I had a couple of realizations recently. The first was that I had not managed a blog post on here for quite a while. Sorry, all. Time and chemistry wait for no man.
The one that got me to finally sit down and write something was the sudden thought that for the first time in a while, I don’t know a chemist that is out of a job. Oh, I know there are plenty of chemists that are currently unemployed, but no one I actually know.
That has not been true for quite a while, but slowly they have found a way to get by, found something to pay the bills. Sometimes it meant doing something a little bit different: a job in the Patent Office or setting chemistry tests and quizzes for the university. One chemist started his own business and has done well enough that he employed another old colleague. The piece de resistance was a masters chemist I worked with who, after a rough time involving contracts cut short and being a little bit messed around, ended up with four job offers in hand at once.
So does this little anecdotal evidence mean the turn-around is happening? Will there be good times ahead for the chemistry field? Well, I won’t go that far. Several people (including myself) I know are technically on finite contracts,w hich may or may not be extended further. Some have found something but it was not really what they were hoping for. Then there are those coming to the end of post-doc stints (we have several post docs where I work), looking, looking, looking, but not having a lot of success. It is still pretty hard to find any job, let alone the One True Job that you want to do for the rest of your career. For myself, I have the prospect of a little more stability and longer term employment, but it all comes down to funding. If we get it, I am looking good. If not, well, since I know all these employed people, I should be able to find something. To get by at least.