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Deciding between job offers

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Deciding between job offers

Postby KLL » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:34 am

Hello Forum!

Brief background- 3rd year academic postdoc who wants to get away from the bench but still be connected to the science. I currently have two job offers to choose from and I am having a hard time deciding due to their differences.

Company A offered me a Regulatory Affairs internship that lasts for 4 months but without health insurance (my university says I can keep mine during the internship, but no one has told me how much that costs yet...). There is a chance that this can turn into a permanent position at the end of the internship (HR said about 50% of postdocs get offers, the regulatory people said almost everyone gets offers, so it depends who you believe). At the interview they said that the internship is kind of like an 'audition' for the actual job. (I also want to note that my PI/University is holding my postdoc for me in case I take the internship but don't get the job, although that's not an attractive option for me.)

Company B offered me a Medical Writer position. However, the salary is 15k less than what the permanent position at Company A would pay.

Both of the jobs interest me and I didn't get any bad vibes about either company during my interviews. If both of these were permanent jobs from the start, I would go with the regulatory position at Company A since the pay would be significantly higher. However, the internship part makes me nervous since there's no guarantee I get to stay on at the end.

Do I choose potential earnings (Company A) or stability (Company B)? Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated, thanks!
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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby Cory » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:56 am

Hi,

First off - congratulations!

I don't think the decision should be based wholly on salary or benefits. I think that those two jobs have very different career trajectories and provide very different futures. I'd suggest that you pause for a moment and think a bit about how you see yourself and what you would prefer for a career track.

One bit of caution on the internship that I see - four months is *very* short making it hard to demonstrate your competence and capabilities. Moving into a new position often requires several months to come up to full speed. Your information on the number of people that convert from interneship to permanent position is positive though so it may be that the internship is meant to evaluate soft rather than hard skills.

Let us know what you decide and how things work out!

Cory
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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby Ana » Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:35 pm

Hi KLL,

Congratulations on getting those opportunities to leave the bench, you clearly are doing something right in your job search.

In my post I’m going to presume you are equally interested in both careers. RA and medical writing are not the same as Cory already said.

I think you can’t compare head to head the job that you haven’t been offered yet at company A (the one after the internship) with job at company B. There is no guarantee you would be given that job after that internship, or that the permanent position at company A would have the same conditions that you are thinking now.

If you want to not look at the position in hand but to look further into the future, then you know that in company A that is "likely" to be a permanent position with a higher salary. Looking further you could also see that getting the job at company B could lead to a promotion or different job (different place) also for a higher salary. The difference is that after the 4 months you might be out of job in company A, or back to postdoc, with only an internship to show for, not an actual job. While at company B you give yourself some extra time to make sure you move to a position that pays more either internally or externally, with no deadline as in the 4-month position and with a better platform: actual jobs are better than internships when looking for jobs and you could even turn that medical writing role into regulatory affair positions down the road if that's what you want.

So I’m afraid I can’t advise you on what position to take but I can advise you on how to frame the question: either compare the actual offers at hand for both or the longer-term potentials. Or even better, compare both short and long term options in both roles. That will enable you for example to choose to take the position at company B with the goal of using it "as an internship" to jump to another role down the road, almost like choosing "A and B".

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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby Lydia » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:10 pm

Definitely take a longer term view than 4 months or so when comparing the two options! It is much more important to think about which job seems to be the best career trajectory for you, than which is going to have the higher salary during the first year. This includes comparing the different roles and the opportunities for growth and change within the role at each company.
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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby D.X. » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:36 am

Hi -

To echo some of the other Posters comments, you are taking the wrong Approach to deciding on your choices specific to Salary. In the begining of your career this should never be decisive factor - rather it should be what you're interested in.

Regarding a contract Position, as I read you post it appears you have permission from your PI to explore this? This is rare. So you basically have a Situation, if Regulatory Affairs, is you interest to have a no loss opportunity!! very very very rare. Regarding your other Option, seems like you're exploring. You probably learned (i hope) that the two can provide very different career paths.

Now you are in a unique Situation, in General, unless desperate or truely interested in getting a foot in the door, a contract Position is always always always risky (did I say always?). There are never never never any promises (did I say never?) that at the end of a contract you will be offered a full-time fixed Position, or even an extention of a contract. Never ever (unless writing, which is...never ever). You find yourself in a unique Situation to have parachute if you go with your first Option (Option A). So if you have any interest at all in Regulatory, that would be in only reason to explore it in your specific case - you have a risk mitigator. You are immune to an non-extention of a contract and you have a fail-safe to run back to academia if you want in a short term. You have an exit, most are not lucky as you to have this.

