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

September 2014
« Aug    
Watch-Outs. 67. Christensen Institute ideas, Job Interview Questions, New IRA rules for Roth
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:15 pm

One of the paragraphs in an Economist article led off
with “The university bubble is … beginning to burst.”
Cost, followed by long term debt, graduates not prepared
for professional workplace, outcomes, rather than
outputs, measured are some of the drivers for the
Christensen Institute proposal.

When you are invited to an interview for a position,
what are thoughtful questions you might be asked.
A recent Liz Ryan article might be useful for both
candidates and interviewers.

Roth IRA inheritance considerations is the topic
of another link.  It certainly got me to think deeply
about financial planning.

SOURCES:  The Economist, Schumpeter, 8-23-14, p. 66
Got skills
M. R. Weise and C. M. Christensen, “Hire Education:
Mastery, modularization and workforce revolution

Competency in work-related skills may be better
suited to Internet education model combined with
mastery of work-related skills.  Dev Bootcamp is
a clear example of this as being a three month program
in coding.  Other “nano” degrees are emerging with
longer timeframes.  Interesting and practical course
enrollment fees dependent upon hiring and cost-
sharing are taking shape.
Attendees might see the value in these vocational
MOOC courses more directly than academic programs
both articles argue.

SOURCE:  Liz Ryan, “Smarter than usual stupid interview
questions interviewers can ask job-candidates

Not only is the article helpful for candidates and interviewers
it is nice to see some of the perspectives on interviewing
questions others pose in the “Comments” section.

SOURCE:  A. Coombes, WSJ 9-8-14, p. R6
Beware Leaving a Roth for Heirs
2015 rules changes being proposed might affect your
thinking about putting your inheritance to the next
generation into  Roth IRA accounts.  So read this article
for deeper discussion of what is proposed and how it may
impact your wishes.
I know I am looking at this now as I evaluate various

comments (0)
Critical Thinking.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:15 pm

Critical thinking was one of  the approaches the panel on the DR show
talked about to “Judge the Credibility of News in the Media Age.”

The panel offered six steps to critical thinking.  Since it is one of the
soft skills we seek for in our careers, it is valuable to share them.
1.  who is the author, what and who is the source of news
      what is their reputation?  is there a bias?
2.  ask if the information is gathered from first hand or second hand
     observations.  is there a conflict of interest?  is there corroborating evidence
     [it might be questionable if it is an “unnamed source.”]
3.  what is the purpose of sharing the information?  to sell, to convince,
     to scapegoat someone?
4.  are there conclusions, opinions or judgments?   are all alternatives
      described and compared?  Are there unanswered alternatives?
5.  what is missing?  is it all negative?
      skepticism is fine, cynical might not be!
6.  who does it benefit?  Who sponsors the work?  What do the sponsors
     gain from the piece?  Recall the theme in the book Merchants of Doubt.

comments (0)
Trends in Technical Careers. Alert to Unexpected Situations, Combining things in different ways
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:44 am

It was inspiring hearing words describing the IEEE
outstanding educator award presentation of Professor
Jamal Dean.  Professor Dean is now at McMaster
University in Hamilton, ON and remarked:
(A. Kumar, Interface, Fall, 2014, 42-3)

Be prepared for the unexpected.  It may be upon you
before you know it.  So adapt and use your knowledge
and skills to create novel and workable solutions.  And
do not be afraid of controversial areas of research,
even if there is opposition from mainstream ‘experts’”…

Why mention Jamal Dean?  He works to solve big
problems with significant impact in cross-disciplinary

An example of this is the use of unexpected elements
in semiconductor manufacturing.  You know well Moore’s
Law about the prediction of exponential improvements
in digital electronic devices.  Did you know hafnium,
ruthenium, tantalum (ok, I knew about this), zirconium
(this, too) and cobalt are all used in discrete elements
of chips to make true the ‘Moore prediction.’  Why? 
The article by Michael McCoy   (p. 16) states, “because
it works.”
There is a lot of chemistry, physics, engineering and
economics that will continue to play a role.  Consider,
for example, Moore’s second law of semiconductor
, known as Rock’s Law.  Technical people
should be curious about this “intersection”…

Susan Ainsworth reported in an earlier CEN issue about
what pharmaceutical firm representatives look for in
BS:  higher level organic, physical organic, and theoretical
organic chemistry with advance laboratory work
in which synthetic routes are designed, enzymatic
reactions are characterized or there is exposure to
receptor pharmacology..
         challenging research experience gives a leg up.

PhD:  challenging research projects in solving or
gaining understanding of complex problems, say
signal transduction, protein structure, multistep

All should be able to demonstrate communication
skills to be able to go up to a board or with pen and
paper field questions or propose solutions to problems.
Of course, be able to deliver an elevator speech.

What stood out was a segment on “being situationally
” outside of classroom or formal structure
situations.  It is more behavioral than textbook.

Combining things in different ways can be an example
of what is sought in candidates.  This is demonstrated
by for example photoswitchable antibiotics which were
recently reported in Ang. Chem.  doi:10.1002/
ange.201310019 and in Photonics showcase.

comments (0)
Watch-Outs. 66. Cross-roads in technical careers, Tactics for travel baggage,Questions for interviews
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:21 pm

Can anyone predict her or his future career path? 
If you use people’s careers from an earlier generation,
there are few timely examples.  Most are out of date.
Why?  It is hard to predict who will be around doing
similar things in ten years.  Much of the advice I have
speaks about transferable skills.  Nonetheless,
researching, deeper planning and practicing formal skills
successfully trumps the ‘wishful thinking’ in “transferable
skills” for a majority of cases.  A link is provided hints
at “LinkedIn age” strategies.

