When you are in various career paths your
activities tend to place you in a silo of activities
to meet agreed upon goals. You develop and
use tactical skills to improve things, to identify
things and to make or combine things. You may
also use SPC or DOE to identify problems or
Leaders will do this. However, they also develop
strategic thinking. Jo Miller’s article,
addresses some of the unique features of the
strategist and the tactician, including:
1. Shift from day-to-day thinking to years ahead
then work backwards from goals, like in a
2. Work with groups outside your limited chain
of command. Learn their SWOT (strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats) for longer
term to see where there is commonality to
engage and collaborate. Ask if you can help
3. Look for areas to change for the better–
transformational change. Where tacticians
chip away at goals and do not threaten
the status quo, strategists involve change and
build new skills.
Thus, change your time horizon, broaden your
scope of influence, and seek out transformative
changes. It is an article worth reading.
When you are surprised by someone or an event, you
may not be ready to do the right thing. Right? We
always recommend the importance of preparation.
The same is true of of daily agendas and decision making
and acceptance of new ideas. D. Pink highlighted this
New ideas: Better to speak to higher ups in the morning,
earlier in the week, or after a break…
Brainstorming: Off-peak time, like later in afternoon,
when you are more open-minded.
It is true however that we have different peak times.
Think about when yours might be. The idea then is
to develop strategies to adjust to different circumstances.
Pink talks about some of these.
Good news, bad news: most people accept bad news first.
What is the present and short term future market conditions?
… demand, available customers, price and competition
Assess your stress tolerance and forward seeking
optimism… What is your back-up plan?
Do you have the technical resources to move into place,
or know how to reach out to them?
It is an ever present challenge about finding another position,
either from job loss, limited growth possibilities, or loss
of excitement for the employment situation we find ourselves
We question our choices up till that point. But alas we have
learned that more often the choices we made were valid but
for changes in funding or preferences or timelines.
Mid-career offers different challenges than early career. You
have an established work history, salary history and contributions
to your department involving trusting connections, lucid
communications and committed networks.
Not every personality faces this kind of job search comfortably.
It is certainly important to have established mentors to bounce
ideas off of. They can be a sanity check…
You can always get better… if there is something lacking or needing
It is not too late to learn new things… Especially if you know what
your career gap is. It might be harder if you do not know the gap.
That is when you fall back on your strengths and building out from
You should not hold back from going in another direction,
especially if it is an area of high interest.
Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
Pay forward, pass on valuable information. You never know what
could make a difference for others.
Know your risk tolerance level, and those in your family that depend
If you need help, ask for help; join a professional organization; use
your experience to volunteer to help others.
Recently perused another insightful book by Barbara Oakley,
called “A MIND FOR NUMBERS: HOW TO EXCEL AT MATH AND
SCIENCE”, Tarcher Penguin, NY 2014.
I enjoyed reading new ways to learn things, especially related to
our fields of math and science. I like to compare other people’s
thought processes. Barbara Oakley has given much thought
to this process :
- Take pauses and breaks in my learning [so my brain makes
- There is a concentrated and a diffuse mode [nice! I can relate
to that. Especially the thinking process while running or
driving to a place where I have been before…]
- my working memory is now shorter, it seems. It is about
4 items. But what I can do is repeat the focused learning steps
and each time the process seems to be easier.
- Chunking: a key learning tool–. Get to the key things you
want to learn and “chunk it” using the focused, concentrated
mode of thinking. Chunks are built on focused attention,
understanding the basic ideas, and gaining the big picture.
- Habits are based on 4 steps, adding one to Duhigg’s model:
Cue – routine — reward — the Belief
- Memory tricks include: combining things in different ways;
use metaphors of natural, common, and usual things;
repeat what you wish to recall;
use stories and little memory sayings and songs.
writing things down and say things out loud.
- it is more important how you think, than what you know.
