It is hard to believe we are not being alerted to these
things in the US, especially in ACS! TODAY is
the inaugural “day of photonics” highlighting the
progress being made in this enabling technology.
Photonics publications highlight it. Links below.
Second, where does one get some insight into the
ebola virus? Not the ACS… or other biochemical
media outlets. You know where I discovered a close
up cartoon-structure? Amazingly, in the Economist without
certified references and ’scientific’ discussion.
BONUS: What every job searcher needs to know.
SOURCE: B. Sucher, Career Hub Blog
“What you do not know will not only hurt you.
It can sabotage you, derail you, and keep you from
moving on [towards your goals] with confidence,
knowledge and efficiency.”
It is true there is a new journal Photonics, led by
editor H. Atwater who presents the journal’s current
It would be a nice collaboration to see the worldwide
demonstration of the incredible progress enabled by
photonics. It is a critical area to educate STEM fields
in its basics which this worldwide event intends.
Worth a look.
WHAT IS EBOLA
SOURCE: Economist, 10-18-14, p. 61
The article points out a mechanism of infection
and possible active proteins. While CEN has
touted possible therapies it is nice to see some
descriptive images obtained with current tools
in the biochemical toolkit to describe what humans
are up against. All politics and biases aside.
A useful tool to use after you take an interview, after
you give a seminar or presentation or after a planned
event is an After Action Review AAR.
AAR is a retrospective analysis of a goal oriented
action that performs an evaluation and offers improvements.
In this process “lessons learned” can be an output. AARs
are common in military actions, emergency preparation
and actions, knowledge management, exit interviews,
and fire and police actions.
Colin Powell brought to light AARs in a Face the nation interview
several years ago.
CASE 1. On site interview
Shou and I reviewed his recent on-site interview where he
did not feel he performed particularly well So we captured what
he felt he did well and where he did not see how his preparation
was enough to satisfy the interviewers. [AAR step]
He met the night before two professionals for dinner and then
first thing in the morning with the HR manager. His technical
presentation that followed went well and his audience provided positive
He had a short conversation with a friend in the company that
confirmed this impression. After lunch, that is where he had problems.
The interview then become a unique process of one interviewer
listening to him in a conference room where he was asked one question
for one hour. He was asked how he goes about and has demonstrated
innovation. [AAR step 2 identify and break down areas to improve]
It took him 5-10 minutes to offered prepared responses. Then, he
had nothing prepared to offer. [This apparently was the purpose
of this interview strategy: The question asked to demonstrate
communications skills, creativity, curiosity depth of thought in
his graduate education.]
We discussed how he could 1) break down the initial question,
2) how he should perform an audience analysis, and 3) know
some common ground to frame the response and 4) create a dialog,
rather than a monolog. 5) Use room facilities [white board,
pens, paper, draw diagrams, flow charts, PERT charts, etc.].
The next interview was the same format asking the question:
How do you make decisions. He faced a similar dilemma.
CASE 2. Bullying incident in a seminar
In a mock interviewing seminar, an audience member volunteered
to be interviewed face to face with a colleague. The planned
session was completed quite competently and the audience was
asked for positive comments and areas for improvement. Of
the half dozen comments one person articulated a pernicious
attack on the person. While the interviewee saw, smiled and
said thank you, the interviewer turned the comment around
and devised an appropriate strong assertion pointing out how
the interviewee had nicely overcome problems and learned
Everyone in the session observed the disservice and it was clear
this became a “teachable moment” how to deal with adverse
The interviewee and I privately discussed how I was very
impressed with maintenance of composure under the
circumstance. I indicated that the interviewer and the
whole seminar room noticed it and appreciated the very
professional way in which it was dealt.
All three co-presenters shared their concern about the
bullying that we observed. After consultation we thought
we were all surprised, dismayed and thought if we had
direct interactions with the bully we should privately confront
her and communicate this has no place in our scientific
An AAR is a critical tool in our toolkit to continually improve.
Our long term health and financial security often follow
family as important and indeed “priorities” in our lives.
It is reason enough to keep an open eye and mind to
tips, strategies and changes to investments, IRAs
and 401K accounts that are linked to. [Not being
an expert, more to share items of potential value to
Negotiating for various items is a second topic.
As it is a subject we do not identify as important,
but it really is something we do not only when we
are hired but throughout our life. The context in
this post is for women professionals salaries.
Looking for answers to what is important in
our lives is the third link. While it is done in the
context of business and economists, I dare say it
is a common area of interest for chemists and
technical professionals of all levels and disciplines.
It is sorely missed in our world view.
IRA ACCOUNT SCRUTINY
SOURCE: L. Suanders, WSJ 10-11-14, p. B8
“Scrutinizing Supersize IRAs“
While the comments offer considerable backlash
from those who legally took advantage of things
the lawmakers could not envision, the article
offers some advice. It offers
1. “if you have an IRA that holds nontraded assets,
make sure to cross every “T” and dot every “I” for
2. Don’t count on your IRA surviving many decades.
3. Consider maximizing contributions to tax
sheltered plans now.”
