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Topic: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life  (Read 234932 times)

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Offline sschoe2

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #105 on: August 06, 2013, 10:21:50 AM »
Just to further emphasis how worthless the ACS is they actually published an article on the benefits of being a permatemp. I mean come on cen could write an article on how the bubonic plague was great for Europe.


http://www.cen-chemjobs.org/jobseeker/articles/permatemp.html

« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 10:40:13 AM by sschoe2 »

Offline BrokeDown

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #106 on: December 10, 2013, 02:36:50 AM »
Update on my situation.   I ended up biting the bullet and had to go back to school all over again. There were literally no options even with 5 years full time experience with organic synthesis and 1 year experience with QA. This time I'm studying mechanical engineering.   With luck I'll be able to finish up the bachelor's in 2.5 years since I've been taking course work nonstop throughout all semesters and summers.   I was also able to get a lot of intro coursework scratched out because of my former Chem degree.  I've also picked up python, matlab, and C++ on the side.   It stinks to be 30 and not have a real career yet, hopefully I can get back to work soon, work for a little while and get Into more of the business side of things when I hit my early 40s.  I just wish I never wasted those first 5 or 6 years after graduating trying to pursue gainful employment in chemistry.  I could have been manager by now if I did ME in the first place and could be cracking 75k easily with some effort. 


Good luck to all you youngins out there.  Stay away from those temp gigs. They suck years off your life without any chance for advancement or security and you'll end up like me.  After scrolling through this thread a bit I still get deoressed.  I just don't understand how some of you younger kids can be satisfied with making $20 or less per hour especially in this age when students have so much in loans to pay back.  I used to Make $20 Per Hour as an intern and that was in 2004. 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 03:06:11 AM by BrokeDown »

Offline sschoe2

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #107 on: December 23, 2013, 10:20:44 AM »
Good luck to you. I lucked out and got a great job in a flavors company. However, if anything happened to my current job I am probably going to have to quit the field as well as I am never going back to being a Kelly Lab B&tch.


Offline mkurek

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #108 on: December 25, 2013, 01:12:57 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'm a chemical engineer =] (in training)

My college's chem-e program has had 100% post-graduation job placement for over 20 years.

hifellow

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #109 on: January 19, 2014, 10:26:34 AM »
There are no guaranteed jobs with any degree.  Getting a degree is your starting point and if you want to pursue a field a BS is only your ticket to learn.  There is nothing wrong with a BS or MS in chemistry.  You have to realize that getting a degree in this field with a good GPA shows prospective employers that you have the ability to accomplish study in a relatively difficult field.  There is a lot of truth that you are one among many people that have succeeded in this task.  Now you  have to sell yourself to land a job.  Way back, when I graduated in 1968, jobs in chemistry were very scarce too.  After putting in many applications, and having preliminary interviews I didn't receive any offers (after two months).  Went back to school for an MS in chemistry.  After three months when I was then enrolled I started receiving three offers for the jobs I applied for.  I stayed in school and got an MS degree.  After graduating, the job market got a little better.  I found a lead to one in the EPA, working as a state assignee.  They needed a chemist and I was offered a job.  Afterwards I also got offered a job by a cancer researcher and another offer for a state occupational heath department.  Here is the gist of what I am trying to say.  Unless you are regarded as a brilliant student, you cannot expect to get a job in the area of chemistry that you specialized in (i.e. organic, physical, analytical, etc.).  You have to be open for all opportunities.  First get a job that will help pay the bills. Stay in it for a few years to get experience.  Then you can be more particular.  I always thought that 50% of any job is being qualified and competent for the position, the other 50% is just as important and relates to having a good working relationship with people and being able to communicate.
If you are in school, and don’t plan on a career in research, think about getting a degree in chemical engineering if you have the aptitude.  I am a chemist but I learned that by far a BS in chemical engineering has a much more of a chance at landing good jobs than a MS in chemistry especially when it comes to promotions and management jobs.   I always thought that there must be a “secret society of engineers.”
If you want to be a researcher or professor, your PhD is a necessity unless, you teach in a community college.  But, the PhD is only a start.  You have to prove yourself to keep any job especial one that pays the premiums for a PhD!!!  You have 30 - 40 years to do so.
I also had a liking for organic chemistry and was good at it.  But 95 percent of all jobs for chemists are analytical.  Unless your find an entry level chemist job in an up starting business, you will most likely be an assistant to an experienced PhD.
If you want a job you must be willing to pursue anything you can get.  You are the master of your fate!
Another thing - If your want a job you have to be willing to move anywhere in the country.   You have a much greater chance going to a prospective employer and knocking on the door to introduce yourself.  I hear so many people today that all they do is submit applications.  You have to do something "out of the ordinary."  I was a shy guy when I graduated from school, but I once knocked on the office door of a congressional senator just to be able to ask if I could use him as a reference for a job.
A couple of places to find jobs:  Oil and Chemical industries.  Try Wyoming and Colorado:  State governments (overlooked)  -  the Federal government - The EPA and environmental jobs.  There are many industrial plants that have labs in all states. 

