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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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11/24/17
Updating CV Content.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:34 pm

Innovations in the way we present ourselves, our
research and technical work should impact how we
format and what we include in our CVs for academic
positions.

.
General guidelines for having
  - the document be in screen-readable sized font,
  - your name on each printed page with a page number, 
  - keywords that reveal that you understand that you
meet requirements (musts/wants) of the position being
filled 
  - your experience section state accomplishments led
by an action verbs offering 
gapped statements in
parallel 

construction 
and
  - sufficient information to evaluate your academic
credentials and accomplishments (your thesis and adviser,
titles of presentations, patents and articles
.
are certain.  Just as the essential need of a signed cover
letter that cites all the documents in your package.
.
Reviewing so many documents usually means that
they are in electronic form and items should be digitally
accessible.
.
While several references suggest Purdue’s Online
Writing Lab and registration in ORCID, please
consider the Rice University listing which nicely
provides items to consider including as topics.  
In addition to those, it is now important to include
web-pages, blogs, open access articles on both technical
and topical interest, Internet commentaries, and
appropriate communication contact points (texting,
twitter, 
etc.).
.
More and more academic position applications will ask
for teaching philosophy, diversity statement, research
proposals, list of publications, patents, and presentations
 and list of reference.  All of the information should be
appropriately integrated to support each other.
.
Of interest to many academic positions is seeing your
contribution and participation in “service” to department,
university and field of endeavor and presentations to 
organizations  and audiences outside of your main field.
.
Special mention should be made about CVs for outside
the US.  If you are seeking positions in Europe, you should
develop a CV in the Europass format.  (See also
1 comment
11/17/17
Professional Behavior. Dealing with Catastrophic Challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:34 pm

We recently observed close friends living in CA who lost
their home and most of its contents to wildfires.  Another
friend was overtaken by back pain making it difficult to
work.  A third friend lost her husband suddenly.

.
These are hard things to face.  So is losing one’s job and
other “black elephant” events.  
.
This entry offers some ideas for actions you can do
at separate stages in your career.
.
EARLY CAREER
 - develop a detailed “master resume” [  2 ], develop a
credible internet presence 
 - monitor daily your credit card and financial records,
noting unusual events.  Have an action plan ready–
 - have an 
action plan ready for losing credit cards, cell
phones or cars
.  Don’t wait for the unfortunate event to happen–
have paid up insurance, contact numbers organized,
detailed information to provide 
 - record retention file guidance retention
1 year:  payroll stubs, bill statements
6 years:  income tax records and related forms
7 years:  critical slips, statements and cancelled checks
Permanent:  investment records, pension papers, insurance
policies, contracts, personal-  birth certificates, military,
marriage, divorce, adoption, naturalization and citizenship
real estate
 - always enroll in substantial disability insurance
.
MID-CAREER
 - continue all the early career record-keeping
 - formulate a document location spreadsheet, what is in
your safety deposit box
 - have a list of people and institutions with their contact
information for banks, brokerages, lawyers, physicians
 - formulate a will, powers of attorney, and care for
children:  instructions who would raise them in your
absence
 - organize important family photos, papers and records
 - take the initiative to ward off identity theft 
.
CLOSE TO RETIREMENT
 - visit trust attorneys and determine who you would like
to represent you
 - interview and work with a financial adviser
 - organize a checklist for what to do when a loved one
dies [see comment]
 - wealth transfer planning
2 comments
11/12/17
Letter Writing. Importance of tailored, precise and respectful letters
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:31 am

One of the leading skills that we take away from our
experience, education and learning from others is
“articulating thoughts” in letters.  Notice the specificity
at the end of the sentence.  [Many sources point out
that articulating relates to speech, lucid is more to
tuned to writing.]

