Getting a Research Associate Position

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I was able to secure an offer for continued employment as a Research Associate at Washington State University. I will be working in the lab of Dr. Skinner, who many know that I had also been working with during my undergraduate years. He has several NIH grants and recently secured new funding from the Department of Defense for a project that I will be closely involved in.

The job hunting was exciting early on, but quickly moved into the frustrating stage and finally the depressing stage. The fact is there are a lot of unemployed M.S. and PhD scientists around here, and they are all in need of income, which means that they had been forced to settle for research technician jobs that are normally taken by B.S. graduates like myself. My 5+ years of research experience had a favorable impact on getting into final candidate lists, but I was only able to secure two offers from a list of 8 or 9 jobs. The rest were largely taken by those with advanced degrees. I was fortunate to have an hourly position to keep the bills paid during the process, which I know from experience could have been far more than depressing.

In the lab, my “unnamed” project, which I have been working on since 2005, should be coming to the point of publication soon. For the longtime readers this is something they have probably heard before, and I should have learned my lesson long ago and just not make any predictions about it. Nonetheless, all the added data accrued during this time has been extremely productive, and should make for an interesting paper when it finally gets to that point.

As for my writing here, as you can see it hasn’t been consistent. Our family was able to take a couple trips over the summer, including one a week ago to the Newport, Oregon area, which is a spot my family regularly went to growing up. It was good to share that experience with my wife and stepson.

Hopefully now that the summer is coming to a close (classes start today here at WSU) the blog updates will be more consistent and often.

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One Response to “Getting a Research Associate Position”

  1. Eric Says:

    Every company I have ever worked (so ok it’s only two, but I talk to a lot of friends… ;) ) would not hire a PhD for a non-PhD level position, unless they had the budget to upgrade the position to that level.

    HR would not allow it, as THEY are evaluated by how closely the specific person’s experience matches the job requirements. There is a pay band for most positions, and that must map onto a person’s years of experience. I’ve interviewed a couple of people for RA positions who “omitted” their PhD to get considered for the position….they are immediately shown the door.

    If you’re talking about academia…that’s a whole different ball of wax…

    Two offers out of 8 jobs isn’t bad at all…really. Job hunting isn’t easy….