The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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05/01/17
Business and Economics. Follow up to Sparteine articles
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:50 am

The C&EN article on (+) and (-) sparteine,  which had an
origin in “In the Pipeline,” talks about shortages of specific
chemicals.  Interestingly, this unresolved shortage is a
business of chemistry concern and something, as the C&EN
article portrays, that can be of interest to many scientists for
different reasons.  

.
It is an inventory and supply chain concern and thus there is 
an overlap with Economics that is the focus here.  Economics
characterizes how a business is run, whereas proverbial
‘business’ characterizes how to run a business.  In a discussion
in Yahoo, Economics uses algorithms to maximize profits,
determining the quantity of a commodity that should be made
and its cost to consumers.

.
While the end users focus on delivery and quality, there is
more to the economics side in terms of storage lifetime,
competing product lines for the same equipment, regulatory
and legal (patent) requirements and LCA. [lifecycle analysis]

 

1 comment
03/10/17
Visas. EB-1, EB-2, TN
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:15 am

Two recent communications provided thoughts for this
post on the complex visa issues facing international
technical professionals.

.
CASE.  EB-1, EB-2
One was from Southeast Asia who earned a Ph.D. and worked
as an industrial post-doc before accepting a permanent position.  
She learned that her firm was closing its doors and landed a
technical position at a leading international firm.
.
It was a positive experience for more than a year as her
direct manager and senior technical professional mentored
her through the politics of the product development group.
Unfortunately he is no longer there.
.
She finds that the work is challenging and a positive experience.
However, there are “people challenges” that are hard to work
through.  How long should she stay and what goals should she
set?
.
Pressure seems to be building up with the challenges.  We talked
about retaining benefits (401k, bonuses, promotions in title) 
seeking her working visa, and long term ambitions if things turn
out perfectly.
.
She pointed out that if she knew what she knows now, she
would pursue an employment attorney.  This attorney offers a 
free assessment of her case and guarantees if she self applies
for an EB-1 or EB-2, there is a money back guarantee.
.
CASE.  Canadian Visas
A second conversation was with a Canadian professional
working in the US as a post-doc.
Canadians are allowed to visit the US for up to six months 
(
182 days) per calendar year. Nationals of other countries
are allowed only 
90 days. You can accumulate those
days by one long trip, or an aggregation of several short ones.
.
The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TNvisa allows
citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals,
to work in the United States in prearranged business
activities for U.S. or foreign employers. Permanent residents
of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for 
TN visas 
to work as NAFTA professionals.

.
$50 for the filing fee and $6 for I-94 fee. Pay at the border
at the time of applying for the TN Visa. Total Cost by Mail
 = 
$325 for Form I-129. See the USCIS website for the
latest fee amount.

.
Current U.S. laws and regulations say that Mexican and
Canadian citizens can stay in the U.S. in TN status for periods
up to 
three years. Even better, TN workers are supposed to
be able to extend their stays indefinitely, in three-year
increments, so long as they satisfy the requirements under
the TN program.

.

As a Canadian citizen hoping to work in the US, there are multiple
options that are available to you. Some relevant work-related visas
include:

  • HB-1 Visa-this option is available to individuals who at least
    hold a bachelor’s degree. The employer would have to agree
    to sponsor you and should file the appropriate paperwork on
    your behalf.
  • E1 or E2-if the business you plan to work for is 50% owned
    by nationals of your home country and it trades and invests
    in the US then this could be another option for you.
  • O Visa-if you have proven substantial contribution to areas
    such as education or science you may be eligible for this type
    of visa.
  • L Visa-this type of visa may be an option if you have
    worked for a company for at least a year and then wish to
    pursue employment in the US under another branch of the
    same business.
  • Green Card-if you have a master’s degree or work in a
    position that requires it, you may be eligible to apply for
    a green card to continue working in the US.

As you can see, there are various avenues you could take to achieve
your desired results. To better understand your options and to select
the appropriate option, you should contact an immigration
attorney. 
Keep in mind, many of these processes take time to complete, so
you we want to be sure to choose the best option.

