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I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

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I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby DJS » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:36 am

I"ve been working in different labs since undergrad and have a thesis-based M.S. degree. So, I have experiences working with most of the basic lab techniques. However, I essentially took the first industry job that was offered to me and immediately knew it was a bad choice for my career because it did not require a lot of technical skills. I never intended to stay as long as I have but then life happened- marriage, bought a house, had kids. Now, nearly 9 years later I am ready to move on to new experiences elsewhere but now I am being told that my experiences are too narrow and I can't seem to get an interview anywhere. Unfortunately, at my biotech, we only utilize one technique and nothing else. I've tried applying to lower level positions or one-level higher positions, but I don't get a call. Though the one company that did interview me told me that honestly, my background is too narrow for other biotechs, and evidently for them too because I didn't get hired. So, what are my options? I live in a univerisity town, so should I try to volunteer time in an academic lab for a year to gain new skills (does anyone do that?)? Or will my only option is to go back to school in another field (for example, data analysis/biostats) if I want to go elsewhere? I really love working in the labs, but I feel like I'm wasting my potential at my current place.

Thanks for any advice!
Last edited by DJS on Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby Andrew » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:20 pm

I always tell people that they, not their bosses, are responsible for managing their career. If you got a job doing ELISAs or Dissos or what have you, after about a year you should be an expert in it. It really took you nine years to realize you aren't getting anything more out of the position? Honestly, that would be disqualifying in my mind in and of itself. It shows a serious lack of awareness about your circumstances as well as how the world works. You need to find a way to get additional, broadening experience ASAP and it may be at the entry level in order to get your career back on track.
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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby Abby » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:00 pm

In 9 years in industry you must have learned other aspects of the industry. GMP? GLP? Design Control? FDA regulations? You should be able to write in a cover letter and discuss in interviews how all the other skills you have make you a great asset and how you can learn other techniques. Was there a time you made a new protocol? Validated a new instrument...
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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby Rich Lemert » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:24 pm

While the members of this forum can offer general advice, we likely don't have any direct insights into the types of jobs you're interested in. We also haven't seen your resume. You need to find the people that do have these insights and talk to them. (Information interviews are not just for entry-level people!)

A potentially good place to start would be the company you said interviewed you and told you your background was too narrow. If there's someone there you felt comfortable talking to, you could give them a call and ask them what they think you could do to broaden your background. Find people in similar positions at other companies and ask them the same thing.

Don't forget about your current employer, either. Talk to people in other functions within the company about what they do, how they got into their position, and what you could do to follow in their path.
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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby Ana » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:18 am

I second Abby's comments: there was more to your job than the main lab technique you run. What knowledge and skills you acquired during those 9 years beyond that technique?
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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby RGM » Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:32 pm

Andrew wrote:It really took you nine years to realize you aren't getting anything more out of the position? Honestly, that would be disqualifying in my mind in and of itself.


Did you read his entire post explaining why the OP stayed longer than intended, or are you that insensitive? The OP wrote

"I never intended to stay as long as I have but then life happened- marriage, bought a house, had kids"

Disqualifying..for what, being a home owner, a spouse and a parent? Yes that person only achieved the American Dream that many do not achieve, yep that's disqualifying.
"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not"
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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:55 pm

As the moderator, I'd like to encourage people to be direct and to avoid too much "sensitivity" . . . Just call it like you see it, as there is absolutely zero need for extensive political correctness on an anonymous forum. We don't want people to be rude or insulting, but we certainly want to hear why managers would nix an application. Unfiltered!

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Re: I've been at the same Biotech for too long and now I can't find a new job elsewhere

Postby PG » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:11 pm

Back to the actual topic. I dont see 9 years in a specific Company as being to long. A lot of companies may also change a lto during 9 years and the Company that you work for now might not have much resemblance with the Company that you joined 9 years ago and chsances are that your job responsibilities have changed as well.

9 years might be long enough for you to fall off the radar of recruiting companies since they may assume that you are not likely to move in your 10th year either but it shouldnt be too long to find a position if you actively look for one. The Company I now work for have goals for retention rates ie for how high turnover in staff that is acceptable and for those goals to be achieved we need people to stay for longer periods of time and the Company is making an effort to make that happen.
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