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

July 2015
« Jun    
Networking into an organization. Working with Gatekeepers to arrange a networking interview
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aerodyne Research reports a tool for clumped ion measurement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My first response is (1) never lie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Watch-Outs. 82. Business strategies, Legal covenants, where mfg jobs are, Overtime pay
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

What do you know about the documents you sign
when you are employed by an organization?  Al
Sklover provides deep insight into what they protect,
require and imply in one “watch out” link.

When studying organizations to determine pros and
cons for their mission and strategy we are faced with
some unfamiliar terms.  The Economist reviews some
current popular styles that can provide help in your
job search,

WSJ projected where manufacturing jobs of the future
will be.  It provides “down to earth” reading that society
publications might not be as forthcoming with.

SOURCE:  A. Sklover, “Non-Solicitation agreements
from A to Z
” April 2015
An authoritative  description of restrictive covenants is
agreements to limit your future work-related effort, Al Sklover
offers.  They include:  non-competes, non-solicitation and
nondisclosure.  The site renders thoughts and opinions about
what wording to look for and seek an understanding of, if you
are faced with such agreements.  Clear language and integrity
stand out in the “working wisdom blog.”

SOURCE:  The Economist, Schumpeter, “A palette of plans
5-30-15. p. 66
Business life cycles, mergers and acquisitions, patent litigation
and joint ventures, product recalls and new updates dominate
the marketplace.  When you evaluate firms to consider working
at, it might be helpful to have a clue on the business strategy
since working there is truly investing your time and very likely
your resources.  Schumpeter summarizes a Boston Consulting
Group book on business strategies.  It describes:
niche-dominating, adaptive-evolving (4E model), blue ocean
(whole new market), broad-partnering, and being-nimble-
striving for-efficiency strategies.

SOURCE, WSJ, 6-3-15, p. R6,”Where the manufacturing jobs
of the future will be

This article is a litmus test for job forecasting of technical
professionals.  Realize that things will change, like the fracking
revolution for jobs in the oil patch and flexible innovation
when oil prices suddenly declined in the last year.
The article does not relate directly to PhDs and post-docs,
but it does indicate the health of certain industries and
the top locations  of chemical plants and plant systems

BONUS Sklover Working Wisdom:  Topic OVERTIME PAY

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Transferable Skills. Problem Solving
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:51 am

Very interestingly I ran across a recently posted job
that included a “technical skill” that was
a new term for me.

It was “8D type problem solving.”   Curiosity led me
to discover  that it is an abbreviation for Ford Motor
Corporation’s 8 Disciplines or stages
which are listed:
Plan, Form a team, Describe the problem, Determine
an interim plan, Root cause evaluation, Verify
corrective actions, Develop corrective action plan,
Implement, Prevent re occurrence, Congratulate.

This blog has reported on the often used term
Transferable skills and I would propose that problem
solving skills updating would be one course the ACS
should regularly provide for members.  It is offered
in various contexts and is quite similar to the Six Sigma
which has been implemented in a wide variety
of scenarios and venues.

If there is one training program to take or refresh when
one is in between positions, it would be one of these
Six Sigma or 8D, which is updated with the latest terms,
software and fresh examples applied perhaps to your
fields of interest.

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Trends in Technical Careers. THz, metamaterials, LiFi
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:25 am

Several years ago THz spectroscopy was brought to my attention
as an emerging field for research and application.  While it may
be years in the future when WiFi routers and cellphones use THz,
recent work points to medical imaging and security screening

Photonics reported making plasmonic filters with inkjet printers
for telecommunication signal enhancement.  A site to
learn more about THz domain is the RPI Center.

are fabricated materials not present in nature
designed to have specific properties based on their structure.
Work on these fabricated materials is interdisciplinary and
is undergoing development in correlating linear and
nonlinear properties.  Emerging devices will make use
of higher order harmonic generation.

Wireless internet hotspots are reported to be
organized with LED light fixtures that have cost and
reliability advantages over WiFi in certain environments.
Test kits are available from the Fraunhofer institute
that is creating visible light communication systems.

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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. 

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.

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.

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
-   targeted resumes with keywords throgh
-   DD-214 military record
-   SF-50
look also at
where you are asked about KSAs knowledge, skills and

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 in petroleum engineering was reported to more
than tripled
in university programs in five years.  So, this
impacts many more who have recently 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.

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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.

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

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.] 

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.]

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

IF they do something special, send a thank you.

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

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.

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..

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.

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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

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
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
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
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

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.

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?

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

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.

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Recommended Reading 4.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am


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

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,

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
, 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

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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.

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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.
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

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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
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

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!

-  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

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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
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
.  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

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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.

SOURCE:  ‘Free Exchange’ The Economist “Meeting
” 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.

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

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
2. Concentrating investments and holdings
3. Avoiding worst case scenario assessment
and creating action plans

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