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
Two recent communications provided thoughts for this
post on the complex visa issues facing international
As a Canadian citizen hoping to work in the US, there are multiple
options that are available to you. Some relevant work-related visas
As you can see, there are various avenues you could take to achieve
your desired results. To better understand your options and to select
the appropriate option, you should contact an immigration
Keep in mind, many of these processes take time to complete, so
you we want to be sure to choose the best option.
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]
-Learning to Say “No”
-Listening Skills Activities of a Listener
-Trust Highest form of Motivation
Elements of Communication
-Ethics Legal elements
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
Our class offers fewer steps and a template to consider
classroom exercises that students might face now and
will possibly face in the future.
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
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
Perlmutter’s process is documented in the
Al Sklover offers insights that are unparalleled in the open
access world. SEE EMPLOYMENT LAW blog link on the left.
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
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.
3. trust resulting from adhering to legal or social
norms that prescribe and restrict behaviors and actions.
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.
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.
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.
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
Hellmann’s article is worth taking seriously in your career
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.
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
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.
The title is written to get wider attention. Legal is the lead word,
but I will start with 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;
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.
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
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
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 2 , forecasting 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
BEGINNING OF LIFE
MORE THAN ONE UNIVERSE?
DARK MATTER/ COMPOSITION OF UNIVERSE
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.