November 30, 2012

The worst job in Pharma.

Being the Team Leader of an R&D team might not be down at the level of some of the jobs on Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs on TV’s Discovery Channel, but I nominate it as the worst job in Pharma.

Why? Let’s think about the nature of the job for Team Leaders.

  • They get poor direction from management.
  • They are surrounded by experts in different disciplines all speaking different scientific languages – and functional area excellence always trumps program excellence.
  • They have to sort through all the new, untested ideas that are constantly brought into the process of drug development.
  • Their ability to respond to emerging information about a disease is limited by rigid design standards for clinical trials.
  • Their careers are made, or not, on attaining a P value of 0.05 in clinical trials that are often launched on a wing and a prayer.
  • Most development programs fail.

How much of this misery is self-inflicted? Why don’t Team Leaders just take a couple of management seminars and change how things are done? Well, when was the last time you rocked the boat at work? What happened when you did? Is root canal preferable to another attempt at innovation?

Harry Nilsson’s lyrics keep ringing in my head:

Everybody’s talkin’ at me
Can’t hear a word they’re saying
Only the echoes of my mind
[Wah, Wah-wah-wah-wah]

Are you hooked? Check out the previous Pharma of the Future? blog entry, Excellence Is a Team Sport. Or visit the Pharma of the Future archive to catch up with the future of pharmacometrics.


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The worst job in Pharma.

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Interesting reading - and agreed that this role is a difficult position.  Keeping programs going north and south, as Buffalo Bills running backs can attest, versus east and west is always the best course to stay directed and reach the goal line.  Filtering through the noise and “what ifs” around certain data elements, or an objective by a thought leader to implement changes to a program to collect data for support of their publication, is difficult - despite the many failures in drug development, keeping teams on point and keeping programs focused on the end zone is a challenge.  Hats off to those who successfully navigate!

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December 12th, 2012 at 4:41 PM