Hey All, Sorry I've been away from writing here so long. Work is killing me...but what else is new? I blog for my company also and that makes it difficult to keep writing, although I prefer to write independently and very much enjoy the conversations we have here. I am always happy to answer your questions about the biotech industry and careers. You can contact me @suzyscientist if you would like advice or feedback and I'll try to reply to you as soon as I can. Many thanks and kindest regards to all!
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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How many times have you said to yourself, "Does anyone else work here besides me? or "Is everyone here a complete moron?" And yet, at times it seems to be the case.
In all companies, not just biotech, there are two types of people: people who get things done and people who struggle to accomplish the smallest task without asking a million questions within 40 square feet of their cubicle. This second group are the people dragging me down. It is this behavior that makes it so I have to work late to make up for lost time spent helping their sorry ass, while they go home early to their families. Meanwhile who do they blame when things don't work out? Give you one guess. Sound like any marketing people you know? OK- not just marketing, I'll agree. Although marketing attracts a much wider proportion of ineptitude.
Scientists are in general a whole lot smarter than the average population. Scientists are trained to work independently and getting a PhD is basically sink or swim. You either figure your shit out or you don't. The wheat is separated from the chaff, and the strong survive. The chaff get a non-thesis masters.
Marketing? Mostly bachelor degrees but many have an MBA. You would think that getting an MBA should mean something about your intelligence level, right? Think again. Some of the most useless, unimaginative, and incompetent people I've worked with in biotech had MBAs. Yes, even from fucking Harvard. An MBA may teach how to do SWOT analysis and how to analyze website traffic, but it doesn't teach you how to think. So if you never had an original thought in your head to begin with, you won't start now. (And goddamn hapless MBAs are making more money than the rest of us, by the way, in case you didn't know, but that's another article.)
But even scientists in biotech can be seriously lacking in the ability to think and make independent decisions. And I know why this is and it has nothing to do with being a scientist or a marketing person. It is about willingness to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Some people just don't want to take responsibility. They don't want to own an idea, a decision, or an outcome. They are afraid to get up in front of a room of VPs and say "This is what I think we should do" or "This is what people want and how they want it."
This, my friends, is the difference between winners and losers. Being able to own a decision and the consequences of it, for better or for worse. To take an idea, stand behind it, work your ass off to give it every possible chance of success, and, if in the end it is not a success, admit it, learn from it, and move on to your next brilliant idea. If you can't do this, or are not willing, then you are what is known as a "Follower". Followers so fear being wrong that they ask others to make their decisions for them. This way, if it's wrong, or a mistake is made, they can throw someone else under the bus. And if it is right, then they can also take the credit.
This is the worst kind of person to work with. Followers have no gut instinct. Followers can always tell you why something is a bad idea or why they think it will fail but can't offer alternative solutions. Because biotech is ripe with followers, I've been able to witness this behavior first hand and in amazing depth. I hope, my dear readers, that you never have to actually report to a follower. This can be extremely stressful, and quite possibly, one of the worst experiences of a career.
Follower-managers actually do nothing, take credit for everything that you do right, and blame you for everything that goes wrong. You won't even see the bus coming when it broadsides you smack into the dry-erase board, and in public among all your colleagues. So awesome. You have only one option here. Change bosses. Get away. Quit. Or your mental health will quickly decline and you'll be writing on blogs like this in your spare time like me.
Then there are the people on the same level as you or below who are completely paralyzed by decision making and don't want to actually have a final say on anything. These are the "coasters"- the people who hang out at companies in the middle of the pack, never excelling and never really sucking either. They do not lead anything but are involved in a lot of groups, so they keep a certain level of activity to appear busy all the time. They are on a lot of conference calls but never say anything. Their Outlook schedule is always full from meetings booked two weeks in advance. Does anyone actually know what they do?
This person is totally useless. I don't have time for coasters and I don't choose them for my teams. Everyone needs to be a leader at some point. Or why work in a biotech company where there is opportunity to excel and grow? Work at the mall selling Chinese food or work at 7-Eleven and make coffee. The job satisfaction is the same and you'll be with like minded people. Just keep your distance from me. Believe me, you'll know I don't like you. I don't hide it. I'm not passive aggressive. I make it pretty clear that you don't meet my standards. Give me a break, I got enough work to do besides your job too.
So....which are you? Are you a proud coaster, living well on an overpaid salary thanks to the efforts of others who work 18 hrs a day to make your lazy ass look good? Or are you the one who puts their neck on the line and works like a maniac to make sure the whole team gets the gold star?
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