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Author: Subject: No one will give me experience, so I will make experience myself, starting from the bottom
Cou
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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 10:03
No one will give me experience, so I will make experience myself, starting from the bottom


I have accumulated enough money from my pizza delivery job to buy an HPLC. We found someone who will sell me a used one for $5000.

This will be a good supplement to my fragrances operation, since I can analyze the fragrances and their purity. Perhaps I could also measure the Scoville units of hot peppers and hot sauces.

I have struggled to find internships. I got an interview for a potential analytical chemistry internship that I was very excited about. It was a facility full of instruments such a GC-MS, HPLC, FTIR, etc. At first it sounded like I was probably gonna get it. For a countless number of possible reasons, and I don't know why, I didn't get it. Could've failed the drug test. Maybe they were scared I would steal glassware because of my home chemistry hobby. Maybe they see home chemistry as unprofessional drug stuff. Maybe they just thought I was rude because of my autism and apparent anxiety.

Well, unpaid internships are hard to find. Only thing I can find on job listings is actual paid jobs which require both a degree and at least a couple years of previous experience.

If no one is gonna give me experience, I'm making it myself. If the job/internship market is this imbalanced in favor of employers, perhaps that means you should do things yourself, instead. I worked hard at a menial pizza delivery job and I will buy my own HPLC and use it and put that on resumes.

Just a suggestion for anyone else unable to get jobs because of the experience requirement, but can't get experience.

[Edited on 10-15-2020 by Cou]




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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 10:35


Wow that's a great price for a working HPLC. Most of the ones I've seen have been more in the range of 15-20,000. Out of curiosity, what brand/model is it?



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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 11:08


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  

I got an interview for a potential analytical chemistry internship that I was very excited about. It was a facility full of instruments such a GC-MS, HPLC, FTIR, etc. At first it sounded like I was probably gonna get it. For a countless number of possible reasons, and I don't know why, I didn't get it. Could've failed the drug test. Maybe they were scared I would steal glassware because of my home chemistry hobby. Maybe they see home chemistry as unprofessional drug stuff. Maybe they just thought I was rude because of my autism and apparent anxiety.

Well, unpaid internships are hard to find. Only thing I can find on job listings is actual paid jobs which require both a degree and at least a couple years of previous experience.

[Edited on 10-15-2020 by Cou]


First of all kudos to you for having the initiative to start your own business and equip yourself with something like a HPLC, this will look great on your resume.

Get in touch with the company that you missed out on the internship with and seek feedback. Express your polite disappointment at missing out on the role and ask to be considered for future positions. Hopefully they can give you some constructive criticism to give you a better chance at getting the next position.

No judgement here, just stating facts. Companies have drug tests for good reason. If you have an accident at work and harm yourself, someone else or damage property or equipment and you return a positive result for a drug test the company may not be able to use their insurance policy to cover the damage or loss, which is a huge financial risk to a company. This is the sort of thing that can sink a company. It doesn't mater if the drug use effects your ability to work or not, insurance companies will do everything they can to get out of paying a claim and why wouldn't they, these sorts of exclusions are clearly stated in policy document.
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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 11:21


I'm not sure if the drug test was the cause of the failure. It had been 51 days since I last smoked cannabis (Which I decided I dislike and never want to do again). I tried a 20 ng/mL THC-COOH test a few days before, and tested negative, but THC-COOH could've spiked because I forgot to eat before the drug test, which would burn fat cells and release THC-COOH.



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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 11:31


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  

If no one is gonna give me experience, I'm making it myself.

[Edited on 10-15-2020 by Cou]


I work in a different industry (electronic engineering), but this is exactly the sort of initiative that I like to see in a job candidate. It shows you are both motivated and personally interested in the subject - two very worthwhile qualities.
Keep it up and good luck with the job hunting.




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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 12:17


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
I'm not sure if the drug test was the cause of the failure. It had been 51 days since I last smoked cannabis (Which I decided I dislike and never want to do again). I tried a 20 ng/mL THC-COOH test a few days before, and tested negative, but THC-COOH could've spiked because I forgot to eat before the drug test, which would burn fat cells and release THC-COOH.


Then I doubt the drug test is your issue. I highly encourage you to seek feedback on your interview and also your resume. You will be more likely to be successful in your next opportunity.
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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 12:54


Quote: Originally posted by Twospoons  
Quote: Originally posted by Cou  

If no one is gonna give me experience, I'm making it myself.

