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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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11/17/17
Professional Behavior. Dealing with Catastrophic Challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:34 pm

We recently observed close friends living in CA who lost
their home and most of its contents to wildfires.  Another
friend was overtaken by back pain making it difficult to
work.  A third friend lost her husband suddenly.

.
These are hard things to face.  So is losing one’s job and
other “black elephant” events.  
.
This entry offers some ideas for actions you can do
at separate stages in your career.
.
EARLY CAREER
 - develop a detailed “master resume” [  2 ], develop a
credible internet presence 
 - monitor daily your credit card and financial records,
noting unusual events.  Have an action plan ready–
 - have an 
action plan ready for losing credit cards, cell
phones or cars
.  Don’t wait for the unfortunate event to happen–
have paid up insurance, contact numbers organized,
detailed information to provide 
 - record retention file guidance retention
1 year:  payroll stubs, bill statements
6 years:  income tax records and related forms
7 years:  critical slips, statements and cancelled checks
Permanent:  investment records, pension papers, insurance
policies, contracts, personal-  birth certificates, military,
marriage, divorce, adoption, naturalization and citizenship
real estate
 - always enroll in substantial disability insurance
.
MID-CAREER
 - continue all the early career record-keeping
 - formulate a document location spreadsheet, what is in
your safety deposit box
 - have a list of people and institutions with their contact
information for banks, brokerages, lawyers, physicians
 - formulate a will, powers of attorney, and care for
children:  instructions who would raise them in your
absence
 - organize important family photos, papers and records
 - take the initiative to ward off identity theft 
.
CLOSE TO RETIREMENT
 - visit trust attorneys and determine who you would like
to represent you
 - interview and work with a financial adviser
 - organize a checklist for what to do when a loved one
dies [see comment]
 - wealth transfer planning
2 comments
11/12/17
Letter Writing. Importance of tailored, precise and respectful letters
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:31 am

One of the leading skills that we take away from our
experience, education and learning from others is
“articulating thoughts” in letters.  Notice the specificity
at the end of the sentence.  [Many sources point out
that articulating relates to speech, lucid is more to
tuned to writing.]

.
Articulating thoughts in writing means that there is a
specific goal for your letter, whether  
  showing your 
interest in a specific position 
opening
, stating the significance of a 
research paper
you wish to submit to a journal editor
, or filing an interest or complaint with an authority
figure.
.
Lindsey McMahon encapsulates barriers to lucid
writing identifying four hurdles:
 - cultural differences:  while it is easier to describe 
international professionals working in American 
enterprises, I have found manufacturing organizations
have “time critical” focus that is not present in R&D,
for example.
Observe and pay attention to words used and timeliness,
intent and action.
.
 - verbs, active/passive voice and word order:  
interpretations and meaning can vary from person to
person
.
 - finding the right term:  so often loss of specificity
can lead to undesired outcomes
.
 - anxiety can lead to including unrelated information
due to uncertainty.  Joining organizations like 
Toastmaster International may prove to be a growing
exercise.
.
In most cases good letter writing open doors to many
opportunities as well as the goal for your writing.  
Keywords, knowing how letters are received and 
recorded (sometimes documents are screened by 
software before humans scan them), and who and
how letters are addressed (formal is more often
appropriate) are take-aways for good letter writing. 
See also.
 
2 comments
10/25/17
Arctic Amplification of Atmospheric CO2 increases
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:59 am

Did not know which title intro fits better:  ‘Watch-Outs’ or
‘Technical Trends worth noting’ as I start this entry.

Last evening a local library sponsored a stimulating
discussion on weather changes influenced by arctic sea-ice
and land-ice changes by Jennifer A. Francis.
Her presentation offers a clear-minded assessment of 
observations of Arctic sea-ice and land-ice losses.  They
impact winds in at least three ways and ocean
levels in as many ways through combining impacts.
A great link to her research results is a panel discussion:odrow Wilson Center: Arctic Environmental Futures: Nexus of Science, Policy, and Operations, 29 September 2017

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/arctic-environmental-futures-nexus-science-policy-and-operations

 [you never know how these links display!]
where she is the third speaker.
.
She describes three effects of the loss of the Arctic sea-ice cap
(Arctic Amplification):
 - weaker steering winds
 - wavier jet stream
 - stagnant formations of wind flow (resulting from jet
stream splitting)
.
On top of sea ice recession, land-ice loss due to thermal
effects due to less reflection of solar radiation (Less ice,
polar cap is darker and more absorbent) raises sea levels
and enhances storm water surges in coastal regions.
.
Her talk last night ended with forecasts for future
scenarios that point to the need for important changes
in global behaviors, changing populations settling and
migration patterns and serious infrastructure redesigns.
[Several of these are pointed out in the Wilson Center 
video link.]
.
A recent article provides a less technical view.
comments (0)
10/15/17
Digital Media. Growing Use of Internet Publishing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Recruiters, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:36 pm

One of the crucial measures of developing research programs
is keeping in touch with new ideas and combinations with
new equipment and theories.  

.
Several career paths place credibility of achievement on
publications [publications in peer reviewed publications]. 
How this is measured with Internet publications is not patently 
obvious or at least consistent from one organization to another.
.
Nonetheless several sources of online publications are appearing.
ChemRN provides global access and outlet to classified topic
areas.
.
ChemRxiv is a Figshare product offers rapidly transmitted
of one-page preprints with a promise of tools to detect plagiarism.
[open API or via OAI-PMH].
.
This blog articulated that scientific publishing was going
to evolve from the commercial and professional society
journal paradigm.  It will be important that strong professional
ethics are articulated in this evolving medium
and there is
a viable enforcement mechanism for violations and dealing
with grey-area issues.

