By Alison Telford, Senior Statistician at Exploristics
I’ll be honest, it was hard to imagine what working for Exploristics would be like prior to starting. My previous experience involved working in a small biotech company where at any one time there was a maximum of two full-time statisticians working and for a while, it was just me. Transitioning to a CRO with an army of statisticians meant I would no longer feel so alone in the world of statistics, but equally would I miss working within a diverse team of medics, clinicians and other scientists?
What attracted me to Exploristics was the promise of a great work-life balance. As someone who’s recently decided to put mental health top of my to-do list, this was important. I can say that already, Exploristics has fulfilled its promise on this front. But not only this, a company that focusses on delivering great quality statistics as a priority seemed to speak to my soul. My first couple of weeks at Exploristics had me turning my laptop off at the end of the day with a big grin on my face. From meeting some amazing people to attending internal seminars like stats presentations from other team members, I felt like I belonged.
Choosing a work path
As a statistician or programmer working at Exploristics, you can be placed on one of two pathways. You can either work on internal projects or on placement within a large pharma company. I should say that no pathway is set in stone, and Exploristics makes it very clear that if you want to change, it is possible. Working internally means you are more likely to be interacting with your Exploristics colleagues whereas the placement pathway is essentially like working for the placement company directly. You will have a placement line manager and a regular team for whom you will interact with on a day-to-day basis.
Selecting to work in placement (functional service provision)
Shortly after joining Exploristics, I had an interview with a large pharmaceutical company as a potential placement candidate. My first thought was; “not another interview!”, but I shouldn’t have been worried. Not only because the interview focused more on technical questions (which meant it was a nice chance to brag about a recent analysis you’ve done) but also because Exploristics made it clear that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it didn’t work out – you wouldn’t be judged at all. Having said that, I found out pretty quickly that I had secured the placement and had just spoken to my future placement line manager. Fast forward to my first day on placement and it felt like I was starting a new job all over again.
A bumpy start
Truthfully, my first month or so on placement was a struggle. I was given a position as a study statistician in a study which began 5 years prior. I felt overwhelmed by the array of systems in use and as someone who likes to hit the ground running, I felt like I was wading through tar. The teams I was interacting with felt huge and working remotely meant it was sometime difficult to build relationships with colleagues.
Past experience has taught me never to keep quiet when you’re struggling, especially at work. I spoke to my Exploristics line manager about my struggles and very quickly, it was all hands-on deck. I was invited to catch up with other members of the Exploristics team to talk about their experience starting a placement position as well as given demos on how to use and access the various systems. Immediately I was reassured that I wasn’t alone in my struggles, I was doing all the right things and to be patient because things would settle down and unsurprisingly, they did.
Fast forward a few more months and I’m now fully settled into life on placement. I really enjoy my work and love contributing to the team who I’ve gotten more familiar with. It’s a completely different working environment to the small biotech I used to work for. No longer am I a big fish in a small pond, but rather a small fish in a big pond and that’s okay. It takes longer for things to happen, but I’m a strong believer that quality is much better than quantity.
Finding the perfect balance
What I love about working in placement is that you get the best of both worlds. You get the experience of working in a diverse team of scientists in a large pharmaceutical company, but with all the support, training and expertise Exploristics has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised by how everyone at Exploristics rallied around me to make me feel reassured during my first few months on placement in a large pharmaceutical company. It might sound cheesy, but they truly are like your family constantly looking out for you and wanting you to be happy and succeed.
Getting the right support
My future looks bright at Exploristics, I know that whatever path I want to take – whether that’s continuing my placement, moving to a different placement, transitioning to an internal role or something else entirely it will be accommodated. The best thing is that no matter what journey I decide to take, Exploristics will always be there to guide and support me, which I think is an incredibly special and unique situation to be in.