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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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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.
comments (0)
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!
comments (0)
03/27/18
Legal Issues. Promises and Reading Contracts
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

Please note:  Sklover’s Working Wisdom remains a leading
resource for us that I highly recommend.  Recent notes of
importance are highlighted in this entry.

.
PROMISES:  KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK
In a clearly written post, A. Sklover indicates two specific 
questions you should ask when offered a bonus, promotion
or something of value–(1) ‘when’ and (2) ‘what conditions
need to be met’.
.
Specific date or time frame is the only acceptable response.
.
Conditions that must be met should be under your control
and influence.
.
If this promise is part of a job offer, it needs to be inserted into
the offer letter.  If the promise occurs at another time, like
a transfer or termination, for example, clear email statement
with a return email confirmation of the negotiation request
is important to document.
.
LEGAL TERMS IN CONTRACTS
One item I have a basic understanding for, but have the
experience that when I asked too many questions, it raised
a red flag with the organization.  Do not waver, reach an 
understanding.
Incorporated by Reference“–  [flashing red light:  stop and 
check]
This formally includes more than one agreement between 
parties which may limit or remove protections for you.  It
is a flag to review each agreement and note the wording,
asking for clarity for your circumstance.
.
A second contract term is a new phrase.
Ambiguity Clause“– [yellow light :  caution]
Review every provision and understand this phrase mitigates 
any reward or limits outcomes for you.  Al Sklover points
out this can increase risks to you.

comments (0)
03/02/18
Emily Post: Digital Profile and Networking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 am

While Pier Forni leads the way, I believe, in helping us
see civil behavior in organizations and different
situations, the updated Emily Post book adds some
useful suggestions for what your digital profile includes
and pointing out problem areas.

.
Post indicates what each professional should consider
as components of their digital profile.  Update each 
regularly and keep them consistent..

*      complete and update Linkedin profile, with
appropriate recommendations
*      have a well maintained blog and website
*      have links to published content in your name
*      list membership on boards, charitable/ educational
groups and organizations
*      include awards and achievements
*      cite positive press 
.
Just having a solid digital profile is not enough.  Be 
aware of potential trouble areas, like:
*      privacy protections on Facebook
*      uncensored, overly personal
or controversial history
*      less than flattering photos tagged to your name
*      old media that does not reflect who you are now
*      unflattering press
Search your name and some name alternatives

Social Networking Tips
1.  Online privacy is an illusion.  Just about everything has
a digital fingerprint.
2.  Think twice about offering negative criticism online. 
Can be easily misinterpreted, especially in the absence
of facial expression, tone of voice
or nonverbal cues…
3.  Opinions will be formed on everything you post and
much can be taken out of context.
4.  You bear responsibility for online image

comments (0)
02/07/18
Audience Analysis. Five situations using DeBono Thinking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:13 am

One of the skills not often addressed in our formal education
is audience analysis.  It is one of the wise skills that we need
to develop in our career.

.
Fast Company has offered an interesting tactic to deal with
different audiences that uses deBono’s six hats concept.
.
Dealing with problem solvers:      Black hat thinking
Here are the major problems, brainstorm possible causes and
their solutions.
Eliminate weak points;  develop back up plans.
.
Dealing with data analyzers who seek trends:  White hat thinking
This is what we know [charts and statistics], all the hard
numbers and outcomes.  What can we learn from them? 
What is missing or how can we fill in detail? 
What are situational or critical trends?
.
Dealing with people integraters who seek collective good 
feelings.                                           Red hat thinking
Appeal to shared goal and appeal to team spirit and coordinating
efforts.  Each one is important.  Give everyone attention and
celebrate together.
.
Dealing with innovators and new approach, different angle
people                                              Green hat thinking
This is an opportunity to be open minded and go outside 
routine or casual solutions to problem or possibilities.  Pursue
creative ideas with little or no criticism/ rejection.
.
Dealing with optimists                    Yellow hat thinking
This is a group to whom you present benefits and future
positive outcomes and implications.  Don’t give up now,
hard work and persistence will pay off.  Realize and 
restate your strengths and the pay-offs will soon be realized.

comments (0)
02/03/18
Robotics, Automation and Personal Protection.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:14 am

When do you start advising workers, employees, staff
and visitors about safety?