1 comment
01/15/17
Watch-Outs. 100. Negotiation insight, Title IX-Parental Leave, Continuous Personal Development
Filed under: Interviewing, Leadership, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
MONEY12-2016  Trends in 2017 (Job Market)
In negotiations it is not unusual for you to be asked
“How much do you make now?” and Something 
like, “What are your salary expectations?”
.
Recent ideas have materialized into legislation in
MA where it is no longer legal to ask about salary
history for in-state positions.  Note, too, that a later
paragraph states the law takes effect in 2018.
.
The article offers a response to the salary query–
“.. personal practice to keep salary confidential, as
my research has provided employers compensate
qualified employees with a salary between $xx
and $xy, and your being a leader I would not be
surprised to hear from you in the upper portion of
that range.”
.
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
L
inda Wang CEN 1-2-17, P. 23-4 PARENTAL LEAVE
Let me shout out about Linda Wang’s meaningful
article in the first issue of 2017 CEN on parental leave.
With the continuing trend of very long graduate
school tenures followed by one or more post doctoral
stints those wishing the fulfillment of family life
either learn too late that certain people or organizations
frown on or discourage distractions from their goals.
I dare say there can even be blacklisting or not offering
strong recommendations as noted in 
Mason’s fine
article on Title IX
.
CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
What can we do to remain employable throughout
our careers?  We do not think about that until often
it is too late.  It is in the present that we carry out our goals.
You should choose positions that provide personal satisfactions
day-to-day so you stick with it.  Engage in activities that 
have outcomes that coincide with your personal longer
range goals.
.
Early on in your careers you should realize that doing the 
same things over and over is self limiting.  You need to 
bring to bear what is emerging in the larger employment 
market (artificial intelligence, computation, robotics) and
seek out and complete career focused education, experiences
and certifications.  The Economist highlighted observations
and some trends.  (1)Self examination leading to Curiosity
is critical to continually learn and
(2) knowing your learning style and adapting content to
meet your style for long term application and near term
demands is your responsibility.  
Large questions remain, namely,
(a)does the training and knowledge get recognition and
reward for the time and expense?  
(b)Will there be experiences, skills and abilities that will
be useful where I am now and/or in other organizations?
.
ACS seems to have a working model for continuous
education and needs constant input for what would benefit
members.  How can we better offer soft skill development?
is one specific area, for example.


comments (0)
12/15/16
End of the Year Career Management. 2016
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:52 pm

Three top line topics have appeared this year:
1) Evolving trends in technical careers
2) Professional Behaviors that can help you
3) High Need for New Division in ACS– Economics
and Chemistry [Not only short periodic webinars that
are at 30,000 foot level and CEPA] 

*Trends in Technical Careers   
   Protein Binding, Quaternary Structure, Thorium Reactors
   Drug Resistance, Crowdsource Funding, Teamwork in High Risk Goals
   New forms of Light, Epidemiology, Cell research  
   Photonics and Si-C chemistry
   Omics, Panomics
   Optics, Spectroscopy and Miniaturization

*Professional Behaviors
   -Learning to Say “No”
   -Listening Skills          Activities of a Listener
                                        Focus elements
   -Trust                           Highest form of Motivation
                                        Elements of Communication  
   -Ethics                          Legal elements
                                        In Decision-making

*Economics and Chemistry
    New Division Proposal
    Need for “Forecasting”
    Superstar Organizations
    Financialization

 

comments (0)
12/13/16
Preparing for Decision-Making. Ethics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:31 am

Reading a blog entry by B. Perlmutter, reminded me of
a section in the second class of our Professional Development
class.  What I like about it is that he  creates a nice context
and story about factors we need to consider in making
decisions. 

Our class offers fewer steps and a template to consider
classroom exercises that students might face now and
will possibly face in the future.
Template steps:
1  determine the facts
2  identify the stakeholders
3  identify the ethical choices
4  make a decision
5  double check the decision

Perlmutter frames his process and story in terms of situations
and risks to reputations in a golf tournament.  Early in his
ethical process, he points out recognizing ethical problems,
even before knowing the stakeholders, interests and
alternatives. 

At first, this order of process steps is not one better than
another but a different perspective about something
scientists and engineers are not often trained to think. 
Ethics can be ambiguous and relative.  In Perlmutter’s
perspective, ethics needs to be considered earlier.  I
think this can be good and a point of emphasis.

