I have been employed by a small biomedical 8-year old start-up company for just over two years. We have a few FDA approved products and recently went public with an Initial Publinc Offering (IPO). I’m an engineer and spend most of my time working on an R&D team. We’re developing a next generation product that incorporates DNA extraction into our current FDA approved system. Additionally, I’ve been working as a self-employed contractor tutoring high school students for almost one year. I tutor through a company 4-8 hours a week. Recently, I have put significant thought into ways to advance my career towards a higher income and a more satisfying job.
I have done significant research in the area of graduate school. There are a few good schools in the area that offer some great part-time graduate degrees. With my family and soon-to-be purchased condo I am unwilling to leave the area for graduate school. One option for graduate study is a masters in product development. I am thoroughly enjoying the product development aspect of my job. I feel as though I would be able to remain in the biotechnology sector and enjoy a career if I specialized in product development.
Also, there are a few great part-time MBA programs within a reasonable commuting distance. As much as I enjoy the science nature of my job, I think a natural career progression demands that I am able to manage other people as well as have a thorough understanding of the business aspect of a company. One of the programs even allows for me to specialize in biotechnology management.
The only problem with the local graduate programs is the cost. My current employer would only pay for $3,000 of my education in a calendar year. If I maximize this contribution, the most I could expect from my employer is $9,000. I may have to switch jobs in order to have more of my graduate education paid for by an employer.
Cons of my Current Job
Although I enjoy most of my tasks, I am learning a significant amount about product development and I am generally happy with my compensation, I do not see a future with my company. Throughout my two years at this company only three people have been promoted within. There are not a lot of layers within my company and I don’t see new layers being created in the near future. Also, my company does not offer a 401k match and will not really help with furthering my education.
Other than the slim chance of career growth within my company, the biggest problem with my current job is the lack of communication from my bosses. I currently have not had a performance review in my two years with this company. This is my first job out of school and I am not being aided by anybody to help me improve my professionalism. If it were not such a small company with many opportunities to experience all aspects of product development, I would have switched jobs a long time ago. I did not even get an explanation as to why I received a 4% salary increase at the beginning of the year. Also, I know some of the engineers at my company received a bonus, yet I have never been told what I needed to achieve or how I needed to perform to receive a bonus. All of these company aspects are extremely frustrating.
Potential Future Jobs
I really enjoy working in the biotechnology sector. I don’t necessarily need to be in a laboratory to enjoy my job, but I do enjoy being in a company that is working with cutting edge technology. There are a few larger companies that specialize in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals that might be willing to help me gain a graduate education, while still keeping my interested in a job. Also, there are a handful of smaller biotechnology companies that might provide me with a more professional and less frustrating atmosphere. The number of job openings are not abundant, but I will be keeping my eyes open for quality job opportunities that provide a step up in responsibility. I do think it might be worthwhile to remain with my current job until the new product passes clinical trials, as that is the only remaining aspect of product development that I am unfamiliar with.
Recently, I was contacted by a recruiting firm that places people in companies that specialize in hedge funds and proprietary trading. He claims that people in the biomedical field have a similar development environment and technical skills to the financial industry. I will most likely follow up with this contact to get more information on the opportunities in the financial investing sector. I really enjoy personal finance and investing. This might be a totally different career path that has the potential to be very satisfying, especially if I am able to find a job with a niche investing in the health and biotechnology sectors.
I currently do my tutoring through a company. They do all of the leg work and I basically sit in a room and kids come to me for tutoring. Although it is very convenient, I am missing out on a significant amount of income. Recently, I have been thinking about tutoring on my own. This would require using my old high school math and science teachers, in addition to my current teacher friends for referrals. Advertising for tutoring is significantly based on word of mouth, however, my first students would have to come strictly from teacher and counselor referrals.
In order to start tutoring on my own I would have to set up a website detailing my credentials to put on fliers at libraries, schools and grocery stores. I would have to develop a system of scheduling and maintaining files on students. Also, I would need a place to tutor. I will most likely look into the local libraries, park districts and churches to see if rooms are available for free or rent. The work would be significantly more, however, the pay off is most likely worth it. I will be able to charge three times what I am currently making on an hourly basis. As of right now I will most likely try to start tutoring on my own beginning in 2009 with the spring semester. I will continue to tutor through the current company to maintain my current income with a goal of tutoring completely on my own for the beginning of the next school year.
If I continue to enjoy tutoring and find myself being extremely profitable, I may try to turn it into a full-time gig by working 40 hours a week and hiring other tutors. This idea is far in the future as it would only be possible if the demand for tutoring services is overwhelming and constant. I have not even begun to think about logistics such as health care, especially with a future family to consider.
As much as I currently enjoy my current career, I am looking forward to my future career path. I feel as though there are some exciting and prosperous paths in my future.