You know, I am a strong proponent that scientific professionals
have a strong understanding of working with statistics and
perceive the hazards in our environment, that have good and not
so good effects on humans.
So in our final class we talked about three features we should
look for in evaluating statistical data. [I am always amazed that
their relevance is not emphasized in classes.] variation, shape
and central tendency.
In our daily lives we are faced with statistics for nearly everything
and given “selective” interpretations to sell or convince us of various
- insure the data provides its sample size and range and variability
[small sample size, limited range, no measure of variation should
not be basis of a general position.]
- If the data is presented with many significant figures, it should
raise “red flags” in your mind. [10,234,511.39 ?]
- The shape of the distribution of measure reveals critical insight.
[power law, normal, bimodal, skewness…]
- What is the appropriate central tendency representation? Mean
if it is normal distribution…Other than that, questions are needed.
There are two radioactive species in our environment that we
should be aware of some things. One I encountered when I was asked
by a middle school student about a science project on radioassays.
That is when I learned about technetium. Technetium-99 is most
useful as a radioassay measure for imaging internal organs.
published a short factoid recently about this lightest, artificially
produced element. ”Technetium cows
” were developed by BNL
researchers and have been in use for more than 50 years in
medical diagnostics and research. In addition, technetium is a
by-product of U-235 decay and thus can be a valuable monitor
for nuclear reactor spent fuel rod decay and storage.
A second radioactive element is the gas, radon. Radon is naturally
occurring in the environment and is attributed to be an effector of
. Radon decays naturally producing alpha
of the prevalence of radon in the US point to where
it is. This should be a point of reference for us where we live
Many articles we find about requesting for salary
increments overlook the need to do three things–
* perform consistently well in meeting and exceeding your’s
and your team’s goals [time in grade is often insufficient],
* gather critical information about pay, time in grade and value
to the organization, and
* have a proposal for your continued growth plan and how it
contributes to the organization [it is helpful to have mentors
who are knowledgeable about the organization, policies and
- separate salary conversations from performance review meetings, so
that you demonstrate you are not focusing as being money-driven.
- know that a timely one-on-one can be helpful in supporting the
value you provide to the organization with a successful project
- ‘plant the seed’ for an increase before the organization’s budget
planning (article indicates 3-4 months, is that too early?)
- practice what you are going to say, plan for interruptions, and
have a back-up plan
Our Professional Development class is interesting because
we can use feedback from class members for future discussion
items and exercises in class.
One feedback card read: Could we engage in networking
conversations and elevator speeches from each person in class?
It is better than describing them.
>In subsequent classes we asked people to deliver elevator speeches
to their team mates [which should be done in all team situations].
Then when we brought in guest speakers, we asked each class
member to deliver an elevator pitch to the guests.
A couple of other situations that are intriguing. One class member
met privately and said she did not know what to do as her team
was unresponsive to requests to work together and complete tasks
on time. We talked about it and in class performed an exercise.
What can you do to work better as a team? There are many excuses:
too busy, lazy, procrastinate, think the assignment is dumb….
- plan ahead; discuss the work assignment
- know yourself; study your teammates behaviors, values, likes
- keep in touch; communicate, even over-communicate
- offer help if others have trouble understanding/solving the assignment
- Team formation usually follows easily recognizable stages, known as
“forming, storming, norming, and performing.”
YOU ARE EXPECTED TO GET TO NORMING QUICKLY
- learn about your team-mates: their values, behavior, goals, time lines,
honesty, promptness, caring; strength and weakness
- When do you report to higher Ups?
- Influence: consistency, scarcity, authority, trust worthiness,
- Work together, share ideas and don’t just divide up the work.
- Use people’s strengths and interests to produce something that
- Become familiar with due dates, put buffer between team
deadline and final deadline alert people in advance
- Givers succeed most, reciprocators are a close second
- Adam Grant’s book “Givers and Takers”
A second class exercise was inspired by an incident where a class
member forgot an attachment when sending an email. It happens to
all of us.
The class came up with several and discussion ensued about how
some recipients might feel it revealed lack of attention to detail or
how you perform under pressure. There are technological solutions
that we should know and use.
This is a story about two conversations. The first is
one with a very accomplished senior grad student.
The second conversation is one of a series with
a department of chemistry chairperson.
