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

December 2014
« Nov    
Confidence and Habit Stacks. Dealing with Rude behavior
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:26 am

We added one item of several to a detailed list of examples
of rude behavior
we may face.  This was a (1)hand-out in a
recent seminar that gave examples, (2)elicited how people
commonly respond, then reviewed habit stacks that might
help deal appropriately with situations.

The one added item is cell phone misuse in public spaces
and driving.

Most of the time people indicated their reactions would depend
on the situation.  Most would consider rude behaviors they
face as minor and not worth commenting or considering.  These
behaviors do make a difference.  It is estimated to cost $36B in
workplace situations and $160B in driving situations!

What triggers rude behavior?  It is a form of incivility which
has been a subject here citing the work of P. Forni.  Our
seminar covered (3) causes of rude behavior (4) the spectrum
of incivility, (5) suggestion for what to do, a habit stack.

There has been quite a bit of interest in following discussions.
-  MUD CARDS, see the Habit stack at the end for dealing with
rude behavior situation
-  Cite a book by Mark Goulston “Just Listening”  and add
his incites on particular Rude behavior “actors”
-  restate three Forni video vingnettes

This seminar was therapeutic for many, they indicated.  In addition
practicing the habit stack builds resilient confidence and might
be useful in constructing responses to interview questions
which ask for stories in how you deal with situations

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Watch-Outs. 75. Passwords, Investments at year end, Microbiomics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:40 pm

What strategy do you use to store, manage and keep your
passwords secure?  It is a common problem that companies
are developing strategies to devise and make profits.  Topic
one offers comments on software for managing secure

When we travel now we realize baggage fees
could amount to a quarter of the airline cost.
It is one logical reason to fly the no-bag-
fees airlines or acquire a credit card that has
bags fly free.  Other strategies to keep costs
down are cited.

We all like it when our investments increase.  Sometimes
they don’t.  Even still we know that we can sell at a loss
and reduce the loss impact via a taking a loss.  Despite
not wanting to take a loss, sometimes it is a solid

Microbiome updates.  I think these two are worth
looking at.

SOURCE:  WSJ 12-10-14, p. D1  Personal Technology,
“New Way to Secure Passwords all at once?

The article promotes Dashlane to do something we
all face– manage our site passwords for computers,
cellphones, and tablets.  The comments to this article
offer both problems with Dashlane and alternatives

An oldschool approach is to write them down on a
notebook in your desk that you constantly update.
This gets to be 5-6 pages long.

Double entry security and some personal biometric
approach offers other possible secure sign-ins.

SOURCE:  C. Hill, Marketwatch,
9 secrets for outsmarting airline baggage fees
What is nice about this article is that it is current
and offers the latest policy changes.

Worth looking at if you are traveling soon,
have a baggage problem and it is “on your dime.”

SOURCE:  J. Burton, WSJ 12-8-14. p. R4
How to be smart about your losses
Article talks a little about the psychological
challenge of taking a loss.  In offsetting capital
gains, it can be worthwhile. 

The article points out where you might have
losses.  Then it addresses your investment
style after the run-up in stocks this year.

The author rationally notes evaluating management
changes, performance departures, and shifts in
process thinking in the investment.

SOURCES:  R. L. Stevenson, American Laboratory
Dec. 2014, p. 6, “Our life and death relationship with
American Laboratory Dec. 2014, p. 6
WSJ, 11-18-14, p. D4, “In the gut, the mix of
bacteria can affect your weight
Suggestions are that more than a dozen ailments
and diseases are influenced by the bacteria and
that antibiotics influence system wide changes
in ways we might not anticipate.  The WSJ looks
at it pretty objectively, not for making immediate

Echoing a similar theme is Bob Stevenson’s
editorial that speaks to the lifelong effects of
antibiotics and a helpful precaution on personal
safety– wearing gloves, use of hand sanitizers,
and hand washing. 
Good conscientious reading!

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Job Offer. Clawbacks, title, househunting trip and citizenship
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 10:35 am

The PhD graduate had worked hard.  We had spoken several times
over the last 6 months about documents, interview questions and
follow-up activities.  Now the time had come.  He received a generous
offer from a high tech firm through networking with a previous
member of his research group.

The networking connection, he mentioned, did not land the job
offer for him.  It allowed him to be selected to be interviewed.  He
had to do the rest.  In fact, during group interview sessions, the
person he had an affiliation with was pretty much a silent partner.

Salary, benefits, starting date, position title, bonus plan involvement,
relocation provision of $4K (with a repayment plan if the new
employee left earlier than 2 years;  this is a “clawback” condition)
were nicely covered in the offer letter. 

There are many uncertainties at this point.   So we spoke about
  obtaining clarity on his starting title of “senior phosphor engineer”,
  obtaining an offer to cover expenses of a househunting trip,
  asking for assistance in registering for permanent residence (lottery,
fees, legal) and
  suggestions for what to do with 401K, healthcare spending account,
insurances and vendors, and medical needs.

