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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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08/25/17
Suggestions for actions if you lose your position
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:24 pm

Over a 30 - 45 year career, most everyone gets relieved of their
position.  Sometime it is sudden, other times there are indicators
that some positions will be severed and still other times we are
faced with a choice to stay or leave.

.
Let me pose that it should be part of our regular personal planning
process that we consider building resilience into our thinking.  Create
your personal action plan, keep your options open and know what
your personal goals, musts and wants are.
As much as possible plan so that it is not a total surprise.
.
Ruth Umoh contributed a piece offering things to do if you lose
your position.  I cannot agree with her more on
1.  don’t lose your “cool”, stay calm and manage your emotions
2.  personally ask for recommendations from specific individuals
(If someone hesitates at all, or will not provide a good one, move
on.)
2a.  these days more and more Linkedin recommendations can be
a useful starter in situations where policies limit employees from
providing recommendations.
3.  You should be continually active in your professional network,
also ask references for their network contacts and ideas.
.
I found Umoh’s thoughts about cleaning up your facebook, online
profiles and photos and comments something that might be easily 
overlooked.
.
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes 
push 
and pull marketing
, situations where you you meet people 
in person and volunteer roles in professional organizations.
.
Taking shorter term, temporary roles may be a big plus, while
you enroll for unemployment benefits and update your master
resume, targeted resumes for each position and Linkedin
profiles using current keywords for your industry and field.
.
Consider asking for outplacement services as part of your
severance package, while being wary of noncompete documents
that you have signed.
comments (0)
08/24/17
Cuts and De-Regulation. What can we do?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:39 am

Have you looked at the proposed FY2018 budget for science,
technology, health and engineering?  Mostly flat or cutback.
except for defense related expenditures (and the “wall”– which
will be paid for by someone else..)

.
Have you looked at the proposals for taxes?  Across the board
reductions in rates, which results in peanuts for the poor,
a cup of Starbucks for the middle class and a new yacht for
the wealthy.
.
Have you noticed the major overhaul of the rules and enforcement
actions of EPA, SEC and bank regulators?  Blank checks
for violators.
.
These three areas– major federal support for research, 
progressive taxation (richest contribute a fairer share) and 
regulations and legislation are what has turned American 
enterprise into an equitable thriving system in the 20th century.
.
We need to do something about the gutting of these.
.
Through the ACS we are provided some tools to be proactive
individually.  In a recent town hall we learned from our senator
that groups and organizations are much more effective in 
influencing and sending cogent messages to senators and
congress-people.
.
Let’s all urge the EPA to meet its mandated assignment, if not,
let’s increase our efforts at the state level with the DEP.
Let’s ask our ACS President to address research funding 
shortfalls that impacts our enterprise long term.
Let’s bring back regulations that reign in wild speculative behaviors
that benefit a clever few who have escape clauses to absolve
them of blame.  ACS Advocacy
1 comment
05/04/17
Listening. Mlodinow’s “Subliminal”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 12:30 pm

Mlodinow, in Subliminal, delivers a clearly written book that helps
us understand Listening and Remembering.  He explains that it all
comes from William Carpenter’s book “Principles of Mental
 Physiology” in which he told that human brains carry out three
things simultaneously–  autonomous functioning (without formal
thinking), conscious mental actions, and unconscious processing.

.
When we listen we hone in on specific utterances and fill in the
gaps with our unconscious.  It is similar to the way computers
capture images and store them as thumbnails.  Taking in certain 
‘pixelated’ data, allowing us to reconstruct by filling in the details.
.
Our memory on the other hand is known to be “faulty”.  We are
almost always never right with our recollections unless we take
special precautions to capture details.  People try to maintain a
story’s general form, drop and change others to make us be able
to tell stories “confabulating” choices we make in the dropped
details.
.
Thus, false memories  and misinformation is a common human
frailty.  With time we drop more and more information.
Mlodinow offers several examples one of the most striking is 
James Dean, President Nixon’s personal attorney, in his responses
in the Watergate hearings.  Mlodinow writes that Dean misstated 
and mixed up nearly every detail of the affairs in which he was
involved based on a comparison of actual tape recordings from
the Oval Office and the Watergate hearings.  At the time, we
were informed that Dean had a nearly perfect memory.
.
This goes to point out the importance of having and maintaining
a calendar, a professional daily diary, an ‘idea notebook’ and records
of key goals, accomplishments, master resume, and personal
records.
comments (0)
03/31/17
Where can grad students go for skills not taught in Universities
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Leadership, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 11:28 am

This is a story about two conversations.  The first is
one with a very accomplished senior grad student.