.
Articulating thoughts in writing means that there is a
specific goal for your letter, whether  
  showing your 
interest in a specific position 
opening
, stating the significance of a 
research paper
you wish to submit to a journal editor
, or filing an interest or complaint with an authority
figure.
.
Lindsey McMahon encapsulates barriers to lucid
writing identifying four hurdles:
 - cultural differences:  while it is easier to describe 
international professionals working in American 
enterprises, I have found manufacturing organizations
have “time critical” focus that is not present in R&D,
for example.
Observe and pay attention to words used and timeliness,
intent and action.
.
 - verbs, active/passive voice and word order:  
interpretations and meaning can vary from person to
person
.
 - finding the right term:  so often loss of specificity
can lead to undesired outcomes
.
 - anxiety can lead to including unrelated information
due to uncertainty.  Joining organizations like 
Toastmaster International may prove to be a growing
exercise.
.
In most cases good letter writing open doors to many
opportunities as well as the goal for your writing.  
Keywords, knowing how letters are received and 
recorded (sometimes documents are screened by 
software before humans scan them), and who and
how letters are addressed (formal is more often
appropriate) are take-aways for good letter writing. 
See also.
 
2 comments
11/05/17
Graduate Population in US. Much Speculation and Opinion Projections
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:54 pm

Recently read in interesting article on graduate education in
STEM fields by Nick Wingfield.  the article attracted over 400
comments in a couple of days.  The comments came from many
perspectives:

 - financial disincentives for US citizens due to loan debt
 - popular culture that creates negative attitudes for higher education
 - many employers do not value higher education 
- various political decisions to decrease government funding
 - masters degrees are valued, but companies do not reward with
high enough salaries for the added time and training, over bachelors
 - US students see it is not worth the effort and time to then be
competing with international H1-B holders with masters
 - international students may sometimes have financial backing
outside US and university sources
 - undergraduate preparation for employment and graduate school
fails to deliver critical thinking skills, articulation and working in
teams in problem solving 
 - work ethic American students is not well developed;  western
culture is sold on winning, getting something for nothing, self
importance and  sidestepping the law and rules.
 - many university professors sell their research to unprepared 
students who do not have the understanding to ask good questions
 
comments (0)
10/31/17
Financial Considerations in your first Work Decade
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:00 pm

You learn and train in a wide range of technical skills,
develop writing ability creating public relations documents,
perfect public speaking and presentations in universities.

.
Do you get an introduction into solid financial practices
and decisions when you start your career?  From a number
of recent interactions I sense most don’t have those 
conversations or know people they can feel comfortable 
to ask.
.
Some situations, for example:
- start at a position and get reduced in staff in less than
a year;  Immediate actions
- decisions at sign-up starting a position at the new 
company-  stock options
- accepting an offer and relocation benefits
- financial planning questions and answers
.
Columbia University offers ten items worth bringing 
to mind.  The last hits home — money is not an end in
itself, it is a means to create personal satisfaction and
value.  Leading among the ten items are:
1.  figure out your required and optional expenses
2.  include creating an emergency fund, insuring yourself
and life essential properties
3.  manage your loans, payments, and credit record.
The time value of money can be estimated by the
rule 
of 72
“.
.
The financial world is changing constantly.  The recommendations
and rules of the past in general may not be applicable.  
Think 401Ks, IRAs, pension plans, how you use tax returns
and estimated tax payments.  
.
Create a “financial notebook” for yourself as a continuing learning
tool.  Learn from your mistakes.
.
Seek financial counselors or mentors you can go to.
.
If you work for the federal government, student loans can be 
forgiven.
.
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
decision-making.
.
Suze Orman offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
3 comments
10/25/17
Arctic Amplification of Atmospheric CO2 increases
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:59 am

Did not know which title intro fits better:  ‘Watch-Outs’ or
‘Technical Trends worth noting’ as I start this entry.

Last evening a local library sponsored a stimulating
discussion on weather changes influenced by arctic sea-ice
and land-ice changes by Jennifer A. Francis.
Her presentation offers a clear-minded assessment of 
observations of Arctic sea-ice and land-ice losses.  They
impact winds in at least three ways and ocean
levels in as many ways through combining impacts.
A great link to her research results is a panel discussion:odrow Wilson Center: Arctic Environmental Futures: Nexus of Science, Policy, and Operations, 29 September 2017

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/arctic-environmental-futures-nexus-science-policy-and-operations

