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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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March 9, 2012

Bad Day at AstraZeneca

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Posted by Derek

Apparently today is the day at AstraZeneca in Waltham. I'm hearing bits and pieces, but it looks like a substantial number of the research chemists there are being let go. Anyone with details, please add them to the comments.

Comments (64) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. anonylmous on March 9, 2012 12:21 PM writes...

In oncology, 27 out of 51 chemists let go - essentially all research associates have been laid off.

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2. Anonymous on March 9, 2012 12:36 PM writes...

Let me guess - they've increased the number of VPs and department heads to manage their reduced headcount too.

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3. outesourcing on March 9, 2012 1:17 PM writes...

Oncology, 27 out of 51, almost all associates. Infectious disease, 17 out of 74, most are PhD (> 10 years) without leadership role.

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4. outesourcing on March 9, 2012 1:18 PM writes...

Chemists!! Oncology, 27 out of 51, almost all associates. Infectious disease, 17 out of 74, most are PhD (> 10 years) without leadership role.

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5. kinase on March 9, 2012 1:49 PM writes...

4, outsourcing:

Very different strategies for 2 different therapeutic area. Best wishes !

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6. drsnowboard on March 9, 2012 1:49 PM writes...

So if they get rid of the PhD's without a leadership role, who are the remaining gods going to lead......?

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7. kinase on March 9, 2012 2:08 PM writes...

for the second infectious group, there are still associates from previous poster.

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8. Rick Wobbe on March 9, 2012 3:12 PM writes...

"Vaya con Dios" to our fallen compadres at AZ. :(

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9. Ricardo Rodriges on March 9, 2012 3:31 PM writes...

Sorry to hear, there is life outside Pharma guys :-)

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10. Hockey on March 9, 2012 4:33 PM writes...

at least got the bonus.

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11. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on March 9, 2012 4:51 PM writes...

If one of my kids tells me he wants to be a chemist when he grows up, he'll have no dinner that night!

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12. Lu on March 9, 2012 5:42 PM writes...

I wonder when we'll see the first shooting massacre by an angry chemist ...

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13. Anonymous on March 9, 2012 5:49 PM writes...

@#11/DFKaaC, if he perseveres in his desire even after that punishment, you'll have to let him become a chemist. He's obviously a glutton for punishment.

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14. PharmaHeretic on March 9, 2012 5:59 PM writes...


or by a a grad-student or postdoc or contract worker at an CRO?

I believe that something along those lines is likely to happen through sheer statistical probability.

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15. Anonymous on March 9, 2012 6:50 PM writes...

Perk up everyone! We don't say people are being "let go" or "laid off" or even "restructured" anymore. That's too sad and old-fashioned. It today's world, it's "increasing productivity".

So rejoice all ye AZites, thou hast experienced a productivity increase! Be of good cheer and give praise to thy masters who brought these glad tidings of great capitalist joy, for surely they shall get manifold bonuses and goodness and mercy shall follow them all the days of their lives.

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16. Chem74 on March 9, 2012 7:24 PM writes...

I never want my kids to become a chemist!.... Let's hope they are wiser than me and become a dentist or optometrist... or electrician... but god, not a chemist...!

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17. Chem74 on March 9, 2012 7:24 PM writes...

I never want my kids to become a chemist!.... Let's hope they are wiser than me and become a dentist or optometrist... or electrician... but god, not a chemist...!

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18. anonymous on March 9, 2012 7:52 PM writes...


Why not? Its a glamorous career. You get to blow your 20's, studying hard and working 80 hour weeks in lab, for the payoff of layoffs, unemployment, forclosure, etc.

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19. bleh on March 9, 2012 9:36 PM writes...

Don't worry, everyone! Boston just got a $5 million grant from the US Department of Labor to provide life sciences job training and career counseling! Don't you guys realize that there is a gigantic shortage of qualified life sciences employees in the Boston area? No doubt, everyone who was laid off will have new jobs lined up in a couple of days!

Yeah, right. Qualified people are getting laid off, but we definitely need hack politicians to set up programs to train people to work in industries that already are saturated with employees.

(Sorry for the sarcasm. I've been through layoffs myself. They are not fun, and I wish the best of luck to everyone at AZ.)

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20. Anonymous on March 10, 2012 6:54 AM writes...

@19 There is a shortage. There is a shortage of scientists with 0-5 years of experience. All the scientists with >10 years experience need not apply. They are "overqualified".

