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The End of American Innovation?

Or the media flying into fits of dramatics?

I'm not sure which. It's certainly the end of something - the end of DuPont in Delaware, a state so saturated with the family's history that they could rename it "DuPont" and very few people would care (or possibly notice). Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.

On Thursday, we were called into the auditorium and addressed by our VP. There was some difficult news to deliver, he read from his phone. DuPont is ceasing all R&D activities in Delaware, including Wilmington at the ESL and Stine-Haskell in Newark. And just like that, several hundred jobs were lost. For context, DuPont employs approximately 54,000 people worldwide and planned to cut 10% of that before the merger with Dow becomes official at the end of 2016. We were told not a week before that soy was in a good position, that the prospect of R&D staying operational was good, that DuPont brought the seed and the genetics that would complement Dow's more chemistry-based business.

Apparently not.

More context. About 7,000 people in DE are employed by DuPont - 600 at Stine and 2,500 at the ESL. I'm not sure if all the ESL employees were canned (though I know all the Stine ones were), but still, that's at least 800 highly qualified research scientists now flooding the market. Terrifying times, to be sure.

Several people were offered relocation packages to Iowa, where they're now going to base the ag business. And by several, I mean 30. Some accepted, some are still thinking. I wasn't offered, and even if I had been, I would not have taken it. Apparently the package they're offering is very generous, but a question was asked after the announcement was made: could our VP guarantee that the Iowa jobs would last one year (i.e. past the merger's end date)? The VP said there was no way he could know, that it would depend on the state of the business and the strategy they're pursuing. Business-speak for no. That's a long way to move for something that's uncertain. And to Iowa, of all places.

This means strange times for me. I've applied to about four jobs already - some contract, some permanent; some close to home, some in Newark, DE. I'm not sure what to do about school. I've been told to suck it up and go for my Ph.D., but I'm of the firm opinion that a Ph.D. is not just something you suck up because you suddenly lack direction. A Ph.D. is an expensive way to spend several years of your life, and if you aren't fully dedicated to what you're studying, it's going to be a miserable several years, at that. I'm fairly certain I can't stick with the PSM. The PSM was perfect for the work I was doing at DuPont, but now that I'm not there, I feel the need to specialize. I'm already a few credits into a UDel MBA, and even though it means I'll need to reapply, I think that's my best bet for a job, a career, and a viable future. And I can do it, too. I've enjoyed my MBA courses. They're different, and logical, and maybe a little tedious, but science can be, too.

I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know that I'm as in control of it as I can be right now. This is going to yield big changes in my life, but change is a good thing. It's a loss, yes, but it's also an opportunity, and, if I'm smart, I can capitalize on it.

And I am smart.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
This is going to be an adventure! You can do it!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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