"Just the fact that you are interested in polymers will offset you from everyone else."but I'm wondering if this is still as true as it was 20 years ago. At that point in time, polymers were considered this dirty little, problematic area. The fact that a polymer didn't have a precisely defined molecular weight certainly put off many people to start with, and then add in the non-Newtonian fluid mechanics and you pretty much had huge walls around the subject, and so that is why I reached the conclusion that I stated above. If you were interested in polymers, you could do it because few others would express the interest.
An example: One of my contemporaries in grad school did his work in surface science, but was able to garner a job for a large polymer company because 1) he had taken an undergraduate class in polymers and 2) told the recruiters he was interested in returning to the field. I was amazed that they took him in (and even more so since I had interview for the same job. Ouch!).
So my question is this: have things changed? Does polymer science/engineering still have the skull-and-crossbones signs labeled "KEEP OUT (THIS MEANS YOU)!" at the entrance? Do people look at you weird and shake their heads when they find out your career choice? Or have things gotten better?