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Author Topic: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life  (Read 105104 times)

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Arkcon

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #45 on: August 09, 2011, 03:49:16 PM »

I want to know what the top 20 best degrees are.  It can't include Pre-Law and Pre-Med, those can't be worth much without Law School and Medical School.  If everything on that list isn't worth having a degree for, what's left?  (I was only able to skim the list, the site works wonky for me)  Perhaps the take home message is that no one should expect prime wages and job security with only a Bachelors degree.
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billnotgatez

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #46 on: August 09, 2011, 04:32:06 PM »

Wald_ron -

median is typically the better measurement when doing wages /salary

not mean

so says me
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shango

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2011, 02:46:23 PM »

This is depressing.  Once September comes around I'll start my first classes toward my BS in chem, now I'm starting to regret that decision.  I don't know what else to do.  I've already changed my major once and I think chem is really the only thing I'm interested in. Oh well. If all else fails and I can't find a job, I guess I'll just become a crack dealer  ;D
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Raphael

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2011, 07:12:26 AM »

I am getting  degree in chemistry because I love chemistry not because I think I am going to make a boat load of money. I will probably end pu teaching somewhere getting screwed over in more ways than I can think of, but that's ok, because i love chemistry and I love teaching. If you go to school just to get out and make a bunch of money, then I am sure there are much better and more secure jobs out there that a different degree could get. Will you enjoy what you are doing?

I would rather get pay less and like it than make more and wish I was dead every hour i was at work.
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c03rcion

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #49 on: August 21, 2011, 09:37:08 AM »

After reading the initial post from Brokedown and all the responses, the fact of the matter is that some of the points delivered by Brokedown are on the money. I have been searching for work in chemistry since April 2011 and I can attest that the overwhelming number of entry-level jobs in chemistry are through permatemp, contract positions through Kelly Services, Lab Support, Aerotek, and smaller but similar outfits. Of all the positions I applied to and submitted resumes to, only one led to an interview directly with the company and that was with BASF. Every other interview has been through a middle man temp agency and yes, these positions offer no benefits and pay between $14-18 dollars an hour. It is discouraging considering that all the student loans and the rigor associated with a descent undergraduate chemistry program lead to opportunities with monetary compensation comparable to a fork-lift driver.

I have interviewed for positions through temp agencies on several occasions but have not received any offers. I at least feel some measure of accomplishment knowing that I can get interviews even in this economy. Add to the fact that I interviewed with BASF.
But the reality of the situation is that the economy is very hard on job seekers, employers have become too greedy or too worried about their bottom line and have cut HR departments, using temp agencies to hire on contract folks for lower pay and no benefits. Or they have sent jobs to India and China where the work is way cheaper.

I think some of you are a bit disconnected from the realities of hardships faced by job seekers now because some of you have been fortunate and LUCKY enough to keep you well paying jobs with benefits. And that's right I did say you were LUCKY, nothing anyone does on the planet is by virtue of their skills/qualifications alone. A little luck will always be a factor.

 It's easy for some of you to say "Oh you need to try harder" or say "The successful people put in a lot of effort, so put in more effort" but these comments are cop-outs and don't address the real problems.

Do I regret getting a degree in Chemistry? Not really, but sometimes I do regret going to college entirely--especially considering the student loan debt. Like I said at least I have been able to get several interviews and even had one interview last week for a position as a chemical technician but have not heard back from them yet. I read stories on the internet on how some graduates have submitted hundreds of resumes and have only received one interview and no offer.

I think its good to always have a plan B, and no matter what choice you make having excellent communication skills will ALWAYS be an asset. You could be a magnificent chemist and recall everything from your undergraduate classes and bark out IUPAC nomenclature for complex molecules with multiple asymmetric carbons but if you can't convey words or thoughts verbally or on paper your chances of getting an interview are diminished. I attribute my ability to obtain interviews with the fact that I have a natural disposition for verbal abilities, and therefore can make a pretty good resume. My skills and knowledge as a chemist are second to my verbal abilities and I accept that.

So if I never get a job offer for a chemical position, that's fine. Its never bad to have a plan B. My plan B is simple, teach English (hopefully Science) abroad in Asia or an international school. The jobs are plentiful, the pay is pretty good depending on the country, usually housing is free or pretty cheap, and usually there is some airfare reimbursement. I don't want to do this because I am desperate for money, I have a genuine interest in exploring other countries particularly Asia, and want to experience that. Even if I did get a temp/contract position working in chemistry my goal eventually is to go overseas and work.

Just my two cents.
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Raphael

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2011, 04:55:51 AM »

This same thing came up on the Chemed-l in the last few days. here is an interesting reply. I don't know how much truth is in it, but thought people would enjoying reading it.