Ph.D. LACKING NEEDED SOFT SKILLS
Almost Dr. Smith (not his or her real name) wanted
to talk about a situation in which she finds herself. She
has received several promising offers, only to be rejected
after providing references. She has learned from a reliable
source that the reference supplied the information that her
writing skills were not up to acceptable standards, whereupon
the offer was pulled.
She asked what can she do now? Learn by various means–
reading for style and formatting, specialized training to write
for specific audiences, and practice, of course are several
possibilities. Shouldn’t the grad school provide that for her?
The answer is generally, not in today’s climate.
Second conversation, now.
PROPOSAL TO CHAIRMAN TO OFFER PRACTICAL
[Bring a solution, when you ask about a big concern you
When the new chair was installed I went to her with the
concern that many graduates do not have essential writing
skills and other “Soft skills” that we need to be successful.
What are some courses, programs of study, and tutoring
assignments (shadowing, draft writing, editing, reading)
that are offered or can be offered? We will bring it up to the
dean, was one response.
Another time, post-docs are people without support,
representation or a voice. What can be done to help their
case? That is up to the individual PI was the response. I reflected
on several national labs, medical schools and NIH programs
and received the feedback. That is not something I can do.
I pursued: Why not? some of the ideas are nice, but I would
be stepping on people’s [departments] toes and it is imprudent
to do here.
Another reason is that I can not impinge on the time they are
working in the lab. They have so many distractions and
commitments as it is. To add another requirement would take
time from the research work that needs to get done.
So, it goes. Outside speakers emphasize it is important to “get
out of the lab” and learn extra-curricular skills through different
activities, internships and volunteer roles. Most students immediately
reflect that their boss would not like them doing that. Most say
they feel pressure to be in the lab 7×12 getting results.
While I receive consistent support for Professional Development
activities in summer and both semesters, I am only one and
so much more could be done to make a difference. What we
do is as much or more than is offered in other R1 institutions.
Please send in ideas and concepts working in other institutions.
I look forward to them.
We have written about using emotions in our
storytelling especially related to trust, by Brene
the psychology of influence. His latest Pre-suasion
is highly recommended in offering ways to understand
how we are influenced and might be able to express
Cialdini presents “pre-suasion” as frontloading attention
by altering audience members associations with what we do
or say next.
- privileged moments: tuning in to times when audience
is most receptive
- channeling attention using attractors and magnetizers
- ‘I link, therefore I think’ - creating or building on
Agenda setting theory- media rarely produce change by
presenting compelling evidence; more likely persuade
indirectly by selecting issues and facts and excluding
Forced confessions have a history going back to the 1692
witchcraft trials appearing in many trials, Chinese Cultural
Revolution ‘convictions’, and Joseph McCarthy Communist
Party affiliations indictments 1950s.
Neidert Core Motives Model of Social Influence
Stage 1: cultivating a positive association, using
“reciprocity” and “liking” in a meaningful, unexpected and
Stage 2: reducing uncertainty, using authority and social
proof to provide priority to a course of action
Stage 3: motivating positive action, sealing the action
to move ahead.
Where Influencing is used in marketing:
1. media traffic reports as programming space editors
2. naming of supplements and nutrients sounding like
derivation from natural products.
Yahoo had an appropriate article by Maria LaMagna
about the consequences of lying in an interview when
asked how much you currently make.
This could happen in various interview formats…
screening, on-site, wrap-up with HR, or during
salary negotiations. Preparation and research
In all cases tell the truth, as they may ask you to produce
a pay stub. Alternatively it is fair to ask what is their
I feel it is appropriate to state that salary is one
component of an overall compensation package.
While it is a gauge on your value to the company,
it is fair to point out that other factors may be equally
important to you…vacation, citizenship work papers,
insurances, location, travel requirements, etc.
What is my future like? many are asking as we face an
uncertain future. It seems as this was the case decades ago,
but it is more uncertain now.
What is the reason? What are the drivers?
Harari has something to say about this. Look at his TED Dialog
1. We have lost “our story”. The narrative that describes modern
life in the 21st century is not what previous generations’ stories
were. This is one of the major roots of upheavals seen around the
2. Technology is bringing people together in many ways while
it separates us into many many subgroups. The wealthy, in
information-rich positions, influence the decisions of authorities
and will take advantage enhancing income mal-distribution.