 [you never know how these links display!]
where she is the third speaker.
.
She describes three effects of the loss of the Arctic sea-ice cap
(Arctic Amplification):
 - weaker steering winds
 - wavier jet stream
 - stagnant formations of wind flow (resulting from jet
stream splitting)
.
On top of sea ice recession, land-ice loss due to thermal
effects due to less reflection of solar radiation (Less ice,
polar cap is darker and more absorbent) raises sea levels
and enhances storm water surges in coastal regions.
.
Her talk last night ended with forecasts for future
scenarios that point to the need for important changes
in global behaviors, changing populations settling and
migration patterns and serious infrastructure redesigns.
[Several of these are pointed out in the Wilson Center 
video link.]
.
A recent article provides a less technical view.
comments (0)
10/23/17
Stress. Revealing and Responding Behaviors
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:15 am

Are you feeling stress in yourself?  Need to make decisions?
Too many things to do and not enough time?  Meeting with
new people, people with opposing views or too many people?
Feel cramped or feel inhibited?

.
These things can happen in relaxed times or in business
situation.  They can happen without notice, rapidly or 
with a time suspension or delay.
.
GP contacted me about a post graduate role and her 
uncertainty over her visa situation, application process,
negotiation of starting date and leaving date situation.
GP has interest in an informal offer, but feels she faces
a series of hurdles, which create anxiety and stress. 
.
She “presented” a stressed mindset in our conversation.
So it was important to (1)share that several other colleagues
each faced similar challenges and dared to commit to
a course of action and take it as a learning experience.
The crisis occurs when catatonic behavior schizophrenia
locks us from moving forward.
.
(2)Compliment her for moving forward and following up
on an opportunity that is within her reach.
(3)Deal proactively with barriers she foresees.
.
However, knowledge alone will not necessarily reduce 
her stress.  Alice Boyes has offered some proactive 
physical, mental and behavioral ideas, a couple which
I had not known for relieving stress, –
  - running your fingers over your lips
  - slow down when you feel a stress or anxiety build 
up, pause
.
Some were ones that have worked for me–
  - going outside into nature
  - deep breathing
  - power posing (Amy Cuddy)
  - muscle relaxation;  Yoga
  - speaking openly with trusted mentors
  - try new things, test things out, learn from others
.
Author, Boyes, has several others, since it is true
there is no one “magic bullet.”
.
To formulate positive movement forward we discussed
several things that references are asked when we are
contacted.  Done as a collaboration, we built positive
hope in the direction she is seeking.
  a.  how long is our professional connection and in
what contexts.
   b.  what are clear strengths that will be valuable
in her next position, provide examples with stories and
positive outcomes.
The reference, me in this case, needs to personalize
the examples.
Then, (4) provide a “lifeline” to contact whenever
she feels the need arising. 
2 comments
10/15/17
Digital Media. Growing Use of Internet Publishing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Recruiters, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:36 pm

One of the crucial measures of developing research programs
is keeping in touch with new ideas and combinations with
new equipment and theories.  

.
Several career paths place credibility of achievement on
publications [publications in peer reviewed publications]. 
How this is measured with Internet publications is not patently 
obvious or at least consistent from one organization to another.
.
Nonetheless several sources of online publications are appearing.
ChemRN provides global access and outlet to classified topic
areas.
.
ChemRxiv is a Figshare product offers rapidly transmitted
of one-page preprints with a promise of tools to detect plagiarism.
[open API or via OAI-PMH].
.
This blog articulated that scientific publishing was going
to evolve from the commercial and professional society
journal paradigm.  It will be important that strong professional
ethics are articulated in this evolving medium
and there is
a viable enforcement mechanism for violations and dealing
with grey-area issues.

2 comments
10/09/17
Technical trends worth noting. CRISPR and other models, Analysts career path, and Astrophysics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:42 am

We can gain insights into various career paths by interrogating
other fields and applying their approaches and findings.