The second conversation is one of a series with
a department of chemistry chairperson.
.
Ph.D. LACKING NEEDED SOFT SKILLS
Almost Dr. Smith (not his or her real name) wanted
to talk about a situation in which she finds herself.  She
has received several promising offers, only to be rejected
after providing references.  She has learned from a reliable
source that the reference supplied the information that her
writing skills were not up to acceptable standards, whereupon
the offer was pulled.
.
She asked what can she do now?  Learn by various means–
reading for style and formatting, specialized training to write
for specific audiences, and practice, of course are several 
possibilities.  Shouldn’t the grad school provide that for her?
.
The answer is generally, not in today’s climate.
Second conversation, now.
.
PROPOSAL TO CHAIRMAN TO OFFER PRACTICAL
SKILLS TRAINING 
[Bring a solution, when you ask about a big concern you
have.]
When the new chair was installed I went to her with the
concern that many graduates do not have essential writing
skills and other “Soft skills” that we need to be successful.
What are some courses, programs of study, and tutoring
assignments (shadowing, draft writing, editing, reading)
that are offered or can be offered?  We will bring it up to the
dean, was one response.  
.
Another time, post-docs are people without support,
representation or a voice.  What can be done to help their
case?  That is up to the individual PI was the response.  I reflected
on several national labs, medical schools and NIH programs
and received the feedback.  That is not something I can do.
.
I pursued:  Why not?  some of the ideas are nice, but I would
be stepping on people’s [departments] toes and it is imprudent
to do here.
Another reason is that I can not impinge on the time they are
working in the lab.  They have so many distractions and
commitments as it is.  To add another requirement would take 
time from the research work that needs to get done.
.
So, it goes.  Outside speakers emphasize it is important to “get 
out of the lab” and learn extra-curricular skills through different
activities, internships and volunteer roles.  Most students immediately
reflect that their boss would not like them doing that.  Most say
they feel pressure to be in the lab 7×12 getting results.
.
While I receive consistent support for Professional Development
 activities in summer and both semesters, I am only one and
so much more could be done to make a difference.  What we
do is as much or more than is offered in other R1 institutions.
Please send in ideas and concepts working in other institutions.
I look forward to them.
 
2 comments
01/04/17
Critical Thinking and Reading 2017
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:39 am

`How do you figure out appropriate information that is important
and verifiable, relating to your interests and goals?
.
We can subscribe to publications.  Does that provide what you need?

We can view broadcast media or skim Flipboard or other “news
aggregators” or subscribe to twitter feeds for our philosophy matching
sources.
.
We all have limited time and viewerships.
.
I offer three critical things
- Ask good questions,
- Set your short and longer term goals
- Pay attention to “cognition
.
ASK GOOD QUESTION
A good question is not concerned with a correct idea.
A good question cannot be answered immediately.
A good question challenges existing answers.
A good question is one you badly want answered once you
    hear it, but had no
inkling you cared before it was asked.
A good question creates new territory of thinking.
A good question reframes its own answers.
A good question is the seed of innovations in Science,
    technology, art,
politics, and business.
A good question is a probe, a what-if scenario.
A good question skirts on the edge of what is known and not
    known, neither
silly nor obvious.
A good question cannot be predicted.
A good question will be the sign or an educated mind.
A good question is one that generates many other questions>
A good question may be the last job a machine will learn to do.
A good question is what humans are for.

GOALS- Think through your “purpose”
   1- Do you like what you are now doing?
   2- What do you feel and think you want to do?  Like is not
enough.  Purpose is about setting up a direction and a path
and pausing and allow back up plans and ideal case formulation.
   3- Can you do what you want?  Know the difference between
your wants and what you are competent at.  Understand your
priorities and values and your organization’s priorities and values.
   4- Have you define your next and following steps involving
awareness, action and accountability
   5- Who can you depend on for good, reliable advice?  Who
will tell you the truth without involving their personal interests?
   6- What are you willing to re-pay, offer up and return?
   7- What do you to learn or gain experience in?

