My days usually start similarly. I do my morning drive through traffic, log on to my computer, check my emails, and grab myself a cup of coffee; but that is where the similarities end. My favorite thing about being an R&D Chemist is that every day is “new”. A new raw material to test. A new test method to develop. A new color to match. A new problem to solve. Everything is “new”, on any given day. Of course, there can be trends for any given week, month, or quarter but there is always some type of “new” to be found.
There are numerous projects in R&D that can shape a week. These projects help keep the days “new” and exciting. Creating a new formula targeting specific properties, evaluating whether it hits the targets, and determining how we can apply what we learned; the whole process is something that is “new” and changes are frequent.
The transitions between trends happen quickly; one day, we can be evaluating a new piece of equipment, the next we can be reevaluating an existing product for a new purpose, and then we suddenly switch to testing samples. Every day is a new set of tasks that helps keep my job interesting and challenging. With all the “new” that I get to experience, it also provides the opportunity to bring new to the “old”.
Even when I have a task dealing with our existing products and processes, there is always some kind of “new”. “Hey Aaron, we have a new curing unit we want you to validate our 3D Print Resins in”. “We have a new test that we want to try, please design an experiment to see if it can be useful for us.” “Our VeriModel OS Ivory demand is off the charts, we need to scale up to a new process!” (Shameless plug, but you should really check our 3D-Print Resins out if you haven’t). Making “new” from old is definitely a perk of working in R&D. Looking forward to what new thing I get to see, do, or work on the next day is exciting!
While it’s great being able to do something new every day and the “new” is a staple of working in R&D, there are also a few things that are better left constant. I would rather keep the number of weekly meetings, my lunch, and my drive home more or less the same. There are a few aspects of my day that I like to stay away from “new”. In regards to my work responsibilities, it seems that the only time I have an actual task where it is constantly “old” every time I do it is when I have a Quality Control test – which is something that you never want to see “new” in! All in all, a day in the life of an R&D Chemist is pretty exciting!