"Well...nobody is useless in this world. Let's look at the other side of the coin from Royal Society of Chemistry's Chief Executive's letter.

http://www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/PressReleases/2008/GraduateEmployment.asp

"We must take issue with the table headed 'employment prospects' that you feature today in the story about degrees and jobs prospects.
The table focuses on one just statistic, namely that 34% of chemistry graduates are employed in a graduate job six months after graduating.
What has been omitted, misleadingly, is the key fact that only 7% of chemistry graduates are unemployed.
A glance at the full Good University Guide table reveals that just 14% of chemistry graduates are in non-graduate jobs - 79% are in fully-fledged graduate roles or are studying.

The Royal Society of Chemistry can assure readers that chemistry graduates are, in reality, subject to high demand, not only within fields directly related to chemistry but in professions such as financial services, where their proven skills - not only data analysis and numeracy, but an understanding of the physical world, and providing robust intellectual challenge - are very highly valued and well-rewarded.

Chemistry graduates, over the course of their careers, earn significantly more than those from most other disciplines in the arts, humanities or even biology. This is not consistent with the low starting salary you quote in your table, and we therefore query the sourcing of your information and the basis on which it has been compiled.
We would also add that graduating chemical scientists can now work in fields vital to the future for all of us, addressing climate change, providing energy, securing food and water and developing new technologies in healthcare, communication and security.
Dr Richard Pike
Chief Executive, Royal Society of Chemistry "
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enahs

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #51 on: August 28, 2011, 03:28:29 AM »

After reading the initial post from Brokedown and all the responses, the fact of the matter is that some of the points delivered by Brokedown are on the money. I have been searching for work in chemistry since April 2011 and I can attest that the overwhelming number of entry-level jobs in chemistry are through permatemp, contract positions through Kelly Services, Lab Support, Aerotek, and smaller but similar outfits. Of all the positions I applied to and submitted resumes to, only one led to an interview directly with the company and that was with BASF. Every other interview has been through a middle man temp agency and yes, these positions offer no benefits and pay between $14-18 dollars an hour. It is discouraging considering that all the student loans and the rigor associated with a descent undergraduate chemistry program lead to opportunities with monetary compensation comparable to a fork-lift driver.

I have interviewed for positions through temp agencies on several occasions but have not received any offers. I at least feel some measure of accomplishment knowing that I can get interviews even in this economy. Add to the fact that I interviewed with BASF.
But the reality of the situation is that the economy is very hard on job seekers, employers have become too greedy or too worried about their bottom line and have cut HR departments, using temp agencies to hire on contract folks for lower pay and no benefits. Or they have sent jobs to India and China where the work is way cheaper.

I think some of you are a bit disconnected from the realities of hardships faced by job seekers now because some of you have been fortunate and LUCKY enough to keep you well paying jobs with benefits. And that's right I did say you were LUCKY, nothing anyone does on the planet is by virtue of their skills/qualifications alone. A little luck will always be a factor.

 It's easy for some of you to say "Oh you need to try harder" or say "The successful people put in a lot of effort, so put in more effort" but these comments are cop-outs and don't address the real problems.

Do I regret getting a degree in Chemistry? Not really, but sometimes I do regret going to college entirely--especially considering the student loan debt. Like I said at least I have been able to get several interviews and even had one interview last week for a position as a chemical technician but have not heard back from them yet. I read stories on the internet on how some graduates have submitted hundreds of resumes and have only received one interview and no offer.

I think its good to always have a plan B, and no matter what choice you make having excellent communication skills will ALWAYS be an asset. You could be a magnificent chemist and recall everything from your undergraduate classes and bark out IUPAC nomenclature for complex molecules with multiple asymmetric carbons but if you can't convey words or thoughts verbally or on paper your chances of getting an interview are diminished. I attribute my ability to obtain interviews with the fact that I have a natural disposition for verbal abilities, and therefore can make a pretty good resume. My skills and knowledge as a chemist are second to my verbal abilities and I accept that.

So if I never get a job offer for a chemical position, that's fine. Its never bad to have a plan B. My plan B is simple, teach English (hopefully Science) abroad in Asia or an international school. The jobs are plentiful, the pay is pretty good depending on the country, usually housing is free or pretty cheap, and usually there is some airfare reimbursement. I don't want to do this because I am desperate for money, I have a genuine interest in exploring other countries particularly Asia, and want to experience that. Even if I did get a temp/contract position working in chemistry my goal eventually is to go overseas and work.

Just my two cents.

