I want to ask your thoughts on that the recruiter told the prospective employer my salary. I know this because it was already filled out on my job application. I want thoughts on this.

I have not posted on these forums in awhile. I'm a PhD scientist working for a large pharmaceutical company. When I posted about 18 months ago, I discussed not getting the performance rating I wanted, and not getting the recognition I wanted, while working on a project that many had doubts on. In the last18 months, I have repeatedly delivered: I found a creative test to show my formula was better than a product on the market that makes more than $1 a year. I was able to run one Phase I human study and picked up where our clinical folks dropped the ball. The company would not commit to a Phase II study until they saw another Phase I study. So I worked on scaling it up and showing it was stable. The our clinical folks proposed another Phase I study with an insane timeline, and bulldozed me and others who highlighted a certain risk in the formula . My team delivered the supplies in 1/3 the time an "accelerated" timeline usually takes. Two days before the study was supposd to start, the regulatory agency stopped the study based on that risk we had been silenced on, and that is rightfully being blamed on clinical.

So I delivered, but management keeps changing and people still pick on me. I had a boss, and a boss's boss, but now there's another boss in between then, though all of have been in my department for years. One thinks I should do everything to support this Phase I study, even things that are the job of project management, toxicology, regulatory, and clinical (which is what I've been doing, and burning out). Another thinks it was not my job to develop this model (but we don't have people who do that), it's not my job to pick up for the toxicology, regulatory, and clinical folks, discounts all the work I did, and thinks I should let it all fail and instead focus on the Phase III risks that he thinks are most important (mind you, if this next Phase I fails, the program is over). Anyhows, I'm just sick of delivering and getting no credit. Last year I volunteered to be laid off and take the severance package, but my boss's boss said "no way," and 3 VPs approached me at the Christmas party to ask if I was OK. My coworkers have been leaving, to the point that from 12 in our specialty at the beginning of 2010, we're down to 3 (+3 who we just hired). In the 6 years I've been there, my raise has averaged 2.6%.

Anyhows, as I wrote last year, I keep in touch with recruiters quite a bit. In the last two weeks I had two phone interviews setup by the same recruiter who I've known for 5 years; one setup recently, one from a company he introduced me to a year ago, that then went MIA and reappeared a few weeks ago. At both phone interviews, they did all the talking about why I needed to join them. Both would require relocation; one to a different coast, one a few hundred miles south closer to both our parents. I hesitated to fly out for the other coast job because our baby is almost a year now, but it is a good company and the recruiter said the only way to know for sure is to go there, and because they reallty want me there. That interview is next week, the other interview is being scheduled. Two other recruiters have also contacted me; the reason is I work in a very niche area of pharmaceutical research, plus I'm good at communication and computers, and I interview very well.

As I was filling out the application for the first interview, on the other coast, I saw they had my salary listed and that sort of bothered me. The recruiter must have told them. They even want to know the salary history which I don't care to give.  I guess, in the end, I always have a right to say, "no." I have a good job. I have great benefits. I have good people to work with. I drive 5 miles to work. And I love where we live. So in the end, I gues it doesn't matter if they know my salary, because if they don't offer something competitive, I can always say no. But it's been bothering me for the last 24 hours, so I thought I'd post and get other thoughts.

robin_s's picture
Training Badge

It's great to work with recruiters - I was really pleased with the one I got my current job through.  But in the end, remember who they're working for, and it isn't you.  The prospective employer is their paying client, and I would always assume any information I share with recruiters, they're going to pass along to their clients.

TNoxtort's picture

Thank you for that reminder, that the recruiter is working for both employers. I've known this recruiter for a long time, and talked to him in 2009 and 2010 about concerns with the company. I remember in 2011 we talked as well about how all my coworkers were leaving, and then he wasn't that responsive and I almost gave up on keeping in touch with him; his wife was having a baby (my so was mine!). And then he contacted me recently. I told him where I was at salary was, and I told him my hesitation to leave the area given my wife's medical condition. But regardless, he set up these two phone interviews, and both want to fly me out. Part of me feels pressured to take a job even if I'm not interested, but he was clear that the only way to find out is to go out there, and I'm not committed to anything. I get his newsletter and I remember a theme over the last few years to employers about making sure the first offer is a good one. He did say this place's compesnation package was out of sight, and I did see a lot of positive comments about this company on this very negative pharma gossip board. OK, but thanks for reminding me that he does, ultimatley, work for these two employers, not me.

STEVENM's picture

If it bothers you all you can really do is address it for the future.  Tell him "I don't want you to disclose my salary to anyone without running it by me first."  That's really all you can do.  If you don't trust him not to, stop working with him.  But most people aren't horribly deceitful.  A form shows up, he filled it out with what he had and passed along the rest to you if needed.  Probably didn't think anything of it.  I wouldn't look down on the recruiter for it until they're told not to.

