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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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07/25/19
Legal Issues. Provisional and Utility patent applications and C-i-p,
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:03 pm

Realizing most scientists and engineers receive little
specific training in grad school or their careers related
to patent applications.  It is instructive to see the next
in the series of contributions  by
Taylor Jennings and Maria Inman.

.
Their summary reveals the significant content:  contains a 
synopsis of the discovery of Lithium - LiMPO4 materials
followed by (1) filing provisional patent applications, (2)
filing of utility patent application, and (3) filing continuation -
in - part patent applications,  
.
The strong article clarifies differences  between the two
kinds of applications and the requirements to maintain 
filing date.  
Provisional Patent application
  -claims NOT required
  -will not be examined and not issued as a patent
  -cannot claim domestic or foreign priority
  -21 year term if nonprovisional is filed in 12 months.
(utility is a nonprovisional patent application)
The Jennings and Inman series of Interface articles is
essential reading.  
comments (0)
05/08/19
Tax Law Change. Relocation and “Gross Up”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:32 am

Al Sklover shared one of the impacts of the 2018 tax law
change that allowed the mega wealthy a tax cut is to tax
as income any relocation reimbursement by employers.

.
The article recommends that new or relocated employees
ask for “grossing up” that is having extra sum of compensation
to pay for the taxes due.
2 comments
04/17/19
Habits. Top four that enhance your self esteem
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:06 am

Many times authors write about and speak about habits that
will help you be successful.  As we come to appreciate,
winning and “success” are fleeting until the next event in a
competitive world.

.
I enjoy much of what David Brooks writes in his NYT
editorials.  One of the latest is about 2 mountains we face
in our lives–

“If the first mountain is about building up the ego and
defining the self, the second is about shedding the ego and
dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition,
the second
 mountain is about contribution.

On the first mountain, personal freedom is celebrated
keeping your options open, absence of restraint. But the
perfectly free life is the unattached and unremembered life.
Freedom is not an ocean you want to swim in;  it it a river
you want to cross so that you can
plant yourself on the other
side.
.
So the person on the second mountain is making
commitments.  
People who have made a commitment to a
town, a person, 
an institution or a cause have cast their lot

and burned the 
bridges behind them. They have made a
promise without 
expecting
a return. They are all in.

.
I can now usually recognize first and second mountain people.

The former have an
ultimate allegiance to self; the latter have
an ultimate allegiance to some
commitment.”
.
Supporting this are habits that build self-confidence and
lead to commitment. [taken from ]
1.  delay celebration and develop a ‘reserve capacity’ to persist
2.  make choices and have the mental agility to have a back-up
if first choice does not work
3.  organize details, set priorities and understand root causes
of shortcomings
4.  be kind even in the face of rudeness, bitterness and
unhappiness

1 comment
04/12/19
Update on Financial Record-keeping
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:13 am

Fidelity Investments highlighted a Kiplinger article suggesting how long to keep hard-copy and/or virtual files of financial records.

See here .
Surprises include:  Keep for 3 years records of spending using withdrawals from health spending and 529 accounts.
                               Keep for 6 years records of self-employed business income and expenses.

       Keep indefinitely records of final tax returns.  (I guess this is where it might be handy to have something like Fidelity Investments, FIDSAFE .) 
                                Keep Home purchase and home improvement documents, taxable account investment documents
1 comment
04/05/19
Professional Profile. 7
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:01 am

Profile:  Technology Specialist, Science and Technology Patent LLC

Style and Responsibilities
Proficient in both experimental and computational exploration of
synthesis and evaluation.  Developed technology assessment 
experience through post-doc and internship.

Personable and highly organized with different cultures.  

Position involves bringing technical skills to bear on business 
strategy and best legal practices for technology concept protection
for biomaterials, formulations, optophotonic electronics, food
and nanomaterials.

Challenges and Stresses
Time is currently a limited resource with long commute, 
management of household with preschool children and 
current housing arrangement.  Am using mentors to figure
out longer term strategies  and encouragement to ask questions
and seek help.

Landing Current position and openness to new opportunities
The search for my current position that I started a month ago
faced several hurdles.  We became new parrents, had my
work papers approved and dealt with several months break in
appointments.  Yet we were successful due to persistence,
preparation and practice.