NEGOTIATIONS: SALARY MAY REFLECT “ASK GAP”
SOURCE: John Bussey, WSJ 10-11-14 P. B4
“Gender wage gap may reflect ask gap“
The comments to this article go outside the bounds
of a plain hypothesis. The idea is to ask for what you
identify as a priority. If you do not ask it is rarer
that you will get it. To ask “put your best case
forward and ask…”
While social scientist have a list of explanations
for differences between men and women– job
choice, career interruption, experience, being
in a union, hours of work, child care, [from article],
asking for a raise is a difference– men ask more often
by putting their best case forward.
APPROACH TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU IN LIFE
SOURCE: Schumpeter, the Economist, 10-4-14, P76
When we retire is when we often wait to figure
out what is important. It is too late. You have
heard stories about suicides in offices of people
who let everything go except their business or career.
This article cites several examples of people who
think about and establish their priorities as part
of the daily adult lives. The article is worth pondering.
If interested in this, the book by Greg McKeown,
Essentialism gives you more depth.
In reading through items in my “in-box” I hit
upon some research on combining light to
induce dopamine release as a way to suppress
the taste for alcohol. It is an interesting use
of combining technologies– genetics,
chemistry, pharmacolology and lasers.
Ultra short pulsed lasers are moving to
microtechnology manufacturing and automotive
engines. This results from several advances
that allow processing without heating and
Finally, I was “invited” to view a webinar
by Steven Cohen about negotiation. My
goodness, he offered very meaning hints,
tips and trends that we use negotiation
in our every day life and it is a professional
skill that benefits from understanding the
basics. of human communications with
different cultural audiences. His recent book
link is shared.
OPTOGENETICS - C. BASS
SOURCE: Optogenetic Stimulation…
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 2013
Intrigued by a cartoon summary of research,
this article displays relevant research in the
interdisciplinary areas pertaining to substance
ULTRASHORT LASERS IN MANUFACTURING
SOURCE: Take the Heat out of..
Photonics showcase brief on new developments
in laser technology is being tested to drill
injector nozzles in engines and to scribe ITO
coatings of smartphone screens.
PRACTICAL NEGOTIATOR- STEVE COHEN
SOURCE: Negotiating Skills Company
Most important negotiation presence is
face-to-face, since it allows communication
of nonverbal signals with less confusion. Skyping,
telephone follow. Mail, Email, and texting
follow after, as visual elements are so important and
there can be inadvertent mishaps that slip through.
Language in the global arena, going after major
issues but keeping in focus BATNA (best alternative
to a negotiated agreement) and ZOPA (zone of
possible agreement) are compelling concepts
It is tempting to post a comment on the first Watch-out–
Talithia Williams TED talk. It is about biometric
measurements on ourselves which can aid our personal
medical health. Instead, because it is such a compelling
topic useful for all of us, I highlight it. Recording
simple data on ourselves can be a virtue and is worth
Julian Treasure’s TED talk is transformational in
offering a voice mechanics tutorial to make our
listeners want to listen to us. In addition, he points
out things we should intentionally do– HAIL
(be Honest, Authentic, display Integrity and Love)
; and we should avoid…read further.
While I have been reading his American Laboratory
columns for some time, the Clinical Genome
Conference review Link is another powerful piece
that teaches about the current state and short
term future of clinical genomics in the American
Bonus link to the Kazarian memo (for those
interested) in EB-1 working papers is provided.
TAKING OWNERSHIP OF YOUR PERSONAL DATA
SOURCE: TED Talithia Williams
Dr. Williams powerfully portrays applying statistics
to ordinary temperature and blood pressure measurements
can quantum leap our health. A dynamic presentation.
AH, BA-BA-, BR-BR-, LA-LA-, Roll-R, WE-AW
SOURCE: TED Julian Treasure
Four terrific speaking topics are covered in a thrilling
TED talk worth viewing and learning new practices.
Voice mechanics exercises (in headline), HAIL
(introduction), voice properties and speaking
ills make this quite memorable.
He recommends not– gossiping, judging, being
negative, complaining, finding excuses,
exaggerating or being dogmatic. the “ills.”
He calls out the voice properties that we can
pick up in great speakers– register, timbre,
prosody, volume, pace, and pitch.
CLINICAL GENOMICS CONFERENCE
SOURCE: R. Stevenson, American Laboratory
September, 2014. P, 30
Bob Stevenson points out that modern medicine
is 5 P’s- predictive, preventive, personal, participatory
and philanthropic. Yet insurance reimbursement rules
are restrictive. If there is no treatment, why test?
This is clear in the Advanced Diagnostic Tests for
laboratory assays that are not covered (but may have
The review delineates Exome Sequencing, Whole
Genome Sequencing, Whole Exome Sequencing,
Incidental Findings. It also touches on database
management and keeping personal data private.
When I go for my annual physical and ask for
tests, this piece will help me speak to my physician.
BONUS: R. Parmar KAZARIAN MEMO
SOURCE: BIO-Careers Blog
Terrific article on EB-1 Green Card
requirements and terms.
