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Post Archive
2017 (0)2010 (27)
November (4)

New strategy for NFL Pick'em Pool
Friday, November 12, 2010

Mentoring - a technician's perspective
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NFL Pick'em - Week 9 Edition
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The four words a scientist hates to hear:
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
October (4)

In which I am petty and mean-spirited
Friday, October 29, 2010

XKCD is the awesomest.
Monday, October 25, 2010

DonorsChoose!
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just call me "Damn Good Administrative Assistant"
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
September (5)

Observations from the couch
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Observations from the ER
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh hell yeah!
Friday, September 17, 2010

A scientific career milepost?
Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I wish I knew before...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
August (14)

A small victory!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DGT and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Friday, August 27, 2010

Question
Friday, August 27, 2010

Forgetful
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Everyone should check their renter/owner insurance
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burglaring update
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Well that fucking sucks.
Friday, August 20, 2010

Early birds
Friday, August 20, 2010

Recommendation letters
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So many meetings
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another talk?
Monday, August 9, 2010

Mmmm... meme....
Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ah, technology
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Up and running
Thursday, August 5, 2010
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Damn Good Technician

I'm a technician at a big ol' pharmaceutical company. A damn good technician, if I do say so myself.

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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Can't offer much beyond informing you it CAN be worse; the one time the lab I was in moved it was partially due to the fact said lab had been massively flooded over the holidays (we were going t. . .Read More
Dec 22, 2010, 1:36pm

well, I started out strong with 0.... Ravens didn't fly high and mighty. I guess I could go for the fights of the mascots again, since falcons should beat ravens? Anyhow, let's see what the. . .Read More
Nov 13, 2010, 12:21pm
Comment by Odyssey in New strategy for NFL Pick'em Pool

Crap. Nobody told me there was a Thursday night game... DGT, your new strategy sounds about as good as mine, which seems to be working... . . .Read More
Nov 12, 2010, 8:34am
Comment by chall in NFL Pick'em - Week 9 Edition

DGT, I second that hope for a better Vikings week... at least they won ;) I guess I should abstain from my "I'll put them in winning the spread every week" but it feels much easier to face I dreame. . .Read More
Nov 09, 2010, 1:43pm
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Is it just me or is that trophy getting grainier with each week?   Next week there should be a summary of the overall leader board. With only one point keeping me from the top . . .Read More
Nov 09, 2010, 12:44pm
Awesome Stuff
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The LabSpaces carnival on work-life balance was so much fun, we decided to do another! Your votes have told us we should write about "what I wish I knew before..."


I think a lot of people are writing about what they wish they knew before they started grad school. Having never gone to graduate school, I have no words of warning there (as a funny aside, my boss & I were talking about conferences, and I mentioned that I had never gone to one, and he said, "Really? Not even in grad school?" and I said, "Umm... I never went to graduate school." "Oh yeah," he says, "I forgot."). My husband went to grad school, and a hefty fraction of my friends went to grad school, so it feels a little like I went to grad school, but I did not and can't speak to it.

What I can speak to is what I wish I knew before starting at a pharmaceutical company. Overall, I've been rather successful in industry, so this won't be a post about things I would do differently (though there is one glaringly obvious exception that I do wish I had done very differently). These are a few things I've learned over the years, and a few things I suppose you could say that I wish I knew before I started.


  • If something is a very sucky and annoying task, you should fail at it the first time you try. Otherwise, if you perform well at the sucky annoying task, you will be repeatedly asked to complete said sucky annoying task. Failure prompts the asker to search out another person who is "more capable". [Insert diabolical snicker here]

  • As quickly as possible, determine how recognition is measured. At my first pharma job, it was imperative that your objectives were as perfectly written as possible, so that at the end of the year, your beautifully crafted description of everything you had done could be compared to everyone else. At this job, it's much more important that you demonstrate your awesomeness by kicking ass at as many internal meetings as possible. Knowing how to improve your standing within your department is always a good thing to keep in the back of your mind.

  • Don't be a hermit. I know I'm really bad at this one, but the longer I'm at a company, the more I realize it's something important to do. You need to talk to other people outside your own circle (in my case, I rarely talk to people outside my boss's direct reports), have a passing impression of what they do, and of who they know. Expediency is the name of the game in pharma, and if you remember talking to someone at a social hour who knew something about something that can help your project move forward, you look awfully smart for suggesting "Hey, maybe we should talk to PersonX - they know TechniqueY." Knowing how to connect the scientists between you and something you want to do is also important - if PersonX can get you to PersonY, who knows TechniqueZ, that's just as valuable.

  • There is a huge amount of variation between companies, between sites within a company, and between departments within a site. I was under the mistaken impression that I knew quite a lot about pharmaceutical companies after having worked at my first job for a year. I can see how wrong I was - things are massively different at my new company than they were at my old one. Don't make the assumption that you understand how things work after having been someplace for a short time. Absorb the politics of your department as quickly as you can before even considering taking sides in any sort of debate.

  • What people think you do is equally, if not more, important than what you actually do. If you are perceived to be a very hard worker, then you are a hard worker. This perception can come from actually working hard (like I do), or from fostering the belief that you are a hard worker. Relatedly, it is important to maintain a positive attitude about as many aspects of your job as possible. I don't mean to say you should be all unicorns and sunshine about every single thing - far from it - but it's detrimental to be perceived as someone who is always quibbling with every decision coming their way.


I think this may make me sound calculating and clinical about my job. I guess that's fair - I do try to approach what I do with the understanding that appropriate maneuvering can get me a lot farther than simply showing up and doing a good job. It seems like a lot of people don't consider their "moves" before they make them, nor do they think ahead about the impact of their decisions.

(Wait, you're saying that I did exactly that - not thinking about my decisions and not thinking ahead - when I wrote about people behind their backs, right? Well... yeah. See, these are things I wish I knew before I started at a pharmaceutical company. Learn from my mistakes.)

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Blog Comments

Evie
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Very cool post DGT!

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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This was a great post. It doesn't sound like the culture of pharma is all that different for academia. Grad students can stay in labs FOREVER "working" on a project. I think that's similar to looking like you're a hard worker :P
GMP

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Great post! (I'm new to your blog and just catching up.)

yannisguerra
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Love the sincerity. And it is so true.
About the looking busy...I've learned that with experience. Sometimes I am killing myself with work, but because I stop and go help people with some of their project, then some other people think that I am "free" and "not doing anything" right now...Which end up with me being more overworked!

Tideliar
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What people think you do is equally, if not more, important than what you actually do.

Ne'er a truer word was spoken. I've seen people suffer because they ignored this rule.

Benjamin Franklin, when he was a young man and running his first printing press/newspaper, made sure he was seen on the streets of Philadelphia pushing a barrow of papers *ever day*. Even if they were blanks, or he had no sales lined up. he knew he had to be *seen to be busy* and successful; it paid off - he got more customers because folks thought he must be good if he was that busy.
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