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How Can You Transition from Bench Chemistry into Another Role?

Bill Carroll has solid advice on moving to a career beyond the bench and highlights a demonstrated strength you can call on to lead the way

Youtube ID: WN2tNz8EsNM

Bill Carroll, Carroll Applied Science, L.L.C.: [00:00:00] You know, some people would say I had a non-traditional career in chemistry. I'm here to tell you that in these days there are way more non-traditional careers in chemistry than there are traditional careers in chemistry, even if you see yourself as "just at the bench."

If you're starting out as a scientist and your goal is to make a transition into something that's slightly different. So for example, if you want customer contact, if you want, perhaps, to be in a customer service kind of job, or if you want to be more involved in manufacturing, and less in development. Or, for that matter, maybe you want to go into sales or into the business side.

First of all, you have to kind of make those decisions yourself. Now, remember you just spent a lot of your life learning how to do research. This is nothing more than a research question. All you have to do, and I realized what I've said when I say, "All you have to do." But, let's say one of the things you have to do is to figure out what it means to make those sorts of transitions.

What would it be like to be in customer service, to be in manufacturing, to be in sales, to be in marketing? Well, that's something you can research and you can do that research, you know, either by reading and studying, or you can talk to people. Find somebody in the company who's more in manufacturing than you are and say, "What do you like about this job? Tell me what you do!"

And the same fashion for any of the other positions. And then in most companies, you're going to have a review at least every year, maybe every six months. And part of it, part of a good review, your boss will say, "What should we be doing for you in terms of personal development, where do you want to go in the company?"

And that's an opportunity for you to say, "Well, you know, I kinda got interested in having a little more in the way of customer contact. Can we start moving a little bit in that direction to let me see if that's the kind of thing that I might like to do?" You know, if you don't ask, you don't get, and this is an opportunity to put some of your thoughts on the table, and then, you know, maybe you get lucky and you get what you asked for and, you know, you do it for a while and you discover if that's the direction you want to go.