Recently, I traveled with checked baggage in two
airports and lost a checked bag in one and a carry-on
bag in a second
.  Both were recovered without any losses
except time for recovery and ‘worry-greys.’  One was the
airline’s problem, for which we could have received
reimbursement of the checked baggage fee (Alaska Air,
but we needed to file the claim right then and there.)
How much attention do you pay to the  the luggage you
buy and use and what you pack in checked and carry-on
luggage.  Links offer very good suggestions that may
save you a bunch.

When recruiters and interviewers rate the biggest
interviewing mistake, they list a dozen with the most
revealing being not having good questions to ask about
the company, the job, the industry and priorities (without
being disrespectful or negative in any way)
.  Find a link
to interview questions you might ask in your interview

SOURCE:  J. Cummings, Aresumefortoday Blog
Jean opens up a ‘can of worms’ by suggesting in her blog
that in the current Internet-dominant-use age, the ‘beatified’
transferable skills is a tougher sell for people who wish
to change fields.  In fact, she goes on to point out that
due to Linkedin, recruiters can demand their top choices
for positions meet all of the job description’s ‘must’

This spells out some career management planning
and proactive steps
to take.  Deeply study and determine
the professional industry and field that will be yours
for the next decade.  It will, if not is, be more difficult to
switch, and be successful, when you are at senior levels.

“Play the field if you want in your twenties, but settle down
in your 30s”.
“Develop the core, desired skills and keep your eye on your
goal a couple of years down the road and manage your
career, accordingly.”

SOURCES:  The middle seat, WSJ 8-14-14,
To catch luggage thieves, high definition cameras and
fancy pens

Six rules for luggage security,”
- valuables, breakables (chargers, meds, papers) in small bags
- roller bags - be prepared to check, by having a small bag
of perishable items inside ready to be removed for hand carry.
- consider your security vs. convenience in choosing bags.
- pack as if your bag will be ‘rifled’
- get to baggage claim early to watch for your bag [I did
in SeaTac and my bag was digitally followed all the way
to Seattle, only to find it was “hung up on the escalator track”
I knew it did not come out.]
- tell the police immediately and be a bit of a pest.

ASQ Blog
Fifteen rules of thumb for framing questions and Ten
great questions to ask are primo!  Know the ‘dumb dozen’….

comments (0)
Watch-Outs 65. Career Management for International and Diverse Audiences.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:05 pm

Another map to consider for career management in
the UK is offered by Vitae.  Where this NESACS blog
describes a focus on the interviewing continuum, with
the zeroth level (self assessment), steps before, during
and after interviewing
, Vitae partitions the career
management steps into:
 - understand yourself
 - plan your career
 - hear from others
 - virtual interviews
 - explore the market
 - network and develop matches

Jean Cummings wrote about the significant rise in the near
future of contract technical workers.  To be competitive in this
emerging marketplace of multi-national and multi-cultural
professionals, she highlighted being able to
1.  present your goals, values and attributes to different
audiences who may ask for your services or you see a match
to what you can offer.  (your brand statement)
2.  describe stories that provide clear examples of your efforts,
outcomes and impacts.  (STAR or SARI, situation-task-action-
result or situation-action-result-implication)
3.  develop habit stacks (demonstrating desirable soft skills)
and wise skills that will differentiate you.

This is a daunting task.  She offered two dozen tips for working
with recruiters for getting their attention, positive feedback
and interest in bringing you on-board.

comments (0)
Mentoring. SPIE worldview, Importance of Face-to-face Interaction, Online Strategies
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Recruiters, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:59 am

This entry is about mentoring.
While no one has all the answers.  No human can realize all the
history, interactions and subtleties around human situations.  Yet,
there can be real benefit if we develop mentoring relationships
In fact, there is a site that displays a number of well-known
people and the individuals who were their mentors.

Not only are recent graduates and post-docs “in the hunt” for
their next position, people in positions are asking how should
I position myself for being available for being considered for
my next position. 
What should I do?  they all ask their mentors.  Consider:
  Ideas (what is going on in parallel fields),
  information (how do I express myself and get feedback),
  interviews (what are the emerging trends for making ourselves

SPIE reported a telling snapshot of its membership’s typical
workweek, job satisfaction, mobility, how they define success
and salary.
What was telling about this article is the international nature of
the survey and the added cultural dimension overlaid on the photonics
industry.  The remarkable feature that this adds is offering a study
in a parallel field to the chemical enterprise that may hint at
similarities and differences that are not “teased out” from
ACS reports.

Despite all the advances in technology, in person, face-to-face
sets the “gold standard” for communication.  It is enhanced
by technological follow-ups.  In the last week, I have interacted with
dozens of people.  Each of the interactions were spurred by
making connections with individuals in face-to-face encounters.
This is a masterful “wise skill” to develop.

Ask for feedback, learn new insights, find out what is important to
your mentors.

