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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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05/21/15
Other Documents.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:48 pm

We led a seminar discussion that resulted from the
thoughts of Don Street about addressing the process of
reviewing our public relations documents
.  Don relates
that (1) first we must convert the “uninterested (or uninvested)
reader” to an “interested reader”.

Then we need to (2) convince that interested reader that
we have the insights, background and hard skills
to be
successful not only in the interview, but also in the position.

The seminar discussed these after reviewing “what counts”
factors and expectations for positions in different career paths. 

SCREENING WITH TRADITIONAL DOCUMENTS
It is common knowledge that most corporate and government
employers use applicant tracking system software or
grade submitted applications packages.  Thus, targeted
resumes using specific key words
are important to convert
the uninterested to interested reader.  Much the same
occurs in academia using CVs and cover letter to introduce
yourself to the review committee.

NEW AGE SCREENING WITH LINKEDIN
Recruiters now also strategically use your Linkedin
profile to predominantly screen potential candidates, but
also interrogate an in depth profile on you.  Part of
push-pull marketing that we should perform.

OTHER DOCUMENTS
We then reviewed some “other ” documents that may
enhance your candidacy, including, corporate career path,
-  linkedin profile
-  list of projects
-  accomplishment summary (research, for example)
-  field research (business development, for example)
-  synopsis of patent, copyright, review article
-  summary of industry insights

For academic career paths, “other” documents include
-   teaching philosophy
-   research proposals (preparation helped by having research
idea notebook)
-           note also Heilmeier commandments
-   start up funding and equipment list
-   course description and syllabus
-   “five slides” document (prepared for screening interviews)
-   management philosophy
-   registration in ResearchGate

Government positions “other” documents include
-   Master resume in USAJobs.gov
-   targeted resumes with keywords throgh USAJobs.gov
-   DD-214 military record
-   SF-50
look also at federalgovernmentjobs.us/forms.html
USAJobs.gov/search/advancedsearch
where you are asked about KSAs knowledge, skills and
abilities.

comments (0)
Transformative Planning. 2. Questions to ask
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:01 pm

This blog remarked about transformative planning recently.
Many of the comments to an article that reported on the
impacts of the drop in oil prices on near term hiring and
university students in petroleum engineering professions.
What do you do?

Enrollment was reported to more then triple in university
programs in five years.  So this impacts many more who
have graduated or are in the middle of their studies.

Many of us who started out in one career path or line of
work have have adapted our skills to emerging or evolving
areas by applying our basic knowledge to new problems, over
and over again. 

In fact, many current postings will all but certainly be
transformed by automation, robotics, lasers, nanomaterials
and life cycle analysis.  New technology or technical
solutions do not direct loss of jobs, but transition us
more to jobs that employ reorganized routines to accomplish
our goals.  James Bessen has recently written that
professionals, students and teachers need to recognize this.

So, in one case, economics of the petroleum feedstock
industry and in another “technology” seems to be changing
the face and prospects of gainful employment.

It urges us to be more prepared for disruptive forces and
ask better questions when we enter fields or interview for
positions.  As we see many of us being employed by
organizations for shorter spans and hiring practices
leading more to project based or consulting or temporary
employment,  the pointers Al Sklover raises about things
we can ask and negotiate when working as a consultant
become more meaningful.

comments (0)
05/14/15
Powerful Account of Lithium-ion Battery Development
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:38 pm

Have you read or even heard about Steven LeVine’s
Powerhouse,” a recent book capturing the trade-offs,
the financial-interpersonal-international conflicts and
technical challenges that solid state scientists,
electrochemists and engineers are dueling with in
developing lithium-ion energy storage devices for the
last 40+ years.

The technical challenges of packaging a high
energy density system of combustible components
that  maintains performance under real life extreme
situations for decades are given a true-to-life story line.

It tells of what it is like to develop an unknown combination
of materials, chemistries and system trade-offs set to
immense goals where an existing technology already
exists– the gasoline combustion engine.

He reveals
1.  how non-Americans are the preferred leaders and workers
2.  how American economic values undermine longer term
development projects
3.  how new ideas, counter to existing beliefs, come from
unanticipated sources
4.  how laboratory R&D oversimplifies what actually happens
in real life.  That real life protocols are essential in the
testing phases, before large scale production.
5.  how hype and apparent quick fixes shortcircuit many
things where small incremental improvements rigorously
tested are more important.