Firstly, only since April 2011? I have news for everybody in the real world, in all careers it can take YEARS to find a good job you want in your field. That is how it is in ALL careers. Yes, some people are lucky and get great jobs right away; but most do not. Most people from most professions take not so great jobs at first to get experience and some money while they are looking for a real long-term job. To think it is any-other way is naive.

Secondly, while I have been one of the ones saying it is not all bad the whole time; and you talk about going through it, etc. Well, my GF went back and get her BS in Chemistry and graduated last December. She was looking for a job from Jan and finally found a good one this August. She did the temp interview places, yes, and even worked at one for a while for money. I know what you are going through; probably better then you.

But a BS degree does not entitle you to a job, just interviews. The economy is bad. And there are A LOT of jobs that are open to you now with a BS that was not before; but nowhere was it said they were great paying jobs.  They are still far more then the median job salary though. Most people have a sense of over inflation of what they think other people make or what they deserve to make, etc. Especially young people fresh out of college....

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sschoe2

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #52 on: September 06, 2011, 07:55:07 AM »

This same thing came up on the Chemed-l in the last few days. here is an interesting reply. I don't know how much truth is in it, but thought people would enjoying reading it.

"Well...nobody is useless in this world. Let's look at the other side of the coin from Royal Society of Chemistry's Chief Executive's letter.

http://www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/PressReleases/2008/GraduateEmployment.asp

"
What has been omitted, misleadingly, is the key fact that only 7% of chemistry graduates are unemployed.


Chemistry graduates, over the course of their careers, earn significantly more than those from most other disciplines in the arts, humanities or even biology. This is not consistent with the low starting salary you quote in your table, and we therefore query the sourcing of your information and the basis on which it has been compiled.
We would also add that graduating chemical scientists can now work in fields vital to the future for all of us, addressing climate change, providing energy, securing food and water and developing new technologies in healthcare, communication and security.
Dr Richard Pike
Chief Executive, Royal Society of Chemistry "

This is the US. I am aware a lot of chem grads in the UK go to accounting but in the US employers generally demand an accounting or finance degree even for crappy book keeper jobs now.

Second sure the chemistry grads working at Walmart, McDonalds, or Starbucks are "employed." That tells you nothing. I know of few nonscience related jobs that would pay a scientist a living wage. Most go back to med or other professional school, teach in High School, or eventually leave the field. I have a friend whose wife has a Chem PhD. and sells real estate and does pretty well. However the Chem PhD and even BSc was not time well spent.

The degree does not guarantee a job but there are many other degrees that offer far better prospects of gainful employment. The result is a chemistry degree is not a great investment compared to them. Comparing a chem degree to sociology or ___ American Studies BA's is not exactly helping the case for chemistry.
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MichaelJ8

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #53 on: February 29, 2012, 10:41:56 PM »

Okay....

I agree with OP.

I have a B.S. in Chem with over 3 years experiences.  Just started an MBA from a local University. Not the most pristine MBA, but it gets me the business background to move into marketing or supervisor position. It makes me more well rounded... this is very important in this market. you need something to make you stand out, make you more valuble, sadly to get the same jobs someone with less experience would have gotten 10 years ago, but this is the market with growing global competition.

Chemistry is a dying profession. I know this even though I am faithfully employed and making about what someone with my education and experience should make. I still have several years before I hit 30, so I guess I lucked out, but with a mediocre GPA I had to have something : A great interview. I'm certain this skill got me the jobs I have gotten, even a 1 year contract at a very hard to get into pharmaceutical fortune 500 company....which paid well and added immensely to my resume. the next place I interviewed basically saw I worked there and pretty much hired me because of that+ good interview.

But the way I see it, there is nothing out there. The jobs are either very specific, like 3 years polymers and epoxy with M.S. etc like other posters have pointed out, or are dead end technician/technologist jobs.

If you go to the federal bureau of labor website, it states... 2008-2018 chemistry will grow +2%, far below the average rate of all professions. Even worse, chemical engineering is at -2% growth All the chemical jobs are going oversee's. although Material science is growing about 10%, so if you do like the sciences and are going for a B.S chem, try to get into a Material science program. Of if your going post grad with a B.S Chem, try for a M.S or PHD in material science. Most of these programs except chemistry undergrads.

there is a lot of proof regarding chemistry being a worthless degree, the jobs aren't there, even the federal government agrees. Not saying there are NO jobs, I got one, but its very fierce and you need something to stand out.

Double major is always good. If you can do a double major, it will open a lot more opportunities. Think chem/math, or chem/business or chem/computer science...

This isn't the same market anymore like it used to be. Engineers(except bioegineers they have hard too) only need a 4 year degree, but I know a lot of engineers who go into M.S engineering management right away to get that business background to be more marketable. Its getting harder for everyone, but chemistry is getting almost to the philosophy/psychology level.. almost.

