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New year, new resolution

by Bibiana Campos Seijo
January 16, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 3

Have you abandoned your New Year resolution yet? Did you have one in the first place? The end of the year is a natural inflection point in our calendars and many of us spend some time in the days that precede it reflecting on the 12 previous months. It is an opportunity to evaluate what has gone on—where we succeeded, where we failed—and extract some lessons to apply in the year ahead in the hope of improving our lot.

New Year resolutions are very often related to professional goals.

Very often, this exercise results in resolutions to fix failures or capitalize on successes. These resolutions can be about personal goals—quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, or all three of those!—but are very often related to professional goals: a career change, a new job, starting a course, or going back to university. This means that the beginning of the New Year is traditionally a good period for recruiters and for those looking for employment.

To inspire those that have resolved that a change of career is due, we have launched a new monthly column called Bench & Cubicle by influential blogger Chemjobber, an industrial chemist who writes under a pseudonym at Chemjobber has over the past decade become a respected and popular source of chemistry employment news and information. In Chemjobber’s monthly Bench & Cubicle column for C&EN, the blogger will provide thought-provoking analysis and opinion on employment trends and issues, offer career advice, and be the voice of the average bench chemist.

Chemjobber’s first column for C&EN focuses on working long hours in the lab. We’ve all been there, so the theme will resonate with most of you. As Chemjobber explains, long hours can be a double-edged sword: Sometimes they do not pay off and lead to mistakes, but if you are on a “gambler’s hot streak” and have run a string of successful reactions, it would be mad “to step away from the laboratory until the streak is over.” Turn to page 22 to read it now, and look out for forthcoming Bench & Cubicle columns on transitioning between the academic and industrial worlds and how to get along with your boss.

This month C&EN has also relaunched our jobs board, where you can search for top jobs in academia and industry from leading employers as well as information about graduate programs, events, and more. You can look it up at You will find the new site not only visually appealing, but very easy to navigate, which was our goal. The mechanisms to upload a CV if you are seeking employment or to create a job posting if you are a recruiter have been streamlined and simplified. Good luck with your search!

Of course, as we are talking about the jobs market, in the U.S., there is a lot of speculation and uncertainty at the moment ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. It’s just a few days until he becomes President and we know very little about what his intentions are in relation to science, its policies, and regulation affecting both the academic and industrial sectors (see page 24 for our analysis of what to expect). In relation to industry, he has sent mixed signals in a number of areas. For example, during his campaign he emphasized the importance of the manufacturing industry and how he was going to “bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.” However, he then went on to attack trade agreements, which the chemical industry has traditionally been a proponent of. But it’s too early to tell how this President will affect chemists looking for jobs. So if I could make “improving the jobs market” a New Year resolution for President Trump, I would. With a caveat: “not to be abandoned.”

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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