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

October 2015
« Sep    
Watch-Outs. 88. Recharacterize Roth IRAs and Open Access Publication Alerts
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:11 am

It is the beginning of the 2015 Fourth Quarter and the
stock market has not been universally good this year.
Not going into any of those details, but will point you
to an article about some opportunities that certain
technical professional investors might calculate for
themselves using Turbotax of similar software.

SOURCE:  L. Saunders, WSJ 10-3-15, “Why it’s prime
time for Roth IRA

Roth IRAs are the “gold standard” of tax sheltered
retirement plans from which withdrawals are presently
tax-free on untaxed gains and after tax contributions.
The issue is in the short term past many investments
lost value.  This article suggests Roth investors might
undo Roth conversions last year or this year and
avoid paying the taxon value that has “vanished”.
Deadline is Oct. 15.  Comments might be helpful
to peruse.

SOURCE:  ECS Open Access
                   Alternative Article Impact
Got my first email from ECS Weekly Digests from two technical
areas that I signed up for.  They inform me of recent publications
that this society reviewed and accepted.  Beyond my expectations
was outstanding other services that will allow me to communicate
better, learn new areas and deepen my understanding of the
practical outcomes of scientific investigations.
Sometimes cartoons in “digital libraries” can be outstanding
in effectively communicating results, impacts and directions.


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Business Resumes for Technical Professionals
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:12 am

Although not defined as an ACS Career Path, Lisa Balbes
has plowed new career ground in her “NonTraditional
Careers” talks and book.  It should seriously be considered
as Marinda Wu’s Vision 2025 Task Force identified these
paths as Science and Engineering Management and
Inspired Government and Industrial Roles where Chemistry
training can have strong impact and lead to fruitful careers.

How do you apply for such positions?  A colleague
recently shared useful links to an online service
and firm
, that has roots to one of the “big three” business
consulting organizations,– Oystir.

Among its web offerings is a set of two articles aimed
at creating your business focused resume, especially for
business consulting.  So this could be of interest to mid-
career and later career individuals who have developed
significant track records.

Several take aways from Writing Tips:
 - Be specific and crisp using keywords to deal with ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems
 - Target your resume and cover letter, showing you know
your value-added skills, in sections recruiters focus
(the Profile or Summary section)
 - Prioritize and select most significant items of
experience, development, affiliation, and accomplishment

Often times your background may not be an exact match
to the business position.  So, you need to state your skills
and strengths that will lead you to be successful in an
“elevator pitch”- like Summary
rather than an Objective
statement.  Then, Belani and Mark work through an
exercise to help construct the Summary.


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Trends in Technical Careers.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:10 am

Years ago, I attended a futuristic talk about the hydrogen
economy before it was “in fashion.”  This post links to
an important environmental article discussing safe handling
of hydrogen

New material science and surprising properties of
light are reported in a recent issue in the photonics

Open Science publication from the ACS comes with
Central Science.
SOURCE   L. Gallagher, American Laboratory September,
2015, P. 14, “Safe Handling of Hydrogen in the Laboratory
In addition to materials of construction, design and
specific procedures, inert gas handling facilities
are essential to purge and dilute and gas monitoring
protections and alarms must be installed and tested
regularly.  See also safe handling procedures.

Hydrogen based micro-economies will emerge just as
Tesla charging stations are proliferating.

SOURCE: Photonics Spectra, Sept. 2015
Graphene can be functionalized into a light emitter
by strategic incorporation of boron.  Nano-optics and
Spin properties of light are also highlighted in recent
issue photonics Spectra.

SOURCES:  Interview with C. Bertozzi
                      Table of Contents
Carolyn Bertozzi is a visible leader who heads
organizations and publications and presents her
case of pursuing careers in chemistry.  Here also
is a notable effort in an open access journal.  Wish
to see more of this as it is the wave of the future
and a way that society publications can compete
with commercial publications.

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Trends in Technical Careers. CRISPR, The Economist ‘Briefs’, Negotiations
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:24 am

Let me tell you about a recent exchange with a job seeker.
He asked, ‘hey what do you think of hirelifesciences?’   To
which my response was, ‘Sorry, that is not one I have worked
with.  When I visited it I noticed it lists companies and
locations, but I did not see how people are compensated,
how recent the listings are and the business relationship
to client companies (is it part of a society, for example).’