Did you know that recruiters are Linkedin’s main revenue stream?
Led by its “talent solutions” segment it pinpoints, as long as we
include the pertinent details in our profile, and keep it up, formal
academic background, experience breadth and depth, broad skill
strengths, affiliations in organizations  and participation in some
groups.  (If you have not gotten feedback on your profile, ask
your mentor for feedback where you wish your career’s future
to move.)
In the same issue Linkedin’s competitors in France and China
(viadeo) and Germany (xing) are delineated in economics terms.
These are becoming the new exchanges for screening interviews.
Thus, having relevant up-to-date profiles using keywords that
recruiters seek is paramount.

comments (0)
Watch-Outs 64. International Year-Light, Light Sheet Microscope, Merchants of Doubt
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:55 am

Each year it seems another technical topic is celebrated
Chemistry, crystallography, statistics,… 2015 it is LIGHT.
We bring the topic up in our professional development
class and learn things along the way.

An innovative idea of light sheets used in microscopy of
biological samples is highlighted.

While a hundred pages are still to be digested, it is
important to bring up conflicts that occur, how
they are represented and their outcomes in a must
read book called Merchants of Doubt.

The scientific sponsors include European Physical Society,
SPIE, Optical society, IEEE Photonics Society, American
Physical Society and international light sources network.
Many of the discoveries concerning coherent and incoherent
light will enjoy commemorations and the celebration will be
an educational opportunity.

SOURCE O. Hanrahan, Photonics, July/August 2014, p. 20
Light Sheet Microscopy LSM advances biological studies
The author compares and contrasts LSM with confocal
microscopy with lower phototoxicity and higher speed.
Scattering and absorption are larger issues.
LSM can optically section samples, be minimally invasive
by using two objective lenses (focus the light sheet
and collect fluorescence emission), a digital camera
and 3-D image display.  Speed, sample handling and
cost of total system will lower with time as this
method will find its place.

SOURCE:  N. Oreskes and E. M. Conway, “Merchants of
,” Bloomsbury Press NY, 2010
“How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on
issues from tobacco smoke to global warming.”
This is scintillating reading describes how a small
group of prominent individuals create smokescreens
to block and obfuscate issues which have impact
on commercial and big businesses.  I read just this morning
an op-ed piece about how EPA rules should not be allowed
because it will raise costs.  As we realize, this can, properly
communicated and used, motivate innovation.

The book documents the 50+ year history of conflicts
of business interests with scientific results and conclusions–
from tobacco-cancer, second-hand smoke-illnesses,
pesticides-Silent spring, acid rain-acidification of
waterways, coal burning-air pollution, global warming-
economic forecasts. 

The “debates” were manufactured,  the authors claim, based
on PR misdirection and ‘alternate reality’ views.  Interesting
commentary by one of the sources to escape the public
attention to previous public positions.  These approaches
are legalistic possibilities, and in legal terms, do not have to
be true, but only plausible.

1 comment
Watch-Outs 63. Tax Inversion Consequences, Personal Mission Statement, Missing Microbes
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 5:20 pm

It is in the news daily.  The corporate M&A moves
by a number of large firms to avoid 35% US
corporate tax rate is poignantly described in an Economist
.  A link offers caution to investors about
consequences of the inversion.

We had a seminar about ‘Mission statements, goals,
objectives and development plans’ a couple of weeks back.
A recently uncovered blog offers positive insight into
tactics for individuals just starting to develop personal
mission statements

We have mentioned one of the curious areas of research
is in dealing with antibiotic-resistant microbes.  A link
provides untold stories of how important our microbiome is.
Our micrbiome is the complex system of bacteria that live
in on and around each one of us.

SOURCE  L. Saunder,
WSJ, August 2, 2014, p. B1
How to Ease the Tax Hit from an inversion
There are a series of unintended consequences from mergers
like AbbVie-Shire and Medtronic-Covidien.  Ms. Saunders
writes inversions will be unwelcome for long-term investors
who were planning to hold their shares for estate planning
Some shareholders in firms that do inversions will
owe taxes they would never have had to pay.  Tax advisors
indicate that stock in taxable accounts should be evaluated
with careful planning and investors be prepared to act.

Three common tactics in the short term are discussed.

SOURCE: Catherine Rains, Writing a career mission statement,
Using your results from MBTI and Strong indicator tests, she
suggest how you can fashion your own mission statement at
an early career point. 
This is when each of us are most uncertain.
I found this most thoughtful and engaging.

SOURCE:  M. J. Blaser,
Missing Microbes:  How the overuse
Of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues
, Henry Holt and
Company, NY, 2014

Your body is composed of an estimated 30 trillion cells,
but is host to more than 100 trillion bacterial and fungal
cells.  Thus, 70 to 90 % of all cells are nonhuman.  They
reside on every inch of our skill and in all organs.

Most of the time doctors have no idea if a patient’s illness
is caused by virus or bacteria.
Doctors have very good reason to reflexively prescribe
antibiotics for many upper respiratory tract infections–
fear of rheumatic fever.  Untreated strep can cross react with
a child’s heart muscle, joints, skin and brain…

Doctors prescribe antibiotics for strep to ward off rheumatic
fever.  While the body’s natural defenses might treat the
illness, people inevitably think that the antibiotic had made
them well.  A situation where correlations does not mean
cause and effect.

Young adults in US between 20 and 30 receive 30
courses of antibiotics before the age of 40.  Many of the
young women will be mothers and the antibiotics may affect
the next generation.  implications of this course of action
may effect obesity, asthma, cancers, GERD, CRE.