Companies start up and fail.  They have wonderful mission
statements but shortcomings overwhelm them.
The possible involvement of government lab facilities, even
a couple of formerly competing labs, and throw in government
sequestration, help make progress.  As the book reveals, goals
are “target statements” that are not always met.  Real progress
and transformational change may happen but not as
originally focused or by whom it was expected.

1 comment
05/11/15
Call to Action. Letters to Elected Officials
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:19 am

Thank you again for reading this blog.  It is a privilege to have
this opportunity.  I take it as a firm responsibility.

May I have your attention about the importance you and I have
in our representative republic to formally express our concerns
and ideas to our elected representatives in letters, emails
and texts.
  It is critical and not often emphasized (by our teachers,
professional society leaders and journal and magazine editors)
that we need to call on them to act, vote, propose and question
critical issues
.

EXAMPLE
Steve Ernst, editor of American Laboratory, deserves credit and
recognition for speaking out on anti-biotic-resistant bacteria and
the serious implications of overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Long term use of agricultural antibiotics to increase weight gain
combined with overprescribing human patient practices are
leading to forecasts as dire as causing 10 million deaths and
cost $100 Trillion by 2050!

We need to strongly urge congressional reps to take positive
action based on scientific advice.  [Ernst offers stronger words.] 

OTHER SERIOUS AREAS
Funding NIH Mission
America’s technical leadership
Long term support of Basic Research
Environmental ethics
Accountability and transparency about technical discussions on
     critical issue topics [who is funding “research”, how is data
     analyzed, appropriate use of statistics, etc.]

WRITING ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
What to write about
Who to write to
What is the best medium, timeline, content

IF they do something special, send a thank you.
 

2 comments
05/06/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Lasers for superresolution Microscopy, New Silicon Oxide subspeces and Special “contact lens” design
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:05 pm

When learning about microscopes decades ago we were taught about
the resolution limits being the diffraction limit.
Super-resolution microscopy observes a static sample multiple times
and modifies the excitation light or changes in the image based on
fluorophore photophysics.  A recent review describes improvements
that are helping researchers, clinicians and developers.

It has been a mystery about what forms when pure silicon surfaces
are oxidized.  Being able to make Si2O3 and Si2O4 may lead the way
for further developments in microelectronics.

A Wow development of inserting a telescope into a contact lens was
reported.

LASERS FOR SUPERRESOLUTION MICROSCOPY
Arrigoni et al describe new laser technologies that are enabling
researchers and clinicians to extend the use of laser microscopes.
The technical depth of the article is clear and articulate so that
other fields will find value in the new developments.

SILICON OXIDES
Highlighted in CEN, the report of sub-2 oxides of silicon
synthesis and isolation in Nature Chemistry fills in gap
in the chemical knowledge of subspecies suspected to
be involved doping, protection, carrier generation and capture
layers of microelectronics layers..

TELESCOPIC CONTACT LENS
Trembley and co-workers have fabricated a contact lens which
allows wearers to expand the size of perceived objects
magnifying the view.  Still in the prototype phase with
technical issues to overcome, this was in a Photonics
Spectra report of Sarina Tracy.

comments (0)
05/02/15
Crossing International Cultural Differences.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:25 am

Last month this blog posted International Job Applications,
indicating several differences between European and American
approaches.

Recently, KH was curious about an on-site interview with an
international organization that involved 5 separate meetings
with HR and technical representatives, but no formal technical
presentation.
It could be that one or more of the technical meetings would
involve going into the laboratory to demonstrate competence
and knowledge about equipment. 
It could be that the interviews aimed to explore the cultural and
personality fit into the organization.
Some work by Andy Molinsky about Cultural Dexterity might
fit. 
Molinsky has researched and written about “global dexterity
as being the ability to adapt your behaviors to foreign or local
cultures without losing your personal authenticity.

Molinsky details tactics to overcome three challenges interviewees
and visitors face– authenticity, competence and resentment, by focusing
on four elements of personal style.  They are directness, enthusiasm,
self promotion and formality
.

A Molinsky provides a slide-share of these concepts.

