Let Me EXPLAIN TO YOU How A Chemist Looks For Work.

College Football is in high gear, along with my job search. I am wrapping 2013 in this fashion because I promised myself and certain others I would take a year off and then continue my career. While I can shout "Boomer" within a 100 mile radius and receive a quick reply of "Sooner!" --my resume is not receiving the same passionate response. Ironically, no response means the opposite of sooner, which is later, much much later.

However, I have come across very very few chemistry jobs in a 50 mile radius, and some have been un-impressive and down-right confusing. I am on the brink of an identity crisis because my skills land on a spectrum of job titles that make no sense to me.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics & Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, my education/experience classify me as a Chemist in their Occupational Outlook Handbook. Funny, I thought I earned that title too until recent employment opportunities told me otherwise. When I felt downgraded by someone less qualified than me and insulted at their employment recruiting skills (yes I can say that, given my experience in contract labor staffing)-- I wanted to address key problems for local hiring companies and job applicants. I will also break down a job recruitment post because I can't take this anymore.

1. Technicians. 

Be specific. Technician is a common term used in the medical field requiring special certifications unrelated to chemical research. Make this clarification in title. Technicians can describe entry level or general labor depending on your company structuring of hiring and promotion. It is best to have this information outlined on your company website or in the actual job ad. Chemical technician, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, would be someone with chemistry knowledge from education, but no direct hands on experience. 

I have learned to accept this title as if the chemistry related drudgery and toil implies I actively will perform work that requires my unique intellectual nature. I get it. It's the recession. I also have very unique skills that allows me to judge you in this vicious cycle of rejections.

Lab Technician. Not so happy face. 

2. Classifieds.

When is comes to candidate/company choices, the phrase "you get what you pay for" will never die for the personnel management sector.  

Let me present to you----The Craigslist Chemist. I almost need a to consult with the FLSA handbook and get OSHA approval before I consider even applying for this job.

 chemical lab technician (okc)

JOB OBJECTIVES (Purpose of the position):

The purpose of this position is to manage all of the chemical oversight requirements associated with the effective operation of plant manufacturing and building equipment chemistry needs. This includes maintaining chemical concentrations, inventory and consumption records, monitoring process and wastewater treatment, and working with purchasing to order chemicals for timely arrival.

  • The title has the appropriate keywords to target qualified candidates. 
  • However, job objectives and position purpose are a problem. One goes on a resume and one goes in your company handbook for your DOL reports.
  • I read the terms "plant manufacturing" and I automatically process that as "general labor, FLSA overtime pay." 
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS (Functions essential to attaining job objectives):

1. Foremost is monitoring, testing and maintenance of the wastewater treatment, Powder Coating wash system, Levels washer, boiler, Chemistry in the anodizing process to assure product quality. Bath chemistry of the various treatment tanks is checked on an regular schedule based on production. During that time, the incumbent is responsible for making bath adjustments and scheduling the changing of spent chemicals. Following the check of the bath chemistry at the end of the shift, instructions are written for monitoring any changes or additions on the off shifts. A record of all additions for each tank is maintained and usage monitored.
2. The incumbent is responsible for checking chemical inventories and re-ordering chemicals as needed to assure that process critical chemicals are always on hand. This inventory responsibility also includes calculation of usage rates. Chemical inventories are maintained for the following: Anodizing operations, wastewater treatment, and throughout the facility.
3. The incumbent is responsible for working with venders on technical support and problems.
4. The incumbent is responsible for the maintenance of spare parts and calibration of pH control equipment associated with the anodizing, wastewater, NOX scrubber, boiler, and coolers/chillers. The incumbent also writes work orders for preventive maintenance and work on equipment in need of repair.
5. The incumbent is responsible for the operation and inspection of the wastewater filter press equipment
6. The incumbent is responsible for the routine inspection of process equipment to assure systems are operating normally.
7. The incumbent, working closely with the Safety/Chemical Supervisor, is responsible for the scheduling of required chemical testing as mandated by permits or reporting back-up.
8. The incumbent is to schedule routine maintenance work orders and work closely with maintenance staff to correct malfunctioning equipment associated with the above responsibilities.
9. The incumbent is to see that Out-of-spec trends are evaluated and drag-over effects correlated. Operation changes are proposed based on the findings.
10. The incumbent, in close coordination with maintenance personnel, will maintain inventories and testing of stamping and cutting oils that may impact anodizing operations.
11. The incumbent will be able to read and understand the material MSDS sheets and their respective HMIS ratings for appropriate protective equipment.
12. Must be on 24-hour call.
  • Keywords associated with a BSc Chemist requirement: Anodizing process, product quality,bath chemistry, chemical inventories, calculation of usage rates, chemical inventories, maintenance and calibration of chem equipment, HSE permits and laws, MSDS, PPE ..
  • Sometimes, you can absolutely say too much. More is not good when it comes to recruiting strategies.
  • This person clearly transcribed "plain-speak" into his/her job description. Not good. All of the job functions need to be revised immediately. For example; number 1 could have stopped after the first sentence and number 3 misspelled "vendors." At this point, I have lost respect for you as a capable and competent employer. 
  • Demanding 24 hour call associated with production labor is perhaps the biggest shocker to me. That's a given there is cause for legal concern, that is, if you are familiar with your company's enterprise and are "actively engaged in commerce" --well then you better hope the Wage and Hour Division doesn't hem you up for your arrogance and blatant attempt to skirt FLSA requirements for exempt employees.
NON-ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS (Marginal tasks performed on this job):

1. Perform production floor and machine operation/maintenance.
2. Must be able to interact with employees in a professional manner at all times.

