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which job to choose

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which job to choose

Postby Sophie Z. » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:25 pm

Hi, I am seeking advice for making a career decision.
2 contractor positions.
1st: top10 pharma, senior scientist, immunogenecity related antigen internalization and intracellular trafficking via flow cytometry
2nd: start-up biotech, scientist, viral-mediated gene therapy upstream process development including cell culture optimization, media development and scale up.
I am not sure which one will have a better career development path in long term.
All comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Sophie Z.
 
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Re: which job to choose

Postby PG » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:25 pm

First let me congratulate you on having two different positions to choose between. Also a question what do you mean with Contractor positions? Both of these seem to be of the type that is usually direct hires at the companies so I will assume that this is the case in the rest of this reply. I will also assume that these are two offers that you actually have.

These are two very different positions that are likely to lead to two different career tracks. Top 10 pharma is usually a good thing to have in your CV and often provides a lot of career options. The possible downside being that this seem to be a very research focused position and not necessarily direcly in the pharma development part of the Company and this may limit the number of possibilities that would otherwise have opened from having pharma experience.

The other position is in an area that is expanding and providing experience in process development, scale up etc that are attractive skills for many companies. Always when considering going to a start-up I would recomend looking at available cash and burn rate ie when does the Company run out of money? Preferrably you should be able to get at least a couple of years experience with the Company Before they start running out of cash. Always remember that the most frequent outcome from a start-up is that they run out of cash and have to lay off most or all staff. On the other hand workign for a start-up can provide a very rewarding experience and gives lots of opportunities to learn and often also to develop your career in alternative paths.

Both positions have advantages and disadvantages. Whats is your background and future career goals?
PG
 
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Re: which job to choose

Postby Sophie Z. » Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:48 am

Thank you so much, PG.
I am glad that my final decision was made consistent with your advice. My background is molecular/cellular biology in neuroscience field with experience in gene therapy.
I am not offered full-time employee position. Being a contractor, I work for the biotech company but actually belong to a staffing company. Generally, there are no benefits from the biotech company at all, not mention stock or cash bonus. It can only be a temporary job. I will still need to find an FTE position in some time. This is why I want to choose carefully so that this short term (6-12mo) job can add more value to my resume for next round job search.
I agree with you that #1 choice is just a supportive role in a big company that can easily be diluted and could not add too much value. I am finally choosing the start-up although I am not quite sure how long they
can last. I chose it based on the potential of the new technique and appealing career field.
Hope this will bring me a fruitful experience of career transition and open a brand new world in front of me.
Thank you very much.
Merry Christmas and happy new year!
Sophie Z.
 
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Re: which job to choose

Postby RGM » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:02 pm

I would choose the first role based on everything I read in both your posts.

Flow cytometry is a useful technique to know as it's used across so many different disciplines and thus many different positions.
"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not"
"If you think research is expensive, try disease." - Mary Lasker
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Re: which job to choose

Postby Sophie Z. » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:49 pm

Hi, RGM,
Thank you very much for sharing your opinion.
You are absolutely correct about the wide application of the flow cytometry technique in various fields. I totally agree with you and would love to further develop this expertise. But I still worry. There are hundreds or thousands of job seekers like me who have intensive experience with flow cytometry and will compete with me in the future job market. Given that I don't have any publication in Immunology or Oncology, just the hands-on experience doesn't make me strong enough to win the game. Or, in another case, I am replaceable at any time.
So I finally chose the process development job and determined to gain knowledge and skills of optimization-to-scale-up of bio-production, and looked forward to advancing my work with rich experience of cellular biology. This field is now occupied by mostly chemical engineers. With the drastic development of biological pharmaceutics, for instance antibody therapy and gene thearpy, companies relies more and more on cell-based production system. I would love to get on board from an early stage and hope there will be better career development in the near future.
Sophie Z.
 
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Re: which job to choose

Postby RGM » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:59 pm

Sophie Z. wrote:Hi, RGM,
Thank you very much for sharing your opinion.
You are absolutely correct about the wide application of the flow cytometry technique in various fields. I totally agree with you and would love to further develop this expertise. But I still worry. There are hundreds or thousands of job seekers like me who have intensive experience with flow cytometry and will compete with me in the future job market. Given that I don't have any publication in Immunology or Oncology, just the hands-on experience doesn't make me strong enough to win the game. Or, in another case, I am replaceable at any time.
So I finally chose the process development job and determined to gain knowledge and skills of optimization-to-scale-up of bio-production, and looked forward to advancing my work with rich experience of cellular biology. This field is now occupied by mostly chemical engineers. With the drastic development of biological pharmaceutics, for instance antibody therapy and gene thearpy, companies relies more and more on cell-based production system. I would love to get on board from an early stage and hope there will be better career development in the near future.


I understand your sentiments regarding Flow.

Regarding replaceable, to a company everyone is disposable. A company will do what it needs to protect itself first, employees are second maybe even third depending on the type of company.

I think bio-production is definitely a great space to be in at this point in time. I know over the past 5+ years Dave has always expressed how few experts there are in the area. I believe he referred to senior level scientists if memory serves.

It's my belief immunotherapy will continue to grow over time. I know my clinician friend has seen an explosion in this treatment and her field is exploding in demand too.

Check your PM too.
"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not"
"If you think research is expensive, try disease." - Mary Lasker
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Re: which job to choose

Postby Sophie Z. » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 pm

Hi, RGM,
I have sent a reply to your PM. Please check it out.

Thank you for understanding my concern. I agree that immunotherapy or immunology will play more important role from now on. It is hard to give up the 1st choice given its partial focus on immunogenecity. However, as I said, after evaluating my past research record, 1 to 2 years experience is so weak when I am compared with people majored in immunology with 5-10 years experience plus related publications.

Since I have made my decision, I will work and study hard. I will try my best to do a great job in bio-production field.

Thanks.
Sophie Z.
 
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Re: which job to choose

Postby Steven Z. » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:15 pm

Whichever I chose, I would continue my job search full effort because contract jobs rarely become permanent. The WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research found only 27% of contract-to-hire and 18% of contract jobs overall lead to permanent/direct employment.
Steven Z.
 
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Re: which job to choose

Postby Sophie Z. » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:32 pm

Hi, Steven,
You are right. Honestly, I came in the door with a hope of getting hired as FTE in some time. Although these are cases I saw in few other employees in the current company, I understand this may not be replicable on me. I will still give myself 6 months for now. What I can do is to learn as fast and as much as I can within limited time. Even they may not hire me in the future, I should have developed strong expertise during this period. At that time, leaving a company that doesn't offer me a chance to contribute will not be my loss. lol
Sophie Z.
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:20 pm

Re: which job to choose

Postby RGM » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:39 pm

Steven Z. wrote:Whichever I chose, I would continue my job search full effort because contract jobs rarely become permanent. The WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research found only 27% of contract-to-hire and 18% of contract jobs overall lead to permanent/direct employment.


Steve, is that all contract positions, or only biotech?
"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not"
"If you think research is expensive, try disease." - Mary Lasker
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