Let me start by wishing all readers good health and
patience in the human struggle with the coronavirus
pandemic. We wish it were not in our environment.
Now that it is we need to work together to survive
We each have struggles each day. Face them and
overcome them. We are scientists and technologists,
all. Let me tell you what I faced this morning with
my laptop, quarantined at home like many others. I
was perusing the news and mail and regularly visited
websites this morning when I noticed my lithium ion
battery was getting low state of charge signals. I had
the charger cord plugged in. What was going on?
This battery was replaced two months ago with an unused
one online, not from Dell (They only sold “refurbished”
batteries for this laptop.); it was installed guided by a
you-tube ‘how-to’ video and has been working nicely.
What to do? Go on line and see what others have
faced and done, right! Accordingly, I opened the
computer up to wipe the electrodes clean. While it
was sitting on my lap, I look down and the power cord light
was not lit. the plug had loosed from the socket and was
the root cause.
Lesson: Look for root causes of problems before you go
Electrochemistry in Space
The latest issue in “Interface
” brings us incredibly
thought-provoking articles that should move you to
take several looks.
The first uses the technology of ‘regenerative fuel cells
to explain the details of and action items included in
NASA patent of the utility patent US 7,410,714,
K. A, Burke.
[For all interested in a terrific series of technology
patenting please see
Cordeiro and colleagues show photos and descriptions
of a variety of sensor systems
Bugga and Brandon nicely review the history of
that find their way into the decades
of space programs and pointing out the need for
“beyond lithium” technologies
This is strongly recommended reading for people
interested in the science as well as future career
You are in a faster evolving situation, Readers, than even a
decade ago. Besides needing to learn the latest and critical
tools, trends and factoids of chemistry, biology, physics,
geology, math, statistics and software, the digital world is
transforming at an alarming, hard to keep track of pace.
Eight critical elements for your online presence include:
- your personal information
, including purchases,
apps used, websites visited are critical to accumulators.
- delete unused apps
- review spp permissions, keep them current
What do you share and post online? Avoid exposing
photos, security settings, banking-investment-biometric
data and log-ins
- With your associations changing your social networks,
friends and contact lists will evolve. Periodically review.
- Post only about others as you would have them post
Have an action plan for infections and malware. [I
regularly purchase AV software, but also use my home
owners insurance rider for computer issues
- use multiple passwords
- check your social media privacy setting; they change and
are different on different devices
- check for https:// and tools
2. Personal websites
It is incumbent on nearly all readers to consider and continuously
update their personal website
. It is not a resume or CV and
offers things outside your professional boundary and deeper
meaning of you (In mine I list my genetic genealogy and my
professional academic genealogy.)
Whether you are a student, post-doc or employed in
industry, government or academia, the internet is the leading
element now in marketing. It is both”push and pull,”requires
that technical professionals become a student of the continuously
evolving discipline of marketing
In the digital age, it is replete with the expansion of uses. Mobile
tools are personal assistants in too many to name ways. It includes
remote control of simple and complex devices. Research tools.
Digital tools permit visualization and simulations. Computational
power incorporates statistics.
- from an early age, engage and pursue beneficial uses and solutions
to practical problems. Learn from others.
- practically bring statistics into your daily, professional and practical
existence. Others are doing it to you.
5. Networking and Communication
6. Chemical Information and Government Resources.
Too often academic institutions seek originality and avoid
resources that are publicly available. It can be a missing
link to discovering or disproving hypotheses.
- explore how Chemical Information resources can work for you.
- Federal resources and reports are available through databases and search tools
Many societies and commercial publishing firms have been the
mainstay of scientific and technical publication the 20th century.
It is steared by technical reviewers and editors.
The 21st century sees the Internet providing free, open
access publication that is overtaking slow to evolve print
organizations. Textbooks are fair game.
Fidelity Investments highlighted a Kiplinger article suggesting how long to keep hard-copy and/or virtual files of financial records.
Surprises include: Keep for 3 years records of spending using withdrawals from health spending and 529 accounts.
Keep for 6 years records of self-employed business income and expenses.
records of final tax returns
. (I guess this is where it might be handy to have something like Fidelity Investments, FIDSAFE
Keep Home purchase and home improvement documents, taxable account investment documents
You know, it is hard to come up with a list of firms to
consider applying to. Sure you can go to your placement
services, whether academic, commercial or governmental,
and see who they cite.
