Chemistry B.A., 1994
My career path during college and after graduation has taken a few twists and turns. The two things I would advise a new graduate in Chemistry (or any other field) are to keep an open mind and to tell everyone you know that you're looking for a job!
My senior year consisted of finishing school, applying to medical school and sending out a lot of resumes! I looked in newspapers, chemical journals, phone books, etc., searching for any company needing a recent graduate chemist. When medical school didn't pan out, I finally found a position in the Louisville, KY area as a QC/Analytical chemist for a privately owned biochemical company, Advanced ChemTech (ACT). That company gave me my first opportunity to put my chemistry skills to work.
Around 6 months later, Pfizer and Procter & Gamble called to set up interviews with me, in response to resumes I'd submitted to them prior to graduation. While the skills I gained at ACT were invaluable, the time had come for me to explore other opportunities. The position at Pfizer was offered, I happily accepted, and moved back to Terre Haute 8 months after graduation.
Pfizer allowed me to expand my skills as a chemist. I worked with HPLC, GC, Karl Fisher and lots of wet chemistry testing. I also learned the importance of teamwork and reliability, as I was on call every other weekend - holidays, 3 am call-ins, etc. After almost 5 years at Pfizer, while I loved my job and the people I worked with, it was, again, time for a change in my career.
I found my position at Lab Support in April 1999 after responding to an ad in the newspaper at the beginning of that year. I now recruit, interview and place scientists in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct-placement positions in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. I love my job because I get to touch people's lives on a daily basis. By helping my candidates get their first jobs, showing them opportunities to advance their careers, and assisting my clients with their needs, I directly impact their lives in a way I couldn't while working in the labs.
My work experience relates to my degree in many ways. Because of the skills I learned at ISU through my degree, I was able to work in an industrial lab setting for 5 years. While I don't "use" my degree on a daily basis now, I know the lingo of my clients, candidates, and employees, which helps me place the right people with the right clients. The friends and contacts I made at ISU are people I still touch base with today on both personal and professional levels.
If someone would have told me 10 years ago I would be working in the scientific staffing field, I would have said they were nuts! Keeping an open mind with your degree and career will help open doors to opportunities you may have never thought would be presented in your life.