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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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09/17/17
Interview Preparation and Follow-Through.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:21 am

JZ contacted me about preparing for an upcoming
interview and she is concerned about being an
international professional who has pursued her
dreams.  She believes –”she does not have the
freedom to choose passion if they are not traditional
career paths.  …I have H4 visa (spouse- H1B) and need
sponsorship to work.  [Situations are such that I
want] to add income by looking at a job related to my
graduate degree.” 

.
We corresponded refreshing what we had discussed
in person and in class five years ago as she was making
decisions for her family.  The times have changed in
the immigration world since then and that may influence
employment decisions.  These can be overcome by
thoughtful preparation, considerate follow through
and win-win comments during the interview..
.
Preparation Considerations-
 - your Linkedin.com profile needs to show interest
and express background and experience in the chemical
field
-  Arrange an information interview to re-familiarize
yourself with OSHA, MSDs, and HazWaste and good
laboratory practice with people in the field. 
-  Develop ~1 min. stories and jot down memory aids
for each bullet in your resume
-  Study the company and area around the company.
Look at its website, goggle people, look at Linkedin
profiles for connections. 
-  Even if the interview is remote or virtual, dress as
if you were visiting the site.  Plan to be prepared a
reasonable time in advance.
-  Write down critical questions you wish to ask, Like:
  What is a typical day like?
  What are typical analyses and instrumentation used?
  What is the safety record of the company?
  Who will you be reporting to, who will you replace
and can you learn key information from them?
-  Have pen, paper, your documents and a calendar and
computer handy.
-  Salary expectation study for range
-  Be prepared to offer names and addresses of
references.  Contact references in advance asking
if they are available to go to bat for you.
.
During interview-
-  in the beginning introduce yourself and ask for 
introductions of all participants, get correct spelling
and title and addresses (thank you notes)
-  hold back from talking about or asking for salary
and visa status before a job offer.  
-  be ready to express your salary expectations based on
salary surveys for the region and title, if asked.  
ACS Salary Comparator
-  Dress as if you are on site.  Think about safety
shoes and apparel.
-  Arrange for no interferences and test out tools
you will use, if remote.
-  Breathe, perform a power pose knowing that it helps
our body to relax and be prepared
-  Near the end, consider offering a test run to work
for a day or week, per diem.
-  Near the end, ask “what is the next step in the
hiring process”
.
Following Interview-
-  Formulate an After Action Review of the process
-  Write “thank you” notes to each interviewer
-  Be ready to follow up on each of their requests.  It is
not unusual these days to be tested on pertinent skills
plan to show that you can do them well.
-  Check with your references to confirm they have all
they need to work for you.
comments (0)
09/12/17
Financial Questions. Start-up Stock Options Offer
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:21 pm

This note points out that when you end your academic career,
your continuous learning process really ‘begins.’  And guess
what, there are no texts for this learning and no absolute, correct
answers.

.
What we learn is that mentors can help you ask the best questions
and it seems each individual’s situation and priorities are different.
.
My colleague AJ asked:

“I also wanted to seek your opinion on employee stock options.
As a part  of the offer, the company extended an option to
purchase 2500 shares of stock…the company  is not public.
….attached is a document here for reference.
Before signing, I just thought of having a word with you.”

.
Each situation is different, but the specific wording and specific
details of the offer are very important.

My experience is that I trusted the public relations of a firm
I worked for and purchased many shares of stock with the
promise of growth and profits.  In the end, I lost a great deal
of investment dollars that I could have avoided if I studied
the investor literature and consulted wise counselors.

.
AJ advised me that he is contributing 8% of his salary in the
company 401K and has some short term expenses.  He will
check into the latest date when he must decide.  My advice to
him:
I totally understand your quandary.  I would have a similar problem
with this question, so I refer to Al Sklover Link is where I would start.  

[He describes critical questions AJ should ask before signing any 
documents.] 

Then, the next article is quite significant: in that it describes “traps” we
can find ourselves in when working at a start up.
It may be worth speaking with Al directly:
.
This could be a sizable dollar commitment for you, AJ.  Al is
very professional and knowledgeable.  $100 spent on solid legal 
advice can result in much more savings in a speculative situation.
 
comments (0)
09/06/17
Watch-Outs. 105. Useful knowledge monetary rewards
Filed under: Recent Posts, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 pm

Who can afford to purchase their own copy of their
favorite journal(s) these days?  Prices are prohibitive,
even for libraries.  So, societies and for-profit publishers
have taken advantage of electronic publishing.