 It was interesting to note that the offer letter indicated he was “at
will” and gave him just 4 days to respond to accept the offer.  On
the company webpage, the position was listed as temporary.  
Al Sklover’s page is a valuable resource to mention at this point.
He reviews terminology and how to word questions so that they
come across professionally.

We did not go into salary comparisons, however the ACS salary
listed his offer at the 80 percentile using 2013 data.
[Interesting to note listed ~$10K higher salaries
in comparison.]

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Teaching Chemistry At Associates Degree Level
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:53 pm

It was an eye opening experience  visiting lecture,
laboratory and seminar sessions at a community
recently.  Chemistry professionals from
many backgrounds play important roles in this less
heralded segment of an academic career path.
Recent advanced degree graduates, mid-career people
who have transitioned from industry, scientists with
interdisciplinary backgrounds in marketing, product
development and analysis, and experienced community
college professors with a passion for instilling a strong
desire for the chemical field to curious minds are all
dedicated to this sub-field.

The excellent Preparation for Life After Graduate
program offers Community College teaching as
one of “four” academic directions with a eye-popping
1811 institutions (~60% of the total number) enrolling
44% of all chemistry undergraduates.  The roles that
this major subset of our community needs to provide
is met by incredibly dedicated staffs of professionals.

They not only teach general chemistry and organic
chemistry lectures, seminars and laboratories, but also
have important roles in preparing undergraduates in a
dozen other technical fields with interdisciplinary
foundations in chemistry.  A major component of their
professional roles involves mentoring, coaching and
teaching the accountability and determination skills (grit)
that we all recognize as important.

The “average age” of community college students is
nearer typical graduate school population of 24-26
with many more adult responsibilities that typical
undergraduates and graduates may not– families,
full time jobs, military commitments, travel and
home considerations, and more.

They often do not know where jobs are or what graduates
can do or where they can progress to the next academic

A recent AHA (History) description of some differences
in teaching intensity of more sessions in survey courses
can be translated to general chemistry and organic
chemistry lectures.
Community colleges manage student traffic and hours
of classes in a way that allows student to attend classes.
So often that means late afternoon through evening classes
and mid-day classes.
Classes can be longer (1.5-2 hours) and focus more on
repetition of core concepts and ideas in interactive
problem solving styles either with individuals or
Classes begin on time, yet students arrive at various times
due to conflicts with traffic and work.  The teacher has
to be creative and resilient to bring late arrivers up to
speed in considered ways to be effective teachers and

Nothing replaces the need for good laboratory instruction
in chemistry.  It is hard to simulate labs without at least a
performance type of run through.  I observed wonderful
listening, organization and problem solving of a half
dozen cases as students encountered set-up, execution and
laboratory report writing (incidentally, handed in on the
same day of the experiment.).  A dedicated full time staff
member needs to be involved and committed to student
centered learning.
In addition, critical habits involving preparation, cleanliness,
safety, hazardous materials  and operations need to be developed
and repeated.  A one time through a process is not enough.

This is just one of several ways chemistry curricula is different
than the history community college description by John Ball.
Another way is the logical and mathematical content and
formalism of homework and examination responses.  So while
there can be essays or multiple choice responses chemistry
requires critical thinking problem solving.  Often times, one
can understand the descriptions, but chemistry requires sticking
to things till the end without taking shortcuts.  While many
students “live on” partial credit, it is not a desired approach.

1 comment
Watch-Outs. 74. Personal Marketing, Sustainability, and Bacterial encoding of chemical exposures
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:02 pm

We spoke over lunch, a colleague and I, where she mentioned
one of her resolutions was to do more external committed
.  That is, reach out to those outside her current
firm.  This reminded me of an appropriate article by Jean
Cummings on “avoiding short term thinking.”

A second offering here is for those who do not often
read books about Global leadership and out of the WSJ.
As scientist we should be aware of these perspectives and
less tunnel-visioned by single issues.  Pursuing true
national energy self-sustainability as a way to regain stable
global leadership is not a single issue but a mission with
many objectives.

A third consideration is how the DNA of bacteria in our gut
are genetic recorders of chemical history and exposures.

SOURCE:  J. Cummings, 10-13-14, Don’t let short term
thinking derail your career
Jean has created a list of things mid-career technical
people who realize the higher you go up the pyramid the
fewer the suitable positions you would qualify for and
be happy doing.  She lists personal marketing goals and
shorter term objectives and development plans that would
be worth investing in.  As she mentions it may help avoid
a train wreck, due to unexpected changes.

SOURCES:  E. Schoeniger, WSJ 11-19-14, p. B5
Sustainability:  Biofuel finally breaks through
and W. K. Clark, “Don’t wait for the next war:  A strategy
for American Growth and Global Leadership

E Schoeniger wrote another in a series of pull-out ad
pieces documenting how biodiesel continues to be
a significant component of fuels for the transportation
sector.  It has a large economic and environmental
impact despite its relative size compared to petro-fuels.
This is where Wesley Clark’s controversial book comes
in.  Clark posits that America needs a coherent vision
and strategy that addresses the underlying military-
industrial-financial dilemma of our age– dependence
on OPEC and China.  Technology now is ready “to
climb this mountain”… where it was not 40 years ago.

