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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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06/03/19
Hot buttons. 1. Motivation underpinnings Financialization and Laws
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 am

This entry starts a new dialogue called “hot buttons.”

This first button is “Motivation”.  I found it curious what
Ladders” articulated on this topic, that for:
  newbies (1-2 years) -  “new skills or new knowledge and self
pride in accomplishing a task”
  individual contributors (3-7 yrs) - “frequent communication
with higher ups” and value 
in work life balance [whatever that
evolving concept means]
  mid-career (8-15 yrs) - “contribute to their organization’s
overall mission, goals”
  sages (>16 yrs) - being able to and in a position to ‘get
things done.’
.
It seems that business schools have influenced “motivation” as
Kellogg’s School program attests.  Their program offers finding
two or three personal drivers from five — 1- accomplishing meaningful
goals, 2-being part of a collaboration, 3-gaining status, 4-directing and 
controlling your activities, and 5-being part of a larger effort.
.
This blog recognizes these academic elements.  There are
two subsurface realities in our capitalistic system that need
to be realized. 
Reality 1 money-profit- and advantage dominates the economy
of the chemical enterprise.  It is a big business.
[Think of bankruptcies, mergers, patent infringements, and
technology generations.]
Reality 2legal contracts and laws of commerce in different
societies projects a ‘larger than life’ influence on results that
happen.  [Mores in societies evolves over time…think of race
and gender equity.]
Few of my mentors shared this with me early in my career.


 
comments (0)
05/26/19
Gig Economy. Scientific Writing Editing Review
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:12 am

Say, you have strong technical writing skills in English.
Say, you have time (more than 4 hours a day) and credentials
that clearly show proven skills in improving technical
communications.

.
Well, there is a need, that some societies promote, is available
It is an interesting avocation for some, but I am not advocating
it.  As I contacted an excellent technical writer to seek her 
“take” on this proposal.  As an article by Joanne Chen observes,
while many people look at on-site reviews for determining
a purchase decision, objective assessment from a trusted 
colleague will do better for you.
.
I shared Enago’s offering with Lisa Balbes and bring up several
of her noteworthy comments.  The remuneration is sub-standard, 
sometimes it is not equitable and not timely, the feedback on
performance can seem arbitrary, without recourse..  Other,
online reviews also point out caution.
.
She wisely points out that payment in advance and individual
contracts with stated expectations can avoid many troubles.
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
04/14/19
Artificial Intelligence. Best Jobs and Predictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:36 am

Readers of this blog might look at recent reports for: 

   looking for best jobs
.
  companies are predicting when employees will quit
IBM Watson and GM have a “predictive attrition program” which
assesses employee flight risk and offers proactive steps to retain
those employees.
Career path assessments and key employee skill area predictions
are also AI targets..
Ginni Rometty predicts AI will change 100 % of jobs in the future.
.
Suggestion:  While it is nice to track trends, finding what
is likely to happen in the future and how to prepare for it
is better for our futures.
  
comments (0)
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
03/27/19
International Travel. New requirements
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:36 am

Are you planning international travel in the future?

.
I know when I was in grad school, the situation came 
up that had me travel to several European countries.
Emergencies happened and we had to cut it short.
.
An article, Think you only need a passport? 
WSJ  3-27-2019 by Scott McCartney
should be read, as it includes great trips:
 - make sure your passport is valid for at least another
6 months from the end of your travel
 - carry extra passport photos with white background.
[remember AAA offers photos– free for some members]
 - carry at least $50 cash for on-the-spot visa fees
 - register with the state department’s Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program STEP for contact with updates
 - carry a copy of passports, itinerary, birth certificates,
medical prescriptions, credit cards  in case of loss.
 - plan a contact near home who knows where you are
and can help in an emergency 

comments (0)
12/23/18
End of Year Career Management. 2018
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:31 pm
Thank you for reading the NESACS Blog for Career Management
and Development.  I appreciate your interest and following.  This
blog provides independent concerns, information on career paths,
directions on professional behaviors and job search trends and
recommendations.
.
This year we outline major subject areas covered:
         Professional Behaviors
         Job Search and Resumes
         Economics and Financial Entries
 Trends
.
Professional Behavior
Ghosting, Cat-fishing and BUMMER
Hacking, Cyberattacks
Chronotypes
Decision Making
Spam Messages
Absenteeism and Illness
Timing
Job Searching and Resumes, Profiles, Letters
Digital Formats
Good Companies List
Contract Work
Changing Jobs
Conversations in Digital Age
Letters, Thank yous
Digital Profile
Search Fundamentals
Mid-Career 
Economics and Financials
Takeovers and Mergers
Harari and Future AI
Business Dominance, Meacham
Finances, Index Card
Finances, Credit Score
Business Models
Trends
Viruses
Patents
Perovskites, Statistics, DNA
MCCree, AI
Go File
Peer Review
Safety with automation and AI
1 comment
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
06/30/18
Economics of the chemical enterprise. 5. Moat Nation of Steven Brill
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:08 am

