From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

September 2015
« Aug    
Entrepreneurs. Business model for new ventures
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Recruiters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:41 pm

Entrepreneurs should consider new business and marketing
model described in Robbie Baxters book “The Membership

Second description by the author.

We all experience this model in societies we belong to or
consider and use internet tools.

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Transitions in Careers. Professional Behaviors. Internships
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:33 am

Internships can provide excellent interludes where we experience
what it is like in an organization (conversations, interactions,
, assignments) can perform new and goal oriented work
(goal-setting, application of know how and knowledge),
can meet and work for a short term mentor, and see how
things are done in another setting (culture).

My career had three “internships”– two in a medical school
biochemistry lab and one in am NSF Center of Excellence
program.  That was then, now interns need to be more proactive,
especially near the end of their internship experience.

In fact, I suggest doing AfterActionReviews of your
internship program and keep it in your Master resume
portfolio.  AARs are recognized as a knowledge transfer
and retention tool for capturing implicit and tacit pieces.
[See Knowledge Management.. Administrative Services link]

For those early in their careers, it might be useful to start with
- outlining all the tasks and assignments, completed and
- communicating in person
- seeking feedback on areas of improvement
- asking for longer term connection with people in
your thank you communication.

People in your junior and senior years [REU programs and
such] and in your graduate career level are advised to display
the maturity of performing AARs, drawing conclusions and
offering reverse mentoring.

Detailed description of AARs:  S. Salem-Schatz, D. Ordin,
B. Mittman, “Rapid Post-Project Assessment

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Mirroring during coversations and interviews.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:42 pm

Have you looked at Fay Vincent’s editorial about the importance
of mentors
in his career path?
Fay Vincent was a commissioner of major league baseball, known
for upholding justice and defending all of baseball’s stakeholders,
not just the owners. 

I was reminded of this recently as two job seekers contacted me
about (1) assessing their behavior in interviews (2) what to do
better in the next interview (3) calling to mind a specific behavior
that might enhance their candidacy.

One was interviewing with someone I know well.  So, I know the
styles of both interviewer and interviewee.  Both are quite capable
and impressive individuals in their own rights.  So, I suggested (3,
above) that the interviewee really pay attention to the interviewer.
It is a process often referred to as “mirroring” and is a nonlinear
programming  NLP instinct of relating to a conversation or interaction
partner by observing and listening closely, then responding in kind
with similar words, behaviors and mannerisms.

While I will not be able to do a trial run and observe the mirroring,
as we are in a trusting mentoring connection, the action will appropriate
and meaningful.

As a mentor, we can find ourselves in the situations where we are asked
to assess interviews (1 and 2, above)after the fact and recommend
improvements.  It is an inexact science at best.  We suggest performing
AAR After Action Reviews to help with the process.  While it might
be done soon after the interview, a couple of days later can still be fruitful.

When we discuss this, because emotions and recall are directly involved
reviewing and discussing the AAR should be done in person to allow
follow-up questions and clarifications and trial-and- improve restatements.

So our initial attempt for meeting fell through, so we will aim to do
a conversation via Skype.

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Transitions in Careers. Professional Behaviors
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:18 am

This blog has commented on considerations for resigning
from a position
.  An outstanding resource is Sklover’s
working wisdom blog which offers “best in class” information,
consideration of alternatives and strategies from a legal

Recently, S. Schellenbarger authored a piece in WSJ about
the topic focusing on communications, exit interviews,
notice time and flexibility, and emotional situations

R. Knight offered some “reality check” factoids on the matter.
She stated the relative high frequency of leaving one firm
and moving to another (BLS, every 4.6 years) and that it is
a critical transition point to adopt professional best practices.
In addition,
  1.  not only 2 weeks notice but who and how to tell them
  2.  Linkedin considerations.  [This may be subtly different
now that Linkedin has a new service to connect people within
  3.  Tell one and the same story about leaving and where you
plan to go next to all.
  4.  Despite hard feelings or rough edges, express gratitude
in words, actions and future commentary.
  5.  Send thank you notes and be a strong ally.

S. Heathfield wrote a cross-reference checklist from the
HR point of view.

The On Money blog carries more advice.


1 comment
Watch-Outs. 86. Which accounts to hold investments, Rollover IRAs. Lumped sum vs annuity
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:57 am

Who do you ask for financial advice?  Whoever you ask, how
do they personally benefit?  It is sometimes not clear.