With your Option B, you have risk - you ability to run back to academia will be deminished (based on your post). Its a fixed contract and you will be taking a decision to leave academia permanantly. Try going back after a year, well good luck and after 2 years..I haven't see it unless you're super in with your PI. So at this Point you have a choice to explore, near risk free, or commit to a path firmly, still Exploration but you don't have a parachutte to pull if you don't like it or can't handle it.

So, taking a decision based on Salary - at your Level and your Situation, and to be blunt, is not consistent with a PhD Level education. But see what you have in your Hand, reflect on your Situation and see where you can capitilized experience wise.

To me, one can always get a Medical Writing Job (you've proven you can do it), but rare to get a Chance to experience something with a failsafe built in.

So I've probably given a bit of a bias view on what I would do if I were you, but its your decision. Good luck on what ever path you choose and I'll say it for a fourth and fifth time, don't take a decision based on salary at this stage in your career, do it on what interests you and what will give you the best experience that will arm you towards achieving a Goal - if you have one beyond Salary.

All the best,

DX
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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby Dave Walker » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:50 am

I'm seconding DX's advice -- if you think that working in either medical writing or regulatory affairs is a good career choice, you are probably still in a "exploratory" career phase. I congratulate you for getting two opportunities, you are clearly on the right path. The internship and fallback postdoc is a safe way to try out a career, build a network and see things for yourself without dropping to unemployment. This is a very nice thing to have.

But if you are serious about moving away from the bench, you must do so decisively. If someone tells me they are interested in being on my sales team, but also are pursuing a tangential career as a medical writer, I have to doubt their desire to be in sales. As a PhD student I would have argued that this position is filled with bias, but I can tell you it comes from experience.
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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:11 pm

There's a lot of great advice in this thread . . . I would comment only that you should probably take the advice of the regulatory staff over H/R, when they say that almost everyone would get an offer at the end of four months. It's hard to hire good regulatory staff and I'll bet they DO want to hire you. If they see a potential in you today to do this job (and R/A does have a very bright future), than my guess is that the four months is simply taking a closer look at you to ensure you'll fit their culture.

Pet stores used to give you a new puppy for a few weeks to "see how you adjust to each other." And what happened is that in 90% of the cases, the customer falls in love with the new family member. That's all they're looking for here -- they want to make sure you can bridge that transition from academia to industry. Read the articles on this site that refer to that "choke point" . . . Good luck!

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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby KLL » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:13 am

Thank you everyone for all of your great advice! You gave me a lot of good questions to think about. Regulatory is ultimately where I want to end up, but I was apprehensive about the chance of landing back in my postdoc (I really want to get away from the bench). I was trying to figure out how much my health insurance was going to cost if I did take the internship, and since my university was taking a long time to give me a straight answer I asked Company A for more time. They agreed, but then called me the next day with an incredible proposition- they wanted to offer me a permanent position! Apparently they liked me a lot and were afraid I was going to turn them down over insurance worries. If you're having a hard time believing this don't worry, I was completely shocked, too! Obviously I am going to accept this amazing new offer since it's what I wanted all along!
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Re: Deciding between job offers

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:18 am

KLL wrote:Thank you everyone for all of your great advice! You gave me a lot of good questions to think about. Regulatory is ultimately where I want to end up, but I was apprehensive about the chance of landing back in my postdoc (I really want to get away from the bench). I was trying to figure out how much my health insurance was going to cost if I did take the internship, and since my university was taking a long time to give me a straight answer I asked Company A for more time. They agreed, but then called me the next day with an incredible proposition- they wanted to offer me a permanent position! Apparently they liked me a lot and were afraid I was going to turn them down over insurance worries. If you're having a hard time believing this don't worry, I was completely shocked, too! Obviously I am going to accept this amazing new offer since it's what I wanted all along!


Fantastic news KLL! Good luck to you and please come back to help others and tell us more about your transition.

I think your story proves that forum job seekers have more power in the process than they think they do. If you are "liked," than there is a great chance that the company will want to move ahead. While I am sure you are a good technical fit for the role, this story shows that being likable proves to be the #1 aspect of getting a job.

Dave
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