Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

As always, I am incredibly thankful for my family, my friends, my community (physical and online) and my job.

I am also incredibly thankful for you, my readers and commenters. Thank you for your reading, your advice, your e-mails and your brilliant, insightful comments. I am truly blessed.

My family and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving with plenty of food, family and laughter and if you're not in the United States, a happy Thursday and Friday! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The 2016 ACS Form 990

 This was 2016's form 990. (Here's 2015's form 990 and here's 2014's form 990.)

For comparison's sake, Madeleine Jacobs was paid $888,199 in reportable compensation in 2015. This was the first full year that current ACS CEO Thomas Connelly has had his compensation reported. He was paid $893,157 in 2016. Nice work if you can get it.

Looks like reportable compensation for the highest-paid ACS officers trended down between 2015 and 2016.




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 441 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 441 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On November 18, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 482 positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Playing the Long Game, by QHV

I'm pleased to host an essay by a long-time reader and friend of the blog about their job search: 
After an arduous, demoralizing, post-Great Recession period of unemployment, underemployment, and job hunting, I wanted to share some happy, hopeful news: I recently landed a new job that I am excited about. It’s more than just a new job, really...this is a return to R&D and a major boost in career trajectory, quality of life, and overall work satisfaction, not to mention pay, all bundled into the culmination of a very difficult decade.  
The way this happened was unexpected and surprising to me. I have, until now, assumed that if you didn’t follow a particular prescribed path (find a job posting, apply for the job, get a phone interview, get a site interview, receive an offer) to getting hired, then you were either gaming the system or cheating. That must have been incredibly na├»ve of me. I veered from that sequence during my home stretch, achieving my desired outcome, but getting what I ultimately wanted didn’t feel like manipulation or cheating at all; it was hard work and it made sense to me. You are welcome to tell me if you disagree. It won’t subdue my elation.   
I am a former synthetic chemist. In the mid-2000s, I was truly thrilled to be doing medicinal chemistry. I enjoyed bench work, the companionship of fellow chemists, and the fact that I was doing what I wanted to do and had been educated to do…but in 2008 my position (like many folks’) vanished, and I ended up briefly unemployed before taking a string of less-than-interesting positions. These jobs were only tangentially related to my love of chemistry and they paid much less. I hesitate to use the term drudgery, but…let’s put it this way: perpetually looking forward to the end of the day and the end of the work week can be a pretty miserable way to live a life.   

Friday, November 17, 2017

View From Your Hood: November morning edition

Credit: John Milligan
From reader John Milligan: "The sun rises behind the Cathedral of Learning on a November morning at the University of Pittsburgh."

(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and preference for name/anonymity, please) at chemjobber@gmail.com; will run every other Friday.)

More good job search advice from other experienced chemists

I recently had the honor of interviewing Derek Lowe about his recent job search; it's been published at Chemical and Engineering News. In the comments below my column, a very nice comment from another experienced chemist, Paul E. Eckler: 
After 10 years or so out of school, you find yourself competing with recent graduates if you stick with the basic skills you learned in school. Recent graduates work cheaply. Competition can be tough. 
Usually it’s the experience shown on your resume that gets you an interview. The recent graduate may be very sharp, but he/she needs some time to become productive in many job situations. Hiring experienced people means I want someone who can make immediate contributions and not require much training. 
In hiring people I usually have others looking over my shoulder. My requirements are often very specific in terms of experience needed. It also helps to have worked for leaders in the industry (often competitors or customers). Previous employers matter and can be a plus as long as non-competes don’t get in the way. 
After 10 years you probably have specialized in certain areas. If yours are fields in demand, job searching will be easier. Specialized experience can be valuable, but it may take time to find the right employer. 
After 10 years you also tend to be in upper salary brackets. That makes you more vulnerable in cost cutting layoffs. Unless of course you are a key player in a major project. 
Networking is often listed as a key for the mid career professional looking for work. People you have worked with over the years know your accomplishments and reputation. They can be sources of opportunities. They may well know who is hiring and what they are looking for. Do let your friends know you are looking. 
Don’t forget to consider temp agencies. Manpower and Kelley Scientific, to name two, have listings for temp professionals including chemists. Their salaries are negotiable. Some companies prefer to hire temps. Temping is a opportunity to show what you can do. 
Guard against negative thoughts while you are looking. Depression can be a problem. Find some people you can relax with and talk it out. Finding that next job can take time, but most of us find something. Keep your chin up.
I always hold the temp agencies at bit at arm's length, but your mileage may vary. Also, I really commend the concerns around depression and having a group of friends that you can talk about your job loss with. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 139 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 139 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

