0.75 hour = 20 hours

On-Site Interviews, by cycle: 7, 2, 3 (so far!) = 12 on-sites
@ 8 hours per interview + avg. 4 hours travel = 144 hours

Miscellaneous: Job fairs, reformatting CV, career events, webinars, networking events, ACS meetings, cold-calls, personal development, continuing education = 100 hours

Grand Total: 617 hours spent on some aspect of job-hunting.

Let's put that number into perspective. 617 hours is 25.7 days. Not working days, mind you. Actual 24-hour days. Many U.S. companies start entry-level employees at 2 weeks' vacation, or 80 hours of earned time. That's 320 hours over 4 years.

I have spent nearly twice as long applying for jobs as I have taking vacation in the last 4 years.

(Bonus irony: Several of those vacation days were taken to attend on-site interviews.)

If we measure a "standard" industrial chemist working week at ~50 hours, then I've spent 12.3 working weeks looking for jobs. That's 3 weeks' time, annually.

How much science could you do with an extra 3 weeks? Or if you actually used your vacation to relax, as opposed to looking for work?

Final thought: I'll bet you good money that I'm underestimating the time I've spent searching.

Any leads? I'm willing to listen. Drop me a line, seearroh_AT_gmail

~ Still no new job. Resume radio silence ~

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Brief Interlude

No, I haven't found a new job yet. But, I wanted to take a brief respite from watching a small start-up company crumble all around me, in order to point you to this:

Credit: Randall Munroe | Science Magazine
(Here's the full comic)
Yes, that's the Randall behind xkcd, drawing an Open Access journals infographic in last week's special "Communicating Science" section in, well, Science (!!!). He now joins Jorge Cham (PhD Comics) in the pantheon of cartoonists-cum-science-communicators to grace its hallowed pages in the past few years. It perhaps does not surprise regular readers that I'm an ardent fan of both artists.

I figured that, given recent calls for greater public understanding of science, and even chatter of drawing total synthesis cartoons, these early sci-comic trailblazers should be widely recognized and praised for their efforts. I certainly enjoyed it!

[Back to the hunt...Resume radio silence]