.
Are you looking out for your own safety and the safety
of others in your environment– present intentionally or
unintentionally?
.
SLAS presents an important topic for discussion, as it
should, being a leader in the field.  Safety takes on a larger
dimension when robotics and automation is involved.
Going one step further, safety when dealing with infectious
diseases and disease investigations…
Going even further, safety for military and police in challenging
zones of chemical or biological warfare.
.
Scientists need to be aware and take a leadership role in
personal protection of all kinds.  See
.
ONET Roles Responsibilities - [job opportunities, training]
.
EHS Overview [Policy and Poster ideas]
Henry’s Suggestions
.
Safety equipment
.
NIOSH that point to:
  • monitor trends in injuries associated with robotics technologies;
  • evaluate robotics technologies as sources of, and interventions for, workplace injuries and illnesses;
  • establish risk profiles of robotic workplaces;
  • identify research needs and conduct studies to improve the safety, health, and well-being of humans working with robots and robotic technologies;
  • support the development and adoption of consensus safety standards; and
  • develop and communicate best practices, guidance and training for safe interactions between human workers and robots/robotics technology
See also.  
comments (0)
12/26/17
Learning Math and Science
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:01 pm

Recently perused another insightful book by Barbara Oakley,
called “A MIND FOR NUMBERS:  HOW TO EXCEL AT MATH AND
SCIENCE”, Tarcher Penguin, NY  2014.

I enjoyed reading new ways to learn things, especially related to
our fields of math and science.  I like to compare other people’s
thought processes.  Barbara Oakley has given much thought
to this process :
.
 - Take pauses and breaks in my learning [so my brain makes
connections]
 - There is a concentrated and a diffuse mode [nice!  I can relate
to that.  Especially the thinking process while running or
driving to a place where I have been before…]
 - my working memory is now shorter, it seems.  It is about
4 items.  But what I can do is repeat the focused learning steps
and each time the process seems to be easier.
 - Chunking:  a key learning tool–.  Get to the key things you
want to learn and “chunk it” using the focused, concentrated
mode of thinking.  Chunks are built on focused attention,
understanding the basic ideas, and gaining the big picture.
 - Habits are based on 4 steps, adding one to Duhigg’s model:
Cue –  routine — reward — the Belief 
 - Memory tricks include:  combining things in different ways;
        use metaphors of natural, common, and usual things;
        repeat what you wish to recall;
        use stories and little memory sayings and songs.
        writing things down and say things out loud. 
 - it is more important how you think, than what you know.
comments (0)
12/04/17
Mindshift. Seven Take Home messages for continued career growth
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:30 pm

Barbara Oakley, part of the team delivering ‘highly attended’
MOOCs, authored  a topical book “Mindshift:  Breakthrough
Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential”
that can open up your thinking.

.
It left me with at least seven take home messages shared below.
1.   Learning via the Pomodoro Technique
      turn off distracting devices and sources
      focus on work for 25 minutes
      take a few minute break to rest your mind;  repeat…
2.   Cultures cling to legacies;  change is fought off.  New ideas
      form and flow with two classes:  young, unexposed people
      and people who change fields.
3.   ”Second skilling” permits you to adapt to the changing career
      environment.  Two tactics:  look to increasing and decreasing
      hiring trends;  overall picture of skill distribution and where
      are budgets decreasing and lowering of skills 
4.   ”Chunk” your learning practicing more on the areas you find
      more difficult
5.   Opportunity results from skill and luck.  Luck surfaces from
      a combination of (1) seeing problems as opportunities, (2)
      constantly upgrade and learn new skills, (3) assertively 
      be proactive.
6.   People have different learning styles.  Learn yours.  One is
      focused, another is diffuse.  You should use both, but 
      understand what works best for you.
7.   Value of selective ignorance.  You have only so much ‘cognitive
      energy’.  Be selective in what you choose.
.
This book is highly recommended for undecided people and
professionals in-transition.  [The review cited above provides
a thoughtful assessment.]

comments (0)
10/31/17
Financial Considerations in your first Work Decade
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:00 pm

You learn and train in a wide range of technical skills,
develop writing ability creating public relations documents,
perfect public speaking and presentations in universities.

.
Do you get an introduction into solid financial practices
and decisions when you start your career?  From a number
of recent interactions I sense most don’t have those 
conversations or know people they can feel comfortable 
to ask.
.
Some situations, for example:
- start at a position and get reduced in staff in less than
a year;  Immediate actions
- decisions at sign-up starting a position at the new 
company-  stock options
- accepting an offer and relocation benefits
- financial planning questions and answers
.
Columbia University offers ten items worth bringing 
to mind.  The last hits home — money is not an end in
itself, it is a means to create personal satisfaction and
value.  Leading among the ten items are:
1.  figure out your required and optional expenses
2.  include creating an emergency fund, insuring yourself
and life essential properties
3.  manage your loans, payments, and credit record.
The time value of money can be estimated by the
rule 
of 72
“.
.
The financial world is changing constantly.  The recommendations
and rules of the past in general may not be applicable.  
Think 401Ks, IRAs, pension plans, how you use tax returns
and estimated tax payments.  
.
Create a “financial notebook” for yourself as a continuing learning
tool.  Learn from your mistakes.
.
Seek financial counselors or mentors you can go to.
.
If you work for the federal government, student loans can be 
forgiven.
.
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
decision-making.
.
Suze Orman offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
3 comments
09/28/17
Negotiations. 8. Relocation Benefits
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