19 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 19 new positions posted for November 9 and November 15.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 52 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 52 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The story of Job

Via Twitter. Written by Curtis Perry, with inspiration by Joseph A. Howley (reproduced with their permission): 
There was a person in the land of grad school, whose name was Job; and that person was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil and had written 4 of 5 chapters. Job's substance also was two peer-reviewed journal articles; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From the search committee. 
And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a published and an upright man? 
Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Hath Job submitted an application? If so, he will come to curse thee to thy face. 
And there was a day when the search committee met  
And there came an automated email unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: so send a writing sample, a teaching statement, a cover letter, and a dossier of recommendation immediately. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, your funding is running out and and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, There is only one position in your field, so good luck with that. 
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and tweeted. 
And said, unpublished came I out of my mother's womb, and unemployed shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. 
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth 
And Satan answered the Lord, and said, The committee hath not completed its deliberations. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with delaying. 
And he took him a group office to comfort himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 
Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they were secretly hoping that they could get the interview with Satan instead. 
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said,
Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
Let the day of my first seminar be remembered in darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
For now should I have lain still and been quiet, or just played video games, or gone to law school.
I have seen the foolish taking root and earning tenure: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
What is my strength, that I should hope? What is my methodological innovation that I should hope to be noticed?
Is there iniquity in my chapter? cannot my heuristic discern perverse things?
When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.
Doth God pervert judgment? or doth His rec letter misrepresent my defense date?
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.
Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me rewrite chapter 3 and change annotation style; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? 
Then spake Zophar the Placement Officer, and said,
Canst thou while searching call out God? hast thou edited thy materials as I said?
If thou prepare thine dissertation abstract, and stretch out thine hands toward him
then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
But the dossiers of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost. 
And Job answered and said
I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. The tabernacles of unpublishing full professors prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly. 
ye are forgers of lies, ye are all theoreticians of no value. 
And where is now my hope? as for my writing sample, who shall see it? 
Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 
Gird up thy loins in a newly purchased and not too ostentatious suit; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Canst thou describe 3 years of hard thinking in 5 minutes of high-stakes interview? Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? 
I shall give thee an interview, though it shall cost all thou hast left to attend it. 
Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. But I say unto you "my dissertation intervenes in.."
After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. And surprisingly few daughters. Especially at the rank of full Professor.
 Thank you to Curtis and Joseph for their permission. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 429 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 429 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

On November 11, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 470 positions.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 37 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 37 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Stories from after the Great Recession

Linda Wang's article about chemists 10 years after the Great Recession is out in today's issue of C&EN. Don't miss the really great stories (including a couple of friends of the blog). I really enjoyed this story from an anonymous chemist-turned-nurse: 
A woman who graduated with an M.S. in chemistry from a western university around the time of the recession recalls the difficulty of finding work as a new graduate. The woman, who did not want to be identified by name so that her job prospects would not be affected, was unemployed for two-and-a-half years, she says, and heartbroken at being unable to find work in a field she was passionate about. 
But she had to pay the bills, including student loans, so she worked at a hotel chain before deciding to return to school for a nursing degree. Now that the woman has graduated and obtained her nursing license in two states, she has the luxury of choosing among four job offers. 
Some chemists question whether they should encourage young people to go into the sciences when their journeys have been so difficult. “It’s kind of hard to encourage kids I know who want to go into science, which is terrible because it’s a great field, and we need scientists,” [CJ's note: former Pfizer chemist Pamela] Case says. “But when they ask for my experience, I have to be honest.” Many chemists like Case were forced to leave the bench.
If I were laid off and could not find a job in my field, I would imagine it would be hard-pressed to recommend it to others. That's got to be a tough thing to mention during a career day session.

