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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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08/01/15
Networking Update for Early Career Professionals.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:17 pm

Learned a lot from Mikey Rox’s article in the Christian Science
Monitor on Networking.  While it is true this blog has carried
the topic of Tips for Networking several times but the ten items
in this article said something to me…

-  Go it alone.  This is a mature adult behavior that expresses
confidence.  When attending an event with others, we reconnect
often, engage in pre-formed connections [dependencies]  and
have attachments with the person or people we are with.

-  Be a friend to someone new and or younger.  Share and do not
seek your interests too soon.

-  “Sweat-working” is working out, engaging in an activity sport,
team or otherwise and creating a bond and common ground in
other areas, like working out, basketball or exercise.

-  Wear something that people will notice and or comment
on.  It could be an alumni shirt, jewelry, or colors, or an interesting
shirt.  But make it professional looking, or else the attention
you are expressing you want may not be in your advantage.
I recall attending a professional session at a university and one
student was wearing a Chewbaka image shirt.

-  Sit at or near a bar.  In the current age, it is a signal that
you are willing to switch it up a bit.

–  “Pre-networking” which is when you share that you will
be attending an event and looking to meet others.

-  Follow up after meeting with LinkedIn invitations, thank
you notes or continuing the conversation.

There are a few more ideas of note in her article.

comments (0)
07/28/15
Interesting Resume Review.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:55 pm

A colleague submitted her resume, cover letter and the job
description to a career consultant.  The job description, which
is a major source of content, did not reveal more than a couple
key words.  Her corresponding cover letter and resume seemed
less attention deserving that it should be since she focused on
herself and not what is encouraging about the company and
how she meets the job requirements.

What do you do when you pull up a brief job description?

Knowing the company’s name you can definitely examine the
company’s website
.  So, one of the ways to bring positive
attention to the company in your cover letter is to show you
know the business the company is in.
One cool thing I observed in this company was coining a new
term, Admetry, which describes a software for Pharmacokinetic
and drug  metabolism for everyone.  The company also
represents itself as performing five classes of biomarker
assessments.
See, for example.

The targeted resume and cover letter was for a position doing
MS analysis and methods development.  However, besides clearly
reflecting on the those elements, they might attract attention by
mentioning their business model elements that she could
beneficially add. Search Linkedin, for example.

Beyond that there are similar job descriptions for other firms
that might also offer what a similar role in their company would
seek them to perform.  Again, it is the critical keywords and
understanding the business they are in telling how you can make
a difference. 

Her first draft cover letter did not do this.
 

comments (0)
07/23/15
Tools to Gain more Security in our Career Paths
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

Nearly 80% of the members of our graduate course in
Professional Development rank security or certainty as
a leading desire.  Thus, a high percentage sense a higher
level of un-certainty.

I led a seminar recently on ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ where
the attendees were asked what were they uncertain about.
Was it how to make good decisions, or
What should be their next career step, or
Should they stop with a MS, or
How to do a good job search, or
How long should they expect to stay at a job, when should
they move, how do you look for a position while working,
or
What do you do if your boss disagrees with you or
does not like you, or…
You might get the point.  Then, I asked them to share
their uncertainty with others before asking them to
discuss what feelings do the uncertainty evoke?

Did they feel confused, or anxious, or frustrated, or
stuck (and not able to change or move), or making false
starts
?  The top three feelings they expressed were:
anxious, confused and frustrated.

We talked that many of their situations were created by
the circumstances that they were in influenced by outside
forces.  They have relatively little control over these. 
What they each have control over is how they individually
respond to the feelings that the circumstances evoke.

Those who felt confused might lack VISION.  What are
their career objectives?
Have they done a S-W-O-T, strengths-weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis?
Do they participate in setting goals, performing a “gap
analysis
” and design a personal development plan?
Do they have a Z Plan, a personal desired outcome
when everything comes out “jelly-side up”?

Those who felt anxious might lack the NECESSARY
SKILLS.  Have they performed a personal self assessment?
Do they know soft and wise skills that they are expected
to display and will provide advantages?  Do they know
how to manage and build personal self esteem?
Ref. Brian Tracy

Those who felt frustrated might not have developed and
used available RESOURCES.  Have they mentors that
seem committed to them?  Are they aware of legal
counsel of Al Sklover for employment issues?  Are
they aware of the WRAP method (Widen options,
Reality check solutions, Attain distance/perspective
and Prepare to be wrong)

Working through these brought some clarity to dealing
with each person’s sense of uncertainty.