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, Observ. Trends
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@ 9:42 am
Thank you for reading the NESACS Blog for Career Management
and Development. I appreciate your interest and following. This
blog provides independent concerns, information on career paths,
directions on professional behaviors and job search trends and
This year we outline major subject areas covered:
Public Relations Documents
Historical Trends and Economics Influences
Public Relations Documents. Resumes
This blog post reflects the position that the ACS needs
to develop an on-going Subject area regarding the
Economics of our Enterprise, just like Chemistry and
the Law, the Environment, and Education.
describes the need…”The system is rigged. Companies
are forced to eliminate workers not by the market of
real goods and services where supply and demand set the
right price, but by the commands of financial markets,
where hope and greed too often set the price.”
the decline of corporate R&D by measuring the decline
of technical papers–
‘Corporations in the US are spending a diminishing portion of their R&D budgets on research. The share of basic and applied research in corporate R&D has tapered from 28% in 1985 to 20% in 2015.
Corporate representation in the scientific literature is also shrinking. In an analysis of publications authored by publicly traded US companies in the Web of Science database, we observed that the annual average number of papers published per company fell from around 25 in 1980 to less than 10 in 2010. The drop was visible across a wide range of industries and most pronounced among firms with established research programmes, for which the number of publications fell by as much as 65% between 1980 and 2006.’
Detailed information and discussion includes:
1. the decline of retained earnings
2. using algorithms to make decisions
3. intrusion of fake news, fake growth and bots to influence decisions
4. use of polls with uncertain questions and populations and decision criteria
5. professionals reduced to under 29-hours population
This is a critical topic for emerging chemists,
people indifferent stages of their careers and our
professional organization aiming to serve its members.
Previous years’ lists
This year I will attempt to link readers to discussions of some of the
books that follow in this blog.
Maria Konnikova THE CONFIDENCE GAME: WHY WE ALL
FALL FOR IT. EVERY TIME, Penguin Random House NY 2016
Thomas L. Friedman THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE Farrar
Stevens and Giroux NY 2016
Yuval Noah Arari HOMO DEUS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF
Robert Cialdini INFLUENCE THE PSYCHOLOGY OF
PERSUASION Collins division of HarperCollins NY 1994
William Strauss, Neil Howe THE FOURTH TURNNG: AN
AMERICA PROPHECY Broadway Books, NY 1997
David Livermore, THE CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE DIFFERENCE:
Master the one skill you can’t do without in
today’s global economy,
American Management Association, NY, 2011
Adam Alter, IRRESISTIBLE: The Rise of Addictive Technology
and the Business of Keeping us Hooked,Penguin Press NY 2017
Rudolph W. Giuliani with Ken Kurson, Leadership, Miramax
Books Hyperion NY, 2002
Lisa Randall, KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR: HOW
PHYSICS AND SCIENTIFIC THINKING ILLUMINATE
THE UNIVERSE AND THE MODERN WORLD
Robert Colville, THE GREAT ACCELERATION: HOW THE
WORLD IS GETTING FASTER, FASTER Bloombury London NY 2016
Michael Breus THE POWER OF WHEN: DISCOVER YOUR
CHRONOTYPE AND THE BEST TIME TO
ASK FOR A RAISE, HAVE SEX, WRITE A NOVEL AND MORE,
Little Brown and
Company NY 2016
Alan Alda IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU WOULD I HAVE THIS
LOOK ON MY FACE RandomHouse 2017
Barbara Oakley, MINDSHIFT BREAK THROUGH OBSTACLES
TO LEARNING AND DISCOVER YOUR HIDDEN POTENTIAL
Tarcher Peregre Penguin Random House 2017
Barbara Oakley, part of the team delivering ‘highly attended’
MOOCs, authored a topical book “Mindshift: Breakthrough
Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential”
that can open up your thinking.
It left me with at least seven take home messages shared below.
1. Learning via the Pomodoro Technique
turn off distracting devices and sources
focus on work for 25 minutes
take a few minute break to rest your mind; repeat…
2. Cultures cling to legacies; change is fought off. New ideas
form and flow with two classes: young, unexposed people
and people who change fields.
3. ”Second skilling” permits you to adapt to the changing career
environment. Two tactics: look to increasing and decreasing
hiring trends; overall picture of skill distribution and where
are budgets decreasing and lowering of skills
4. ”Chunk” your learning practicing more on the areas you find
5. Opportunity results from skill and luck. Luck surfaces from
a combination of (1) seeing problems as opportunities, (2)
constantly upgrade and learn new skills, (3) assertively
6. People have different learning styles. Learn yours. One is
focused, another is diffuse. You should use both, but
understand what works best for you.