.
Both non-profit and for-profit institutions generally
take advantage of a wide audience, leading authors
and mini-monopoly power.
.
Members of ACS can access 2 articles a month as
part of our membership, but there are hundreds of
journals.
We can access ~42 articles/month from ACS journals for
$500, but who can afford this without research grants?  
Then, there are so many more journals we want to read
and learn from.
.
Leading societies offer open access to their articles.
This is what I support since so much research is
government or grant supported.
.
Let’s go into another aspect of publication– ‘
rewards
for useful publications.’  Vijay Ramani discussed how 
monetary rewards are offered in China for scientific
papers based on “importance” characteristics.  He
touched on the understanding that most of us know
many articles are not considered ‘pioneering’ when
initially published.  Years and sometimes, decades later
papers can become very useful.
.
The article on ‘pay for useful publication’ misses the
real world arrangement that many companies write
into their employment contracts awarding patent
bonuses for employees… Patents are available on-line
from the patent office.
comments (0)
08/31/17
Professional Behaviors. Habits can become Irresistible Addictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:02 pm

The book by Adam Alter is interesting reading from a |
number of perspectives.  Irresistible– The Rise of Addictive
Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked

.
Alter asserts that addiction is not genetic in certain people
but every person is vulnerable to situations and attachments
to them.  The Internet and various programmable devices
with continuous positive feedback,
- persistent “goals” culture,
- games and media that incur ‘down the line’ charges [get
you into it so you must and want to stay involved.  But
to do that you have to pay.]
- escalation [where you get challenged and learn, yet the
computer enhanced tool increases or varies from its
otherwise predictable trend]
are examples Alter provides.
.
These addictive technologies develop habits where
you have little control.  Nearly everyone of us has
our own and various situations make us instinctively
crave for that infernal habit.
.
Alter does readers favors by pointing them out,
showing what is going on and suggesting things we
can do 
to forestall, limit or move on to something else.
.
Worth reading for many of us.
‘Habits gone bananas!’ 
3 comments
08/25/17
Suggestions for actions if you lose your position
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:24 pm

Over a 30 - 45 year career, most everyone gets relieved of their
position.  Sometime it is sudden, other times there are indicators
that some positions will be severed and still other times we are
faced with a choice to stay or leave.

.
Let me pose that it should be part of our regular personal planning
process that we consider building resilience into our thinking.  Create
your personal action plan, keep your options open and know what
your personal goals, musts and wants are.
As much as possible plan so that it is not a total surprise.
.
Ruth Umoh contributed a piece offering things to do if you lose
your position.  I cannot agree with her more on
1.  don’t lose your “cool”, stay calm and manage your emotions
2.  personally ask for recommendations from specific individuals
(If someone hesitates at all, or will not provide a good one, move
on.)
2a.  these days more and more Linkedin recommendations can be
a useful starter in situations where policies limit employees from
providing recommendations.
3.  You should be continually active in your professional network,
also ask references for their network contacts and ideas.
.
I found Umoh’s thoughts about cleaning up your facebook, online
profiles and photos and comments something that might be easily 
overlooked.
.
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes 
push 
and pull marketing
, situations where you you meet people 
in person and volunteer roles in professional organizations.
.
Taking shorter term, temporary roles may be a big plus, while
you enroll for unemployment benefits and update your master
resume, targeted resumes for each position and Linkedin
profiles using current keywords for your industry and field.
.
Consider asking for outplacement services as part of your
severance package, while being wary of noncompete documents
that you have signed.
comments (0)
08/24/17
Cuts and De-Regulation. What can we do?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:39 am

Have you looked at the proposed FY2018 budget for science,
technology, health and engineering?  Mostly flat or cutback.
except for defense related expenditures (and the “wall”– which
will be paid for by someone else..)