COGNITION
It is useful to consider the words we use.  ’Truth’ is most often
not strictly absolute, black and white.  Yet there are certain words that
do not trigger the outcomes we desire.
NEED  very few things “need” to get done.  OFFER, maybe, WHAT
DO YOU THINK ABOUT… or HOW DOES THIS SOUND…
CAN’T  you probably can.  In reality, there are multiple or opposing
“can’s”
 EASY  This is a way to describe other people’s jobs. Notice how
many times that speak about their jobs as easy.

“Cousins” of these words are everyone, no one, always and never.

1 comment
12/20/16
Undergraduate Resume Review
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:52 pm

HL and I had an interesting discussion about a job
application for a pharma position.  We arranged the
position via email where we asked and sent draft resume,
musts-and-wants and the job description.

It is important to realize that each cover letter, resume
and contact network association needs to be targeted
and properly researched and framed
.

What kind of position is being pursued?
What specific skills or experiences will be expected?
What are your specific skills/ experiences that may apply?
Who do you know who might help and provide a reference?

The position seeks BA/BS with some senior research
experience or an MS.  The skills sought are LC, MS and
working with bioassay prep and data analysis.

It is a stretch to have a senior undergraduate having
these, but our discussion proved that HL had good
experiences that could be of  interest.  HL had done
a semester of undergraduate monomer synthesis research
in junior year.  Quite interestingly, HL had completed a
semester research abroad where detailed discussion
revealed working with and troubleshooting LC-MS and
data integration systems for study of metal binding to
synnuclein.

It is now a challenge to create a document that points
out the specific instruments and work done both abroad
and as a junior.  What keywords were used in the job
description?
  Find a way to articulate HL’s work using
those or comparable terms.  Experienced reviewers will
 notice!
We talked about the big difference in working in a
research lab where things constantly go wrong or need
maintenance and calibration compared with doing an
analytical course lab experiment where everything is
pre-ordained and set up.

Then we spoke about another element– who were HL’s
references?  Has HL spoken to them about interest in
the position?  Can each one of three provide “good
references?  Does the reference know anyone at the
firm?  Can HL get to meet or speak with the possible
network referral to learn more about the position, hiring
manager, and company situation?

Does HL have a quality Linkedin page?  Let’s look.
What will be critical things to provide realizing the
first use might be for this LC-MS bioassay role?
What keywords, content and organization should the
Linkedin profile have?

What started out as a request for a resume review, morphed
into
 - job description study,
 - revising a draft resume highlighting key experiences
 - critically thinking through references and the roles they
assume (and, also including a reference list in the PR
submission
)
 - critically thinking that a professional presence is
expected (Linkedin profile and working on that)
 - outlining and drafting a cover letter for submission
 - seeking out people who could be referrals for the
position application; 
six other important steps.

comments (0)
11/15/16
Undergraduate Job Search Workshop.
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 1:31 pm

Last weekend we were part of a team presenting a job search
workshop for undergraduate chemistry field majors
at UConn. 
It was well attended and provi ded resume reviews and mock
interviews in addition to four topical discussions tuned to this
audience’s needs.

Four discussion areas from the day workshop are presented to readers.
 1.  Thesis or non-thesis masters is a graduate school option that was
new to many.  The thesis option involves a specialized project with
a professor.  It can require a longer term of study due to the research
in your domain.  The non-thesis option often involves a mini project
or a comprehensive exam to meet the requirements of the degree. 
The exam is taken after you have completed certain courses.

Choosing the thesis option can allow you to receive an assistantship
during your program.

Some fields prefer the thesis option as it allows a learning by doing
a new project to come up with outcomes.  If funding is limited, a
project reaches an end or facilities are not available the non-thesis
option
can be preferred.  Some fields, like geology, have reported the
non-thesis option has advantages as reported a Colorado School of mines.

 2.  Some firms reportedly use Jobvite to facilitate hiring.  People
have reported problems uploading their documentsJobvite specifies
that resumes need to be Word or “unlocked PDF” file formats
and that after uploading to populate application fields, you need to
use the attach button to include part for your application file.

You need to follow uploading instructions to the T.  Some instructions
include word limits, some seek a specific number of writing samples,
and others have specific deadline dates .

Barbara Safani points out that many people make the mistake of
taking their formatted Word document and uploading it into a text
box
on a company website.  Formatting is lost.  So it is prudent to
follow the specific job search instructions.