1 comment
04/29/15
Skills Not Taught. For Making Money, Legal Solicitations, New Science violating Old Rules
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

It is only human to think about what is near in our future
rather than what may happen farther in our future.  We
also dream about pleasures, rather the unanticipated
trials we may face.

James Altucher provided a recent note on skills
that will help make you money, but are not taught.

Al Sklover
explains agreements you may be asked
to sign that might restrict your future employment
endeavors.

Kathleen Haughney reviewed striking discoveries about
factoids, like californium studies, that will generate
revisions to the understanding of the order of the
periodic table.

All three of these might be important in the future and
are suggested items to file away when your need arises.

MONEY MAKING
How to look at “failure” as a good thing?
How to offer things to others despite their immediate reactions
and without expecting anything in return?
How to think about your “Z plan” your long range outcome in a
perfect world?
How to better negotiate your future and conflicts you may face?
How to pursue things for the greater good:  sell ideas, accept
criticism, congratulate and thank others?

NON-COMPETE, NON-SOLICITATION AND NON-DISCLOSURE
There are an amazing number of legal entanglements that
may happen when you sign an offer letter for your desired
position.  It is something that you need to know something
about, know what to look for and have resources to deal with.
Al Sklover produced a series of definite resources that should
be required reading before you enter into legally binding

SCIENTIFIC “FACTS” CAN EVOLVE
Californium is a radioactive element whose chemical properties
were studied and reported recently.  Albrecht-Schmidt and his
team explored Cf chemistry using 5 milligrams of material.  The
Haughney article reveals how new findings can influence new
areas of research– some fundamental experimental, some applied,
some theoretical.

comments (0)
04/28/15
Recommended Reading 4.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am

LIST 1
LIST 2
LIST 3

We have found it useful to capture notes of books read on
communications, thinking, professional development, vulnerability
and Learning in files.  It is helpful for recall and for aiding forgetting
(I can forget facts, stories and ideas, since I know where I can find a
file on them.).

Above are links to the first three lists.

John Casey, Beyond the First Draft: The Art of Fiction, WW Norton
and Company, NY 2014

Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath, Little Brown and Company NY
2013

Amanda Ripley, The Unthinkable– Who Survives When Disaster
Strikes and Why
, Crown Publishers, NY, 2008

Carmine Gallo, Talk Like TED:  9 Public speaking Secrets of the
World’s Top Minds
, St, Martins Press, NY 2014

Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,
Crown Publishing 2014

William Deresiewicz, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the
American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
, Free Press, 2014

Mark Forsyth, Etymologicon:  A Circular Stroll through the Hidden
connections of  the English Language
, Berkeley Books, 2011

Mark Goulston, Just Listen:  Discover the Secret to Getting Through
to Absolutely Anyone
, American Management Association, NY, 2010

Atul Gawande, Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters Most in
the End
, Metropolitan Books, NY, 2014

John Lanchester, How to Speak Money– What the money People Say–
and What it Really Means
, Norton & Company, NY, 2014

David Pogue, Pogue’s Basics:  Essential Tips and Shortcuts (that no
one bothers to tell you for simplifying the technology in your life)
,
Flatiron Books, 2014

Benedict Carey, How We learn:  the Surprising Truth about When
Where and Why it Happens
RandomHouse, NY 2014

Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself:  How to Lose
Your mind and Create a New One
, Hay House, Carlsbad, 2012

Brene Brown, Daring Greatly:  How the courage to Be Vulnerable
Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
, Gotham Books,
2012

Liz Wiseman, Rookie Smarts:  Why Learning Beats Knowing in the
New Game of Work
, HarperCollins, 2014

Jim Davies, Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make us Laugh,
Movies Make us Cry and Religion Makes us Feel One with the
Universe
, PalGrave Macmillan, 2014

John Pollack, Shortcut:  How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark
Innovation, and Sell our Greatest Ideas
, Gotham, 2014

Brene Brown, I thought it was Just Me (But it isn’t), Gotham Books,
Penguin, NY 2007

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, Mark A. McDaniel, Make it Stick: 
The Science of Successful Learning
, Belknap Press of Harvard University,
Cambridge MA, London, 2014

comments (0)
04/25/15
Transformative Planning. Looking for Disruptions Impacting your Industry, Business and Career Paths
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:33 am

A provocative concept introduced by Daniel Burrus
is transformative [rather than incremental] planning .

