As I have posted on other threads, I work in big pharma as a PhD scientist in a very specific dosage form. I had a second interview for a job I got a lead for on Day#1 of job hunting that probably isn't for me. I started looking because of uncertainty at my company, and because others have left. Things have gotten better however, I don't want to burn bridges in case I get laid off or offered a package to leave. Therefore, I'm trying to decide whether to raise my concerns in a thank you letter, or how to approach it.
I started looking around because of uncertainty/lack of promotions at my current employer, several coworkers left (there are very, very few left who can do what I do), got bad review, and didn't feel a strong role on my project. Other than that, I really like my current job, am extremely excited about what I do, enjoy the community of people I have, enjoy summer half day Fridays, and my very short commute to work. If I get laid off, I get 6 - 8 months of severance. I received a bad review in early March; as I wrote on the other thread, it had to do with the acquisition, and there was nothing I was to do differently, especially since my project had been elevated in status. The next day I revamped my Linkedin profile and started reaching into my network and got a lead for this company. I got other leads too -- the reason --- they can't find people who have experience on the specific dosage form I work on. I had an interview set up a few days later at this generic company (VP of R&D) who wants to get into the specific dosage form I work on.
The day after that interview, my boss announced I am now the leader of my project of 4 years (under 4 different bosses). If you remember, I posted a few months ago about my boss interrupting me a lot - now that's out of the way. All she does now is moral support. I'm leading the way, as we take it into the clinic. A project manager has been assigned to me and she's teaching me a lot about dealing with these high-D folks (she said safety or regulatory can easily stop a high D Sr. VP dead in their tracks much better than me). I'm learning a whole new aspect of drug development. My boss's boss also approved an expensive exploratory project I proposed a few years ago, whose results I won't have until October. I then went to a conference where I met lots of contacts, all of whom are talking about hard times, but who loved my presentation leading to an award. Given this development on my project, the quick response from headhunters due to their inability to find people with my kind of experience, and the contacts I made at the conference, I decided it was time to stop calling recruiters for fear of leading people on and it was taking too much time (did that for 1 week).
I had the second interview this past week with the generic. My biggest concern is that the company, run by two foreign fellows, seems very nickle and dime, and I'm not sure if they understand what it takes to be good to people, and do quality science in this specific dosage form. Unlike my job, 5 miles away, this generic is 30 miles away.
I first met the VP who told me he wants me on his team and to be enthusiastic since everyone there is. Then I sat around for an hour waiting for HR; I get a call from the secretary asking if I knew I was missing a job interview. I told her I was here -- turns out I went to the wrong facility, though all the people I was to meet except HR were where I was at. Anyhows, HR person showed up finally. She had a list of questions and didn't seem like she knew how to interview very well (Not to be snooty but I'm at a point in life where I don't prepare for interviews as people often are very impressed when I talk to them for the first time). She also made a big deal that I had no direct management experience, even though I know more about communication and leadership that most managers. When she asked my salary, she discounted my bonus, which my company pays 1x - 2x. Maybe she was just in a rush, as her Linkedin shows 20+ years in HR. Their benefits were also much less than what I have. She did tell me that when she started there less than year ago, she had to convince the owners to stop violating labor laws, and then pay the fines for them.
I then met with their EVP of R&D. He also was a recent hire and explained he has to convince the owners about quality. He explained that years ago, he hired people away from the retired boss who hired me. He said those people have done very well, and I could too, if I don't see a generic as a step down. He explained he wants to hire really top talent -- but will his bosses let him? He said that it would be intellectually stimulating, just in a different way. He explained that they have a "friendly" investor who has injected over 100 million into their company, allowing them grow exponentially. That's a good thing.
Then I gave a presentation to a group of them about what I do. Right before, the VP told me to show what I know, since if I joined them, I'd be over all those folks. It was clear from their questions they don't really understand this dosage form - they only know how to copy it (that's what generics do). They only have M.S. degrees, not PhDs. What I could also tell - how do I say this politically correctly -- all the employees are on H1 visas. That means if they lose their job, they have to leave the country (USA), which allows employers to create less than desirable working conditions for them. As a natural born citizen of the same nationality as these folks, I wonder if that would create a working environment that I'd find unacceptable.
Then I went to the lunch with the VP who talked about how I had the leadership and the knowledge he needs, and he could teach me about drug development. Another employee was there. He told me he worked weekends a lot, since the owners are demanding, and he doesn't want to lose his H1 visa. He has enjoyed his 4 years there, but acknowledged the high D vs high C tension there.
I looked in Linkedin for people who work for this company. No ones hails from the reputable pharmacy schools you see at my company. I've found a few recruiters in my network who are linked to people there, and I plan to call them and ask what they know about this company.
I work on a very unique dosage form; it's hard to find people, but Since my job has gotten better, several situations could arise:
1) I could get laid off, unlikely since there are so few of us left, or they could just close our dosage form. I get 6 - 8 months of severance. I would be sad to not get the results of my experiment whose results are due in October. My project would most likely be over, since no one knows about it, and no one is there to really learn it.
2) If offered a package, I could take it, and get the 6 - 8 months of severance, but I'd be sad to leave.
3) I could just leave a year from now if I don't get a good performance rating and/or promotion. Highly unlikely if my project goes forward, as my boss told me she'd stick up for me. But then it is time to go.
4) Or I could just leave, very sad indeed.
The two good things going for them are a supply of cash, and some senior guys who could teach me things. But what do I want? We're OK financially. I wish I had more time, which this place will have less of. I wish I could get more credit for my work, but I'm starting to. My concerns about this company is that it may be an uphill battle with the owners telling them how to do this dosage form right. And they may not make me a good salary. And it may be lower quality of life weekend work and driving. And the benefits aren't as good, important since I've written about my wife's health problems. And it's copying, rather than exploring new, though they have other dosage forms I could learn about.
But I don't want to burn bridges in case things don't work out at my current job, though again, I found this lead on Day #1 of job searching and I do have a good network. I am certain they would make me an offer. However, I feel I can't negotiate since I don't really want the job right now. Any thoughts on whether to raise any of my concerns in the thank you letter, or a strategy forward? Any other things I should think about? How should I answer salary questions about jobs from my past, pre-PhD school, in a different geographical area that are on their application?