 3.  Traveling to an onsite interview can be a challenge.  Ask for
specific directions
to specific gates before you go.  Know who you
are to meet and their telephone number
in case of a delay, expecting
to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled first meeting time.

Interestingly a number of companies now require following ITAR
regulations
.  Thus to facilitate the special ITAR badge bring your
passport with you if you are an international candidate.

 4.  I was surprised that my colleagues felt it was fine to ask about
salary during the onsite interview
.  This might be the case, if you
had a very promising position in hand or were working in a good
position already.
You should always be ready to respond to a salary requirements
question
or what has been your salary in the past three positions…
There are pitfalls for coming in low or coming in high.  So, a response
to that query would be here is a range and you would consider any
reasonable offer where you can make a difference doing something you
are good at.

comments (0)
11/11/16
Listening. 2. Five aspects to focus on
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 4:21 pm

This post reports on a class given graduate students on
Listening Skills.  It was inspired by Nichols and Stevens,
yet the concepts described by Brenda Bailey-Hughtes and
Tatiana Kolovou
were built upon with practical exercises
which were specifically reviewed for teachable moments
and subliminally presented for different learning styles.

The class contained an international audience.  We have learned that
some  non native English speakers found  other behavioral 
psychology topics challenging.
Listening, filled with practical exercises giving examples of how 
we need to focus and 
how we selectively listen to people focusing on one aspect or
another.
.
Yet we have have to listen to many aspects:
 - details and specific facts
 - understanding the big picture
 - evaluating the content
 - observing and understanding nonverbal cues
 - empathizing with the speaker
.
The audience was encouraged to focus on improving their two weakest 
aspects and develop specific plan to make improvements.  Standing out
were pay attention to the “big picture”, nonverbal displays and 
hijacks that limit our rational thinking and attention.
comments (0)
10/23/16
Trouble Finding your Career Path
Filed under: Interviewing, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:59 am

Tom Friedman on Meet the Press restated the current situation
many job seeking technical degree individuals face.

[Hard to locate in a hour-long program.  So, the statement
is cut-and-pasted into the COMMENT section.]
He has been writing about this for several years.
1 comment
06/28/16
Watch-Outs. 97. Helium discovery, Jobs-computers-automation, and Impact of Sweet Chemicals
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:12 am

There is a section of Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s book
Second Machine Age that reviews the term “technological
unemployment.
“  It is attributed to the use of human labor
not finding application in the emerging economy and finds
causes from inelastic demand (machines, robots and computers
replacing and not taking breaks in fault-tolerant activities),
people not adapting to skill needs  and long term cost
reductions.  Two recent articles speak to recent job loss
in the chemical enterprise and the perspective from a
different field, economics.

I cannot think of another situation where there is
big news of finding an unexpected source of a
needed chemical other than rare earth elements
in China..  This time it is helium.

Food science resources that might help us
manage chronic diseases seem to be rare.  The
resources we see available are mostly proponents of
use or pharma companies for encouraging various
drug candidate use.  Here is one on sweeteners that
should be shared widely.

TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT
SOURCES:  J. Bessen HBR 2016, “Computers Don’t
Kill Jobs but increase Inequality

                      The Economist, 6-25-2016 “Special Report:
Artificial Intelligence

                      Dolan, Detroit Free Press,  “Dow to cut
700 Jobs in Central Michigan

Despite simple explanations that computers are growing
jobs due to new applications and broader usage, the
story is not as clear as Bessen writes.  You cannot
predict what you should learn and additionally, academics
are generally a technology generation behind actual
usage.  The Economist special section covers briefly
what is known and gives more up to date detail that
many fields are continuously evolving with new AI
methods ie ‘deep learning software available on open
source basis.’

Dow recently announced job losses in the chemical
enterprise that will have ripple effects as they “rationalize
their labor force needs”.   Sure there are business priorities
globalization will play a role as information can be shared
instantaneously and worked on anywhere in the world.
so you can see technical experts with advanced expertise
surviving, but there is much uncertainty for those seeking
full time, longer term employment.

The Economist series places one leg on each side of the
fence (pro and con), but you should look for areas of
opportunity (what robots and computers cannot do).