(Readers, what do you do during career day sessions? I regret to admit my audiences get more exposure to the Survey of Earned Doctorates than they would ever want...) 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Poem: "Why I Love Being Married to a Chemist", by Barbara Crooker

Found via Sarah Reisman: 
Why I Love Being Married to a Chemist
Because he can still cause a reaction in me
when he talks about SN2 displacements,
amines and esters looking for receptor sites
at the base of their ketones. Because he lugs
home serious tomes like The Journal of the American
Chemical Society or The Proceedings of the Society
of the Plastics Industry, the opposite of the slim volumes
of poetry with colorful covers that fill my bookshelves.
Because once, years ago, on a Saturday before our
raucous son rang in the dawn, he was just
standing there in the bathroom, out of the shower.
I said Honey, what’s wrong? and he said Oh,
I was just thinking about a molecule. 
Because he taught me about sublimation, how
a solid, like ice, can change straight to a gas
without becoming liquid first. Because even
after all this time together, he can still
make me melt.
“Why I Love Being Married to a Chemist” by Barbara Crooker from her book Les Fauves. © C & R Press, 2017. Reprinted with her permission. 

Positive movement on the tuition waiver story

The Senate tax reform proposal released late Thursday night includes an excise tax on large private college endowments that has been strongly opposed by higher ed groups... 
...But the Senate proposal appears to largely leave untouched many education tax credits and tax exemptions eliminated in the House GOP tax bill. 
The House plan released last week eliminated several deductions that benefit both undergraduate and graduate students. Eliminating one of those deductions would mean tuition waived for graduate students is taxed as income. That prompted a campaign by graduate students on social media to push back against the provision....
This is a positive development, but it's not over until the package is all done, I suspect.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 140 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 140 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

15 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 15 new positions posted for November 3 and November 5.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 52 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 52 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A little more Cold War nostalgia

And now, something much more chemistry-related. Via the Orange County Register's Lauren Williams: 
Forty years ago, George Miller and Vince Guinn were scientists conducting research in a small basement at UC Irvine, when a stranger walked in, a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. 
The basement was filled with a small nuclear reactor, a machine that Miller and Guinn used to conduct the atomic analysis of, among other things, heavy metals. 
The briefcase was filled with fragments of the world’s most controversial bullet. 
The bullet fragments were so tiny that they were “little more than dust,” recalls Miller, now 80. But, tiny as they were, the fragments were clues in one of the biggest mysteries in American history — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 
They’d been collected 14 years earlier by government investigators, the man with the briefcase explained. Now, their government had a request for Miller and Guinn: 
Would they use the school’s reactor and their scientific skills to answer the question that still loomed over the Kennedy assassination — did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?
Pretty cool little story. (Spoiler alert: Oswald did it.) 

A little Cold War nostalgia

I'm not nostalgic for the Cold War, but some darn good stories come out of it. Here's a pretty good one from the Rapid City Journal (article by Seth Tupper): 
Bob Hicks was spending a cold December night in his barracks 53 years ago at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City when the phone rang. It was the chief of his missile maintenance team, who dispatched Hicks to an incident at an underground silo. 
“The warhead,” the team chief said, “is no longer on top of the missile.” 
Hicks eventually learned that a screwdriver used by another airman caused a short circuit that resulted in an explosion. The blast popped off the missile’s cone — the part containing the thermonuclear warhead — and sent it on a 75-foot fall to the bottom of the 80-foot-deep silo.
I particularly loved this bit about speaking up in meetings:
Hicks said there was a particularly high-ranking officer at the scene who’d been flown in by helicopter. After Hicks had rendered the missile safe, Hicks came back to the surface and heard the officer asking some other men how to retrieve the warhead. 
Hicks heard no response, so he piped up. Cargo nets were sometimes used to move heavy equipment in and out of the silo, he said. He suggested that a net could be lowered to the bottom of the silo, and the cone with its warhead could be rolled into the net. The net could then be hoisted up on a cable by a crane. 
The officer did not appreciate the boldness of Hicks, whose rank was airman second class. 
“He said, ‘Airman, when I want an opinion from you, I’ll ask you,’” Hicks recalled. 
Hicks retreated to his truck and awaited further orders. Later, Hicks said, he was recalled to the officer’s side and asked to explain the idea again.
"Postdoc, when I want an opinion from you, I'll tell you it." (Read the whole thing.)