Recent graduates and post-docs seem to be better prepared for
industrial positions now if they have either been in a co-op
program or been involved in internships. We point to a broader
article on the practice of internships and highlight useful
ideas (namely proceed with caution for unpaid positions and
have a very good idea why you want the experience and what
you will do with the experience.).
While I still recommend value in creating a master
resume or CV to capture all of your experiences, credentials,
projects, avocations, and areas of work interest, specifically
targeted with keywords ready for scanning documents are
what a leading resume coach recommends.
One of the better recent articles describing retirement
planning is pointed out. It points out some considerations
that might influence organization, planning and spending
INTERNSHIP ROUTE TO EMPLOYMENT
SOURCE: The Economist, 9-6-14, p. 61
“Generation i” (small i)
From one point of view this article reviews the history
of interns and experiences of mostly “unpaid internships”
which seem to be a last choice option. The “comments”
section offers a rebuttal that the article misses paid
internships in technical positions lasting 2-6 months.
Paid internships in the best of cases (25%) offers
an in-person experience that is outside of the academic
arena and is an investment in you.
UPDATED PERSPECTIVE ON RESUMES
SOURCE: Career Hub, Jean Cummings
“The Kind of resume that works now“
Jean really emphasizes the need to study the job
description carefully and pick out the job titles
and keywords unique to the position. Then
incorporate them into your cover letter and your
resume in context. ATS software is the rule such
that once it is scanned and sorted reviewers spend
5-6 seconds reading an easy to read, specific,
and targeted resume.
SOURCE: R. Kapadia, Barrons, 9-22-14, p. 23
Point by point discussion first discussing myths
- spending in retirement is fluid, not constant
- within 10 years of retirement, half are single,
especially lower educated
- the impact of children/minors is substantial
Then, covering Important steps which include:
- regularly updated budgeting, manage your cash
flow and plan state and federal taxes
- have fewer fixed expenses; pay things off
- behavioral economics applies– in down
years, spend less
- very good advice on tax diversification
Added notes on Long term care
- it will happen
- industry is changing , select broadest definition
of care givers, begin reimbursements after
calendar days (not service days)
- pay attention to elimination period
Charles Wheelan, Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread
from the Data, Norton and Company, NY 2013
Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt
Bloomsbury Press NY, 2010
Martin J Blaser, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse
of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues, Henry Holt
and Company, NY, 2014
Les McKeown, Predictable Success Greenleaf Book Group,
Austin TX 2010
Brian Tracy, Goals: How to get everything you want:
faster than you ever thought possible. Barrett-Koehler
Publishers. San Francisco, 2004
Brian Tracy Create your own Future: How to master the 12
critical factors of unlimited success,
John Wiley and Sons, 2002
Brooks Landon, Building Great Sentences: Exploring the
Writers Craft the Great courses, 2008
Charles Seife Virtual Unreality Viking NY 2014
David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan,
Fukushima, a story of a nuclear disaster, The new press,
Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine
Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a time of brilliant
technologies, W W Norton and company, NY
James Pennebaker, The Secret Life of Pronouns: What our
words say about us, Bloomsbury Press NY, NY 2011
Clifford Pickover, Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science
and the Great Minds behind them Oxford 2008
Charles Duhigg The Power of Habit: Why we do what
we do in life and business, Random House NY 2012
Eric Topol, The Creative Destruction of Medicine:
How the digital revolution will create better
health care, Basic Books, 2012
Samuel Arbesman, The Half Life of Facts: Why everything
we know has an expiration date Current of the Penguin
Norman Rosenthal The Gift of Adversity The unexpected
Benefits of life’s difficulties, setbacks and
Jeremy Taucher Penguin 2013 NY
Gary Klein, Intuition at Work: Why developing your
gut instincts will make you better at what you do,
Currency Doubleday NY 2003
Viktor Mayer-Schoneberger and Kenneth Cukier Big Data:
A Revolution that will Transform how we Work, Live
and Think, Eamon Dolan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Chip Heath and Dan Heath Decisive: How to make Better
Choices in Life and Work|
Vicky Olliver, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview
Questions, Sourcebooks Naperville IL 2005
Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Will Not Get You
There Hyperion 2007
Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The new digital age: Reshaping
the future of people, nations and business. Alfred A Knopf NY 2013
Douglas Rushkoff Present Shock: When everything happens
now, Current Penguin Group NY 2013
One of the paragraphs in an Economist article led off
with “The university bubble is … beginning to burst.”
Cost, followed by long term debt, graduates not prepared
for professional workplace, outcomes, rather than
outputs, measured are some of the drivers for the
Christensen Institute proposal.
When you are invited to an interview for a position,
what are thoughtful questions you might be asked.
A recent Liz Ryan article might be useful for both
candidates and interviewers.
Roth IRA inheritance considerations is the topic
of another link. It certainly got me to think deeply
about financial planning.
