The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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07/11/19
Hot Buttons. 3. Women in Scientific Leadership Roles
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:12 am

In the days in mid-20th century, women were a smaller fraction

of class members of math, geology, chemistry and physics classes in
many departments.  This population dynamic resulted in fewer
women in scientific leadership (decision-making) roles.
.
Implementation of programs to reach more representative faction
of balance in leadership can benefit from thoughtful attention, like
Melinda Gates book 
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World
She argues that there are unseen benefits by broadening the equality
balance.  While many organizations feel it is nice to do but do not 
sense the “pipeline” permits more of the perceived minority.  In
fact it is quite analogous to people of non-Americans natives in
emerging industries– their different approaches and perspectives
offers great benefits. 
It often starts with men and men in families.
.
Ms. Gates writes about how Bill Gates driving his children to 
school a couple of days a week moved other families to share
the transportation task in their families as well.
1 comment
06/23/19
Hot buttons. 2. Online Presence
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:47 pm

You are in a faster evolving situation, Readers, than even a
decade ago.  Besides needing to learn the latest and critical
tools, trends and factoids of chemistry, biology, physics,
geology, math, statistics and software, the digital world is
transforming at an alarming, hard to keep track of pace.

.
Eight critical elements for your online presence include:
1.  security - your personal information, including purchases,
apps used, websites visited are critical to accumulators.
  - delete unused apps
  - review spp permissions, keep them current
.
What do you share and post online?  Avoid exposing
photos, security settings, banking-investment-biometric
data and log-ins
  - With your associations changing your social networks,
friends and contact lists will evolve.  Periodically review.
  - Post only about others as you would have them post
about you.
 .
Do you protect your digital devicesAll are hackable.
Have an action plan for infections and malware.  [I 
regularly purchase AV software, but also use my home
owners insurance rider for computer issues
.]
.
  - use multiple passwords
  - check your social media privacy setting;  they change and 
are different on different devices
  - check for https://  and tools
.
2.  Personal websites
It is incumbent on nearly all readers to consider and continuously
update their personal website.  It is not a resume or CV and
offers things outside your professional boundary and deeper
meaning of you (In mine I list my genetic genealogy and my
professional academic genealogy.)
.
3.  Marketing
Whether you are a student, post-doc or employed in
industry, government or academia, the internet is the leading
element now in marketing.  It is both”push and pull,”requires
that technical professionals become a student of the continuously
evolving discipline of marketing
.
4.  Research
In the digital age, it is replete with the expansion of uses.  Mobile
tools are personal assistants in too many to name ways.  It includes
remote control of simple and complex devices.  Research tools.
.
Digital tools permit visualization and simulations.  Computational
power incorporates statistics.
  - from an early age, engage and pursue beneficial uses and solutions
to practical problems.  Learn from others.
  - practically bring statistics into your daily, professional and practical
existence.  Others are doing it to you.
.
5.  Networking and Communication
.
6.  Chemical Information and Government Resources.
Too often academic institutions seek originality and avoid
resources that are publicly available.  It can be a missing
link to discovering or disproving hypotheses.  
  - explore how Chemical Information resources can work for you.
  - Federal resources and reports are available through 
databases and search tools.
.
7.  Publishing
Many societies and commercial publishing firms have been the
mainstay of scientific and technical publication the 20th century.
It is steared by technical reviewers and editors.
The 21st century sees the Internet providing free, open
access publication that is overtaking slow to evolve print
organizations.  Textbooks are fair game.
  - Adapt to the new world of Open Access.
.
8.  Business, Economics and Non-profit organizations
  
4 comments
06/14/19
Watch-Outs. 110. H3+, High Pressure elements, Retractions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:07 am

One issue of C&EN contained several noteworthy items.

The first of three was appropriately tri-hydrogen ion reported
a half dozen years ago by Michele Pavanello in Phys. Rev. Lett.
The story about the incidental discovery of the spectral
profile led to identification of this ion’s significance in
interstellar chemistry. (p. 18 of issue)
.
Martin Rahm’s group continues to reveal interesting changes
in properties of elements at higher pressures.  It changed 
my thinking just like hyperconjugation did when I was
an undergraduate.  You mean elements have different 
reactivities at higher pressures!  Wow.  (p. 11 of issue)
.
The article on retractions caught my attention (p. 16)
since that is related to a significant topic in my 
Professionalism course.  We had exercises, both intentional
and unintentional, on ethics, behaviors and what to do
if you observe something.  Plagiarism heads the list of 
root causes of retractions and one item that the article
missed that is quite important is that there are truth telling
plagiarism detection software that are free and have
a cost that everyone who writes for an audience should
be aware of.  Several instances I have remarked on 
assignments that the work looks like a copy from 
another author, would you like to put things in your own
words?
comments (0)
06/03/19
Hot buttons. 1. Motivation underpinnings Financialization and Laws
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 am

This entry starts a new dialogue called “hot buttons.”