This concept results from a realization that there
are “wider” and broader forces influencing changes
beyond linearization of recent events.  Burrus calls
our attention to industries and organizations who remained
in their ’silos’ of view and perished or were left behind
due to total changes in context and culture.  (think:
iphones, ipads, and remote storage in place of cameras
and photos)

He teaches us anticipatory planning for what does not
even exist now.  He advocates a broader network of
information gathering and screening to be prepared
to explore in our information interviews and networking
interviews to be part of the future trend rather than trying
to catch up.  [ See blog.]

This motivates why this blog lists topics as Trends in
Technical Careers
, Watch-Outs, International Job
Applications, career paths you might not first consider,
and Interesting Links.

An example of a company seeking to adapt and adjust
is Bayer

A recent ad in Atlantic elaborates on AOT Analytics
of Things which is being incorporated into our daily
lives via predictive maintenance for safety, health
and efficiency and up-to-the-second awareness.


comments (0)
04/22/15
Interesting Links. Knowledge Exchange
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:40 pm

I. Hot Questions. Share knowledge.
http://stackexchange.com/
Geeky IT computer know-how Q&A

II. “Bold“  by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler describes
a continuation of a previous book about Abundance due to
technological innovation.  When a neatly defined problem
is identified, technology and technological innovation can
provide solutions.  This book does not touch on ‘unintended
consequences’ or some longer-term consequences while
trying to convince readers of future possibilities that
technology provides.

Entrepreneurs will find promise in the six Ds of exponentials:
digitalization, deception, disruption, dematerialization,
demonetization and democratization.

III.  Wharton Leadership Program
Nano tools dialog includes interesting discussions of:
Resilience, bouncing back from setbacks
Generating ideas with stakeholders

1 comment
04/17/15
Should I Send my Resume or Cover letter Inside an Email?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:01 am

Received a Question:  “Met someone who asked me to send him my
resume so he could give it to people he knows… Should I include
a cover letter, or does the email serve that purpose?

As we all realize and career advisers have mentioned, so much more
is done through emails now.  However, it might not serve you to
send the resume or the cover letter within the email
itself.
So much communication is conducted on smartphones and
tablets resulting in loss of formatting and it is challenging to
read page long documents on smaller devices.

Please consider sending a shorter email and add one attachment
that contains your cover letter, resume, list of references, list of
papers, presentations and patents and other public relations
documents.

This brings up the topic of email etiquette for professionals.
Cheryl Tan wrote a piece in WSJ “Mind your Email Manners
which elaborates on a few items.  Here we would like to have
you think about creating professional email “habit stack.
Tan recommends to compose ‘formal’ emails by starting with a
salutation, an up front greeting and a formal structure and
appropriate wording, punctuation and content. 

Before that consider the reader first and compose a clear subject
line that fits the content.  Often times, bullet points can make it
easier to read with phrases, rather than full sentences.  But avoid
emoticons and “text-speak”.

Email Habit Stack
1.  Know when to send an email.  Send when required and expected.
Sending email creates more email (and we all receive more than enough
as it is.)
1.a.  If a response is expected or required, indicate you will reply
within a certain period.  But let the sender know you have received it.
1.b.  If it is important, ask– is email the best medium?
1.c.  Avoid debating complex or sensitive matters via email.  Too much
communication is missed in textual formats.
1.d.  Let the addressee line guide you about replies.  If you are a
recipient, acknowledge receipt.  It could even be Thank you or Done.

2.  Don’t check email first think in the morning, or last thing at night.
Doing this can lead to burnout.  What you do first thing in the morning
can set up your whole day.

3.  Set an agenda for each day with limited email check times.

4.  Keep your subject line current over a long thread.  (Gmail does not
do this.  Makes it hard to distinguish.)

5.  Conclusions and bottom lines should be expressed first.  Emails are
read quickly.  Give additional context later.

6.  Express your thoughts and feelings politely and with an upbeat
manner as humor and sarcasm can easily be misinterpreted.

7.  Include attachments.  But be wary of trying to send too many.  Send
multiple messages and make it explicit about what you are doing.