COMPETENCY BASED EDUCATION FOR WORK
RELATED TRAINING SUITED TO VOCATIONAL MODEL
SOURCES: The Economist, Schumpeter, 8-23-14, p. 66
M. R. Weise and C. M. Christensen, “Hire Education:
Mastery, modularization and workforce revolution“
Competency in work-related skills may be better
suited to Internet education model combined with
mastery of work-related skills. Dev Bootcamp is
a clear example of this as being a three month program
in coding. Other “nano” degrees are emerging with
longer timeframes. Interesting and practical course
enrollment fees dependent upon hiring and cost-
sharing are taking shape.
Attendees might see the value in these vocational
MOOC courses more directly than academic programs
both articles argue.
TIMELY POST CONTAINING POTENTIAL INTERVIEW
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
SOURCE: Liz Ryan, “Smarter than usual stupid interview
questions interviewers can ask job-candidates“
Not only is the article helpful for candidates and interviewers
it is nice to see some of the perspectives on interviewing
questions others pose in the “Comments” section.
NEW IRA RULE FOR ROTH INHERITANCE
SOURCE: A. Coombes, WSJ 9-8-14, p. R6
“Beware Leaving a Roth for Heirs“
2015 rules changes being proposed might affect your
thinking about putting your inheritance to the next
generation into Roth IRA accounts. So read this article
for deeper discussion of what is proposed and how it may
impact your wishes.
I know I am looking at this now as I evaluate various
Critical thinking was one of the approaches the panel on the DR show
talked about to “Judge the Credibility of News in the Media Age.”
The panel offered six steps to critical thinking. Since it is one of the
soft skills we seek for in our careers, it is valuable to share them.
1. who is the author, what and who is the source of news
what is their reputation? is there a bias?
2. ask if the information is gathered from first hand or second hand
observations. is there a conflict of interest? is there corroborating evidence
[it might be questionable if it is an “unnamed source.”]
3. what is the purpose of sharing the information? to sell, to convince,
to scapegoat someone?
4. are there conclusions, opinions or judgments? are all alternatives
described and compared? Are there unanswered alternatives?
5. what is missing? is it all negative?
skepticism is fine, cynical might not be!
6. who does it benefit? Who sponsors the work? What do the sponsors
gain from the piece? Recall the theme in the book Merchants of Doubt.
It was inspiring hearing words describing the IEEE
outstanding educator award presentation of Professor
Jamal Dean. Professor Dean is now at McMaster
University in Hamilton, ON and remarked:
(A. Kumar, Interface, Fall, 2014, 42-3)
“Be prepared for the unexpected. It may be upon you
before you know it. So adapt and use your knowledge
and skills to create novel and workable solutions. And
do not be afraid of controversial areas of research,
even if there is opposition from mainstream ‘experts’”…
Why mention Jamal Dean? He works to solve big
problems with significant impact in cross-disciplinary
An example of this is the use of unexpected elements
in semiconductor manufacturing. You know well Moore’s
Law about the prediction of exponential improvements
in digital electronic devices. Did you know hafnium,
ruthenium, tantalum (ok, I knew about this), zirconium
(this, too) and cobalt are all used in discrete elements
of chips to make true the ‘Moore prediction.’ Why?
The article by Michael McCoy (p. 16) states, “because
There is a lot of chemistry, physics, engineering and
economics that will continue to play a role. Consider,
for example, Moore’s second law of semiconductor
manufacturing, known as Rock’s Law. Technical people
should be curious about this “intersection”…
Susan Ainsworth reported in an earlier CEN issue about
what pharmaceutical firm representatives look for in
BS: higher level organic, physical organic, and theoretical
organic chemistry with advance laboratory work
in which synthetic routes are designed, enzymatic
reactions are characterized or there is exposure to
challenging research experience gives a leg up.
PhD: challenging research projects in solving or
gaining understanding of complex problems, say
signal transduction, protein structure, multistep
All should be able to demonstrate communication
skills to be able to go up to a board or with pen and
paper field questions or propose solutions to problems.
Of course, be able to deliver an elevator speech.
What stood out was a segment on “being situationally
aware” outside of classroom or formal structure
situations. It is more behavioral than textbook.
Combining things in different ways can be an example
of what is sought in candidates. This is demonstrated
by for example photoswitchable antibiotics which were
recently reported in Ang. Chem. doi:10.1002/
ange.201310019 and in Photonics showcase.
Can anyone predict her or his future career path?
If you use people’s careers from an earlier generation,
there are few timely examples. Most are out of date.
Why? It is hard to predict who will be around doing
similar things in ten years. Much of the advice I have
read speaks about transferable skills. Nonetheless,
researching, deeper planning and practicing formal skills
successfully trumps the ‘wishful thinking’ in “transferable
skills” for a majority of cases. A link is provided hints
at “LinkedIn age” strategies.
Recently, I traveled with checked baggage in two
airports and lost a checked bag in one and a carry-on
bag in a second. Both were recovered without any losses
except time for recovery and ‘worry-greys.’ One was the
airline’s problem, for which we could have received
reimbursement of the checked baggage fee (Alaska Air,
but we needed to file the claim right then and there.)
How much attention do you pay to the the luggage you
buy and use and what you pack in checked and carry-on
luggage. Links offer very good suggestions that may
save you a bunch.