7. Value of selective ignorance. You have only so much ‘cognitive
energy’. Be selective in what you choose.
This book is highly recommended for undecided people and
professionals in-transition. [The review cited above provides
a thoughtful assessment.]
Just finished a book by Brendon Burchard– High
Performance Habits: How extraordinary people become that way, Hay House, 2017
that addresses a consultant’s approach to look for
ways for mid-career and later professionals to increase
curiosity and genuine self confidence.
It differs from the more common “instruments” that reveal
to you something about yourself– strengths, MBTI
values, behaviors, etc. providing‘ideas about the correlation between motivation - high
performance and alignment with values, clear intentions
and higher purpose. It can help you figure out how to
redefine your goals to better align with your true
” [in a review…]
The short story that is valued to share what he writes on
developing influence and expressing courage.
Where early career professionals seek certainty,
others benefit from action steps they can adapt
to and separate emotions from feelings. It is a
self-help contribution that some may find to provide
Innovations in the way we present ourselves, our
research and technical work should impact how we
format and what we include in our CVs for academic
General guidelines for having
- the document be in screen-readable sized font,
- your name on each printed page with a page number,
- keywords that reveal that you understand that you
meet requirements (musts/wants) of the position being
- your experience section state accomplishments led
by action verbs
- sufficient information to evaluate your academic
credentials and accomplishments (your thesis and adviser,
titles of presentations, patents and articles)
are certain. Just as the essential need of a signed cover
letter that cites all the documents in your package.
Reviewing so many documents usually means that
they are in electronic form and items should be digitally
While several references suggest Purdue’s Online
Writing Lab and registration in ORCID
provides items to consider including as topics.
In addition to those, it is now important to include
web-pages, blogs, open access articles on both technical
and topical interest, Internet commentaries, and
appropriate communication contact points (texting,
More and more academic position applications will ask
for teaching philosophy, diversity statement, research
proposals, list of publications, patents, and presentations
and list of references. All of the information should be
appropriately integrated to support each other.
Of interest to many academic positions is seeing your
contribution and participation in “service” to department,
university and field of endeavor and presentations to
organizations and audiences outside of your main field.
Special mention should be made about CVs for outside
the US. If you are seeking positions in Europe, you should
We recently observed close friends living in CA who lost
their home and most of its contents to wildfires. Another
friend was overtaken by back pain making it difficult to
work. A third friend lost her husband suddenly.
This entry offers some ideas for actions you can do
at separate stages in your career.
- monitor daily your credit card and financial records,
noting unusual events. Have an action plan ready–
phones or cars
. Don’t wait for the unfortunate event to happen–
have paid up insurance, contact numbers organized,
detailed information to provide
- record retention file guidance retention
1 year: payroll stubs, bill statements
6 years: income tax records and related forms
7 years: critical slips, statements and cancelled checks
Permanent: investment records, pension papers, insurance
policies, contracts, personal- birth certificates, military,
marriage, divorce, adoption, naturalization and citizenship
- always enroll in substantial disability insurance
- continue all the early career record-keeping
- formulate a document location spreadsheet, what is in
your safety deposit box
- have a list of people and institutions with their contact
information for banks, brokerages, lawyers, physicians
- formulate a will, powers of attorney, and care for
children: instructions who would raise them in your
- organize important family photos, papers and records
CLOSE TO RETIREMENT
- visit trust attorneys and determine who you would like
to represent you
- interview and work with a financial adviser
- organize a checklist for what to do when a loved one
dies [see comment]
One of the leading skills that we take away from our
experience, education and learning from others is
“articulating thoughts” in letters. Notice the specificity
at the end of the sentence. [Many sources point out
that articulating relates to speech, lucid is more to
tuned to writing.]
