musings on music and life

November 16, 2015


Filed under: Chemistry Jobs — sankirnam @ 10:27 pm

After 11 months of b******t, I am done.

I’m tired of submitting my resume and cover letters to the online black holes of Taleo, Brassring, Successfactors, and other online job application portals.

I’m fed up with having to select “NO, I AM NOT A PROTECTED VETERAN” for the 1000th time.

After 1220+ job applications, I am giving up. If this is the current state of how job applications work in today’s economy, then some serious rework is necessary. The soul-sucking and ambiguous nature of the process contributes in no small way to the current levels of frictional and structural unemployment in today’s economies.

Just last night, I got a rejection letter from a major chemical manufacturing company in the US for a position I had applied for on August 7, 2015. It took over 3 months for the company to reject my application;  with that in mind, it makes no sense for companies to attach a negative stigma to currently unemployed job seekers when the response time for job applications is so slow!

To those who say, “well, you should have networked!”, my reply is: everyone I talked to told me to “apply to jobs online on our company website”. If there is some mysterious shortcut that circumvents having to apply online, I am not privy to it. If these shortcuts exist, they should be illegal, as it severely disadvantages those who do not have this “insider information”.

For those who have drunk the Kool-Aid and believe in the hype of a “STEM Shortage”, I have this to say:

What planet do you live on? And secondly, lumping these subjects together under the “STEM” banner makes no sense. Also, it’s not like I have a “worthless”* degree; I have a PhD in Organic Chemistry, which falls squarely within the domain of “STEM”.

*Actually, according to the free market, my degree is indeed worthless. According to simple supply and demand, degrees that are worthwhile will be scarce and command higher salaries relative those where there is a glut. Chemistry is one of those fields where there is a massive oversupply right now, especially at the PhD level.

For those who want advice on whether to study chemistry or not:



It is a very nice subject, and it is good to have a knowledge of chemistry as it helps with a deeper understanding of the natural world. You will be able to understand the processes that occur when cooking, have a deeper appreciation of nutrition and medication, and understand what is in most of the consumer products that you purchase regularly. It is necessary to know a basic level of chemistry in order to be an informed citizen in today’s society and contribute to the resolution of issues such as global warming, ozone depletion, energy shortages, pollution, and even the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

But it is not something that will put food on the table or a roof over your head.

There will no doubt be people who will read what I’ve written above and say “Stop being so negative!”. I respectfully ask those individuals how they would avoid such thoughts in my situation.

/end rant

So then, what is my game plan now? I now have to develop skills in Data Science and CS and hope that what I can learn on my own would be enough to obtain gainful employment in these fields, as from what I hear there is a massive shortage of qualified workers. If that is unsuccessful, well… my other plan is to reapply to colleges and get a bachelor’s in Computer Science.

I recently told my grandfather about this, and he incisively asked, “does this mean all your education is going to waste?”. The long and short of it is yes, it is going to waste, but what can I do… the skills and education I have are not desired in the workforce or job market.


  1. Have you considered contacting recruiters on LinkedIn who specialize in the areas where you’re looking for jobs?
    One of your older blog entries referred to Vijay Natesan. I Googled him while watching this: and came across your blog. Then I read through some of your other posts including this one.

    Comment by Satish — February 1, 2016 @ 3:41 pm

  2. Some aspects of recruitment procedures commented on above, also feature in this 15-part tweet-storm by a Seattle-based developer seeking a full-time position:

    Comment by Arvind Iyer — February 5, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

    • Wow, nice find! I thought tech was immune to these sorts of things…

      Comment by sankirnam — February 5, 2016 @ 9:51 pm

  3. […] friend does bring up a valid point though; why am I trying to go into CS? I have addressed this before, but I still have inner conflicts where I feel like I should keep trying for a job in chemistry […]

    Pingback by ok now, this is getting a little ridiculous | musings on music and life — April 20, 2016 @ 11:26 pm

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