When recruiters and interviewers rate the biggest
interviewing mistake, they list a dozen with the most
revealing being not having good questions to ask about
the company, the job, the industry and priorities (without
being disrespectful or negative in any way). Find a link
to interview questions you might ask in your interview
TRANSFERABLE SKILLS FALLACY
SOURCE: J. Cummings, Aresumefortoday Blog
Jean opens up a ‘can of worms’ by suggesting in her blog
that in the current Internet-dominant-use age, the ‘beatified’
transferable skills is a tougher sell for people who wish
to change fields. In fact, she goes on to point out that
due to Linkedin, recruiters can demand their top choices
for positions meet all of the job description’s ‘must’
This spells out some career management planning
and proactive steps to take. Deeply study and determine
the professional industry and field that will be yours
for the next decade. It will, if not is, be more difficult to
switch, and be successful, when you are at senior levels.
“Play the field if you want in your twenties, but settle down
in your 30s”.
“Develop the core, desired skills and keep your eye on your
goal a couple of years down the road and manage your
BAGGAGE TIPS FOR TRAVELING
SOURCES: The middle seat, WSJ 8-14-14,
“To catch luggage thieves, high definition cameras and
“Six rules for luggage security,”
- valuables, breakables (chargers, meds, papers) in small bags
- roller bags - be prepared to check, by having a small bag
of perishable items inside ready to be removed for hand carry.
- consider your security vs. convenience in choosing bags.
- pack as if your bag will be ‘rifled’
- get to baggage claim early to watch for your bag [I did
in SeaTac and my bag was digitally followed all the way
to Seattle, only to find it was “hung up on the escalator track”
I knew it did not come out.]
- tell the police immediately and be a bit of a pest.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO ASK
Fifteen rules of thumb for framing questions and Ten
great questions to ask are primo! Know the ‘dumb dozen’….
Another map to consider for career management in
the UK is offered by Vitae. Where this NESACS blog
describes a focus on the interviewing continuum, with
the zeroth level (self assessment), steps before, during
and after interviewing, Vitae partitions the career
management steps into:
- understand yourself
- plan your career
- hear from others
- virtual interviews
- explore the market
- network and develop matches
Jean Cummings wrote about the significant rise in the near
future of contract technical workers. To be competitive in this
emerging marketplace of multi-national and multi-cultural
professionals, she highlighted being able to
1. present your goals, values and attributes to different
audiences who may ask for your services or you see a match
to what you can offer. (your brand statement)
2. describe stories that provide clear examples of your efforts,
outcomes and impacts. (STAR or SARI, situation-task-action-
result or situation-action-result-implication)
3. develop habit stacks (demonstrating desirable soft skills)
and wise skills that will differentiate you.
This is a daunting task. She offered two dozen tips for working
with recruiters for getting their attention, positive feedback
and interest in bringing you on-board.
This entry is about mentoring.
While no one has all the answers. No human can realize all the
history, interactions and subtleties around human situations. Yet,
there can be real benefit if we develop mentoring relationships.
In fact, there is a site that displays a number of well-known
people and the individuals who were their mentors.
Not only are recent graduates and post-docs “in the hunt” for
their next position, people in positions are asking how should
I position myself for being available for being considered for
my next position.
What should I do? they all ask their mentors. Consider:
Ideas (what is going on in parallel fields),
information (how do I express myself and get feedback),
interviews (what are the emerging trends for making ourselves
INTERNATIONAL SURVEY OF CAREER PATHS - SPIE
SPIE reported a telling snapshot of its membership’s typical
workweek, job satisfaction, mobility, how they define success
What was telling about this article is the international nature of
the survey and the added cultural dimension overlaid on the photonics
industry. The remarkable feature that this adds is offering a study
in a parallel field to the chemical enterprise that may hint at
similarities and differences that are not “teased out” from
TAKE TIME TO MEET WITH MENTORS; TAKE TIME TO
UPDATE THEM; OFFER TO HELP
Despite all the advances in technology, in person, face-to-face
meetings sets the “gold standard” for communication. It is enhanced
by technological follow-ups. In the last week, I have interacted with
dozens of people. Each of the interactions were spurred by
making connections with individuals in face-to-face encounters.
This is a masterful “wise skill” to develop.
Ask for feedback, learn new insights, find out what is important to
ECONOMIST UPDATES PROFESSIONAL ONLINE NETWORKS
Did you know that recruiters are Linkedin’s main revenue stream?
Led by its “talent solutions” segment it pinpoints, as long as we
include the pertinent details in our profile, and keep it up, formal
academic background, experience breadth and depth, broad skill
strengths, affiliations in organizations and participation in some
groups. (If you have not gotten feedback on your profile, ask
your mentor for feedback where you wish your career’s future
In the same issue Linkedin’s competitors in France and China
(viadeo) and Germany (xing) are delineated in economics terms.
These are becoming the new exchanges for screening interviews.
Thus, having relevant up-to-date profiles using keywords that
recruiters seek is paramount.
Each year it seems another technical topic is celebrated
Chemistry, crystallography, statistics,… 2015 it is LIGHT.
We bring the topic up in our professional development
class and learn things along the way.