Just as one might expect, as soon as I started a new position
other opportunities arise.  While the benefits package is quite
satisfactory and meets our needs (eg.  salary exceeds ACS
Salary Comparator benchmark), I will find a way to accept
interview invitations.  I do not do them from my employer’s
locations nor on employer’s time.  I keep all engagements 
confidential and record notes.

Interestingly, since this is a legal position “billable hours”
is a new work constraint that I am learning to include in my
agenda.

Opportunities for Growth
In addition to a highly skilled staff and generous benefits,
the firm offers continuous in-house training, support for
personal growth and patent agent certification and help
in pursuing a legal education.  
1 comment
02/23/19
Professional Profile. 6.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:24 pm
Profile:  Senior Supervisor Immunoassay disease detection.

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities? 
I would say my personal style is pretty easy to work with and always trying to
accommodate others reasonable requests within my ability. My responsibility
I would say it’s really to help others, either it’s the upper management or my
colleagues. 
- Are you challenged?  What stresses you? 
I’m definitely challenged at work, but I welcome that as it gives me a sense
of accomplishment. As with any projects, finding and managing resources can
be pretty stressful, but I think our team are doing pretty well so far.

- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most
enjoyable responsibilities and tasks. 
I currently hold a supervisory role and I enjoy very much working with my team
to meet our targets and present our work together to the cross functional team.

- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions? 
I started as a scientist role in my current company and was approached by my
current boss to work on a special project that expands our companies current
portfolio, which I thought was and still is pretty interesting. As my experience
grows, I always think about the next step, for which I have continuous dialogue
with my current boss.

- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position? 
Not afraid to take on really challenging but low visibility tasks.

- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were
the factors in your decision? 
Yes, long term professional growth was probably the biggest reason I decided
to refuse. The offer I refused was definitely a much better short term offer, but
I think I made the right decision.

- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you? 
Right now, gaining experience in resource and project management is the
biggest learning opportunity for me.

- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network? 
So far, I think not being afraid to ask for help and others advice has helped.

What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or
planning on moving on in the next year? 
Keep an open mind, what you do after graduating may be different than
what you studied for 5+ years. Be prepared for the interview and know your
audience before your presentation, expect questions on anything you put
up on the slides, sometimes it’s the small details that trip people over.

comments (0)
02/11/19
Professional Profile. 5.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am


Profile: Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience


- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?

In terms of overall work, I like to be given a project and work independently, while knowing where to go for help if needed. It’s also very important for me to know where my work fits into the overall mission of the group, and that we all work together towards a common goal- that is usually very motivating for me. I also typically enjoy being given a great deal of responsibility in my work, as I take that as a sign of trust and therefore try to achieve the goals at hand as best I can. I try to utilize these principles in my current job, where I am part of a great team and also feel that I am given enough freedom to learn, explore, and manage projects and assignments. We have plenty of meetings about various aspects of the work, which is very helpful. I enjoy the group interactions as well as the independent work.  


- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?

I’m challenged every day in the sense that I am faced with having to find something, learn a new system or vocabulary- sometimes I am challenged in terms of time constraints, other times because I am working on a task that I’ve never done before. But this also contributes to the value of this experience. I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity to be a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. This is my first exposure to working in a department where there is a blend of biomedical PhDs and those from other backgrounds, and first time working for a scientific society and seeing how that works, while also learning more about policy & advocacy. I enjoy being fully immersed in all the novel experiences in this position, whether they are in the office, or outside going to Hill events (which is a lot of fun!). What stresses me is sometimes the element of surprise or changing circumstances, meetings or tasks, although currently I am fascinated by everything and soaking it all in. In general, I like stability, but in some cases, especially if it’s something I am interested in and wanting to learn more about, I welcome chaos and embrace new things no matter how hectic it is, because I know it’s a tremendous learning opportunity and I feel passionate about it. I suppose a lot of how we approach life comes down to our attitude towards things- if we think that something is exciting and we are grateful for it, we will enjoy it more. I am also stressed sometimes about not knowing what comes next in my career, however from past experience, my plans don’t usually work out but something else works out which typically turns out to be even better than I could have ever imagined. So I’m trying to learn a bit of the art of “going with the flow” and seeing where my interests and passions will lead, and enjoy the process.


- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.

I am the Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. I started in this role on January 2, 2019. I enjoy having variety in my day, therefore the ideal day is a combination of office work and Hill time, which is not very common (although Hill Day in March will be exciting). The idea of interacting with people outside the office during the workday for networking is really important, and I’m trying to also take advantage of living in D.C. and engage in experiences outside of work as well, because there is so much here for me to learn from and I don’t want to miss useful opportunities. In terms of specifics, I enjoy drafting letters and working on excel sheets with information, especially if I know what the goal for them is, and in particular if they are collaborative efforts. It’s exciting to contribute to a collective project in the office, but I also enjoy being out of the office to and getting some practical experience.


- How did you land your current position?  
Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  
How long should we stay in our positions?

I had some prior science policy experience. Once I realized that I wanted to pursue this as a career path, I applied to relevant jobs that fit my background. Out of all the jobs I applied to and interviewed for, this was my favorite, so I am very happy to be in it now. I searched for and applied to jobs for some time, and in the process learned the right level of job to apply for, my application materials improved and my Skype interview skills sharpened with each conversation. This position just happened to be there at the right time, I was very excited about it (which probably showed in the process!) and it was just a really good fit overall. I was happy to learn that, when I got the position, everyone in the office unanimously voted that it should be me. I am reminded of this every day and I am really grateful for how accepting and welcoming they have been towards me since the very beginning. I’m also lucky to be in a really good working environment, which I didn’t always have. I think we should stay in our positions for as long as we are still learning and growing in them, and when it starts becoming boring and not useful, switch. We should not switch if it’s challenging, however, only if there are good reasons to do it. We should always be striving to better ourselves and thus look for that next thing that will allow us to accomplish that. The exception to this is a situation where the environment is really toxic or detrimental to our well-being, in that case we should leave it immediately.


- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?

I had demonstrated prior interest and passion in the area that I was looking to get hired for, and this position was a logical next step for me. I was able to articulate what I had previously learned and done, but also knew exactly why I wanted this position. I was looking for exactly this type of experience as the next step in my career. Although I had some experience with policy, I had never worked in a department like this. I work hard and I think I had demonstrated that in the past, so I came across as someone who was reliable and whom they could count on for pretty much any task at hand, which I imagine is what they were looking for. Finally, I also had the scientific background, and I believe they wanted a PhD graduate for this position, and that serves me well now as I am able to apply that background to this position. At the same time, I am also learning the policy & advocacy side of it, which is what I wanted to learn. Overall this is a win-win situation, and I think that everyone on the team is gaining from it. Plus, it is a really good working environment which is great.


- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  
What were the factors in your decision?

Not an offer. There were other potential interviews on the horizon when I decided to accept this one, and some of those were more long-term and potentially more stable as well. But this was my only offer I had at the time, and I didn’t want to wait any longer before moving in this direction, so I accepted immediately. At the time I was still toying with several options as to where I wanted my career to go, and I applied for jobs in two different directions along the same continuum. In a sense it was maybe a bit of a coin toss in terms of which one would work out first. Interestingly, I interviewed for the other type of job first, and I got pretty far in the process (I got to the in-person interview) but then ended up not getting the job, which I was very disappointed by. In retrospect, I am grateful that happened because it determined my direction towards something else that I instinctively knew was the right thing for me, and my current position was exactly that. I remember saying to a friend after I didn’t get the other job offer that it would be ideal for me to work in policy at a scientific society. I am now doing that, so it couldn’t have worked out any better!


- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?

Right now this position is both a tremendous opportunity and challenge at the same time, and I took the job knowing that it would be both, and I need both. I haven’t entirely figured out where to go from here, but I am learning more every day about what my future interests might be and where I might want to take it, just by being exposed to various experiences. My opportunity right now is to work with people from a different background, and learn how they think about the same issue that I am bringing my scientific expertise to. This is really valuable. The challenge is that I to put myself in situations which are outside of my comfort zone. I purposely seek them out because I know they will be growth opportunities for me. Sometimes this means talking to someone I might be intimidated by, so I force myself to just go up to them and start talking! This job is definitely teaching me how to network, and I find it’s getting easier overtime. I also often seek out projects that I know nothing about but could help with, in order to gain that expertise and grow in a different direction that I might not have explored otherwise.


- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?

Being in DC provides a lot of opportunities to meet people, and I find that most people are happy to have an afternoon coffee and talk about what they do. This is usually very  informative for me, and provides good practice for me in talking about my interests and goals to as many people as possible. The interesting thing is that I almost always get a different response, a new perspective, or a resource I didn’t have before. I attend some events related to work, and others on my own in particular if they are on something I am interested in (for example at the NASEM) but wouldn’t have the opportunity attend in person otherwise. I also try to go to social events related to policy work, where either peers or higher level experts would be present, and seek to meet both types of people. I find that talking with peers is helpful for practicing my pitch before going up to someone who might be more intimidating.


- What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?

I would say that career exploration should be a constant endeavor, and not done only when you are in your last year of your PhD, for example. Don’t wait until the end to try and figure out what you might want to do. Every day is an opportunity to explore something new, and everything you do can change your career trajectory. If you work in the lab, get out and meet people, especially those from different research areas or non-scientific backgrounds, because you will learn a lot. Keep an eye out for opportunities to grow and help others in your community. Never stop learning and growing, and find opportunities that will facilitate both of these things.


comments (0)
11/26/18
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise. 6. Take-overs, Mergers, and Activist Investor Break-ups
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:45 pm

The Chemistry Profession encourages through the
training institutions focusing attention on exclusively
the technical side of the business.  So much of what
we face in the industrial and government realms
involves ECONOMICS.

.
This blog has offered several glimpses via entries on
this different perspective.   I could not help but exclaim
“wow” when CEN covered a story about Bain and
Pfizer forming Cerevel (10-29-18, p. 14).  The same
issue reported Deerfield and UNC organizing a
curious partnership (p. 15).
.
Dow and DuPont dominated CEN 11-19-18) after
their merger and activist investor inspired breakup
of various lower performing divisions.  (pp. 11, 22ff)
.
The latest news is from United Technologies breaking
up into three separate companies.
All these activities remind me of bank buyouts,
ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) and 
rapid turnover of company leadership and philosophy
of the 1980s.  
So, please study and become aware of the
economics 
of the industries 
chemistry leads you into. 
Your success, stability and satisfaction will require it.
comments (0)
10/30/18
Contract Work. Full time, Part time and Contract. Ownership of ideas
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:30 am

Al Sklover provided an interesting observation on the ownership of
ideas produced by employees.

.
As many of us gain employment first as a temporary employee and 
if conditions merit full time status is granted.  It is important to
learn the legal implications of contributions to work output.
.
Sklover points out
1.  work product made during the period of employment and related
to the job, can be claimed as “owned” by employer.
2.  work product, created before the period and used in the period
can also be claimed as “owned” by the employer.
3.  work product you created off the job, not in the work period of
documented hours of work, can be “owned” by the employer.
4.  work product resulting from sharing of your personal expertise
with other employees, can be “owned” by the employer.
.
Employers quite often insist that offer letters and contracts be signed
granting all rights of ownership to the employer.
Sklover has suggested in his entry that there are steps we can take to
protect creative efforts from being consider work for hire.
.
There are assignment and ethical responsibility implications especially
for contract workers.  This is a positive resource worth reading.

comments (0)
09/28/18
OKR Systems. John Doerr
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

OKR Systems described in outline and detail in Doerr’s
book Measure What Matters:  How Google, Bono and the Gates
Foundation Rock the world with OKRs see also videos.

.
Goal setting is not bulletproof:  When there are conflicting
priorities or unclear, meaningless or arbitrarily shifting goals,
people become frustrated, cynical and demotivated.  
.
Goals may cause systematic problems in organizations due to 
narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking,
decreased cooperation, and decreased motivation.  Hard goals
drive real progress more than easy goals.  If they are specific
results observed are on target more than vague ones.
.
For those making the transition from academic experiences
to commercial or mission oriented organizations, Doerr is
a powerful mentor.
comments (0)
09/05/18
Legal Issues. Leahy-Smith Invents Act and and Contract Provisions
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:18 am

 One of the areas technical professionals can use tutorials is in legal
matters.  Al Sklover does this with his outstanding blog and advice
column and ECS Interface has been offering a Patent tutorial by
Maria Inman and Jennings Taylor.  

