About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

« Phase Zero? | Main | Massachusetts Moving »

June 6, 2007

A Post I've Been Looking Forward to For Months

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Posted by Derek

I'm very glad to announce that I've accepted an offer of a new research position. Thus ends a stretch of unemployment that began officially at the end of January, with warning having been served the previous November. That explains the somewhat irregular recent schedule of this blog - I've been wrestling with several offer and relocation issues simultaneously, which is not such a bad problem for someone in my situation.

I'll be starting in the early part of July, and I'm very much looking forward to getting back into the business. My jobless period hasn't been as hard to take as I'd feared, but I can see how it would tend to wear on a person - for example, my severance pay runs out right about now, and facing that milestone without prospect of employment would have been no fun at all. Looking back, March was probably the low point, since by then I'd been searching for a while with no great success. The serious job prospects came into view in April and May.

This position will require a move, though - that's one thing I was hoping to avoid, but the nearby pharmaceutical industry had (and still has) no spare place for someone like me. I was ready to take on some 50 mile commutes to stay, but you can't commute to a job that isn't there. A great many of my colleagues (including almost all the chemistry PhDs) have had to do the same eventually, from one or two states over to across the country.

I believe that I'm one of the last of the Wonder Drug Factory chemists to find employment. I'm glad that I waited, since the position I'm headed to looks like a very good one, with opportunities to do officially what I sometimes had to do on the side. The home office of the WDF may have ended up doing me a favor by evaporating my former job, not that they had any such intention.

It's a bit unsettling for me to realize, though, how much my search was helped out by things that had no official connection to my old position - this blog, for one thing. I had calls directly from some of its readers, and in other cases it was a valuable piece of evidence that I'd been keeping up with a wide range of issues in the field. And as for my experience, when it came time for interviews, I found in more than one case that work that I'd taken on outside my formal responsibilities did me a lot of good. Of course, I've got an appropriately long CV full of what I'm supposed to have been doing all this time. But I can't help thinking that, in this market, years of doing only what I'm supposed to have been doing would have been necessary, but not sufficient. Food for thought.

BTW, I'm looking for some reader input if you're in the Boston area - see the next post - thanks!

Comments (31) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Closing Time


1. tom bartlett on June 6, 2007 7:42 AM writes...

Congrats! Tell us more, if you can.

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2. CB on June 6, 2007 7:43 AM writes...

Congratulations Derek, that's wonderful news!

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3. Insider on June 6, 2007 9:01 AM writes...

Best wishes for the future.

Good to see your blog got a mention in FORTUNE!

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4. Liquidcarbon on June 6, 2007 9:23 AM writes...

And in recent Nature, on the occasion of tetraazidomethane synthesis coverage.


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5. pc on June 6, 2007 9:52 AM writes...

I guess we all know that you eventually would settle down for good, with all the things under your belt. It's just that, ironically indeed, with such an opportunity ("The home office of the WDF may have ended up doing me a favor by evaporating my former job"), one can and should take the risk to think hard what he or she is going to do in the next phase of the career. A push one might appreciate more when s/he looks back a decade or two from now.

Congratulations absolutely!

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6. TNC on June 6, 2007 9:57 AM writes...

Amen to the above! Congratulations, Derek!

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7. BlogReader on June 6, 2007 11:06 AM writes...

Congrats from a casual reader! I definately think your blog had something to do with your getting hired -- it makes you a known quantity beyond your research.

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8. Mark M on June 6, 2007 11:09 AM writes...

Fantastic News!

Congrats on the new job and getting back in the lab where you belong.

Best wishes,

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9. Poorva on June 6, 2007 11:29 AM writes...

Hi Derek,

I am a 4th yr grad student at Georgia Tech
and a recent frequent reader of your blog..heard
abt it from C&EN. Just wanted to pass many
congratulations and to let you know your posts
and discussions thereafter here are very helpful
given the fact that I am working on synthetic
projects with bio applications and aspire to
be where you guys are already!

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10. Steve Woodruff on June 6, 2007 11:35 AM writes...

This is great news! All your readers (and fellow bloggers!) are happy for you!

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11. GvilleDevil on June 6, 2007 12:13 PM writes...

Congratulations from a 2nd year grad student from UF.

Matter of fact, medchem is soooooooo boring that anything has the ability to rekindle some slight interest for us medchem soldiers holds great walue. Your blog deserves the glory !