[Edited on 10-15-2020 by Cou]


I work in a different industry (electronic engineering), but this is exactly the sort of initiative that I like to see in a job candidate. It shows you are both motivated and personally interested in the subject - two very worthwhile qualities.
Keep it up and good luck with the job hunting.


I agree. This kind of motivation is attractive to an employer, and it's also fairly uncommon. That sets you apart.

I also work in electronics and found myself in a similar situation about 20 years ago. With no college degree or relevant job experience, I found a customer willing to take a chance on me and started my own light contract manufacturing business (working out of the house). I was planning to become the next Bill Gates, but ended up only producing a couple of products.

Rather than the business being a failure, it gave me "professional" and relevant job experience and a resume. I wasn't planning it that way to be honest. I was able to apply for a job/career with a company that I have worked for ever since.

Some conditions can be treated using several different methods. Some of these are illegal, others can be prescribed legitimately by a doctor. If you ever take any sorts of scheduled substances you need to do that only with a Dr's prescription. That way you have something to fall back on if you get flagged by a test. This is very important, especially if you're applying for work with a federal contractor (federal law is more restrictive than some state's laws regarding narcotics).

If you failed a drug test I think they would tell you...?

As for the other thing, I would suggest learning how to look people directly in the eyes when you're talking with them. There are right ways and creepy ways of doing this. Practice on random people until you start figuring it out. You're high functioning in any case; don't be too quick to wear a label or start limiting yourself. Hang in there.




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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 14:40


At one interview for an electronics job the interviewer asked why I thought he should give me a job. I replied I don't know much about the job but if he told me what the job was I would tell him if I wanted the job or not. I was told
later when working there that that had impressed the interviewer and convinced him he needed me on his team. I guess that would not work at all interviews.




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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 15:07


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
I'm not sure if the drug test was the cause of the failure. It had been 51 days since I last smoked cannabis (Which I decided I dislike and never want to do again).

It's extraordinarily unlikely that caused you to fail the drug test. While anecdotal reports suggest cannabis may be detectable in urine for several weeks, the longest rigorously confirmed time between ingestion and a positive test is 16 days. Furthermore the whole "stored in fat" thing tends to happen when you accumulate cannabinoids in fat while using regularly. See:
https://www.ndci.org/wp-content/uploads/THC_Detection_Window...

Quote:
It was a facility full of instruments such a GC-MS, HPLC, FTIR, etc. [...] Maybe they just thought I was rude because of my autism and apparent anxiety.

You did... focus on and talk about the work, and not the equipment, right? Sometimes getting sidetracked can affect your impression.

[Edited on 15-10-2020 by clearly_not_atara]




[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 15-10-2020 at 15:13


I thought the equipment WAS the work.

If talking about the equipment instead of the work is enough to get turned down for an unpaid internship, then that clearly indicates a huge imbalance in employer supply/demand vs employee supply/demand. they must be itching for any reason to turn you down, and looking for the tiniest little differentiating details in deciding which of the hundreds of applicants to hire. that means there are better ways to get experience. even if it means working hard at a low-paying food service job to accumulate money to start small business. screw the traditional path of "study hard, find an internship, get experience at the internship so you can get experience for an entry-level job"...

i told them that i wanted to get experience in analytical chemistry because it would be useful for analyzing my fragrances. i thought it sounded better than "i need experience to get a job one day"

[Edited on 10-15-2020 by Cou]




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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 10:18


It's possible that they saw your desire to use the internship as a source of education to analyze your fragrances as a negative. The internship may be unpaid, but the intent is to develop skills that may be used at that company or the industry in general, working for a corporation. The resources that they expend in training you cant be seen as an investment if you immediately go to work for yourself once you get what you need out of the internship.

Internships are a tool to invest in future employees that are a good fit for the company and avoid the costs and risks of full employment.
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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 12:59


I think you did the right thing, Cou. I think starting your own company is comparable in experience to an internship for many, and you might as well make some money while doing it. Might even evolve into something worth pursuing instead of a separate job. Perhaps the company was more looking for a future employee, and did not want someone with higher aspirations. In this age of e-commerce, I don't think being successful at your own company is so far out of reach to necessitate the standard model of unpaid internships and company careers anymore.
Best of luck with your company. I like your website.