We will change jobs in our careers 10-20 times.  That means
there will be more than a handful of times when we will
consider moving long term investments.  A link to a thoughtful
article might help our thinking, based on fees, options available,
protections and tax situations.

Where to put your investment assets for best tax advantage
is another of this entry’s links.  asset location

More companies are offering employees the chance to either take
a lump sum for their long term security or go with a pre-set annuity.
It is a conflicted decision often with a time limit.  A link
discusses possible questions to ask as many situations are different.

SOURCE:  A. Tergesen, A. Prior, WSJ 8-15-15, p. B7
Better IRA Rollover Advice

Factors listed:
                  401(k)                         Rollover IRA
 Fees       institutional class      retail class, often higher
                ask for quarterly fee disclosure statement
Investmt plans are fiduciaries  more options, good for 
options    helpful                         expert investors

Distribu-  advantage                   penalties apply
tions            Especially aged 55-59.
Variety of options should be confirmed.
Cred.         advantage                    governed by states

Taxes         Variety of situations should be confirmed.

SOURCE  K. Hawkins, “Why some assets should be
shifted to nontaxable accounts.

How assets are taxed should influence their location
in your portfolio, Ken Hawkins opines.  Since equities
yield dividends and capital gains, taxable accounts are
suitable locations since IRAs, etc. can be taxed at higher
than 15% rate.

Tax friendly stocks (growth, ETFs) should be in taxable
accounts.  Tax free bonds and bond funds are better located
in taxable accounts.

Taxable bonds and REITS are more suitable in IRAs.
See also .
SOURCE:  A. Tergesen WSJ 6-5-15
Should you take a lump sum or an annuity

Lump sum distribution of your long term savings often
are not high enough without assuming high risk
investment positions to duplicate annuities.

Ask what other benefits might be offered if you maintain
an annuity.

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Trends in Technical Careers. Wireless, Mobile economy; Pressing Needs-Ammonia; Patent system debates
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:28 am

We do not see it but we expect remote control and
digital data access connected through wireless devices.
This provides challenges, opportunities and a need for
perceptive awareness for each of us.

One of the journals that I receive is Interface which
contains startling in-depth technical reading for a
general technical audience.  Several top-tier articles
on energy conversion and electrochemical production
of essential feedstocks.  There are several catching
articles worth perusing, from which I highlight one
on ammonia.  It is far more than just headlining

A continuing debate among scientists and engineers,
innovators and inventors is the role of patents in
progress.  While not part of most graduate and post-
graduate training and more importantly reading, a
deeper awareness of the patent realm is highlighted.

SOURCE:  Fortune Ad Section August, 2015, p-51-3
PCIA informed us of amazing transformations happening
in our lives as we carry and use portable remote control
and communications devices with us.  A ten-fold increase
in global “traffic” is expected in four years.and we will
all be affected.  So it is “join us or get out of the way.”
Software is replacing custom hardware in creating
HETNETS heterogeneous networks and robust remote
applications, like surgery, is being conceived.
View PCIA webpage for more.

SOURCE:  Interface Summer 2015, 53ff
J. Renner, L. Greenlee, A. Herring K. Ayers,
“Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia:  A Low
Temperature Approach”
Among the many things we see emerging are open
access publications of high technical merit
the ECS journal, Interface.  One stalwart article
in this quarter’s issue is on the “mastery of nitrogen”.
The article brings together President Millard Fillmore
state of the union address, BASF’s Bosch Haber
process and selective catalysts to point out where
chemistry can make a difference in reducing where 1%
of all energy is used and 3% of all greenhouse gases
are produced.
See, for up coming article sourced above.

SOURCE: The Economist 8-8-15, p. 11
Time to fix patents
After defining what patents are and are not, hearing
many sides of the controversial issues of patent
protection and legal rights might be a good place
for people not versed in this important technical
topic to read and study.
The Economist offered a slanted journalist article
to shine light on an everlasting topic.  The comments
to the article reveal a much more complicated, many
sided landscape, even including some interesting
innovations in the European patent system.
Worth reading.

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Professional Behavior. Punctuality, Cultural and Leadership Differences
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:39 am

No matter where we are we notice differences in organizational
culture related to time– being on time, the time of meetings,
tolerance for being late and more.