.
Have you looked at the proposals for taxes?  Across the board
reductions in rates, which results in peanuts for the poor,
a cup of Starbucks for the middle class and a new yacht for
the wealthy.
.
Have you noticed the major overhaul of the rules and enforcement
actions of EPA, SEC and bank regulators?  Blank checks
for violators.
.
These three areas– major federal support for research, 
progressive taxation (richest contribute a fairer share) and 
regulations and legislation are what has turned American 
enterprise into an equitable thriving system in the 20th century.
.
We need to do something about the gutting of these.
.
Through the ACS we are provided some tools to be proactive
individually.  In a recent town hall we learned from our senator
that groups and organizations are much more effective in 
influencing and sending cogent messages to senators and
congress-people.
.
Let’s all urge the EPA to meet its mandated assignment, if not,
let’s increase our efforts at the state level with the DEP.
Let’s ask our ACS President to address research funding 
shortfalls that impacts our enterprise long term.
Let’s bring back regulations that reign in wild speculative behaviors
that benefit a clever few who have escape clauses to absolve
them of blame.  ACS Advocacy
1 comment
08/22/17
Professional Behavior. Entrepreneurs
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

Your circumstances are different than most everyone else’s.
However, we can learn from other professionals’ approaches
if we have a mind to it– that is remain curious, or make up
our minds to be curious.

.
I can not tell you how beneficial it is to be generous and
thoughtful to people who serve you.  They may work for you
individually or be part of an organization.  Took time to drive
with our daughter to do some quick shopping where each of
us had our own shopping lists.  I watched as she hustled to
put items in our basket, but could not find “just” what I wanted.
.
Thought to myself, we could find a premium item as a takeout
from a suitable restaurant.  So we stopped and purchased the 
delectable salad for 2.  While waiting we got into a idle time
conversation with the server.  We asked if we might get a “short”
cup of coffee while waiting and she cooperatively brought it out
as we continued our conversation.   So, as we paid our bill we
asked if we could write a thank you note to management for her
kind and thoughtful service.  She did not exactly know, as she
was a summer hire…. She brought out her manager who informed
us how to perform the act online with detailed instructions.  Then,
went on to say by doing this in a specific order, she would be
rewarded, he would be rewarded and we would receive a modest
gift certificate online.
.
Back in our ride home, we chatted about learning from others’
behaviors is such an adult way of developing and improving skills…
especially in an entrepreneurial world.
.
We used three of Travis Bradberry’s 9 Skills that pay dividends:  
asking for help, staying positive and taking initiative.  Six other items
were–
   knowing yourself (personal self assessment),
   listening,
   know how to say “no”,
   sleeping well,
   knowing to pause and remain quiet, and 
   determining priorities to do the most important things.
.
These apply critically to entrepreneurs who either have too much time
on their hands or too little time.
.
This brings up five things entrepreneurs who find themselves with 
an episodic income stream need to be mindful of:
a.  formulate an exit strategy that propels your next direction–  musts
and wants for yourself and your current employer as a win-win outcome
b.  accumulate reserves and strategize how you can live lean should
events require ‘belt tightening’ 
c.  Set up long term retirement, big purchase, and emergency insurance
accounts and make the necessary contributions (insure matching 
contributions can happen and are accessible)
d.  Know the rules and double check on the amounts about estimated
taxes.  Use an accountant if you are new.  Perhaps fall back on
Turbotax, if you have some experience.
e.  Read the fine print, consult legal input on the fine print of signed
agreements and understand their implications and recourses.
comments (0)
08/16/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Design of Active Pharmaceuticals
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

One of the subtopics we cover in our Professional
Development course is LCA or Life Cycle Assessment
in our class on ethics.

This is a broad impact area that leading organizations have 
adopted for processes, final products, side reactions and
recycling.
.
Recently, a committed network colleague, John Warner,
shared a pertinent article in Chemistry World that addresses
“better design of pharmaceuticals” that do no harm to the
environment when disposed.  The article cites:
 -   birth control and antidepressant drugs persisting in our clean
water supply impact dependent animal life
 - certain drugs remain present and active in vegetable irrigation
supplies and are found in consumable purchases (wash all food
stuffs!)
 
As a result, certain first world countries have implemented extra
cleaning steps to scrub water before it enters water supplies.
The article, however addresses an alternate approach I know
John has been pursuing for over 30 years and is gaining more
supporters… designing active molecules to decompose when 
disposed.
comments (0)
08/12/17
Self Assessment Reflection.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:41 am

Yesterday’s first year graduate student seminar involved
a pre-class homework assignment.  