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Cou
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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 13:01


That's sad that they would see internships as a stepping stone to a permanent life of working for corporations.
Having a job is supposed to be a stepping stone to independence, and not something you do your whole life.
E.g. my brother worked at a law firm for 10 years, then started his own law firm.
Ideally you should get a white collar skilled job so you can more quickly build up the capital to start a business. But if that's not possible anymore, then we have to do things the hard way. ANd it seems life is getting harder for everyone as human population approaches carrying capacity.

I can still learn HPLC without the internship. I found some graduate books such as Handbook on HPLC, and since I"m in a research lab I have access to an HPLC at university.

[Edited on 10-16-2020 by Cou]




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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 15:52


Fully agree with OldNubbins. It doesn’t matter what your overall aspirations are. Companies want to at least hope that they’re getting someone who’s a bit grounded and may be satisfied settling into a job there. It’s not hard to show that you are passionate and interested in learning about what the job entails without telling them that you’re only doing it for your own gain. It’s always possible to omit some details that might turn a potential employer off, and if they still press you over your intentions, a white lie wouldn’t hurt.

Very few people end up starting their own businesses. If you plan to do so, it’s not something you should go telling potential employers. Why would they want to help out someone who might later become their competition?




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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 15:58


http://libgen.rs/search.php?req=HPLC&lg_topic=libgen&...



/CJ




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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 16:24


Well, was there really a job opening?

It is important to consider that employers are sometimes required to advertise a job, even though that job has already been earmarked, for the Vice-president's nephew.

That is often the case where I reside. Though the locals are also, very fond of insisting applicants meet a list of qualifications, that only the Vice-president's nephew, can possibly meet.

Try sending your resume around, to folks that aren't currently advertising a job opening. This is a strategy that sometimes works.

If you get a nibble. Find out before-hand, what equipment your prospective employer has on hand.

Be familiar with how it works.
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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 18:26


I have to agree with OldNubbins and Texium. If you mentioned that you wanted to learn on my company's dime skills to advance your personal interests, you would have been shown the door. Interns are hired to give some practical experience to the intern in how a particular industry or part of it works, frankly in a selfish manner. It is also a time for the company to review "raw" talent for possible future or even existing positions. The fact that the position you sought was unpaid is irrelevant to the company's objectives other than to reduce payroll costs. Any personal objectives you had beyond those of the company should have been kept to yourself. In short, you blew it.

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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 19:23


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
I'm not sure if the drug test was the cause of the failure. It had been 51 days since I last smoked cannabis (Which I decided I dislike and never want to do again). I tried a 20 ng/mL THC-COOH test a few days before, and tested negative, but THC-COOH could've spiked because I forgot to eat before the drug test, which would burn fat cells and release THC-COOH.


As someone with quite a bit of experience, on the defendant end, with regular drug tests, i'm going to weigh in.

51 days is more than ample to get rid of ANY drug in your system. When I didn't have an attitude over it (which was not often) I actually was able to gather some pretty good anecdotal data.

Methamphetamine, cocaine>>you could do an eight ball Sunday evening (Don't do drugs youngsters, <<< disclaimer) and be 99% certain of a clean UA on Friday. Thursday is sorta pushing it, Wednesday your surely leaving a dirty bottle.

Marijuana>>>>30 days is considered a good safe guideline for 99% clean test. Depending on youir body size, glycogen stockpiles around the waist, frequency of use and potency of the weed, I've personally been clean at two weeks. THC is a bit trickier than the water solubles (drugs). 72 hours and they're out of there.THC is a "lingerer".

My parole officer was booking me in one evening for a "30 day dryout" at Chino West yard for a dirty test two months in a row. He's like,"Dumbass, all you gotta do is look at the calendar, count back four or five days, and put the meth pipe down because you KNOW when you are going to get tested. I'm locking you up for being hardheaded and willful."

Been off of parole since 2007, BTW.

*edit* After jumping down to post, went back to OP's quoted post and continued reading. Yeah, you blew it letting them know that is was going to real nice for them to train you on their dime so you'd be able to run your gear in a proficient manner.

And by-the-way Cou, two years ago this thread would have been a rant by you. But it's not.

THUMBS UP.

"Watched" a few of you youngsters "grow up" here. Been pretty neat. I wonder how The Volatile Chemist is doing sometimes--hopefully busy at college or whatever.