Sue Schellenbarger’s WSJ article started my thinking about this
noting [not in the hard copy version] different strategies to
deal with latecomers to meetings based on whatever the cause
  poor personal time management - start / end on time, don’t
courteously bring people up to speed
  narcissistic behavior for attention - reveal that it is hurting
his(er) image
  drama and attention - reveal that people are wasting time waiting
for their appearance where they could be doing more productive
  electronic calendars are overbooked - suggest inserting 15 minute
time buffers between engagements
  boss being late - causing people to work later, be rushed and
affecting poor morale and duplicating behaviors elsewhere.

While these are frequently observed, they may not cover all
of the influences and cures.

There are cultural, cognitive and leadership roots to ‘being on-time’
which need to recognized.  Mai Moura offers a nice introduction to
cultural elements of behaviors including the differences between,
for example, German and American meetings.   Other cultures will
exhibit and practice different behaviors regarding agendas,
preparation, formality, modes of expression and what to do if you
are late or need to leave early.

Cognitive roots are not often considered but are quite often felt,
and felt differently, by different individuals.  Some people are morning
people, some are night people, some start fast, some tire easily.
A comment to another WSJ article highlights a rhythm of productivity.
This author presents optimum time periods for getting things done,
when we are most alert, and when we are less liable for injury.

Leadership influences on being late or on time for attending meetings
or submitting reports can be systemic and situational.  Thus, our dilemma
needs to understand the importance and urgency and how to assess these.

Asking questions, developing trusting relationships and having mentors
will help you develop your own professional approach.

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Undergraduate Majors. How do you Decide to Major In Chemistry?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:40 am

Isn’t it interesting:  Some sources try to make, or offer advice
on, your decision process for your major very simple as
1-2-3-4.  While you and I can not disagree with specific
steps in their “quick-fix, instant” proposal, we can ask
is that all there is?

The basic frailty of simple ideas is that the world is non-linear,
unpredictable and constantly changing and we need to be
constantly learning and adapting.
  The “roadmap” will not be
so simplistically non-changing, but there will be changing
endpoints and detours.

In a recent example, Nathan Gebhard nicely points out (a)
set your goals, (b) following your passion is less important
than developing keen interests and refreshing them, (c) have
reality checks, and (d) whatever you pursue, be good at it.
Sure, all make sense, but there are practical measures that
might help things along–
 1   pursue internships,                     
 2   develop mentors,
 3   don’t be afraid to fail as long as you learn from failing,
 4   get broad exposure to many things,
 5   develop an inquisitive curious mind, how to play on
a team and how to be likeable.

Adding these five practical measures does make it harder.
See Brian Tracy for nice descriptions.

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Networking Update for Early Career Professionals.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:17 pm

Learned a lot from Mikey Rox’s article in the Christian Science
Monitor on Networking.  While it is true this blog has carried
the topic of Tips for Networking several times but the ten items
in this article said something to me…

-  Go it alone.  This is a mature adult behavior that expresses
confidence.  When attending an event with others, we reconnect
often, engage in pre-formed connections [dependencies]  and
have attachments with the person or people we are with.

-  Be a friend to someone new and or younger.  Share and do not
seek your interests too soon.

-  “Sweat-working” is working out, engaging in an activity sport,
team or otherwise and creating a bond and common ground in
other areas, like working out, basketball or exercise.

-  Wear something that people will notice and or comment
on.  It could be an alumni shirt, jewelry, or colors, or an interesting
shirt.  But make it professional looking, or else the attention
you are expressing you want may not be in your advantage.
I recall attending a professional session at a university and one
student was wearing a Chewbaka image shirt.

-  Sit at or near a bar.  In the current age, it is a signal that
you are willing to switch it up a bit.

–  “Pre-networking” which is when you share that you will
be attending an event and looking to meet others.

-  Follow up after meeting with LinkedIn invitations, thank
you notes or continuing the conversation.

There are a few more ideas of note in her article.

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Interesting Resume Review.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:55 pm

A colleague submitted her resume, cover letter and the job
description to a career consultant.  The job description, which
is a major source of content, did not reveal more than a couple
key words.  Her corresponding cover letter and resume seemed
less attention deserving that it should be since she focused on
herself and not what is encouraging about the company and
how she meets the job requirements.