Additionally, as head-hunters and hiring managers will tell you:

a) They don't hire laid off scientists because the "best" scientists don't get laid off. That is why headhunters continue to badger the scientists who have survived the layoffs.


b) They don't hire "overqualified" scientists because when the economy recovers they will leave them for "better" jobs.

Why are you laughing?

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21. Anonymous on March 10, 2012 9:21 AM writes...

Also reduced the number of managers ( not vp of course) to increase the "span of control" (ratios more like 1 to 6-8).

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22. Processator on March 10, 2012 1:42 PM writes...

I am afraid we are not done yet though...Other companies will continue to take this type of measurements since they all work with the same consulting companies (from the Boston area).

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23. Bender on March 10, 2012 2:23 PM writes...

Anon #20, I would adjust your figure to scientists with 2-5 years experience. Everyone knows that after doing grad school and a postdoc, you have no practical "real world experience", so you have nothing to offer a company looking for "entry level" scientists.

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24. Lu on March 10, 2012 5:18 PM writes...

23. Bender on March 10, 2012 2:23 PM writes...
Everyone knows that after doing grad school and a postdoc, you have no practical "real world experience", so you have nothing to offer a company looking for "entry level" scientists.

Do those entry-level scientists grow on trees or fall from the sky then? 'cause these positions are somehow get filled

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25. Anonymous on March 10, 2012 5:20 PM writes...

@20: They don't hire laid off scientists because the "best" scientists don't get laid off

Not true...bias /favoritism generally occurs and what you see frequently is "butt boys" being retained. That's the fact. Anyone who knows too much or is a threat is shown the door. HR doesn't know who the favorites are...they just take the list provided to them by management and "execute" the layoff notices...There needs to be some oversight of management biases...

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26. Anonymous on March 10, 2012 6:39 PM writes...

24 and 25, you are missing the sarcasm in the posts.

But to answer Lu, yes, apparently they are supposed to grow on trees or fall from the sky. CEOs and hiring managers keep complaining how they can't find qualified people and there's a shortage of scientists. But us foot soldiers know that there's literally hundreds of us that are unemployed and can't catch a break. Now if you change "qualified" to what they really mean, "willing to work for less than minimum wage", then yes, there is a shortage of qualified scientists out there.

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27. M.S. Anyone? on March 11, 2012 2:47 AM writes...

HMMMM...So what do you experienced chemists think? Should I quit my depressing graduate education with a M.S. and look for jobs or cut my loses and change fields. Not too late to go back to school...

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28. eugene on March 11, 2012 4:03 AM writes...

"@19 There is a shortage. There is a shortage of scientists with 0-5 years of experience. All the scientists with >10 years experience need not apply. They are "overqualified"."

Easy, just keep doing a really long postdoc or a series of postdocs until the economy recovers and you are ready to take the plunge. This will help you only at the beginning of the career though.

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29. Anonymous on March 11, 2012 7:56 AM writes...

@26 Hundreds? You meant thousands, right?

AZ just let go 44 chemists. I assume they let go far more when they axed all of Basic Research in Delaware. Also, their numbers are puny compared to the numbers of chemists thrown out by the industry heavyweights. Also lets not forget that these mass firings are not limited to just chemists. Check the numbers over at fiercepharma.

Here's the question I have for those who have survived the mass firings. When the headhunters, who are well aware of the mass firings (since they have piles of resumes from fired pharma scientists sitting on their desk) keep calling with "exciting new opportunities" do any of you ever direct them to the thousands who have been laid off and if so what exactly do they say? Are they also drinking the "only poor performers have been laid off" kool-aid?

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30. anonymous on March 11, 2012 9:24 AM writes...


I would get your MS and run as fast as possible. You will not regret it. Change careers and never look back. It is much easier to do when you are younger, believe me.

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31. Legacy Merck Guy on March 11, 2012 9:40 AM writes...

@30. I agree. I had a big decision to make after I got my MS (terminal MS program). I went on a few interviews and was shocked when I was told by some of these guys (large and small companies) to stop at the MS because you are pretty much as knowledgeable as any PhD and you'll be more employable in the long run (not to mention the few less years of servitude). During an interview I was told this by more than one person. I was shocked to say the least but I trusted these few people because almost all of them had come from big pharma and many had 15+ years in the industry. I took their advice and have not regretted it. So sad, I kind of wanted to be the first in my family to achieve "Dr" but I would rather think about feeding my kids in 15 years.

