Don’t create a sense of urgency, foster a sense of purpose.
Kimber Lockhart

When I was in the ‘workforce’ from 1974 to 2006, I worked for small

family owned companies. I worked in small divisions of international

companies. I advertised myself as an analytical chemist in the supply

chain of industrial source chemicals for the semiconductor and laser

markets. My first taste of the Industrial Gas business opened my eyes.

I was valued as a young player with good laboratory experience ;

especially in instrumentation. However I was placed in a shadowy

product marketing group as a tech specialist. My goals were to create

and market higher purifies of source chemicals like silane and other

silicon chemicals. Marketing was very foreign to me being a capable

hands on analyst. We typically hired salespeople that could sell snow

to Eskimos. Welcome to Marketing! We fake it until we can make it.

There existed gender stereotypes in all sized companies. Attractive

women were given visible positions in Sales; not so lovely, join our

laboratory. Men were typically in top management positions of the

production facility and marketing. However back in those 1980's times,

customers were happy to talk to technically trained scientists behind the

sales team. Enter myself in 1981. Having received my Masters in 1975, I

showed that I could learn the business. I remember being flown to

Denver for an intensive week of classes on semiconductor fabrication.

The course was called “Sands to Circuits”. I faithfully attended by myself

for five days. I learned so much that I felt that our laboratories were not

able to document the purity of our products to the needed specs. However

I did see practical results when the actual customer made devices.

I learn the semiconductor language and I could talk the talk; and walk the

walk. Back in the 1980's the big OEM’s like Intel, RCA, Texas Instruments, and AMD were creating transistors in epitaxial silicon on specially doped

( N or P) silicon wafers. I remember this now like it was yesterday. So I

wore business attire and visited key customer accounts.

However, the rules of the game never changed: Fake it until we can

make it; company after company. The final test was always in the

customer use of the product. And when the product failed, it was

returned and placed on my shoulders. So speed was paramount in

this marketing atmosphere. I remember my gut rumbling and my

heart rate going up, after “ 5 minute decisions” come from the top

male leadership. Make it faster; make it better; but usually the

customer’s”use test” was the final arbiter.

After 20 years of this marketing “hell”, I landed an academic job

at my alma mater, Rutgers. I went from Industry: “She has a Masters”

to Academia: “She only has a Masters”. Enter the “whipping girl” for

the department of Doctorates in the Department.

Work is hell at the bottom and always will be. “Can I have this soon”; then

“can I have this done sooner?”

Sadly, the other career path was to stay teaching in High School

chemistry. I was offered tenure to stay and become the next department

head in the distant future. The money was not there in a private school.

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