[Edited on 10-17-2020 by arkoma]




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[*] posted on 16-10-2020 at 19:28


Guess I have to change my name, come in with a fake mustache and glasses, and apply again. (90% sarcasm) Or it was for the better because this incident shows that internships are not for me, i'm better suited to gain experience through research.

It's worth mentioning another thing that happened. When I said that I do home organic chemistry as a hobby, they talked about how one time a DEA agent came to the lab and asked where the distillation equipment was kept, and they said "we wouldn't want anyone stealing our equipment to make drugs" so they might have feared I would steal equipment for my home lab, or even though I was making drugs.

Mentioning your home chemistry hobby can look good by setting you apart and showing you're self-motivated, but it can backfire too. It didn't stop me from getting into a professor's research lab, though, even though they could just as easily fear that I'll steal glassware and chemicals.

[Edited on 10-17-2020 by Cou]




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[*] posted on 20-10-2020 at 08:20


I can tell you that your drug test was not positive for cannabis after 51 days.
Many years ago i had a severe hashish addiction smoking at least 5 grams a day for a long time.
And when i cut that habit my system was clean in less time than 51 days.
The tests i took was not the common stick tests, it was the type sent to a lab for analysis.
It felt really good to get rid of that habit (after the first month or 2 where everything felt gray and meaningless) because it had gone from fun recreation to dependence where a shortage of THC felt very unpleasant.

If you continue with that good spirit im sure you will get your experience and get to where you want to be.
If you got the right mindset and determination you can do almost anything you want regardless how hard it might be.
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[*] posted on 20-10-2020 at 09:07


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
It didn't stop me from getting into a professor's research lab, though, even though they could just as easily fear that I'll steal glassware and chemicals.
Nobody would reasonably fear that, especially not in an academic research lab. Might be a little bit different in a private company with loss prevention breathing down your neck, but still, I highly doubt it would negatively impact your chances of being hired.

My undergraduate PI would even offer me excess old equipment and non-hazardous chemicals to take home since he knew of my hobby (my university didn't have a surplus store, so it would have been destined for disposal otherwise). As long as you present yourself professionally and don't actually steal stuff, being open about the hobby will only benefit you in the long run.




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[*] posted on 25-10-2020 at 06:45


believe it or not- there are many employers that will refuse to hire you if they think you might be smarter than they are, and thats not hard to top

about 80% of jobs happen through network, as in someone that knows someone yada yada, you need to think out who that know who you really are and can maybe convince someone to take you in, if youre above average in really anything this is quite important because people have some narcissistic bullshit when they meet someone that can beat them in really anything, what an employer is most worried about is that you would try to climb ranks and maybe take his job, now sadly job interviews are rarely very honest so you cant just ask them reasons they wouldnt hire you- if that was the case you could just hear them out and promise them that you wouldnt do this or that which theyre worried about

also, many workplaces will absolutely hate you for coming up with original ideas, they have this "we have always done it like this" attitude- disgusting. and if you have an hobby that isnt watching TV or masturbating then you probably come up with your own ideas and solutions, most workplaces are very dogmatic about their practices.

one thing you can do others than networking would be to ask if you can come in for a trial for one week, 2 weeks and you risk them just abusing you as free workpower- 1 month and youre guaranteed that they will just abuse you. guaranteed. they need to put some of their workers time into instructing you how to do this or that, and if they keep you for too long you will understand how to mash the buttons on your own and they lose nothing

as for education- i wouldnt suggest you to get more education, if you can get some certificates, stay active while you dont have a job, pick some really shitty jobs that you can put on your resume to prove that youre willing to get your hands dirty or whatever

oh yea, one little trick to get to the typically narcissistic people that are interviewing you- you wanna get them to talk about the company, the companys past, how it started up etc, then you can touch their egos through that and narcissists absolutely love if they can get to talk about themselves

as youre looking for a job and not to become the boss of the whole company you might also wanna doublecheck if youre accidentally doing some dominant poses or otherwise dominant bodylanguage, they dont want a leader, they want a listener.

job employers are not necessarily smart- one place i applied when i was done with graduating, i didnt get any response, i went there like a handful of times and just nothing. so 2 years later i finally get in there on trial after being 2 years out of job / on trial some other places- and the guy finds out i havent had a stable job for 2 years and because of this he wont hire me- DESPITE that i was out there in person handing them job applications and what not, and just to really shit the whole deal up he told me if i applied other places i could just ask them to call him on phone, then he would help me get in, so i did, went to another place, gave him their phone number and the asshole went behind my back basically calling me lazy simply because i didnt have a stable job for 2 years
(i found out about this because one of my buddies in the company got super drunk with the employer one day and had him admit the whole thing to him, not knowing that we even knew each other)

being unemployed is very depressing, and it will happen to most people, just remember to be submissive and get inside the company immediatedly and use the people you have at hand.