Not long ago, this blog offered a legal perspective of
ethical decision-making
.  It appears different than the
first two in that it asks questions about legality,
reputation and consistency with values.

We need to understand that different people will
make a case for processing their thinking.  Forni
I think states it best and has me thinking Perlmutter
says it best for me.  Forni  outlines the urgency to
develop and place good thinking habits as
a priority.  Good thinking makes having thought,
having thought leads to a wider range of viable
choices;  Good choices offer the chance for good
decisions that lead to a good life that lead to
happiness. [paraphrased].

Perlmutter’s process is documented in the
comment.

2 comments
10/19/16
Legal Issues. Ethical questions, Critical Reading of contracts, Reporting personal matters
Filed under: Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:38 am

Al Sklover offers insights that are unparalleled in the open
access world.  SEE EMPLOYMENT LAW blog link on the left.

While nearly every item I review from him could be brought
to your attention, this entry highlights three:
  -6 questions to raise on ethical dilemmas
  -mental framework for critical reading of contracts and handbooks
  -Dealing with uncertainty in personal issues 
.
SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK - ETHICAL MATTERS
Sklover ethical
While we do not wish for anyone to face such situations, it is
helpful to point out the guidance Al provides in the above.  When
you find yourself in an ethical deliberation consider six resources/
inputs:
1)  Is it legal?  private, in-house, outside association resources
2)  Is it consistent with employer’s policies?
3)  Is it consistent with employer’s values, published and unpublished?
4)  Does it advance employer’s long-term goals?
5)  Would you be comfortable with personal exposure?
6)  Does the action help your personal career?
.
CRITICAL READING - CONTRACTS
Sklover parse document
The referenced entry deals with non-comptete and non-solicit
agreements, yet it opens up the valuable process of “critical
reading” of documents which you are subject to.  It is not as
much a ‘loophole search’ and more of tactics lawyers use to deal
with other lawyers who construct broad language to cover
every conceivable instance.  Those trained in the law and who
practice “critical writing and critical reading” can be allies when
dealing with circumstances which you find yourself..
.
PERSONAL SITUATIONS - HOW AND WHEN TO TELL
Sklover Guidelines Pregnancy
              Negotiation Leverage during employment
              Negotiation Medical
In each of these situations, while it may not seem so, negotiations
to achieve win-win outcomes is all parties desired end.
For pregnancy, there is an excellent exposition of tactics when 
a woman learns her family/personal circumstances change.  
There are no hard and fast rules, but there is a process. 
.
For changes, new responsibilities and so forth, you are conferred
leverage if your boss calls you.  Sklover provides suggestions
for you to use.
.
Addiction is legally called a disability and thus covered by
statutes.  Many employers will have employee assistance programs.
It is still in your best interests to be aware of legal protections
and tactics that help create a process to move forward.
comments (0)
10/10/16
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise. 2.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:18 pm

Ten years ago R. Jones edited a series of factors
giving rise to the apparent trend involving the 
globalization of chemical enterprise industries.  
We have urged ACS in this blog to report and
follow the Economics in the Chemical
Enterprise 
as the older model (of globalization)
is less valid now as an important concept for
members.  
.

We observed that globalization is less
significant now and plays much less of a strategic
role as superstar companies that use an array of
qualities.  They have distinctive cultures and
traditions that many academic centers are little 
aware of, including seeking and following top 
talent (stretch assignments, accelerator 
experiences, and crucible roles) and keeping their 
focus on a long term vision (by modifying their 
shareholders’ voting rights) and managing finances, 
legislation and financial markets.
.
The Economist reported on recent trends in its
article as a new age of corporatism giving rise to
consolidation to stay on top “hoovering up talent,
buying patents and investing in research.”  We can see
this leading to problems ascribed to concentration of
pay, technology, top execs and vast amounts of
information.
.
In an interesting related piece in Cheeky Scientist Blog
is the five corporate departments that PhDs should know
which are critical to a company’s success.  While most
know “companies have R&D, Marketing and Sales,”
few realize also critical to success are finance, supply
chain and information technology.
.
I suspect these are all new to Chemists and Engineers
and this reveals the need for further education in these
and traditional areas that have further evolved.
1 comment
09/22/16
Resumes. “Master” and Targeted
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:09 am

Yesterday I enjoyed a conversation with a resume reviewer
who has a senior level position in a government organization.
He shared several poignant remarks about his experiences
when he often reviews resumes to bring in candidates to
interview for technical positions.
.

