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#### BrokeDown

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##### Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« on: May 31, 2011, 08:57:53 PM »

There's simply no jobs anymore for chemists out there.  Take a look around, most people that call themselves 'chemists' haven't been able to hold on to a job for longer than 5-8 years.  In fact, I bet most of the people you run into in the chemical industry have had 3, 4, or more jobs within the past decade.  How can one ever expect to buy a house or start a family with that kind of job insecurity?  The only thing this worthless degree in chemistry has gotten me are permatemp jobs with no benefits for $18/hr. I regret every single day of my life wasting time and money on this worthless chemistry degree. At this rate, it'll only take me the next 25 years between temp job after temp job to payoff all these student loans. I've done job search after job search and the only jobs out there are for A.)temps and B.) terribly mundane, boring, and low paying QC or method development work. There's a reason why there are so many listings for quality control/analysis/method development work--it's because people hate doing it and quit not long after starting which forces companies to constantly rehire. For all you youngins out there, stay absolutely clear of chemistry and pretty much science in general. It is a TERRIBLE career. There's never ending wave after wave of layoffs after companies get done their projects that fail after 5 years, more and more companies have moved to hiring people as low paid permatemps with no benefits, and there is literally no job security. If you truly love science that much, just be prepared to never be able to own a house or start a family because you will constantly be under the threat of job loss and may have to relocate at any time on a whim. Have a back up plan--go to trade school, earn an accounting degree in parallel, or work for your state's police dept. etc. etc. Anything but trying to be a chemist is better. Believe me, if you try to delve into this crapfest you'll get to know the names like ManPower, Kelly Services, or Aerotek quite well as a permatemp. Getting a PhD will barely help you out either. You'll spend years and years slaving away doing worthless post doc after post doc for borderline poverty wages to have almost a slim to none chance at getting an academic position. A PhD in industry gets you almost no where these days also, you'll simply be "too overqualified" for many positions. Logged #### DrCMS • Chemist • Sr. Member • Mole Snacks: +191/-79 • Offline • Gender: • Posts: 1197 ##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life « Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 11:58:10 PM » You seem to me to be a whinging waste of space; no wonder nobody want to give you a job. Just having a degree in a subject does not lead to a career you need to work at it. I got my chemistry degree in 1991 and my PhD in 1995. I started my first job the Monday after my PhD viva and I have never been unemployed since. I started on a temp contract via an employment agency. I worked hard and showed my commitment and was taken on by the company after ~6 months. I worked there for another year and then left for a better job. I stayed in that one for just over 3 years and then moved to my current company nearly 11 years ago. I own my own home and other than the mortgage (less than 40% of the house value) I have no other debts. For me a career in chemistry has been good. I would probably earn more money if i had become an accountant but who wants to do that for a living? Logged #### enahs • 16-92-15-68 32-7-53-92-16 • Retired Staff • Sr. Member • Mole Snacks: +206/-44 • Offline • Gender: • Posts: 2179 ##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life « Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 05:08:38 AM » Seeing is how every job statistic agency completely disagrees with you, as well as all of my personal experience and everybody else personal experience I know who are chemist; I would have to say that the problem is you and not everybody else (shocking.....sarcasm). Logged #### phillyj • Regular Member • Mole Snacks: +3/-0 • Offline • Posts: 92 ##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life « Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 09:31:54 AM » For all interested, this is a very recent study that focuses on all 4 year degrees. http://cew.georgetown.edu/whatsitworth/ For Chem majors, 63% get a grad degree and see 93% in earnings. And almost all my accountant friends are jobless. If you really want job security, go into healthcare( Nursing, physician asst., etc.). But only some people like that kind of work. I don't so even though I have a useless Biochem degree, I am going to get a degree in Chem. Eng. Engineering is a good field especially for people who like to work in R&D. Actually according to what I read from the Georgetown research, Engineering is probably the best 4-year degree. Logged #### Boxxxed • Full Member • Mole Snacks: +1/-0 • Offline • Posts: 203 ##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life « Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 04:25:10 PM » Business is the way to go Logged #### sschoe2 • Regular Member • Mole Snacks: +3/-3 • Offline • Posts: 21 ##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life « Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 07:23:17 AM » I have to agree with the OP. I hold an MS in Chemistry. Companies have gone to keeping their science staff as temps or contractors with no benefits and after the agency gets their cut you end up with$15 to \$20 an hour no benefits. There are some very specialized jobs out there where they are unable to get away with it that require say 10 years experience formulating epoxy resins or polymer packaging etc. However, there is literally no way into those fields  no degree and noone will hire you without that experience.