.
Sklover points out three pertinent items in contract law…
-  Importance of Section Titles- read carefully the title and section
content and confirm they express the same thing
-  Entire Agreement- Sometimes other and previous agreements may
apply.  It is important to seek out the precise wording and specific
wording.
-  Importance of SIGNING AGREEMENTS
.
Taylor and Inman nicely document 
-  First to file in patent law changes
-  Significant detail on “Prior Art” for patents 
-  Nature of Prior disclosures in collaborations influencing patent claims.
comments (0)
07/06/18
Professional Behavior. Understanding Hacking and Cyber Attacks
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:23 pm

.One of the areas that you should keep updated on iswhat is happening in cyber-security when we get spam.

.
Another is cyber attacks especially if you are in a governmental
lab or project or other technically sophisticated project.  
Industrial spies are not commonly mentioned, but are
very real.
.
Malcolm Nance’s book just came to my attention and is worth
sharing  some of his insights.   There is an arms race in the 
cyber world and it uses special techniques like turbosquatters,
watering holes and spear-phishing.
.
More and more, IT departments need to take a defensive
strategy against these kinds of pernicious attacks. 
Historically, photographing or copying pages of reports 
and data was the mode of spying.  With systems going
digital and so much being Internet enabled, it is something
you need to understand how to protect. 
2 comments
06/02/18
Trends in Technical Careers. Intersections with Other Fields
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:43 am

Interesting observations in several fields that touch
on scientific realm are offered in this post.

.
Controlled Environment Agriculture.  Leading to
beneficial nutrition, yield and pharmaceutical 
value.  Tessa Pocock wrote about the photosynthetic
efficiency of different low intensity wavelengths
on plant growth, the McCree Curve.  This is a
possible application for solid state lighting and 
specific crop production.
.
CRISPR Patent Rulings.  Two sources talking
about the continuing saga of patent protection
filings from UC Berkeley and Broad Institute
are teachable moments for technology development.
The Scoop offers that the result could impact
future funding.
The Courthouse and expedited application process
is discussed in detail in a Jacob Sherkow interview.
.
AI in Science.  While the first of two articles 
addresses applications in life sciences, there are
ramifications in all fields.
AI- diagnosis and disease probability
AI- personalized medicine (skin cancer, smoking
      cessation)
AI- drug discovery using unsupervised learning
       algorithms of pattern recognition
AI- predictive analytics in clinical trials to reduce time
       and cost
AI- interpretation of scans using smart algorithms to
       assist
AI- seamless communication of health records
.
The second article by Stephen Boppart argues with
more detail about “optical biopsies” in the near
future as part of AI in diagnosis.
comments (0)
Financial Dealings and Documents. 2. Index Card
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:59 am

Harold Pollack shared a meaningful list that fits on an
Index Card of hints to deal with transitions.  Nine items
are:

.
 - Live within your means, restraining impulses that
can get the best of you where your belongings can
take over.
 - Within one year, spend no more than 14% of 
your resources.
 - Set up accounts to deal with requests and bequests
where you limit budget items.
 - Control debt lines of credit where you avoid
high interest financial burdens.  Determine strategies
to eliminate existing ones.  Help others achieve the
same.
 - Stick to your core expertise.  Consult with a 
professional about personal investments.  Beware 
of IT recommendations without the full picture.
 - Manage investment choices using low fee vehicles, 
shield investments from taxes and other obligations.
 - Interview and choose committed financial adviser,
attorney and insurance provider, so you are proactive,
thoughtful and within the law.
 - Bring in experts to financial decisions.
 - Give generously to reputable causes that meet your
purposes, knowing that you are responsible to 
establish credibility.
.
Many of these suggestions seem fit for approaching
retirement.  Yet, it is not too early to have these in
mind much earlier in your career and have them
carry over as good habits.
1 comment
05/23/18
Mailbag Question. Five considerations about changing jobs
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:35 am
From–CJ’s mailbag from 5-21-18 CEN, p. 27
.
Question/Answer:  Is it better to jump from one company to
another or stick with a company long term?
.
While the question is an appropriate one, his short
answer was not satisfying.  (It was: no one knows!)  
.
Where I come out on this question:  There are five features
that will help you answer the question for yourself.  
1.CULTURE AND GOALS.  
.CJ offers the big company, small organization 
argument saying larger firms desire loyalty. 
My view suggests that you might assess whether you are 
comfortable in the company culture of how things work and 
what your title, responsibility and security-opportunity-
influence triad 
balance is.