The longer term ripple effect of Dow-DuPont acquisition
and spin-offs are a visible example that the chemical
enterprise is not immune from this despite what popular
literature tries to sell.

HELIUM FIND IN AFRICA
SOURCE:  NYTimes feed “Huge Helium Source found in Africa
I was somewhat aware of the shortage of helium used
in many advanced technologies from Nick Leadbeater.
Working with Helium One, a Norwegian exploration firm
Oxford geologists uncovered a gas field rich in helium.
It is material released from rocks due to volcanic heat
in adjacent rocks.  The finding is of large commercial
value and may lead to testing other similar formations
goldilocks zones“.

There are important implications for industry.

TEMPTING SWEETS MAY NOT BE ALL THAT GOOD
SOURCE:  S Ernst, Amer. Laboratory, “Sweet Tooth”
 June/July 2016 p. 6-7.
Ernst’s article on Sweet tooth captured my interest.
and led me to look at Sugarscience.org.  There are
a number of metabolic tendencies that may the result
of food formulations that attract customers to purchase
and ingest what may not be best for them.  The website
seems to be a terrific repository of reviewed information
not biased by organizations that profit from its content.

comments (0)
02/27/16
Watch-Outs. 94. Personal Presence, Job Search Tips, Academic SEO
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:06 am
Our world is emerging, evolving yet some things remain
as good habits in our job search.  This entry shares 
sites describing impressions and trends in how we appear
and what we wear is received by recruiters and interviewers.
We also uncovered an entry while targeted at academic
career track takes its key concepts from business development
and branding.
The third entry is a frank advertisement about the things
people with advanced technical degrees should be doing to
find opportunities and openings.  So often they display the
“prisoners’ dilemma” working for a faculty member exclusively
depending upon him or her to figure out what career path they
should choose and when and how to pursue that path.  It does
not work that way, as it is really your prime responsibility.  No
one tells you that.            
DRESSING FOR SUCCESS –> SUCCESS
SOURCE:  WSJ 2-21-16 “Why Dressing for Success Leads to
Success” 
There is an unconscious, nonverbal communication that
people offer in the clothing we wear for different circumstances.
You need to be aware of this as you enter the job market and
continue throughout your career.  Many of the comments
reinforce the importance of quality clothing and good grooming.

ACADEMIC SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

SOURCE  The Academic Triangle Blog
This article offers using marketing principles to increase your
search rank on Internet search engines.
-  Google scholar profile
-  Google +, Researchgate  ,Academia.edu
-  use of keywords in titles and abstracts
-  author a thoughtful blog
-  affiliate with panels, group discussions, and committed networks

FIND OPPORTUNITIES–> COMMITTED NETWORKS,
REFERRALS

SOURCE:  Cheeky Scientist
You must get out of the laboratory to find your next position,
as foreign as that world and experience may seem to you.
This cheeky scientist entry frankly spells out the realities for you
in the highly competitive, different “human” world of impressions,
relationships, and being in the right place at the right time. 

Most jobs are not advertised and many emails and uploaded
documents are not read or at least responded to. Committed
networks and referrals are key.  Take all opportunities to
differentiate yourself.
comments (0)
02/13/16
Watch-Outs. 93. ChemBark Employment, “Green science Site”, Open source publishing
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:15 am

It is true, this blog is a supporter of open source publications.
With the internet, with the incredible expense of hard copy
publication (Chemistry texts at >$150), with restrictions
in information….  While exploring the topic in ACS, ChemBark
blog appeared.

The impetus for sustainable chemistry, processes and
products continues.  This blog seeks to continue to support
its innovation, know-how and application.  My green lab
is shared in this entry.

Back to open source publishing, a dimension in textbook
publishing has emerged and has hopes will take off
as it addresses the cost and obsolescence issues.

CHEMBARK EMPLOYMENT
Source:  ChemBark (Academic) Employment
This blog category lists some unique and valuable information
for people in the academic career path.  It is very readable
and contains tidbits from a career insider that are
thoughtful (UCLA, Haran) and helpful (StLUniversity,
for example).

SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY LABORATORIES
Source:  MYGREENLAB.ORG
This web site offers all aspects of sustainable design,
development and training, especially on institutions.
While a company, Lumencor, sponsors this as it is
in the business of environmentally friendly light sources,
it shows a new trend in outreach marketing.

