Recently Fired - Transwoman Science Post-Grad Job Search Help
August 28, 2017 6:16 PM   Subscribe

What should a recently fired science PhD grad do to get back on their feet? How can I utilize my skills and unique background to land a dream job?

Hi all

I was recently fired from a job due to a “failure to adapt.” Although I have never felt this way in the past about any position, but believe this was due to my immediate supervisor having difficulty working alongside a transwoman like myself. I believe she felt my identity made our customers feel uncomfortable and hurt our production goals. This is due to a conversation I overheard shortly before my firing (I worked at a sperm bank). I felt well-liked by my co-workers, clients, and lab manager, but ultimately it was left up to my supervisor. One of my co-workers tipped me off to my firing and agreed that my gender came up in a meeting he had with my supervisor. Although I think this is out of line, I do not think I have any recourse. I was crushed.

After a month of feeling sorry for myself, I’m attempting to reintegrate myself back to workforce. I have a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Physiology, but it’s always felt more like a problem than anything. Many jobs consider me overqualified, while jobs that require a PhD seem perplexed that I never pursued a post-doc position.

Although I have been living as a woman for several years and pass well, one major reference (my former PI/boss in grad school) has had trouble adapting to my pronoun change and has inadvertently have outed me when contacted by several potential employers (despite me discussing with them the importance of this).

I am currently using Indeed to search for jobs. Are there any other resources that might be helpful for someone like me? Any tips? Should I leave my graduate degree off of my profile? What kind of work might be good for someone like me?

I was denied unemployment due to not working at my position long enough. I am currently scrambling to survive and afraid of losing anything.

At this point I would be happy with nearly any job. I’m wondering if there's anything I can do to get back on my feet. I know my gender identity and educational background have been unusual obstacles (on top of being fired).

I’ve always silently lurked on this community for the most part and have seen some outstanding help given by the users. I know I have a uniquely strange problem, but I know that someone might just give me the right advice to get me started.

Apologies if this is the wrong place for something like this. Any advice, no matter how harsh, would be appreciated.

Thank you!
posted by his median eminence to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried temping? In my experience there's less worry about over-qualification for those roles and it's perfectly acceptable to take a temporary job while you look for something more suitable to your education and experience.
posted by bunderful at 6:24 PM on August 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

You don't mention where you are but it might be worth looking at biotech companies or universities in the SF Bay Area. I would expect that many of them would be accepting of trans folks.
You could also consider doing a 1-2 year postdoc do make connections and do some networking.
posted by pombe at 8:35 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

You don't mention where you are but it might be worth looking at biotech companies or universities in the SF Bay Area. I would expect that many of them would be accepting of trans folks.

Or Boston. Tons of Biotech, more accepting of trans people.
posted by Toddles at 9:01 PM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

2nding temping for immediate job needs. You'll probably get paid weekly! And may have time on the job to further your "real" job hunt. I didn't mention my PhD and just talked about my admin-relevant experience as a research assistant and I was able to evade being pinged as overqualified. Maybe use one of your coworkers as a reference? Since you aren't mentioning that you got a PhD, it won't be weird to not have your advisor as a reference. Sign up at a few companies and see which works out.

I found that college/university and government job postings didn't always turn up on indeed, it's worth looking at those separately (or any places you've identified as good places to work).

And if you'd like to stay in science, think broadly about what sort of jobs might work out. I got a biology PhD last year, did not want to do a postdoc, and am now working in a tangential field that seems to have better employment opportunities (thanks to a suggestion I got via AskMe!). I also worked through most of myIDP (free, for science postgrads) and it was somewhat helpful with this.
posted by momus_window at 9:21 PM on August 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hey thanks for all the responses! I'm in the Philadelphia area. Temping sounds like a good place to start. I'm open to moving, but as you can imagine, I don't really have the cash available to make that happen.
posted by his median eminence at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2017

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