There is always the elusive "chemistry" question. How would the interviewing manager and others feel about having you as a member of the department? How would you fit in with the rest of the team? This is akin to what consulting firms refer to as the "airport" test: Could I tolerate being stuck with you in an airport for several hours?
Leaving the chemistry department behind doesn't have to mean leaving chemistry behind. Chemists have a broad, and broadening, range of career options to choose from, both in and out of the lab. The biggest challenge is looking beyond the more traditional roles, which represent only a fraction of the options available in this fast-growing field.
You've reached a career milestone: managing your own lab. This recognition of your achievements attests to your hard work, attention to detail, commitment to a goal—and outstanding science. But be prepared. You're about to face challenges you may not have considered.
The traditional path—graduate school to postdoc to academic tenure-track—is no longer a sure thing. How can you gain an edge in the increasingly competitive science profession? Start building your career plan.
Although I am a huge fan of the Internets (thank you, Senator Stevens), I am profoundly thrilled by what can happen when you talk to strangers, upside-down-face to upside-down-face, in a place such as a yoga class.
"At this stage, most of these students are … managed rather than to manage themselves. But at some point that changes. Students ... become group leaders or professors, and then they are still missing the necessary tools to guide and lead one or even several groups and projects." --Henner Willnow (pictured above), project manager of TRAYSS PRIME