3. National priorities have no connection to reality in many global
issues. Job loss, despite all the rhetoric, is not as strongly
influenced by immigration as it is by robots, algorithms and AI.
4. Political leaders have very little influence to do good. They
have great influence in doing bad and it is usually not one
individual responsible, because there are many supporters and
people of influence.
See some of the reviews
of Harari’s work bring up several other
disconnects we observe and may not easily explained. Knowing
allows you to define for yourself
the meaning of joy, satisfaction, happiness and help.
Two recent communications provided thoughts for this
post on the complex visa issues facing international
CASE. EB-1, EB-2
One was from Southeast Asia who earned a Ph.D. and worked
as an industrial post-doc before accepting a permanent position.
She learned that her firm was closing its doors and landed a
technical position at a leading international firm.
It was a positive experience for more than a year as her
direct manager and senior technical professional mentored
her through the politics of the product development group.
Unfortunately he is no longer there.
She finds that the work is challenging and a positive experience.
However, there are “people challenges” that are hard to work
through. How long should she stay and what goals should she
Pressure seems to be building up with the challenges. We talked
about retaining benefits (401k, bonuses, promotions in title)
seeking her working visa, and long term ambitions if things turn
She pointed out that if she knew what she knows now, she
free assessment of her case and guarantees if she self applies
for an EB-1 or EB-2, there is a money back guarantee.
CASE. Canadian Visas
A second conversation was with a Canadian professional
working in the US as a post-doc.
Canadians are allowed to visit the US for up to six months
(182 days) per calendar year. Nationals of other countries
are allowed only 90 days. You can accumulate those
days by one long trip, or an aggregation of several short ones.
The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows
citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals,
to work in the United States in prearranged business
activities for U.S. or foreign employers. Permanent residents
of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas
to work as NAFTA professionals.
$50 for the filing fee and $6 for I-94 fee. Pay at the border
at the time of applying for the TN Visa. Total Cost by Mail
= $325 for Form I-129. See the USCIS website for the
latest fee amount.
Current U.S. laws and regulations say that Mexican and
Canadian citizens can stay in the U.S. in TN status for periods
up to three years. Even better, TN workers are supposed to
be able to extend their stays indefinitely, in three-year
increments, so long as they satisfy the requirements under
the TN program.
As a Canadian citizen hoping to work in the US, there are multiple
options that are available to you. Some relevant work-related visas
- HB-1 Visa-this option is available to individuals who at least
hold a bachelor’s degree. The employer would have to agree
to sponsor you and should file the appropriate paperwork on
- E1 or E2-if the business you plan to work for is 50% owned
by nationals of your home country and it trades and invests
in the US then this could be another option for you.
- O Visa-if you have proven substantial contribution to areas
such as education or science you may be eligible for this type
- L Visa-this type of visa may be an option if you have
worked for a company for at least a year and then wish to
pursue employment in the US under another branch of the
- Green Card-if you have a master’s degree or work in a
position that requires it, you may be eligible to apply for
a green card to continue working in the US.
As you can see, there are various avenues you could take to achieve
your desired results. To better understand your options and to select
the appropriate option, you should contact an immigration
Keep in mind, many of these processes take time to complete, so
you we want to be sure to choose the best option.
In a blog we summarized three posts on Economics that are
critical to understand Rana Faroohar’s book Makers and
Takers. A fourth entry went into “black elephant”
events which are very unlikely negative events that everyone
can see but feel that they cannot do anything about.
We point out here a video narrated by Matt Damon,
“Inside Job” that is must see for everyone.
A second item is a very interesting piece about using
spectroscopy on archaeological artworks.
Finally GENomics contained a piece about evidence
that a bacterium known to originate gum disease also
triggers rheumatoid arthritis using Mass Spec.
BLACK ELEPHANT - “Inside Job”
[available on Netflix] Many of us were directly or indirectly
affected by the financial turmoil of the 2000s. Downsizing,
lower profits, stagnant economy, job loss, hard to find a new
We think we have gotten out of that mirth, but this video
nothing has been done to the perpetrators [Greenspan,
Paulsen, Bernanke, Summers, Fuld, Fed, the Huge
Wall Street Investment banks], the federal bureaucracy,
and the regulators. They are still in an inept situation
with more to come.