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12. clazy on June 6, 2007 12:14 PM writes...

D-Day in-Deed, Derek. Congratulations. Very glad to hear something like this is a help, not a hindrance.

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13. Hap on June 6, 2007 12:27 PM writes...

Congratulations on your new job. Boston is a neat (if expensive) place.

P.S. My only experience with light rail in MA (about ten years ago, for an interview) was that it proceeded at the speed of a drugged donkey. It might run faster, and it is probably the only real access to the further suburbs of Boston, but it wasn't the greatest thing for me.

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14. Chrispy on June 6, 2007 2:49 PM writes...

Congratulations, Derek!

I am curious about two things:

Will the new WDF impose any restrictions on your blogging?

Will you tend now to regularly apply to jobs even while you have what appears to be a stable one?

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15. Betsy on June 6, 2007 2:51 PM writes...

Congratulations on the new gig, it's well deserved.

I'm sure the blog helped tremendously in getting the word out not only that you were looking, but that you are able to think and write about the industry from a larger perspective than simply what your day job requires. My husband is in the software industry, and got his current position (from across the country) largely because of his blog. It's a great way to show your passion for what you do, and let prospective employers know that you can think and write coherently.

Like you, I have learned that one has to go above and beyond the usual day-to-day job expectations in order to move ahead.

Again, congrats!

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16. shiva on June 6, 2007 3:41 PM writes...

Hearty Congratulations, Derek.



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17. Harold on June 6, 2007 5:09 PM writes...

Congratulations Derek! I'm also happy that most others now have new jobs as many were good friends as I retired last spring from the same wdf.

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18. Colby Cosh on June 6, 2007 6:58 PM writes...

Outstanding news. And I can't wait to hear what allusive cryptonym is coined for the successor to the Wonder Drug Factory...

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19. Anonymous BMS Researcher on June 6, 2007 7:41 PM writes...

Congratulations, it's too bad nothing was available for you at BMS Wallingford so you could have stayed in the New Haven area. I do look forward to insightful commentary on your transition from the WDF to wherever you have landed. And like a previous poster I look forward to your new cryptonym!

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20. Dana on June 6, 2007 11:15 PM writes...

Wonderful to hear Derek - all the best!

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21. daen on June 6, 2007 11:37 PM writes...

Great news Derek. Good luck at the Miracle Drug Mill?

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22. srp on June 7, 2007 12:47 AM writes...

Congratulations! I'm glad that the blog was a plus; it's reassuring that a display of intelligence and perspective about one's profession doesn't scare off potential employers.

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23. Michael G on June 7, 2007 3:17 AM writes...

Congratulations on the new job, Derek. About time!

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24. Lou on June 7, 2007 4:22 AM writes...

Congratulations on getting a job!!
I'm glad to hear that perseverence paid off, as I will be in a similar (well, job-searching) position in a few months.

I've always enjoyed reading your posts, and the wide range of topics, esp. in the pharmaceutical industry has taught me a lot (and made me think).
Good luck with the upheaval, and with your new job!!

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25. hammer on June 7, 2007 8:38 AM writes...

congratulations derek, that's great news

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26. new gator on June 8, 2007 7:41 AM writes...

Congratulations on the new adventure. As a sixteen year veteran of the industry, I sure agree with your comments about the change. Good luck.

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27. Brooks Moses on June 8, 2007 3:18 PM writes...

Let me add my congratulations to the list!

I find your last paragraph quite interesting, given my own job search situation -- hopefully I'll be able to say more about that soon, but the short form is that I'm having a similar experience.

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28. CG on June 11, 2007 7:56 AM writes...


Great news!

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29. Steph on June 18, 2007 8:40 AM writes...

>>how much my search was helped out by things that had no official connection to my old position - this blog, for one thing

DonĀ“t you think being listed number 7 in the english-language top 100 healthcare blogs is a must for someone looking for job ??

Congratulations ;-)
And keep the good job!

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30. wan eng on July 5, 2007 3:10 AM writes...

hi, hope to read more, i am from malaysia, and like your english, am in health care line , hope to read more, congratulation to your new venture!

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31. Rudy on July 7, 2007 4:25 PM writes...

Hi Derek,
great news. Congratulations! I was following your blog only occasionaly - shame on me. But always with delight! And even more delighted I was when reading that your search for a new job finally was successfull.
Good luck at your new place - from a (former) WDF colleaque far away.
Keep blogging - and enjoy Boston.

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