8.  Review your document for spelling, composition, brevity, economy
of words and consider the “5 second rule.”  You should be able to find what
you seek on a screen in 5 seconds.

9.  Be formal when you are not familiar with the organization mores.
Ask, if you are not certain about acceptable practices.
There is no right or wrong language.  Context, convention and
circumstance are all!

CARDINAL RULES OF EMAIL
-  if you can not say something face to face, don’t do it online
-  it is permanent and not private
-  be careful about reply all and bcc:
-  avoid all lower case and all capitals
-  shorter paragraphs (think about the receiver)
-  copyright and plagiarism issues apply

comments (0)
04/12/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Where do you publish, How do you teach, Calibrating your contributions
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am

Metrics, biases, and how we learn better.

Based on the editorial in Interface by V. Ramani,
it was insightful to explore the value of publications,
rated by impact factors IF.  While not being a fan of this
metric since many articles can only be viewed by those
with access to subscriptions, it was clear that Julien
Mayor’s
study of this paradigm measure is tilted by its
use of a poor central tendency
(mean with a heavily
skewed distribution) and using only recent publications
(and different journals survey different timeframes.).
[academic outcomes of funding hiring and tenure can
be influenced by such measures.]

When an author publishes, she might ask who does she
wish to share her new found results and discussion with
and how can he make it accessible to them.

A recent measure revealed in Interface is Altmetrics
which also looks at data and knowledge bases, article views
and downloads and views in other media.

NIH reviewed its decision outcomes for funding
grant proposals and shared it supported 18.8% of RO1
proposals.  Trying to be objective, it used an algorithm
developed by E. Day that identified a small but significant
bias
.  The results indicate that nonpreferred applicants
need to submit higher quality proposals to get funded.

Fingers are not pointed at specific subsets however when
such a small deviation can lead to significant outcomes
it will be interesting to see where NIH will find ways to
improve this process in budget cutting times.

Controversies in teaching and learning strategies are
 not new.  Yet I liked trying Brown, Roediger and McDaniel’s
“Make it stick:  The Science of Successful Learning,

Bellknap, Cambridge 2014.” which emphasizes that active
engagement leads to deeper learning.
- active use in the learning phase:  simulations, problem
solving before specific training to solve
- spaced learning, requiring retrieval and relearning
- reflection on classes and practical exercises
- interrupting the forgetting process

comments (0)
04/07/15
Watch-Outs. 81. Meetings, Long term corporate research, Big-Picture personal finances
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:53 pm

In this week’s class we will do a procedure I
learned from a “Free Exchange” commentary
in the Economist.  I will be seeking input from
everyone.  To keep the meeting timely and not
dominated by one or another, by having everyone
note one idea of their own first.  Then call on
less vocal members in the second round first.
Then reverse the order after letting groups
discuss and discover new items via their interaction.
The article and associated comments is “Meeting up”
and takes ideas from several disciplines and
points of view

A second link describes the current system
Google Labs uses to get results in shorter time with
less total investment.

A third link advises us how to avoid making serious
mistakes in our finances.

WAYS OF MAKING MEETINGS MORE EFFECTIVE
SOURCE:  ‘Free Exchange’ The Economist “Meeting
Up
” 4-4-15, p.72
Many observations of the waste of time organizational
meetings can be be biased leading to bad outcomes and
wasted resources.  The article cites Gole and Quinn’s
work on votes by judges at debating tournaments to
assess processes that that would both be effective and
be harmful to achieving better outcomes.

GOOGLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
SOURCE;  A. Barr, WSJ 4-1-15 “Google Labs puts a
Time Limit on Innovations
“ 
The article details some project management and
research trends and recent changes worth looking
at for how high tech forms are experiment to find
better ways to innovate as they become larger and
older.

INSURANCE COVERAGES, INDIVIDUAL
STOCK OWNERSHIP AND CATASTROPHIC
INSURANCE
SOURCE:  J. Clements, WSJ 4-4-15, p. B8
Are you overlooking big threats to your finances

1. Misjudging risks;  consequences of early death
on your family;  Disabilities from unexpected
sources
2. Concentrating investments and holdings
3. Avoiding worst case scenario assessment
and creating action plans

1 comment
04/04/15
International Job Applications
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:14 pm

Class members in this year’s course were interested in documents
used and the interviewing process for European positions.