2.YOUR BOSS AND MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE AND POLICIES
. Do you like and communicate well with your boss and 
your support staff?  Is there trust and honesty.  Are the policies 
flexibly meeting your needs for the present and the future?  Look 
out for more than the present.
  Can you ask hard questions and 
get honest answers?  

3.YOUR FAMILY SITUATION AND NEAR TERM GOALS
 We work  to satisfy our particular families’ needs, first.
Are hours of work, travel, stress level such that it allows your
personal needs and wants to be met?  outside of work life.
.
4.YOUR LONG TERM HORIZON
  We all must stop being an employee at some point.  Do
you want it to be your choice or business conditions or an
arbitrary “committee beauty contest” selection?  When you 
leave will it be fair and open, on good terms?  Can you
have the benefits your family needs and are they protected?
.
5.YOUR CURRENT POSITION AND ASSIGNMENT AND
  WHERE IT LEADS YOU AND ALLOWS YOU TO LEARN
 Are you challenged and learning important things every day?
Do you feel positive about what  your goals are and look forward
to each day’s challenges?
.
Telling the truth, for myself, and for those for whom I
have mentored, have a mentor team that will help you 
pose questions and look at the big picture for you.
I could not have gotten to where I am now without the
outstanding help of mentors.  Two qualities that I felt
they provided were persistence and outside of the box
thinking.
.
You should always have radar ‘on,’ to learn about your 
field.  You should always have an early warning system
telling you the good and bad (remember: management usually
holds back on delivering bad news and too often uses
rose colored glasses and a ‘bow on top.’)
1 comment
05/12/18
Conversation in the Digital Age. Advice from S. Turkle
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:56 am
We all can relate to how our existences are consumed
by cell phones, computers, wifi and alexa.  AI is not
far behind where we relate more and more with robots
and devices for many needs, wants and desires.
.
Nonetheless, the art and reality of being good at conversing
with others makes human relationships hum.
.
Sherry Turkle wrote of an interviewing technique in her
book Reclaiming Conversation:  The Power of Talk in the 
Digital Age
.
“Employers have come to appreciate the vulnerability of
the new generations.  Some businesses explicitly screen
for an ability to converse.”  A  big pharma exec told of a
conversation with an applicant.  Then, at the end ‘I tell the
potential recruit that their homework is to organize what we
have discussed and from that make an agenda of interesting
themes for our next conversation.’
This approach emphasizes the importance of listening skills,
getting a clear understanding of each person’s ideas and
purpose and being able to synthesize a cogent argument.
.
This is not to say that the advantages digital technologies
are not used and important.  It emphasizes the “and” in
conversation and digital technologies, in addition to knowing
when and how and when not.
.
The author states some well demonstrated doctrines like
practice with conversation and digital technologies is key–
use it or lose it…
.
She adds in texting, punctuation is everything (it is easily
misinterpreted.) 
I liked where she relates the motivation for using digital
technologies (the Goldilocks effect) and what it does in
professional settings.
.
This easily readable book is a recommended read for 
technical professionals who want to get ahead and seek
some good advice.

1 comment
05/01/18
‘Go’ File. Advice from A. Sklover
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:00 am

Did you sign a non-compete agreement with your current employer?

Did you keep your employment offer letter that promised certain
benefits?
.
What are your retirement benefits from your first employer–
did you maintain your employee handbook?  [if the company 
still exists and functions…]
.
These are valuable insights that Al Sklover poses in formulating
a defensive “go” file in case you need details of your
contractual agreements.
.
It is worth your time to read Sklover’s Working Wisdom and
take his prudent advice.
comments (0)
04/23/18
Peer Review Basis in Science. Should we have a questioning attitude
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:19 pm

Recently, Listened to a podcast that got me to thinking
about peer review in Chemistry.  Many of the people
I meet are so concerned about being an author of a set
number of publications as a basis for completing their
degree and for being considered a candidate for
subsequent positions.