You can go to fields of specialization where previous people
from your area have landed positions.
You can take recommendations from mentors who may have
As we are seeing, what is important to some people is not as
important to others. I recall when I began my search, all I
heard was that finding a good post doc was critical after
grad school. Then, I had a mock interview with a mentor
who offered a unique idea of looking for energy related
fields (now this was in the 70s, just before the time of the
Arab oil embargo in the US). So when I was involved with
screening interviews, I accepted all that were offered and I
could request. Then part of my decision process involved
determining energy companies.
These days business aspects are paramount. Which firms
criteria of doing the right things well. It is well worth taking
a look at the criteria and perhaps digging into the listing to
determine where you might search.
It is true that other factors besides this play a role for each
of us and that we need to define them– company culture,
location, specific fields of interest, and so forth.
When I perused the list at least half of the top 50 are technology
intensive companies and there are some firms that I had not
known before. This is valuable and should be of strong
interest to you.
Look at a number of the companies listed and go to their
[Even get a copy of the 12-3-18 issue of the WSJ.]
Steven Brill outlines the changes that have occurred
triggering the financialization of the chemical enterprise
that we have highlighted through the work of Rana Faroohar
Brill points out that business today has taken on a new meritocracy
with a “get rich quick” philosophy that works through cut-throat
tactics and the flooding of political influence money that no
longer prioritizes the common good, but “win at any cost” for
the privileged few.
The resulting model finds successful businesses protected by
“moats” that shield off predators. Moats he describes as good
product lines, great reputations, predominant market share and
sterling management who hire the best of the best teams that
savvy investors will seek out.
More and more we see AI and robotics impinge on human
roles. So in addition to seeking cognifying roles
in our careers,
consider what John Meacham has urged
- do practical work in the political sphere employing your highest
- respect and insist on true facts and deploy reason (avoid
dictators who lie frequently assuming that repetition will lead to
- keep history in mind.
Just doing chemistry is not enough for professionals.
Two interesting email requests arrived in my inbox, recently.
One was asking for participation in a job search workshop
by a professional society local section.
The second was a request from a graduate student seeking
help with his resume.
INTERESTING WORKSHOP DILEMMA
We were away on a vacation that delayed our responses.
However, I sent a follow up note to a colleague who was
a recipient of the job search workshop note asking to speak
before talking with the assistant professor who was coordinating
TH and I spoke on a telecon to address our concerns and
requirements before “meeting” with the prof and TH volunteered
to set up a Webex.
From this arrangement, several things emerged…
1. email is not a useful vehicle to coordinating a program between
different participants. It is so easy to misinterpret what is going
on. It is much better to do it in person, if possible, by Skype
or as a last result, telecon, if the participants know and trust
2. the resulting meeting request was misinterpreted. In addition,
a follow-up first discussion was delayed.
TH asked for a webex time slot. It was then felt that not everyone
responded to the professor…
The professor had urgent reasons for not being able to talk for an
3. The prof indicated his desired date is two months in the future
on a Saturday, but provided a date for Friday. This kind of
mishap can happen to any of us. But it suggests some problems.
On top of that there is a conflict with the Saturday date that
prevents everyone from participating.
BOTTOM LINE. These kind of workshops need to be planned
4-7 months in advance with back ups for most critical items.
It is useful to have a team of organizers.
PROVIDING HELP FOR INTERNATIONAL JOB SEARCHER
This personal consultation can be related to the workshop.
In a way, this is one of the key goals of what a workshop might
The initial email request asked for help writing a resume for
a job. Well as we know it is critical to be both more specific
and have a strategy in mind for narrowing down options.
The first draft of the resume was sent as an attachment. It
revealed that the grad student was at “square one” of his
search. He inserted some relevant data into an online
resume platform without understanding the hard preparation
that needs to go into it.
A response email was sent with several attachments.
The email pointed out that
- multi-colored, underlined, fancy documents are not
well received for technical professional resumes
- the application should involve a well written cover
letter and other documents that would positively
separate your application from the other applicants.
- have a specific position in mind that provides the
keywords critical for inclusion in your documents
BOTTOM LINE: The process, timeline and goals are
not defined. So, as with the workshop planning,
creating a workable structure and organization will
be as important as developing viable content.
Academic world revolves around an academic calendar;
the rest of the world employs different time charts.
