Job Title: Laboratory Technician
Type of Company: We are a university.
Education: BA, English, University of Massachusetts
Previous Experience: I worked as a mental health counselor for ten years.
Job Tasks: I assist faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates on many levels. I fix computer problems, order supplies, manage budgets and work with grants. When a student needs a software package installed on a university-owned computer, I do it because I am a computer administrator. If they need the software to be purchased, I do that, because I'm a purchaser for the university. When a faculty member needs something in one of our labs, I assess the situation and help him get it. Again, if someone needs to purchase something, I do it and keep a record of the purchase, to keep our departmental records straight. I am expected to know how much money the department has, how much we spend and on what. I am integral to the process of creating our operating budget for the next year. Also, I act as a go-between for our department and other departments within the university. Because I have been here for almost a decade, I provide a lot of the institutional memory for the department. I remember and record much of our unwritten policy and procedure. When a student asks for contact information for long-since departed professor, I usually either have or can track down their whereabouts.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: the best part of the job: I am always heartened by the thankfulness of a grad student or faculty member when they have come to me in need of service and they go away happy. It feels good to be able to complete tasks and services, using my special and unique skills. Also, I get a feeling of being central to the mission of bringing higher education to members of my community.
Worst: When I am not able to help due to circumstances beyond my control, such as equipment failure. Also, at the university level, there is a lot of frustrating bureaucracy and red tape that takes up my time.
1. Learn to type. This skill is essential to any career you are going to get nowadays.
2. Develop strong communication skills, because at least 50% of any job is interacting with co-workers, giving and taking clear instruction.
3. Continue to learn and avail yourself to learning opportunities as long as you live.
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