I've had employers request a payment history from me recently (in the hunt at the moment).  It's a question I don't intend to answer.  There's only one way that information can be used and it's not in a way that benefits me.  I don't think there's anything wrong with not wanting to share it.

ChrisBakerPM's picture

 Hi  Artsmith222! -You say "Part of me feels pressured to take a job even if I'm not interested". That sounds like a big warning sign to me. I wonder whether your head is insisting on collecting more data long after your heart is telling you what you really want? You certainly sound like I do when I'm in that situation...

I wonder - can you think of something that you might reasonably find out when you got there which would put you in favour of the move? Could that be discussed or researched without going  on the trip, so letting you come to a decision? If you turn up for interview largely because the recruiter manipulated you into it, its unlikely that you will show at your best. So ask yourself seriously whether this is worth going through with, and make your OWN decision. Once you have made the trip, and if the employers like you the pressure to say YES will only mount.

Re the question of the recruiter revealing your salary when you don't like that, I'd second the responses you've already got: the recruiter is working firstly for for himself, secondly for his current clients the employers, and not at all for you. You are one of the packages of goods he can offer for sale (that may be to your advantage, or maybe not). It's entirely possible he needs you on that flight to discharge his obligation to get a decent number of likely candidates - if you don't get the job that's OK with him, provided another of his candidates does. He gets commission either way. So don't expect him to act in your best interests, except insofar as the co-incide with his. For the same reason,  any information you hand over is used to your benefit only insofar as it benefits the two other parties in the transaction. I think all you can do is to regard it as a lesson - ask recruiters not to reveal salary or other details without your direct permission in future, and don't work with those who don't honour that. 

Hope that helps and best of luck 

flexiblefine's picture

Chris writes "I wonder - can you think of something that you might reasonably find out when you got there which would put you in favour of the move?" If there is nothing that could sway you, then the trip doesn't do anyone any good.

You say you're burning out, and that's probably not helping you be clear about what you want to do. Talk it over with your wife, because potentially moving for your job will affect her too. Besides, it's always good to get some perspective from outside our own heads.

Burnout is not good for you, and not getting credit for your efforts is only adding to the burnout. Take these options seriously -- find out what you can about the roles you would play in these positions and figure out if they are the kinds of things you would want to do. There's certainly no harm in being better informed about these options.

I'm not saying you should jump ship to either of these potential jobs, but you also shouldn't shy away from them because change is hard. It seems that your current employer or either of the new options would be lucky to have you.

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

TNoxtort's picture

 Thanks for all your input.

I believe I can learn a lot on-site. My interview schedule shows meetings with 16 people including senior directors in different areas of pharmaceutical development, manufacturing, as well as  formulation and analytical chemists. Most  are flying up from their company headquarters to meet me. I am understand their culture from the Tribal Leadership model, understand how they handle analytical / formulation resource management, their strategies on dealing with the many uncertainties in pharmaceutical development, relationships with clinical folks, and how much management gets involved vs letting bench scientists run the show. I also want to get an idea of the job, and the leadership opportunity, as I am unclear on that. The recruiter says they will fit the job to the right candidate; the most important criteria is experience in this dosage form, which I have. As far as other candidates; maybe. For the two jobs I interviewed for last year, where experience in this dosage form was critical, they closed the position after I declined it. I not only have the experience, but I'm a leader, good at statistics, and good at bridging across the difference disciplines.

At interviews, I tend to present myself very well. Just in general I do, as long as I'm not complaining about something. They expect me to give a 1 hour seminar. I will deliver a talk I gave last week, minus numbers, drug names, excipients, and other confidential information. Once they meet me, then they can decide what level for me. Both my current job (6 years), and two offers I got last year, they made the offer at a higher level than the advertised position, after they met me.

The second company hasn't scheduled the on-site interview yet. The recruiter wants both offers to come in at the same time, obviously, and the sooner that is, the sooner I have to make a decision. I am trying to delay making a decision until I get clinical results on my project. I hold the patent on this 2nd generation drug, the 1st generation is advertised on TV every day, and makes $1B in sales, and I'm the key person holding it together right now. After I get back from the 1st interview, I have 6 working days. Then I fly back to that coast for a conference and then to visit one of my vendors. That trip has been on the books for awhile. In those 6 days, the recruiter wants me to fly a different direction  to the 2nd company, but I don't think I can realistically do that. So then I put it off to the week of Thanksgiving. That will buy me time, since I may not have results from my clinical study until the end of January. I am burning out somewhat, and I feel massively under-appreciated because each manager in my department picks on me about what they think is the most important long term risk, doesn't care about my novel animal model studies that showed this is better (which senior management loves), and discounts my current work holding our regulatory, toxicology, clinical, and clinical supplies folks together for this current study, claiming it is not my job, and I should be working on long term planning instead. 