Very powerful reading for biotech and pharma workers and
interested parties.

T-Chart Applications for Your Job Search
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 9:27 am

Often included as a format for industrial job applications’
middle paragraph, the T-chart can be used in other ways
to manage your career and organize your thoughts.

This tool is constructed to list pros-cons, questions-
answers, requirements-fulfillment, and professional development
plans-how you meet or satisfy.

Commonly, we use T-chart format with bullets in a cover
letter to industrial and business concerns
to display
quickly and efficiently the job requirements from a job
description, in column A, and how we satisfy them, in column
B– directly across the page from one another.

The T-chart can also be used to prepare for interviews by
listing typical questions, in column A, and key features to your
responses, in column B.

I have seen it being used to take notes from an informational
where you can list your questions, column A, and the
response from a knowledgeable person in column B.

In fact, you can use this tool to organize and capture
information from an interview
by listing your questions
in column A and the interviewer’s responses in column B.

An example of using T-charts for managing careers is
given in career thought leader’s blog

1 comment
Savvy Legal Advice. Affidavits, Recordings, and Legal Perspectives
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 10:44 am

Several entries of this blog link to Alan Sklover’s blog,
“Sklover’s Working Wisdom”  for it contains both ’state
of the art’ information and suggestions, as well as a
professional legal resources for more personal issues.
Legal and ethical topics previously identified include:
  Important considerations in offer letter
  Checklist when starting a job
  “In the meantime” clause in Employment contracts
  Noncompete agreements and subpoenas
  Unemployment compensation considerations
Each of the above items are widely useful contributions.

More narrowly applicable items he has discussed are:

1.  After a complaint, your employer’s and your responsibilities
(Use of affidavit)
2.  Legal issues of recording conversations
3.  How to respond to question of managing people
4.  The phrasing and meaning of “term of appointment” in an
offer letter.

Keep Sklover on your radar screen in your “bookmarks.”

comments (0)
Watch-Outs. 62. Security, Shortage of Skills/Positions, Trends in Technical Societies
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:30 pm

Over the last few years in graduate student self-assessments, one
of the leading values that they express is  for Security.  In a sense,
we can all relate to the desire for a secure future. 

Interestingly, very recently an accomplished scientist who was hired
by a drug discovery company CEO was publicly fired
(ie.  story in the WSJ) for not rapidly leading his team to develop
new profitable products
He had been there but 7 months
Security needs “a 21st century meaning in technical careers.”
It is the ability to look where fields and needs are moving and
proactively seek out skills preparing us to contribute and
have further development plans.

Desperation, exasperation, and despair appear in the eyes of many
STEM field graduates about what they will do for STEM JOBS.  It is
more about “minding the gap” between what is taught and practiced
in your education and training and what is needed in emerging and
growing fields. 
   Just as the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky
said ‘pay attention to where the puck is going to be, not where it
has been.‘ 

What societies do you belong to?  What local sections do you
actively participate in?  How do you decide?  What is offered and
WIIFM (what is in it for me)?  Just as the Internet has triggered
changes in marketing and sales of books, consumer items, and all manner
of knowledge sharing (MOOCS, weblogs, webinars) it is also changing
the playing field for technical societies. 

SOURCE:  Career Planning Career Mapping Tool MONSTER
Monster has put forward a forward seeking tool that might
be of value to your thinking process about managing your

However, leaving this on a computer or in a cloud file
while seeming to be current misses the urgency humans place
in face-to-face interactions. 

Plan to develop mentors, sponsors and referrals by working hard
to help others meet their goals.  Lou Adler offered salient advice
- get help in being a “perfect fit” for an opening.
- people who refer you for an opening, help themselves by helping
- know what recruiters seek when filling a position (they work for
the company), and give examples in your resume and relate stories
when you interview

is also about protecting your valuable information,
reputation and computer resources
.  In a podcast I recently listened
to I became convinced to explore ‘Krebs on Security.
- security tools
- patches

We need to “keep up with the times.”  If my university is not dedicated
to doing it, I need to find other avenues.  If my employer does not have
the funds or give me the time to do it, I have to find other avenues.
We must keep abreast of evolving needs of employers. 
EXAMPLE:  25 years ago only a few places sought HTML coders. 
Ten years later, your entry card was punched with HTML experience. 
HTML is less a key but a commodity today.  Jobs can be had with a
lower salary or for niche hiring (projects). 
Other experience with cloud computing and analytics seems a better path.

There is a “gap” between curves of skill level in what we learn and
what is needed in positions.  Peter Grey points out to independently
learn and gain experience in emerging technologies and critical ‘hard
skills’.  Gain experience and meet goals in new areas of challenge
instead of repeating previous career path efforts.  Learn from and keep
peers in your network.

Further reading from a recruiter about STEM jobs.

The debate goes on:  Is it worthwhile to belong to a technical
professional organization

The presence of the Internet and online Open Access Technical literature
might influence some segments of the professional population.
The need shifts depending upon the fields that you are involved,
your current and future needs, and your personal assessment and
how you would use the society for your advantage (WIIFM).

Some questions to help you decide about society membership:

Are you stuck where you are with little or no help out? (connections,
networking, sense for where field is moving and what is emerging,
access to leaders and hiring managers, finding solutions to problems,
finding resources and tools to solve problems)

Do you have mentors to ask about alternatives for decisions?