This is where science technology and engineering
careers will be.

SOURCE:  Science Digest 11-13-14
Via SLAS Alert Bacteria become genomic tape recorders
recording chemical exposures in their DNA

There is something fundamental about this recent report of
storing information about our personal exposures in
the DNA of our Microbiome.  Lu explores and devises
a strategy to record, store and play back chemical
It is amazing how our microbiome plays a significant role
in our health.  And to think much of this direction came from
finding that a bacterium was responsible for stomach and
intestinal ulcers.
Original citation:  Farazadfard, Lu, Science 2014 346 6211
Genomically encoded analog memory with precise in
vivo DNA writing in living cell populations


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Undergraduate Chemistry Majors. Discussion about Careers
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 5:14 pm

This was my fifth consecutive year being invited to meet undergraduate
chemistry majors.  My host asked me to Talk about what it like for
people working in fields that a chemistry degree can prepare you
for.  Our class also had a nice question and answer segment where they
asked how I got started. 

I began by sharing that internships, coop programs and undergraduate
research activities really expose them to chemical problem solving
and practical aspects of chemistry and chemistry related fields. 
   High School.  My positive inclination toward chemistry started by an
influential high school chemistry teacher who noticed my interest and
took a liking to me and recommended (sponsored) me for a job. 
   Summer Medical Research Internships.  Near the end of my 2nd year
I got the courage to knock on the door of the chairman of the
Biochemistry Department.  I inquired whether there were any
opportunities to work in his lab.  Dr. Richard Winzler kindly offered 
me a position through the summer in his research group. 
    The next three summers I was privileged to work with grad students,
post-docs and visiting faculty.  It helped me get the knack of research
addressing different kinds of problems.
    Undergraduate Research.  In my senior year  Dr. Bob Allendoerfer
agreed to have me become his first student in his lab doing undergraduate
research on my own project.  Our studies involved spectroscopic
studies of a free radical stabilizer.  He gave me a lot for my 3 credit
hour course and prepared me for graduate research. 
So my first semester of formal graduate research I had already
experienced four kinds of research activities, knew about setting goals,
asking questions and developing proposals. 
Don’t be afraid to ask.

For the segment of what it is like in industry– we viewed photos from
actual laboratories doing studies using robotic dispensers, AGVs
(automated guided vehicles), computer controlled experiments,
automated warehousing, brilliantly designed pick-in-place equipment,
advanced designed water treatment facilities and gaseous, liquid and
solid waste handling systems.  We even talked about coordination
with the Environmental agencies when a sulfuric acid spill disrupted
processing activities (no one was exposed or hurt).

Then we talked about the different fields outside the obvious ones
where chemical knowledge is applied.  Law, patents and contracts,
Customer Relations management, sustainable processes and products,
Resource recovery, medicine, diseases and therapies….

1 comment
Negotiations. 4. Overcoming Bad Habits
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:29 pm

Negotiations can lose momentum quickly when our
untrained, emotional habits and fears are exposed.

We saw this in our Negotiations Seminar.  Four groups
were invited to choose one of three scenarios of negotiations
and set up a two party negotiation within their group.
The seminar had covered all of the elements of the
Negotiation Process
-offer in writing, job description in writing
-set up your process, enlist a helping team, set your family’s
priorities among the possible items and do thorough research
and due diligence
-develop and practice your strategy
-develop ideas for your BATNA
-execute and adapt to situations

We had covered the Negotiations Checklist.

A. One of the comments afterward was that there weren’t clear
instructions of what to do
.  The response is it is an applicant’s
responsibility to show that they can create order out of an
uncertain situation
.  Each group should have gravitated to the
process flow chart and checklist.  This was a teachable moment.

B.  Another interesting observation was that there was no
strategic thinking and establishing of a priority order of the list
of things.  This was demonstrated by one proposal:  Will the
company pay for my student loans.

Again the point is to find out leverage points.  What are the company’s
highest needs?  How can you the applicant meet and exceed them?
Listen carefully after exploring their wants to develop your
leverage in the negotiation.  Then, the company representative is
more than willing to pursue their BATNA ideas to have you want
to join their organization.  Another teachable moment.

Instead, the question showed an attitude that might only turn the
representative off.

There are organizations– the Federal government, that have certain
loan repayment provisions
for specific position hires.  But your
responsibility in negotiation is to explore leverage points.

Good habits:  Use the negotiation process
                        Know and implement the Negotiation Checklist.

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Job Offer. Low Salary, No Offer Letter
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 1:10 pm

A very recent PhD attended the Negotiation Process
seminar.  This person seemed to be both pleased
and concerned.

This person expressed not being aware of the importance
of receiving a formal offer letter.   The list of possible
items that could be negotiated and how to form and
conduct the process were quite valuable.  However,
it seems, preliminary research work for this small
company had already begun without pay or even an
offer letter.

Let me indicate that this entry is not focused on the
offer letter and its contents.  Please refer to excellent
entries in Sklover Working Wisdom.

This person asked:  What should I do now, as I have
not heard from the small start up company entrepreneur?