We only see things second hand and we need good leadership
to throttle the flow and trajectory.
SPECTROSCOPY DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN
SOURCE: Biblical Archeological Review Mar/Apr 2017
T. R. Hanneken, Digital Archeological’s New Frontier.
The spectral signature of a pigment in one region can
be distinguished from a pigment with a similar appearance
from a different region. Archaeological application devises
new techniques– low angle “raking”, reflectance
Transformation imaging and InsciptiFact Digital Image
Library which incorporates texture, color and non-visible
characterization of archeological pieces.
PROTEOMIC ANALYSIS LINKS ARTHRITIS TO GUM
There has been a clinical association between periodontal
disease and RA (arthritis) and both diseases triggered by the
same factor. Aggregatibacter Actinomyecetemconmitans
induces citrullinated proteins detected by mass spec.
Bacterial secretion of a toxin to kill host immune cells which
allows a flux of calcium thus activating an enzyme that
This week we talked about what is valued and sought for in
individuals when they seek different career paths. Then we
We pointed out that much of our life is quite unpredictable
and that what we start out wanting, doing and behaving
changes throughout our life. An interesting piece in Quartz
reported on statistical data where in the past we could reflect
on anecdotal instances in changes.
In the short term there remains a consistency in our wanting
doing and behaving, however. Here we might pose that Luck
and Skill arbitrate on what happens in our careers.
CAREERS = LUCK + SKILLS
LUCK = preparation + opportunity + attitude
We suggested it is useful to set objectives, develop a plan
to achieve them and look for opportunities to be and act
professionally along the way. Build your committed network
ask for help, create and learn from “teachable moments”,
continuously learn, and be optimistic.
Two pieces of feedback from our class offered questions–
1- how can I network better? What should I learn and practice?
[understand your current personal values, behaviors and emotional
make-up; small talk, understand others’ make-ups and adapt
to achieve win-win outcomes]
2- it seems like the skills you list are just things to trick people on.
What is the basis for each item on the list, they wondered.
[real life often is a series of unpredictable events with little time
to think. Thus our habits will determine our behaviors. We wish
to figure out what our habits are modify them to be more effective.]
It is hard for some to learn that professional work is strongly
influenced by our cultural, personal and value-based habits.
It is often the case that how you do something is as important as
the outcomes that you achieve. Sometimes the result is “pure
luck” but as we know we “create much of our luck”.
A question came in:
Can you tell me again the differences (e.g. particular years’
experience) between adept, skilled, proven track record in and
problems with, Experienced is not strong enough.
When you do more- design, develop, implement, and solve
- Experienced in can be used for software or running equipment.
managing projects where you have metrics to describe the results-
- Proven track record is last and only relates to things like sales,
- Proficient having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude
These “lead in” phrases are common introductions into
skill qualifications and Highlights section of a resume.
- adept; a person who is skilled or proficient at something.
adept, expert, good, practiced, proficient, skillful, skilful(adj)
“they are adept at kung fu and karate”
budget, time, results, people.
It is a sign of low skill to repeat the same one more than once.
That is why we have several to choose
Hope this helps.
Additionally under unique situations certain individuals can be
“experts in…”. Daniel Levitin has written about who can be
The term expert is normally reserved for people who have
undertaken special training, devoted a large amount of time to
developing their expertise (e.g. MD, pilots, musicians, athletes.)
and those whose abilities or knowledge are considered high
relative to others’.
As such, expertise is a social judgment and relative. …
Expertise also falls along a continuum.
Individuals with similar training and levels or expertise will not
necessarily agree with one another, and even if they do, these
experts are not always
Experts are often licensed, or hold licensed degrees, or are
recognized by other authorities.
In science, technology and medicine experts’ work appears
in peer-reviewed journals or on patents, recognized with
awards, running or starting a company or amassing wealth.
Expertise tends to be domain-specific and typically
It is that time of year again. Remember the challenges last year?
We learned about negotiating with hotels and airlines to minimize
the impact of east coast snowstorm causing travel hiccups. Maybe
I was overconfident when it happened again this year.
With two presentations planned for Pittsburgh on Friday and
Saturday I booked flight and hotel leaving Thursday and returning
Sunday. The storm struck Thursday cancelling flights. I should
have looked at the path and factored in leaving earlier, say one day
in the week, arriving Wednesday.