What do you do when you pull up a brief job description?

Knowing the company’s name you can definitely examine the
company’s website
.  So, one of the ways to bring positive
attention to the company in your cover letter is to show you
know the business the company is in.
One cool thing I observed in this company was coining a new
term, Admetry, which describes a software for Pharmacokinetic
and drug  metabolism for everyone.  The company also
represents itself as performing five classes of biomarker
See, for example.

The targeted resume and cover letter was for a position doing
MS analysis and methods development.  However, besides clearly
reflecting on the those elements, they might attract attention by
mentioning their business model elements that she could
beneficially add. Search Linkedin, for example.

Beyond that there are similar job descriptions for other firms
that might also offer what a similar role in their company would
seek them to perform.  Again, it is the critical keywords and
understanding the business they are in telling how you can make
a difference. 

Her first draft cover letter did not do this.

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Tools to Gain more Security in our Career Paths
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

Nearly 80% of the members of our graduate course in
Professional Development rank security or certainty as
a leading desire.  Thus, a high percentage sense a higher
level of un-certainty.

I led a seminar recently on ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ where
the attendees were asked what were they uncertain about.
Was it how to make good decisions, or
What should be their next career step, or
Should they stop with a MS, or
How to do a good job search, or
How long should they expect to stay at a job, when should
they move, how do you look for a position while working,
What do you do if your boss disagrees with you or
does not like you, or…
You might get the point.  Then, I asked them to share
their uncertainty with others before asking them to
discuss what feelings do the uncertainty evoke?

Did they feel confused, or anxious, or frustrated, or
stuck (and not able to change or move), or making false
?  The top three feelings they expressed were:
anxious, confused and frustrated.

We talked that many of their situations were created by
the circumstances that they were in influenced by outside
forces.  They have relatively little control over these. 
What they each have control over is how they individually
respond to the feelings that the circumstances evoke.

Those who felt confused might lack VISION.  What are
their career objectives?
Have they done a S-W-O-T, strengths-weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis?
Do they participate in setting goals, performing a “gap
” and design a personal development plan?
Do they have a Z Plan, a personal desired outcome
when everything comes out “jelly-side up”?

Those who felt anxious might lack the NECESSARY
SKILLS.  Have they performed a personal self assessment?
Do they know soft and wise skills that they are expected
to display and will provide advantages?  Do they know
how to manage and build personal self esteem?
Ref. Brian Tracy

Those who felt frustrated might not have developed and
used available RESOURCES.  Have they mentors that
seem committed to them?  Are they aware of legal
counsel of Al Sklover for employment issues?  Are
they aware of the WRAP method (Widen options,
Reality check solutions, Attain distance/perspective
and Prepare to be wrong)

Working through these brought some clarity to dealing
with each person’s sense of uncertainty.

Thanks to Hari Narayanan for bringing the uncertainty
matrix to my attention.

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Watch-outs 85. Mentoring thoughts
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 1:23 pm

Drafted this a while ago and still think there is value for
some readers…

Bob Sullivan, author of the new book
Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why
Consumers Get Screwed
and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal.

Look for service providers — such as fee-only financial
planners– who don’t have a commission incentive to
steer you into particular products.  “Know what someone’s
financial bias is.

If you find yourself in a high-pressure situation where you
have to say no, twice, consider yourself in the danger zone,
Sullivan says.  Three times and you should hightail it out of
there.  Walk into a sales situation with and escape plan, i.e.,
“I am expecting a call from work, and may have to leave at
any time.”

“People let their cars go until it’s absolutely time to buy
a new one– and urgency is one thing you can not overcome
when you are at a car dealership,” says Sullivan.  “You have
to be able to wait them out.  Walk out, come back next week.”
No one can plan around a breakdown, but it is not a bad
idea to do some casual car shopping before your vehicle
hits the end of its warranty.

When someone is making money off you in a business
transaction, at that moment he is not really your friend.
Call three professionals, get a price, and never see them
again when the deal is done.  That is the best way to do

Keep your financial head in the game with questions like:
How much cash is in my primary checking account right
now?  How much did I spend last month?  What is the
rate on my credit cards?

Spend as much time shopping for your mortgage as
you spend shopping for your house.