This first button is “Motivation”.  I found it curious what
Ladders” articulated on this topic, that for:
  newbies (1-2 years) -  “new skills or new knowledge and self
pride in accomplishing a task”
  individual contributors (3-7 yrs) - “frequent communication
with higher ups” and value 
in work life balance [whatever that
evolving concept means]
  mid-career (8-15 yrs) - “contribute to their organization’s
overall mission, goals”
  sages (>16 yrs) - being able to and in a position to ‘get
things done.’
.
It seems that business schools have influenced “motivation” as
Kellogg’s School program attests.  Their program offers finding
two or three personal drivers from five — 1- accomplishing meaningful
goals, 2-being part of a collaboration, 3-gaining status, 4-directing and 
controlling your activities, and 5-being part of a larger effort.
.
This blog recognizes these academic elements.  There are
two subsurface realities in our capitalistic system that need
to be realized. 
Reality 1 money-profit- and advantage dominates the economy
of the chemical enterprise.  It is a big business.
[Think of bankruptcies, mergers, patent infringements, and
technology generations.]
Reality 2legal contracts and laws of commerce in different
societies projects a ‘larger than life’ influence on results that
happen.  [Mores in societies evolves over time…think of race
and gender equity.]
Few of my mentors shared this with me early in my career.


 
comments (0)
05/26/19
Gig Economy. Scientific Writing Editing Review
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:12 am

Say, you have strong technical writing skills in English.
Say, you have time (more than 4 hours a day) and credentials
that clearly show proven skills in improving technical
communications.

.
Well, there is a need, that some societies promote, is available
It is an interesting avocation for some, but I am not advocating
it.  As I contacted an excellent technical writer to seek her 
“take” on this proposal.  As an article by Joanne Chen observes,
while many people look at on-site reviews for determining
a purchase decision, objective assessment from a trusted 
colleague will do better for you.
.
I shared Enago’s offering with Lisa Balbes and bring up several
of her noteworthy comments.  The remuneration is sub-standard, 
sometimes it is not equitable and not timely, the feedback on
performance can seem arbitrary, without recourse..  Other,
online reviews also point out caution.
.
She wisely points out that payment in advance and individual
contracts with stated expectations can avoid many troubles.
comments (0)
05/20/19
Job Loss, Job Search and Retirement
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:58 am

Now looking in the rear view mirror on this, it is possible
to offer a perspective.

.
One of the key things is to join and participate in professional
societies.  This was a strong recommendation of a former
boss at Exxon Research, Jim Amick.  Our conversations led me
to pursue roles that might provide experience in leadership and
networking.  It was not broadly spoken about at my first two
positions and it was not easy to get approval to attend meetings.
.
Yet when my turn for facing the music of job loss came,
it was my good fortune that managers encouraged me to 
attend a national ACS meeting to participate in the job clearinghouse.
That led to several interviews and offers.
.
Weathering the storms of corporate life is mostly being in the
right place at the right time, by good relationship and
skill building.  Accepting roles that are not part of my formal
background did stretch employment longevity.  But looking for
volunteer opportunities 
for the common good– chairing meeting
sessions, reviewing articles, 
volunteering as local section member
at national meetings and then
learning from successes of others
Then, help others pursue their career aspirations.
.
As I saw happen to even the most talented colleagues, cut backs occur.
Through no fault of their own I saw many people get “sacked” and 
pick themselves up and resume their career somewhere else.  My
content here is to bring up end of career observations, as are described
in Mark Miller’s article and podcast.  [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!]
.
 - Center for Retirement Research (BC) found 37% retire earlier
(55% fail to reach age 66 target)
 -  one quarter of loss of jobs due to health (UMichigan,
Sanzenbacher)
 -  Workers 55 and older:  unemployment rate 2.6%, but long term
unemployment of >27 weeks, is 26.6%,  [that is, if you get laid off,
recovering is less likely]
 -  Sporadic income is hard to manage, but expecting to reach your
retirement goals set early in life, is getting harder and harder.
.
Pointers from Mark Miller
1. Assess your health and employment statistics in viable fields, as
time goes on.  
2. Create interim plans including health care insurance and alternate
income streams that match outflows.
3. Fees and costs of retirement accounts.  Look for financial advisers
who pursue your goals [interview several and don’t just depend on
robo-investing]
comments (0)
05/08/19
Tax Law Change. Relocation and “Gross Up”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:32 am

Al Sklover shared one of the impacts of the 2018 tax law
change that allowed the mega wealthy a tax cut is to tax
as income any relocation reimbursement by employers.