SWA was helpful in allowing my one day later flight enabling me
to arrive in Pittsburgh to partially be able to meet my commitments.
However, it never occurred to me that the plane I was to fly out
on Friday am needed to arrive Thursday. It did not. So my flight
Friday morning was cancelled just like Thursday morning due to
Now I had to cancel hotel reservations and work with my colleagues
at the other end to determine what could go on in my absence.
Expedia was willing to help. First with changing the initial plans
from a 3-night stay to a 2-night stay. Then, cancelling the reservation
due to weather created flight cancellation. But, I had to provide all
information that Flight 622 was cancelled on Thurs. and Friday
due to the plane not arriving and there was no substitute available
that was available.
Lessons: Possible storm caused delay or cancellation of flight–
change my reservation to leave one day earlier, not later than when
the storm hits.
You can not get charged for room if you have all the facts
at hand when you call to cancel the hotel reservation.
Have all the cell phone numbers ready to call to deal with
the situation promptly. Call as early as you can to avoid last minute
From Dennis Brown:
Ideas 5 and 8 are applicable. Remember online marketing is
the current state of the art. Job seekers can use this tool
use of keywords
involvement in groups
Reading a book that you may wish to get your hands on.
That is if you are interested in improving your “small
I know I am. So let me tell you more. I am visiting several
friends and new acquaintances and am looking at how I can
ideas that are encapsulated in three acronyms for different
HPM SBR EDR
draws on memory, focused on topic focused
experiences and on exploring
focused on you
History - Specific Emotion
Philosophy Broad Details
Metaphor Related Restatement
H reply to comment
using personal experiences on a topic
this reminds me of…
what a coincidence…..
P personal stance on a topic
I always enjoyed….
there was a famous quote ….
this allows for a subtle change of topic
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S ask to go deeper, more specific
B ask to springboard into subtopics
R explore into tangential topics
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E It seems to me you feel …. You are…. Other people’s emotions
D define the details
what were they wearing…
how was the weather…. How did you deal with it…
R employ 5 Ws to complete a restatement
is this what you mean?….
One of the requests from one of the new students is “how
to get involved in entrepreneurial ventures.” It got me to
thinking about things we could bring up.
Two interesting concepts that we can point out is Nonobvious
2017 and Cooperatives for entrepreneurs.
Rohit Bhargava gives thoughtful tips on
before they take off. This is something that should
interest entrepreneurs. He suggests ideas for trend curators:
- be curious: ask why, continuously be in learning mode
- be observant of the small details of organization
- attend to various ideas and hold back from fixating
- pause and think through things; avoid jumping to results
- be elegant in expressing things
Riding on a flightI learned about CCA Global Partners which
has a remarkable corporate mission and business model to help
entrepreneurs. The web site boasts more than ten divisions
of fields they enhance by bringing folks together involved
in related enterprises.
Sometimes seeing what works in one field helps progress
in your area.
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
In negotiations it is not unusual for you to be asked
“How much do you make now?” and Something
like, “What are your salary expectations?”
Recent ideas have materialized into legislation in
MA where it is no longer legal to ask about salary
history for in-state positions. Note, too, that a later
paragraph states the law takes effect in 2018.
The article offers a response to the salary query–
“.. personal practice to keep salary confidential, as
my research has provided employers compensate
qualified employees with a salary between $xx
and $xy, and your being a leader I would not be
surprised to hear from you in the upper portion of
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
inda Wang CEN 1-2-17, P. 23-4 PARENTAL LEAVE
Let me shout out about Linda Wang’s meaningful
article in the first issue of 2017 CEN on parental leave.
With the continuing trend of very long graduate
school tenures followed by one or more post doctoral
stints those wishing the fulfillment of family life
either learn too late that certain people or organizations
frown on or discourage distractions from their goals.
I dare say there can even be blacklisting or not offering
article on Title IX
CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
What can we do to remain employable throughout
our careers? We do not think about that until often
it is too late. It is in the present that we carry out our goals.