.
In reading some Native American history, the contrast in
the sense of the meaning of time was offered [James Wilson,
The Earth Shall Weep ].  The cultural driven Indian nations
regarded time as cyclical returning to seasonal interludes,
whereas European cultures brought in a linear perspective of
distant past-past- present-future.  The European culture sliced
time up into eras and time spans and measured time with
smaller and smaller intervals.
.
Taking a wider view, Lisa Randall [Astrophysicist] discusses
the critical notion of “scale” which informs Physicists the range
of lengths, time intervals, or energies that are relevant for any
particular investigation and is critical to the understanding of
progress.
By partitioning the universe into different comprehensible
sizes we learn that the laws of physics that work best are not
necessarily the same for all processes.  Indeed the degree of
of precision you desire determines the scales you choose.
.
For a given problem we use an “effective theory.”  This points
out the concept that the month-day-hour-second-nanosecond is
just a cultural interpretation of celestial observations from 
which it was derived and the world as different cultures displays
“scales” describing different “effective theories.”
 .
Do not expect your scale to be uniformly applicable for all
problems
.  Science offers an evolving body of knowledge, as old
ideas get incorporated into more fundamental theories and science
proceeds with uncertainty at the edges.
.
CRISPR
As humans, we find shortcuts almost part of our nature.  So 
a decade ago exomes [shortened genome sequences] were sought
in clinical investigations of mendelian disorder studies.  They
offered lower cost approaches.  This hypothesis more likely 
confirmed that shortcuts more often lead to incomplete or wrong
directions as biological systems are complex.
.
Article writers in biochemistry expect CRISPR/Cas9 to become
routine as just another tool as researchers dive into germline
genome editing.  Dozens of organizations want to fully weigh
in on public funding to repair a germline mutation in human 
embryos [9-1-17, GENengnews.com].  Then, alternate approaches
such as mouse models might be oversimplistic in expecting
organism wide duplication.
.
This points to Lisa Randall’s observation that leadership 
needs to push forward in asking the right questions, defining
the real problems, and identifying promising routes to
progress by solving smaller issues which turn out to be
clues  to the bigger issues.
.
ANALYST SALARIES AND COMPANIES
LC/GC completed and published a 2017 salary survey and
company listing that job seekers in the chemical analyst
career track will use.

comments (0)
10/05/17
Leadership. Insights from observations during challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:30 am

Just finished reading Rudy Guiliani’s book Leadership.

Reading the book was an opportunity to see things from a
different perspective– legal mind with historical interests
who faced and met challenges.  It was a rewarding experience
in that it offered some remarkable take-aways about positive
behaviors of leaders and thinking processes in dealing with
challenges.
.
BEHAVIORS 
.
-   The importance of seeing things / situations with your own
eyes, as it allows all sorts of things that you can question and
suggest.
-   Practice simulations of actual events before they happen.  
Have a reaction plan.  Let it be modifiable.
 -  Have a command center
       organize and formulate communications, coordination
and evaluation
       prepare back up plan and unintended consequences
       anticipate what might happen next
-    Prepare relentlessly and eliminate making assumptions

THINKING PROCESSES

All leaders are influenced by those who they admire.  Reading
about them and studying what and how they learned will inspire
how you will grow critical traits.  Much of the material will be the
raw material of your own life.
-    insist on starting off with a morning meeting as your cornerstone
       get control of the start of the day
       set priorities;  have all key contributors present
       allow open discussion
       outcomes:  specific action plans and reporting
       everyone is informed and accountable;  carry the info forward
-    sweat the details and small stuff, as they reveal underlying 
processes
-     create arguments for different coalitions to influence decisions
-     instill preparedness
-     put your health as a first and main concern
-     take as much time as available to make decisions, but the 
process of making the decision should begin immediately.
-     seek different perspectives and points of view, yet avoid
predetermination or favorites.  [Sometimes it is beneficial to
leave the room when discussion is in process and receive a
summary afterwards.]
-     surround yourself with strong, independent people while
keeping battles internal.  manage results and expectations
-     underpromise and overdeliver-  how
               develop your personal beliefs
               communicate them
               have a plan of action
               word choice makes a difference
-    stand up to bullies.  Do it early.
-    do not exceed the ‘pig factor’ [spending more than needed,
overstating on expenses, it is a form of bullying]
-     read in depth about things you find come up;  do not
just leave it to experts. 

comments (0)
09/28/17
Negotiations. 8. Relocation Benefits
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

I received a request from PP after he received a long
sought after job offer.  He accepted the offer which he
pointed out included a $2000 relocation reimbursement.

