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   Author  Topic: Stop the Salary Talk  (Read 3480 times)
Stop the Salary Talk
« on: Oct 31st, 2006, 6:09pm »
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Does it really matter?  Get some experience, figure out if you like the field, and then jump in.  Why does everyone ask how much?  Why is everyone so money driven?  Ill give you a range.  You will make anywhere from 35K to 75K on the west coast.  Maybe a bit more on the east coast.  After a few years you will make more.   Great.   Now are you going to do it?  
You got your PhD and now you decided you dont like the lab?   Well, that is too bad, you should have figured that out when you got your B.S.  You are a slow learner.  You figured you were going to be a prof and pull in 100K + a year and now you are finding out that it is difficult to make tenure.   You got your PhD because you had nothing better to do.  Live with it.  
That PhD does not make you a better candidate than a B.S., it just means you spent more time on a project then the others.   Unfortunately, you just spent time in a narrow area, instead of broadening out.  Take the patent bar and get to working.   Stop asking.  Dive in.
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Re: Stop the Salary Talk
« Reply #1 on: Oct 31st, 2006, 7:38pm »
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I recall reading that the truth is painful, and most people aren't ready for it.  I think I can agree with the entire contents of your posting.  I recall Edison saying that invention was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.    
I also agree that I am the type that needed to get out and work.  It was about 3 months at my first job at Gould (with only a BA in chem) hat I had my first invention US 5,017,271, with two PhD's riding behind my name.  I liked the work alot.   Then I put buckyballs into gasoline and patented that as a 2-cycle fuel, as a pro se inventor.  I also patented a process for extracting rhodium as a pro se, for a process I was doing in my basement recovering platinum group metals back when Rh was up there.  Point is, as the poster above says ----- GET TO WORK.  There are no entitlements anymore.  
Evidence is mounting, and maybe even abounding, that having a bunch of letters behind one's name doesn't get you a fat paycheck anymore.  The manufacturing jobs have been moved to in China, India, and elsewhere.  Welcome to the new world order where the US is not the Bretton-Woods era superpower anymore.  GET TO WORK.
With the new PTO rules, even patent attorneys are going to be getting culled, i.e., if we silently let these rules be implemented.   Eventually, it's inevitable.
GET TO WORK.  Everything you do opens doors.  Every case you write opens doors, plus you get to help people.   The sum cumulative value of it 20 years later has a lot of momentum.  I can pick up the phone and make 3-4 calls and get a lot done for a client with regard to making money.   I couldnt do that previously.  Point is, the sooner you DIVE IN, as the above poster says, the sooner you can be extremely helpful to your clients, in a way that separates you from your competitors.  
If you're not differentiated, then you are a commodity.  Unless you are the lowest-cost producer in a commodity market, you will be put out of business.    
« Last Edit: Oct 31st, 2006, 7:54pm by ChrisWhewell » IP Logged

Chris Whewell, M.S.


Posts: 16
Re: Stop the Salary Talk
« Reply #2 on: Nov 1st, 2006, 12:02am »
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on Oct 31st, 2006, 6:09pm, Listentothis wrote:
That PhD does not make you a better candidate than a B.S.,

Unfortunately, this is not quite true. I have a BSc and have been passed over for an associate position for a candidate with an advanced degree and all the personality of a piece of plywood. The demand for Phds is even stronger in the patent agent (non-attorney) field. Good luck trying to get one of these positions with a BSc.  
Why firms have this bias for PhD candidates even when the "soft" skills like relating to people are lacking is beyond me. Law firms are in the service industry and competition for clients is tough. If I were a client, I would choose a practitioner who I liked and who put me at ease over one with an impressive string of letters behind his/her name who I couldn't relate to. I can't be the only consumer with this point of view. Yet, I see firms consistently filling their ranks with , er, academic types who are more comfortable dealing with books than with people.  
So, yes, PhDs have an advantage in getting jobs. But will firms who look for advanced degrees to the exclusion of other skills remain competitive as more full service firms and foreign firms enter the IP market? The client in me is skeptical.  
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Re: Stop the Salary Talk
« Reply #3 on: Nov 1st, 2006, 11:47am »
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At the risk of sounding defensive here it goes.
I did not persue a PhD and then decide I would like to work in the IP field. I wanted a deeper technical understanding of a certain field, and an advanced degree is really the only way to get it.  A BS gives you the vocabulary and some of the tools, it does not however give you insight or the ability to problem solve and trouble shoot technical issues.  A BS also does not indicate that you have a deep understanding of where your field is currently and what the issues are from an insider perspective.  
I always knew however, that I wanted to be outside the lab, and I was always told I was very good at explaining technical concepts in a way everyone could understand, I also have a love of the biotech business and think that IP is a good way to get involved for me personally. I do not consider it a waste of my time either.  
A PhD is more than a narrow study in a small experimental field.  If you think that then you obviously have no idea what it takes to get a PhD in a basic science discipline in the first place.
PhD's must be able to present and defend their work to both technical and non technical personnell on a daily to weekly basis, through meetings, publications, grants, seminars, etc. A GOOD PhD scientist must be first and foremost an effective communicator to ALL audiences.  
PhD's are able to pick up and understand new technologies and integrate them into existing systems, and must be comfortable doing so as it occurs almost daily.  In order to do this you must have a more than superficial understanding of the process and technology involved.  You also have to be able to spot similarities to other methods and look 3 steps down the road for potential problems.
To survive to get your PhD in the first place you must be a troubleshooter and a problem solver who can think on their feet.  You have to be able to prioritize your work and the work of others to get maximum effectiveness in minimum time without getting bogged down in other things.
So your telling me that these skills among many others you pick up from both a technical and managerial standpoint are useless outside of the lab. Sorry I don't buy that.  In fact as a good scientist, I have explored the field I want to persue, and every IP lawyer I have spoken to has told me that PhDs on their teams make valuable contributions.
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The Doctor is In
Re: Stop the Salary Talk
« Reply #4 on: Nov 1st, 2006, 3:51pm »
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I would like to confirm a point of Listentothis.
I did get my PhD because I had nothing better to do, and I am living well with it.
My pursuit of high education involved teaching at the university level, research at wonderful laboratories all over the country, travelling to conferences where world leaders in my field met and shared their findings and their plans, and vastly open opportunities to explore my aspirations and capabilities. It was a wild ride that helps to define me.
Though I make a lot more money now, I don't feel my work now is as profound or productive as teaching. When I taught, I felt I was doing a great thing. But I started getting old and I got tired of eating peanut butter sandwiches. Life has phases ... and I've moved to another phase.
I confirm, I did get my PhD because there was nothing better I could have done, according to my own values.
For those seeking salary information:
I started at $75k as a technical advisor at a law firm in 2001.
I currently make $95k as a patent agent at a law firm.
The Doctor is In
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