Offline sschoe2

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #110 on: January 23, 2014, 04:43:29 PM »
Indeed analytical is where the jobs are. There is a good reason. It is low paying, dead end and at many places insanely boring so most chemists can not stand more than a few years of it. Unfortunately industry has decided that analytical chemist = technician = the same pay that HS or AS level lab personnel used to get a decade or two ago. Most companies with an analytical lab staff it with perma-temps and after the agency gets their cut you will be left with ~$15 per hour. Like I said earlier, less money than a fast food manager. Also a lot of the compendia like the much maligned USP locks you into analytical methods that are poorly designed, decades out of date with respect to current methods and technology, with unrealistic pass/fail criteria that will drive you insane.

I also get the idea that the business and HR people that set salaries have the idea that analytical chemistry consists of pouring whatever the sample is directly into a GC, HPLC, or ICP and waiting for the instrument to spit a result out which may be part of the explanation why it pays so lousy, they figure it takes the same amount of skill as operating the cash register at McDonalds.

Things have changed since 1968. Employees are not just hired into entry level roles and trained because they are smart and have potential. Most companies have absolutely minimal if any training programs. They will post a job with a laundry list of extrely specific experience requirement that are often beyond absurd and leave the job open for years rather than compromise on it.  The hiring process is very one dimmensional. Workers are seen as one sized creascent wrenches capable of doing one task identical to what is in their work history.

Finally yes their are no guaranteed jobs with any degree but try to pick a degree with better prospects than $15 an hour temp jobs and high unemployment especially a degree that takes this much inteligence and work. There are a lot of degrees out there that would not guarnatee a decent job but would have a much higher probability of one for a smart hard working individual than chemistry.

Offline Benzene Martini

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #111 on: March 21, 2014, 08:22:21 PM »

I also get the idea that the business and HR people that set salaries have the idea that analytical chemistry consists of pouring whatever the sample is directly into a GC, HPLC, or ICP and waiting for the instrument to spit a result out which may be part of the explanation why it pays so lousy, they figure it takes the same amount of skill as operating the cash register at McDonalds.


Chemists have to smarten up.

The main thing I have learned about the chemical industry is that R&D is a cost center. Research costs money and does not always offer a return on investment. This is why many research jobs are outsourced. Twenty years ago, it would have been preposterous to suggest that R&D be outsourced to India or China. Nowadays, it is common practice.

Many companies and governments give lip service to STEM fields. But the only STEM fields that matter anymore are technology or engineering. Chemists, biologists, physicists, and many other science majors do not count. Don't even get me started on what a BS in Math will do for you.

Chemists have to realize that companies want to save money. Saving money on R&D is what most companies are going to do for the long term. If one wants to do research, one must find a way to bring in the money. The money is all that matters.

Don't feel bad if you have worked hard and have not been successful. It is not all of your fault. It takes an ability to think about alternaive options and to be brave. One thing I learned about most chemistry majors is that they studied hard and took very little risk. Gaining the ability to take risks and to see the world as a table for negotiation is one of the most critical skill sets for chemists.

Chemists have to smarten up.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 09:05:59 PM by Benzene Martini »

TemporaryMan

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #112 on: May 19, 2014, 10:24:40 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?

Think about post-2008 U.S.A you jerk.  By the way professor, it's spelled "WHINING."  I hope your job outsources and you get 10 calls/day for 3 month contract jobs.  Pfft.

TemporaryMan

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #113 on: May 19, 2014, 10:40:14 PM »
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.

Earning a degree in a science such as chemistry should afford most the same quality of life that a custodian enjoyed twenty years ago.  Being disappointed that you will will likely never own a house or have any financial stability is not whining and is not a display of feeling entitled.  I have seen offers for M.S. chemists to start at $13/hour.  I made $7/hour shining shoes in a country club when I was 14.  Clearly, many of you who are hostile are not from the U.S.A. and are bitter and hateful.  I sense this is a Roman Holiday for you folks.  Enjoy, you will know what it's like soon enough. 

Carbinolamine

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #114 on: May 19, 2014, 11:18:40 PM »
Landing a job in the field of chemistry is easy, but sad to say that the salary is not as high as business courses. But salary is not important as long as you love what you are doing then it will give you satisfaction in your chosen field.

Offline 408

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #115 on: May 20, 2014, 11:08:30 AM »
Be the best and there is always jobs.  I just see a mediocre loser whining. 

A quote from my favorite person to follow on twitter "Don't see many well traveled successful millionaires complaining about the States."

If you are so sure about the path of America....short the S&P 500 now.  Dare you. 

Offline Borek

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Re: Chemistry: terrible profession that ruined my life
« Reply #116 on: May 21, 2014, 08:30:01 AM »
This thread has run its course.
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