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32. Anonymous on March 11, 2012 9:56 AM writes...

I have a MS and am appalled by the glass ceiling and instability of the work. For every MS there is a PhD in the company who would rather outsource the MS jobs to save their own job via 'cost savings'. Don't go to grad school at all, or change your field.

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33. Rick Wobbe on March 11, 2012 9:58 AM writes...

30 & 31 If I really think about it I wonder: is there any use at all for a Ph.D. in industry these days? A Ph.D. trains you to think at the cutting edge and work independently, but in industry today you're herded by non-scientists who treat you like a technician.

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34. Anonymous on March 11, 2012 10:18 AM writes...

@32, I assume by glass ceiling you are referring to management opportunities. True, however, the flip side of the coin is that when a company lays off both MS and PhD chemists, the MS chemists get rehired at other companies way faster than the PhDs many of whom are forced to change careers if they can. Having "MS 10 year big pharma experience currently looking for new opportunities i.e. unemployed" on your resume is way preferable these days to "PhD 10 year big pharma experience currently looking for new opportunities i.e. unemployed". Even the industry bottom feeders at Kelly Scientific and Aerotek will give you some consideration. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

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35. for what it's worth on March 11, 2012 10:31 AM writes...

@ 27

I left grad school in 2008 with a MS - I had a tyrannical PI, but I also thought it would be difficult for me to find a job since I wasn't in a top-tier (ivy-league) PhD program. I don't regret the choice, as from my PhD cohort the only ones who have gotten jobs are those who got top-tier post-docs with a famous PI. I've been employed in big pharma ever since and happy.

I suppose it depends on what you want to do. In 2008, nearly every big pharma was hiring for associates (Merck, Pfizer, Wyeth, Genentech, BMS, Novartis, and so on). I don't see a lot of associate positions in organic chemistry nowadays. I started as a process chemist, but transitioned into leading a manufacturing team. If I were you, I would try go get into the industry as an analytical chemist or in manufacturing. Manufacturing allows BS/MS folks more opportunities to get involved in other roles, such as QC/QA, and quality. From what I've seen, analytical chemists and folks involved in quality are in higher demand than organic folks. My company had a layoff not too long ago, and while the organic folks were able to find jobs, the analytical, regulatory and QA/QC/quality folks had no problem whatsoever getting jobs. Also, many folks I have worked with in these roles were able to obtain a supervisory role as a BS/MS in manufacturing and quality. A BS/MS will never be a supervisor or leader in R&D (i.e. discovery/process chemistry).

It is easier to get a job with a MS - but I would try to stay away from early stage medicinal/discovery chemistry. There are more opportunities for associates further down the pipeline in either manufacturing or quality/regulatory roles.

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36. Anonymous on March 11, 2012 10:54 AM writes...

@ 27: I did my PhD and post-doc then worked 10 years in the industry and went through a lay-off. My recommendation: get your master degree and change field: business or law or even go do your optometry or medicine. There is no future in chemistry (in my opinion). The industry and biotechs now have the luxury of hiring entry-level PhDs with 2-4 years of experience. It is extremely difficult to get a job straight from post-doc. It is a good time to do a career change at the master level. Your degree will open up many doors for you. Otherwise, you'll go on and maybe get a job and you'll never know if you'll keep it. So you'll always be stressed out about not being able to pay your house (and fear losing it). Plus, it will be very difficult to raise kids not knowing if you'll still have a job the following year (or even following month). It is not a matter of being good in med chem anymore, it is a matter of being liked by your boss and the guy who takes decisions when it is time to get rid of a bunch of chemists in the company. If you don't like playing politics, it will be very frustrating. Also, considering that we work all the time in chemistry, it is really not worth it when you see that people in other fields make twice as much as us and work less.... This is my opinion...

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37. Anonymous on March 11, 2012 11:08 AM writes...

MSc vs PhD? My impression is that the companies will hire PhDs instead of MSc since they only cost 15-20K more in salary. They consider that they can give more responsibilities to PhDs and yet send them at the bench if they want to. The days were you would come in as a PhD and get 3-5 reports are over. You get stuck at the bottom of the ladder unless you are a sycophant and know how to please the bosses. Of course, these days, they can fire someone whenever they want to. They don't need a justification to do that. They call it "restructuration" or "...your position has been abolished", although you do exactly the same job as the guy next to you. But, all in all, I would say there is a brighter future for PhDs than MSc. However, I would still recommend people to quit chemistry before they're too far engaged in their careers and cannot turn back.