Do you feel that you are doing something that has already been solved
by someone else before?
  (Googling your question does not help!)

Are there situations that a group effort in advocating a cause would
be much more effective?

Some questions to help you decide about belonging to a large, broadly-
involved organization or a smaller, more cutting edge, faster moving

Do you want to be elected, volunteer for and serve in a leadership
?  (chances are better in smaller org.  or a local section)

How are you planning to continuously improve and update your
skills to be prepared for the future

How will safety and common good be served best?  Prevention
(like checklists) rather than band-aiding failing flow chart or procedures

BONUS:  It is noteworthy to point out an organization that is
reinventing itself as it sees the changing landscape in publishing.
The way they are doing it is an example to point out.

Watch-Outs. 61. Peer reviewed publications, Politics and Intuition
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:01 pm

One of the criteria for graduate degrees, promotions in academia,
and measures of scientific leadership is publication in peer
reviewed journals and chapters.  In the Internet-age this has
undergone several changes that are not readily apparent but
should be more broadly known. There are a few elements to
this including the “google effect” [the more times a fact
shows up in searches, the more popular.  See comment], 
“New York Times effect” [if it is in the NYTimes, it is true.],
and scientific findings are “truth.” Several evolutions in peer
reviewed publications are revealed.

Politics is something that all organizations are susceptible
of and many people feel crushed by not being able to come
across and compete on an even and fair playing field.  A couple of
links are offered to provide some background on causes and
what you might do.

Intuition is an unscientific ability that people with technical
training use but can be unconscious of its importance and
that your can train yourself to get better at.  A good read
link might show you where the ‘intuition gas pedal’ is.

The technical literature aims to publish factual detail,
results and conclusions.  A review of manuscripts by
peers knowledgeable in the field certify uniqueness, value
and worthiness.  A recent WSJ editorial excoriates science
for mistakes and errors that were reported and found.

The op ed, by a person who seeks to gain from the notoriety,
misses what science can teach us.  It, as a nice comment
to the online version reveals, teaches us the findings of
particular experiments.  Peer review allows others to consider
the results and compare it with their knowledge.  They may
even seek to repeat or discuss to clarify the results. 

There are other distortions to the classical concept of
peer reviewed publications especially in the Internet age with
online publications.  W. Arms brought many up in a Journal of

Electronic Publishing review.  There is no easy answer as
one of his main claims is publishing in a “top flight” publication
with enhanced editorial review.  “Cut and paste” journalism is
becoming acceptable.  Consider the Jonah Lehrer affair.

In 2012 the New Yorker hired Jonah Lehrer a science reporter
with best selling publications in neuroscience.  He was found to
“recycle” large amounts of his work and plagiarized other
in unacceptable ways.

This is an area all editors know well and have tools to manage.
Nonetheless, it is well to note science is done and reported
by humans.  Mishaps will pop up and it is responsible to be

SOURCE:  S. Shellenbarger, WSJ 7-9-14 p. D1
 ”Ever thought how did he get promoted
She reveals research on skills people use to gain attention,
influence, and advantage over others.  People displaying
these behaviors may not know, if done once.  If it is a
pattern of behaviors they will be detected and their careers
derailed since they are interested in short term benefits for
themselves .

Brian Tracy in “Create Your own Future” recommends:
  assume personal responsibility;  stop making excuses
  be compassionate;  avoid judging others
  express kindness in thought, word and deed
  build friendships, thinking of others
  be gentle to others

In the Accelerators Blog M. Webb talks about
partnering with people known for strong relationships
with others.  He also indicates the need to craft
agreements to meet each partner’s goals while
protecting and keeping confidential secrets.
The agreement needs to frame work, rewards and
commitments appropriately.

Avoid partners with “sharp elbows” and who
optimize for their individual gain.

BONUS:  Brian Tracy, “Create your own future:  How to
master 12 critical factors of unlimited success

John Wiley 2002.
There is much to like about this book.  I especially benefited
from his section on using your “superconscious mind” to
build capabilities to size up new situations and recognize
patterns to make decisions. –> tool kit for Intuition.

Branding and Career Management
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:46 pm

Most scientists and engineers are trained and the belief is
passed on to avoid snappy sound bites.  Most readers are
familiar with the “big bang theory”, not the sitcom, the
theory about the formation of the universe.  In fact, most people
in the western world would be tuned into this phrase and its
meaning.  Interestingly, though, it was first mentioned by
someone, Fred Hoyle, on BBC as a “poppycock idea”, for
he was a strong proponent of the competitor “steady state”
theory.  “Big bang” is a brand.

In our Career Management seminar Friday, Marisha Godek
spoke lucidly about how, in her company and industry, she
realizes the importance of developing a rapport with colleagues
and customers whose training and expertise are much different
than hers.  She also observed that being able to be a person
called on when there is a problem to solve or be invited to the
table when decisions are made calls on developing your personal
  It is sort of your colloquial “reputation”.

We see “branding” of science all over the place.  Scientific
publication is fabulously being rebranded in various contexts
by free access to publicly funded research results, to online
communities that discuss results and interpretations and implications,
and about evolving publication models.  In the last, note that
ACS now offers access to 25 articles without subscription, as
a temptation to inspire more journal subscriptions.
Stanford’s library did an excellent review of publication branding.