Articulating thoughts in writing means that there is a
specific goal for your letter, whether
you wish to submit to a journal editor
, or filing an interest or complaint with an authority
encapsulates barriers to lucid
writing identifying four hurdles:
- cultural differences
: while it is easier to describe
international professionals working in American
enterprises, I have found manufacturing organizations
have “time critical” focus that is not present in R&D,
Observe and pay attention to words used and timeliness,
intent and action.
- verbs, active/passive voice and word order:
interpretations and meaning can vary from person to
- finding the right term: so often loss of specificity
can lead to undesired outcomes
- anxiety can lead to including unrelated information
due to uncertainty. Joining organizations like
Toastmaster International may prove to be a growing
In most cases good letter writing open doors to many
opportunities as well as the goal for your writing.
Keywords, knowing how letters are received and
recorded (sometimes documents are screened by
software before humans scan them), and who and
how letters are addressed (formal is more often
appropriate) are take-aways for good letter writing.
Filed under: Recent Posts
, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin
@ 3:54 pm
Recently read in interesting article on graduate education in
STEM fields by Nick Wingfield. the article attracted over 400
comments in a couple of days. The comments came from many
- financial disincentives for US citizens due to loan debt
- popular culture that creates negative attitudes for higher education
- many employers do not value higher education
- various political decisions to decrease government funding
- masters degrees are valued, but companies do not reward with
high enough salaries for the added time and training, over bachelors
- US students see it is not worth the effort and time to then be
competing with international H1-B holders with masters
- international students may sometimes have financial backing
outside US and university sources
- undergraduate preparation for employment and graduate school
fails to deliver critical thinking skills, articulation and working in
teams in problem solving
- work ethic American students is not well developed; western
culture is sold on winning, getting something for nothing, self
importance and sidestepping the law and rules.
- many university professors sell their research to unprepared
students who do not have the understanding to ask good questions
You learn and train in a wide range of technical skills,
develop writing ability creating public relations documents,
perfect public speaking and presentations in universities.
Do you get an introduction into solid financial practices
and decisions when you start your career? From a number
of recent interactions I sense most don’t have those
conversations or know people they can feel comfortable
Some situations, for example:
- start at a position and get reduced in staff in less than
- decisions at sign-up starting a position at the new
to mind. The last hits home — money is not an end in
itself, it is a means to create personal satisfaction and
value. Leading among the ten items are:
1. figure out your required and optional expenses
2. include creating an emergency fund, insuring yourself
and life essential properties
3. manage your loans, payments, and credit record.
The time value of money can be estimated by the
The financial world is changing constantly. The recommendations
and rules of the past in general may not be applicable.
Think 401Ks, IRAs, pension plans, how you use tax returns
and estimated tax payments.
Create a “financial notebook” for yourself as a continuing learning
tool. Learn from your mistakes.
Seek financial counselors or mentors you can go to.
If you work for the federal government, student loans can be
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
Did not know which title intro fits better: ‘Watch-Outs’ or
‘Technical Trends worth noting’ as I start this entry.
Last evening a local library sponsored a stimulating
discussion on weather changes influenced by arctic sea-ice
Her presentation offers a clear-minded assessment of
observations of Arctic sea-ice and land-ice losses. They
impact winds in at least three ways and ocean
levels in as many ways through combining impacts.
[you never know how these links display!]
where she is the third speaker.
She describes three effects of the loss of the Arctic sea-ice cap
- weaker steering winds
- wavier jet stream
- stagnant formations of wind flow (resulting from jet
On top of sea ice recession, land-ice loss due to thermal
effects due to less reflection of solar radiation (Less ice,
polar cap is darker and more absorbent) raises sea levels
and enhances storm water surges in coastal regions.
Her talk last night ended with forecasts for future
scenarios that point to the need for important changes
in global behaviors, changing populations settling and
migration patterns and serious infrastructure redesigns.
[Several of these are pointed out in the Wilson Center
Are you feeling stress in yourself? Need to make decisions?
Too many things to do and not enough time? Meeting with
new people, people with opposing views or too many people?
Feel cramped or feel inhibited?
These things can happen in relaxed times or in business
situation. They can happen without notice, rapidly or
with a time suspension or delay.
GP contacted me about a post graduate role and her
uncertainty over her visa situation, application process,
negotiation of starting date and leaving date situation.