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[*] posted on 2-11-2020 at 14:29


Dr. [redacted]:

I think there was a big misunderstanding in the meeting we had on October 3, 2020 for a potential unpaid internship, which led to me not getting it. If you take the time to read the following paragraphs, I hope we can arrange another meeting.

I emphasized my interest in organic chemistry, and said that I had career goals of someday selling fragrances, then using analytical experience on those fragrances, which mistakenly downplayed my interest in analytical chemistry.

However I actually did find the services that [redacted] provides, such as production of nutrition facts labels, to be interesting. I should have emphasized that interest more in the meeting, and mistakenly didn’t. I wanted to create the impression that I care about chemistry as more than just a job to pay the bills. Due to having less experience with quality control (hence the purpose of an internship, to gain experience), I used my past experience in organic chemistry to demonstrate my passion, and forgot to state that I want to get new experience in quality control too, for the sake of it even, and not purely for the motive of analyzing my own products.

My reason for wanting an unpaid internship is a combination of both genuine desire to perform analytical chemistry, and also to get experience so that I can get a job in quality control. If one enjoys a field and wants to start a career, they typically get a job in that field first. For example, an HPLC can cost over $50,000, and internships can give one access to gain experience with it.

So far, [redacted] has been the only analytical business in DFW that has even offered me a meeting, possibly due to COVID-19 and the fact that DFW isn’t the nation’s chemistry hotspot. As a biochemistry enthusiast, food analysis was more interesting to me than any other form of quality control. I liked the staff there. I was very excited to be able to work there, and was disappointed to find that I was rejected. I hope we can arrange another meeting.

Thank you,

[redacted]

P.S.: I was mistaken when I said that my career goal was to someday sell fragrances. I've found that it's not practical. Many esters require column chromatography to purify, which is too time consuming when fulfilling orders.




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[*] posted on 2-11-2020 at 16:42


My 2 cents:

Don't explain yourself. Send them a 'thank you' letter expressing your appreciation for the opportunity and ask for feedback on why you were passed up. At the most (I probably would avoid it) MAYBE mention that, upon reflection, you feel you may not have expressed your professional aspirations as accurately as intended - enthusiasm can often lead to pie-in-the-sky thinking. But that can backfire as well. I am speaking from experience as I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.

Just don't try to retroactively change the experience of the meeting - thank them for the opportunity, ask for feedback on how to improve, and use that to leave the door open for another chance in the future.
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[*] posted on 2-11-2020 at 18:51


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
Dr. [redacted]:

I think there was a big misunderstanding in the meeting we had on October 3, 2020 for a potential unpaid internship, which led to me not getting it. If you take the time to read the following paragraphs, I hope we can arrange another meeting.


Did you seek feedback before drafting this letter? If not I would reframe this letter to request some feedback on how your performed in the interview. Restate your interest in the opportunity, you have already done that really well in what you have posted. You could also state that you would be keen to meet again and/or be considered for future opportunities. I think much of the text you have is great, but if you haven't asked for feedback prior to this it might come accross as a little presumptuous.

Quote: Originally posted by Cou  



P.S.: I was mistaken when I said that my career goal was to someday sell fragrances. I've found that it's not practical. Many esters require column chromatography to purify, which is too time consuming when fulfilling orders.


Consider leaving this bit out. There is nothing wrong with changing career goals as you progress in your career, but it might come across as a little forced if you are back flipping in what you said in the interview. Do make sure you show a lot of interest in the role, that is what employers are generally looking for in people coming into an entry level position. You might also consider adding what you think you could bring to the organisation. I don't know you or the company so I can't really say what that might be, but it could be something like attention to detail given you mention the QC aspect of what the company does. Or if you are a highly organised and methodical person that might also be something you could bring to the company, it could be your passion for chemistry, which you clearly have. Just pick one or two things you are great at and relate them to what the company does to show how you could add value to what they do.

Hope this helps and best of luck!
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