.
The article recommends that new or relocated employees
ask for “grossing up” that is having extra sum of compensation
to pay for the taxes due.
2 comments
04/17/19
Habits. Top four that enhance your self esteem
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:06 am

Many times authors write about and speak about habits that
will help you be successful.  As we come to appreciate,
winning and “success” are fleeting until the next event in a
competitive world.

.
I enjoy much of what David Brooks writes in his NYT
editorials.  One of the latest is about 2 mountains we face
in our lives–

“If the first mountain is about building up the ego and
defining the self, the second is about shedding the ego and
dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition,
the second
 mountain is about contribution.

On the first mountain, personal freedom is celebrated
keeping your options open, absence of restraint. But the
perfectly free life is the unattached and unremembered life.
Freedom is not an ocean you want to swim in;  it it a river
you want to cross so that you can
plant yourself on the other
side.
.
So the person on the second mountain is making
commitments.  
People who have made a commitment to a
town, a person, 
an institution or a cause have cast their lot

and burned the 
bridges behind them. They have made a
promise without 
expecting
a return. They are all in.

.
I can now usually recognize first and second mountain people.

The former have an
ultimate allegiance to self; the latter have
an ultimate allegiance to some
commitment.”
.
Supporting this are habits that build self-confidence and
lead to commitment. [taken from ]
1.  delay celebration and develop a ‘reserve capacity’ to persist
2.  make choices and have the mental agility to have a back-up
if first choice does not work
3.  organize details, set priorities and understand root causes
of shortcomings
4.  be kind even in the face of rudeness, bitterness and
unhappiness

1 comment
04/14/19
Artificial Intelligence. Best Jobs and Predictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:36 am

Readers of this blog might look at recent reports for: 

   looking for best jobs
.
  companies are predicting when employees will quit
IBM Watson and GM have a “predictive attrition program” which
assesses employee flight risk and offers proactive steps to retain
those employees.
Career path assessments and key employee skill area predictions
are also AI targets..
Ginni Rometty predicts AI will change 100 % of jobs in the future.
.
Suggestion:  While it is nice to track trends, finding what
is likely to happen in the future and how to prepare for it
is better for our futures.
  
comments (0)
04/12/19
Update on Financial Record-keeping
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:13 am

Fidelity Investments highlighted a Kiplinger article suggesting how long to keep hard-copy and/or virtual files of financial records.

See here .
Surprises include:  Keep for 3 years records of spending using withdrawals from health spending and 529 accounts.
                               Keep for 6 years records of self-employed business income and expenses.

       Keep indefinitely records of final tax returns.  (I guess this is where it might be handy to have something like Fidelity Investments, FIDSAFE .) 
                                Keep Home purchase and home improvement documents, taxable account investment documents
1 comment
04/05/19
Professional Profile. 7
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:01 am

Profile:  Technology Specialist, Science and Technology Patent LLC

Style and Responsibilities
Proficient in both experimental and computational exploration of
synthesis and evaluation.  Developed technology assessment 
experience through post-doc and internship.

Personable and highly organized with different cultures.  

Position involves bringing technical skills to bear on business 
strategy and best legal practices for technology concept protection
for biomaterials, formulations, optophotonic electronics, food
and nanomaterials.

Challenges and Stresses
Time is currently a limited resource with long commute, 
management of household with preschool children and 
current housing arrangement.  Am using mentors to figure
out longer term strategies  and encouragement to ask questions
and seek help.

Landing Current position and openness to new opportunities
The search for my current position that I started a month ago
faced several hurdles.  We became new parrents, had my
work papers approved and dealt with several months break in
appointments.  Yet we were successful due to persistence,
preparation and practice.

Just as one might expect, as soon as I started a new position
other opportunities arise.  While the benefits package is quite
satisfactory and meets our needs (eg.  salary exceeds ACS
Salary Comparator benchmark), I will find a way to accept
interview invitations.  I do not do them from my employer’s
locations nor on employer’s time.  I keep all engagements 
confidential and record notes.

Interestingly, since this is a legal position “billable hours”
is a new work constraint that I am learning to include in my
agenda.