I liked science and had an aptitude for it since elementary school.  Now I just hate it and the company and the profession. I could never recommend it and have vowed no one else in my family will study science.

The last ACS stats
http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2011/03/well-thats-not-good-news.html
indicated 20% flat out unemployment in fact on 40% of grads are employed full time. Even worse of that 40% 1/2 are working some crap low-paying dead end technologist job in academia. So we can estimate that ~20% of chem grads are gainfully employed. That makes Liberal Arts look good.

Some of the only decent jobs I've seen are with the Federal Govt though competition there is really fierce (~1000 applicants for each job and the fed govt won't be hiring as much with all their debt problems). Teaching is one of the only other options, though it is sad the profession has degenerated to the point where teaching is considered lucrative by comparison.
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#### enahs

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 09:01:16 AM »

Honestly, these simplified statistics are not very important or very truthful. The VAST majority of Chemistry BS/BA students have no desire to go into Chemistry. They do it to get into med school, pharmacy school, or even vet school. When they get rejected they try and do the MS or the job market. But, if you just get a degree and do not really want to learn the information, it shows in the interview process and nobody wants to hire you.

I had a government analytical chemistry interview out in California last year; that required a MS degree + 2 years of experience at minimum. They said they interviewed over 50 people by phone, I was the next to last person for the interview. They then asked a very simple dilution problem. They said I was the only person that got it right, or was able to do it unless then 2 minutes (it was freaking dividing 10 by 20). They offered me the job. Yes this might be anecdotal, but every job I and friends in Chemistry I know have applied for, have been offered the job. Good paying jobs, lots of offers.

A degree + experience does NOT make you qualified to do anything other then get the job interview. I would not really blame the science or field for schools pumping out way to many unqualified candidates, flooding the market with people that are not actually qualified. Not everybody should get a college degree.
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#### sschoe2

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2011, 06:29:04 AM »

Of course the vast majority of BS/BA's have no desire to go into chem when companies provide no benefits and pay janitor wages. I believe most chem grads are reasonably competent and can do dilution calculations most even when stressed out in a job interview.  Also the govt must have the most brilliant scientists because the private sector treats them so badly that noone want to work for them.

BTW my experience is most govt and a lot of corporate interviews are touchy feely BS like describe a time when you had a conflict with a coworker..
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#### enahs

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 08:17:31 AM »

Of course the vast majority of BS/BA's have no desire to go into chem when companies provide no benefits and pay janitor wages. I believe most chem grads are reasonably competent and can do dilution calculations most even when stressed out in a job interview.  Also the govt must have the most brilliant scientists because the private sector treats them so badly that noone want to work for them.

BTW my experience is most govt and a lot of corporate interviews are touchy feely BS like describe a time when you had a conflict with a coworker..

What can I say. I was the only one out of 49 (technically the 50th person had not interviewed yet) that had a MS degree or higher in Chemistry and could do the dilution problem still. Sure maybe when they were in school they could do it, but they never really learned what it was and just remembered an equation and forgot it after 6 months.

And I am sorry, the vast majority of BS/BAs having no desire to go into Chemistry has nothing to do with the job market. They WANT to be doctors of pharmacists, that simple.

And truthfully, most chemical graduates are NOT reasonably confident. Being on the other side of an interview table now, I can say that with so much confidence.
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#### Jorriss

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 10:33:04 AM »

Enanhs makes a good point that I've been struggling with at school as an undergraduate.

None of my peers like chemistry!!! Out of the ~100 or so in my chemistry class, I've only spoken to 45 or so, and of those, two seem legitimately interested in science at all.