What Marisha was relating to is the importance, in corporate
and some institutional environments, of branding yourself.  This
is not a subject area that most scientists and engineers are familiar.
In her case, she seeks out mentors in her business realm, senior
director levels and multidisciplinary leadership backgrounds.

Quintessential Careers, Katherine Hansen, has a strong
commentary on how to brand resumes and profiles

Skills  +  Personality  +  Market need  =  Branding statement

and provides a list of brand representations for various industrial and
organization job seekers, for example

Able to deliver industrial engineering insights, gained through strong
record of accomplishments to your firm in manufacturing engineering.

Eager to strengthen the mission of patient focused pharmaceutical

Eager to contribute recent degree in Environmental Science and
strong applicable, hands-on testing and evaluation field experience

PRINCIPAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST, with a proven track record
in developing and bringing to market surgically relevant innovations.

Watch-Outs. 60. Trends in Linkedin Job Seeking, Setting Goals, Businesses and Investment
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:30 pm

We need to spread our information gathering “net” out wider
and deeper and even do some ‘Levy’ Flights [how animals of
prey search for food in a prey-starved environment] to find
information pertinent to your career.

Tom Friedman interviewed Jeff Weiner CEO of Linkedin
in our first link.  He talks about new tools linkedin is
developing for managing your career.  Also he points out
five attributes employers are looking for.

John Bogle, Rosebeth Moss Kantor and WSJ panel wrote
about important emerging trends in business, investment
and research on companies.  We need to note that when we
go to work for a company we are “investing in that firm and
industry/”  Thus, we should know quite a bit about it.

As a bonus, I share a recent book you might find useful for
setting goals, by Brian Tracy.

SOURCE:  D. Madey, Linkedin blog “Linkedin’s vision for
an Economic Graph”. 
I know you will find this interview of Jeff Weiner compelling
in that he talks about his vision where Linkedin is moving to
help you manage your career.  He also indicates five attributes
employers now seek in new hires:  business acumen, resiliency
in leadership (come back from defeats), get “stuff done”,
vision of where technology is moving and shifting, and good
fit with the business culture.

SOURCE:  WSJ 7-8-14, P. R8.  “Why  global companies will
behave more and more alike
“  R. Moss Kantor
Now more than 100 of the world’s largest 500 firms are
Chinese and the former US corporate models of governance
and proliferation are “shape-shifting” .  She talks about “triple
bottom lines” of financial statement, requirements for the
environment and social reporting as represented by responsible
citizenship, carbon emissions and sustainability.
SOURCE:  WSJ 7-8-14, P. R22.  “The Incredibly Shrinking
Financial System
“  John C. Bogle
Bogle suggests a bubble in the international financial system
and that the 300 largest institutional managers who own 2/3 of
US stocks and will seek to influence longer term investing.
His four points are worth detail study as they signal the direction
of changes.
SOURCE:  WSJ 7-7-14, P. R10.  “How should Potential
Investors Evaluate a Top-performing fund
What goes up, must eventually go down, in the market.
Things don’t last forever.  Avoid chasing short term
performance and seek the “back story” of what is going on
in individual companies and wider industries.

BONUS   Brian Tracy, Goals:  How to get everything you
– faster than you ever thought possible, BK, San Francisco
The book title is a promotional one, but what he has to say
is worth listening to and studying.  There are some recent
google SEO findings that point out the negatives for setting
goals.  Do not let that get in your way of giving serious thought
to Tracy’s ideas.

comments (0)
Watch-Outs. 59. MOOCs, Email changes, Posture effects of computer technology, Experiments in cloud, Virtual Unreality
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:09 pm

As is often said, the only constant is that things will change.
Several links to nonlinear Internet trends are offered in
this post. 
Regarding Massive Open Online Courses–
who seems to benefit, what is happening in traditional
‘brick institutions’ and start up companies.
Regarding attempts to improve email efficiency,
Regarding the unintended effects on people’s posture
of our Internet based society.
Regarding where the cloud is moving next.

SOURCE:  The Economist, 6-28-14, P. 20, “The digital degree
MOOCs  is upsetting previous models of higher education of
lectures, cramming and examination.  As most technical areas
of study include texts, references, laboratories, computational
resources and sophisticated equipment, there is a gap.  This is
despite the improved access the Internet provides.

This article gives an intriguing status, offering
-  MOOCs are likely good for experienced, degreed professionals
who have goals and specific outcomes in mind
-  ‘digital courses are intertwined with existing curricula…
half …at MIT take a MOOC as part of their course.’
-  a second generation of MOOC, with a MOOC Masters in
computing parallel to an on-campus course at Georgia Tech.
-  some MOOC companies are ‘pivoting’ their models, Udacity
-  all is changing; it is far from the initial idea of John Newman’s

SOURCE:  R. Feintzeig, WSJ 6-18-14, p. B7. “A company without
Email?  Not so fast.

Email usage continues to explode.  It remains preferred and widely
used to collaborate.  Yet, it is inefficient.
This article alerts to innovations to substitute some elements of
email and their early results.

SOURCE:  J. Whalen, WSJ 6-24-14, P. D1.  “Slouch at your own

Our body positions and posture are affected by sitting in front
of computers and hunching with smartphones in our hands.
These activities experts attribute give rise to a chronic
condition called Kyphosis, affecting back tightness that
many feel and even suggested a depression of mental

It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it.