.
“…Since this is my first industry based job, best
professional practices to follow as a new employee.  
One item is the company has not followed up on its $2K 
relocation allowance, which they offered during phone and 
on-site interviews.

Other things not mentioned in the hard offer was processing
my O-1 work visa.

I am expected to relocate in early November.  Please let me
know what you think about my relocation allowance?” 

1. HOW TO ACCEPT AN OFFER
It is critical to understand your critical first step in accepting 
a job offer.  Besides signing the appropriate document, you
should devise an acceptance letter that re-affirms key elements
of the offer letter agreement and items that were discussed in
all the interviews and information exchanges.  This should be
sent either at the same time as the acceptance documents or 
soon after.

Included in the letter is a request to know a direct contact person
to whom you can consult with issues, questions and concerns.
You should be able to contact them at any time and feel 
welcomed. 

You should ask for a company annual report and employee
handbook.

ADDRESSING ISSUES
Clearly, this acceptance letter would specifically address 
relocation and working visa processing.

2. RELOCATION INFORMATION
The Balance blog lists things that can be included, and
should be confirmed orally and confirmed in writing:
  - househunting, including transportation, hotel and meals
  - costs of selling and purchasing, including closing costs,
commissions, legal and recordkeeping expenses
  - Position searching help for spouse
  - travel expenses and temporary housing for the move
  - Temporary housing in cases where the home is not
readily available
  - moving company expenses and logistics for packing
loading, unloading and unpacking, as well as insurances

Please realize that the details of the relocation policy
need to be confirmed 
and in writing.  Also it is critical to
confirm the specifics of what  forms, receipts and
timing of submission / reimbursement in advance.

I recommended that PP should not be hindered from
asking for information and suggestions at any time.

A more comprehensive relocation benefit discussion
is provided by Money-zine

Not to be lost in this discussion is the tax breaks you are
entitled to for job change as long as it involves a move
of employer greater than 600 miles.  Please note that if
the job search occurs over a significant period of time
with various expenses they can all be claimed, but you
are responsible for keeping receipts (credit card
documents may be enough, if accompanied by expense
detail.).

3. VISA DISCUSSIONS
You should not shy away from pursuing a firm understanding
of responsible people, timelines and your role in employment
papers.  This has been a topic in this blog.  We know the
visa situation has changed and will change again so it is
critical to be well informed and have a back up plan.

comments (0)
09/27/17
Consulting Roles. Things to take away from a dated publication on Consulting
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:07 pm

Visiting an experienced technical professional, I asked
how he would help people who are thinking of a consulting
career..  He gave me a text by William Cohen, “How to
Make it big as a Consultant.
”  Then we discussed some things.

The Cohen book was more than 30 years old and did not
include any Internet related nor association-network approaches.
.
In Cohen are listed direct methods for contacting customers–
1- direct mail
2- cold calls
3- direct response ads
4- directories and yellow pages
5- former employees and directors.
.
So he does not get into push pull marketing so much in the 
Internet age.  It all seems to be “push” marketing.  It is
confirmed by the “indirect methods”…
a- speaking to groups
b- newsletters
c- professional associations
d- articles and books
e- letters to editors
f- teach a course and lead a seminar
g- public releases and broadcast releases.
.
These are all still applicable, but likely not relevant!
.
Clearly having a proactive web page, linkedin page and
pull marketing strategy is not known in 1985 when the
book was written.  There are several other approaches .
.
It is not an easy task and one that evolves rapidly.
.
Now there is something in addition to learn from this
exercise….check the publication date of the book, and,
see if there is a more recent edition.  There is in this
particular case.
 
1 comment
09/17/17
Interview Preparation and Follow-Through.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:21 am

JZ contacted me about preparing for an upcoming
interview and she is concerned about being an
international professional who has pursued her
dreams.  She believes –”she does not have the
freedom to choose passion if they are not traditional
career paths.  …I have H4 visa (spouse- H1B) and need
sponsorship to work.  [Situations are such that I
want] to add income by looking at a job related to my
graduate degree.” 