Thanks to Hari Narayanan for bringing the uncertainty
matrix to my attention.

comments (0)
07/19/15
Watch-outs 85. Mentoring thoughts
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 1:23 pm

Drafted this a while ago and still think there is value for
some readers…

Bob Sullivan, author of the new book
Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why
Consumers Get Screwed
and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal.

Look for service providers — such as fee-only financial
planners– who don’t have a commission incentive to
steer you into particular products.  “Know what someone’s
financial bias is.

If you find yourself in a high-pressure situation where you
have to say no, twice, consider yourself in the danger zone,
Sullivan says.  Three times and you should hightail it out of
there.  Walk into a sales situation with and escape plan, i.e.,
“I am expecting a call from work, and may have to leave at
any time.”

“People let their cars go until it’s absolutely time to buy
a new one– and urgency is one thing you can not overcome
when you are at a car dealership,” says Sullivan.  “You have
to be able to wait them out.  Walk out, come back next week.”
No one can plan around a breakdown, but it is not a bad
idea to do some casual car shopping before your vehicle
hits the end of its warranty.

When someone is making money off you in a business
transaction, at that moment he is not really your friend.
Call three professionals, get a price, and never see them
again when the deal is done.  That is the best way to do
business.”

Keep your financial head in the game with questions like:
How much cash is in my primary checking account right
now?  How much did I spend last month?  What is the
rate on my credit cards?

Spend as much time shopping for your mortgage as
you spend shopping for your house.

Sullivan argues that it is easier to set up two accounts–
a “staging” account where your paycheck is deposited,
and a “workaday” account for all those little debits and
ATM withdrawals.  then, shift a pre-determined amount
of cash into the second account for the dozens of minor
transactions.  Use your staging account for the regular
monthly stiff, rent or mortgage, utilities, auto loan and
cell phone.

If you are paid bimonthly, call service providers and
group expenses evenly into the first and second halves
of the month.  Choose a free account with no minimums
and no overdraft protection.  (An alternative is PNC
Bank’s Virtual Wallet, which offers spending and
savings components in one account.)

comments (0)
07/12/15
Salary Information. Public or Private Information
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:06 pm

Over the years confidential information which is not shared
within a company includes health records, bank account,
social security details, finance and investment records
about you by law.

On the other hand, many report seeking offers with the highest
possible starting salary.
  In many places co-workers do not
often reveal their numbers to one another.  However, making
this information public to professional association and sites
like glassdoor.com is done.  The question is:  can you be
restricted from sharing your salary compensation by an
employer?

The answer is yes, but the debate goes back and forth.

Why would an employer want to?–
  to prevent unhealthy employee competition,
  to lessen undesirable interview negotiations with others,
  to avoid prosecution for wage discrimination [Ledbetter
Fair Pay Act 2009]

If, in any of your signed documents there is a clause stating

“…both during and at all times after termination …., I shall not
use, disclose, publish or distribute…any confidential information,
… as authorized in advance and in writing by the company…”

you agree to the restriction despite NLRB laws permitting
sharing of information to allow employees freedom to organize.

So, if the information can not be traced to specific individuals,
individuals feel it helps others to report it.  People reading the
data need to know it can be both over- and under-reported and
more importantly, salary is only one component of a
compensation package.

The package also might cover vacation time, child care, hours of
work (including travel time and time to handle personal affairs),
sign-on bonus (taxes paid), relocation package, performance
related bonuses, parking, transporation assistance, company
van or transportation, flex time, dress code, intellectual
property rights, subscritions, wellness facilities, memberships
insurances (health, life, disability, other) and others.

Executive packages
in addition might also include incentives,
stock options, termination provisions, loans, deferred compensation,
and other features.

So looking at a single number as a basis of comparison might
seem shortsighted.  It should be more ethically judged on your
family’s needs and requirements and market value.
 
 

comments (0)
07/06/15
Overcoming Multi-tasking. Update
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:41 am

Some time ago this blog posted tips for managing a crowded schedule
many tasks in a limited time.
A recent entry by Bernard Marr helps further.

- turn off your alerts
- set up specific times and lengths of time for important goal oriented tasks
- plan your phone calls:  goals, script, back-up statement if person is not
available, uninterruptible space.
- calendar for future meetings and plans and recording significant
meetings, achievements and outcomes

comments (0)
07/05/15
Watch-Outs. 84. Ranked Best Companies, Evaluating ETFs, “Deep Web searching”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Recruiters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:05 am

What are the “good” companies to work for?  How do you
learn who they are when doing your job search?  Word of
mouth, crowd-sourcing, business news?  A link to Barron’s
weekly business publication can provide some insight.