Opportunities for Growth
In addition to a highly skilled staff and generous benefits,
the firm offers continuous in-house training, support for
personal growth and patent agent certification and help
in pursuing a legal education.  
1 comment
03/27/19
International Travel. New requirements
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:36 am

Are you planning international travel in the future?

.
I know when I was in grad school, the situation came 
up that had me travel to several European countries.
Emergencies happened and we had to cut it short.
.
An article, Think you only need a passport? 
WSJ  3-27-2019 by Scott McCartney
should be read, as it includes great trips:
 - make sure your passport is valid for at least another
6 months from the end of your travel
 - carry extra passport photos with white background.
[remember AAA offers photos– free for some members]
 - carry at least $50 cash for on-the-spot visa fees
 - register with the state department’s Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program STEP for contact with updates
 - carry a copy of passports, itinerary, birth certificates,
medical prescriptions, credit cards  in case of loss.
 - plan a contact near home who knows where you are
and can help in an emergency 

comments (0)
03/25/19
Plan S. OPEN ACCESS Journals
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:27 pm

Another area of interest to readers might be journal articles,
where to publish and availability of publications.

.
I searched the ACS evolving policy and viewed the page .
.
This is an area we should all take note of in consideration
with what is occurring with the rest of the global scientific
community aiming for Open Access by 2020.  See details.
.
I was tuned into this by an editorial in Interface by Jannuzzi
who linked to Richard Kiley at University College London
who wrote about the aim of “Plan S” to ensure research that
is publicly funded to be openly available.  As a species we 
face climate change, epidemic preparedness, major disasters.
He wrote of the Liberian government not being aware of
research of the potential impact of an Ebola outbreak. 
If research was openly available and acted upon, some of
the thousands of death could have delayed to their normal
course.
.
There is a sizable cost for ACS members to participate in
OA open access.  We can influence this by voicing what is
being done in proactive societies giving its members a
competitive advantage.
comments (0)
03/16/19
On-Line Platforms. Suggestions from Clint Watts
Filed under: Recent Posts, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:15 pm

Clint Watts, former FBI agent, wrote a recent book “Messing with
the Enemy” and offers some helpful suggestions.

For your work on Platforms:
1.  Ask whether the benefits outweigh the costs.  Try to
minimize social media.
APP:  Use Moment to monitor your time commitment.
2.  Pop or drop our preference bubbles. 
Know why we ‘like,’ tweet  & share items
3.  Listen or read those who oppose our preferences. 
They provide the needed
reconnaissance for opposites.
4. Pick experts who are good critical thinkers. EOA
  A. they have experience in their field and in the topics they
discuss
  B. they have many observations in their field
  C. they go through a deliberative process (analysis)
to arrive at conclusions.  Structured evaluation, ask questions.
.
About where you seek and obtain your news, consider the abbreviation CMPP
.
Competency- source capable of knowing, gathering, and understanding
the information they provide
.
Motivation- why is the source providing the information
.
 Product- type of information- audio, print, online, video, social. .
Each type conveys different meaning and
impressions of reality.
.
 Process of collection-  were sources primary or secondary. 
Was the data selected to favor a position?
Is contrary data considered and tested?

comments (0)
03/09/19
On-line Platforms. Subtle repositories of metadata
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:53 am

As a twist on topics the blog shares, I wish to bring up
an intriguing book that I recommend you read–   ’Zucked-

Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe’ by Roger MaNamee,
Penguin NY 2018.
.
Unwittingly, many of us may be the fodder of metadata for
high tech internet operating organizations and platforms.
Then, we further participate and are entranced to follow
what the AI directed algorithms prescribe.
.
McNamee writes that the internet technology world follows
predictable patterns.  He points out technology has two rules
of thumb– Moore’s law about integrated circuit packing
density and Metcalfe’s rule about the increasing value of
any network being proportional to the square of the number
of nodes (or members). 
.
These result in a philosophy:
-make things appear to be free, effort-less and friction-less 
to make networks and connections engage more often and
build on habits that evolve into addictions
.
-promote a libertarian philosophy that prioritizes individuality
over the common good.  Individuals feel good about ambition
and greed.  Disruption, being first and winning becomes an
effective strategy.
.
The author highlights the role of the vision, value system
and connections a group of leaders, he calls the “Paypal
Mafia” have succcessfully promoted.  [Named are P. Thiel,
E. Musk, R. Hoffman, M. Levchin and J. Stoppleman]
.
McNamee shared the finding that MoveOn.org president
described where FB and Google feeds no longer are subject
neutral but are biased to deliver likeable content and headlines
to engage emotions.  [Ed Pariser]

A real stand out the book offers is a segment on B J.. Fogg
and Persuasion Technology that Silicon Valley firms employ
to compete, grow and prosper.  the result is that the software
designer creates the illusion of user (you and I) control, when
it is the system (and AI) that guides every action.  FB and Google
now include behavioral prediction engines that anticipate our
thoughts and emotions and offer high quality targeting for advertisers. 