.
We corresponded refreshing what we had discussed
in person and in class five years ago as she was making
decisions for her family.  The times have changed in
the immigration world since then and that may influence
employment decisions.  These can be overcome by
thoughtful preparation, considerate follow through
and win-win comments during the interview..
.
Preparation Considerations-
 - your Linkedin.com profile needs to show interest
and express background and experience in the chemical
field
-  Arrange an information interview to re-familiarize
yourself with OSHA, MSDs, and HazWaste and good
laboratory practice with people in the field. 
-  Develop ~1 min. stories and jot down memory aids
for each bullet in your resume
-  Study the company and area around the company.
Look at its website, goggle people, look at Linkedin
profiles for connections. 
-  Even if the interview is remote or virtual, dress as
if you were visiting the site.  Plan to be prepared a
reasonable time in advance.
-  Write down critical questions you wish to ask, Like:
  What is a typical day like?
  What are typical analyses and instrumentation used?
  What is the safety record of the company?
  Who will you be reporting to, who will you replace
and can you learn key information from them?
-  Have pen, paper, your documents and a calendar and
computer handy.
-  Salary expectation study for range
-  Be prepared to offer names and addresses of
references.  Contact references in advance asking
if they are available to go to bat for you.
.
During interview-
-  in the beginning introduce yourself and ask for 
introductions of all participants, get correct spelling
and title and addresses (thank you notes)
-  hold back from talking about or asking for salary
and visa status before a job offer.  
-  be ready to express your salary expectations based on
salary surveys for the region and title, if asked.  
ACS Salary Comparator
-  Dress as if you are on site.  Think about safety
shoes and apparel.
-  Arrange for no interferences and test out tools
you will use, if remote.
-  Breathe, perform a power pose knowing that it helps
our body to relax and be prepared
-  Near the end, consider offering a test run to work
for a day or week, per diem.
-  Near the end, ask “what is the next step in the
hiring process”
.
Following Interview-
-  Formulate an After Action Review of the process
-  Write “thank you” notes to each interviewer
-  Be ready to follow up on each of their requests.  It is
not unusual these days to be tested on pertinent skills
plan to show that you can do them well.
-  Check with your references to confirm they have all
they need to work for you.
1 comment
09/12/17
Financial Questions. Start-up Stock Options Offer
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:21 pm

This note points out that when you end your academic career,
your continuous learning process really ‘begins.’  And guess
what, there are no texts for this learning and no absolute, correct
answers.

.
What we learn is that mentors can help you ask the best questions
and it seems each individual’s situation and priorities are different.
.
My colleague AJ asked:

“I also wanted to seek your opinion on employee stock options.
As a part  of the offer, the company extended an option to
purchase 2500 shares of stock…the company  is not public.
….attached is a document here for reference.
Before signing, I just thought of having a word with you.”

.
Each situation is different, but the specific wording and specific
details of the offer are very important.

My experience is that I trusted the public relations of a firm
I worked for and purchased many shares of stock with the
promise of growth and profits.  In the end, I lost a great deal
of investment dollars that I could have avoided if I studied
the investor literature and consulted wise counselors.

.
AJ advised me that he is contributing 8% of his salary in the
company 401K and has some short term expenses.  He will
check into the latest date when he must decide.  My advice to
him:
I totally understand your quandary.  I would have a similar problem
with this question, so I refer to Al Sklover Link is where I would start.  

[He describes critical questions AJ should ask before signing any 
documents.] 

Then, the next article is quite significant: in that it describes “traps” we
can find ourselves in when working at a start up.
It may be worth speaking with Al directly:
.
This could be a sizable dollar commitment for you, AJ.  Al is
very professional and knowledgeable.  $100 spent on solid legal 
advice can result in much more savings in a speculative situation.
 
comments (0)
09/06/17
Watch-Outs. 105. Useful knowledge monetary rewards
Filed under: Recent Posts, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 pm

Who can afford to purchase their own copy of their
favorite journal(s) these days?  Prices are prohibitive,
even for libraries.  So, societies and for-profit publishers
have taken advantage of electronic publishing.

