Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How long to be an Application Scientist

Last post, Ph.D. dropout asked, in essence, how long she has to stay in a job before she can move on. She phrased it as:
what do you think is the minimum reasonable time I should spend at one job before looking for something new?
and if the time frame that I wil be able to handle is a year or a little less, what kind of jobs can I look at applying to move into the more business sector of biotech?

I would say 2 years. Any less than that, and I will be asking you what happened. At two years, in a travel job, you are fine. It won't raise eyebrows to move on. If you last less than a year, it will raise big red flags. I wouldn't take a risk on you after that, as at that point you have left a Ph.D. at less than 2 years. You have left a job at less than 1. What makes me, as a hiring person, think that you will stay with my job? You will, at that point, have shown no ability to stick with anything. I would be looking at you as someone who would come in and leave. Since hiring people is a real pain in the butt, I am very biased against doing it more frequently than I have to. Part of what I take in to account is how long I think you will last. Less than 2 years = bad. More than 2 = fine. I don't think I can tell if you will last 3 years or 10 years, but don't really care.

My personal rule is not to move more often than every 3 years. Others set the bar at 2 years. I don't know of anyone who sets it below 2 years, and whose career I would be trying to emulate.

Your statements:
I think you were absolutely right about suspecting that 30% travel sounds too good for AS. THe other person I interviewed with already stated 25-50%, which leaves me concerned that it will go up over 50 rather fast. :(
I am excited as hell to travel, but I need the travel time to be shorter than the time spent at home, I think... to retain my sanity.
play to something I have said before. You have no idea about how you will handle travel. I would expect, with an FAS job, to spending more than 50% of the time on the road during some periods. The end of a fiscal year / quarter would be a time when I would expect you out constantly. Early in the quarter, not AS much, but still.... I can't help with this part, but if you make this jump I think you have to be willing to stick it out for at least 2 years, or you should expect to have problems getting the next job.


Anonymous said...

Dapi here :)

Yes I'd agree with you on the less than 2 years rule! Something bad normally happens either from the employee side or the employer side...I stayed at my first job for a year exactly and the majority of the time I was trying to find a new job so I could get out!

I think PhD drop out may want to reconsider if this is the job for her as it will require a lot of traveling and she's already thinking of leaving it within 12 months before she starts!

Ok onto me :) So please tell me, if I approached your company and you were ready to make me an offer-pending the visa issue, would you consider spending $3000 to hire me?

Since the company I've been dealing with does not have a US immigration lawyer, i went and found one, spoke with him then met him yesterday :) He's been doing it well for 13 years and believes he can have me working for the new company in 3-4 weeks without expediting the visa proess! The $3000 includes all his services plus the government filing fee's!

I'm just anxious to hear back with an offer because by now we have both spent a lot of time trying to make this work!

My real question is: Would the $3000 be a deal breaker for this company...and no I havent made any counter negotiations on salary, benefits etc etc... I'm hoping not since my original tiny company actually paid more to get me over from overseas?

What do you think?

I'm anxious to get an offer!

Thanks :)

yes said...

$3K is less than I spend to relocate people, so I don't think it is, or should be, a deal breaker. I think of it as a nothing. Especially as it is a 1 time charge and not a recurring (yearly) thing.

PhDropout said...

hello. PhD Dropout back after some silence...

dear Dr. Yes,
thanks for that breakdown of the time-put-in perception. i totally understand.
but just FYI, i wanna mention though that the work experience i had before grad school, which was 4 yrs, was all with the same company, to which i showed a lot of loyalty in the time of some huge issues and restructuring, when people were leaving from being greately underpaid. so, just FYI, not everything in my profile screams "QUITTER" or unreliable person ;)
plus, if i manage to get my MS afterall as i leave my program, the future jobs will not even question the grad experience as a quitting experience, cuz it will just look like 'she went there, she got her MS, got out, got a job,... cool'

dear DAPI, i am not thinking of leaving the new job already or thinking of this job opportunity in any negative way. i think it will be absolutely great for me and for my career to take off! :) so, at this point i am excited more than anything. i just like to get insights on those kinds of questions simply for the "WHAT IF" curiosity ...

the travel will be 25-50% (which i am sure i will handle and enjoy just swell), not more, i double-checked. the reason is that they use web meetings for majority of the demos, and on-site presentations for more special requests or conference-type travel.
the rest of the time i will be working on some data analsyses, case study analyses, and writing grants and papers, so it is not just an application demo/ customer support job.

the reason i also wonder about time is that i am dropping out of my PhD program, but i wanna get my masters, which even my unhappy betrayed PI thinks i deserve with my experience. i do not mind summing up all my research in 1 thesis that should pass (according to the PI, knock on wood...lol), but ONE PROBLEM - the department requires for me to take 1 remaining course that i have put off :(
but since my job is in a different city, and the class is offered only once a year, i cant take it now before the job starts, and i may need to take off from my job for 10 weeks (shady situation) later in the year, or, at the same time in the following year (if the department permits such delay), but even then it will have been a little over 1.5 yrs on the new job.
hence, more time-line concerns...

but i am definitely taking the job. it generally is offered to PhD's only (stated as a MUST from their job requirements in the listing), and the compensation they offer is on the level too, i believe... around 60k (to me that sounds fantastic! like 3 times more than i get now)
i already accepted the offer. looking for apartments to rent...

Dr. Yes, would u be kind enough to answer 2 questions:

1 - would it be wise to let my prospective employer know that "look, i thought i'd be getting my MS just by completing the thesis and submitting my almost-ready manuscript, but now the department says about that 1 course requirement..." and ask them "WILL U LET ME TAKE THE 10 WEEKS OFF COMPLETELY?" to go to another city while subletting my place, and then come back and return to my job duties.
if they say yes, i KNOW i can do it and get my MS within 1 school year!
or should i just tell them closer to 1.5 yrs before i have to take that course? and then if they say "NO, we will have to get someone new then," i'd quit, and find a new job while taking that 1 course????
i hate conceiling anything.. i am a very open and honest person, but i fear that telling them now may make them change their minds on hiring me (isnt it still possible despite the signed offer letter?). ALTHOUGH! DONT U THINK THE PROCESS OF HIRING AND TRAINING A NEW EMPLOYEE WOULD TAKE THE SAME 10 WEEKS AT LEAST ANYWAY?! so maybe telling it straight out is not so bad at all..?
i am just concerned... so many things on my mind.. so many changes... i really appreciate any input u can provide!

2- they mention 3k bonus. i read that bonuses are based on performance... so, what exactly does that mean? if they say i didnt do quite as good, i may get like $300.00 or something instead??
and how often are bonuses paid? quarterly? yearly?

thank you very very much!



TW Andrews said...


If someone is interested enough to make you an offer, a one-time 3k difference shouldn't make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dapi,

Just wanted to thank you again!

Its now day 3 in Toronto and I'm loving my job.

Its intensive but fun.

Any way thanks again!