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?

mmann's picture
Licensee Badge

... you have nothing.  Continue to interview with them, continue to be the best candidate, continue to wow them.  You can speculate all you want about what will be in the offer, and you won't know until you get one.



flexiblefine's picture to get offers. The concerns you raise (and in the end, "I don't really want the job right now") make it sound like you no longer want an offer from that company. Continuing to interview with them would waste your time and effort as well as theirs.

Keep them in your network, because you never know how things will work out in the future. Right now things seem to be looking up at your current job, where you also have the goodwill you have earned in your previous years of service. 

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

TNoxtort's picture

 Just got some more information.

So yes, my job is great right now, but the situation at the company is not great. Essentially, this would be a go-to if I got laid off. Others here think it is unlikely I would get laid off unless our whole department got shut down.

I talked to a different recruiter who told me that I could burn a bridge if they made me an offer and I declined, particularly if they upped it for me, that would not be good.

So I got on the phone with the recruiter for this. He told me the main challenge this company has is the newly recruiter E-VP wants the best and brightest, but the CEOs won't allow competitive offers. Their current offers attract people who did a B.S. outside the US, and an MS in the US, on some sort of visa. Their offers are not attracting U.S. citizens with PhD from the best pharmacy schools, with big pharma experience. The recruiter wants to change that, but it is a slow process. This is why the position I interviewed for has been open for 6 months I also learned that one of m an H-1 coworkers now on maternity leave was about to interview with them, but cancelled due to her maternity leave.

And now my wife thinks she's pregnant. Actually, she just left me a message that she got back from the doctor and they're scheduling lots of tests and appointments for her. We're early thirties.No kids yet.  We've been wanting this. And she's even been getting better. Oh my. I'm going home for lunch to talk to her. This would be a high risk pregnancy given her other health issues.

acao162's picture

Well, amongst all that rain, the sun does shine!

Congratulations Dad-to-be!  Parenthood is a rollercoaster - but one I wouldn't trade for anything!

Tell your wife to get plenty of rest, as much physical activity as her doctor recommends and enjoy every moment.  (That goes double for Dads!)


TNoxtort's picture

 Luckily my wife works part time, from home, already. And she already uses a wheelchair, and the personal assistant paid for my the state started yesterday (3x a week, total 12 hours to help with household duties). But all of this has me more and more wanting to stick it out with my company.

I had only started looking because I got a bad review, due to the merger/acquisition. Financially it didn't affect much because bonuses and raises were low for everyone. But I personally, felt very good about the year, both in what I had done for the company, and what I had done with company resources. As I mentioned in another thread, my wife had an unknown disease that 40 doctors couldn't figure out. With access to journals through my employer, using the research and people skills I give to my employer, I figured out she has a new form of a rare disease. A doctor in another state whom we saw in December had an idea of a medicine, and almost two months into this treatment, she is doing much better.

Unfortunately, due the pregnancy, she must stop the medicine. That doctor, who is a pretty famous and well known, told me on the phone yesterday that having someone pregnant with this rare disorder  is a first for him. He asked me to research the different medicine components and pregnancy, something I can do through the research access through my employer.

I spent the holidays writing a scientific manuscript about my wife's new disease because this type of scientific problem solving really excites me. Similarly, I'm excited about the exploratory project at work my boss's boss funded, and leading my project to the clinic. I also really like my coworkers -- when we have a baby, this is the group I want to be with (group has been pretty consistent for 3 years). With only being 5 miles from home, it's easy for me to get to her doctor appointments and I spend less time in the car so I can spend more time on family stuff or writing this book. Yes, this is where I belong, assuming I don't get laid off. And if I do, you know, it is 6 - 8 months severance, with benefits. I don't think this generic company, focused on copying drugs, is for me.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

There's a lot I don't like about your post, but I can answer the question you asked: stay where you are.  Call the recruiter that you have been talking to, and tell them politely that you're not going to continue with the process.  Tell them you were impressed by many things, but have decided right now to stay where you are.

You are obligated to say nothing more, and under the circumstances, I probably wouldn't.  If you feel you must (which would be a personal choice) you could say your wife's health concerns are #1 in your life right now, and that means minimizing your independent variables, and that you like where you are now.