He expressed disbelief that some resumes seem to be
unrelated to the “must and wants” described in the 
USAJobs.gov requirements.  To him, it seemed they were
applying simply based on their degrees.  
.
Some resumes contain typos or do not meet the specifications
listed in the instructions to authors.  Others list out extensive
biographies with many bullets unrelated to the description.
Some are three and more pages long and don’t realize how
their resume will be evaluated.  [They don’t read the 
evaluation criteria listed in the description.]
.
There are some positive things he reinforced that can be
useful tips for people who are in the job market.  Have
a master resume, but do not use it for your submission
as it is too long with unrelated TMI (too much information]
items.  Use a “targeted resume” for your application.
.
Why have the master resume?  Well, because you will need
a little more detail to include in your federal positions, like: 
 - month/date for starting and ending roles 
 - details on your personal history, military service, VISTA
city, state and ZIP of employers, hours per week worked,
level of experience via roles and responsibilities, reverse
chronological order, specific keywords in the description.
[see the above link.]
.
Master resumes provide a useful resource that each of 
us can use throughout our careers.  It is not what we 
actually submit.  It is a data resource that needs to be
regularly updated and refreshed … think about former
companies who have changed names, and addresses
of your references, keywords, list of projects some which
were shorter term and even incomplete.
.
Targeted resumes are “marketing documents” that may
be read by people who without the formal technical
background.  Appearance makes a difference, so avoid
using ‘fill in the blanks’ forms. and software that does
not always translate when uploaded.
(.doc, for example– .pdf or .txt may work better).
.
Honesty is always expected and it is easier to verify
things via the Internet.
comments (0)
09/08/16
Trust.
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:12 am
You cannot fake trust, J. Smith wrote.  Covey points
out that trust is the highest form of motivation.
.
When trust is lost or not part of interpersonal connection,
less than what is set out as goals will result– for
individuals, teams and organizations.
.
So many times I have heard one person not being selected 
for something based on a comment that another lacks 
trust or did not feel someone was trustworthy.  
Examples:
employee / boss:  confidence in you before promotion
team / manager :  belief in you to rely on your vision and
                            communication
audience / speaker: are you credible and have a credible
                      message to act on your recommendations
.
Trust reveals faith in the honesty, integrity, reliability
and competence of another.
.
Two resources that may apply to situations are 
SUNY-Albany Center for Technology in Government and 
Phrases demonstrate demonstrate and expand trust.
SUNY-Albany provides trust elaboration in a more global
perspective.  I appreciated their defining three types of trust
1.  trust conferred by professional credentials and
reputation.  It may change based on more interactions.  
CALCULUS-BASED
2.  trust resulting from familiarity and consistent
work-group, team or association (professional, business)
interaction.
IDENTITY-BASED

3.  trust resulting from adhering to legal or social
norms that prescribe and restrict behaviors and actions.  
INSTITUTION-BASED.

.
This background can be instructive as it can inform how
trust results in different and cross-cultural situations.
.
Phrases and appropriate, following-elaboration that enable
trust include:
- ‘thank you…’ for attending, for reviewing, for helping….
- ’saying what is in it for the audience’
- telling ‘why I care about….’ 
- follow emotional beliefs with supporting, objective data
[not ‘cherry-picked’ data]
- listening carefully to another’s opinion and stating trust
in their judgment
- confirming that while you may not be expert on all things,
you have training, experience and willingness to learn new
things that enables you to offer a thoughtful perspective.
.
Other ways to foster trust include:
- follow through and provide early notice for meeting or
not meeting commitments 
- say “no,” when you mean no
- share what you know and don’t know

1 comment
09/04/16
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Recruiters, Leadership, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:58 am

The global pace is speeding up.  To meet the needs and
interests of members and institutional stakeholders the
Society needs to incorporate broader and deeper aspects
of economics in the technical and scientific aspects of
the chemical enterprise.