.
Both non-profit and for-profit institutions generally
take advantage of a wide audience, leading authors
and mini-monopoly power.
.
Members of ACS can access 2 articles a month as
part of our membership, but there are hundreds of
journals.
We can access ~42 articles/month from ACS journals for
$500, but who can afford this without research grants?  
Then, there are so many more journals we want to read
and learn from.
.
Leading societies offer open access to their articles.
This is what I support since so much research is
government or grant supported.
.
Let’s go into another aspect of publication– ‘
rewards
for useful publications.’  Vijay Ramani discussed how 
monetary rewards are offered in China for scientific
papers based on “importance” characteristics.  He
touched on the understanding that most of us know
many articles are not considered ‘pioneering’ when
initially published.  Years and sometimes, decades later
papers can become very useful.
.
The article on ‘pay for useful publication’ misses the
real world arrangement that many companies write
into their employment contracts awarding patent
bonuses for employees… Patents are available on-line
from the patent office.
comments (0)
08/31/17
Professional Behaviors. Habits can become Irresistible Addictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:02 pm

The book by Adam Alter is interesting reading from a |
number of perspectives.  Irresistible– The Rise of Addictive
Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked

.
Alter asserts that addiction is not genetic in certain people
but every person is vulnerable to situations and attachments
to them.  The Internet and various programmable devices
with continuous positive feedback,
- persistent “goals” culture,
- games and media that incur ‘down the line’ charges [get
you into it so you must and want to stay involved.  But
to do that you have to pay.]
- escalation [where you get challenged and learn, yet the
computer enhanced tool increases or varies from its
otherwise predictable trend]
are examples Alter provides.
.
These addictive technologies develop habits where
you have little control.  Nearly everyone of us has
our own and various situations make us instinctively
crave for that infernal habit.
.
Alter does readers favors by pointing them out,
showing what is going on and suggesting things we
can do 
to forestall, limit or move on to something else.
.
Worth reading for many of us.
‘Habits gone bananas!’ 
3 comments
08/25/17
Suggestions for actions if you lose your position
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:24 pm

Over a 30 - 45 year career, most everyone gets relieved of their
position.  Sometime it is sudden, other times there are indicators
that some positions will be severed and still other times we are
faced with a choice to stay or leave.

.
Let me pose that it should be part of our regular personal planning
process that we consider building resilience into our thinking.  Create
your personal action plan, keep your options open and know what
your personal goals, musts and wants are.
As much as possible plan so that it is not a total surprise.
.
Ruth Umoh contributed a piece offering things to do if you lose
your position.  I cannot agree with her more on
1.  don’t lose your “cool”, stay calm and manage your emotions
2.  personally ask for recommendations from specific individuals
(If someone hesitates at all, or will not provide a good one, move
on.)
2a.  these days more and more Linkedin recommendations can be
a useful starter in situations where policies limit employees from
providing recommendations.
3.  You should be continually active in your professional network,
also ask references for their network contacts and ideas.
.
I found Umoh’s thoughts about cleaning up your facebook, online
profiles and photos and comments something that might be easily 
overlooked.
.
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes 
push 
and pull marketing
, situations where you you meet people 
in person and volunteer roles in professional organizations.
.
Taking shorter term, temporary roles may be a big plus, while
you enroll for unemployment benefits and update your master
resume, targeted resumes for each position and Linkedin
profiles using current keywords for your industry and field.
.
Consider asking for outplacement services as part of your
severance package, while being wary of noncompete documents
that you have signed.
1 comment
08/24/17
Cuts and De-Regulation. What can we do?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:39 am

Have you looked at the proposed FY2018 budget for science,
technology, health and engineering?  Mostly flat or cutback.
except for defense related expenditures (and the “wall”– which
will be paid for by someone else..)

