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Any prospects for Postdocs besides Academia?

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  • Any prospects for Postdocs besides Academia?

    Hey guys;

    i am here in Osaka since 6 month, working as a postdoc in pharmaceutical sciences. Although i cannot complain about my job, i would switch to the industry if i had a good offer. Unfortunately i donLt have a single one. My Japanese is not worth mentioning, so please donLt advise to learn Japanese.
    I would appreciate any comments regarding the following:

    - any ideas for career-shortcuts you can start in the pharma-branche in Japan, when you intend to go back to Europe after some years?

    - Headhunters: is it worth to forward my CV to them or just a waste of time?

    - How difficult is it to get a position in management in an international company without Japanese-skills and limited experience in the Industry? No chance?

  • #2
    ...not really

    i guess i am in a similar situation like you. as far as i know, the chances to get another - or to point it out more clearly a "better" - job are around zero. anyway, i am curious too if there will be some replies to your thread.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome to the club.
      As a rule of thumb, most cases academic experience doesn't count as experience here, and also employers dont like aged, overqualified people without experience and language skills.

      > - Headhunters: is it worth to forward my CV to them or just a waste of time?
      There are few headhunters who seriously interested in us. I would recommend more networking (not here, but industry people) a little to learn about the industry, and what kind of positions you can consider.

      > My Japanese is not worth mentioning, so please donLt advise to learn Japanese.

      Well, it is very hard to not advice if you have these goals you described.

      > - How difficult is it to get a position in management in an international company without Japanese-skills and limited experience in the Industry? No chance?[/QUOTE]

      Local branches all stuffed with Japanese people. How do you communicate with them? All management roles would heavily rely on communication with other employees and local companies. Also, why would anyone put an entry level guy to a management training track who anyway wants to fly away in some years ?

      Comment


      • #4
        All of the foreign pharmaceutical companies are here for marketing and selling drugs to Japanese healthcare professionals and patients. It is all done in Japanese.

        Japanese companies are here for marketing and selling drugs to Japanese healthcare professionals and patients. It is all done in Japanese.

        Clinical research to support marketing in Japan is done in Japanese, by Japanese speaking CROs, CRAs and other staff.

        A few smaller Japanese firms have "international marketing" departments that market and sell out of Japan - they need experienced sales and marketing staff. Many of the larger companies have already set up those operations abroad, and are staffed with locals abroad - they started 10-15 years ago.

        Very little basic research is done by these companies, that is done mostly at their home locations, though a few have token research centres here, in places like Tsukuba.

        Staff from HO tend to be top-level executives, to maintain corporate ID and values, some business development staff, and a few specialists in fields such as bioinformatics or clinical statistics. Expat packages for them are expensive, their maintenance and support is high, and they look for locals before bringing them over - look for posts by nickw on how much his firm pays for him.

        And if you just intend to stay here for a few years, no company is going to bother investing in you, esp. if you make your intentions clear.

        Learn the language, get the skills and experience required to make yourself useful to an organisation, or get ready to teach English.....

        Comment


        • #5
          thanks

          thanks a lot for ur helpful comments; i totally agree with u that a guy like me is rather useless for a company...

          "Learn the language, get the skills and experience required to make yourself useful to an organisation, or get ready to teach English....."

          but why should i teach english when i have a post-doc position at a unversity? i am not even a native speaker

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LOstSamurai
            but why should I teach english when i have a post-doc position at a unversity? i am not even a native speaker
            At the risk of answering what might be a rhetorical question, the reason why you should teach English is because you don't speak Japanese.

            I'm sure you already know that but if you're dead set on NOT learning the language you should at least be realistic about what you can expect in the Japanese job market.

            I hear GABA - the dubious ekaiwa chain - hire non-native speakers although something tells me that would be a huge step backwards for you career-wise.

            In terms of using Japanese and the way Pharm co. operate in Japan, I have to concur with Trip Hop. My wife works for a large American firm in Shinjuku which is doing exactly what has been previously described. The few foreign nationals that work there either act as bi-lingual liaison with the US or are entirely devoted to the Japanese market itself.

            I've taught at a few co. too and one - Chugai - was a Japanese firm bought out by Swiss giant Roche. The lingua franca in there was Japanese. Yes, with most of the managerial work force being well-educated, there were plenty of folks there who could speak English. Unfortunately their use of the language was limited to progress report emails and the odd foreign phone call. Japanese was certainly the language of the office.

            I worked with a few others and all of them were pretty much the same. If you have the intellect to get a PhD surely a few years of language study can't hurt?

            Good luck whatever happens.

            Comment


            • #7
              Don't listen to these negative nellies.

              You're a PhD, they're not, and they hate us for it.

              Remember how it is back home, where all the truck drivers and that ilk hate you for becoming what you are?

              The people on here are like them, plus 100 times the anti-intellectual frustration. They think they are PhDs, but they're mere plebs.

              Hate them the way they hate you, and show them what people like you, me and Martin are truly worth.

              The dream is yours.

              Live for life.
              Last edited by kurogane; 2008-02-16, 08:14 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kurogane
                Don't listen to these negative nellies.
                You're a PhD, they're not, and they hate us for it.
                Hej aandssnob, den lille kaelderbeboer?
                Got a job yet?

                Guess your three little letters are useful as the three little piggies....

                PS I get called Dr. too!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by trip_hop
                  Hej aandssnob, den lille kaelderbeboer?
                  Got a job yet?

                  Guess your three little letters are useful as the three little piggies....
                  He he he. It's like shooting ducks in a pond.

                  I thought that might get a reaction.

                  Originally posted by trip_hop
                  PS I get called Dr. too!
                  I'd call you The Queen if you'd promise to wear those snacky tights you had on your old avatar.