And that's the main reason why I hesitate to leave. To see where my product is going. But I absolutely have to meet the people at the other jobs, in person, with body language and all, and really understand whether management lets the bench scientists call the shots, or the scientists are out chasing the risk of all the different functional area managers so nothing gets done. 

To top that off, another recruiter called me today about another job opportunity. It would also require a relocation, to where my wife and I got married. Except their products are harmful rather than promote health, and so the money would be good. I agreed to talk for a phone interview. 

Of course I'd discuss everything with my wife. She uses a wheelchair. Over two years with me as project manager, lead researcher, and insurance advocate, 50 doctors couldn't figure out why she was getting worse. Through my research and networking, I discovered it was a new form of this rare disease, found a doctor who believed me who started a treatment, and she got better to the point of being stabilized, and then had a normal pregnancy. We've modified the house for her, so that's a consideration in relocating.


ChrisBakerPM's picture

 Sounds like you've thought it all out now. Best of luck with the interviews and the eventual decision about moving or staying.

TNoxtort's picture

I got to work today at 7 AM. I had a 10 minute lunch. It's now 6 PM and I feel so negative. Maybe I can explain some history.

In 2011, our clinical folks (who came from the company that acquired us) wanted to rush a clinical study with the wrong design and the wrong inactive ingredients. Like any company, we run a study and based on pass/fail, decide to put more money. If it is the wrong design for the medical condition, then you'll get a fail that isn't correct Based on my five years working on this, in animal studies, I had suspicions on the inactive ingredients. Our clinical people harassed me so much about running a study.

Meanwhile, my own management, which was changing, kept bothering me about the long term stuff. They didn't understand why I wasn't doing it. Because I didn't know the inactive ingredients, and so I couldn't. Instead, I proposed these animal studies and I got money for them, $350k. But I really felt thrown under the bus.

About that time, we had the opportunity to volunteer to be laid off and take the generous severance. I volunteered. A month later my Director said, "no way," though we didn't really talk about why i chose this. At the Christmas party, 3 VPs approached me about having volunteered, but I didn't say much. At the time, I had an offer on the table that I wrote about here, but I felt nervous about for various reasons, and Mark even raised skepticism. Then the animal studies showed that with the right inactive ingredients, in the right amount, I have something with major major therapeutic efficacy for the disease I work on. I agreed to one human study that I knew measured the wrong things. It cost $700k and added no value to the program. Then it was unclear how to move forward. My life has been trying to interact with people to come up with the right study and things, leading to the study I mentioned that got put on hold due to regulatory issues that the clinical people ignored. During this time, I also hired me a Coach to help me with these issues: for $400/month of MY money, we talk 3x and send lots of E-mails so she helps me gain some perspective on these issues.

Which gets me to today. My new boss's boss is obsessed with long term risks and has essentially called me incompetent for not doing this one test. My boss never felt it was necessary at this early phase of rushing to a quick clinical study. My analytical people didn't think it was important. So I had a meeting today, at lunch time for all to discuss, along with an expert in this area. Four times he said he didn't think this test was necessary at this early phase. But then my new boss's boss brought up all these issues, and got him to agree it should be done early on. We avoided discussing what if you get a bad result (since you are obligated to report to a regulatory authority any bad results, which could cause big issues). I then had 10 minute to have lunch and get to another meeting.

Then this new boss's boss wants to have a meeting to discuss my project tomorrow. He had asked me to prepare slides and he keeps changing what he wants: past challenges, future strategy for different timings, etc, etc. He specifically told me not to include any animal model stuff because he doesn't consider that my job, even though that is what told me my inactive ingredients, and that is what senior management is all happy abuot. It came to 55 slides, and he wants me to be brief. He said don't include much data, but then he's always the one that nitpicks the data and complains why you didn't have it in there. Here I am now, 6 PM, finishing up. I've been working on it for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, our clinical folks are having great disagreements about our current study with others. I've been able to stay out of it, and just get CCed on the E-mails. But in doing so, I'm watching it go downhill. I am thinking more and more this study won't happen, and then this program is over and the long term planning was for nothing. So while he doesn't want me to get involved, I feel like I need to save the project, and I know that our director, and his VP would want me to do the same.

I should add, this new boss' boss is  new to my reporting structure, but he's been in our dept since a few months before I joined the company. A year ago, I wrote about my boss and Mark felt she was a bad boss. SO many people, my age, have left the company and our department recently. Pretty much everyone hired in 2005, 2006, and most of 2007. is gone; I was hired in 2006. 

My wife suggested meeting at this restaurant I like and then go home and playing with the baby.