.
Have you looked at the proposals for taxes?  Across the board
reductions in rates, which results in peanuts for the poor,
a cup of Starbucks for the middle class and a new yacht for
the wealthy.
.
Have you noticed the major overhaul of the rules and enforcement
actions of EPA, SEC and bank regulators?  Blank checks
for violators.
.
These three areas– major federal support for research, 
progressive taxation (richest contribute a fairer share) and 
regulations and legislation are what has turned American 
enterprise into an equitable thriving system in the 20th century.
.
We need to do something about the gutting of these.
.
Through the ACS we are provided some tools to be proactive
individually.  In a recent town hall we learned from our senator
that groups and organizations are much more effective in 
influencing and sending cogent messages to senators and
congress-people.
.
Let’s all urge the EPA to meet its mandated assignment, if not,
let’s increase our efforts at the state level with the DEP.
Let’s ask our ACS President to address research funding 
shortfalls that impacts our enterprise long term.
Let’s bring back regulations that reign in wild speculative behaviors
that benefit a clever few who have escape clauses to absolve
them of blame.  ACS Advocacy
1 comment
08/22/17
Professional Behavior. Entrepreneurs
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

Your circumstances are different than most everyone else’s.
However, we can learn from other professionals’ approaches
if we have a mind to it– that is remain curious, or make up
our minds to be curious.

.
I can not tell you how beneficial it is to be generous and
thoughtful to people who serve you.  They may work for you
individually or be part of an organization.  Took time to drive
with our daughter to do some quick shopping where each of
us had our own shopping lists.  I watched as she hustled to
put items in our basket, but could not find “just” what I wanted.
.
Thought to myself, we could find a premium item as a takeout
from a suitable restaurant.  So we stopped and purchased the 
delectable salad for 2.  While waiting we got into a idle time
conversation with the server.  We asked if we might get a “short”
cup of coffee while waiting and she cooperatively brought it out
as we continued our conversation.   So, as we paid our bill we
asked if we could write a thank you note to management for her
kind and thoughtful service.  She did not exactly know, as she
was a summer hire…. She brought out her manager who informed
us how to perform the act online with detailed instructions.  Then,
went on to say by doing this in a specific order, she would be
rewarded, he would be rewarded and we would receive a modest
gift certificate online.
.
Back in our ride home, we chatted about learning from others’
behaviors is such an adult way of developing and improving skills…
especially in an entrepreneurial world.
.
We used three of Travis Bradberry’s 9 Skills that pay dividends:  
asking for help, staying positive and taking initiative.  Six other items
were–
   knowing yourself (personal self assessment),
   listening,
   know how to say “no”,
   sleeping well,
   knowing to pause and remain quiet, and 
   determining priorities to do the most important things.
.
These apply critically to entrepreneurs who either have too much time
on their hands or too little time.
.
This brings up five things entrepreneurs who find themselves with 
an episodic income stream need to be mindful of:
a.  formulate an exit strategy that propels your next direction–  musts
and wants for yourself and your current employer as a win-win outcome
b.  accumulate reserves and strategize how you can live lean should
events require ‘belt tightening’ 
c.  Set up long term retirement, big purchase, and emergency insurance
accounts and make the necessary contributions (insure matching 
contributions can happen and are accessible)
d.  Know the rules and double check on the amounts about estimated
taxes.  Use an accountant if you are new.  Perhaps fall back on
Turbotax, if you have some experience.
e.  Read the fine print, consult legal input on the fine print of signed
agreements and understand their implications and recourses.
comments (0)
08/16/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Design of Active Pharmaceuticals
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

One of the subtopics we cover in our Professional
Development course is LCA or Life Cycle Assessment
in our class on ethics.

This is a broad impact area that leading organizations have 
adopted for processes, final products, side reactions and
recycling.
.
Recently, a committed network colleague, John Warner,
shared a pertinent article in Chemistry World that addresses
“better design of pharmaceuticals” that do no harm to the
environment when disposed.  The article cites:
 -   birth control and antidepressant drugs persisting in our clean
water supply impact dependent animal life
 - certain drugs remain present and active in vegetable irrigation
supplies and are found in consumable purchases (wash all food
stuffs!)
 
As a result, certain first world countries have implemented extra
cleaning steps to scrub water before it enters water supplies.
The article, however addresses an alternate approach I know
John has been pursuing for over 30 years and is gaining more
supporters… designing active molecules to decompose when 
disposed.
comments (0)