The verbal job offer for the PhD was $50K/ year.

This is clearly an opportunity to put the negotiating
checklist and negotiating process to work.  It is
important to ask for an in person meeting to seek
a written commitment stating starting date, title,
salary and formal benefits and any conditionals

(like, receiving a grant or funding or contracts).

The person should be doing formal due diligence on
this position and its competitors
, should be forming
a negotiating team
to help define and evaluate, should
be establishing BATNA and all the other process
steps and checklist items

To start, going to the ACS Salary Comparator can
establish a ground state.  It does not seem to me,
besides protests to the contrary, that $50K is a
reasonable starting salary for a full time PhD position.
The 2013 data assessment bore this hypothesis out.

SCENARIO   Academic     Commercial                   
Specific area  N. E. outside of NYC and Boston
                       research        Contract        Profession
                                              Research       Services
80 %ile          $83K             $109K           $114K
60 %ile            73K                 96K              100K
30 %ile             61K                80K                83K
10 %ile             51K                67K                70K

There is certainly room to seek a better offer just
in this. 

The workshop provided 30 other negotiating factors
that in the best interest of this person should be prioritized
before the formal in person meeting.

In addition, a viable back-up plan needs to be developed
in short order.

1 comment
Negotiations. 3. The Negotiation Process, Being Likeable, Priorities and Leverage
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:11 pm

Negotiation is not something people feel comfortable
doing  for it can feel like moving from a certain offer
to a risk-laden proposal with an uncertain response.
Our minds are uncomfortable with uncertainty.  Thus,
some people are shy to negotiate and aim to please the
other party (undermining their own family needs).

It is helpful then to have a working definition that
clarifies that negotiation is a process of “motivating”
another person to do something that (s)he at the moment
is not inclined to do.
The power you have to motivate is “leverage” to
excel and complete the tasks and projects assigned
to you.  Thus, your approach is not “me-centric”
(ie.  I want, I need….)

You can establish leverage by being likeable so that
both you and the other party feel comfortable in
sharing and more importantly listening to each other,
and clarifying interests and needs.  We then agree to
understand the interests and meet and exceed
the needs which yields leverage in a negotiation.

Many successful negotiations are not “one-person
shows,” but result from team efforts, resources and
inputs to define priority needs to seek in the
principled negotiation.

Previous posts on negotiation
   Using T-Charts to compare offer terms
   Legal aspects of negotiations
   Things to avoid
   things to have– written offer
   Things to ask and of whom to ask them

Watch-Outs. 73. Technology changing our Landscapes
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:42 pm

Do you read hardcopy newspaper for your current
events news, or watch video feeds, or employ a
browser to collect information from Flipboard,
Huffington Post, msn, or leading online newspapers?
Unintended consequences of our race to keep
informed as efficiently as we can, have others
select the content for us.

Look around and observe all the changes that
technological trends are producing by adaptation
and trial and error efforts to support ourselves.
There are many things that reveal structural
changes in our work environments that we should
be observing and paying attention to.

SOURCE:  T. Teachout, WSJ 10-24-14, “Closing
our browsers:  “Without brick and mortar bookstores,
what happens to browsing?”

How many times have you searched for a specific
reference and inadvertently found something even
more interesting?  This possibility seems to be
rapidly going away as we become sequestered (using
a government term) into using the Internet for more
things.  This leaves the old fashioned “gum-shoe”
actions of informal browsing an activity of the past.

There is more to it– this article suggests as bookstores
close and many more buy their content either
digitally delivered or via Amazon.

SOURCE:  D. Fitzgerald and P. Ziobro, WSJ 11-4-14
p. B6, Malls fill vacant stores with server rooms

This article hints at multiple secondary uses of
brick and mortar facilities, that we urge readers,
provide changes and opportunities, if you are ready. 

Several people I know have shared office spaces
in an old warehouse.  Medical offices for records
and accounting are more often in former malls
that replace typical big name retailers.

In strategically advantaged locations (with electricity,
light, telecom connections, and suitable fire protection)
well trained computer scientists set up and run
data-farms in former retail outlets.

SOURCE:  L. Eaton, WSJ 11-4-14, p. B1
Fracking’s unlikely Battleground

In the Barnett Shale region of Texas, a traditional
hotbed of pro-drilling activity, a voter initiative
to ban fracking is being tested today.  It is based on
exposure to and toxicology of the chemicals in
the surrounding area to fracking facilities.

Related to this is a terrific summary of a meeting
in August in San Francisco of the early determinations
and observations of the fracking revolution.
In the review, Robert Stevenson impartially discusses
the process, the concerns, the risks and elements
of regulation.  If this topic is of interest or concern
this review is a targeted technical assessment.

SOURCE: “Anyone ever done this before?  Patent
office turns to crowdsourcing

While “browsing” on one topic (crowdsourcing) and
exploring where it might lead, a mighty and helpful
“factoid” was uncovered.
The PTO is seeking ideas and strategies to examine
prior art for new patent applications in its search
for improving the patent approval process.

