Friday, October 03, 2008

On getting a foot in the door in industry

After an unsatisfactory year at this post-doc I have been exploring my options to get into industry and realize that at this point I am stuck in the post-doc rut , thanks to my "Academic H1 visa only portable within educational institutions".

As a grad student in the life sciences who are given to believe that a post-doc is the only way to go after the Ph.D., I think now, in retrospect, that the O.P.T period is actually the best time to explore your options to get into industry. It's tough and next to impossible, agreed, but but you have one less thing going against you, namely your visa status. A year or two of post-doc doesn't change that much except in terms of contacts, if at all. You are now in a sticky academic H1 which is pretty useless in applying for an industry position, doesn't matter how much cooler your c.v has gotten with more papers and what not. Five years into a post-doc, you should havee gotten ahead on a Green card application and hopefully that will help your chances in industry. That is assuming you survive the five years in post-doc hell without too much psychological trauma. ;)

So my advice to all you poor sods passionate about biology and still struggling in grad school, pull out all the stops to try for an industry position for as soon as you graduate. (If you at all want to explore that route). Get contacts, circulate your C.V around, get a head-hunter, do everything you can to try for a position then. If you are indeed successful in landing a job, you can always return to academia after a year if you decide you hate industry. If you do very well, your company can (may be ?) help file paper work for a corporate H1.

Any others with more experience in this please do chime in.

I recall a time I used to get into desi gatherings and all of them discussing visa and green card and find that terribly off-putting. Guess what?
heh. Never say never, they say.


Sakshi said...

With OPT that can be extended for 17 months - industry is the way to go. Post doc really does not bring that much to the table :P

V said...

I took the easier route and found myself a job on a "corporate H1" as you put it, I really didn't know there were different classes in H1. But I tip my hat to people like you who are fighting their way through to get what they truly desire. Unlike sissies like me. :P

It's all about the "visa status", GC and the citizenship. I don't think I have it in me to see myself through to the end.

I guess my 2 cents is not even worth a wash at a Laudromat in Kansas.

yaseench said...

yes , you remind me of ancient times .

sd said...

I have a friend who joined industry after being a post-doc for 2 years. She interviewed for the job - then the company started the H1 processing and finally when it was processed, she changed jobs.....I suppose the quiting the post-doc is the catch ....

Tachyoson said...

Hey TGFI!My wish for you this Navarathri is that you get your corporate H1!Stay smiling!

tgfi said...


"fighting their way to get what they truly desire"..hmm..don't know about that. i think its more the path we have to adopt, like it or not, post-phd..

ah..good for your friend..she actually got a break in the industry..

thanks for that nice wish! happy Pujo. :)