.
Think:  mergers and acquisitions; government funding of
CDC, EPA, NIH, chemical research;  international trade
arrangements; patent implications for different industries;
water, power, recycling…
.
This post recognizes the development of sustainability,
green chemistry, and internationalization of programs.  
Other organizations [ 1 , 2 ] have pointed out deeper and
broader economic implications. ACS has an ongoing
organization
to continuously update “historical” data for
members.   
.
We need to access disciplines that will continuously
FORECAST business cycles that affect the chemical
enterprise and describe implications to members and
constituents.
.
Robert Colvile has described how 
- more attention is paid to one issue rather than the
gradual and incremental changes all around us
- flashy and superficial is promoted
- faster and shorter-lasting dominates
- ease of money, ideas and pathogens moving around
with less friction and checking means disaster can
happen before we are aware
- industries and companies can disappear with a click
of a network or computerized trading micro-second
- trajectories are nonlinear and interruptable
.
One strategic area ACS needs to grow and foster
is economic forecasting.  This blog has reviewed
Tetlock’s Superforecasting and it is appropriate to 
bring up the Good Judgment Project as a seed for how
the ACS might bring economic forecasting to help
members.
2 comments
07/25/16
Watch-Outs. 98. Disappearing Impact Factor, Irrevocable Trusts, Linkedin Profile
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:39 pm

Various publishers promote journal impact factors JIF to
measure ” the importance of articles by the number of  times
an article is cited.  This measure in light of the continuing change
of technical literature is changing and deemed less significant.

Did you know you can change irrevocable trusts that you create
with your attorney when (1) tax law is revised or cease to exist,
(2) family circumstances change, (3) errors exist in the the documents?
 This is a document professionals should know about and
decide if and when it fits in your financial plan.

Linkedin profiles have not and should not replace resumes.
They are part of your professional presence and a
link is offered.

JIF DE-EMPHASIS
Ewen Calloway summarized recent discussions on the use of
journal rating and previewed articles in various fields that
suggest it going away.  Worth looking at.
 
FINANCIAL DECISIONS FOR YOUR FAMILIES
Trusts are often created to save paying federal estate taxes in
relation to a specific tax law.  There are, according to Cody,
Cody and McCarthy, five ways trusts can be modified:  (a)
have a judge restate your intent, (b) adjust pay-out options
to current situations, (c) change the terms of the trust due to
unforseen circumstances, (d) invoke a trust advisor  without
going to court, (e) consider another “do-over” trust.

So, if you find a need to modify your trust, or you waiver
in creating an irrevocable trust, there are things you should
know to help you.

LINKEDIN PROFILES
Robert Hellmann wrote that resumes and profiles have many
of the same information.  But a resume helps us obtain interviews
and the profile does support the interview screening process
and much more.   Hellmann proposes an active profile approach
in your job search.
Don’t indicate openness to opportunities in your Headline
Don’t put unemployed or looking for a job in your profile
Do consider using more informal language than the targeted
resume.

Hellmann’s article is worth taking seriously in your career
plan.

BONUS VIDEO SERIES:   The Australian series “The Future
of Water
” is definitely of high value to view.  Each segment
offered incredible insights into the bigger picture.  I was
very surprised by the underground reservoir in South
America that was recently defined.

1 comment
05/20/16
Did you know? Pre-employment Testing
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:50 am

Al Sklover posts a “did you know…” blog post every once in a
while.  So, I thought it might be worth mentioning something
some applicants would consider after interviewing.  Knowing
something about what else may be expected from each
successful applicant includes polygraph, credit, security
background and

Applicant medical evaluation and drug testing.

You might be aware of mental and competence testing that
some employers have third parties administer.  Also, it is required
by federal law to pass alcohol and drug testing of blood and
urine.  There is a benefit for employers since insurance premiums
can be lower.  In addition, employers seek to maintain a drug free
perception, which also includes nicotine from tobacco products.

Complications occur with medications and statutes that legalize
controlled substances in certain states.  Thus, marijuana is listed as
a schedule I drug under federal statutes leads companies to fire or
refuse to hire, if detected.