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/types2.asp 
Since the group was large, eleven of the 16 preference
types were represented.  That meant that there were a
variety of learning styles in the seminar.  
.
The larger group size meant that we could not go into
detail into each individual preference class.  
.
We did reveal how preferences can influence us in both
subtle and explicit ways by asking each individual their
name and whether they were left or right handed and
whether they liked cats or dogs.  These are preferences
that are genetic and influenced by our early life 
experiences… much the same as MBTI.
.
To maximize the experience we had each person
sit with their own similar preference groups and
complete and compare a Values and a Behaviors
instruments to go after an emotional understanding
They learned that despite similar MBTI profiles their
values and behaviors revealed different trends and
these are also important to learn in working in teams.
.
The second half of the seminar involved two
exercises– one involved discussing projects which
troubled several since they had to come up with their
own project and a physical constructing project where
they had to describe their result.
-In the first, one outstanding group had an individual
take leadership and point out how each person, by 
name,  would contribute to the expected outcome.
.
-In the second we had a group presenter relate a 
story to describe their constructed model  she asked
for a volunteer to participate in a short role play and
provided a reward for the participant.
.
In short, they learned about themselves, about 
working together in teams and how to interact
with others and develop a baseline for continuing
learning about themselves– this session was not
over at the end, but a beginning.
3 comments
08/07/17
Patents. Intellectual “Property” and Precise Wording
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:01 am

Jennings Taylor and Maria Inman apply a ‘technologist
lens’ to patent law that is useful for learning about
patenting.

.
Two articles offer
1-  What intellectual property entails and the concepts
involved in patent examination
.
They frame what intellectual property is by a clearly
logical figure comparing physical property ownership
PROPERTY                    PATENT
Owner <—————->  Inventor/Assignee
Sell/Purchase <——–>  Sell/Acquire
Charge/Rent<———->  Charge License Fee
Pay Taxes <————>  Pay Maintenance Fees
Repossessed  <——–>  Abandoned
Trespass  <————->  Infringe
Mortgage  <————>  Loan/ Financing
Deed  <——->  Claims descriptions and specifications
Survey/ title search  <-> Examination/ prior art search
.
The article describes a patent application examination that
involves a prior art search of knowledge and expertise in
the public domain and compares the claims of the
application to determine if there is overlap.
.
 2- Using the English system model, the second article 
offers the right of a patent (and property owner) and 
motivation of the patenting process, which is to promote
progress.  [p. 45-46 in hard copy journal]
.
The third article coming out in the fall addresses how to 
overcome legal aspects of rejection.  [A comment will
be inserted when it comes out in press.]
.
These article will be included in future course sections
on Patents and should be included in ACS Pflags
literature.
1 comment
08/04/17
Legal Issues. Contracts, Taxes and Beneficiaries
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 5:43 am

You should start early in paying attention to legal issues. 
Online resources can provide some questions for you to ask.

They can also alert you to steps that you should take at
various points in your life span.
.
PENALTIES RESULTING FROM RETIREE ACTION
SOURCE:  Fidelity Investment (highlighting Kiplinger report)
Social Security benefits reduction and earnings test 
RMD Required minimum distribution from IRAs after 70 1/2
Medicare sign-up regulations and penalties
Estate taxes (consider forming a revocable trust document)
.
BENEFICIARY LISTS
SOURCE: Fidelity Investments 2
A no cost estate planning step you should regularly update
is your savings, investment accounts and property ownership
beneficiaries.  It is too easy to make assumptions and assume
your wishes will be followed.  Specific forms should be
regularly updated while you are in good health and mental
fitness. 
.
If this reminder gets you to look at your beneficiaries, it 
is worth posting.
.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
SOURCE:  Fidelity Investments 3
Work with an attorney to formulate these directives as laws
and interpretations of wording can be specific and different.
.
I have spoken with each of our adult children about this
step that almost no one wants to think about until it is too 
late.
.
AGREEMENTS.  THE IMPORTANCE OF “ROAD SIGNS”
SOURCE:  Sklover Working Wisdom
Another amazingly important entry talks about unsavory
things that can happen when documents are not properly
formulated.  This means page numbering, dating, headings
and information ‘to be filled in later.’
.
This topic of reading contracts is not a common topic, as
we often do not bother reading the details of formalities.
It is very important in employment, loan, severance, 
noncompete and many other documents.  So, it is worth
each of you to have a knowledgeable and interested third
party look at your documents with your interests in mind.
(Remember, they are constructed to serve the interest of
the other party.) 
comments (0)
07/28/17
Watch-Outs. 104. First Impressions, Trust Documents for your Estate/Assets, Legal Trends
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:57 am

When we encounter people and when people encounter you
and I, initial impressions are made.  It is subconscious and
as the old saw goes, ‘first impressions are lasting
impressions.’  This entry offers some tips of things to avoid.