The new director (M. Lee) and Presidential Innovation
Fellow (C. Wong) are facilitating processes to improve
private and public sector cooperation in a beneficial
way in PTO operations.


1 comment
Resumes. First step suggestions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:55 pm

So often career consultants get requests to review resumes
by nearly-ready-for-thesis-and-defense PhD or MS student or
a post doc.  When career consultants ask, for good reason,
what position are they applying for, they say

“As far as industries go, I am actually pretty interested in
defense, aerospace, and the like [or medicinal chemistry
or pharmaceutical chemistry and toxicology or chemical
biology or engineering modeling of complex processes] . 
I also wouldn’t mind teaching at a
small college somewhere
with tenure.”

The resume they send me will not land them an interview.
The reason is: the document is an incomplete mixture of a
CV and a resume that does not answer the questions each
kind attempts to offer to the reviewer.

The resume writer, not knowing what career path to aim for first,
might best begin by completing a “master resumeor complete
CV with all personal date.  Jessica Holbrook Hernandez nicely
described the Master Resume as a resource document containing
every skill, valid dates, all positions and accomplishments,
no matter whether in school, as a volunteer or for employment.

All of the information does not necessarily end up in a
targeted resume
which would be sent to land an interview for an
industrial position nor in a CV for academic positions.

In all cases, though, we need to include Keywords used in
the field or industry.  If a person applies to different organizations
for example, one might use NMR for another you might use MRI.

I am always surprised that people use some standard Office
format, when they should realize not everyone uploads
preserving the formatting.  (Read the instructions link for
uploading) Or, that your name should be on
each page with its page number, except page 1.

Another surprise is presuming that the resume reviewer
will be able to figure out the formatting or will understand the
unique meanings of things
like:  ‘pristene graphene,’ phi
lambda upsilon, and ccd (not charge coupled device).

In 2014 the resume document alone is insufficient.  So
much transpires on the Internet, you need to also have
a strong, attractive and complete profile on the web.  One
of the most common is a Linkedin Profile.  A solid
commentary on areas to emphasize is given by Interns over
40 blog
.  It is not a bad idea to list this information in the
resume heading.

The Business of Scientifically Based Products and Innovations. DuPont 2014
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:07 am

We see a real world case in front of our eyes, if you
want to learn about realities of commercial based
.  DuPont’s CEO Kullman is making her case
to the investment and ownership communities
(These are different, as you will learn.) that DuPont
should remain a R&D giant that harnesses skills,
ideas, trial & learning, from thousands of experienced
technical people.

She contends that useful developments need to be
incubated and encouraged and cannot be PERT
charted so easily.  Her direct adversaries, Trian
Fund Management LLC, in the investment
community say split this chemical enterprise up
into smaller, focused businesses that can be
“managed” to obtain shorter term profits.  The
business investment community cite eBay and
HP which are in different technology sectors
with different development timelines and strategies.

Reading deeper into the scientific management
of DuPont, you can see their documented mission
and objectives.  Learning from the results of other
splits, we find that some investors benefit in the
short run.

I urge you to watch what happens over the next
half year about a possible split and 2-3 years the
patenting and profitability outcomes, if it does
or does not split.  This is a good “case study” for
the chemical enterprise community.

Watch-Outs. 72. Spear Phishing attack. Beware.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:52 pm

It came from a trusted friend’s email and I got caught
and my email senders and receivers [address book]
will also be hounded.

It did not occur to me that signing into a document sent
this way would set me up in the scam.  “Spear phishing” is a
targeted version of phishing .  Learn from my mistake.
No matter how realistic, question the message that asks you
to sign into a link from an email attachment.

Think before you click

Pay close attention to sign-in screens.

Cyber criminals can use links in emails, tweets, posts and
online advertisements to direct you to fake sign-in screens,
where they can steal your password. Only sign in to
your account when you are certain you visited the
real site directly.

You should always be wary of any message that asks for
your own personal information or messages that refer
you to a we page asking for personal information.

What should I do when I see a phishing scam?
Never reply to a suspicious email, tweet, or post
with your personal or financial information.  Also,
do not fill out forms or sign in screens that link from
these messages.

Most email providers, including gmail, allow you
to report suspicious emails and phishing scams.  To
report in gmail, CLICK the drop-down arrow next to
“reply” and SELECT “report phishing.”

SELECT Report Phishing message option and finish the

1. Change your password immediately.

2.  Change your passwords PW for other sites;  people tend
to use the same PW for more than one site.  Change the
PW for any site where the PW is the same as the one you
used to log in to the phony gmail site.

3. If you gave them ANY OTHER information, you need to
take some action:
* credit cards: destroy, alert credit agencies
* bank:  alert bank, move funds into a new account or an
account that the con artist is unaware of
* personal details: ignore all future email from the scam

LAST AND IMPORTANT:  Wou WILL be put on a list of
‘easy marks’ that is sold to other scammers.  Be very vigilant.
Do not accept as true any notes from people who are not
you friends.  If someone writes you saying they are stuck
in some foreign location and need money to return home,
and has some lame excuse why he or you cannot call.
It is not true.  REMEMBER:  They have your address book
and know who is on the list.


