Celebrating over 50 years of serving medical writers in the Delaware Valley

"How AMWA Helped My Career: Engineering My Luck Through AMWA"

June 11, 2013

Author: Beth Pulaski

Given the current economic environment, reviving my career after an 8-year hiatus (or rather retirement, which is how I like to refer to my time off as) should have been an impossible task. During these past 3 years I have had to make a lot of choices and strategic moves. Money was so excruciatingly tight that every dollar spent had to count. (I bet that does not sound too unfamiliar.)  

I opened a business, which meant licensing fees…
I went back to school, which was definitely not cheap... 
Then, I joined AMWA, which I have to say has given me the best return on my money and time by far! (Apologies if I sound so pragmatic.)
AMWA has provided me: 
  • Social support 
  • Business relationships
  • Educational opportunities
  • Open doors
So how did this all begin?
My journey began in February 2010 when I landed an opportunity to write a review article for a highly respected ovarian cancer researcher. But like most first assignments, it was very awkward. Did I know anything about contracts? No. In fact, I ended up not getting paid, but then I was just grateful for the experience. Confidence was a low commodity.
All I kept hearing inside was: 
“Who is ever going to hire someone who hasn’t worked in over 8 years?”
Then I started hearing from recruiters:  
“You have no experience” (which still stings my ears everyday, even now).
Thanks to my first AMWA meeting, I made a connection with a medical communications firm and volunteered to work with them for a few months. Again, I wasn’t getting paid, but at least I was gaining experience!
It’s now 2 years later and I am working full-time for a major pharmaceutical company and as an adjunct professor during the summer semester. Both of these opportunities were facilitated by AMWA connections. 
AMWA provided the doors. Staying open, friendly, and active, which is not that difficult to do in the Delaware Valley Chapter, is what actually opened those doors. Which is why I like to say, “I have engineered my luck through AMWA.”
Beth Pulaski, PhD, is the owner of a scientific consulting firm, One Who Serves, LLC, Adjunct Professor of scientific wriring at Thomas Jefferson University, and Senior Safety Scientist for Bristol Myers Squibb, who has expertise in immunology, oncology and infectious disease.