2 comments
02/23/19
Professional Profile. 6.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:24 pm
Profile:  Senior Supervisor Immunoassay disease detection.

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities? 
I would say my personal style is pretty easy to work with and always trying to
accommodate others reasonable requests within my ability. My responsibility
I would say it’s really to help others, either it’s the upper management or my
colleagues. 
- Are you challenged?  What stresses you? 
I’m definitely challenged at work, but I welcome that as it gives me a sense
of accomplishment. As with any projects, finding and managing resources can
be pretty stressful, but I think our team are doing pretty well so far.

- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most
enjoyable responsibilities and tasks. 
I currently hold a supervisory role and I enjoy very much working with my team
to meet our targets and present our work together to the cross functional team.

- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions? 
I started as a scientist role in my current company and was approached by my
current boss to work on a special project that expands our companies current
portfolio, which I thought was and still is pretty interesting. As my experience
grows, I always think about the next step, for which I have continuous dialogue
with my current boss.

- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position? 
Not afraid to take on really challenging but low visibility tasks.

- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were
the factors in your decision? 
Yes, long term professional growth was probably the biggest reason I decided
to refuse. The offer I refused was definitely a much better short term offer, but
I think I made the right decision.

- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you? 
Right now, gaining experience in resource and project management is the
biggest learning opportunity for me.

- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network? 
So far, I think not being afraid to ask for help and others advice has helped.

What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or
planning on moving on in the next year? 
Keep an open mind, what you do after graduating may be different than
what you studied for 5+ years. Be prepared for the interview and know your
audience before your presentation, expect questions on anything you put
up on the slides, sometimes it’s the small details that trip people over.

comments (0)
02/11/19
Professional Profile. 5.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am


Profile: Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience


- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?

In terms of overall work, I like to be given a project and work independently, while knowing where to go for help if needed. It’s also very important for me to know where my work fits into the overall mission of the group, and that we all work together towards a common goal- that is usually very motivating for me. I also typically enjoy being given a great deal of responsibility in my work, as I take that as a sign of trust and therefore try to achieve the goals at hand as best I can. I try to utilize these principles in my current job, where I am part of a great team and also feel that I am given enough freedom to learn, explore, and manage projects and assignments. We have plenty of meetings about various aspects of the work, which is very helpful. I enjoy the group interactions as well as the independent work.  


- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?

I’m challenged every day in the sense that I am faced with having to find something, learn a new system or vocabulary- sometimes I am challenged in terms of time constraints, other times because I am working on a task that I’ve never done before. But this also contributes to the value of this experience. I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity to be a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. This is my first exposure to working in a department where there is a blend of biomedical PhDs and those from other backgrounds, and first time working for a scientific society and seeing how that works, while also learning more about policy & advocacy. I enjoy being fully immersed in all the novel experiences in this position, whether they are in the office, or outside going to Hill events (which is a lot of fun!). What stresses me is sometimes the element of surprise or changing circumstances, meetings or tasks, although currently I am fascinated by everything and soaking it all in. In general, I like stability, but in some cases, especially if it’s something I am interested in and wanting to learn more about, I welcome chaos and embrace new things no matter how hectic it is, because I know it’s a tremendous learning opportunity and I feel passionate about it. I suppose a lot of how we approach life comes down to our attitude towards things- if we think that something is exciting and we are grateful for it, we will enjoy it more. I am also stressed sometimes about not knowing what comes next in my career, however from past experience, my plans don’t usually work out but something else works out which typically turns out to be even better than I could have ever imagined. So I’m trying to learn a bit of the art of “going with the flow” and seeing where my interests and passions will lead, and enjoy the process.


- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.

I am the Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. I started in this role on January 2, 2019. I enjoy having variety in my day, therefore the ideal day is a combination of office work and Hill time, which is not very common (although Hill Day in March will be exciting). The idea of interacting with people outside the office during the workday for networking is really important, and I’m trying to also take advantage of living in D.C. and engage in experiences outside of work as well, because there is so much here for me to learn from and I don’t want to miss useful opportunities. In terms of specifics, I enjoy drafting letters and working on excel sheets with information, especially if I know what the goal for them is, and in particular if they are collaborative efforts. It’s exciting to contribute to a collective project in the office, but I also enjoy being out of the office to and getting some practical experience.