You should choose positions that provide personal satisfactions
day-to-day so you stick with it. Engage in activities that
have outcomes that coincide with your personal longer
Early on in your careers you should realize that doing the
same things over and over is self limiting. You need to
bring to bear what is emerging in the larger employment
market (artificial intelligence, computation, robotics) and
seek out and complete career focused education, experiences
and certifications. The Economist
and some trends. (1)Self examination leading to Curiosity
is critical to continually learn and
(2) knowing your learning style and adapting content to
meet your style for long term application and near term
demands is your responsibility.
Large questions remain, namely,
(a)does the training and knowledge get recognition and
reward for the time and expense?
(b)Will there be experiences, skills and abilities that will
be useful where I am now and/or in other organizations?
ACS seems to have a working model for continuous
education and needs constant input for what would benefit
members. How can we better offer soft skill development?
is one specific area, for example.
While many observations are continuing themes, the
following should be noted before newer items:
1. Avoid formal pre-built cut-and-paste templates.
Although reviewers do seek out specific sections and,
2. Apply for each position with a specifically tailored
document that is truthful and consistent with other
4. Make your resume scannable
, reverse chronological
order. Some sites may have specific formats required for
submission. Check in advance.
- include Linkedin and twitter addresses
- clean up or make facebook and/or other personal accounts
private. They will be searched.
- include specifically relevant skills for your field and position.
- soft skills are of questionable relevance
- There is an open debate about using Objective section. It can
be valuable early in your career, with little experience, or if you
are changing career paths.
Different kinds of positions look for different pieces of
information that characterizes your key attributes that qualify
you for the opening, like summary, profile and highlights.
- cut out unnecessary information. provide schools relevant to
the application… degree granting institution, major and year.
Linkedin may provide fuller listing. Your goal here is brevity and
- guideline is generally 1 page for each 10 years. No more
than 2 pages.
EXPERIENCE, HONORS, AWARDS, AFFILIATIONS
- these reveal accomplishments, the key measures supporting
your second section and your candidacy.
So many times we see over-the top adjectives and the expectation
that degrees and publications are qualifications. I found jobscan.co
an interesting tool to compare what ATS might find
when scanning your resume.
I have seen some newer formats
, but have not seen whether
they have been generally accepted.
`How do you figure out appropriate information that is important
and verifiable, relating to your interests and goals?
We can subscribe to publications. Does that provide what you need?
We can view broadcast media or skim Flipboard or other “news
aggregators” or subscribe to twitter feeds for our philosophy matching
We all have limited time and viewerships.
- Set your short and longer term goals
ASK GOOD QUESTION
A good question is not concerned with a correct idea.
A good question cannot be answered immediately.
A good question challenges existing answers.
A good question is one you badly want answered once you
hear it, but had no
inkling you cared before it was asked.
A good question creates new territory of thinking.
A good question reframes its own answers.
A good question is the seed of innovations in Science,
politics, and business.
A good question is a probe, a what-if scenario.
A good question skirts on the edge of what is known and not
silly nor obvious.
A good question cannot be predicted.
A good question will be the sign or an educated mind.
A good question is one that generates many other questions>
A good question may be the last job a machine will learn to do.
A good question is what humans are for.
GOALS- Think through your “purpose”
1- Do you like what you are now doing?
2- What do you feel and think you want to do? Like is not
enough. Purpose is about setting up a direction and a path
and pausing and allow back up plans and ideal case formulation.
3- Can you do what you want? Know the difference between
your wants and what you are competent at. Understand your
priorities and values and your organization’s priorities and values.
4- Have you define your next and following steps involving
awareness, action and accountability
5- Who can you depend on for good, reliable advice? Who
will tell you the truth without involving their personal interests?
6- What are you willing to re-pay, offer up and return?
7- What do you to learn or gain experience in?
It is useful to consider the words we use. ’Truth’ is most often
not strictly absolute, black and white. Yet there are certain words that
do not trigger the outcomes we desire.
NEED very few things “need” to get done. OFFER, maybe, WHAT
DO YOU THINK ABOUT… or HOW DOES THIS SOUND…
CAN’T you probably can. In reality, there are multiple or opposing
EASY This is a way to describe other people’s jobs
. Notice how
many times that speak about their jobs as easy.
“Cousins” of these words are everyone, no one, always and never.
It is amazing to realize the rapid changes in career
management factors we face. Psychology, economics and
-inference are longer term factors for our careers.
