My first week in industry: a couple observations

This week I started working with a company. I'm a scientist, doing neuro-related things in an R&D setting. I'm going to stay pseudonymous here, so I'm not going to share many more details. I do have some observations to share:

- the average age of people who work here is a lot higher than in academia. Many of the scientists here moved into industry after a PhD and a post-doc (abroad).

- there are many more organizational layers than in academia. The top people get their information through many filtering steps from the people below them.

- I get to work on a range of topics, which I am really excited about. I'm not sure yet if the downside of that is that I won't be able to go into as much depth as I would like. Time will tell.

- this week, while I was reading a billion papers, I missed the ability to go into the lab to add some variety to my day. There are labs, I'm just not the person to do things in them here. On the other hand, in academia I would probably be in the lab for just a few more years too.

- nobody has used the word 'optogenetics' or 'CRISPR' (yet).

- we work in a very open office-type of setting. With flexible work places -which adds a very interesting dynamic, comparable to a hotel swimming pool with limited beds where people put their towel down at 8 am to secure a bed for the afternoon. This also means that procrastinating by blogging or tweeting is not as much as option as it used to be when I was a post-doc.

3 responses so far

  • onemonkey says:

    Good thing you have two little ones who kick you out of your bed before the sun rises, so you can always claim the desk with the hidden screen 😉

  • john carroll says:

    Why do you think many scientists there moved into the industry after a PhD and a post-doc?

    • babyattachmode says:

      Many reasons probably 😉 I know some people wanted to go into industry already during their postdoc and gathered skills to make sure they were competitive for this. Another thing to keep in mind is that in the homecountry there is only one 'level' of universities, so no SLAC equivalent for example. Also, there are very few staff scientist positions. So if you stay in academia, there is really only one way to do that (with exceptions of course). Being a scientist in industry allows you to do science without having to scramble for grants and/or a tenure track position (although it comes with another type of insecurity).

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