.
Yesterday, we had a successful appointment with a trust 
attorney with a firm we had vetted 15 years ago to update our
Revocable trust.  It is useful to share why you should consider
creating a trust for your family to manage your assets and
affairs.  It is your chance to spell out your desires while you
have the faculties.  
.
During our meeting with the trust attorney, several things 
tipped me off to look a little further into the attorney we
met.  I learned several things that should be no surprise but
piqued my curiosity…the attorney was a temporary contract
attorney, we met in a “branch” office in a LLC professional
building  with a collection of small firms, and there were no other
firm members and staff.  What questions should I ask and how
should I professionally explore this “gig” economy reality
in the legal field?
.
MISTAKES THAT SPOIL A  FIRST IMPRESSION
SOURCE:  4 H’s to avoid in self promotion
Humblebrag, Hubris, Hypocrisy, [Back-]Handed Compliment
.
The British Psychological Society listed these four behaviors
that can knock a person down a notch –
(1) humblebrag– ‘I am to busy…’ in a way to avoid or shift 
away by implying self importance.
(2) hubris– downward social comparisons;  [I recall a post-doc
doing this to me while I was in grad school]
(3) hypocrisy– pointing out someone’s failure that you might be
caught duplicating;  politician’s seem to reveal this in a 
noticeable way
(4) back-handed compliment– complimenting others puffing
up personal importance.
.
TRUSTS:  LEGAL ENTITIES PROFESSIONALS SHOULD
CONSIDER TO MANAGE YOUR ESTATE
SOURCE:  Ameriprise Financial
.
After your professional education and your career begins
other responsibilities accrue to you.  Your future, to be sure,
is not certain.  You need to think through and provide wisely
for unexpected situations.  Trusts are set up for you by
legal counsel to provide for you and your family in cases
where you are not able.
.
There are several estate planning vehicles for different
circumstances.  We are working on an update to a 15 year
old package that needs to factor in family, law and practical
implementation changes.  (we had a simple will at 35,
first revocable trust at 52)
Financial trust attorney recommend providing your choices
at specific milestones.
.
LEGAL ADVICE:  CONTRACT ATTORNEYS
SOURCE:  Lexology
.
Legal advice that we pay for is important and requires that
we perform due diligence.  To provide legal services to clients
at competitive costs firms substitute contract attorneys
for staff.  In many instances  I have read people have obtained
the services they sought.
.
Nonetheless, we need to look into any situation  which might
be different and unusual.  It is hard to use Martindale Hubbell
for exploring.
.
It is important to document the formal employment arrangement
of your attorney and liability insurance coverage at or right
after the first meeting.
Fortunately, I learned our attorney is formally listed at the
firm and covered by all liability and malpractice insurance.
1 comment
07/21/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Electronic Laboratory Notebooks
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:18 pm
Hi Dan,
How are you doing?  I would like to ask if you have any
experience using electronic labbooks in an R&D lab?
and if there is any in particular you could recommend.  
.
Thank you for any advice you can provide.
.
Best regards”
.
When I regularly attended several large conferences I tried
to look into this emerging field by speaking with vendors about
their market penetration and features for different user 
profiles.
.
Interestingly my deepest learning at this time involved
ensuring legal advice was following in purchasing, training,
and compliance.  Maintenance and regular updates for eLN were
essential as this is a emerging and evolving field.  Years have
past and eLN are essential tools.
.
Glossary of terms:
.
List of Vendors
-  at least 16 countries are represented as vendor developers
-  open source vendors are included in the list
.
eLN features:  Different fields and operations will have different requirements
It is nice to have a big picture for what customers, users, legal and
regulatory applications are provided.
 - basic functionality
 - quality, security and compliance
 - data management
.
eLN decision making
 - The system needs to organize and be able to tag, filter and search entries. 
 - all entries, imported data, and links can be exported to a generic format
(pdf, zip, xlm, etc.) for backup and reporting as well as allowing a bailout
in case the maker of the software stops development, or your funds to pay
for licence fees run dry.
 - 
support of your IT department at an early stage (selection of particular eLN).
 - h
idden costs (hardware like server, backup; on-site support and user training, )
.
What are your customers using?  How frequent are updates?
What are the computer requirements and robustness of the system?
.
These days, eLN are essential to compete
1 comment
07/14/17
Professional Behaviors. Speaking with your Boss
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:49 pm