Then, in mid career motivations can include:
make money, get promotions, grants and recognition;
get things right, publish or perish, demonstrate expertise 
and accomplishment.  [In the commercial world, publications
represent modest benchmarking for achieving goals.]
 
Steve Patterson interviewed Brian Earp  in a free flowing 
discussion that brings up the motivations for publishing
in scientific journals, replication, hypothesis testing
and peer review.

It is instructive perhaps to get an idea what happens
when an article is submitted for publication.  ACS and
Royal Society have tutorials on what is involved web
sites describing the process. … assuming it works properly.

The professional scientific process depends on this.  Just
like general publication conclusions errors can happen and
negative results are most often not presented.
Science is a slow process that involves error corrections,
application and refinement.  Perfect peer review will not
happen.  Earp opines that crowd sourced peer review of
pre-print articles might be an improvement over the
current situation.
.
See also.  
3 comments
04/18/18
Chemical Enterprise Business Models. Considerations for Jobs
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:14 pm

Rarely, if ever, do Chemistry graduates ever receive formal
or informal introductions in chemical enterprise business models.

.
We think it is of critical importance as it shows is how individuals
and corporations learn and how its core values.(business purpose,
core culture, operational processes and policies) are demonstrated.
.
So many of the BS, MS and PhD / post-grads do not find a 
match to what they believe are their skills and interests.  They
might initially desire to emulate their advisers, but opportunities 
are often limited.  So, they look for start-ups and entrepreneurial 
opportunities.
.
Mike Kubzansky of Brookings provides a comprehensive view of
business models.  Heintz et al show how business models can be 
different in different cultures.  This is an important consideration
for it affects decision making from many angles.
Deloitte has predicted that chemical enterprises will benefit from
digitalization but as a whole are slow to incorporate them.  This 
is an area to embrace or at least consider when assessing the job
market.
.
Sangeet Choudary pictures families of business models.
-  flow from raw materials to finished products with customer
service to offer value to customers
-  exchange driven platform where groups of consumers and
producers aim to maximize value 
.
So two examples to make things concrete for readers.  Think
about the way we consume news.  Newspapers in the 20th 
century were from larger news organizations, printed at
central locations, hand delivered  and read cover to cover.
Mass distribution of video and radio complemented printed
media.  Now, we consume news mostly online via internet
and cable 24-7 and there is so much that news is continually
updated and corrected.  Because of this nature and the various
media formats and sources how businesses make a profit has
moved from coupons and ads to clicks and eye balls.
.
Photography is a second model that reveals the revolutions
from print format to virtual world which can be re-constituted.
Then there are many other factors like portable power, 
miniaturization and software versions and security.

comments (0)
04/07/18
Letter Writing and Thank you notes.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:23 pm

After collaborating on a workshop I suggested to my
colleague that both of us contact the sponsor of
ours who recommended both of us for the role.

.
Within a day of the workshop I thanked AH for
suggesting me for a very positive experience in
the program.  Included in the letter were brief positive
details and a sense that I look forward to working
together in the future.
.
Two things of significance, one reinforces the importance
and the other the timing of writing the thank you letter 
at this time.  
.
IMPORTANCE OF IN PERSON COMMUNICATION
Sherry Turkle’s book: Reclaiming Conversations.
In our present time, digital technology, through FB, 
Tinder,  MOOCs, texting, email tyranny and shallow
online activisim is argued to lose certain human strengths
Turkle says we have adopted new technologies to gain
control, only to feel controlled by them.
.
LETTER WRITING MONTH:  APRIL 2018
Letter writing is a lost art and there are commercial
interests advocating the positive aspects of making
an effort to relate personally to another individual.
.
This is just the opposite of getting fired by text
message and everyone at a dinner table texting
someone else….
.
Interestingly, two people attending the workshop
contacted me afterwards and thanked me for helping
them find a position starting on their career path.
Those notes made all the difference!
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