- How did you land your current position?  
Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  
How long should we stay in our positions?

I had some prior science policy experience. Once I realized that I wanted to pursue this as a career path, I applied to relevant jobs that fit my background. Out of all the jobs I applied to and interviewed for, this was my favorite, so I am very happy to be in it now. I searched for and applied to jobs for some time, and in the process learned the right level of job to apply for, my application materials improved and my Skype interview skills sharpened with each conversation. This position just happened to be there at the right time, I was very excited about it (which probably showed in the process!) and it was just a really good fit overall. I was happy to learn that, when I got the position, everyone in the office unanimously voted that it should be me. I am reminded of this every day and I am really grateful for how accepting and welcoming they have been towards me since the very beginning. I’m also lucky to be in a really good working environment, which I didn’t always have. I think we should stay in our positions for as long as we are still learning and growing in them, and when it starts becoming boring and not useful, switch. We should not switch if it’s challenging, however, only if there are good reasons to do it. We should always be striving to better ourselves and thus look for that next thing that will allow us to accomplish that. The exception to this is a situation where the environment is really toxic or detrimental to our well-being, in that case we should leave it immediately.


- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?

I had demonstrated prior interest and passion in the area that I was looking to get hired for, and this position was a logical next step for me. I was able to articulate what I had previously learned and done, but also knew exactly why I wanted this position. I was looking for exactly this type of experience as the next step in my career. Although I had some experience with policy, I had never worked in a department like this. I work hard and I think I had demonstrated that in the past, so I came across as someone who was reliable and whom they could count on for pretty much any task at hand, which I imagine is what they were looking for. Finally, I also had the scientific background, and I believe they wanted a PhD graduate for this position, and that serves me well now as I am able to apply that background to this position. At the same time, I am also learning the policy & advocacy side of it, which is what I wanted to learn. Overall this is a win-win situation, and I think that everyone on the team is gaining from it. Plus, it is a really good working environment which is great.


- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  
What were the factors in your decision?

Not an offer. There were other potential interviews on the horizon when I decided to accept this one, and some of those were more long-term and potentially more stable as well. But this was my only offer I had at the time, and I didn’t want to wait any longer before moving in this direction, so I accepted immediately. At the time I was still toying with several options as to where I wanted my career to go, and I applied for jobs in two different directions along the same continuum. In a sense it was maybe a bit of a coin toss in terms of which one would work out first. Interestingly, I interviewed for the other type of job first, and I got pretty far in the process (I got to the in-person interview) but then ended up not getting the job, which I was very disappointed by. In retrospect, I am grateful that happened because it determined my direction towards something else that I instinctively knew was the right thing for me, and my current position was exactly that. I remember saying to a friend after I didn’t get the other job offer that it would be ideal for me to work in policy at a scientific society. I am now doing that, so it couldn’t have worked out any better!


- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?

Right now this position is both a tremendous opportunity and challenge at the same time, and I took the job knowing that it would be both, and I need both. I haven’t entirely figured out where to go from here, but I am learning more every day about what my future interests might be and where I might want to take it, just by being exposed to various experiences. My opportunity right now is to work with people from a different background, and learn how they think about the same issue that I am bringing my scientific expertise to. This is really valuable. The challenge is that I to put myself in situations which are outside of my comfort zone. I purposely seek them out because I know they will be growth opportunities for me. Sometimes this means talking to someone I might be intimidated by, so I force myself to just go up to them and start talking! This job is definitely teaching me how to network, and I find it’s getting easier overtime. I also often seek out projects that I know nothing about but could help with, in order to gain that expertise and grow in a different direction that I might not have explored otherwise.


- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?

Being in DC provides a lot of opportunities to meet people, and I find that most people are happy to have an afternoon coffee and talk about what they do. This is usually very  informative for me, and provides good practice for me in talking about my interests and goals to as many people as possible. The interesting thing is that I almost always get a different response, a new perspective, or a resource I didn’t have before. I attend some events related to work, and others on my own in particular if they are on something I am interested in (for example at the NASEM) but wouldn’t have the opportunity attend in person otherwise. I also try to go to social events related to policy work, where either peers or higher level experts would be present, and seek to meet both types of people. I find that talking with peers is helpful for practicing my pitch before going up to someone who might be more intimidating.


- What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?

