Parents, Teachers, Career-Guidance Counselors…all advise students and jobseekers, young and adult, that the more education, training, and experience you gain, the better your chances of career success, i.e. good jobs with better pay and advancement opportunities. Certainly, this is true, in both the short- and long-run as we establish ourselves in the labor market.
However, after 18 jobless months, Philip Tan was beginning to think his post-graduate education and 20+ years’ experience were actually obstacles, not assets, to his employment. Moreover, he was a bit older than those candidates competing for the same jobs.
In 1986, Philip earned a BS degree in Biochemistry/Cell Biology, and in 1995, a PhD in Biological Chemistry. However, in late 2016, he found himself a casualty of a job lay-off. On March 24, 2017, without sustainable employment for 6 months, Philip enrolled with the San Diego Metro Career Centers—operated by KRA for the San Diego Workforce Partnership.
Long-term unemployment had taken its toll on his financial situation, with Philip reporting, “Zuri Williams [KRA Career Agent] helped me apply for CalFresh SNAP benefits, as well as a San Diego Gas and Electric discount-rate program. In addition, she alerted me to multiple career-networking events, and asked a person with expertise in my field to review my resume, which resulted in some insightful suggestions and comments.”
Turns out, Philip did not have to face yet another potential-employer interview, stating, “I’d stayed in touch with my former supervisor, and when his new firm, a biotech company, was expanding, I was first in line! On February 7, 2018, I began work as an Associate Director, overseeing research in ‘Liver Disease – Drug and Target Discovery’!
Even though I’m working now, I’ll continue networking with my colleagues in the scientific- and pharmaceutical communities. My best advice is to keep in touch…network…with those in your field while you are employed, which, if necessary, will make your next job-search easier!”