Job searching is often a full time effort usually out of
sync with the environment you are in.
This blog post reflects the position that the ACS needs
to develop an on-going Subject area regarding the
Economics of our Enterprise, just like Chemistry and
the Law, the Environment, and Education.
describes the need…”The system is rigged. Companies
are forced to eliminate workers not by the market of
real goods and services where supply and demand set the
right price, but by the commands of financial markets,
where hope and greed too often set the price.”
the decline of corporate R&D by measuring the decline
of technical papers–
‘Corporations in the US are spending a diminishing portion of their R&D budgets on research. The share of basic and applied research in corporate R&D has tapered from 28% in 1985 to 20% in 2015.
Corporate representation in the scientific literature is also shrinking. In an analysis of publications authored by publicly traded US companies in the Web of Science database, we observed that the annual average number of papers published per company fell from around 25 in 1980 to less than 10 in 2010. The drop was visible across a wide range of industries and most pronounced among firms with established research programmes, for which the number of publications fell by as much as 65% between 1980 and 2006.’
Detailed information and discussion includes:
1. the decline of retained earnings
2. using algorithms to make decisions
3. intrusion of fake news, fake growth and bots to influence decisions
4. use of polls with uncertain questions and populations and decision criteria
5. professionals reduced to under 29-hours population
This is a critical topic for emerging chemists,
people indifferent stages of their careers and our
professional organization aiming to serve its members.
Barbara Oakley, part of the team delivering ‘highly attended’
MOOCs, authored a topical book “Mindshift: Breakthrough
Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential”
that can open up your thinking.
It left me with at least seven take home messages shared below.
1. Learning via the Pomodoro Technique
turn off distracting devices and sources
focus on work for 25 minutes
take a few minute break to rest your mind; repeat…
2. Cultures cling to legacies; change is fought off. New ideas
form and flow with two classes: young, unexposed people
and people who change fields.
3. ”Second skilling” permits you to adapt to the changing career
environment. Two tactics: look to increasing and decreasing
hiring trends; overall picture of skill distribution and where
are budgets decreasing and lowering of skills
4. ”Chunk” your learning practicing more on the areas you find
5. Opportunity results from skill and luck. Luck surfaces from
a combination of (1) seeing problems as opportunities, (2)
constantly upgrade and learn new skills, (3) assertively
6. People have different learning styles. Learn yours. One is
focused, another is diffuse. You should use both, but
understand what works best for you.
7. Value of selective ignorance. You have only so much ‘cognitive
energy’. Be selective in what you choose.
This book is highly recommended for undecided people and
professionals in-transition. [The review cited above provides
a thoughtful assessment.]
You learn and train in a wide range of technical skills,
develop writing ability creating public relations documents,
perfect public speaking and presentations in universities.
Do you get an introduction into solid financial practices
and decisions when you start your career? From a number
of recent interactions I sense most don’t have those
conversations or know people they can feel comfortable
Some situations, for example:
- start at a position and get reduced in staff in less than
- decisions at sign-up starting a position at the new
to mind. The last hits home — money is not an end in
itself, it is a means to create personal satisfaction and
value. Leading among the ten items are:
1. figure out your required and optional expenses
2. include creating an emergency fund, insuring yourself
and life essential properties
3. manage your loans, payments, and credit record.
The time value of money can be estimated by the
The financial world is changing constantly. The recommendations
and rules of the past in general may not be applicable.
Think 401Ks, IRAs, pension plans, how you use tax returns
and estimated tax payments.
Create a “financial notebook” for yourself as a continuing learning
tool. Learn from your mistakes.
Seek financial counselors or mentors you can go to.
If you work for the federal government, student loans can be
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
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.
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
2a. these days more and more Linkedin recommendations can be
a useful starter in situations where policies limit employees from
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
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes push
, 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
that you have signed.
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
Have you noticed the major overhaul of the rules and enforcement
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
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
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
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
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
[Bring a solution, when you ask about a big concern you
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.
`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
We all have limited time and viewerships.
- Set your short and longer term goals
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,
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
six other important steps.
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
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 documents. Jobvite 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
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.
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
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
that limit our rational thinking and attention.
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.]
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.
SOURCES: J. Bessen HBR 2016, “Computers Don’t
Kill Jobs but increase Inequality“
The Economist, 6-25-2016 “Special Report:
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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