Thanks in advance for a very thought-provoking series of questions- and
one very appropriate, in many ways, for Hallowe'en.
        First, I have personally been unexpectedly and blind-sidedly blown out
of the water THREE (3) times in my career, by varying sets of bizarre
circumstances-- NONE of which had the slightest thing to do with career
choice or science. Therefore, I can categorically state, THERE IS NO SUCH
THING AS A SECURE LIVING (unless your last name happens to be Getty or
Forbes or some such). This applies to companies large and small,
self-emloyment or any other situation. Therefore, in my opinion, anyone
who takes this into consideration in making a career decision is a fool.
        Second, I'm a Medical Technologist by original training, and ended up
"specializing" in Microbiology and sterile processes more or less by
fortuitous accident. I've never regretted it, and don't expect to. YES,
the move towards Management had to be made for the dollars-- I believe it
always has been and always will be so. Sad, but true. But there are,
fortunately, a huge number of situations which, for whatever reasons, are
very "hands-on" manager positions. This is mostly due to the fact that
Microbiology QA/QC ops are regarded as "necessary evils", "product cost",
"overhead", etc., and tend to be lightly staffed by nature. Plus, it
seems that a large part of Microbiology involves training and
certification of others (your own people and Operations, Maintenance,
Validations, etc.), which keeps the hands nicely wet.
        Right now, I am once again searching, while "consulting" and
"self-employed" to keep the wolf away from the door. I am further limited
by total inability to relocate from central NJ. The prospects are not
many. But I would not trade the last fifteen years of
Microbiology-related duties for anything. I've had fun, I've been
adequately compensated (most of the time), and I've had the great fortune
to be heavily involved with some really state-of-the-art facilities and
systems, and worked with many of the best people I've ever had the
pleasure of knowing. Also, since, by definition, most pharmaceutical and
biotech people are fundamentally unbalanced ("We're all here because
we're not all there"), I've fit right into the crowd. I wouldn't push a
child of mine in any particular direction- but I certainly wouldn't
discourage them if they chose Microbiology. It's a great, fun,
interesting, always-changing, NEVER-boring way to earn your living, and I
couldn't ask for much better than that.
        [log in to unmask]

On Sun, 31 Oct 1999 14:46:42 -0500 Tony & Roz Cundell <[log in to unmask]>
> My question to the discussion group is whether if you were chosing a
> career
> again whether you would pick microbiology?
> I thought about this question this spring when I when to the house
> of my
> friend and former colleague Steve Speigelman who died prematurely.
> I was
> talking with his son who had graduated from Princeton and was going
> on to
> Law School.  I asked him if he had considered Microbiology or
> another
> Science like his father and he replied that it was too difficult to
> make a
> good and secure living as a Microbiologist. This made me think about
> why the
> most able students are picking law, medicine and business as careers
> and not
> the sciences.
> My question is do you find working as a Microbiologist financially
> rewarding
> and intellectually challenging as a career or would you make another
> choice
> if you had the opportunity?
> Do yo find had you need to leave Microbiology behind and move into
> management to get a better salary, are the terms of your employment
> too
> insecure, would you prefer working for yourself, it is too difficult
> to
> change jobs without relocating, lossing benefits, etc?
> I would be interested in hearing people's opinions.
> Tony Cundell
> Wyeth-Ayerst
> ------------------
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