SOURCE:  E. M. Rusli, WSJ, 7-1-14, P. B4.  “Research
labs jump to cloud
There are some experiments that can be contracted,  dialed
into into robot routines and analyzed with appropriate
outputs.  This is an emerging trend, just as ’round the
clock’ experiments around the globe are used to accelerate
progress.  A couple of start up companies at various
incubators are developing routines and cataloging what
is working and their associated business models, in a
way like does for customer relations

A new book by Charles Seife hits hard at all the places
that should be scrutinized in our world of virtual people
and devices, including SEOs, photo hoaxes, dating
scams, fake news reports, discrediting personalities,
and many others.

comments (0)
Preparation for upcoming projects: Communication skills and Career Management
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:25 pm

Performing detailed research, preparing meaningful stories
and developing engaging exercises are the focus of recent
efforts in organizing an article and preparing a future seminar. 
These efforts offer an opportunity to study others’ amazing
work and see where important insights from one field can
be useful and merged into another field
where there might
not be an immediate connection.

Enough set-up, let’s get to setting goals and maybe, equally
important, developing habits and learning about the concept of

Habit Stacking“.
SOURCE:  S. J. Scott, “Habit Staking: 97 Small life changes...”

The author has a website and has suggested an incredible number
of mini-routines that just make sense to ordering and improving
our lives.  ‘Habit stacking‘ involves formulating a checklist of these
mini-routines in a logical order where you complete positive
habits, without even a second thought, like jotting down key things
you want to say before you speak and allowing yourself personal
self-control to have eye contact with your audience, breathe and
pace your message for maximum impact and employ demonstrative
nonverbals for professional effect.

There are habit stacks for internet marketing,
wellness, fitness, careers, strengthening willpower.
See SJ’s 203 good habits.
One of his first is writing down personal goals…

SOURCE:  James W. Pennebaker, “The Secret Life of Pronouns:
What our words say about us,” Bloomsbery Press, NY, 2011

I was stunned reading that certain words you and I use don’t
carry a lot of meaning but connect the content of what we say
and reveal much of our thinking, what we pay attention to
and our relationship to the reader or listener.  These words
are “function words”–pronouns, articles, prepositions,
auxiliary verbs (ie, is), negation (ie, not), conjunctions (ie, but)
quantifiers (ie, few) and common adverbs (ie, really).

What generated this field of study, that may have wider application,
is the use of software LIWC (Logical Inquiry and Word Count;
“luke”) that “google-izes” emails and text of documents and
speeches to assess the words the authors use and infer thinking
details.  Examples:
-    2d, 3d person personal pronouns-  attention to other people
-    past tense verbs-  attention to past events
-    1st person personal pronouns- reveals self reflecting
It is more the higher frequency of use, rather than a single occurrence.

Thinking style:
complex vs. simple:  Complex thinking uses larger words, longer
sentences and complicated sentences involving “language markers”
for categorization. except, but, until, without, unless…

dynamic vs. categorical:
  Dynamical can be more abstract and
ever-changing principles.  Categorical uses concrete nouns to
describe objects, events and particular people.


comments (0)
International Business Travel. VAT Refund
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 12:03 pm

A traveler visited three major universities in the UK in
2013– King’s (London) College to see the image and
equipment of “photo 51“, Oxford University Genetic
Genealogy Department to explore genetic Y Chromosome
studies, and the “uni” at Edinburgh University.

They were able to apply and receive a refund for
certain expenses
(also 2  )being affiliated to a university
in the US. 

It is something to consider for those spending some
time in the EU.  The application process is arduous,
the rules and regulations are strictly adhered, but
the reimbursement can be worth the effort.

Things to consider:
- save the receipts for every expense, especially hotel
charges and ask for separate listing of VAT (VAT on
hotels is reimbursed expense)
- obtain the correct application form.  In UK it was
Application for refund of VAT
- obtain a letter from IRS certifying US residency
Form 8802 from IRS ($85, in 2013;  takes 2 months)
- must apply before Dec. 31 of the year of travel
- payment will only be in GBP sterling by wire, only
- required to set up an account that will allow wire
transfers from UK to US.  Most banks and credit unions
do not do this.  Fidelity Investments brokerage accounts
do handle this kind of transaction but it must be set up
in advance with specific information that needs to be
provided on your application for refund form:  

1.  Bank Account
2.  IBAN (Int. Bank
A/c No. Europe Only)   
3.  Bank
Identification Code                      
4.  SWIFT Code                                          
6.  Business Bank
Account Name               
7.  Bank Name                                             
8.  Bank Address                           
For Credit to                                  
For Final Credit to          

1 comment
Watch-outs. 58. Microscopes, dealing with stress, inside info on legal profession and etiquette
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:10 pm

One of the related professions scientists and engineers can make
a contribution in and a living is in the legal realm.  There is a
guild-like restrictive ownership structure and admission requirements
that should be more widely known and perhaps challenged by free
market alternatives.

An area that seems like it may have arrived due to nanotechnology
and new designs for manufacture is microscopy.  The technology
has incredibly broad applications, especially when combined with
other discriminating technologies.

While it seems to be a  common fact of existence in society to
“cope with stress” the accelerators (WSJ) covers some stress
signals and releasers that might be broadly beneficial.