I point to the Chemical Substitutions page as relevant
for this audience and two significant pages for Sustainable
Chemical Assessment
and MIT Green Chemical
Replacement
.

OPEN SOURCE TEXTS
Source:  M. Melia, SFGATE, 2-11-16, “Open-
source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

Article describes the texts as an aggregation of public
domain and Creative Commons sources.  The approach
takes advantage of funding sources requiring grant
recipients making their work available to wider
audiences.   There are certain pros and cons for
faculty, but the advantages for the students might
pave the way to broad adoption at least as an alternative.

comments (0)
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)
10/03/15
Watch-Outs. 88. Recharacterize Roth IRAs and Open Access Publication Alerts
Filed under: Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:11 am

It is the beginning of the 2015 Fourth Quarter and the
stock market has not been universally good this year.
Not going into any of those details, but will point you
to an article about some opportunities that certain
technical professional investors might calculate for
themselves using Turbotax of similar software.

ROTH IRA RECHARACTERIZATION CALCULATION
SOURCE:  L. Saunders, WSJ 10-3-15, “Why it’s prime
time for Roth IRA

Roth IRAs are the “gold standard” of tax sheltered
retirement plans from which withdrawals are presently
tax-free on untaxed gains and after tax contributions.
The issue is in the short term past many investments
lost value.  This article suggests Roth investors might
undo Roth conversions last year or this year and
avoid paying the taxon value that has “vanished”.
Deadline is Oct. 15.  Comments might be helpful
to peruse.

DIGITAL LIBRARY AND OPEN ACCESS
SOURCE:  ECS Open Access
                   Alternative Article Impact
Got my first email from ECS Weekly Digests from two technical
areas that I signed up for.  They inform me of recent publications
that this society reviewed and accepted.  Beyond my expectations
was outstanding other services that will allow me to communicate
better, learn new areas and deepen my understanding of the
practical outcomes of scientific investigations.
Sometimes cartoons in “digital libraries” can be outstanding
in effectively communicating results, impacts and directions.
MOORE’S LAW

BONUS:  SCIENCE OUT OF THE BOX

comments (0)
08/15/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Wireless, Mobile economy; Pressing Needs-Ammonia; Patent system debates
Filed under: Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:28 am

We do not see it but we expect remote control and
digital data access connected through wireless devices.
This provides challenges, opportunities and a need for
perceptive awareness for each of us.

One of the journals that I receive is Interface which
contains startling in-depth technical reading for a
general technical audience.  Several top-tier articles
on energy conversion and electrochemical production
of essential feedstocks.  There are several catching
articles worth perusing, from which I highlight one
on ammonia.  It is far more than just headlining
meso-facts.

A continuing debate among scientists and engineers,
innovators and inventors is the role of patents in
progress.  While not part of most graduate and post-
graduate training and more importantly reading, a
deeper awareness of the patent realm is highlighted.

HETNETS, 5G CONNECTIVITY IN YOUR FUTURE
SOURCE:  Fortune Ad Section August, 2015, p-51-3
PCIA informed us of amazing transformations happening
in our lives as we carry and use portable remote control
and communications devices with us.  A ten-fold increase
in global “traffic” is expected in four years.and we will
all be affected.  So it is “join us or get out of the way.”
Software is replacing custom hardware in creating
HETNETS heterogeneous networks and robust remote
applications, like surgery, is being conceived.
View PCIA webpage for more.

OPEN ACCESS PUBLICATION:  AMMONIA
ELECTROCHEMICAL PROCESSES
SOURCE:  Interface Summer 2015, 53ff
J. Renner, L. Greenlee, A. Herring K. Ayers,
“Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia:  A Low
Temperature Approach”
Among the many things we see emerging are open
access publications of high technical merit
like
the ECS journal, Interface.  One stalwart article
in this quarter’s issue is on the “mastery of nitrogen”.
The article brings together President Millard Fillmore
state of the union address, BASF’s Bosch Haber
process and selective catalysts to point out where
chemistry can make a difference in reducing where 1%
of all energy is used and 3% of all greenhouse gases
are produced.
See, for up coming article sourced above.