Let me list some specific examples:
ROUTINE TASK AUTOMATION
leveraged loans to automate functions with software and
robotics ) puts middle skilled workers in precarious straits.
[Read: recent graduates with no experience or internships.]
Those who do non-routine work (low-paid, unskilled and
richly paid, highly skilled) are in demand. We see this Job
Polarization in many situations with supporting elements
being stagnating wages and reallocation of roles from
specialization to variety of roles with less specialization.
Thanks to advances in deep learning and AI, computers can
perform not only manual but also cognitive tasks better and
faster than humans. This augers the result that highly trained
specialists are replaced by internet enhanced software, a
specific example is radiologists since much of their work
are “routine cognitive tasks.”
BLACK ELEPHANT SITUATIONS
for alternate energy sources, energy independence and electric
” A black elephant is a cross between a black swan, a low
probability, unanticipated event with enormous ramifications–
and the elephant in the room, a problem that is widely visible to
everyone, yet no one wants to address, even though we
absolutely know that one day we will have vast, black-swan-like
consequences.” Ocean acidification is an example.
Black elephant events can provide a once in a lifetime opportunity
or the end of the line for industries (think chemical photography),
companies, and directions in our careers.
COGNIFYING AND CONTINUOUS LEARNING
Adding AI to various tasks enables us to do more at lower cost and
higher efficiency. Add AI to laundry to tell washing machines to
adjust to the contents of each load as directed by the clothes (sensors).
AI added to chemistry can aid discoverability and optimization by
performing virtual experiments to reduce the number of lab
experiments to reach a goal. Think of the way Netflix and Kindle
come up with customer recommendations.
This is cognifying. All cognition is specialized. In this continuous
learning process we need to work with AI and robots and let
these tools take our routine tasks and help us dream up
new work that matters. There are four classes of jobs:
1. Jobs humans can do, but robots can do even better.
highway driving, tax preparation, routine x-ray analysis,
pre-trial evidence gathering, etc.
2. Jobs humans cannot do, but robots can.
remote locations, hazardous environments, monitoring,
then signalling an alarm. Jobs that would not be done without
robots and sensors.
3. Jobs we did not know we wanted done.
4. Jobs only humans can do– at first.
creativity (on what we should do), new situations, one of a
Our human assignment should be to keep making jobs for
robots and software.
HL and I had an interesting discussion about a job
application for a pharma position. We arranged the
position via email where we asked and sent draft resume,
musts-and-wants and the job description.
It is important to realize that each cover letter, resume
and contact network association needs to be targeted
and properly researched and framed.
What kind of position is being pursued?
What specific skills or experiences will be expected?
What are your specific skills/ experiences that may apply?
Who do you know who might help and provide a reference?
The position seeks BA/BS with some senior research
experience or an MS. The skills sought are LC, MS and
working with bioassay prep and data analysis.
It is a stretch to have a senior undergraduate having
these, but our discussion proved that HL had good
experiences that could be of interest. HL had done
a semester of undergraduate monomer synthesis research
in junior year. Quite interestingly, HL had completed a
semester research abroad where detailed discussion
revealed working with and troubleshooting LC-MS and
data integration systems for study of metal binding to
It is now a challenge to create a document that points
out the specific instruments and work done both abroad
and as a junior. What keywords were used in the job
description? Find a way to articulate HL’s work using
those or comparable terms. Experienced reviewers will
We talked about the big difference in working in a
research lab where things constantly go wrong or need
maintenance and calibration compared with doing an
analytical course lab experiment where everything is
pre-ordained and set up.
Then we spoke about another element– who were HL’s
references? Has HL spoken to them about interest in
the position? Can each one of three provide “good
references? Does the reference know anyone at the
firm? Can HL get to meet or speak with the possible
network referral to learn more about the position, hiring
manager, and company situation?
Does HL have a quality Linkedin page? Let’s look.
What will be critical things to provide realizing the
first use might be for this LC-MS bioassay role?
What keywords, content and organization should the
Linkedin profile have?
What started out as a request for a resume review, morphed
- job description study,
- revising a draft resume highlighting key experiences
- critically thinking through references and the roles they
assume (and, also including a reference list in the PR
- critically thinking that a professional presence is
expected (Linkedin profile and working on that)
- outlining and drafting a cover letter for submission
- seeking out people who could be referrals for the
six other important steps.