Anyway this is my two cents.
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Caustikola

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #54 on: March 03, 2012, 02:57:11 AM »

Life's strange...
What cristiano and messi earn in a week without any degree is more than what many chemists earn in 4 months with uni degrees
« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 03:01:16 AM by Arkcon »
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billnotgatez

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #55 on: March 03, 2012, 05:59:17 AM »

There are a lot of kids that say I do not need to study because I am a great basketball player. Only a very few make it to the big time the rest live in near poverty.
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XGen

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2012, 05:00:03 PM »

This seems like a huge whinefest.
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calwv09

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #57 on: May 08, 2012, 07:03:18 AM »

I am sorry to say this but I agree with the OP as well.

I graduated with a BS in chemistry in 09 with a 3.83 GPA.

I had one Job interview with a pharm company and luckily I got it. I make decent money but compared to friends who went into business related fields I make well below them. Its hard seeing them make more money and being more successful than I am when in school they did not work as hard as I did. All had GPA in the low 2's.


The company that I work for just announced that they are adding 3,000 more jobs and building a new R&D lab (which would be awesome except...) in IRELAND. Also they built a new lab in India last year. My lab went from analyzing 550K samples a year in 2010 to 300K this past year. 2012 outlook is even worse. We are way below last years pace while the new lab in India is on pace to 450K this year. The worst part of this is that some of our equipment as been shipped overseas to them and many of their scientist and chemist has been in our lab learning our ways and procedures.

In March we had a year in review meeting where they spoke about our lab's future and the future of the company. In 2010 and 2011 the  company made record profits. (Became top 3 largest generic company in the world). We are building a new 25 million dollar headquarters after only building one nine years ago. They then finished the slide by comparing our lab to the lab in India.

According to the slide it cost our company $34 per sample to be analyzed in our lab but only $11 per sample in India.

No words were said and lights turned on and said thanks for coming. I take this has a warning to us we are not going to have a job in the future.

I am in the process of starting this fall in a MBA program. There is no future in chemistry in the USA anymore and that is sad.

If I could of started over I would of went into something different. I would of went into healthcare (nursing, PA or maybe buisiness related).

I fell in love with chemistry when I was in the 11 grade, and 8 years later it makes me sick thinking about my future  :-\


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calwv09

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2012, 08:44:10 AM »

Edit for above...$34 per subject and $11 per subject not sample.
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sdfsfgfdgdfdf

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #59 on: June 26, 2012, 05:12:40 PM »

I just ran in to this topic accidentally, searching for chemistry career advice and reading it, gave me a panic attack. I am a student, graduating in chemistry this year, and I was wondering what area of chemistry to go to, but now it just seems to me like there is no point… I feel like all the time in university has been a complete waste of time…

I have a relatively high GPA, and I’m definitely planning on going to graduate school, I just don’t know what area to go in to. I was wondering if anyone here could give me some advice that would help in avoiding this whole jobless, frustrated situation. Is there any area in chemistry, of the many available, that does offer good prospects for employment?

I was considering physical chemistry, but everybody seems to think nobody is hiring physical chemists, and the only available jobs are academic, and there are way too many people that want to get their hands on those jobs (I read on another forum that physical chemists are considered overqualified for chemistry jobs and under qualified for physics jobs and they’re not engineers, so…)… I was also considering organic chemistry, but it turns out the industry’s interest in organic chemists has declined… I was also interested in biochemistry, but everyone is saying that there are too many biochemists, and many more are graduating every year… I have NO interest in polymers, gels, colloids and that sort of surface stuff… I find it absolutely boring… analytical and inorganic chemistry… I don’t like it either, especially not analytical chemistry…

My greatest interest is in molecular structures, reaction mechanisms etc… nonequilibrium thermodynamics, computational chemistry... I generally like maths and physics. I like physical chemistry, I like theoretical work, research... but now I’m starting to think I should drop all that and start thinking more practically… But what options do I have with a degree in chemistry? To which other professions can I turn now? As much as I like science and satisfying my curiosity, most of all I want to make a descent living and have a family… And my boyfriend has a degree in geography and he hasn’t been able to find a single job in the past four years that’s even remotely related to his degree, just some volunteer environment stuff… So I'm guessing its the same with all science degrees.

So, anyway, my question is, what are my options?

And by the way, it seems logical to me that chemists would be needed everywhere in the industry, i don't get it... how can there not be enough good jobs? If the industry isn't hiring chemists, who is being hired in their place to do their jobs?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 05:41:13 PM by she-exhistentialist »
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