I received a request from PP after he received a long
sought after job offer.  He accepted the offer which he
pointed out included a $2000 relocation reimbursement.

.
“…Since this is my first industry based job, best
professional practices to follow as a new employee.  
One item is the company has not followed up on its $2K 
relocation allowance, which they offered during phone and 
on-site interviews.

Other things not mentioned in the hard offer was processing
my O-1 work visa.

I am expected to relocate in early November.  Please let me
know what you think about my relocation allowance?” 

1. HOW TO ACCEPT AN OFFER
It is critical to understand your critical first step in accepting 
a job offer.  Besides signing the appropriate document, you
should devise an acceptance letter that re-affirms key elements
of the offer letter agreement and items that were discussed in
all the interviews and information exchanges.  This should be
sent either at the same time as the acceptance documents or 
soon after.

Included in the letter is a request to know a direct contact person
to whom you can consult with issues, questions and concerns.
You should be able to contact them at any time and feel 
welcomed. 

You should ask for a company annual report and employee
handbook.

ADDRESSING ISSUES
Clearly, this acceptance letter would specifically address 
relocation and working visa processing.

2. RELOCATION INFORMATION
The Balance blog lists things that can be included, and
should be confirmed orally and confirmed in writing:
  - househunting, including transportation, hotel and meals
  - costs of selling and purchasing, including closing costs,
commissions, legal and recordkeeping expenses
  - Position searching help for spouse
  - travel expenses and temporary housing for the move
  - Temporary housing in cases where the home is not
readily available
  - moving company expenses and logistics for packing
loading, unloading and unpacking, as well as insurances

Please realize that the details of the relocation policy
need to be confirmed 
and in writing.  Also it is critical to
confirm the specifics of what  forms, receipts and
timing of submission / reimbursement in advance.

I recommended that PP should not be hindered from
asking for information and suggestions at any time.

A more comprehensive relocation benefit discussion
is provided by Money-zine

Not to be lost in this discussion is the tax breaks you are
entitled to for job change as long as it involves a move
of employer greater than 600 miles.  Please note that if
the job search occurs over a significant period of time
with various expenses they can all be claimed, but you
are responsible for keeping receipts (credit card
documents may be enough, if accompanied by expense
detail.).

3. VISA DISCUSSIONS
You should not shy away from pursuing a firm understanding
of responsible people, timelines and your role in employment
papers.  This has been a topic in this blog.  We know the
visa situation has changed and will change again so it is
critical to be well informed and have a back up plan.

comments (0)
09/27/17
Consulting Roles. Things to take away from a dated publication on Consulting
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:07 pm

Visiting an experienced technical professional, I asked
how he would help people who are thinking of a consulting
career..  He gave me a text by William Cohen, “How to
Make it big as a Consultant.
”  Then we discussed some things.

The Cohen book was more than 30 years old and did not
include any Internet related nor association-network approaches.
.
In Cohen are listed direct methods for contacting customers–
1- direct mail
2- cold calls
3- direct response ads
4- directories and yellow pages
5- former employees and directors.
.
So he does not get into push pull marketing so much in the 
Internet age.  It all seems to be “push” marketing.  It is
confirmed by the “indirect methods”…
a- speaking to groups
b- newsletters
c- professional associations
d- articles and books
e- letters to editors
f- teach a course and lead a seminar
g- public releases and broadcast releases.
.
These are all still applicable, but likely not relevant!
.
Clearly having a proactive web page, linkedin page and
pull marketing strategy is not known in 1985 when the
book was written.  There are several other approaches .
.
It is not an easy task and one that evolves rapidly.
.
Now there is something in addition to learn from this
exercise….check the publication date of the book, and,
see if there is a more recent edition.  There is in this
particular case.
 
1 comment
09/12/17
Financial Questions. Start-up Stock Options Offer
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:21 pm

This note points out that when you end your academic career,
your continuous learning process really ‘begins.’  And guess
what, there are no texts for this learning and no absolute, correct
answers.