I went on to describe websites listed in the blog left column
and indicated that most jobs are not advertised.  They are
found through networking and direct contact with people.

I recently heard about a field that may have large impact–CRISPR.
Take a look at a short video worth our learning about.  Related
information for job seekers is a business article on firms
involved in this business
.  Did you notice how the idea connections
were made– not through a google search or a screening of lists
of positions, but through making business-technology-career

Have you seen the series of unsolved scientific mysteries in
The Economist?  Each of the six reveal factoids connected to
a lead story in fascinating stories.  Here are the first four

Their challenge is to paint an interesting landscape to a
broad readership.  One, these should be interesting topics to us.
Two, there is something to learn in how the stories are told and
illustrated.  Third, if there is some way to connect our work to
these articles it provides a nice context to our work.

Negotiation Process was the topic of last week’s seminar.
Interesting possible items that might be considered were:
school loan repayment (Federal positions offer this) and “fair and
reasonable compensation” when a new position has higher deductible
insurances or rates.  See Barb Safani.  It is critical to consider the
“overall” compensation package and implications of bonuses and
incentives on taxes.

If you are asked to sign documents, you could inquire if they
will compensate you for having your lawyer review it for you.

1 comment
Negotiations. 5. Tools, Preparation
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 8:07 am

Many seminars on negotiations will either emphasize the Harvard
or provide examples not directly focused on the
audience’s near term perceived needs.

Talking about negotiating a roof repair after a chimney pointing
process does not strike students who are graduating and looking
for a job.  They don’t pick up the relevance.

Yesterday’s seminar audience felt that negotiations begin
when they are presented an offer of interest.  Surprising.
Work and research must be done well in advance of the
position offer to define priorities, leverage points,
cultural influences and even words to indicate “no”.

The seminar also provided tools and how-to-express
things in three practical-to-their-needs stories.

1.  AfterActionReview and T-Chart
2.  Checklist

3.  Negotiations can happen at different times than a job offer.
Most people realize they will have 5-20 jobs in their career
and some they will need to change when their job is eliminated.
Being able to express and use use Appreciation to influence
the tenor of negotiations  can make a difference.

-  “I am flattered that you thought of me, but I am afraid I
do not have the bandwidth…”
-  “I would very much like to, but I am over-committed…”
-  “no, but”.. another time or situation.
-  “let me check my calendar and get back to you…”
-  focus on the trade-off:  what are we sacrificing if we…
-  to seniors or leaders:  “I would be glad to, but which of the
other projects should I lower in priority…”
-  “you are welcome to….;  I am willing to….”
-  “I am not able to do it, but so and so can…”

Watch-Outs. 87. Asking for referrals,Detective mindset, Salaries, Patent Reform
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:52 pm

Recently several requests for connections to people have come.
It is interesting that some seek referrals far afield from STEM
in areas, like Medical Science Liaison and Patents and law. 
The relationship the requester has and the shared feeling
of reciprocity, of willingness to give back generously, must be
communicated both in the request and in the following reply.
Comments on one’s wording are shared.

A strong post from B. Sucher is linked offering that we
be a “detective” when seeking career opportunities.  This goes
for people fully in the job market as well as for professionals
in their current position who sense some uncertainty in
future directions.

One common thread in our capitalist society is wondering
how much salary compensation different positions offer. 
A web resource guide is linked to assist you.

Since federal legislators have missed opportunities to deal with
inequities and huge increases in patent infringement claims,
many states are creating measures to limit “patent trolling”
and other legal bottlenecks.  It is worth keeping a finger on
the pulse of these to be able to understand some questions to
ask should you be involved in a related case.

BONUS LINK:  Giving good presentations

SOURCE:  R. Roberge, The best way to ask for referrals;
A. Doyle, How do you ask for a referral ;
Getsidekick, How to ask for a referral
For people I know and have a recent or long term connection,
it is usually a pleasure to share names who could be excellent
resources or have valuable information or connections.  The
problem comes with requests with scant connections.  They,
honestly, have to do more to have me work for them.  Their
letter of request, if in an email, might only be an email reply
with links, if they don’t take the time to build a relationship and
enhance the connection.

