February 20, 2024

Be prepared

For 100+ years, the Boy Scouts have preached as their motto:  Be prepared.

I’m learning to heed this advice more as I head out on adventures.  Traveling in the winter can create all sorts of problems.  Whether it’s the snow in Pittsburgh, the rain in Florida, or even the NFC Championships in San Francisco, my recent travel has been anything but smooth.  Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson and started packing a handful of protein bars, a jug of water, and to the dismay of the airline cleaning team, a few rice cakes.  (Apologies for the crumbs!)

“Be prepared” can be applied to the biotech market since 2009 when all havoc broke loose as the market tanked.  For the first time, the large pharmas were consolidating, closing sites, and making drastic cuts (Pfizer and Wyeth, Merck and Schering-Plough, for example).  Many scientists had been under the illusion that joining these larger firms equated to job security.  It was a rough time in the market, and I was not prepared to help so many scientists whose families lost their source of income.

Fast forward to 2024, I hope that we are all more prepared.  Whether your firm has a three year runway or your employer is in the Fortune 100, your resume should be polished and ready to go.  (How many times has a firm made cuts by therapeutic area?)  Even while your role is going well, you should keep an eye on opportunities (and maybe take the call with the recruiter).  Continue to expand your skill set by taking on new projects and collaborating with new teams.  

Today in the US, we celebrate President’s Day.  What better way to include George Washington’s quote from 1776:  what offensive operations, oftentimes, is the surest, if not the only (in some cases) means of defense.  That is, the best defense is a good offense.

It’s not enough to be at the top of your game.  Keep an eye on what’s happening in the industry.  Update that resume.  Get physically and emotionally fit.  Be prepared.