Today I decided to write to you about how am I feeling now that I have been working for Biopharma Industry full time for the past 11 months and what are my feelings about work/life balance that I have now.
Being an academic for the past 8 years prior to starting this job I have a good grasp on what is it like and what can happen, depending on how lucky one is.
A brief history of my academic experience. I worked as a Post-Doc in 3 positions. All three were on the grounds of hospitals or closely associated with the hospitals and that is where my passion for this kind of research grew. It wasn’t a smooth road. The first two years and the last 3 years were great, the supervisors were understanding and supportive, however the 3 years in between those were pure hell.
My first supervisor was great for the first two years and then something changed… I am not sure if someone said something to him or he misread situation, but from the moment that I got pregnant with my first angel baby it became pure hell. I lost that baby, in my mind most probably due to stress in that workplace, but we managed to get pregnant again 3-4 months after that. Lets just say that things got so bad it was a relief to go on maternity leave and I was glad that I only had 3 months left when I returned.
In my next post-doc I was bullied because I already had a child and the other supervisor could not. Initially I thought that I was reading into things, but after I left two more girls, who could do no wrong while I was there, fell pregnant and ended up quitting, also because of bullying.
My last post-doc was great however, with a boss who was very understanding and allowed me to work from home if my kids got sick or just to take couple of days off if I ended up in the hospital with one of them. This made it a really hard decision to quit that job for Biopharma industry one.
When I joined this big Biopharma Company the first thing that most surprised me was how friendly everyone was. There was no backstabbing, everyone is working towards a common goal, delivering a product at a highest quality.
I thought it would be very regimented. It was and it wasn’t at the same time. Yes, you do have to be trained in everything before you do anything, down to filling in a form, using a weighing balance and holding the hand rail when you are walking down the stairs. But at the same time I am allowed the freedom to carry out investigations in any way that I want with any resources that I want. I can voice my opinions and suggestions if I find that something is not working right and I am listened to and they will get implemented if they improve how things are done or reduce waste.
I also thought that I would be giving up a lot of freedom that I used to have as an academic in regards to time spent with my kids. Yet again I did not find that so. With the flexi-time I find that I now have much more time to dedicate to my kids when I am home. Also, the quality of time that I spend with them is much higher as I am not worried about what is happening tomorrow and am not working at home. I leave work in work and focus on my family and myself the minute I leave work.
The other main advantage that is presenting to me at this moment in time is progression. Recently, I was able to apply for a position that was two pay grades above what I am currently am. I didn’t get it, but I did get the interview and all the interviewer said I did an excellent job, just that I need a bit more experience before I would be considered. Was I upset? No. I knew I wouldn’t get it as there were two people going for this position that would be much better than me. But I also know that applying for this position has demonstrated to senior management where I am heading and straight away I started getting more positive and constructive feedback on areas I can work on or improve. The support is absolutely there for me to achieve anything I set out to.
I can now say for definite that I made a right choice and that my work-life balance is finally on track. My sons are happy, my hubby knows that when I come home I will not be on computer, stressed and worried about yet another funding rejection or paper rejection and that I feel fulfilled as a working person and as a mum.
Sometimes making a change is the best thing you can do..