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!