A bonus segment on appropriate apparel this week is offered.
It might be viewed with controversy, as biased, or old-fashioned.
It does stand up to the test of time.

SOURCE:  The Economist, 2-2-13, p. 12, “Guilty as Charged
In more detail in the comments, this link opens an area often
identified as an alternate career field.  Cost, time and restrictive
structures limit entry, keep outsiders from challenging and
the free enterprise system from improving.

This link and many comments may offer a sanity check for
those interested in the realities of a legal profession after a
technical degree.

SOURCES:  The Economist, 6-7-14, p. 4 Technology
Quarterly, “Yours to cut out and keep“  M. Freebody,
Biophotonics 2013
Refreshing to see not only creative lateral thinking
to design a “foldscope” by Manu Prakhash, but also
applications to diagnose diseases, avoid milk-born
parasites by boiling, mites and fungi from infesting
beehives.  Combining foldscope ideas with STED
or fluorescence microscopy is not
far away.

SOURCE:  WSJ 6-19-14, p. B9, Coping with Highs,

Four things are highlighted in this short entry to reduce
stress– using a gym, having professional mentors,
sleep hygiene and remembering “why”.  Why are
we devoting time, energy, resources to accomplish
a task or meet a goal?

Signs of stress:  loss of empathy, building up anxiety
and stress of team, friends or family, ’short fuses.’

BONUS:  Professional Etiquette
While a WSJ article on special programs at
consulting firms for influencing interns to learn and
dress appropriately for business and professional
situations, the University of Kansas slideshow appears
more helpful.  It covers not only attire but also,
introductions and communications.


comments (0)
Trends in Technical Careers. Networking, Elevator Speeches and Using mentors to make decisions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:26 am

Assisting others and offering suggestions is a pleasant
experience especially when we get feedback that job
offers result.  Recently, a half dozen people have asked
for ideas and information in their career management

After interviewing at three firms and attending many job
fairs, one person had to decide what to do with three
post-doc offers.

After working for three years in neurochemistry, another
post-doc had to decide whether to work at an exciting
start-up company or a subsidiary of a larger organization.

After interviewing for a small firm and for a post-doc in
a different field, a third person asked if there were other
things to consider.

A half dozen trends people in science and engineering
fields should know are:
(1) Hone a strong elevator speech.  Use plain, understandable
language, based on audience analysis.

(2) Don’t be dismayed by not immediately getting
interviews, or if getting interviews, not receiving offers.
Refashion your goals; refashion your approach;
ask for help.
Think about nontraditional ways to use your skills.

(3) Improve and develop your networking skills.  Now,
networking leads in improving your chances and more so
after your first position.  Don’t wait to start doing it.

(4) The interview is not over after the meeting and you
have sent your thank you notes.  There is much more that
needs to be done well.  Consider the ‘After section’
in the interviewing continuum… and
Steps in accepting an offer (5:07 point in video )

(5)  Your first position after your degree and or post-doc
will last an unknown length of time.  Then you will need to
find your next position.  It might be wise to not wait and
start your career management process earlier.

(6)  Your job search should continue even after you
receive your first job offer.  Follow through with the
process at other places you have made efforts at. 
Consult with mentors on how to respond professionally.

1 comment
Watch-outs. 57. Graduate Student Career Development, Inheritance planning and Physics of the Future
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:10 am

Three activities inspire the links provided in this
contribution.  The first activity involves planning
a future workshop on goal-setting for graduate students. 
While we have mentioned the first step in interviewing
is a personal self assessment, a DP provides an
elaboration of this.  Several universities encourage
their graduate students to develop personal development
plans DP and career goals as part of their graduate
formal education. 

Investment and withdrawal strategies in retirement
have rules of thumb.  An interesting feature is that
each so-called rule is based on a series of assumptions. 
A link provides discussion on the assumptions.

A third topic, based on a recent book, provides a link to
some rational analysis of what the future may lay in
store for us.  The writing and perspectives are clear and

SOURCE:  University of Minnesota publication
What will you do with your graduate degree and
experiences?  What other things should you be doing
to grow professionally?
Several organizations, like FASEB, provide a tool
for post-docs to express career goals and what
is needed to achieve them.  Many features are included
in this U-MN planning tool.  Also, this document gives
an updated outline and template for completing
this process earlier while in graduate school.

SOURCE:  A. Coombes, WSJ 6-3-14, R5
“The Most Valuable Asset to Leave to your Heirs”
 Coombes has written that seniors feel is passing
on the “family story”  to younger generations.  Not
Some will want to leave money.  The author provides
some discussion about the assumptions considered
in retirement savings withdrawal plans.  It fills an
information gap for the simple rules of thumb that are
commonly offered, like ‘4% of your savings per year’
and ‘defer taking social security’.

SOURCE:  M. Kaku, “The Physics of the Future” Anchor
Insightful writing capturing the integration of 300
mentors into a coherent picture of the strong influence of
physics on civilization and forecasts of what our world will
be like in 90 years, in 30 years, in 10 years.
He writes that humans’ sense of pattern recognition and
practical ‘common sense’ are our strengths to continue
to imbue.  Yet, our “caveman” outlook generally restricts
our adoption of novel technologies.

The next cycle of advances he predicts will be based on
advances in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology,
telecommunication and biotechnology.

comments (0)