On the stage of career where you are supposed to start in the practical field it is important that you know what you should expect from the field, what are important skills that might help you and what are the expectations of the company. One of the method to know your field better is informational interviews.
After knowing about it, I was actually very excited to put it in practice. But there is a difference between theory and reality. The first person I asked was Javaria, her brother in law works in Coca Cola company. Unfortunately, he works in marketing and don’t know anyone from laboratory to help me out. Next I called my uncle but due to busy routine he refused.
I was really disappointed but I didn’t gave up. I called one of my friend, who is working as the lab assistant in a well known company, for informational interview and he was happy to help.
I practiced and wrote ten questions which included major equipment, the most common analysis, basic tests in laboratory, daily routine, skills involved, apparatus standard, maintaining quality and the work environment.
At first he told me about environment and how very few women work there. He also told me about a girl who left because of the long working hours. He told me about the culture ad gender discrimination in industries. They prefer male staff as they are more reliable and work for more hours.
The salary of the lab assistant is really good but girls are paid less than boys. According to him the major reason was that boys sometimes work for ten or more than ten hours. Girls leave at the regular time because of transport, security and parent’s permission issues.
The equipment and analysis are usually same at daily basis. Mostly qualitative tests are done and that does not vary much. It is sometimes boring to perform same tests again and again. The job also does not involve much interaction with other people.
The job involves very keen observation and continuous supervision of the standards that are used. It was fun and the interview went really long. He described about different sections and tasks. At the end I asked him if he needed any of my help. He promised to call me in case of need. I thanked him for his time and information. The interview gave me a complete view of job and what I should expect from my job.