Steven Brill outlines the changes that have occurred
triggering the financialization of the chemical enterprise
that we have highlighted through the work of Rana Faroohar 

.
Brill points out that business today has taken on a new meritocracy
with a “get rich quick” philosophy that works through cut-throat
tactics  and the flooding of political influence money that no 
longer prioritizes the common good, but “win at any cost” for
the privileged few.
.
The resulting model finds successful businesses protected by
“moats” that shield off predators.  Moats he describes as good
product lines, great reputations, predominant market share and 
sterling management who hire the best of the best teams that
savvy investors will seek out. 
.
More and more we see AI and robotics impinge on human
roles.  So in addition to seeking cognifying roles in our careers, 
consider what John Meacham has urged
  - do practical work in the political sphere employing your highest
principles
   - respect and insist on true facts and deploy reason (avoid 
dictators who lie frequently assuming that repetition will lead to
concurrence)
   - keep history in mind.
.
Just doing chemistry is not enough for professionals.


1 comment
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
05/09/18
Watch-Outs. 108. Working in Consulting, Important new areas
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:20 am

Three things have come to my attention.  One was a recent
graduate’s interest in a consulting firm position.  So we
have been in discussion about how she might prepare for
developing her cover letter, resume and other documents.

.
A second item relates to an important technical area that 
Bill Gates has indicated demands more attention– preparing
for pandemics.
 . 
Finally, an interesting letter to the editor in CEN by 
Professor Adam Heller talks about mitigation work
needed to deal with the growing global warming threat
we all face.  I note this because Adam has always been
at the forefront of where technology needs are…lithium
batteries, lasers, biomedical devices and more.
.
CONSULTING
The initial volley involved getting information on the company,
seeing the job description and related information from
insiders and Glassdoor.com.  As is found from many of
this class of employers, the job description offers generic
“musts.”…
  - desire blending information technology and management
consulting
  - recently graduated from top institution with credentials
  - skilled and experience with using software and developing
learning tools in C++, Java, C# and other platforms
  - demonstrates outstanding communication skills in all phases
.
So this provides some hints about important things to include
in application documents.  But we do need to go further.  Using
Linkedin, and the firm’s website we can learn more about 
the kinds of project areas and notable citations.  One citation
came up about a highly touted recent book on consulting that
the CEO wrote.  Probably would be good to pick up.
.
Then, consider making use of your network to glean other
useful information and tactics to allow you to stand out, like.
the name of the recruiter to send things to.
.
PREPARE FOR NEXT PANDEMIC
In a recent ScienceAlert post Bill Gates talked about an
area of high need.  Gates told of a simulated disease
spread model of a flu borne pathogen.  It would create
devastating consequences that we are not prepared for.
.
Strategies and organizations need to be formed to
identify the mode and source and rapidly develop
mobile operations to isolate, treat and inoculate larger
populations.  This is long range thinking well beyond
the fiscal and election cycles that should be of interest
to technical professionals interested in being part of 
something larger than themselves and making a difference.
.
GEOENGINEERING
In a Letter to the Editor of C&EN on April 30, 
A. Heller wrote of the high need to report in their
pages the critical need for scientific research to 
develop and test strategies to global warming
catastrophes the earth faces.
.
Where C&EN fills its pages with alternate energy
and conservation, these are “tip of the iceberg”
solutions.  Trends point to global wealth and the resulting
use of resources without sustainable management as
the dominating input for continued earth warming 
in addition to a series of unintended consequences of
loss of ice caps, changing climate patterns and severe
natural events in tropical areas.
.
Work on Geochemical approaches is needed and 
has to be reported in C&EN and to the wider 
community, like the I
nstitute for Advanced Sustainability
Studies.
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)
04/27/18
Financial Dealings and Documents.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:08 pm

While surfing to learn about a former employer and
possible future changes in its pension arrangement,
I came upon a practical wbesite that I wish to share
with you on financial matters.

.
A nice overview is offered in the overview page of 
BFG.  Interesting discussions are provided on:
.
  Credit Scores
  Critical document you should have and their purposes
  Estate Strategies you should consider
1 comment
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)