.
What we learn is that mentors can help you ask the best questions
and it seems each individual’s situation and priorities are different.
.
My colleague AJ asked:

“I also wanted to seek your opinion on employee stock options.
As a part  of the offer, the company extended an option to
purchase 2500 shares of stock…the company  is not public.
….attached is a document here for reference.
Before signing, I just thought of having a word with you.”

.
Each situation is different, but the specific wording and specific
details of the offer are very important.

My experience is that I trusted the public relations of a firm
I worked for and purchased many shares of stock with the
promise of growth and profits.  In the end, I lost a great deal
of investment dollars that I could have avoided if I studied
the investor literature and consulted wise counselors.

.
AJ advised me that he is contributing 8% of his salary in the
company 401K and has some short term expenses.  He will
check into the latest date when he must decide.  My advice to
him:
I totally understand your quandary.  I would have a similar problem
with this question, so I refer to Al Sklover Link is where I would start.  

[He describes critical questions AJ should ask before signing any 
documents.] 

Then, the next article is quite significant: in that it describes “traps” we
can find ourselves in when working at a start up.
It may be worth speaking with Al directly:
.
This could be a sizable dollar commitment for you, AJ.  Al is
very professional and knowledgeable.  $100 spent on solid legal 
advice can result in much more savings in a speculative situation.
 
comments (0)
08/12/17
Self Assessment Reflection.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:41 am

Yesterday’s first year graduate student seminar involved
a pre-class homework assignment.  

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/types2.asp 
Since the group was large, eleven of the 16 preference
types were represented.  That meant that there were a
variety of learning styles in the seminar.  
.
The larger group size meant that we could not go into
detail into each individual preference class.  
.
We did reveal how preferences can influence us in both
subtle and explicit ways by asking each individual their
name and whether they were left or right handed and
whether they liked cats or dogs.  These are preferences
that are genetic and influenced by our early life 
experiences… much the same as MBTI.
.
To maximize the experience we had each person
sit with their own similar preference groups and
complete and compare a Values and a Behaviors
instruments to go after an emotional understanding
They learned that despite similar MBTI profiles their
values and behaviors revealed different trends and
these are also important to learn in working in teams.
.
The second half of the seminar involved two
exercises– one involved discussing projects which
troubled several since they had to come up with their
own project and a physical constructing project where
they had to describe their result.
-In the first, one outstanding group had an individual
take leadership and point out how each person, by 
name,  would contribute to the expected outcome.
.
-In the second we had a group presenter relate a 
story to describe their constructed model  she asked
for a volunteer to participate in a short role play and
provided a reward for the participant.
.
In short, they learned about themselves, about 
working together in teams and how to interact
with others and develop a baseline for continuing
learning about themselves– this session was not
over at the end, but a beginning.
3 comments
08/04/17
Legal Issues. Contracts, Taxes and Beneficiaries
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 5:43 am

You should start early in paying attention to legal issues. 
Online resources can provide some questions for you to ask.

They can also alert you to steps that you should take at
various points in your life span.
.
PENALTIES RESULTING FROM RETIREE ACTION
SOURCE:  Fidelity Investment (highlighting Kiplinger report)
Social Security benefits reduction and earnings test 
RMD Required minimum distribution from IRAs after 70 1/2
Medicare sign-up regulations and penalties
Estate taxes (consider forming a revocable trust document)
.
BENEFICIARY LISTS
SOURCE: Fidelity Investments 2
A no cost estate planning step you should regularly update
is your savings, investment accounts and property ownership
beneficiaries.  It is too easy to make assumptions and assume
your wishes will be followed.  Specific forms should be
regularly updated while you are in good health and mental
fitness. 
.
If this reminder gets you to look at your beneficiaries, it 
is worth posting.
.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
SOURCE:  Fidelity Investments 3
Work with an attorney to formulate these directives as laws
and interpretations of wording can be specific and different.
.
I have spoken with each of our adult children about this
step that almost no one wants to think about until it is too 
late.
.
AGREEMENTS.  THE IMPORTANCE OF “ROAD SIGNS”
SOURCE:  Sklover Working Wisdom
Another amazingly important entry talks about unsavory
things that can happen when documents are not properly
formulated.  This means page numbering, dating, headings
and information ‘to be filled in later.’
.
This topic of reading contracts is not a common topic, as
we often do not bother reading the details of formalities.
It is very important in employment, loan, severance, 
noncompete and many other documents.  So, it is worth
each of you to have a knowledgeable and interested third
party look at your documents with your interests in mind.
(Remember, they are constructed to serve the interest of
the other party.) 
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