Certain prescription medications may also trigger a red flag, so it
is worth knowing about medications that physicians prescribe for you.

comments (0)
03/07/16
Legal, Security and Insurance Matters.
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:21 am

The title is written to get wider attention.  Legal is the lead word,
but I will start with insurance.

INSURANCE
I noticed a “rider” on our homeowners insurance policy.  It is
an extra “technical support program” service they provide.  I called
the number and learned that they will offer remote phone and
remote access of your devices to solve technical problems.
When you buy a new computer, this service costs $150 and up
yearly.  Worth your while asking for and using this free of charge service. 
[devices:  computers, smartphones, iPads, tablets, Office
applications, Printers, scanners and network connectivity;
Firm:  Commerce]

LEGAL - WILLS, TRUSTS
A helpful guide on trusts and wills was sent out by our estate
planning attorney firm about the terms wills and trusts.
A will is a “death document,” as it only goes into effect when
you die.  There are six provisions:  distribution of assets by name
and through court probate process, guardians, executors.  It is
usually shorter (cheaper) and does not allow for tax complications.

A trust is a living document that evolves by your direction through
your life.  It is enacted in cases of disability, covers all aspects of
wills and can avoid probate to settle after death.  It can manage
all succeeding affairs regarding your estate and beneficiaries.

These documents are important as our estates exceed our
debts.   SOURCE: Cody, Cody McCarthy: Estate Law)

LEGAL - CONFIDENTIALITY
Al Sklover provides definitions, examples and exclusions
of confidentiality and non-disclosure
that help us understand
what confidential information is, the four exceptions and how
to protect yourself.
His four exceptions are truly noteworthy– sharing to perform
specific duties, when the information is already in the public
domain, to comply with the law, and with the consent and
direction of management.

 

comments (0)
03/04/16
Visa Dilemmas. Inc Tips that may help
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:53 am

It is imperative that this blog uncovers and shares pertinent information
on Visas for international scientists and engineers.  It is so often
presumed that universities and companies will provide this resource.

Is it the best and most up to date information?

This blog has commented on H-1Bs in the past and there are Department
of Labor resources
to refer.
Inc. provides a nice tip sheet offering
  required documents
  typical costs, including premium processing to the front of the line
  making your case– advanced degrees in technical fields
  get a qualified outside lawyer to review your application

comments (0)
02/05/16
Professional Behaviors. Teamwork is not Collaboration.
Filed under: First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:00 am

Read an interesting article summarizing arguments that
“collaboration has gone too far.”  It appears in the Economist
and reflects trends occurring with open office plans
and 24/7 electronic communication.  It may spill over
to technical professionals and managers.

Several authors (Newport, Cross, Gray) suggest that
collaboration can be overdone, as it disrupts routines
and distracts from prioritized tasks and responsibilities.

What confused me was the common belief that working
in teams is critical for success in many areas– big
projects
2forecasting and problem solving in areas
facing first time problems.  Isn’t there collaboration in
teamwork?  Collaboration can bring people together
for some shared objectives, while each has some competing
objectives.  Thus, the differences between teamwork
and collaboration appear in not having an arbitrator for
conflicts and many times do not have contractual arrangements.

Business Insider summary of HBR points out in an earlier
article the definition of terms.  Move to a collaborative
relationship
in cases when a company objective is important
enough to engage in collaboration, but does not require a
dedicated team.

Success, the earlier article subscribes, involves:
  commitment to work together, emotional engagement
  recognition of competence, respect of knowledge and experience
  cost/benefit decisions can be influenced and supported or
changed.
Yet collaboration is not a formal arrangement, not a team
with a leader or a contract-bound relationship.  It requires
a shorter term outcome and a timeline.


comments (0)
12/09/15
New Trend in Applications. Diversity Statements
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:34 pm

The option, honestly, the requirement, of submitting “diversity
statements’ was recently brought to my attention
in an
application under consideration.

The option appears in application documents submitted for
areas like: teaching positions, graduate schools in liberal
arts and sciences, and in law schools. 2     International
organizations recognized cultural diversity as part of the
globalization trend more than a decade ago.

A number of global businesses have incorporated diversity
into their mission statement, as can be found in annual
reports and webpages.  In these, it is often you can observe
a business case” supporting diversity.