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38. Cynic on March 11, 2012 11:32 AM writes...

If there are grad students that read this blog and still get their PhD, I don't feel bad for them when they hit the market and can't find work. How many people have to tell you to stop before you listen?

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39. learn on March 11, 2012 12:45 PM writes...

I agree get out of ms jobs are done in india/china nowadays, if you are ph.d./post doc from big school..might get a job in big pharma..but after 10 will regret getting into chemistry..

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40. learn on March 11, 2012 12:45 PM writes...

I agree get out of ms jobs are done in india/china nowadays, if you are ph.d./post doc from big school..might get a job in big pharma..but after 10 will regret getting into chemistry..

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41. learn on March 11, 2012 12:46 PM writes...

I agree get out of ms jobs are done in india/china nowadays, if you are ph.d./post doc from big school..might get a job in big pharma..but after 10 will regret getting into chemistry..because new guy will take your position..all this education for 5-10 yrs of employment!

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42. Legacy Merck Guy on March 11, 2012 3:29 PM writes...

@ Rick #33: I totally disagree and what you said is exactly one problem that I hate. People and companies think PhD's automatically make you smarter and more inventive than everyone else. I hate to break it to you guys but as far I'm concerned most MSc are no different than any of you. However, what you fail to understand is that many of us can do EVERYTHING you can do for 15K cheaper (including leading). It all depends on the program and the individual (like any PhD program). I know a few completely incompetent PhD's who were educated at "top tier" schools. All some are good at is knowing how to play the game and/or steal ideas from colleagues to make themselves look good (hmmm....sounds a ton like academia, eh?). Come off your high horses guys, two to three extra years of research doesn't magically turn you into a smart leader or a critical thinker. It helps, but the individual is what's more important. Don't ever forget that.

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43. ANON on March 11, 2012 4:41 PM writes...

#42 Legacy Merck Guy

I know a few completely incompetent PhD's who were educated at "top tier" schools

This is the logical fallacy known as the hasty generalization.

Sample S, which is too small, is taken from population P.
Conclusion C is drawn about Population P based on S.

Another example of the fallacy:

With comments like yours, no wonder Merck is in as bad shape as it is.

(See how that fallacy can be problematic?)

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44. dvizard on March 11, 2012 5:06 PM writes...

I'm so glad I pulled over into Analytical at the last minute...

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45. gtaylor on March 11, 2012 6:19 PM writes...

If anyone has background in Biomarkers, take a look at MGH in Boston. A Pathologist named Dr. Iafrate is interviewing for a lead Biomarker Specialist.
May be a great opportunity.

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46. Rick Wobbe on March 11, 2012 6:38 PM writes...

Legacy #42,
I don't see where the disagreement is. In fact, I'd credit you with making my point pretty well: If you're a manager, why hire and pay for all that dissertation-based attitude if you don't need to? And if you're considering grad school, why go through all the extra time and suffering of a Ph.D. if it's not necessary to do a perfectly fine job at what you enjoy doing and adds unwanted frustrations?

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47. Legacy Merck Guy on March 11, 2012 8:29 PM writes...

@ Anon: I made no generalization. The point of the comment is that the demeaner of many of these comments is that there is such a difference between PhD's and everyone else in terms of knowledge and leadership abilities. It is arrogance like that stiffles forward progress. Your missing the point coupled with your comment is just as bad a fallacy as what you're accusing me of (which I didn't generalize anyone). Especially since I wasn't saying all PhD's are imcompetent. I have much respect for almost all my colleagues, REGARDLESS of their degree level and I know that an idea can come from anywhere. Do you really think that a freshly minted PhD automatically has more knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities than a BS/MS with 10 years in the field? 15 years? The fact that BS/MSs are is counted out of many things simply because of the degree level is undeniable (and unhelpful). I was just making a point that simply having one doesn't automatically more innovative or leadership material. Who has made the hasty generalization?

@ Rick, My disagreement with you was with the comment that "A Ph.D. trains you to think at the cutting edge and work independently" So no one else can do it? Not that I think extra training isn't important or useful. I just grow tired at hearing the general statement at work (it's policy) and on blogs. I's not disagreeing with your first point except that I'm not sure whether anyone under PI is viewed as needed. Anyway, it just sucks to be in the industry now. I wish the displaced AZ guys the best.

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48. M.S. Anyone? on March 12, 2012 12:32 AM writes...