An innovative idea of light sheets used in microscopy of
biological samples is highlighted.
While a hundred pages are still to be digested, it is
important to bring up conflicts that occur, how
they are represented and their outcomes in a must
read book called Merchants of Doubt.
2015 YEAR OF LIGHT AND LIGHT TECHNOLOGIES
SOURCE: IYOL Blog
The scientific sponsors include European Physical Society,
SPIE, Optical society, IEEE Photonics Society, American
Physical Society and international light sources network.
Many of the discoveries concerning coherent and incoherent
light will enjoy commemorations and the celebration will be
an educational opportunity.
LIGHT SHEET MICROSCOPE
SOURCE O. Hanrahan, Photonics, July/August 2014, p. 20
Light Sheet Microscopy LSM advances biological studies
The author compares and contrasts LSM with confocal
microscopy with lower phototoxicity and higher speed.
Scattering and absorption are larger issues.
LSM can optically section samples, be minimally invasive
by using two objective lenses (focus the light sheet
and collect fluorescence emission), a digital camera
and 3-D image display. Speed, sample handling and
cost of total system will lower with time as this
method will find its place.
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT
SOURCE: N. Oreskes and E. M. Conway, “Merchants of
Doubt,” Bloomsbury Press NY, 2010
“How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on
issues from tobacco smoke to global warming.”
This is scintillating reading describes how a small
group of prominent individuals create smokescreens
to block and obfuscate issues which have impact
on commercial and big businesses. I read just this morning
an op-ed piece about how EPA rules should not be allowed
because it will raise costs. As we realize, this can, properly
communicated and used, motivate innovation.
The book documents the 50+ year history of conflicts
of business interests with scientific results and conclusions–
from tobacco-cancer, second-hand smoke-illnesses,
pesticides-Silent spring, acid rain-acidification of
waterways, coal burning-air pollution, global warming-
The “debates” were manufactured, the authors claim, based
on PR misdirection and ‘alternate reality’ views. Interesting
commentary by one of the sources to escape the public
attention to previous public positions. These approaches
are legalistic possibilities, and in legal terms, do not have to
be true, but only plausible.
It is in the news daily. The corporate M&A moves
by a number of large firms to avoid 35% US
corporate tax rate is poignantly described in an Economist
cartoon . A link offers caution to investors about
consequences of the inversion.
We had a seminar about ‘Mission statements, goals,
objectives and development plans’ a couple of weeks back.
A recently uncovered blog offers positive insight into
tactics for individuals just starting to develop personal
We have mentioned one of the curious areas of research
is in dealing with antibiotic-resistant microbes. A link
provides untold stories of how important our microbiome is.
Our micrbiome is the complex system of bacteria that live
in on and around each one of us.
TAX CONSEQUENCES OF INVERSIONS
SOURCE L. Saunder,
WSJ, August 2, 2014, p. B1
“How to Ease the Tax Hit from an inversion“
There are a series of unintended consequences from mergers
like AbbVie-Shire and Medtronic-Covidien. Ms. Saunders
writes inversions will be unwelcome for long-term investors
who were planning to hold their shares for estate planning
Some shareholders in firms that do inversions will
owe taxes they would never have had to pay. Tax advisors
indicate that stock in taxable accounts should be evaluated
with careful planning and investors be prepared to act.
Three common tactics in the short term are discussed.
CAREER MISSION STATEMENT
SOURCE: Catherine Rains, Writing a career mission statement,
Using your results from MBTI and Strong indicator tests, she
suggest how you can fashion your own mission statement at
an early career point.
This is when each of us are most uncertain.
I found this most thoughtful and engaging.
MISSING MICROBES – BLASER’S BOOK
SOURCE: M. J. Blaser,
“Missing Microbes: How the overuse
Of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues, Henry Holt and
Company, NY, 2014
Your body is composed of an estimated 30 trillion cells,
but is host to more than 100 trillion bacterial and fungal
cells. Thus, 70 to 90 % of all cells are nonhuman. They
reside on every inch of our skill and in all organs.
Most of the time doctors have no idea if a patient’s illness
is caused by virus or bacteria.
Doctors have very good reason to reflexively prescribe
antibiotics for many upper respiratory tract infections–
fear of rheumatic fever. Untreated strep can cross react with
a child’s heart muscle, joints, skin and brain…
Doctors prescribe antibiotics for strep to ward off rheumatic
fever. While the body’s natural defenses might treat the
illness, people inevitably think that the antibiotic had made
them well. A situation where correlations does not mean
cause and effect.
Young adults in US between 20 and 30 receive 30
courses of antibiotics before the age of 40. Many of the
young women will be mothers and the antibiotics may affect
the next generation. implications of this course of action
may effect obesity, asthma, cancers, GERD, CRE.
Very powerful reading for biotech and pharma workers and
This tool is constructed to list pros-cons, questions-
answers, requirements-fulfillment, and professional development
plans-how you meet or satisfy.
Commonly, we use T-chart format with bullets in a cover
letter to industrial and business concerns to display
quickly and efficiently the job requirements from a job
description, in column A, and how we satisfy them, in column
B– directly across the page from one another.