                  Choo.


                  I have to say, I am not as pessimistic about the OP's chances as you guys are.

                  Japanese aren't as kneejerk anti-intellectual as we are.

                  It may take a lot of footwork, but don't forget, he doesn't just get called Doctor.

                  He is a Doctor. When you pay your dues, the title is good for life.

                  It's easy to forget the value of that around this swamp.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kurogane
                    He is a Doctor. When you pay your dues, the title is good for life. It's easy to forget the value of that around this swamp.
                    Seems that you are the only one blowing the alleged intellectual trumpet of doctorates - some sort of compensation?

                    He can be called ƒhƒNƒ^[ 200 times a day around Shinjuku or Ochanomizu, but his letters and current skill set won't get him that job he seeks in a foreign pharmaceutical company here.

                    But if he was a physician or surgeon entitled doctor....well that would be different, just like clubbing baby seals... :-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by trip_hop
                      Seems that you are the only one blowing the alleged intellectual trumpet of doctorates - some sort of compensation?
                      Says the chicklet blowing the usual tired trumpet of kneejerk anti-intellectualism.

                      It's okay, sweetums. It doesn't mean we're better.

                      Just gooder.

                      Originally posted by trip_hop
                      But if he was a physician or surgeon entitled doctor....well that would be different, just like clubbing baby seals... :-)
                      HEY! I would have thought a money grubber like you would appreciate the value of clubbing baby seals!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some things

                        hey, the post is getting interesting; thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. Some points i want to clarify:

                        1. I have a very impressive scientific record, so i am not just a moron who is showing off with his title. However, a good scientific record is good exclusively for academia i guess.

                        2. It is not like i am a total ignoramus. I learn Japanese, i even learned it before i came here, and i am interested in the language and the country itself. I would survive with my Japanese, but letLs be realistic: within the two years here i can learn as much as i want (which is not really much when u work until 10pm) and still i will never be able to write a paper in Japanese or to present my results in Japenese on a conference.

                        3. A close friend of mine moved to China 5 years ago and is nowadays fluent in mandarin (writing and talking). I assumed that this is a big plus for his job (pharma sales, very good position) he said: "itLs absolutely useless for my job, as we use only English in all our meetings. My secretary is bilingual and does everything for me."

                        4. Another friend of mine is working in China too, he cannot speak one single word in mandarin but got a good job in higher managment in a pharma company. He is writing patents, publications and english SOPs and stuff. Good job, well paid, but cannot speak a chinese word. He admits that he is more kinda Token-gaijin, but he does not care.

                        So i was thinking that there might a smiliar situation here...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Air Canada - Tokyo to Vancouver - half way across the Pacific Ocean.
                          An announcement over the PA:
                          "Is there a doctor on board? Is there a doctor on board?
                          Please contact a flight attendant."

                          Dr. Kurogane, PhD, immediately shouts at the nearest flight attendant, "I'm a Doctor. I'm a Doctor."

                          "Good, come quickly, this passenger is convulsing. Can you help him?"

                          "Sh*t no, I'm a Doctor of Philosophy. Specialised in Anthropology. Graduated in Japan."

                          "Oh ____, we need a proper doctor, not some half-assed academic poser..."

                          "But I am a Doctor! I am a proper Doctor!"

                          He returns to his seat next to the economy class toilet, opens his tattered Hello-Kitty all-purpose carry-on bag, and gets out his certificate, then returns to show it to the flight attendant.

                          In the meantime, an elegant older lady, with a slight Middle-Eastern look, wearing a dark two-piece suit and black fishnet stockings appears from the business class cabin. "I'm a surgeon. Can I help you?"

                          "Yes, this passenger is convulsing. Can you help him."

                          She assesses the patient quickly, then looks around, grabs the PhD certificate from Dr. Kurogane, PhD; she deftly rolls it up into a tight cylinder, then sticks it between the passenger's teeth.

                          "Just let him bite this, it will stop him severing his tongue. Looks like a mild case of grand mal epilepsy. The convulsions will wear off in a few minutes. He'll be fine. I'll check him in a while."

                          Next day's Vancouver newspaper, small article on page, two column two...

                          "Doctor saves passenger on flight with Doctor's certificate....."




                          In a cellar below a house outside of Vancouver, an aged, bearded academic takes time off from surfing the internet and tries to flatten the teethmarks in his beloved PhD certificate with his mother's flat iron, whilst drooling over a pair of black fishnet stockings that were used to secure his carry-one bag...
                          Last edited by trip_hop; 2008-02-17, 12:08 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LOstSamurai
                            2. It is not like i am a total ignoramus. I learn Japanese, i even learned it before i came here, and i am interested in the language and the country itself. I would survive with my Japanese, but letLs be realistic: within the two years here i can learn as much as i want (which is not really much when u work until 10pm) and still i will never be able to write a paper in Japanese or to present my results in Japenese on a conference.
                            What makes you think papers written in Japanese are worth that much anyway?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LOstSamurai
                              Another friend of mine is working in China too, he cannot speak one single word in mandarin but got a good job in higher managment in a pharma company. He is writing patents, publications and english SOPs and stuff. Good job, well paid, but cannot speak a chinese word. He admits that he is more kinda Token-gaijin, but he does not care.

                              So i was thinking that there might a smiliar situation here...

                              China is NOT Japan, If you think you will do better there then you should go to China.

                              Chinese do not expect foreigners to be fluent or understand Mandarin and most large Chinese companies simply want to pirate and steal ideas from the west.

                              Ive never really heard of professional people needing to write publications working outside of academia, myself, in Japanese OR in English.

                              Comment

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