Career soul searching turned into needing to be “THAT GUY”
I’m a postdoctoral researcher at an Ivy league institution. I recently met with a project manager (male) at a leading pharmaceutical company to get a better idea of how to land an industry job and what working in industry entails. I’ve always considered myself an academic but now that I’m married and want to have children in a few years, I thought I should look into other options for a better work-life balance. It only helps to talk to people about their jobs. In addition, my PhD is in pharmacology, I have extensive knowledge of drug discovery, worked with fantastic mentors, and went to pharmacy school for undergrad. I am qualified for a career switch to industry and I understand the process.
Throughout our conversation he referred to the higher leadership positions in industry by saying things like “if you want to be that guy” or “that guy had a lab for 10 years before joining industry.” Every time he did it, he emphasized “that guy” and he must have said it 10 times or more because it really started to bother me. Not once did he look at my face and correct that mistake by saying “or girl.”
He might not have realized he was doing this but this type of gender bias is something that women notice. I just wished he said the position title or replaced “that guy” with “professional” or “project leader” or “PI.” He made it pretty clear his company was an old boys club at the top.
So thanks, GUY, you made me want to stick to academia.