PATENTS
SOURCE: The Economist 8-8-15, p. 11
Time to fix patents
After defining what patents are and are not, hearing
many sides of the controversial issues of patent
protection and legal rights might be a good place
for people not versed in this important technical
topic to read and study.
The Economist offered a slanted journalist article
to shine light on an everlasting topic.  The comments
to the article reveal a much more complicated, many
sided landscape, even including some interesting
innovations in the European patent system.
Worth reading.

comments (0)
08/04/15
Undergraduate Majors. How do you Decide to Major In Chemistry?
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:40 am

Isn’t it interesting:  Some sources try to make, or offer advice
on, your decision process for your major very simple as
1-2-3-4.  While you and I can not disagree with specific
steps in their “quick-fix, instant” proposal, we can ask
is that all there is?

The basic frailty of simple ideas is that the world is non-linear,
unpredictable and constantly changing and we need to be
constantly learning and adapting.
  The “roadmap” will not be
so simplistically non-changing, but there will be changing
endpoints and detours.

In a recent example, Nathan Gebhard nicely points out (a)
set your goals, (b) following your passion is less important
than developing keen interests and refreshing them, (c) have
reality checks, and (d) whatever you pursue, be good at it.
Sure, all make sense, but there are practical measures that
might help things along–
 1   pursue internships,                     
 2   develop mentors,
 3   don’t be afraid to fail as long as you learn from failing,
 4   get broad exposure to many things,
 5   develop an inquisitive curious mind, how to play on
a team and how to be likeable.

Adding these five practical measures does make it harder.
See Brian Tracy for nice descriptions.

comments (0)
07/23/15
Tools to Gain more Security in our Career Paths
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

Nearly 80% of the members of our graduate course in
Professional Development rank security or certainty as
a leading desire.  Thus, a high percentage sense a higher
level of un-certainty.

I led a seminar recently on ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ where
the attendees were asked what were they uncertain about.
Was it how to make good decisions, or
What should be their next career step, or
Should they stop with a MS, or
How to do a good job search, or
How long should they expect to stay at a job, when should
they move, how do you look for a position while working,
or
What do you do if your boss disagrees with you or
does not like you, or…
You might get the point.  Then, I asked them to share
their uncertainty with others before asking them to
discuss what feelings do the uncertainty evoke?

Did they feel confused, or anxious, or frustrated, or
stuck (and not able to change or move), or making false
starts
?  The top three feelings they expressed were:
anxious, confused and frustrated.

We talked that many of their situations were created by
the circumstances that they were in influenced by outside
forces.  They have relatively little control over these. 
What they each have control over is how they individually
respond to the feelings that the circumstances evoke.

Those who felt confused might lack VISION.  What are
their career objectives?
Have they done a S-W-O-T, strengths-weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis?
Do they participate in setting goals, performing a “gap
analysis
” and design a personal development plan?
Do they have a Z Plan, a personal desired outcome
when everything comes out “jelly-side up”?

Those who felt anxious might lack the NECESSARY
SKILLS.  Have they performed a personal self assessment?
Do they know soft and wise skills that they are expected
to display and will provide advantages?  Do they know
how to manage and build personal self esteem?
Ref. Brian Tracy

Those who felt frustrated might not have developed and
used available RESOURCES.  Have they mentors that
seem committed to them?  Are they aware of legal
counsel of Al Sklover for employment issues?  Are
they aware of the WRAP method (Widen options,
Reality check solutions, Attain distance/perspective
and Prepare to be wrong)

Working through these brought some clarity to dealing
with each person’s sense of uncertainty.

Thanks to Hari Narayanan for bringing the uncertainty
matrix to my attention.

comments (0)
07/05/15
Watch-Outs. 84. Ranked Best Companies, Evaluating ETFs, “Deep Web searching”
Filed under: Position Searching, Recruiters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:05 am

What are the “good” companies to work for?  How do you
learn who they are when doing your job search?  Word of
mouth, crowd-sourcing, business news?  A link to Barron’s
weekly business publication can provide some insight.

Investments are often a challenge in the beginning of
our careers, and for long time investors, things change a
lot over time.  I am learning that in the current climate
I should move to ETFs of dividend paying stocks in my
tax deferred investments.  Bond rates a low and the
Fed is expected to enter the whole picture with interest
rates.  A link to essential information about ETF evaluations
might be useful.

Finally, we all do searching and archiving.   Did you
know about “deep web” resources being developed by
DARPA?