The T-chart can also be used to prepare for interviews by
listing typical questions, in column A, and key features to your
responses, in column B.
I have seen it being used to take notes from an informational
interview where you can list your questions, column A, and the
response from a knowledgeable person in column B.
In fact, you can use this tool to organize and capture
information from an interview by listing your questions
in column A and the interviewer’s responses in column B.
An example of using T-charts for managing careers is
given in career thought leader’s blog.
Several entries of this blog link to Alan Sklover’s blog,
“Sklover’s Working Wisdom” for it contains both ’state
of the art’ information and suggestions, as well as a
professional legal resources for more personal issues.
Legal and ethical topics previously identified include:
Important considerations in offer letter
Checklist when starting a job
“In the meantime” clause in Employment contracts
Noncompete agreements and subpoenas
Unemployment compensation considerations
Each of the above items are widely useful contributions.
More narrowly applicable items he has discussed are:
1. After a complaint, your employer’s and your responsibilities
(Use of affidavit)
2. Legal issues of recording conversations
3. How to respond to question of managing people
4. The phrasing and meaning of “term of appointment” in an
Keep Sklover on your radar screen in your “bookmarks.”
Over the last few years in graduate student self-assessments, one
of the leading values that they express is for Security. In a sense,
we can all relate to the desire for a secure future.
Interestingly, very recently an accomplished scientist who was hired
by a drug discovery company CEO was publicly fired
(ie. story in the WSJ) for not rapidly leading his team to develop
new profitable products.
He had been there but 7 months…
Security needs “a 21st century meaning in technical careers.”
It is the ability to look where fields and needs are moving and
proactively seek out skills preparing us to contribute and
have further development plans.
Desperation, exasperation, and despair appear in the eyes of many
STEM field graduates about what they will do for STEM JOBS. It is
more about “minding the gap” between what is taught and practiced
in your education and training and what is needed in emerging and
growing fields. Just as the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky
said ‘pay attention to where the puck is going to be, not where it
What societies do you belong to? What local sections do you
actively participate in? How do you decide? What is offered and
WIIFM (what is in it for me)? Just as the Internet has triggered
changes in marketing and sales of books, consumer items, and all manner
of knowledge sharing (MOOCS, weblogs, webinars) it is also changing
the playing field for technical societies.
SECURITY IS THE VALUE OF APPLYING YOUR STRENGTHS
FOR EVOLVING DEMANDS AND PROACTIVELY WORKING
ON PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS GETTING US READY.
SOURCE: Career Planning Career Mapping Tool MONSTER
Monster has put forward a forward seeking tool that might
be of value to your thinking process about managing your
However, leaving this on a computer or in a cloud file
while seeming to be current misses the urgency humans place
in face-to-face interactions.
Plan to develop mentors, sponsors and referrals by working hard
to help others meet their goals. Lou Adler offered salient advice
- get help in being a “perfect fit” for an opening.
- people who refer you for an opening, help themselves by helping
- know what recruiters seek when filling a position (they work for
the company), and give examples in your resume and relate stories
when you interview
Security is also about protecting your valuable information,
reputation and computer resources. In a podcast I recently listened
to I became convinced to explore ‘Krebs on Security.‘
- security tools
STEM JOBS: SHORTAGE OF JOBS or SHORTAGE OF SKILLED
We need to “keep up with the times.” If my university is not dedicated
to doing it, I need to find other avenues. If my employer does not have
the funds or give me the time to do it, I have to find other avenues.
We must keep abreast of evolving needs of employers.
EXAMPLE: 25 years ago only a few places sought HTML coders.
Ten years later, your entry card was punched with HTML experience.
HTML is less a key but a commodity today. Jobs can be had with a
lower salary or for niche hiring (projects).
Other experience with cloud computing and analytics seems a better path.
There is a “gap” between curves of skill level in what we learn and
what is needed in positions. Peter Grey points out to independently
learn and gain experience in emerging technologies and critical ‘hard
skills’. Gain experience and meet goals in new areas of challenge
instead of repeating previous career path efforts. Learn from and keep
peers in your network.
Further reading from a recruiter about STEM jobs.
TRENDS IN TECHNICAL SOCIETIES
The debate goes on: Is it worthwhile to belong to a technical
The presence of the Internet and online Open Access Technical literature
might influence some segments of the professional population.
The need shifts depending upon the fields that you are involved,
your current and future needs, and your personal assessment and
how you would use the society for your advantage (WIIFM).
Some questions to help you decide about society membership:
Are you stuck where you are with little or no help out? (connections,
networking, sense for where field is moving and what is emerging,
access to leaders and hiring managers, finding solutions to problems,
finding resources and tools to solve problems)
Do you have mentors to ask about alternatives for decisions?
Do you feel that you are doing something that has already been solved
by someone else before? (Googling your question does not help!)
Are there situations that a group effort in advocating a cause would
be much more effective?
Some questions to help you decide about belonging to a large, broadly-
involved organization or a smaller, more cutting edge, faster moving
Do you want to be elected, volunteer for and serve in a leadership
capacity? (chances are better in smaller org. or a local section)
How are you planning to continuously improve and update your
skills to be prepared for the future?
