So previous to my other blog post, I am no longer a PhD student at RVC, I’m now a product research scientist at Microgenetics Ltd, just based outside of Bath.
I thought I’d write a post (sorry if it’s lengthy in advance) about how I’ve felt switching from academic research to industry research, pretty much all good things!
One of the biggest adjustments to me was working actual define work hours, i.e. 8.30am till 5pm. As during my PhD, I would routinely start anywhere between 8.30 and 10.30am, depending on how busy the previous day was. Working defined hours is great, finishing work at 5pm to then not think about work until the following morning has really helped me, most of all by just giving my brain some guaranteed downtime.
Yes, there’ll still be me checking my email occasionally and thinking one or two things, but the majority of the time, I’m not thinking about work. Whereas with my PhD, I found I was thinking about it at every waking minute (sometimes still now…), but I suppose that is part of doing your own research project and nurturing your ‘baby’!
Politics (sorry in advance)
One thing I really didn’t enjoy of academia was the politics about research or between lab groups. This really annoyed me throughout my 3 years, as I felt I was the ‘baby’ of the university and that I had to have my hand held throughout my PhD and I couldn’t possibly do anything independent or on my own back. I appreciate this may differ between different PhD students, but this is from my experience, as I know of others that do get given a lot of responsibility.
The first week into my new job at Microgenetics, and I was thrown into the deep end and absolutely loved it. I was given responsibility from the get-go, actively being asked to contribute to meetings, to research or even test out new ideas. It might not be the same in all industry labs, but for me, it’s been awesome. Since day 1, I’ve been involved in scouting out specialised labs, checking over new lab building plans (just going from some experience I have) and ways in which we can make the test faster and better. And I know I said it before, but I love it, I feel like I’m actively contributing to something and that I’m a real member of the team, without sounding typically cliche.
Sounds ridiculous, but claiming expenses during PhD was a nightmare, maybe something to do with universities? But here, much easier and actively encouraged.
This might differ between companies, but at Microgenetics, I get the flexibility to try out new ideas and research into them. They might not be a priority, but we have a plan for lots of different pathogens for the future, which makes the job a lot more engaging and diverse. I don’t think it’s quite as flexible as an academic post – i.e. I can’t just start something completely new, it needs to fit into the scope of the business.
There are probably more, but I can’t think of them right now. But so far, I’ve had a lot of experiences (good ones for that), from exhibiting at a conference (as opposed to a delegate), learning a LOT about pharmaceutical microbiology and lots of little things about business and industry. This is all topped off with having some great colleagues and an amazing boss. Here’s to industry! 🎉