Then, after the reply, a prompt ‘thank you’ is in order.  If it is
not done or done in an appreciatively timely manner,
the next request will either be slowly responded or
less detailed and thought-inspired.

SOURCE:  B. Sucher, Do you cry wolf?
Billie offers that in our environment we need to ascribe to
the habits of the best detectives to be successful and offers
over 30 behaviors.  The ones that jump out for me are:
communication and listening,  observational skills and
putting pieces together.

SOURCE S. Malanga, WSJ 9-4-15 “States move to do-it-
yourself patent reform

There are wiser people battling over this issue and like in
wars the victors will write the final story.  It is worth
looking into this if you live in VT, MN, NC and
skimming Law360 blog.

Be aware that it appears several sources are cutting back and
using the same output/survey result.

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Entrepreneurs. Business model for new ventures
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Recruiters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:41 pm

Entrepreneurs should consider new business and marketing
model described in Robbie Baxters book “The Membership

Second description by the author.

We all experience this model in societies we belong to or
consider and use internet tools.

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Transitions in Careers. Professional Behaviors. Internships
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:33 am

Internships can provide excellent interludes where we experience
what it is like in an organization (conversations, interactions,
, assignments) can perform new and goal oriented work
(goal-setting, application of know how and knowledge),
can meet and work for a short term mentor, and see how
things are done in another setting (culture).

My career had three “internships”– two in a medical school
biochemistry lab and one in am NSF Center of Excellence
program.  That was then, now interns need to be more proactive,
especially near the end of their internship experience.

In fact, I suggest doing AfterActionReviews of your
internship program and keep it in your Master resume
portfolio.  AARs are recognized as a knowledge transfer
and retention tool for capturing implicit and tacit pieces.
[See Knowledge Management.. Administrative Services link]

For those early in their careers, it might be useful to start with
- outlining all the tasks and assignments, completed and
- communicating in person
- seeking feedback on areas of improvement
- asking for longer term connection with people in
your thank you communication.

People in your junior and senior years [REU programs and
such] and in your graduate career level are advised to display
the maturity of performing AARs, drawing conclusions and
offering reverse mentoring.

Detailed description of AARs:  S. Salem-Schatz, D. Ordin,
B. Mittman, “Rapid Post-Project Assessment

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Mirroring during coversations and interviews.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:42 pm

Have you looked at Fay Vincent’s editorial about the importance
of mentors
in his career path?
Fay Vincent was a commissioner of major league baseball, known
for upholding justice and defending all of baseball’s stakeholders,
not just the owners. 

I was reminded of this recently as two job seekers contacted me
about (1) assessing their behavior in interviews (2) what to do
better in the next interview (3) calling to mind a specific behavior
that might enhance their candidacy.

One was interviewing with someone I know well.  So, I know the
styles of both interviewer and interviewee.  Both are quite capable
and impressive individuals in their own rights.  So, I suggested (3,
above) that the interviewee really pay attention to the interviewer.
It is a process often referred to as “mirroring” and is a nonlinear
programming  NLP instinct of relating to a conversation or interaction
partner by observing and listening closely, then responding in kind
with similar words, behaviors and mannerisms.

While I will not be able to do a trial run and observe the mirroring,
as we are in a trusting mentoring connection, the action will appropriate
and meaningful.

As a mentor, we can find ourselves in the situations where we are asked
to assess interviews (1 and 2, above)after the fact and recommend
improvements.  It is an inexact science at best.  We suggest performing
AAR After Action Reviews to help with the process.  While it might
be done soon after the interview, a couple of days later can still be fruitful.

When we discuss this, because emotions and recall are directly involved
reviewing and discussing the AAR should be done in person to allow
follow-up questions and clarifications and trial-and- improve restatements.

So our initial attempt for meeting fell through, so we will aim to do
a conversation via Skype.