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Watch-Outs. 71. Day of Photonics and Ebola virus
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:26 am

It is hard to believe we are not being alerted to these
things in the US, especially in ACS!  TODAY is
the inaugural “day of photonics” highlighting the
progress being made in this enabling technology.
Photonics publications highlight it.  Links below.

Second, where does one get some insight into the
ebola virus?  Not the ACS… or other biochemical
media outlets.  You know where I discovered a close
up cartoon-structure?  Amazingly, in the Economist without
certified references and ’scientific’ discussion.

BONUS:  What every job searcher needs to know.
SOURCE:  B. Sucher, Career Hub Blog

“What you do not know will not only hurt you.
It can sabotage you, derail you, and keep you from
moving on [towards your goals] with confidence,
knowledge and efficiency.”

SOURCE  Day of Photonics web-page
                  Intl year of light web-page

It is true there is a new journal Photonics, led by
editor H. Atwater who presents the journal’s current
It would be a nice collaboration to see the worldwide
demonstration of the incredible progress enabled by
photonics.  It is a critical area to educate STEM fields
in its basics which this worldwide event intends.
Worth a look.

SOURCE:  Economist, 10-18-14, p. 61

The article points out a mechanism of infection
and possible active proteins.  While CEN has
touted possible therapies it is nice to see some
descriptive images obtained with current tools
in the biochemical toolkit to describe what humans
are up against.  All politics and biases aside.

1 comment
After the Interview. AAR AfterActionReview
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 5:09 pm

A useful tool to use after you take an interview, after
you give a seminar or presentation or after a planned
event is an After Action Review  AAR.

AAR is a retrospective analysis of a goal oriented
action that performs an evaluation and offers improvements.
In this process “lessons learned” can be an output.  AARs
are common in military actions, emergency preparation
and actions, knowledge management, exit interviews,
and fire and police actions.
Colin Powell brought to light AARs in a Face the nation interview
several years ago.

CASE 1.  On site interview
Shou and I reviewed his recent on-site interview where he
did not feel he performed particularly well  So we captured what
he felt he did well and where he did not see how his preparation
was enough to satisfy the interviewers.  [AAR step]

He met the night before two professionals for dinner and then
first thing in the morning with the HR manager.  His technical
presentation that followed went well and his audience provided positive
He had a short conversation with a friend in the company that
confirmed this impression.  After lunch, that is where he had problems.

The interview then become a unique process of one interviewer
listening to him in a conference room where he was asked one question
for one hour.  He was asked how he goes about and has demonstrated
innovation.  [AAR step 2 identify and break down areas to improve]

It took him 5-10 minutes to offered prepared responses.  Then, he
had nothing prepared to offer.  [This apparently was the purpose
of this interview strategy:  The question asked to demonstrate
communications skills, creativity, curiosity depth of thought in
his graduate education

We discussed how he could 1) break down the initial question,
2) how he should perform an audience analysis, and 3) know
some common ground to frame the response and 4) create a dialog,
rather than a monolog.  5) Use room facilities [white board,
pens, paper, draw diagrams, flow charts, PERT charts, etc.].

The next interview was the same format asking the question:
How do you make decisions.  He faced a similar dilemma.

CASE 2.  Bullying incident in a seminar
In a mock interviewing seminar, an audience member volunteered
to be interviewed face to face with a colleague.  The planned
session was completed quite competently and the audience was
asked for positive comments and areas for improvement.  Of
the half dozen comments one person articulated a pernicious
attack on the person.
  While the interviewee saw, smiled and
said thank you, the interviewer turned the comment around
and devised an appropriate strong assertion pointing out how
the interviewee had nicely overcome problems and learned
from them. 

Everyone in the session observed the disservice and it was clear
this became a “teachable moment” how to deal with adverse

The interviewee and I privately discussed how I was very
impressed with maintenance of composure under the
circumstance.  I indicated that the interviewer and the
whole seminar room noticed it and appreciated the very
professional way in which it was dealt.

All three co-presenters shared their concern about the
bullying that we observed.  After consultation we thought
we were all surprised, dismayed and thought if we had
direct interactions with the bully we should privately confront
her and communicate this has no place in our scientific

An AAR is a critical tool in our toolkit to continually improve.

Watch-Outs. 70. IRA Scrutiny, Negotiating salary, life’s priorities
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:24 pm

Our long term health and financial security often follow
family as important and indeed “priorities” in our lives.
It is reason enough to keep an open eye and mind to
tips, strategies and changes to investments, IRAs
and 401K accounts that are linked to.  [Not being
an expert, more to share items of potential value to

Negotiating for various items is a second topic.
As it is a subject we do not identify as important,
but it really is something we do not only when we
are hired but throughout our life.  The context in
this post is for women professionals salaries.

Looking for answers to what is important in
our lives is the third link.  While it is done in the
context of business and economists, I dare say it
is a common area of interest for chemists and
technical professionals of all levels and disciplines.
It is sorely missed in our world view.

