Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NPR covers #chemjobs in the RTP area

Listening to All Things Considered on the way home yesterday, a fascinating #chemjobs story in the middle of a series on financial success (and lack thereof). It's based out of North Carolina's Research Triangle area, so it's not a surprise that there are pharma/chemical industry ties:
Donald Zepp, 67, and his wife, Carmen — 26 years his junior — have a 4-year-old son together. Both have been married before and both were well-employed before. Donald taught at Cornell and worked for the multinational agrichemical company Rhone-Poulenc until he was downsized. Carmen worked in the finance department of the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline but quit after surviving ovarian cancer. 
"It was eight years before I joined the legion of people who on getting out of corporate America say, 'That was the best that ever happened to me,' " Donald says. "It took eight years, but I did reach that point where one day I said, 'You know, I'm really happy, this beats the hell out of working.' " 
The Zepps live in Wendell, N.C., 20 miles east of Raleigh, where they bought the local music store. Together, they've gone into business selling banjos. [snip] The Zepps cheerfully describe their economic situation as "dismal" and say they get by, for the most part, on his pension and Social Security. [snip]
...Phil Luby is another refugee from corporate life who struck out on his own. He says he used to make $200,000 a year marketing pharmaceuticals. When he was downsized in 2008, he rolled the dice on the used car business. It was a tough business to get into then, but he says things are improving.
Dr. Zepp appears to have been laid off from Rhone-Poulenc from a position as a Ph.D. entomologist. I don't wish to speculate too much on Dr. Zepp's career, but one imagines that he tried at least a little bit to find other work in his field. The same goes for Mr. Luby, I'll bet.

That two of three people formerly connected with the chemical/pharma industries were laid off is no surprise, I suppose. While both people seem to have landed on their feet (and Dr. Zepp seems genuinely happy about his new job), one wonders if, in better economic times for our sector, whether they would have stayed in their positions.

Best wishes to all of us. 

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