Sullivan argues that it is easier to set up two accounts–
a “staging” account where your paycheck is deposited,
and a “workaday” account for all those little debits and
ATM withdrawals.  then, shift a pre-determined amount
of cash into the second account for the dozens of minor
transactions.  Use your staging account for the regular
monthly stiff, rent or mortgage, utilities, auto loan and
cell phone.

If you are paid bimonthly, call service providers and
group expenses evenly into the first and second halves
of the month.  Choose a free account with no minimums
and no overdraft protection.  (An alternative is PNC
Bank’s Virtual Wallet, which offers spending and
savings components in one account.)

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Salary Information. Public or Private Information
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:06 pm

Over the years confidential information which is not shared
within a company includes health records, bank account,
social security details, finance and investment records
about you by law.

On the other hand, many report seeking offers with the highest
possible starting salary.
  In many places co-workers do not
often reveal their numbers to one another.  However, making
this information public to professional association and sites
like is done.  The question is:  can you be
restricted from sharing your salary compensation by an

The answer is yes, but the debate goes back and forth.

Why would an employer want to?–
  to prevent unhealthy employee competition,
  to lessen undesirable interview negotiations with others,
  to avoid prosecution for wage discrimination [Ledbetter
Fair Pay Act 2009]

If, in any of your signed documents there is a clause stating

“…both during and at all times after termination …., I shall not
use, disclose, publish or distribute…any confidential information,
… as authorized in advance and in writing by the company…”

you agree to the restriction despite NLRB laws permitting
sharing of information to allow employees freedom to organize.

So, if the information can not be traced to specific individuals,
individuals feel it helps others to report it.  People reading the
data need to know it can be both over- and under-reported and
more importantly, salary is only one component of a
compensation package.

The package also might cover vacation time, child care, hours of
work (including travel time and time to handle personal affairs),
sign-on bonus (taxes paid), relocation package, performance
related bonuses, parking, transporation assistance, company
van or transportation, flex time, dress code, intellectual
property rights, subscritions, wellness facilities, memberships
insurances (health, life, disability, other) and others.

Executive packages
in addition might also include incentives,
stock options, termination provisions, loans, deferred compensation,
and other features.

So looking at a single number as a basis of comparison might
seem shortsighted.  It should be more ethically judged on your
family’s needs and requirements and market value.

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Overcoming Multi-tasking. Update
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:41 am

Some time ago this blog posted tips for managing a crowded schedule
many tasks in a limited time.
A recent entry by Bernard Marr helps further.

- turn off your alerts
- set up specific times and lengths of time for important goal oriented tasks
- plan your phone calls:  goals, script, back-up statement if person is not
available, uninterruptible space.
- calendar for future meetings and plans and recording significant
meetings, achievements and outcomes

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Watch-Outs. 84. Ranked Best Companies, Evaluating ETFs, “Deep Web searching”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Recruiters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:05 am

What are the “good” companies to work for?  How do you
learn who they are when doing your job search?  Word of
mouth, crowd-sourcing, business news?  A link to Barron’s
weekly business publication can provide some insight.

Investments are often a challenge in the beginning of
our careers, and for long time investors, things change a
lot over time.  I am learning that in the current climate
I should move to ETFs of dividend paying stocks in my
tax deferred investments.  Bond rates a low and the
Fed is expected to enter the whole picture with interest
rates.  A link to essential information about ETF evaluations
might be useful.

Finally, we all do searching and archiving.   Did you
know about “deep web” resources being developed by

SOURCES:  Barrons June 29, 2015, p. 29
World’s Most Respected Companies and
P. Moutoukoutas, Fortune, “the worlds most respected

When looking for where we want to work, it might be
wise to know the best companies based on cloud
sourcing tools.  Many technology and scientific firms
are included on the list.  Discussion of the insertion of
Chinese firms from Fortune offers a different insight.

SOURCE:  B. Leggett, “Essential and misunderstood
evaluation tools
I am new to ETFs which are investment vehicles that
are a form of index funds with lower fees for investors.
How to evaluate them to invest in is not clear.  Leggett
is offering a tutorial that could be useful for your long
term financial health.

SOURCE:  American Laboratory June/July 2015
Scientists Use the Deep Web to Find information not
Accessible to Search Engines

This might be the next generation of information
technology that will be used in research and forecasting.