SOURCE:  L. Suanders, WSJ 10-11-14, p. B8
“Scrutinizing Supersize IRAs

While the comments offer considerable backlash
from those who legally took advantage of things
the lawmakers could not envision, the article
offers some advice.  It offers
1.  “if you have an IRA that holds nontraded assets,
make sure to cross every “T” and dot every “I” for
the IRS.
2.  Don’t count on your IRA surviving many decades.
3.  Consider maximizing contributions to tax
sheltered plans now.”

SOURCE:  John Bussey, WSJ 10-11-14 P. B4
Gender wage gap may reflect ask gap

The comments to this article go outside the bounds
of a plain hypothesis.  The idea is to ask for what you
identify as a priority.  If you do not ask it is rarer
that you will get it.  To ask “put your best case
forward and ask…”

While social scientist have a list of explanations
for differences between men and women– job
choice, career interruption, experience, being
in a union, hours of work, child care, [from article],
asking for a raise is a difference– men ask more often
by putting their best case forward.

SOURCE:  Schumpeter, the Economist, 10-4-14, P76
Philosopher kings

When we retire is when we often wait to figure
out what is important.  It is too late.  You have
heard stories about suicides in offices of people
who let everything go except their business or career.
This article cites several examples of people who
think about and establish their priorities as part
of the daily adult lives.  The article is worth pondering.
If interested in this, the book by Greg McKeown,
Essentialism gives you more depth.

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Trends in Technical Careers. Optogenetics, Ultrashort Laser Processing, and Better Negotiations
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:17 pm

In reading through items in my “in-box” I hit
upon some research on combining light to
induce dopamine release as a way to suppress
the taste for alcohol.  It is an interesting use
of combining technologies– genetics,
chemistry, pharmacolology and lasers.

Ultra short pulsed lasers are moving to
microtechnology manufacturing and automotive
engines.  This results from several advances
that allow processing without heating and
other damages.

Finally, I was “invited” to view a webinar
by Steven Cohen about negotiation.  My
goodness, he offered very meaning hints,
tips and trends that we use negotiation
in our every day life and it is a professional
skill that benefits from understanding the
basics. of human communications with
different cultural audiences.  His recent book
link is shared.

SOURCE:  Optogenetic Stimulation…
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 2013
Intrigued by a cartoon summary of research,
this article displays relevant research in the
interdisciplinary areas pertaining to substance

Andrew May
SOURCE:  Take the Heat out of..
Photonics showcase brief on new developments
in laser technology is being tested to drill
injector nozzles in engines and to scribe  ITO
coatings of smartphone screens.

SOURCE:  Negotiating Skills Company
Most important negotiation presence is
face-to-face, since it allows communication
of nonverbal signals with less confusion.  Skyping,
telephone follow.  Mail, Email, and texting
follow after, as visual elements are so important and
there can be inadvertent mishaps that slip through.

Language in the global arena, going after major
issues but keeping in focus BATNA (best alternative
to a negotiated agreement) and ZOPA (zone of
possible agreement) are compelling concepts

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Watch-Outs. 69. Talithia Williams, Julian Treasure, Clinical Genomics Commentary
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Leadership, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:52 am

It is tempting to post a comment on the first Watch-out–
Talithia Williams TED talk.  It is about biometric
measurements on ourselves which can aid our personal
medical health.  Instead, because it is such a compelling
topic useful for all of us, I highlight it.   Recording
simple data on ourselves can be a virtue and is worth
sharing widely.

Julian Treasure’s TED talk is transformational in
offering a voice mechanics tutorial to make our
listeners want to listen to us.  In addition, he points
out things we should intentionally do– HAIL
(be Honest, Authentic, display Integrity and Love)
; and we  should avoid…read further.

While I have been reading his American Laboratory
columns for some time, the Clinical Genome
Conference review Link is another powerful piece
that teaches about the current state and short
term future of clinical genomics in the American

Bonus link to the Kazarian memo (for those
interested) in EB-1 working papers is provided.

SOURCE:  TED Talithia Williams

Dr. Williams powerfully portrays applying statistics
to ordinary temperature and blood pressure measurements
can quantum leap our health.  A dynamic presentation.

AH, BA-BA-, BR-BR-, LA-LA-, Roll-R, WE-AW
SOURCE:  TED Julian Treasure

Four terrific speaking topics are covered in a thrilling
TED talk worth viewing and learning new practices.
Voice mechanics exercises (in headline), HAIL
(introduction), voice properties and speaking
make this quite memorable.

He recommends not– gossiping, judging, being
negative, complaining, finding excuses,
exaggerating or being dogmatic.  the “ills.”

He calls out the voice properties that we can
pick up in great speakers– register, timbre,
prosody, volume, pace, and pitch.

SOURCE:  R. Stevenson, American Laboratory
September, 2014. P, 30

Bob Stevenson points out that modern medicine
is 5 P’s- predictive, preventive, personal, participatory
and philanthropic.  Yet insurance reimbursement rules
are restrictive.  If there is no treatment, why test?
This is clear in the Advanced Diagnostic Tests for
laboratory assays that are not covered (but may have
claw-back reviews).
The review delineates Exome Sequencing, Whole
Genome Sequencing, Whole Exome Sequencing,
Incidental Findings.  It also touches on database
management and keeping personal data private.