A recent seminar on Overcoming Fears Uncertainty and 
Doubts pointed out things you should learn to do while
in graduate school.  Two leading ones the group pointed
out were:
   knowing how to speak with your boss

   knowing how to have difficult conversations with people.
.
These are no doubt situational things and depend on several
factors.  That is part of the learning that we need to do.  It is
important to develop this understanding while in graduate school.
.
Money Magazine (8-17 issue, 38ff) formed extra reading for 
our conversation about how to speak to a boss
  - for a raise and at review time
  - after making a mistake
  - challenges at home
  - have a major health issue
.
Flipboard shared a creditable piece about having hard  conversations
with people by Garfinkle.
  - begin with a perspective of respect and curiosity
  - avoiding conversations does not make problems go away
  - listen intently, respond with the other’s ideas first, and avoid
partial listening while planning to say what is on our mind
  - recognize cultural differences and determine how to be
direct (clear statements, not circular logic).
comments (0)
07/11/17
Professional Behavior. Ethics, Whistleblowers and Cassandras
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm
What do we do when we face a major risk or possible
catastrophe?  It is not something that normally comes up
in any but exceptional situations and is the “elephant in the
room.”  That is, is not spoken about.
Here are some thoughts to ponder.  A following comment
lists some situations and Casandras from Clarke and Eddy’s
book that is good reading, especially if you are interested in
cyber-security, global warming, CRISPR technology and
nuclear weapons and disarmament.
.
Casandra:  Sentinel intelligence experts who sense something
catastrophic before anyone else does, before disaster happens
.
Whistleblower: popularized by Ralph Nader for informing about 
illegal or unethical actions picking up on a much earlier term used to 
alert the public about a commission of a crime or a breaking of rules.
Whistleblowers are motivated to do their reporting or announcing by
wanting to do the right thing, or to make right a decision that went
against them.
.
Large federal agencies record whistleblower complaints and are
able to substantiate only a small fraction.  Because of the limited
confirmation rate and going against the culture or leadership or actions
of an organization, whistleblowers have a generally poor reputation.  
So despite positive ethical motivations we may have going into a
situation, it does not always work out for the best.
.
.Recently Clarke and Eddy have published a book exploring this
concept of warning where an individual strongly feels certain
decisions should be made or certain situations should be avoided.  
In Warnings:  Finding Cassandras to stop catastrophes they assert
the Greek concept of Cassandra.  Cassandra was graced by the
gods to be able to predict the future however cursed with the
response that no one believed or listened to her predictions.
.

A dozen past and current case studies were discussed in some detail
in a format that provided a view of classifying four features of each
case.  They were:  (1)nature of the threat or risk,
(2)is the person who needs to act known, knowledgeable, able to sort out
conflicting data and biases,
(3)is the predictor, or Cassandra, well-trained, highly creditable, respected
and confident in their findings and conclusions,
(4)what do the critics rely on and assert about the threat’s imminence.

1 comment
07/06/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Influence of ‘Morphing’ of Goals, Values
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:48 am

While preparing for a seminar on Overcoming Challenges and 
Adversity, several items are worth highlighting for our blog.

The chapter, “Generational Career Shift:  Millennials and
the Changing Nature of Careers in Canada,
” by Lyons, Ng
and Schweitzer was found to contain good insights. [in
book by the same authors, 2012]
.
The original idea [for this seminar topic] resulted from 
this year’s class suggestion and a seminar by
N. Halpern, 
on Careers for Mid-level Professionals.
.
Think about it.  100 years ago people lived, on average, to
48 years, whereas now it is beyond 78.  The length and nature
of careers has and continues to change this life span and equally
important our values and goals.
.
People seek much more control over their career paths, seek
personal satisfaction [over organizational], pursue advancement
[over organizational commitment] and realize multiple careers.
.
The seminar will discuss how we need to encourage
 - adapting to adversity and challenges by seeing them as
opportunities to learn useful skills
 - building personal resilience skills [see Sandberg, Grant ]
 - developing critical habits, including listening and
effectively managing technological tools.
comments (0)
06/30/17
Watch-Outs. 103. Scientific Publishing, Limits of Analysis, Gas Cylinders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:36 am

Publication is a critical focus in the scientific world.  Societies
have publication wings.  There is a large commercial publication
business that earns nearly $20Bn/year with a third being
profits.  The Guardian published a revealing article about the
publication world which this blog has offered comments.