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Nonverbal elements in communications
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Networking, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 7:06 pm

You realize that a larger fraction of your communication
are the nonverbal signals.  They are noticed more than
the words we use and ideas we express.

1.  Posture- stand tall lifting your solar plexus so that
breathing is fuller and easier and head straight with ears
over the shoulder.  This demonstrates and aids your confidence.
2.  Open stance- avoid closed stance, with head down or
your body shrinking in your space.  However, respect
others’ personal space.
3.  Nervous tics-  Have a mentor help you by noticing your
nervous tics.  Everyone has them.  Then, replace them with
a subtle outlet.  Hold a folder, hold a pen, pointer;  avoid
hands in pockets and giggling coins.
4.  Eye contact (especially in US, Canada and most of
Europe)- engage your eye brows to aid your expression.
5.  Slow your movements down– hands, pointing, listening
smiling, gestures.

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Networking into an organization. Working with Gatekeepers to arrange a networking interview
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm

KF recently asked a question about networking into a company
through a university connection.
  The person is on an industrial
advisory board to the university.

He emailed:  ” Today I was searching a company website to find
a person to possibly network with, and noticed something obviously
wrong.  His email on the webpage is his colleague’s.  I probably
already figured out what the company pattern for addresses and
his “real” address is.  But, is it a positive thing to point out to
them the obvious error on the webpage?  Is it professional or
unprofessional to do so?”

Two responses and a comment followed in our exchange (leaving out
more personal elements of the messages).

1:  “If you know the person well,” I noted, “then it might be nice
to let them know about the “error” or something unusual.
Sometimes,” I added,” there is a role for an admin to receive
inquiries for a professional from people who are not well
known to the professional.  The admin can redirect important
emails, as necessary.  (This is a “gatekeeper” tactic in corporate
America, however.  2   Tactics that might be used with
. )”

“However, I would refrain from sending an email to alert them
Perhaps, if you speak with them in the future you can ask for
their specific email address to use.” 

2:  An etiquette expert and colleague of mine, Mary Monica Mitchell,
offered:  “When faced with a dilemma, like the one you posed, I always
ask myself two questions:  First, would I want to know if the situation
were reversed?  Second, can the situation be remedied?  When answers
to both questions is yes, then I go for it

No need to give a lot of explanation.  Could sound something like “I
happened to notice… thought you might not be aware of… and that
you might appreciate a head’s up…”"

This is one of the roles we need to be aware of and develop friendly
strategies.  My personal strategy is to remain very friendly, patient
and cooperative and do as much as I can in person.  Face to face
and respecting the role and authority the gatekeeper has and knowing
that it is their decision.

1 comment
Trends in Technical Careers. Biochemical engineering on a chip, Biogeochemistry using clumped isotopes
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:10 am

In March 2015 this blog shared links to organs on chips
devices Donald Ingbar presented in Washington in
his plenary talk.  This entry points to a link to work
on several organs-on-chips, leading to bodies-on-chips
which could model bodies responses to radiological
and biological attacks.

Applications of an amazing isotopic phenomenon
of heavy element clumping has received more attention
and being used to explore scientific questions.

SOURCE:  The Economist, 6-13-15, P.75,”Towards a

Chips not containing full organs, but small colonies of
cells that replicate organ functions are being developed,
They may provide a physical test bed containing biochemical
and physical environments.  DARPA the article indicates
requests work on as many as ten organ model systems to
pursue nuclear and biological incident studies on  small

SOURCES:  “What are clumped isotopes
“Photosynthesis studies using clumped isotopes.
Effects of Brine Chemistry and polymorphism on isotope

Did you know that lower temperatures favor the formation
of heavier isotope combination molecules than based on
random combinations of natural isotope ratios.  John Eiler
is credited with rationalizing this insight.  This might
have applications in biogeochemistry, Rice researchers

New emerging tools such as the paleothermometer and
clumped isotope delta-47 values have been conceived based
on isotope clumping.  The tools are being used to model
complex geochemical hypotheses.

Aerodyne Research reports a tool for clumped ion measurement.

Wondered whether Dick Zare’s Cavity Ringdown spectroscopy
might be a tool for studying isotope clumpingNo references
seem to lead that way.