We had the benefit of a visiting scientist who reviews resumes and
interviews for an international firm headquartered in Germany.

He told us of quite a few differences as he compared European and
American processes.  The European CV contains a current photo,
marital status and birth date, children and hobbies.  Of course, formal
training, education and certifications are important.  Any gaps
and transitions in experience are seriously noted in the experience
section which is chronologically listed.  A helpful format is the
Europass outline.  Data needs to be exact stating months and
years. 

The interview process commonly involves a Skype screening
interview after receipt of a CV and cover letter.  The cover letter
is less focused on showing the specific match of musts and
wants for the position using specific keywords and describes
more your motivation.

It is not unusual for an off site, third party organization to
screen and verify everything on the resume and perform
detailed assessments of your psychological profile and
hard and soft skills. 
After completion of this is the onsite interview
which also takes a day. 

Similar questions asking you to describe your skills start their
process, however a short summary is not always enough.
They may “drill down” on specific areas and pursue your future
plans.  The interview process is different in that they really
want to know what makes you tick and what you do outside of
work.

As in the US, networking and referrals are leading steps to
successfully land an interview and position.  Internships and
formal program relationships between companies and
specific universities are maintained and lead to job
opportunities.

1 comment
03/30/15
Thinking. Role of Luck and Classifications of things that grab our attention
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 10:32 am

Two very interesting books came across my desk recently that
informed me about our thinking processes in different ways.
Good to Great by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen  2 
Riveted by Jim Davies.

We can benefit by understanding our thinking processes so that we
see the importance of analogies, strategic & tactical elements,
decision making processes, problem solving strategies, time
management
, and flaws .

Collins writes and speaks about what patterns and trends lead
to achievement and success
in an uncertain and chaotic
environment.  He defines an element called the “return on luck.”
Luck, as you know, is a significant event that occurs largely
independent of our plans and actions;  it is unpredictable and
results in some good or bad.
Collins indicates there are strategies to prepare for, inform
when luck happens and endure that hypervigilant people use to
manage themselves and their organizations.  They include
specific steps to
-    methodically establish empirical facts,
-    question to perform calibrations with low risk, and
-    discipline yourself to deal with adverse circumstances.

Davies classifies situations, events and objects that grab and hold
on to our attention into categories.  This study can help us
choose themes to incorporate and see in others’ presentations.
Included are:
-    things we hope for or fear
-    repeat familiar patterns
-    incongruous idioms or images
-    storytelling that incorporates useful information that ties to reality
-    connections to personhood, human condition, and human feelings,
senses and physical features.

comments (0)
03/28/15
Career Path Considerations.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:52 am

The situation facing many soon-to-be science and engineering
graduates, doctorates and post-doctorates can seem daunting.
What job directions or career path should I consider and figure
out how to choose?

At a recent post-doc seminar with three dozen attendees one
half chose, at first, academic and industrial career paths.  Many
of those had little clue about what they would value doing.

The other half did not have a firm idea and did not know where
to begin.  As Al Sklover points out:  “good counsel requires
personal knowledge”– strengths, hard and soft skills, what
motivates you, your values and ‘likes and dislikes.’   So, a
personal self assessment might start your screening process.

Then, a couple of useful processes before interviewing in your
checklist might be information interviewing positions and
organizations, networking interviews (using your elevator
pitch to market your interests and skills) and mock interviews.
This will fill your checklist with several actions and tools.

A helpful figure is presented in Vision 2025 (Marinda Wu)
offering where our technical skills can be applied.  With
slight variations this view can be applied across the board to
STEM fields– For chemical enterprises (substitute bio,
physics, geology, computer, biomed, etc.):
1)Chem focused jobs, 2)Chem-based services and regulatory,
3)Science & Engineering management, legal and policy,
4)Science & Engineering inspired government & business.

Consider using other resources in your search as you gather
relevant information and trends in a “Levy flight search
which recognizes the importance of the “long tail“.
Besides the CHEMISTRY JOBS section of the Yellow Bar
Consider:
Beansprock
ELN SLAS
Venture Philanthropy  2    3 

Consider not too tightly restricting your search in the
early phases.
 