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Transitions in Careers. Professional Behaviors. Things to do Leaving a Position
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:18 am

This blog has commented on considerations for resigning
from a position
.  An outstanding resource is Sklover’s
working wisdom blog which offers “best in class” information,
consideration of alternatives and strategies from a legal

Recently, S. Schellenbarger authored a piece in WSJ about
the topic focusing on communications, exit interviews,
notice time and flexibility, and emotional situations

R. Knight offered some “reality check” factoids on the matter.
She stated the relative high frequency of leaving one firm
and moving to another (BLS, every 4.6 years) and that it is
a critical transition point to adopt professional best practices.
In addition,
  1.  not only 2 weeks notice but who and how to tell them
  2.  Linkedin considerations.  [This may be subtly different
now that Linkedin has a new service to connect people within
  3.  Tell one and the same story about leaving and where you
plan to go next to all.
  4.  Despite hard feelings or rough edges, express gratitude
in words, actions and future commentary.
  5.  Send thank you notes and be a strong ally.

S. Heathfield wrote a cross-reference checklist from the
HR point of view.

The On Money blog carries more advice.


1 comment
Watch-Outs. 86. Which accounts to hold investments, Rollover IRAs. Lumped sum vs annuity
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:57 am

Who do you ask for financial advice?  Whoever you ask, how
do they personally benefit?  It is sometimes not clear.

We will change jobs in our careers 10-20 times.  That means
there will be more than a handful of times when we will
consider moving long term investments.  A link to a thoughtful
article might help our thinking, based on fees, options available,
protections and tax situations.

Where to put your investment assets for best tax advantage
is another of this entry’s links.  asset location

More companies are offering employees the chance to either take
a lump sum for their long term security or go with a pre-set annuity.
It is a conflicted decision often with a time limit.  A link
discusses possible questions to ask as many situations are different.

SOURCE:  A. Tergesen, A. Prior, WSJ 8-15-15, p. B7
Better IRA Rollover Advice

Factors listed:
                  401(k)                         Rollover IRA
 Fees       institutional class      retail class, often higher
                ask for quarterly fee disclosure statement
Investmt plans are fiduciaries  more options, good for 
options    helpful                         expert investors

Distribu-  advantage                   penalties apply
tions            Especially aged 55-59.
Variety of options should be confirmed.
Cred.         advantage                    governed by states

Taxes         Variety of situations should be confirmed.

SOURCE  K. Hawkins, “Why some assets should be
shifted to nontaxable accounts.

How assets are taxed should influence their location
in your portfolio, Ken Hawkins opines.  Since equities
yield dividends and capital gains, taxable accounts are
suitable locations since IRAs, etc. can be taxed at higher
than 15% rate.

Tax friendly stocks (growth, ETFs) should be in taxable
accounts.  Tax free bonds and bond funds are better located
in taxable accounts.

Taxable bonds and REITS are more suitable in IRAs.
See also .
SOURCE:  A. Tergesen WSJ 6-5-15
Should you take a lump sum or an annuity

Lump sum distribution of your long term savings often
are not high enough without assuming high risk
investment positions to duplicate annuities.

Ask what other benefits might be offered if you maintain
an annuity.

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Trends in Technical Careers. Wireless, Mobile economy; Pressing Needs-Ammonia; Patent system debates
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:28 am

We do not see it but we expect remote control and
digital data access connected through wireless devices.
This provides challenges, opportunities and a need for
perceptive awareness for each of us.

One of the journals that I receive is Interface which
contains startling in-depth technical reading for a
general technical audience.  Several top-tier articles
on energy conversion and electrochemical production
of essential feedstocks.  There are several catching
articles worth perusing, from which I highlight one
on ammonia.  It is far more than just headlining

A continuing debate among scientists and engineers,
innovators and inventors is the role of patents in
progress.  While not part of most graduate and post-
graduate training and more importantly reading, a
deeper awareness of the patent realm is highlighted.

SOURCE:  Fortune Ad Section August, 2015, p-51-3
PCIA informed us of amazing transformations happening
in our lives as we carry and use portable remote control
and communications devices with us.  A ten-fold increase
in global “traffic” is expected in four years.and we will
all be affected.  So it is “join us or get out of the way.”
Software is replacing custom hardware in creating
HETNETS heterogeneous networks and robust remote
applications, like surgery, is being conceived.
View PCIA webpage for more.