Comments Off
Watch-Outs. 83. Raising capital for Start-ups, 2015 H-1B Visas, CO2 as a photochemical feedstock
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:29 pm

Individuals forming start-up companies have many things on
their mind.  One of the ones ACS Entrepreneur Network
points to is raising capital from investors.  Two links to
the Accelerators blog highlight what they
might think about first.

When we wish to hire qualified applicants to STEM
positions all stakeholders face challenges with many points
of view, including fairness, equity, people with the right
skill-set (soft, hard and wise skills), legal, ethical, political
and more.  Interesting discussions of H-1B programs in
2015 from the business perspective is linked below.

Finding ways to use CO2 as a feedstock in an efficient
process for value added chemicals is worthwhile research.
Recent advances at Berkeley are linked.

SOURCES:  WSJ, 5-28-15, P.  B6, “What startups should
do before raising cash
;”   WSJ,  6-4-15, P.  B6, “When
should start-ups set out to raise money
There is a lot of hype and PR in what you can read on
this topic.  Know when you are ready, know that a
lot of burdens are placed on the start-up when
investors are involved.

Investors often exchange capital for shares in the
company, betting on their future.  The more they
invest the more they will expect.  Plan carefully for
sustained growth and know where the investors’
money is going.

The first article’s examples are not “pure” startups.

SOURCE:  WSJ, 6-3-15, P. A4, ” Firms, Workers Try
to Game Visa Lottery
The comments to this article show how much heartache
headache and struggle this complex situation is
providing.  Where is fairness in this tragicomedy?
The article points out some observables, comments
fill in some of the realities that are not mentioned.

SOURCE:  Photonics Spectra, June 2015, P. 60
Solar array turns carbon dioxide to useful chemicals
This has the potential to “change the chemical and
oil industry.”  It uses silicon and titanium oxide
nanowires combined in the laboratory with anaerobic
bacteria in water in model systems.

SOURCE:  WSJ 6-8-15, P. R7, What a top 10 List
Does not tell you
Fund’s holdings can change before publication.
Sector allocation consistency may be more reliable
about holdings in addition to turnover.
Comments are helpful.
SEC Form N-Q- end of 1st, 3rd Q
SEC Form N-CSR- end of 2nd, 4th Q

1 comment
Experience requirement in job description
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:41 am

A highly qualified recent PhD found a job description that
“says 5 years of surfactant/colloid research experience is
required.  I have 4.  Other than that, I am a great fit for the
job.  There is a question on the application that specifically
asks if you have 5 years experience.”

My first response is (1) never lie.

Second, let’s (2) look at the specific job description phrases
“Ph.D. required (surfactant /colloid sciences preferred);
 minimum 5 years of work/ research experience in … field with publications;
 capable of carrying out independent research…; 
 proven track record in developing instrumentation methods…
 experience in using both internal and external resources..”

Then, (3) speak with some recruiters like at a job fair, through Linkedin,
look at informative discussion boards and seek their input about what
this means to them.  Some examples were:

  -a significant fraction of “…job descriptions are boiler plated copies
from somewhere else….”
  -employers want to ‘find the right person to offer the job to.’  “When
I use minimum of 5 years experience … I look to accomplish:
           eliminate entry level job seekers [immediately after degree]
           people who do not need protracted learning curve
           people who know the technology in use
           people with real world experience, not just academic…”
  - job requirements are seldom absolute….”what I would care about is
the plural of years, specific technologies and the commercial part.”

Finally, (4) contact a mentor to explore how to explore this opportunity
professionally.  It might or might not be right for me or for someone
else in my network who is looking.

Comments from a mentor were:  
“This may not be what you want to hear.  When a firm seeks industrial
experience, they would like applicants who have industrial not academic
experience.  A translation if this is a person with a PhD and two years
academic post doc is 1 year experience. [degree, plus half year for
each year of academic postdoc.]  PhD and three years in a small,
start up is 3 years experience.

What are they looking for?  They seek applicants who can collaborate
with multidisciplinary teams to achieve commercial objectives….”     

ACTION ITEMS - Do an information interview
“Consider calling and speaking with either someone in your network
at the company, someone through linkedin, or someone you meet at a
meeting and tell them of your interest in working in the firm.  Let
them know you have seen a posting that may fit but wanted to check
on whether your qualifications met what they were seeking. ”

- Follow the direct contact with a proactive thank you note.

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