2 comments
03/22/15
Science Policy and Non-Profit Career Path
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:54 pm

There are multiple routes to Science Policy Career Path.
Meetings with representatives of government might be a
minor fraction of the time but offer details of what might
be expected.

Non-profits and Science Policy became one of the career
paths offered in a recent seminar on Working in your first
year seminar.  I gained background information from several
managers in a medical school Research Integrity program at
University of Louisville.
They offered that many early career researchers give short
shrift to information and training programs.  In fact, they seek
ways of increasing engagement in this fundamental yet underfunded
area.

Research funding, scientific workforce planning, training and
diversity and communication are common topics.  Research
integrity is also a longstanding concern because of the
implications to human health and issues of impropriety.

Facts and trends
Expected skills
How to break in

Show your commitment– volunteer first.  Learn tricks and
tips to accomplish a lot on a shoestring budget and collaboration.

comments (0)
03/17/15
Industrial Career Paths. Business Cards and Goal setting
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 pm

Preparing for a presentation on what happens in your First Year
and two items are part of what many face in industrial careers.

One is business cards.  There are many different flavors, colors
and lay-outs for these 20th century devices to network and share
our identities and contact information.  Recently Schumpeter in
the Economist wrote about this tool
that somehow survives in
the electronic age.   The main comments to the article that
help us are that they form physical reminders that bring us
to the top of a pile,
and more important remind us of the
critical realization that face-to-face interaction forms the
basis of connections in human relations
.

The second is the morphing of goal-setting (setting objectives
)  by individuals consistent with the organization’s goals. 
Schumpeter, in another recent piece, argued that many studies
have shown how ineffective top-down, poorly worded, annual
account checking the boxes “goals” (really objectives) to complete
annual performance reviews are. 

The article and accompanying comments point out that negotiated
objectives on a more flexible time scale that can allow for not
meeting desired deliverables is the modern day approach that
leads to successful companies.  The Google Glass example
brings this out.

comments (0)
03/12/15
Research Mentoring. Research can get you down
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:18 pm

A graduate student came to me feeling low, in despair and
miserable.  He had worked years on his final project to
complete his degree.  Experiments were not working
to get the results he had expected.

So, Uri Alon’s TED talk came to mind.  We talked some
more about his idealism and inadequacy for having his
results not match closely his predictions.

Don’t be so hard on yourself and your hard work! I
shared.  The experimental world is not so exact in
complicated experiments and there can be error bars
on predictions due to factors outside your control.
Let the data speak for itself.  You have already shared
that temperature has a big influence on your experiment
and you have gross temperature control.

He was feeling shame and despair much like Brene
Brown
describes (”The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go
of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who
you are,
” Hazelden, 2010).  He was not getting feedback from his
mentor that his work revealed the effects and he could not
do better unless he had $25K to improve the experimental
temperature control.  He had done one parameter at a time
experiments exploring all the other variables.

He had that “I’m not good enough” feeling and needed a
reality check that the world is full of imperfect humans.
Go back to your committee and tell them you have completed the
study and are finished and these are the results.  No need to
apologize– report what you got.  You are the expert who
designed and optimized the system and completed all the
experiments.

He left, head held high and with the courage that he now
can see what research into the unknown is about through
this experience.

comments (0)
03/07/15
Trends in Technical Careers.Human Organs on Chip, Manufacturing of the Future and T-rays for Toxic Gas Sensing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:00 pm

Don Ingber spoke about amazing developments at the
Wyss Institute where researchers are developing
cell culture devices that simulate human organ
responses more than than cellular cultures.  A
very nicely written multi-brief and video provide
intriguing detail of cutting edge developments that
point to the future of medical research.

3-D manufacturing that is laser-based
is developing
rapidly as earlier patents on technology run out
and technology is more widely available.  High
value added precision manufactured components
in aerospace and medical technology will likely
be first as design rules for additive manufacturing
are developed and verified.

THz molecular spectroscopy of interstellar and
atmospheric gases based on vibrational and ro-
vibrational transitions is emerging as technologies
are combined.  Duke researchers suggest that toxic
gases can be detected in the atmosphere from
km distances like ammonia, sulfuric acid and
nitric acid  2 .

comments (0)