I would like to thank everybody for giving me advice. I am in a PhD program at a top 5 institution, but I'm hating every minute of it. My boss doesn't care about my education (or anything/anybody for that matter). The words "mentor" and "advisor" can only really be used in jest here. My project is meaningless, unimportant, uninteresting, uneducational, and essentially impossible. At this point, even graduates here are rarely finding work. I'm going to cut my losses and run for the hills. Either another career (I've got family in the oil business) or medical/dental/optometry school if I can accept the reality that I will have to study for and take written exams again...

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49. anonymous on March 12, 2012 6:22 AM writes...


I would recommend dental school. I just saw an add the Sunday employment classifieds for a dentist, offering pay of $300K per year (~$150/hr). Your career can go 40 yrs (not 5-10), you can work normal hours, you can work for yourself, and you don't have to move every 2 years.
I also saw an add this week for a M.S. synthetic chemist, contract, no benefits, for $15-$17/hr.
You do the math.

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50. Another@48 on March 12, 2012 7:40 AM writes...

Optometry would be my choice. Aside from psychiatry, it is probably the least gory of the heath fields. While you may not earn as much as the dentists or MDs, your work schedule would be far more flexible. Besides, what other profession grants you the vesatility of working at a Beverly Hills eyeglass boutique, a Walmart eye care center, & everything in between? Moreover, there's a lower inicidence of malpractice lawsuits in optometry.

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51. CanChem on March 12, 2012 10:03 AM writes...

I graduated with an MSc in Organic Synthetic in 2008, and was lucky enough to find work when I finished in Med Chem. I spent about 18 months at that company and loved the work, but then the cash ran out and it went under. After many months of fruitless searching for a job in synthetic, and needing work for several reasons, I took a position in analytical/product development with a small CRO/CMO.

I'm happy to have made the switch because as people around here have pointed out, synthetic's a tough gig these days. I've got friends from my old grad school group trying to find anything right now and having NO luck at all, whereas I've just switched companies again into a better job with better pay, and had options to choose from (I'm in the Boston area).

As to the question of MSc or PhD, it's a tough call these days. I'm happy to have left when I did, rather than stick it out, and have found myself to be more transferable between positions than friends with PhD's, but during periods of employment I make less per hour. Right now all my superiors from direct manager to Sr.VP all have PhD's, but the company I'm with explicitly states that anyone can be promoted up if they show the skills and track record required for promotion. I don't think for me personally that the MSc has hurt my chances in the workforce, but I'm aiming to be doing more business decisions eventually, rather than running a scientific group.

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52. Anonymous on March 12, 2012 11:52 AM writes...


I would recommend law school as well. Patent law is still a viable field, and a law degree is a big plus (but not necessary). Another possiblity is to apply to the USPTO as an Examiner. The work is interesting, the pay raises fast, and job security almost as good as academic tenure.

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53. paperclip on March 12, 2012 7:18 PM writes...


I really feel your pain. Whether you decide chemistry or no chemistry, I strongly advise you to consider leaving the lab you are in now. Your PI is not going to change. If he is showing little interest in you and put you on an impossible project, then the odds of your getting a PhD there are not great, no matter how many years you put in. A hotshot PI in Harvard kicked a grad student out after he had been there for 8 years.

If you decide that chemistry is still your dream, you are not limited to the labs at your current school. Think about the schools that are not in the top 5 or 10. In many of them there is still outstanding research and facilities. But since all the decent students want to go to the top universities, many of the other schools go begging for good grad students. Supply and demand kicks in -- you'll be more likely to be respectfully treated as the student and human being that you are.

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54. pharmadude on March 12, 2012 9:07 PM writes...

Unless you really love it, I'd leave the field. Go into something that can't be outsourced (like healthcare). No matter how much investment discovery gets in the future, the bulk of the work will be done overseas.

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55. Money shot on March 13, 2012 8:22 PM writes...

Get out now chemistry is a dead end especially in pharma. Go into a service oriented field, one where there is always a demad. I have been in pharma for 8 years, every year I worry about my job bust my ass, and wonder about my future and if I will be able to support my wife and kids.

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56. latebloomer on March 13, 2012 8:30 PM writes...

I had a MS in biotechnology and made the huge mistake of going back for my Ph.D. (at a top 3 grad school).