Much of the advice offered for ideas to include seem to
shine more light on Pier Forni’s work on civility. 

It should be recognized that the concept is morphing and
the examples and values expressed in statements should
be consistent with the organization for which the one-page
diversity statement is formulated.  [see also. ]

Some ideas might include:
   active open-mindedness with a shared purpose
   outcomes in our lives change positively resulting from experiences
   broadness and depth of input and perspective can often be more
significant than ability, as it can be tuned to specific instances

1 comment
11/09/15
Undergraduate Majors. ITAR, Use of Contractors for Screening, Interviews
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 4:04 pm

More than thirty Chemistry field majors attended a workshop
Effective job Searching last Saturday.  The topics included:
Matching your skills and interests to the job market, Job
search strategies, Resumes and cover letters, Giving presentations,
Interviewing in larger organizations, Mock interviewing and
Resume reviews.

1.  More organizations are using recruiting firms to perform
screening resumes, screening interviews, and reference
checking. 
They are adept at the process and are generally
not responsible for the final decision.  It is not ununsual for
the position to be temporary, but there are legal limits on the
length of temporary employment. 

2.  ITAR review to enter certain industrial sites.  Organizations
who design, manufacture and work with a number of government
agencies are required to comply with International Traffic in
Arms Regulations ITAR. 
Thus, if you are invited on site for
interviews you will need to bring along a birth certificate,
form of ID with your photo and may be expected to leave
your cell phone at the door
(no photos)..

3.  Problem solving interview questions are popular again.
These may require out of the box thinking.  They may require
how you might work with other applicants to solve a problem.
They may be time limited, may have no set answer and may
just demonstrate how you deal with unexpected situations.
We observed a mock interview asking:  how would you design
an emergency evacuation system for this building.

4.  It is hard to justify the one-page page length rule
of thumb
for resumes for all kinds of positions and applicants.
Each resume, however, does need to be targeted for each
situation using keywords.  It is an advertizing document for
you with a readable form and both computer and person
designed content.  It needs to be brief, concise and specific
with no errors.

5.  MBTI assessments were brought up several times as
helpful for preparation for your job search, for informal
meal interviews
and for audience analysis for presentations.

comments (0)
10/31/15
Watch-Outs. 89. Social Security Changes, ACS Unemployed Member benefits, Productive Habits, and Tax-free municipal bond investments
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:32 pm

Since the financial items out number the psychological
ones, we will start out with them.

Have you been paying attention to the budget agreement
Congress has passed on to President Obama?  It takes
away a Social Security provision that allowed retirees
certain benefits and could impact those nearing retirement.

A second financial item relates to a mislabeling of
of municipal bond yields.  Evidently bonds are offered
issued at a premium over par.  They are often called
before maturity.  Meaning– lower yields than labelled.

A third financial item relates to benefits to ACS
member who are unemployed.

The non-financial item is about a book describing
“productive habits” we all might benefit from.

NEW SOCIAL SECURITY RULES
SOURCE:  A. Tergesen,  WSJ 10-31-15, “New
social security rules to end key filing strategies

I sent my brother who recently turned 66 this article
that spells out the end of social security spousal
benefit upgrade for some retirees.  There is a
six month period before the regulations go into
effect.  This could be several thousand dollars a
year difference for those who are affected.

MUNICIPAL BOND MISLABELING
SOURCE:  J. Zweig, WSJ  10-31-15, ” How
Muni Bonds Yield 4% in a 2% World

Those investing in low risk, no tax municipal
bonds might be in for a shock to find the real
return is nearly half of what is advertized.  Zweig
suggests asking your broker or adviser to
reveal the “yield to worst’ on your municipal
bonds, adjusted for return of principal.

ACS MEMBER BENEFIT
SOURCE:  T. Connelly, letter for the executive
director to members, 10-1-15
In this letter seeking our membership renewal,
each one of us 158,000 (~5000 less that last
number in memory), might benefit from the
“members-only benefit” of up to 3 years free
membership (not sure if it is sequential or
additive) if you are unemployed.  There are also
some benefits that you should ask for if you are
faced with such a personal challenge.  In our
new world of temporary or episodic employment
this might be meaningful.