I would say that career exploration should be a constant endeavor, and not done only when you are in your last year of your PhD, for example. Don’t wait until the end to try and figure out what you might want to do. Every day is an opportunity to explore something new, and everything you do can change your career trajectory. If you work in the lab, get out and meet people, especially those from different research areas or non-scientific backgrounds, because you will learn a lot. Keep an eye out for opportunities to grow and help others in your community. Never stop learning and growing, and find opportunities that will facilitate both of these things.


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01/21/19
Professional Profiles. 4.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 am
Profile:
Pharmaceutical Process Research

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?
I have never been asked that question but it is good question which I will prepare for my next interview.   


- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?
Yes. Working on a work visa can be stressful because you cannot plan long term for practically any aspect of your life. 


- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.
Research Scientist. I have been in this role for a year. The responsibilities I enjoy the most include troubleshooting the formulation and process related issues for iotech startup customers from all over the world. 


- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions?
Job interview. Yes, now that I have a better idea of the spectrum of opportunities available in my current company, I would like to branch out and learn more in the field of drug development in about a year’s time from now. 


- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?
My Postdoctoral advisor’s influence in the pharma industry.


- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were the factors in your decision?
Yes. I had to give up on an informal but direct offer from a top pharma company because the company’s policies did not allow sponsorship of my work visa. I told the R&D manager that I will go ahead and accept offer from my current company and will stay in touch with her. That was the end of the interview process. 


- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?
The ability to interact with the experts in my field provides me an opportunity to build a long-term perspective about the pharma industry and the potential career milestones I need to be aware of. One of the biggest challenge faced by the pharma industry is their conservative approach towards the drug development process that makes the entire process more tedious and sometimes more expensive. This conservative approach provides me an opportunity to suggest scientifically acceptable cheaper alternatives. 


 - What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?
Attend conferences. Volunteer to take on-site customers out for lunch or dinner. Stay in touch with seniors and peers from your academic lab because you never know whom they will introduce you to. 


 - What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year  
Talk to seniors and professionals in your network before you commit to your next organization. People are usually very helpful in sharing their professional experiences.

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01/20/19
Professional Profiles. 3.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:55 am
Profile
Field Application Scientist

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?

I think I am  a “people person.”  I enjoy talking about science with peers. I try to engage with customers with friendly approach, which is critical in my position as I need to develop good working collaborations with them.  I chose to become field applications scientist because I thought it would give me opportunities to communicate science without having to do it inside four walls.  As a field applications scientist (FAS) I have two main responsibilites- 1) presales-  as a technical expert help account managers to drive business in a given territory.   2) to help customers in their projects (like a consultant) after they adopt our product and train them in using it. This is where friendly approach is useful because customers then feel comfortable talking about their projects openly with me. 
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- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?

The current job responsibilities offer many challenges with exciting opportunities. The challenging part is understanding customer needs and delivering customer centric presentations. there is always some stress when you need to convert to sale and help account managers do that. but luckily FASs are not required to close deals.
Another exciting and challenging responsibility is to stay abreast in latest scientific developments. Let it be new scientific applications for the technology or developments related to clinical trials of a new drug and how company’s product would help in that.  
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- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.

I have been working as FAS for almost three years. and I currently enjoy it for aforementioned reasons. 


- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions?

I got this position through networking with recruiters. (my previous job was also through developing connection at a scientific conference). I am open for changing positions when there is a feeling of saturation or when there are no more opportunities for growth at current position. it is important to not get into comfort zone– Growth follows if we take on new challenges.  
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- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?

I think having a proactive approach during job applications helped me secure current position. for example- learning how to prepare a good resume, discussing with mentors and peers about my career interests, staying in touch with recruiters and my network.

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- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were the factors in your decision?

I did refuse one Postdoc offer. It is always difficult to refuse an offer that you already accepted, but when I look back, I think I made a very good decision. That time I had another offer for Applications position. Then I considered- what my priorities are, does the postdoc position offer me ample opportunities to grow my career where i would like it to be. The applications position seemed to be fulfilling those priorities, so I made decision to refuse postdoc position. Having said that, I knew this would cause inconvenience to the PI, so I remembered to acknowledge that, apologized for the inconvenience that my decision would cause  and suggested few good candidates that were suitable for the Postdoc position. 

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- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?

Opportunity to work on the commercial side while keeping close contact with R&D has been very helpful. 
In addition,working for sales is quite challenging. I believe, B2B sales gives lot of opportunities to grow in career. It can develop some personal skills and gives exposure that can have major impact in career.

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- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?

I attend conference meetings, try to connect secondary connections through one on one meetings etc. 
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What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?


My suggestion would be to keep career options open. And If you do the same thing that you are good at, it wont open new opportunities. So be open for new ideas, skills, and opportunities. 

