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Non-academic physics jobs

  • Thread starter HonkyTonk
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  • #26
ZapperZ
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About 15 years ago before I went back for my PhD I tried to apply for job postings for a BS degree although I had a Masters. I wasn't getting any hits so I started calling the companies and talked to the powers that be. I told them that I'd take a job at a BS level of pay for the experience, their reply was "you have a Masters, that cannot be ignored, you are over qualified and we don't have to consider you for the position". So trying to take a job at a level below your experience level isn't going to work.
But I think that is exactly the kind of company that you do not want to work for. They can't see you for what you can do, and are "afraid" by your ability.

I would LOVE to hire someone who is way overqualified for some of the things we do, especially when they are willing to get paid for less. I mean, how can anyone not grab a bargain like that?

Zz.
 
  • #27
Dr Transport
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But I think that is exactly the kind of company that you do not want to work for. They can't see you for what you can do, and are "afraid" by your ability.

I would LOVE to hire someone who is way overqualified for some of the things we do, especially when they are willing to get paid for less. I mean, how can anyone not grab a bargain like that?

Zz.
At that point in time, everyone was downsizing and all my fellow masters graduates were unemployed. We could not afford to be picky, we needed experience to get a better job and there were no decent jobs out there. It wasn't any one comapny but every company out there and I couldn''t get a job with the government either, over qualified for the GS-8/9 positions I was applying for.

Right now I doubt that I could find a job equivalent to mine, as I have already said, we have not hired a person with a PhD in almost 4 years. My advisor is unemployed and has been so for nearly 3 years, almost 30 years experience and isn't being productive. As a matter a fact, he ran into a person he worked with almost 10 years ao, and she said, that she felt sorry for him, no one is hiring anyone with a PhD and extensive experience, she ought to know, she is currently the science advisor to a congressman in a high tech area.
 
  • #28
vanesch
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Generally speaking, because the company has little assurance that you won't i) get bored and make a nuisance of yourself ii) bugger off five minutes after starting when you find something better.
Unfortunately, that must be one of those urban legends that human resource managers tell themselves during their trainings. I think it is utterly stupid, and indeed, shows more that they need scary weasels they can threaten down than a valuable co-worker.

But actually, recently the issue came up at our place. We had a technician position, and a qualified engineer with experience presented himself. Now, the manager of the division didn't know what to do: bargain or trouble ? The human resources told him: take the engineer. Even if he finds a better position in two years from now, in the mean time, you've had an engineer for the price of a technician.

But I realize that that is unfortunately not the case everywhere.
 
  • #29
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Sounds to me like a good reason to keep your education and experiences (but not necessarily research) broad, even while a PhD (which of course requires finding an advisor willing to allow you to do so).
 
  • #30
Dr Transport
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Sounds to me like a good reason to keep your education and experiences (but not necessarily research) broad, even while a PhD (which of course requires finding an advisor willing to allow you to do so).
My advisors goal was to
1: Help me get the skills to be employable after I got my degree,

2: help me get my degree.

This is not the way most faculty members are from what I have seen.
 
  • #31
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My question remains: how do I find a company looking for my particular experience?
Headhunters are invaluable for finding matches for technical positions in industry, especially when you don't have a standard background and degree.

You didn't say what your background is (or if you did, I didn't see it), but I work at a national laboratory (Livermore), and there are basically no positions available for BS physics graduates except "super technician". A masters might, in some cases, get you a research position but it's rare - almost all professional scientists are Ph.D's. It's probably harder to get a job with a M.S. than with a B.S. - you're not quite qualified for a research position, but you're overqualified for "super technician".

I've also worked in industry, and there are definitely jobs for Ph.D. physicists in the semiconductor industry, but they tend to want to see industry experience - at the very least, a strong motivation to do well and a strong interest in applied physics. I'm not sure about lower degrees (I was hired as a Ph.D.).
 

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