A few bits of bad news...

Amgen, Genentech cutting some staff (via Endpoints News's Brittany Meiling)
Two biotech giants — Amgen and Genentech — are laying off a combined 330 people at California facilities, both citing “organizational changes” as the primary reason for the cuts. 
Amgen is shaking up its R&D department, eliminating 200 positions at its Thousand Oaks, CA and South San Francisco facilities by the end of this year, STAT reported Saturday. An Amgen spokesperson tells me the company is making organizational changes across the globe in regards to its R&D departments. This round of layoffs, however, mostly impacts facilities in California.... 
...For Genentech, the layoffs are concentrated at its Vacaville, CA manufacturing facility, where about 1,000 people are employed. Genentech (owned by Roche) is cutting 130 positions....
Also, in the news in Indianapolis (via WBOI's Annie Ropeik):
At Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, 2,300 employees will take buyouts as part of the company’s effort to save money by cutting at least 2,000 jobs in the U.S. by the end of the year. 
It’s unclear whether layoffs are still in the works in the Hoosier state. 
Lilly said in September it would aim to save $500 million by cutting 3,500 jobs out of its more than 41,000 worldwide, with at least 2,000 cut in the U.S....
 Best wishes to those affected. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 413 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 413 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

On November 6, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 454 positions.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 36 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 36 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 6, 2017

STEM is TE: job openings edition

Via the New York Times, a pretty nice comparison of degree production and potential job openings. Long-time readers of the blog will be familiar with the data - here's the Census Bureau's great visualization of it. 

What's the point of taxing tuition waivers?

This post is about graduate students, the tax reform bill and Congressional politics - don't want to read about it? No worries, I won't be offended. 

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles in this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News

Friday, November 3, 2017

View from my Hood?: Frankfurt, Germany edition

(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and preference for name/anonymity, please) at chemjobber@gmail.com; will run every other Friday.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Warning Letter of the Week: reused results edition

From a love note from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the CEO of Kim Chemicals Private Ltd. of Maharashtra, India: 
During our inspection, our investigator observed specific violations including, but not limited to, the following.

1.    Your firm failed to have, for each batch of drug product, appropriate laboratory determination of satisfactory conformance to final specifications for the drug product, including the identity and strength of each active ingredient, prior to release (21 CFR 211.165(a)).
For example, multiple batches of Vaporizing Chest Rub and [redacted] failed to meet finished product specifications, including active ingredient content. Despite these failing test results, you shipped these drugs to the United States.

Additionally, your staff informed our investigator that batches are not routinely tested. Instead, your firm re-uses test results from a past batch produced several years ago, and enters those results on certificates of analysis for new batches.

Your brief response indicated that your firm is performing batch testing, but included no raw data or test results. 
3.    Your firm failed to ensure that laboratory records included complete data derived from all tests necessary to assure compliance with established specifications and standards (21 CFR 211.194(a)).
You had no records to support the analytical testing results reported on your certificate of analyses. Your firm indicated to our investigator that you document finished product analysis on a pad of paper, transcribe the test results onto a certificate of analysis, and then destroy the piece of paper. There is no assurance that the testing was conducted in the first place, and there is no record that any associated calculations were performed.
 That's one way to save on pesky laboratory fees!