PRODUCTIVE HABITS
SOURCE:  Peter Bregman, “Four Seconds“,
Harper One, 2015
Bregman goes into how we instinctively form
habits to live through our daily lives.  He breaks
them down into mental, relationship, work,
self-defeating, and what I call productive habits.
He spends effort on boredom, how we become
our worst critic of ourselves, perfection and
procrastination.

What I liked were his descriptions of “productive”
habits– taking a “4 second pause”  to develop options
when you face a problem, a 4-second pause when
attacked to ask questions [reducing tension in a
situation], a 4-second pause to establish focus each day,
to follow through and to prepare each day what are
short term and longer term priorities.

2 comments
09/16/15
Trends in Technical Careers. CRISPR, The Economist ‘Briefs’, Negotiations
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:24 am

Let me tell you about a recent exchange with a job seeker.
He asked, ‘hey what do you think of hirelifesciences?’   To
which my response was, ‘Sorry, that is not one I have worked
with.  When I visited it I noticed it lists companies and
locations, but I did not see how people are compensated,
how recent the listings are and the business relationship
to client companies (is it part of a society, for example).’

I went on to describe websites listed in the blog left column
and indicated that most jobs are not advertised.  They are
found through networking and direct contact with people.

EMERGING FIELD
I recently heard about a field that may have large impact–CRISPR.
Take a look at a short video worth our learning about.  Related
information for job seekers is a business article on firms
involved in this business
.  Did you notice how the idea connections
were made– not through a google search or a screening of lists
of positions, but through making business-technology-career
connections.

STORYTELLING
Have you seen the series of unsolved scientific mysteries in
The Economist?  Each of the six reveal factoids connected to
a lead story in fascinating stories.  Here are the first four
http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/08/economist-explains-10
BEGINNING OF LIFE
http://www.economist.com/news/science-brief/21660968-our-second-brief-scientific-mysteries-we-ask-whether-world-might-make-more-sense
MORE THAN ONE UNIVERSE?
http://www.economist.com/news/science-brief/21661575-third-our-briefs-scientific-mysteries-we-ask-just-what-it-makes-up-95
DARK MATTER/ COMPOSITION OF UNIVERSE
http://www.economist.com/news/science-brief/21662484-fourth-our-series-articles-scientific-mysteries-we-ask-why-mere-542m
CAUSE OF “LIFE EMERGENCE”

Their challenge is to paint an interesting landscape to a
broad readership.  One, these should be interesting topics to us.
Two, there is something to learn in how the stories are told and
illustrated.  Third, if there is some way to connect our work to
these articles it provides a nice context to our work.

NEGOTIATIONS
Negotiation Process was the topic of last week’s seminar.
Interesting possible items that might be considered were:
school loan repayment (Federal positions offer this) and “fair and
reasonable compensation” when a new position has higher deductible
insurances or rates.  See Barb Safani.  It is critical to consider the
“overall” compensation package and implications of bonuses and
incentives on taxes.

If you are asked to sign documents, you could inquire if they
will compensate you for having your lawyer review it for you.

2 comments
08/21/15
Transitions in Careers. Professional Behaviors. Things to do Leaving a Position
Filed under: First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:18 am

This blog has commented on considerations for resigning
from a position
.  An outstanding resource is Sklover’s
working wisdom blog which offers “best in class” information,
consideration of alternatives and strategies from a legal
perspective.

Recently, S. Schellenbarger authored a piece in WSJ about
the topic focusing on communications, exit interviews,
notice time and flexibility, and emotional situations
.

R. Knight offered some “reality check” factoids on the matter.
She stated the relative high frequency of leaving one firm
and moving to another (BLS, every 4.6 years) and that it is
a critical transition point to adopt professional best practices.
In addition,
  1.  not only 2 weeks notice but who and how to tell them
  2.  Linkedin considerations.  [This may be subtly different
now that Linkedin has a new service to connect people within
organizations.]
  3.  Tell one and the same story about leaving and where you
plan to go next to all.
  4.  Despite hard feelings or rough edges, express gratitude
in words, actions and future commentary.
  5.  Send thank you notes and be a strong ally.

S. Heathfield wrote a cross-reference checklist from the
HR point of view.

The On Money blog carries more advice.

 

1 comment