Previous comments have been offered on peer review,
papyrocentric 
model 
and critical thinking when reading.  
This blog is on record for supporting the idea of “open access”
and questioning the viability of “rating” journals based on
citations in the internet age [it is like mindless “likes” in
social media.].
.
Been following of Deming’s articles on Applied Statistics
for decades.  He is in the middle of an important series on 
limits of detection.  I just received a water analysis report
and have received blood and urine medical reports that refer
to one or another of these.  These articles are important and
significant for all of us.  We should know and use these terms
properly.
.
One of the types of questions I ask in some interviews 
concerns gas cylinder set-up and use.  Articles in LC/GC 
often reveal solid scientific thinking to answer questions
in this area.
.
ROBERT MAXWELL AND PROFITING ON SCIENCE
SOURCE:  S. Baranyi, The Guardian June 27, 2017 
“Is the Staggeringly profitable publishing business bad for
Science”
Although the ACS continues its efforts to 
expand its
profit center, most of the members do not realize what
is going on in the publication business.  This Guardian
article goes into details what the ACS publications 
division might be emulating.  
.
Should we not ask questions to make more science, often
paid for via taxes, available free online?
.
SCIENCE AND THE LIMITS OF DETECTION
SOURCE:  S. N. Deming, Amer. Laboratory June/July 2017
P. 41.  ”Statistics in the Laboratory:  The Limit of Detection
Deming teaches in this article L(D) the limit of detection, which
he points out is different than the smallest amount of 
analyte that can be detected or the limit of quantitation (appearing
in future articles.).
.
He points out:
- false positive risk needs to be appropriate for the application.
[drug testing example]
- in a plot of a calibration curve with a non-zero intercept, L(D)
the limit of detection is the amount of analyte that yields a
signal outside the error of the false negative.
.
These comments are often not brought out in many classes.
.
GAS CYLINDERS
SOURCE:  J. V. Hinshaw, LC/GC North America 11-2016, P. 41
Gas Cylinder Safety, Part II:  Set up and Use
What I like about Hinshaw is that he does a fishbone diagram
to assess a wide variety is issues that could come up in
working with a common analytical tool.
1 comment
06/26/17
Professional Skills. MBA, Six Sigma Technologies and PMI Project Management Certification
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:10 am

After our formal technical training, which may be experiential,
[non-academic] but most often involves the academic realm–
BS, MS, PhD and post-doc, many in government, industry and
entrepreneurial career paths find business certification a very
positive growth dimension.
.

This can happen when we choose to continue formal academic
work with an MBA or 13-week MBA certification.  When we
explore this option we find 2-year and 3-year MBAs where the
longer term allows developing specialization skills.  The 13-week
in-residence programs had prerequisites of solid business experience
and tighter admission and stronger longer term career commitment
from a sponsoring organization.
.
One clear strength of the MBA programs is the networking, both
formal, through the university, and informal, through connections
and associations (alumna, alumni).
.
In the 1980s formal business certification programs were developed
in parallel to MBA programs.  These should be of interest to many
people since they may be more specific to certain aspects and
more broadly respected as providing necessary background and
organization useful in certain fields.  These are the PMP Project
Management Professional and Six Sigma “Belt” programs.  
.
I am surprised that ACS has not incorporated both of these in
career continuous education plans.
.
PMP Program covers a broad range of 
skills and experiential 
training
 to help improve the success rate of projects.
.
Six Sigma asks about understanding customer requirements and
mapping a process to identify and measure defects, losses and waste
using statistical methods, measurement systems and data analysis.
I find people who complete an MBA curriculum or are certified
PMP or Six Sigma are encouraged and are proponents of their
programs
.
  
The training in each seem to differ and it is worth noting PMP
emphasizes the “waterfall model“.   The training methodologies
may emphasize other approaches, as listed here.
An objective comparison of PMP and Six Sigma appears in this chart.
1 comment
06/21/17
After Action Review. Job Search and Interview Process
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 am

Recently a colleague reported his experiences he observed
during his job search.  It points out the importance of networking
[2] , doing After Action Reviews, knowing that you can build your
career by taking related positions, where you learn and practice
applicable skills productively.  After all, a career is a process of
growth combined with continuous learning.

