1 Week Down: I Haven’t Screwed Up Yet!
I’ve finished my first week, and the good news is I’m still alive and haven’t broken anything yet. Now that I have some free time, I can actually give you a real update as to what’s going on.
The lab I am at was actually acquired by another company last June. They’re still trying to transition all of the systems and protocols, and this means there is a lot of redundancy and a lot of holes. There hasn’t been a huge push to correct these problems since there have been no new hires since the acquisition, until myself and my orientation buddy came in (he kind of looks like Clark Kent, so that’s what I”ll call him here).
Us being the first hires under the new company has presented a number of interesting situations. Even ignoring the acquisition, we are the first people they’ve hired in over a year and a half. There are about 20 people at the site. There used to be 43, but under a different acquisition 5 years ago half of them got cut. There have been minor staff changes since then, but it’s essentially been the same core of people since then. This means Clark and I are the first “outsiders” in a very long time. They haven’t had to train anyone, do an orientation with anyone, nothing in 18 months. With a group that small, they admitted they had actually “forgotten” how to do an orientation. So, when we showed up, we were put in a conference room with a binder of documents, with a “we’ll come get you if we think of anything we can do with you guys”.
So we read. And read some more. For 2 and a half days. Every once in a while someone would come in and say someone from headquarters (in PA) had some training they wanted to do with us over the phone, so we’d talk to a person over conference call for an hour, then go back to reading.
Not exactly a good first impression of the new workplace.
At the same time, our lab got a new site leader. I’ll spare you the story, but essentially no one was officially in charge of the lab as a whole as far as dealing with the FDA was concerned, so someone from PA transferred out here to take that role. His first day was also Monday. So, yeah, he’s in charge, but he knows as much about the site as Clark and I, so we didn’t really see him either.
Things started looking up a little on Wednesday afternoon, because I got to actually go to my lab. Way back in January a contact gave me a quick tour of this site and a little information on how to run HPLC since I had never done it before. He introduced me to the guy in charge of the HPLCs, and that guy was the one who showed me a little on how the instrumentation works. That guy is now my coworker, and that lab I saw is now my lab. Kinda cool huh?
I’m in the Method Development and Validation group with MH*. We’re the only 2 senior chemists, and the only two in the group. Development and Validation means we are essentially the ones trying to create and/or confirm methods meet all of the good manufacturing process (GMP) and FDA requirements, both for other people at our lab and for other labs who may not have the capability to test a method but have the capacity to execute a finished one. It’s a difficult, high pressure job.
I’ll admit, I’m kind of really nervous.
I came into a spot that was vacated in the middle of August. The other guy who had been in the group left to go teach chemistry at one of the colleges nearby. Geoff had told me he knew someone who worked at the lab, but thought he might have left recently. After some really amusing conversations, we figured out that the guy Geoff knew is in fact that guy I replaced. We found it kind of funny!
I’m sure there’s more to share, but for now I’ll leave it at that. We went house hunting yesterday, so I’ll share the details of that adventure later this week (hint: SIX HOURS). I still haven’t figured out what my new post schedule is going to be, or if I’ll even need a new schedule after I settle into the routine of the new job. The posts are probably going to continue to be sporadic for a while, but hopefully you’ll bear with me through the transition!
*I don’t mind identifying Geoff and myself, but I don’t want to drag someone else into an online presence they didn’t authorize, so for anyone else who needs to make an appearance I’m going to default to a designation that’s either a nickname or an initial set.