GP has interest in an informal offer, but feels she faces
a series of hurdles, which create anxiety and stress.
She “presented” a stressed mindset in our conversation.
So it was important to (1)share that several other colleagues
each faced similar challenges and dared to commit to
a course of action and take it as a learning experience.
locks us from moving forward.
(2)Compliment her for moving forward and following up
on an opportunity that is within her reach.
(3)Deal proactively with barriers she foresees.
However, knowledge alone will not necessarily reduce
her stress. Alice Boyes
has offered some proactive
physical, mental and behavioral ideas, a couple which
I had not known for relieving stress, –
- running your fingers over your lips
- slow down when you feel a stress or anxiety build
Some were ones that have worked for me–
- going outside into nature
- deep breathing
- power posing (Amy Cuddy)
- muscle relaxation; Yoga
- speaking openly with trusted mentors
- try new things, test things out, learn from others
Author, Boyes, has several others, since it is true
there is no one “magic bullet.”
To formulate positive movement forward we discussed
several things that references are asked when we are
contacted. Done as a collaboration, we built positive
hope in the direction she is seeking.
a. how long is our professional connection and in
b. what are clear strengths that will be valuable
in her next position, provide examples with stories and
The reference, me in this case, needs to personalize
Then, (4) provide a “lifeline” to contact whenever
she feels the need arising.
One of the crucial measures of developing research programs
is keeping in touch with new ideas and combinations with
new equipment and theories.
Several career paths place credibility of achievement on
publications [publications in peer reviewed publications].
How this is measured with Internet publications is not patently
obvious or at least consistent from one organization to another.
Nonetheless several sources of online publications are appearing.
provides global access and outlet to classified topic
ChemRxiv is a Figshare
product offers rapidly transmitted
of one-page preprints with a promise of tools to detect plagiarism.
[open API or via OAI-PMH].
to evolve from the commercial and professional society
journal paradigm. It will be important that strong professional
ethics are articulated in this evolving medium and there is
a viable enforcement mechanism for violations and dealing
with grey-area issues.
We can gain insights into various career paths by interrogating
other fields and applying their approaches and findings.
In reading some Native American history
, the contrast in
the sense of the meaning of time was offered [James Wilson,The Earth Shall Weep
]. The cultural driven Indian nations
regarded time as cyclical returning to seasonal interludes,
whereas European cultures brought in a linear perspective of
distant past-past- present-future. The European culture sliced
time up into eras and time spans and measured time with
smaller and smaller intervals.
Taking a wider view, Lisa Randall [Astrophysicist] discusses
the critical notion of “scale” which informs Physicists the range
of lengths, time intervals, or energies that are relevant for any
particular investigation and is critical to the understanding of
By partitioning the universe into different comprehensible
sizes we learn that the laws of physics that work best are not
necessarily the same for all processes. Indeed the degree of
of precision you desire determines the scales you choose.
For a given problem we use an “effective theory.” This points
out the concept that the month-day-hour-second-nanosecond is
just a cultural interpretation of celestial observations from
which it was derived and the world as different cultures displays
“scales” describing different “effective theories.”
Do not expect your scale to be uniformly applicable for all
problems. Science offers an evolving body of knowledge, as old
ideas get incorporated into more fundamental theories and science
proceeds with uncertainty at the edges.
As humans, we find shortcuts almost part of our nature. So
a decade ago exomes [shortened genome sequences] were sought
in clinical investigations of mendelian disorder studies. They
offered lower cost approaches. This hypothesis more likely
confirmed that shortcuts more often lead to incomplete or wrong
directions as biological systems are complex.
routine as just another tool as researchers dive into germline
genome editing. Dozens of organizations want to fully weigh
in on public funding to repair a germline mutation in human
embryos [9-1-17, GENengnews.com]. Then, alternate approaches
such as mouse models
might be oversimplistic in expecting
organism wide duplication.
This points to Lisa Randall’s observation that leadership
needs to push forward in asking the right questions, defining
the real problems, and identifying promising routes to
progress by solving smaller issues which turn out to be
clues to the bigger issues.