So many people just get a bachelors, make no contacts, nothing and then are surprised they can't get work. Well duh!
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#### JGK

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2011, 10:37:17 AM »

For all interested, this is a very recent study that focuses on all 4 year degrees.

http://cew.georgetown.edu/whatsitworth/

For Chem majors, 63% get a grad degree and see 93% in earnings.

And almost all my accountant friends are jobless. If you really want job security, go into healthcare( Nursing, physician asst., etc.). But only some people like that kind of work. I don't so even though I have a useless Biochem degree, I am going to get a degree in Chem. Eng. Engineering is a good field especially for people who like to work in R&D. Actually according to what I read from the Georgetown research, Engineering is probably the best 4-year degree.

I find that quite ironic as, in the UK, the largest employment area for graduate chemists used to be accountancy.

I also have a BSc in Biochemistry (Toxicilogy), but drifted into Analytical Chemistry and did my MSc in Analytical Chemistry and Instrumentation.
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#### BrokeDown

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2011, 08:12:26 PM »

Organic always graduates the most students by specialty.  Absolutely no one can sit there with a straight face and say that the future outlook for organic chemists here is alright.  It's down right horrible.  All organic chemists should get their resumes translated into Chinese so they can send it to WuXi.  Analytical people probably do fare better, but chemistry flat out stinks for a lot of us.  Nobody believes the ACS data for chemist employment statistics.  They count temp jobs that have no health care benefits, working at Starbucks, or being a lowly underpaid post-doc as being "employed".    You'd have to be insane to try to pursue a career in chemistry here outside of a few very specialized niche fields.  It's a never ending charade of temp jobs w/ no health care, low pay, or jobs that only last 3 or 4 years before you're looking again.  I feel bad for all the grad students that are currently in school that have no idea what awaits for them out here in this wasteland.
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#### Dan

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2011, 12:26:05 AM »

Oh boo hoo. Come on now.

1. What exactly makes you feel entitled to your dream job solely on the basis of having a degree? There will always be competition, when times are tough you need to up your game.

2. Get some perspective. It's not only science that's feeling the squeeze at the moment, and it's not like you're sleeping rough in Mogadishu is it?

3. You think China's chemistry paradise? Move there. Geographical flexibility is exactly the kind of thing you need to be prepared to exercise in a scientific career, even more so if the employment situation in your country a problem. That's life - it is what everyone around the world does. If you're not prepared to pull your finger out and do what it takes then that's your problem.
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#### rausitis

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2011, 11:21:05 PM »

Chemists degree with proper business mindset won't bring you great job even after decades of "trying".

I started my Chemistry studies just because I did have a business idea in related sector, but haven't clue about chemistry but I had a passion in business and a strong idea.
After I graduated I was done researches I needed so I was able to start a company, of course I was working there alone for a while till I was able to afford more employees.

So I can say that Chemistry is a great thing and good thing to learn if you know what you want to achieve with it!
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#### Guitarmaniac86

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##### Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 11:59:26 PM »

Wow, reading the OP put a downer on me, thats for sure.

I graduated last year with a BSc in Chemistry and so far all I have done is a three month unpaid internship with a CRO and they didnt take me on. I didnt let that get me down because

1). Its experience and it'll look good on my CV.
2). Im going to do a MSc in Drug Discovery later this year.
3). We're in an economic downturn and it will take a few years for the job market to pick up
4). I dont have a negative outlook on future career prospects.

I look on job sites daily, and even as I do my MSc I will be looking everyday for a job for when I finish, unless I am successful enough to get on a PhD course (BSc 2.2 plus MSc doesn't look likely but Im going to try). The pay for most of the jobs looks very good... So... Your OP confuses me.

The thing is to not be negative. Think positive and be pro active in making yourself stand out from the crowd. I used to think to myself "Life sucks, the job market sucks, I am awesome why wont anyone hire me?" That train of thought led me no where fast. You will stagnate if you keep thinking like that. You need to think and do things that SHOW how awesome you are and have things on your CV that make the employer want to take you on. Just having a degree isnt enough anymore.
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