SOURCE:  Interface Summer 2015, 53ff
J. Renner, L. Greenlee, A. Herring K. Ayers,
“Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia:  A Low
Temperature Approach”
Among the many things we see emerging are open
access publications of high technical merit
the ECS journal, Interface.  One stalwart article
in this quarter’s issue is on the “mastery of nitrogen”.
The article brings together President Millard Fillmore
state of the union address, BASF’s Bosch Haber
process and selective catalysts to point out where
chemistry can make a difference in reducing where 1%
of all energy is used and 3% of all greenhouse gases
are produced.
See, for up coming article sourced above.

SOURCE: The Economist 8-8-15, p. 11
Time to fix patents
After defining what patents are and are not, hearing
many sides of the controversial issues of patent
protection and legal rights might be a good place
for people not versed in this important technical
topic to read and study.
The Economist offered a slanted journalist article
to shine light on an everlasting topic.  The comments
to the article reveal a much more complicated, many
sided landscape, even including some interesting
innovations in the European patent system.
Worth reading.

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Professional Behavior. Punctuality, Cultural and Leadership Differences
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:39 am

No matter where we are we notice differences in organizational
culture related to time– being on time, the time of meetings,
tolerance for being late and more.

Sue Schellenbarger’s WSJ article started my thinking about this
noting [not in the hard copy version] different strategies to
deal with latecomers to meetings based on whatever the cause
  poor personal time management - start / end on time, don’t
courteously bring people up to speed
  narcissistic behavior for attention - reveal that it is hurting
his(er) image
  drama and attention - reveal that people are wasting time waiting
for their appearance where they could be doing more productive
  electronic calendars are overbooked - suggest inserting 15 minute
time buffers between engagements
  boss being late - causing people to work later, be rushed and
affecting poor morale and duplicating behaviors elsewhere.

While these are frequently observed, they may not cover all
of the influences and cures.

There are cultural, cognitive and leadership roots to ‘being on-time’
which need to recognized.  Mai Moura offers a nice introduction to
cultural elements of behaviors including the differences between,
for example, German and American meetings.   Other cultures will
exhibit and practice different behaviors regarding agendas,
preparation, formality, modes of expression and what to do if you
are late or need to leave early.

Cognitive roots are not often considered but are quite often felt,
and felt differently, by different individuals.  Some people are morning
people, some are night people, some start fast, some tire easily.
A comment to another WSJ article highlights a rhythm of productivity.
This author presents optimum time periods for getting things done,
when we are most alert, and when we are less liable for injury.

Leadership influences on being late or on time for attending meetings
or submitting reports can be systemic and situational.  Thus, our dilemma
needs to understand the importance and urgency and how to assess these.

Asking questions, developing trusting relationships and having mentors
will help you develop your own professional approach.

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Undergraduate Majors. How do you Decide to Major In Chemistry?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:40 am

Isn’t it interesting:  Some sources try to make, or offer advice
on, your decision process for your major very simple as
1-2-3-4.  While you and I can not disagree with specific
steps in their “quick-fix, instant” proposal, we can ask
is that all there is?

The basic frailty of simple ideas is that the world is non-linear,
unpredictable and constantly changing and we need to be
constantly learning and adapting.
  The “roadmap” will not be
so simplistically non-changing, but there will be changing
endpoints and detours.

In a recent example, Nathan Gebhard nicely points out (a)
set your goals, (b) following your passion is less important
than developing keen interests and refreshing them, (c) have
reality checks, and (d) whatever you pursue, be good at it.
Sure, all make sense, but there are practical measures that
might help things along–
 1   pursue internships,                     
 2   develop mentors,
 3   don’t be afraid to fail as long as you learn from failing,
 4   get broad exposure to many things,
 5   develop an inquisitive curious mind, how to play on
a team and how to be likeable.

Adding these five practical measures does make it harder.
See Brian Tracy for nice descriptions.

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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.

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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
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.

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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,
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
?  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
” 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.

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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

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.)

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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 is done.  The question is:  can you be
restricted from sharing your salary compensation by an

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.

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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

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