So I got this new job. Well, I started working one day a week a few months ago and then last month, I had the opportunity to go full time which I turned down and instead took the job part time. It’s a molecular scientist. I think this is the fanciest title I have had while working in Science. The fanciest I think was Director but that was in Higher Education. Where do they come up with these titles? And what is in a title anyway?
When I first ventured into the Science field after working in Higher Ed for almost a decade, my first job was as a Sample Processor-actually I don’t remember the actual title. It was accessioning urine samples for samples that had screened positive and needed to be confirmed. So the title was something like Sample Processor, Confirmations or something like that. It was a thankless, exhausting and demoralizing job, I lasted maybe 2 months, no more than 3 months for sure.
Then next was Forensic Scientist. Toxicology. But really all we did was drug testing for federally controlled substances mainly THC aka marijuana. Fancy title huh? We were pretty impressed with it until we found out the company chose this title over what it previously was to avoid increasing the pay scale for employees. Then I made Forensic Scientist II and my pay increase was 0.07 cents/ hour.
Then came Certifying Scientist, Negative whatever the hell that means. Basically, we were tasked with releasing negative drug samples which was 90-95% of the samples tested and the real money maker for any drug testing company. The workload was high, super fast paced and exhausting. By the time, I was leaving there, several of my co-workers had to be treated for carpal tunnel. I knew I was headed in that direction too. I had just lost my mom and I just couldn’t handle the workload. Also no autonomy and feeling like a clog in the wheel. So I left.
Then came lockdown and 2 years after I left the job above, you are now looking at a newly minted Molecular Scientist! Molecular who? you ask.
Well a molecular scientist does complex analysis of biological samples on a molecular level. Well, this molecular scientist does COVID PCR testing and I am still in the “Oh this is so interesting phase of the job.” Yesterday, we had tested over 2000 samples by the time, I left for the evening. What’s in a title? Not much really. Companies use fancy titles in place of fancy compensation. I have seen my share of that. I am sure you have too, perhaps even experienced it yourself.
In any case, in this moment in this time, I am glad to be that molecular scientist doing my share in the fight against this deadly virus.