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scientician  
#1 Posted : Thursday, December 24, 2009 1:28:42 PM(UTC)
scientician

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I was recently offered a position as a CSO; my EOD is Feb. 15.  The CSO position description seems very intriguing and offers limitless opportunites for advancement. I am interested in hearing from   other CSO's or any other positions within the FDA.  Do you like your job? Is it really busy and demanding? Is the position description as interesting as it sounds? Feel free to share any stories, good and bad.
 
 
Thanks everyone :)
PsychoFan  
#2 Posted : Friday, December 25, 2009 11:24:14 PM(UTC)
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Why do you think there will be limitless opportunities for advancement as a CSO?  I was offered a such a position last Spring and ultimately turned it down simply because I personally felt there was NO room for advancement (plus the ambiguity of the CSO position in general).  Asides from coming in as a 'junior' CSO, your next step up is to be a Chief CSO and that's it.  The odds of becoming a Chief is very slim since there would likely be people more senior than yourself who wants it.  Additionally, it will not be a mere promotion, they would need to advertise the Chief CSO vacancy on usajobs and thus you would need to compete with many others in those just in your specific division for the job (including the public).  Odds are slim.

CSO can be defined as far ranging as the following:
1) an actual inspector who travels from one site to another
2)someone who serves as a project manager for a specific IND/NDA/IDE, etc. submission (often handling up to a hundred submissions at any given time)
3) someone whose main duties is to set up time for meetings between the various review branches and the submitting company AND to take minutes of all meetings and teleconferences (I don't know about you, but as a holder of a PhD degree, I did not want this as my main job responsibility - no offense to anyone)
4) serve as an actual reviewer of the scientific information submitted in the application/review packages

I'm sure I'm probably missing some more possible duties, but you can get my drift.  The CSO moniker is very generalized and the usajobs posting hardly ever give you a firm or uneven loose definition of the duties.  The interview does shed some light, but it's an interview so they may obscure all the job duties from time to time.

As for your other questions, although I don't work for the FDA, I do work for a sister HHS agency with a lot of interactions with the FDA.  Folks at the FDA are under tremendous pressure to perform with quick turnaround and their decisions are often scrutinized under a huge microscope from companies, Congress, and other federal agencies.  It's very stressful and most FDA people that I have interacted with at the CSO and review positions all look tired and stressed.  They all tell me they would leave for industry as soon as they find a position there. 

All of these are reasons why I decided to turn down my CSO offer last year (within 10 days of the EOD).  However, to each his own.  These were just my thoughts.

scientician  
#3 Posted : Saturday, December 26, 2009 4:31:07 AM(UTC)
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Thanks Psychofan,
 
When I stated limitless opportunities, I was referring to working with the FDA as a whole and not just  the CSO position.  I am currently and have been working in industry, primarily with CROs, whose livelyhood depend upon funding from government.  I want to leave that world and try something different.  During my interiew I inquired heavily about the duties of the specific position and not a the department as a whole.  Many times a position may sound great but your actual role in the position is much different..so I wanted to be entirely sure.  Also, I had the opportunity to spend about 1.5 hours speaking to some of the employees in the office to gain their perspective of the job.  I spoke to them in private so I could get a more real perspective and to my suprise they all seem pretty satisfied with their jobs. 
 
Regarding advancement as a CSO, I am not leaning toward making the position my ultimate and final career move but its a start to doing something different.  During my interview, it was expressed that I could use that position as a stepping stone to something else or remain in the position as long as I wish. 
 
I have also done a lot of research into the actual CSO position and it could mean a variety of things..we definitely agree here.  They are bringing me on as a GS 13 (in Rockville MD) and I am pretty sure I will not be tasked with administrative duties.  Trust me this is one question that I asked in more ways than one. 
 
Thanks again for your perspective.  Are you a gov't or private industry employee?


scientician2009-12-26 12:38:33
PsychoFan  
#4 Posted : Saturday, December 26, 2009 5:39:46 AM(UTC)
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I was offered a GS 13 with a 10% recruitment bonus and they told me that my duties would include setting up meetings and taking minutes of these meetings.  Just for background, I have had years of experience as a research scientist plus program management experience.  Therefore, do not assume you will not be doing mundane administrative duties.  Anyway, I am presently a GS at a sister HHS agency also at GS 13.
 

scientician  
#5 Posted : Saturday, December 26, 2009 5:54:06 AM(UTC)
scientician

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Interesting...well our backgrounds seem similar but I was assured that my responsibilities would not include setting up meetings or taking meeting minutes.  Do you remember the division you interiewed with? Are you in the MD/VA/DC area?
PsychoFan  
#6 Posted : Saturday, December 26, 2009 6:02:35 AM(UTC)
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It was with CDER\OND (sorry, but I can't list the specific division just in case anyone there is also on this forum) and yes, in the DC metro area (White Oak to be more specific).
PsychoFan2009-12-26 14:09:24
scientician  
#7 Posted : Saturday, December 26, 2009 6:27:12 AM(UTC)
scientician

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Okay cool..the information you provided was exactly what I was inquiring about.  I will be at CBER/PSB
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