How will safety and common good be served best? Prevention
(like checklists) rather than band-aiding failing flow chart or procedures
BONUS: It is noteworthy to point out an organization that is
reinventing itself as it sees the changing landscape in publishing.
The way they are doing it is an example to point out.
One of the criteria for graduate degrees, promotions in academia,
and measures of scientific leadership is publication in peer
reviewed journals and chapters. In the Internet-age this has
undergone several changes that are not readily apparent but
should be more broadly known. There are a few elements to
this including the “google effect” [the more times a fact
shows up in searches, the more popular. See comment],
“New York Times effect” [if it is in the NYTimes, it is true.],
and scientific findings are “truth.” Several evolutions in peer
reviewed publications are revealed.
Politics is something that all organizations are susceptible
of and many people feel crushed by not being able to come
across and compete on an even and fair playing field. A couple of
links are offered to provide some background on causes and
what you might do.
Intuition is an unscientific ability that people with technical
training use but can be unconscious of its importance and
that your can train yourself to get better at. A good read
link might show you where the ‘intuition gas pedal’ is.
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
The technical literature aims to publish factual detail,
results and conclusions. A review of manuscripts by
peers knowledgeable in the field certify uniqueness, value
and worthiness. A recent WSJ editorial excoriates science
for mistakes and errors that were reported and found.
The op ed, by a person who seeks to gain from the notoriety,
misses what science can teach us. It, as a nice comment
to the online version reveals, teaches us the findings of
particular experiments. Peer review allows others to consider
the results and compare it with their knowledge. They may
even seek to repeat or discuss to clarify the results.
There are other distortions to the classical concept of
peer reviewed publications especially in the Internet age with
online publications. W. Arms brought many up in a Journal of
Electronic Publishing review. There is no easy answer as
one of his main claims is publishing in a “top flight” publication
with enhanced editorial review. “Cut and paste” journalism is
becoming acceptable. Consider the Jonah Lehrer affair.
In 2012 the New Yorker hired Jonah Lehrer a science reporter
with best selling publications in neuroscience. He was found to
“recycle” large amounts of his work and plagiarized other
sources in unacceptable ways.
Brian Tracy in “Create Your own Future” recommends:
assume personal responsibility; stop making excuses
be compassionate; avoid judging others
express kindness in thought, word and deed
build friendships, thinking of others
be gentle to others
In the Accelerators Blog M. Webb talks about
partnering with people known for strong relationships
with others. He also indicates the need to craft
agreements to meet each partner’s goals while
protecting and keeping confidential secrets.
The agreement needs to frame work, rewards and
Avoid partners with “sharp elbows” and who
optimize for their individual gain.
BONUS: Brian Tracy, “Create your own future: How to
master 12 critical factors of unlimited success”
John Wiley 2002.
There is much to like about this book. I especially benefited
from his section on using your “superconscious mind” to
build capabilities to size up new situations and recognize
patterns to make decisions. –> tool kit for Intuition.
Most scientists and engineers are trained and the belief is
passed on to avoid snappy sound bites. Most readers are
familiar with the “big bang theory”, not the sitcom, the
theory about the formation of the universe. In fact, most people
in the western world would be tuned into this phrase and its
meaning. Interestingly, though, it was first mentioned by
someone, Fred Hoyle, on BBC as a “poppycock idea”, for
he was a strong proponent of the competitor “steady state”
theory. “Big bang” is a brand.
In our Career Management seminar Friday, Marisha Godek
spoke lucidly about how, in her company and industry, she
realizes the importance of developing a rapport with colleagues
and customers whose training and expertise are much different
than hers. She also observed that being able to be a person
called on when there is a problem to solve or be invited to the
table when decisions are made calls on developing your personal
brand. It is sort of your colloquial “reputation”.
We see “branding” of science all over the place. Scientific
publication is fabulously being rebranded in various contexts
by free access to publicly funded research results, to online
communities that discuss results and interpretations and implications,
and about evolving publication models. In the last, note that
ACS now offers access to 25 articles without subscription, as
a temptation to inspire more journal subscriptions.
Stanford’s library did an excellent review of publication branding.
What Marisha was relating to is the importance, in corporate
and some institutional environments, of branding yourself. This
is not a subject area that most scientists and engineers are familiar.
In her case, she seeks out mentors in her business realm, senior
director levels and multidisciplinary leadership backgrounds.
Quintessential Careers, Katherine Hansen, has a strong
commentary on how to brand resumes and profiles
Skills + Personality + Market need = Branding statement
and provides a list of brand representations for various industrial and
organization job seekers, for example
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER, MANUFACTURING
Able to deliver industrial engineering insights, gained through strong
record of accomplishments to your firm in manufacturing engineering.
PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE
Eager to strengthen the mission of patient focused pharmaceutical
Eager to contribute recent degree in Environmental Science and
strong applicable, hands-on testing and evaluation field experience
PRINCIPAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST, with a proven track record
in developing and bringing to market surgically relevant innovations.