MOST RESPECTED COMPANIES
SOURCES:  Barrons June 29, 2015, p. 29
World’s Most Respected Companies and
P. Moutoukoutas, Fortune, “the worlds most respected
companies…

When looking for where we want to work, it might be
wise to know the best companies based on cloud
sourcing tools.  Many technology and scientific firms
are included on the list.  Discussion of the insertion of
Chinese firms from Fortune offers a different insight.

ETF INVESTING
SOURCE:  B. Leggett, “Essential and misunderstood
evaluation tools
,”
I am new to ETFs which are investment vehicles that
are a form of index funds with lower fees for investors.
How to evaluate them to invest in is not clear.  Leggett
is offering a tutorial that could be useful for your long
term financial health.

DEEP WEB SEARCHING
SOURCE:  American Laboratory June/July 2015
Scientists Use the Deep Web to Find information not
Accessible to Search Engines

This might be the next generation of information
technology that will be used in research and forecasting.

comments (0)
06/05/15
Watch-Outs. 82. Business strategies, Legal covenants, where mfg jobs are, Overtime pay
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

What do you know about the documents you sign
when you are employed by an organization?  Al
Sklover provides deep insight into what they protect,
require and imply in one “watch out” link.

When studying organizations to determine pros and
cons for their mission and strategy we are faced with
some unfamiliar terms.  The Economist reviews some
current popular styles that can provide help in your
job search,

WSJ projected where manufacturing jobs of the future
will be.  It provides “down to earth” reading that society
publications might not be as forthcoming with.

RESTRICTIVE COVENANT DOCUMENTS
SOURCE:  A. Sklover, “Non-Solicitation agreements
from A to Z
” April 2015
An authoritative  description of restrictive covenants is
agreements to limit your future work-related effort, Al Sklover
offers.  They include:  non-competes, non-solicitation and
nondisclosure.  The site renders thoughts and opinions about
what wording to look for and seek an understanding of, if you
are faced with such agreements.  Clear language and integrity
stand out in the “working wisdom blog.”

BUSINESS STRATEGY DEFINITIONS
SOURCE:  The Economist, Schumpeter, “A palette of plans
5-30-15. p. 66
Business life cycles, mergers and acquisitions, patent litigation
and joint ventures, product recalls and new updates dominate
the marketplace.  When you evaluate firms to consider working
at, it might be helpful to have a clue on the business strategy
since working there is truly investing your time and very likely
your resources.  Schumpeter summarizes a Boston Consulting
Group book on business strategies.  It describes:
niche-dominating, adaptive-evolving (4E model), blue ocean
(whole new market), broad-partnering, and being-nimble-
striving for-efficiency strategies.

FORECAST:  FUTURE MANUFACTURING JOBS
SOURCE, WSJ, 6-3-15, p. R6,”Where the manufacturing jobs
of the future will be

This article is a litmus test for job forecasting of technical
professionals.  Realize that things will change, like the fracking
revolution for jobs in the oil patch and flexible innovation
when oil prices suddenly declined in the last year.
The article does not relate directly to PhDs and post-docs,
but it does indicate the health of certain industries and
the top locations  of chemical plants and plant systems
operators.

BONUS Sklover Working Wisdom:  Topic OVERTIME PAY

comments (0)
04/25/15
Transformative Planning. Looking for Disruptions Impacting your Industry, Business and Career Paths
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:33 am

A provocative concept introduced by Daniel Burrus
is transformative [rather than incremental] planning .

This concept results from a realization that there
are “wider” and broader forces influencing changes
beyond linearization of recent events.  Burrus calls
our attention to industries and organizations who remained
in their ’silos’ of view and perished or were left behind
due to total changes in context and culture.  (think:
iphones, ipads, and remote storage in place of cameras
and photos)

He teaches us anticipatory planning for what does not
even exist now.  He advocates a broader network of
information gathering and screening to be prepared
to explore in our information interviews and networking
interviews to be part of the future trend rather than trying
to catch up.  [ See blog.]

This motivates why this blog lists topics as Trends in
Technical Careers
, Watch-Outs, International Job
Applications, career paths you might not first consider,
and Interesting Links.

An example of a company seeking to adapt and adjust
is Bayer

A recent ad in Atlantic elaborates on AOT Analytics
of Things which is being incorporated into our daily
lives via predictive maintenance for safety, health
and efficiency and up-to-the-second awareness.


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