From an emotional/intellectual perspective, it was an excellent move. In my late 20's, I realized that if I wanted to direct my own research, and to do it well, I'd need to earn a Ph.D. Back then I woke up and went to sleep thinking of science, but was utterly powerless to push my own ideas in the lab. Pharma was also still a gold mione, and the possibility of getting my own lab and a six figure salary was intoxicating.

Going to the best school that accepted me was mistake #1. Grad students are chattel, and glorifying the PI is task #1 for everyone up through the highest ranking Postdoc in the lab. No matter what they tell you, unless you're a combined degree student with time limits on your funding, 6-8 years is the norm for a Ph.D. in the top biomedical science programs. Then there's the now obligatory 3-5 years of postdoc, which earnms you the priveledge of competing for jobs with every Tian, Ding, and Chen Hui who comes down the pike with a bag full of herbal remedies and an undergraduate degree in "Medicine."

So was it worth it? In an existential sense, yes. I still wake and doze with science on my mind, and now I can pursue my ideas as often as I can find funding (which remains as true in Pharma as it is in academia). In a financial sense, though, it was an utter disaster. I cringe when I think of what just the 401k match from even a $35K salary would have yielded had I invested it from the late 1980's until now. Forget the chance to have kids in my 20's instead of my 40's, a house and vacations instead of a rathole flat and 80 hour work weeks...

It would be one thing if there were any job security to be had, but now I'm fcing unemployment at 51, and my Ivy league Ph.D. feels like an albatross.

Your call, my friend, but my advice is to pull the rip cord and get out now.

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57. latebloomer on March 13, 2012 8:52 PM writes...

P.S., before you think of going to law school, ask a patent attorney if the re-oriented and retrenched VC market is doing much for their billable hours. Patent law is perhaps the only science-related career with a worse long term outlook than drug development.

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58. Anonymous on March 14, 2012 9:25 AM writes...


Age 51 is not too late. Patent law is still a viable field, and a law degree is a big plus (but not necessary). Another possiblity is to apply to the USPTO as an Examiner. The work is interesting, the pay raises fast, and job security almost as good as academic tenure. I would recommend law school as well.

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59. Anonymous on March 14, 2012 4:04 PM writes...


Bad advice. There are alot of laid off or unemployed scientists going into patent law, because it looks attractive, as opposed to unemployment. In addition, they are starting to outsource some of the patent law material to India.
At 51, I would not take on $120K in dept and still be overeducated and unemployed. I agree with 55, go into a service industry or health care. You can't outsource that.

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60. Anonymous on March 15, 2012 5:22 PM writes...

So what most of you seem to be saying is get the MS and bail?

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61. hn on March 15, 2012 5:57 PM writes...

I'm sorry to hear that so many here had a bad experience in grad school. Just like the real world, your grad school experience will depend on your working relationship with your boss. Research and grad school can be great fun if you work with a supportive mentor in a good environment. For the students who are currently stuck working for a bad boss, don't hesitate to look for another advisor.

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62. M.S. Anyone? on March 15, 2012 7:12 PM writes...

@ 61
I really like your advice to change advisors. Unfortunately, I'm at one of the top institutions in the country and ALL the faculty are self-interested monsters who have no interest in teaching or in the success of their students...

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63. GreedyCynicalSelfInterested on March 15, 2012 10:34 PM writes...

@58 The only advertisements for jobs in patent law is for computer science and electrical engineering. I would NOT get a law degree. You can be a patent agent just by taking and passing the bar exam.

I would not go into the field. I was in it for about 8 years and the legal part is boring. It's saturated with refugees from science. STAY OUT! Get your MS in chemistry and go work for the government.

I've heard that the roaches are held in higher esteem than the graduate students at most institutions. Professors can always get more graduate students, especially in this economy.

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64. Renton Mcsomething on March 20, 2012 1:54 PM writes...


I've been there. To be honest probably many people have been there. I lost and sacrifice many, many things on the way but in my case I dont regret it

In my opinion, you have two options. None of them is better than the other. It just depends on you: to keep employing a self-referential and desilutional tone about everything, or to accept that academia especially at hight levels is not a nice, of course is not fair, there are no friends (or just a few), and there is a nasty political game that you need to play.

If you dont want to play that game. Quit now and go for something more quiet but giving you more personal satisfaction. There is not shame on career changes and usually is the best chance in the long term.

If you have a passion and personal curiosity for what you do, be optimistic and go for it. Play the game, dont allow anybody to bully or intimidate you, and keep working, specially keep working, dont take offense for whatever bullshit somebody may try to throw you since is just part of the game.

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