JOB STANDARDS (Minimum qualifications needed to perform essential job functions):

1. Must be able to stand for 8 hours.
2. Must be able to work outdoors in adverse conditions.
3. Must be able to lift, carry or push chemical containers of 50 pounds or less.
4. Must have and maintain an operator's license for forklifts and operate floor jacks.
5. Must have and maintain a First Aid/CPR certification.
6. Must have and maintain a Hazwoper certification.
7. Must be able to work flexible hours as needed.

  • In terms of job duties, marginal tasks and minimum qualifications required to do the job are duly noted by the job seeker to be same thing. 
  • There is that term "production" again in terms of the job. 
  • Specialty licenses. REALLY? Now, I may be a woman and have trouble pushing around 50 pounds occasionally but this right here-- is you being a lazy and greedy manager in regards to this company. I can tell by now, you are adding one, maybe even three other jobs into this one. I use to recruit for the worst department of Goodyear in regards to turn-overs. They even paid for forklift training upon hiring. It is 8 hours long and can be easily set up through your local Vo-tech. This certification earned them higher starting pay as well. The CPR/First aid can probably be added to your training program upon hiring but the Hazwoper?!? HAHAHAHAHA. Good luck to you bc I am sure the operators know their worth and it isn't mixed up with this labor contract from Hell. 
  • Freebie note: Don't send a prospective employee through training and then not pay them. That's called illegal and bad. Minimum wage per hour they are in the class. 
EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE/SKILLS (Needed to perform this job specifically):

1. Have basic math and chemistry skills. Anodizing process knowledge is a plus.
2. Must have good written and oral communication skills.
3. Computer skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, HMS, and Oracle Purchasing System knowledge.
4. Chemistry beyond high school chemistry. Analytical and Physical chemistry preferred.

EQUIPMENT (Machines, devices, tools, personal protective equipment, etc. used on this job):

1. Working knowledge of basic laboratory equipment used in chemical analysis.
2. Knowledge and use of appropriate safety equipment. 


1. Chemical mists, fumes, vapors or dusts may be present in any location.
2. Certain areas may require the wearing of hearing protection.
  • Just when I thought this couldn't get any worse, it did. "Basic chemistry skills" do not include analytical chemistry OR p-chem. ALSO, anodizing processes are considered inorganic chemistry because you are working with metals. On that side-note, you need someone skilled in electrochemistry or perhaps a material scientist would better suit you. Analytical chemistry requires higher level math as well. I think you are going for confusing the job searcher and win by contradiction.
  • Register your company with the Aluminum Anodizing Council and say a hail mary for interest specific industry professionals.
  • Lab equipment and PPE? Yeah, I can do all that like a spider monkey, all day ERRDAY.
  • Better be some safety training concerning these chemicals in this work environment. It is nice to know what proper PPE is needed. Besides I am going to ask to see your Process Safety and Hazard Plan in regards to your operation.
  • For the record in regards to OSHA, you will provide this employee any and all PPE AT NO COST and that includes their hearing protection.

TESTING (What tests are required to determine skill levels):

Math, chemistry knowledge gained through interview. Computer knowledge.

Train on 1st shift but regular work shift could be 1st or 2nd.
Pay range is $12 to $14/hr depending on experience.

  • Never be unclear about work shifts. You can ask them during the interview process if they would have issues working either.
  • Your best bet is to call a desperate family member needing money and who will most likely be un-reliable. This job will most CERTAINLY create an event arising from poor practices, subsequently diminishing your company of profit and then perhaps eventually assets, depending on the severity of legal implications. 

3. Pay/Experience Traps

The real reason for this post is the pay-rate. I am tired of being insulted by human beings who clearly have no concept of economic outlook and trends, personnel management, hiring policies and procedures along with employee rights in regards to the hiring process. To add injury to insult, I am suppose to smile and pretend like this exchange isn't a blatant assault against me, my expertise in contract labor and all of those in graduating in my field currently.

Well fuck that. I didn't break the law here. Chemistry is about breaking stuff down and making sense. You want Breaking Bad shit? There you go. Quit breaking down bad work environments and spinning them off as a job worthy of my expertise and craftsmanship. You are pissing me off and part of the industry market I am not laying down to. This whole working relationship has got to start working both ways.

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