Investments are often a challenge in the beginning of
our careers, and for long time investors, things change a
lot over time.  I am learning that in the current climate
I should move to ETFs of dividend paying stocks in my
tax deferred investments.  Bond rates a low and the
Fed is expected to enter the whole picture with interest
rates.  A link to essential information about ETF evaluations
might be useful.

Finally, we all do searching and archiving.   Did you
know about “deep web” resources being developed by
DARPA?

MOST RESPECTED COMPANIES
SOURCES:  Barrons June 29, 2015, p. 29
World’s Most Respected Companies and
P. Moutoukoutas, Fortune, “the worlds most respected
companies…

When looking for where we want to work, it might be
wise to know the best companies based on cloud
sourcing tools.  Many technology and scientific firms
are included on the list.  Discussion of the insertion of
Chinese firms from Fortune offers a different insight.

ETF INVESTING
SOURCE:  B. Leggett, “Essential and misunderstood
evaluation tools
,”
I am new to ETFs which are investment vehicles that
are a form of index funds with lower fees for investors.
How to evaluate them to invest in is not clear.  Leggett
is offering a tutorial that could be useful for your long
term financial health.

DEEP WEB SEARCHING
SOURCE:  American Laboratory June/July 2015
Scientists Use the Deep Web to Find information not
Accessible to Search Engines

This might be the next generation of information
technology that will be used in research and forecasting.

comments (0)
07/01/15
Nonverbal elements in communications
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Networking, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 7:06 pm

You realize that a larger fraction of your communication
are the nonverbal signals.  They are noticed more than
the words we use and ideas we express.

1.  Posture- stand tall lifting your solar plexus so that
breathing is fuller and easier and head straight with ears
over the shoulder.  This demonstrates and aids your confidence.
2.  Open stance- avoid closed stance, with head down or
your body shrinking in your space.  However, respect
others’ personal space.
3.  Nervous tics-  Have a mentor help you by noticing your
nervous tics.  Everyone has them.  Then, replace them with
a subtle outlet.  Hold a folder, hold a pen, pointer;  avoid
hands in pockets and giggling coins.
4.  Eye contact (especially in US, Canada and most of
Europe)- engage your eye brows to aid your expression.
5.  Slow your movements down– hands, pointing, listening
smiling, gestures.

comments (0)
06/24/15
Networking into an organization. Working with Gatekeepers to arrange a networking interview
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


comments (0)
06/20/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Biochemical engineering on a chip, Biogeochemistry using clumped isotopes
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:10 am

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

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

BODY-ON-A-CHIP
SOURCE:  The Economist, 6-13-15, P.75,”Towards a
Body-on-a-Chip”

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

ISOTOPE CLUMPING AND ISOTOPOLOGUES
SOURCES:  “What are clumped isotopes
“Photosynthesis studies using clumped isotopes.
Effects of Brine Chemistry and polymorphism on isotope
clumping

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

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

Aerodyne Research reports a tool for clumped ion measurement.

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

Comments Off
06/15/15
Watch-Outs. 83. Raising capital for Start-ups, 2015 H-1B Visas, CO2 as a photochemical feedstock
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:29 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

H-1B GAMESMANSHIP MIGHT BE SHORT-TERM
THINKING
SOURCE:  WSJ, 6-3-15, P. A4, ” Firms, Workers Try
to Game Visa Lottery
,” 
The comments to this article show how much heartache
headache and struggle this complex situation is
providing.  Where is fairness in this tragicomedy?
The article points out some observables, comments
fill in some of the realities that are not mentioned.

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

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

1 comment
06/12/15
Experience requirement in job description
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:41 am

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

My first response is (1) never lie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

comments (0)
06/05/15
Watch-Outs. 82. Business strategies, Legal covenants, where mfg jobs are, Overtime pay
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

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

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

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

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

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

FORECAST:  FUTURE MANUFACTURING JOBS
SOURCE, WSJ, 6-3-15, p. R6,”Where the manufacturing jobs
of the future will be

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

BONUS Sklover Working Wisdom:  Topic OVERTIME PAY

comments (0)
06/03/15
Transferable Skills. Problem Solving
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:51 am

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

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

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

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

comments (0)
05/27/15
Trends in Technical Careers. THz, metamaterials, LiFi
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:25 am

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

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

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

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

comments (0)
05/21/15
Other Documents.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:48 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enrollment in petroleum engineering was reported to more
than tripled
in university programs in five years.  So, this
impacts many more who have recently graduated or are in the
middle of their studies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IF they do something special, send a thank you.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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