.
Networking:  
   applied online and got a personal contact of mine to forward my resume 
to the hiring team…he felt comfortable to refer me.
   it was too late, they had already considered a candidate. 
   This year they contacted me.   So as you have so many times emphasized,
networking is key to getting one’s resume noticed.

Career is a Process:  
A senior level manager:
-  Asked about my industry experience and was probing about my interests,
strengths and ability to work in a team. We really clicked in the interview.
It was a pleasant conversation about various aspects of manufacturing, QA,
 QC , work ethics, and honesty. he was very pleased that I was familiar with
Quality Management System. I felt we were already colleagues in the interview.
Among questions asked:
-  what I do not like, and what I like.
-  given a situation what do I prefer: perfect and late, good and on time, or quick
and early…something like that.  I elaborated on each as it all depends according
to me. For example, I recall saying it depends on how critical it is. In a situation
where you are looking at an API, it is critical to be within the acceptance
criteria/specifications, better be late but safe.  But for a report, as long as all
the important information are there, I won’t delay it for perfection. I recall also
talking about how in a team, different people have their own preferences - in
terms of how to present a table. I personally don’t like to delay output for these 
things (as long as it is not wrong). 
.
Another Interviewer/non-technical manager:
-  were able to relate a little as I had previous experience in the finance
department when i was in accounting.
-  ended up in a conversation about the market, competitive advantage, pains
of month/year/quarter ends.
-  Talked about SAP and Oracle.
-  He actually appreciated that I knew about science and financial side of the
business.
.
After Action Review:
-   if I run into a situation like that again, I should transition my mindset into a
“sales pitch”- meaning, I should do the best I can to use facts from my
experience to support each criteria they are looking for.
 asked to visit the lab and areas of interests. I found it odd they did not propose.
comments (0)
06/16/17
Resumes for Technical Roles.What can be done to improve chances to get interviews.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 10:42 am

Recently I have received requests to review resumes and cover
letters for people who have completed several post docs and
wonder what can they do to attract interview attention.

.
First it was important to realize that they do not see the
changing role of push-pull marketing using on line profiles.  
Since online profiles can contain much more information than
resumes and can be accessed in a multiplexed mode, quite often
this is a leading recruiting step.  Push marketing is typified by
sending your resume to a recruiter or uploading to a website.  
Pull marketing occurs when recruiters review profiles on line.
.
The online profile needs to be very good and show
communication savvy, while being consistent with your resume.
.
Second.  When I examine the profile/ resume/ cover letter package
I  ask for the job description.  The exact title [cover letter], job code
[cover letter], 
and keywords [cover letter, resume, online
profile-Linkedin] need 
to be listed in the documents.  It is critical
since screening is often done by ATS applicant tracking systems.
.
One colleague was an ORISE Fellow at FDA and did not mention
knowing about FDA regulations, how 
FDA reviews applications
and industry specific qualifications in the highlights section.
.
Third.  While the ATS examines the full document, human reviewers
will want to see information that is easy to read, error-free and
specific 
to the position.  Please:
  - avoid long paragraphs of information in cover letter or resume
  - use gmail, not yahoo, aol or education-based email address
  - insert your experience section before education, after you
reach five or more years beyond your last degree.
.
While it might be very true, statements like the following are
not taken seriously:  
‘I believe I am a
quick learner as demonstrated previously where
I
have
worked in various fields (materials, analytical and clinical)
and published
papers
. I hope my skills and background are a
good
fit
for to satisfy the requirements for the … position. I thank you for
your time and enthusiastically look
forward to hearing from you
soon. ‘ [note too many ‘I’s’– whole letter had >16]
for we know other interpersonal, cultural, and nonverbal 
factors can dominate.  [Technical skills alone are not enough.]
.
While the ACS offers good general suggestions about 
writing documents, specific situations require outside-the-
box thinking.
-  when there is little evidence for scientific accomplishments
via patents and papers, consider creating a List of Projects
addenda that might mention project work on proprietary
material ethically and legally.
-   when seeking positions of some authority and responsibility,
providing information in the affiliations or highlights section
or in the cover letter or in the Linkedin profile where you
point out project and team leadership and responsibility 
revealing emotional intelligence
1 comment