TNoxtort's picture

 Thank you all for the comments. I contacted the recruiter but he still wanted to pursue the opportunity. I think I know why - he is recruiting a lot with this company, and they have lost several candidates due to not making competitive offers. 

Today I got the call from the VP who said they will be calling me to make an offer. He talked about how I would lead their group doing this dosage group, both my function that I know, and another function, which I don't do right now, but work with and understand. I immediately called the recruiter and we talked for a very long time about it where we've discussed the reservations. He said that he has never seen this company make a really, really good offer, and given my wife's pregnancy, and she's high risk, it's nice working 5 miles from home. So he wants to see what they offer.

It's a tricky situation on the job, but it is nice when folks have confidence in you.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Unless you're going to consider the offer, your recruiter is NOT serving your interests well by allowing them to make you an offer.

I think he is WRONG - and my gut tells me he is doing this NOT for the company, and NOT for you, but for himself.

If you're not going to consider the offer, call him back and tell them to not make the offer.

Remember that when they offer, they offer YOU.  YOU are going to have to say no.  You're either going to have to damage your relationship with this company - which isn't necessary, based on what you know now - but you're going to damage the recruiter with the company if you're honest (and tell them you already told the recruiter these things).


TNoxtort's picture

So on Friday the HR person called me and wanted my references and wanted my salary expectations, and I asked her questions about the health insurance. I told her I would have to pull all that together as she would have to pull her info. She said the EVP was going to call me on Sunday night. I advised the recruiter who said this was very odd because they were not going through him (they are hiring like crazy and he has done many positions for them)

Someone in my network wanted to call me for something else and we talked about it on the phone Saturday. He knew of the company and  talked about the pros and cons of this type of job. If it weren't for my wife, and my current project going go well, he'd say take the job. He also helped me prepare how to say "no."

On Sunday afternoon I called the VP (not EVP) who is the first one I met at the company. I had it all written out, that I thought it was a great opportunity, but due to my wife, not now, but in 6 - 9 months, I might consider. He was totally receptive to this, congratulated me many times, and agreed this was the right choice. When I first met him, I told him about how I discovered my wife had a new disease, found a treatment, and fought the health insurers; he told me he had done great things in life, but never anything that great. Anyways, I offered to find others who could do this job (I've since learned all those folks have declined this opportunity in the past).

EVP never called me. Monday, HR E-mails and said he didn't have my phone number and we rescheduled for Tue night (tonight). HR still has not provided health insurance info I requested nor have I provided references. I have no idea if the VP told HR or the EVP of my decision (all in different sites). Spoke to recruiter who said the company has not called him either. He was nervous about that and I told him he was fine -- because I told the VP I wasn't taking it. Someone else in my network called me and said he reached out to someone he knew at that company, who said people are happy, very busy, but the pay isn't great.

I feel I have ended this on a very positive note with the VP, who was my first and most frequent contact,  helped the recruiter save face, and avoided an offer. If the EVP calls tonight, and turns out the VP didn't tell him, I'll explain it to him too -- he may be calling to change my mind. I do appreciate the help here. Prioritizing my wife's health was the right thing to do. Because of how much i have studied communication, I think I figured out my M.O. for challenging communication situations. Between myself, my books, and my safe people, I hash and rehash what looks like a mess, but what I deliver ends up being really, really good.   

I have another current job situation, but I'll start a new thread about that later.



eagerApprentice's picture

That post was REALLY long! :-)


Being a I/D, I couldn't read it all.


But I think I don't need to (of course! :)) - If you are in the 2nd round and still don't want it that much, don't go. It's just wasting their time now and yours too - you made the right choice~




Trigger Networks:We are Global ERP/CRM Cloud

TNoxtort's picture

 Because for whatever reason, my situations are always complicated. I have watched too many high Ds in my life not listen the complications of things I deal with, and unable to accomplish as a result (as I wrote in the Personal Branding thread I wrote).

Spoke to the EVP last night and was totally understanding, but if I change my mind, to contact him. He did warn that he asks a lot of people, but he's hired a lot from my company and they've done well. Need to call HR this morning.