Job Title: Lab Technician
Type of Company: My company make filters that are used by pharmaceutical companies in making drug products.
Education: I took night classes at UMass-Lowell but didn't obtain a degree.
Previous Experience: None. I worked part-time prior to getting this job.
Job Tasks: The laboratory I run tests filters to determine whether they meet our performance standards. Most of the filters are sterilization grade -- intended, that is, to remove all bacteria and contaminants that pass through them -- so it's important that they meet our rigid specs. The tests we run make sure of that before the filter goes into production.
An ordinary day for me consists of working with several different products and giving out assignments in the labs to get the testing completed on schedule. There's often some troubleshooting required, as problems arise or unexpected developments present themselves.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that it's always interesting and often new. Occasionally we get to find out more about how customers use our products. This always adds to the job as you get to see a real-world application.
The down side is that sometimes there's too much to do and everyone thinks their project is number one. So sometimes we have to arrange a priority list. That part can become a headache, but that's how the real world works.
Job Tips: I think the best words of advice for someone aspiring to snag a job like mine is be sure to develop great organizational skills. Staying focused on your assignments and trying to organize the order of carrying out tasks helps you run things more efficiently, with fewer mistakes. I start each week off with a list of things to do, arranged in order of importance. I tick the jobs off as I get them completed. An ability to stay focused and well-organized is particularly important if you want to work in management.
Additional Thoughts: What surprises me most is how much technology there is in the world today. I only get my hands on a small piece of what happens at our company. But if it weren't for the Ph.D. people in the world, my job wouldn't be possible. Still, every job is important. Some people I work with have on occasion made comments that we're just the little people, but every job is important the get the whole thing accomplished.
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