ANALYST SALARIES AND COMPANIESLC/GC
completed and published a 2017 salary survey and
company listing that job seekers in the chemical analyst
career track will use.
Just finished reading Rudy Guiliani’s book Leadership.
Reading the book was an opportunity to see things from a
different perspective– legal mind with historical interests
who faced and met challenges. It was a rewarding experience
in that it offered some remarkable take-aways about positive
behaviors of leaders and thinking processes in dealing with
- The importance of seeing things / situations with your own
eyes, as it allows all sorts of things that you can question and
- Practice simulations of actual events before they happen.
Have a reaction plan. Let it be modifiable.
- Have a command center
organize and formulate communications, coordination
prepare back up plan and unintended consequences
anticipate what might happen next
- Prepare relentlessly and eliminate making assumptions
All leaders are influenced by those who they admire. Reading
about them and studying what and how they learned will inspire
how you will grow critical traits. Much of the material will be the
raw material of your own life.
- insist on starting off with a morning meeting as your cornerstone
get control of the start of the day
set priorities; have all key contributors present
allow open discussion
outcomes: specific action plans and reporting
everyone is informed and accountable; carry the info forward
- sweat the details and small stuff, as they reveal underlying
- create arguments for different coalitions to influence decisions
- instill preparedness
- put your health as a first and main concern
- take as much time as available to make decisions, but the
process of making the decision should begin immediately.
- seek different perspectives and points of view, yet avoid
predetermination or favorites. [Sometimes it is beneficial to
leave the room when discussion is in process and receive a
- surround yourself with strong, independent people while
keeping battles internal. manage results and expectations
- underpromise and overdeliver- how
develop your personal beliefs
have a plan of action
word choice makes a difference
- stand up to bullies. Do it early.
- do not exceed the ‘pig factor’ [spending more than needed,
overstating on expenses, it is a form of bullying]
- read in depth about things you find come up; do not
just leave it to experts.
I received a request from PP after he received a long
sought after job offer. He accepted the offer which he
pointed out included a $2000 relocation reimbursement.
“…Since this is my first industry based job, best
professional practices to follow as a new employee.
One item is the company has not followed up on its $2K
relocation allowance, which they offered during phone and
Other things not mentioned in the hard offer was processing
my O-1 work visa.
I am expected to relocate in early November. Please let me
know what you think about my relocation allowance?”
1. HOW TO ACCEPT AN OFFER
It is critical to understand your critical first step in accepting
a job offer. Besides signing the appropriate document, you
should devise an acceptance letter that re-affirms key elements
of the offer letter agreement and items that were discussed in
all the interviews and information exchanges. This should be
sent either at the same time as the acceptance documents or
Included in the letter is a request to know a direct contact person
to whom you can consult with issues, questions and concerns.
You should be able to contact them at any time and feel
You should ask for a company annual report and employee
Clearly, this acceptance letter would specifically address
relocation and working visa processing.
2. RELOCATION INFORMATION
should be confirmed orally and confirmed in writing:
- househunting, including transportation, hotel and meals
- costs of selling and purchasing, including closing costs,
commissions, legal and recordkeeping expenses
- Position searching help for spouse
- travel expenses and temporary housing for the move
- Temporary housing in cases where the home is not
- moving company expenses and logistics for packing
loading, unloading and unpacking, as well as insurances
Please realize that the details of the relocation policy
need to be confirmed and in writing. Also it is critical to
confirm the specifics of what forms, receipts and
timing of submission / reimbursement in advance.
I recommended that PP should not be hindered from
asking for information and suggestions at any time.
A more comprehensive relocation benefit discussion
Not to be lost in this discussion is the tax breaks you are
entitled to for job change as long as it involves a move
of employer greater than 600 miles. Please note that if
the job search occurs over a significant period of time
with various expenses they can all be claimed, but you
are responsible for keeping receipts (credit card
documents may be enough, if accompanied by expense
3. VISA DISCUSSIONS
You should not shy away from pursuing a firm understanding
of responsible people, timelines and your role in employment
papers. This has been a topic in this blog. We know the
visa situation has changed and will change again so it is
critical to be well informed and have a back up plan.