Also, i remember that during my job application process while at graduate school, I had to take “inside-out” approach. Meaning, i had to learn how the job market is, learn how to write a resume that is specific to the job posting, what do employers expects from applicants etc - you sell what other person wants to buy. Not to sell something that you have but the other person is hardly interested in. What I mean by this is that, in resumes, graduate students often highlight their academic achievements which industry may not care about rather than looking at the job responsibilities and what is needed. ( i remember making such mistake in my first few resumes)  
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01/19/19
Professional Profiles. 2.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:42 am
Profile:
MSL+ Medical Science Liaison
 I have always looked ahead to what might be next-where is there a gap. That’s what will keep people employed in my opinion.
Principal Research Scientist and Technical Fellow

Professional Development Facilitator, University

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?
When you say “style” I immediately think of management style-I think because that’s so critical to success in a job whether you’re the manager, or you’re being managed as an individual contributor. They say people don’t quit jobs, they quit bad bosses, and in my case that’s definitely true. I stayed at a job where I wasn’t properly rewarded/recognized/compensated for many years because I had a great boss who supported me and my ideas, gave me freedom and didn’t micromanage me, and protected me from the “nasties” in the company so I could do my work without needless interruptions and political bologna. In short, I knew he had my back. That’s worth more than any amount of money. I think that understanding that everyone has a life outside of work, and certain stresses-whether they be familial, marital, health, financial, whatever-is key to being a successful manager. If you can support your employees when they need flexibility it engenders a deep sense of loyalty. And that’s part of why I stayed at that job so long!
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Responsibilities-here what comes to mind are moral and ethical considerations when working at a large corporation. Money is the ruler of the roost. It’s not easy to stand up and shoot down a project that’s looks like an “easy win” for the business because it’s bad science or it might hurt a patient. But that’s the job of a scientist. That means there are some people who will not like you. It’s important to hold true to your moral compass when faced with bullies who are just trying to push their own agenda, collect a big fat bonus check, and be long gone before the shit ever hits the proverbial fan. Scientists and engineers tenures tend to be much longer than business partners who turn over every 2-5 years. They have a lot less to lose.
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- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?
Challenged as in intellectually? Seldom. Interested, often. Mostly the challenging part of my work is dealing with the personalities and egos present everywhere (my own included). What stresses me out is not feeling a sense of place in a the company (not being valued) or feeling like the work isn’t valued.

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- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.
Currently, MSL. About one year. Most enjoyable task is rounding with the surgeons and meeting patients who have received our therapy-there is nothing better. 

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- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions?
Word of mouth.

Yes.
It depends on the job, the economy and personal factors such as home life-marriage, family, ageing parents. kids in school, ability to sell a house, et cetera. You (generally) have the most freedom before you start collecting a large paycheck and take on a mortgage and family…maybe a boat or a lovely pair of horses. (LOL).
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- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?
My experience and openness to move to a riskier situation.
- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were the factors in your decision?

Possibly-I declined an offer in Europe just out of grad school (with what was at the time Synthes, in Oberdorf Switzerland). It was a great offer but I couldn’t pull the trigger and I wasn’t sure why. Several months later my dad was diagnosed with cancer and he was dead within the year. If I had taken that job I would have missed the last months of his life. Trust your gut, even if you don’t understand it. 

- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?
Changing to new technology platforms that are very different than what I have experience in-it changes the way you think about approaching problems and exposes you to new ways of doing things. 

Teaching and teaching others to teach-never easy. 
Service work-there are so many people who have problems we don’t know about and we may have solutions they need-it could be a great product or device to help someone. 

- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?
Even when I’m tired I meet people-for lunches, or attend events they’re going to. There’s nothing as good as face time with people in your network. Keep a broad network of people older and younger than you-you can learn from both. I try to check in with people a couple of times a year and if I know they attend a specific conference plan ahead to meet up. A large network of people who you don’t know, or who don’t care about you is pretty useless in my opinion. Your network will grow over time, like a garden. If you plant too much you can’t care for any of it properly. Select and tend to relationships that you care about the most, and over time you will see the fruits of your labors. 


What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?
Plan carefully, but once you’ve looked at all the factors don’t use your brain, use your heart. You’ll make the right decision. 



+  MSL = requires a “D” degree-so MD, PharmD or PhD. It used to be a minimum of 10 years of experience but now new grads can get these jobs. It kind of depends on the company and what they are looking to do. I honestly don’t feel super qualified to talk about MSL roles as mine is kind of odd. There is an MSL society.

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