Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What Do You Call Yourselves?

In the "hot-potato" game of Pharma jobs, it's not uncommon to work with a whole new cast of people every 5 years or so. I recall one such summer, where I watched the director and two lead chemists change around in just 3 months!

"Hi, I'm a GSKer."
"Really? I'm Ex-BMS!"
As you mix and match with refugees from layoffs, mergers, or plant closures, you encounter chemists from many different backgrounds. Perhaps they came from a rigid corporate hierarchy, or perhaps they were "pseudo-academics." Maybe they had legions of secretaries and associates, or maybe they were "armies of one" at a small start-up. But one thing everyone has?

A cute euphemism for where they used to work.

The Old "Ex-" (Most common): Ex-Pfizer, Ex-Merck, Ex-Lilly, Ex-BMS.

"-Ers": DuPonters, Merckers, GSKers, Genentechers*

"-Ites": Amgenites, Pfizerites

Engineers: Dow.

Geography Quiz: Sometimes, chemists will tell you they're from Nutley, Wilmington, or La Jolla, and expect you to intuit their former employers.

"Initials Only" Club: J&J, BASF, B-I, AZ.

Readers, I must be missing several. Have you heard any good ones?

Update, 3/8, 2:35AM - Chemjobber suggests "Pfizer alumni," and a Twitter respondent says the preferred internal term is "colleague."
An anonymous commenter suggests "BioGoners" for Ex-Biogen employees.

*(Yes, I checked all of these out on Google, and all have >150 hits, except "Genentechers" (76), which I usually hear via FiercePharma)


  1. A while ago, a group of former Biogen employees started a group named the BioGoners...

  2. I believe the term of art is "Pfizer alumni." I find that an unfortunate euphemism.

  3. i.e., you "graduated" into unemployment?

  4. Now remember, "colleague" is to "Pfizer" as "comrade" is to... aww, never mind, I'm not going to go there.

    But yes, "colleague" is the Pfizer word for "coworker."

  5. Pfizered and Dow-sized are two that come to mind!