Margarita Skopeliti
6 min readAug 10, 2020

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My top 10 realizations you need to accept before taking a Clinical Research Associate position.

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You have just finished your bachelor's and MSc and Ph.D. in life sciences and you’re looking for a job. You’re thinking of applying for a CRA position. Perhaps you have already a friend who is a CRA. You see him traveling, working for a pharmaceutical company, looking stressed and you feel he is doing an important job. Perhaps you are already attracted by an add and want to try this out. How bad can it be day-in-day-out in? Of course, your friend can describe the tasks and activities that you will need to perform. Certainly, you can do this work for 3–6 months but after that period you will face some realizations that will drain all your enthusiasm. If you are not willing to accept them as normal, deal with them, and work despite them, do not apply.

1. You will have 2 bosses.

Pharmaceutical companies outsource, i.e. assign support and management of clinical site to external companies and not post this job opening as an internal position. This trend is global and continuously growing in the last years. The reasons are object of another discussion. However, this the route cause for having two frontiers to keep peace with.

Boss #1 is the company that will be paying your salary, the company you ask for a raise, bonus, etc.

Boss #2 is the (pharma) company funding your salary (paying Boss #1 for your services), and whose feedback secures your raise, bonus, etc.

2. There is little chance Boss #1 knows and fully understands the workload Boss #2 assigns you.

3. There is little chance Boss #1 won’t challenge you for any complaint you will find the courage to bring forth about Boss #2, even if you are not the first person raising it.

4. Boss #1 and Boss #2 are in a longer professional collaboration than Boss #1 is with you, when you start.

5. You will be working between 2 toxic environments.

1st source of toxicity lays within the collaboration with the sponsor team.

  • There will always be people and items like e-mails/events discriminating in-house personnel and external partners like an external CRA.
  • There will always be people unfamiliar with clinical operations, imaging that your role…

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Margarita Skopeliti

In clinical research in the morning. In clarity research afterwards. Love reading and writing while drinking coffee. Grateful for your ko-fi.com/bymargarita