When I go for my annual physical and ask for
tests, this piece will help me speak to my physician.

SOURCE:  BIO-Careers Blog

Terrific article on EB-1 Green Card
requirements and terms.

comments (0)
Watch-Outs. 68. Internships, Resumes, Retirement Planning
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:22 pm

Recent graduates and post-docs seem to be better prepared for
industrial positions now if they have either been in a co-op
program or been involved in internships.  We point to a broader
article on the practice of internships and highlight useful
ideas (namely proceed with caution for unpaid positions and
have a very good idea why you want the experience and what
you will do with the experience.).

While I still recommend value in creating a master
resume or CV to capture all of your experiences, credentials,
projects, avocations, and areas of work interest, specifically
targeted with keywords ready for scanning documents are
what a leading resume coach recommends.

One of the better recent articles describing retirement
planning is pointed out.  It points out some considerations
that might influence organization, planning and spending

SOURCE:  The Economist, 9-6-14, p. 61
Generation i” (small i)
From one point of view this article reviews the history
of interns and experiences of mostly “unpaid internships”
which seem to be a last choice option.  The “comments”
section offers a rebuttal that the article misses paid
internships in technical positions lasting 2-6 months.
Paid internships in the best of cases (25%) offers
an in-person experience that is outside of the academic
arena and is an investment in you.

SOURCE:  Career Hub, Jean Cummings
The Kind of resume that works now“ 
Jean really emphasizes the need to study the job
description carefully and pick out the job titles
and keywords unique to the position.  Then
incorporate them into your cover letter and your
resume in context.  ATS software is the rule such
that once it is scanned and sorted reviewers spend
5-6 seconds reading an easy to read, specific,
and targeted resume.

SOURCE:  R. Kapadia, Barrons, 9-22-14, p. 23
Don’t Panic
Point by point discussion first discussing myths
touching on
- spending in retirement is fluid, not constant
- within 10 years of retirement, half are single,
especially lower educated
- the impact of children/minors is substantial

Then, covering Important steps which include:
-   regularly updated budgeting, manage your cash
flow and plan state and federal taxes
-   have fewer fixed expenses;  pay things off
-   behavioral economics applies– in down
years, spend less
-   very good advice on tax diversification

Added notes on Long term care
-   it will happen
-   industry is changing , select broadest definition
of care givers, begin reimbursements after
calendar days (not service days)
-   pay attention to elimination period

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Recommended Reading for Career Management. Issue 3
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:16 pm

Delightful conversations led to people talking about books
that could be inspirational and helpful.  My first list and
second list links are enunciated.   Here is my third list
that I share.  Thanks, Lin.

Charles Wheelan, Naked Statistics:  Stripping the Dread
from the Data, Norton and Company, NY 2013

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt
Bloomsbury Press NY, 2010

Martin J Blaser, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse
of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues
, Henry Holt
and Company, NY, 2014  

Les McKeown, Predictable Success  Greenleaf Book Group,
Austin TX 2010

Brian Tracy, Goals: How to get everything you want:
faster than you ever thought possible. 
Publishers.  San Francisco, 2004

Brian Tracy Create your own Future:  How to master the 12
critical factors of unlimited success
John Wiley and Sons, 2002

Brooks Landon, Building Great Sentences:  Exploring the
Writers Craft
  the Great courses, 2008

Charles Seife Virtual Unreality  Viking NY 2014

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan,
Fukushima, a story of a nuclear disaster,  The new press,
NY 2014

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine
Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a time of brilliant
, W W Norton and company, NY 

James Pennebaker, The Secret Life of Pronouns: What our
words say about us,
  Bloomsbury Press NY, NY 2011

Clifford Pickover, Archimedes to Hawking:  Laws of Science
and the Great Minds behind them
  Oxford 2008

Charles Duhigg  The Power of Habit:  Why we do what
we do in life and business,  Random House  NY  2012

Eric Topol, The Creative Destruction of Medicine: 
How the digital revolution will create better
health care,
Basic Books,  2012

Samuel Arbesman, The Half Life of Facts: Why everything
we know has an expiration date
Current of the Penguin
Group, 2012

Norman Rosenthal  The Gift of Adversity The unexpected
Benefits of life’s difficulties, setbacks and

Jeremy Taucher   Penguin 2013 NY

Gary Klein, Intuition at Work: Why developing your
gut instincts will make you better at what you do,
Currency Doubleday  NY  2003

Viktor Mayer-Schoneberger and Kenneth Cukier  Big Data:
A Revolution that will Transform how we Work, Live
and Think, 
Eamon Dolan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston 2013

Chip Heath and Dan Heath  Decisive:  How to make Better
Choices in Life and Work

Vicky Olliver, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview
, Sourcebooks Naperville IL 2005

Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Will Not Get You
  Hyperion 2007

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The new digital age: Reshaping
the future of people, nations and business
.  Alfred A Knopf NY 2013

Douglas Rushkoff  Present Shock: When everything happens
Current Penguin Group  NY  2013

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