2 comments
10/09/17
Technical trends worth noting. CRISPR and other models, Analysts career path, and Astrophysics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:42 am

We can gain insights into various career paths by interrogating
other fields and applying their approaches and findings.

.
In reading some Native American history, the contrast in
the sense of the meaning of time was offered [James Wilson,
The Earth Shall Weep ].  The cultural driven Indian nations
regarded time as cyclical returning to seasonal interludes,
whereas European cultures brought in a linear perspective of
distant past-past- present-future.  The European culture sliced
time up into eras and time spans and measured time with
smaller and smaller intervals.
.
Taking a wider view, Lisa Randall [Astrophysicist] discusses
the critical notion of “scale” which informs Physicists the range
of lengths, time intervals, or energies that are relevant for any
particular investigation and is critical to the understanding of
progress.
By partitioning the universe into different comprehensible
sizes we learn that the laws of physics that work best are not
necessarily the same for all processes.  Indeed the degree of
of precision you desire determines the scales you choose.
.
For a given problem we use an “effective theory.”  This points
out the concept that the month-day-hour-second-nanosecond is
just a cultural interpretation of celestial observations from 
which it was derived and the world as different cultures displays
“scales” describing different “effective theories.”
 .
Do not expect your scale to be uniformly applicable for all
problems
.  Science offers an evolving body of knowledge, as old
ideas get incorporated into more fundamental theories and science
proceeds with uncertainty at the edges.
.
CRISPR
As humans, we find shortcuts almost part of our nature.  So 
a decade ago exomes [shortened genome sequences] were sought
in clinical investigations of mendelian disorder studies.  They
offered lower cost approaches.  This hypothesis more likely 
confirmed that shortcuts more often lead to incomplete or wrong
directions as biological systems are complex.
.
Article writers in biochemistry expect CRISPR/Cas9 to become
routine as just another tool as researchers dive into germline
genome editing.  Dozens of organizations want to fully weigh
in on public funding to repair a germline mutation in human 
embryos [9-1-17, GENengnews.com].  Then, alternate approaches
such as mouse models might be oversimplistic in expecting
organism wide duplication.
.
This points to Lisa Randall’s observation that leadership 
needs to push forward in asking the right questions, defining
the real problems, and identifying promising routes to
progress by solving smaller issues which turn out to be
clues  to the bigger issues.
.
ANALYST SALARIES AND COMPANIES
LC/GC completed and published a 2017 salary survey and
company listing that job seekers in the chemical analyst
career track will use.

comments (0)
10/05/17
Leadership. Insights from observations during challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:30 am

Just finished reading Rudy Guiliani’s book Leadership.

Reading the book was an opportunity to see things from a
different perspective– legal mind with historical interests
who faced and met challenges.  It was a rewarding experience
in that it offered some remarkable take-aways about positive
behaviors of leaders and thinking processes in dealing with
challenges.
.
BEHAVIORS 
.
-   The importance of seeing things / situations with your own
eyes, as it allows all sorts of things that you can question and
suggest.
-   Practice simulations of actual events before they happen.  
Have a reaction plan.  Let it be modifiable.
 -  Have a command center
       organize and formulate communications, coordination
and evaluation
       prepare back up plan and unintended consequences
       anticipate what might happen next
-    Prepare relentlessly and eliminate making assumptions

THINKING PROCESSES

All leaders are influenced by those who they admire.  Reading
about them and studying what and how they learned will inspire
how you will grow critical traits.  Much of the material will be the
raw material of your own life.
-    insist on starting off with a morning meeting as your cornerstone
       get control of the start of the day
       set priorities;  have all key contributors present
       allow open discussion
       outcomes:  specific action plans and reporting
       everyone is informed and accountable;  carry the info forward
-    sweat the details and small stuff, as they reveal underlying 
processes
-     create arguments for different coalitions to influence decisions
-     instill preparedness
-     put your health as a first and main concern
-     take as much time as available to make decisions, but the 
process of making the decision should begin immediately.
-     seek different perspectives and points of view, yet avoid
predetermination or favorites.  [Sometimes it is beneficial to
leave the room when discussion is in process and receive a
summary afterwards.]
-     surround yourself with strong, independent people while
keeping battles internal.  manage results and expectations
-     underpromise and overdeliver-  how
               develop your personal beliefs
               communicate them
               have a plan of action
               word choice makes a difference
-    stand up to bullies.  Do it early.
-    do not exceed the ‘pig factor’ [spending more than needed,
overstating on expenses, it is a form of bullying]
-     read in depth about things you find come up;  do not
just leave it to experts. 

comments (0)
09/27/17
Consulting Roles. Things to take away from a dated publication on Consulting
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:07 pm

Visiting an experienced technical professional, I asked
how he would help people who are thinking of a consulting
career..  He gave me a text by William Cohen, “How to
Make it big as a Consultant.
”  Then we discussed some things.

The Cohen book was more than 30 years old and did not
include any Internet related nor association-network approaches.
.
In Cohen are listed direct methods for contacting customers–
1- direct mail
2- cold calls
3- direct response ads
4- directories and yellow pages
5- former employees and directors.
.
So he does not get into push pull marketing so much in the 
Internet age.  It all seems to be “push” marketing.  It is
confirmed by the “indirect methods”…
a- speaking to groups
b- newsletters
c- professional associations
d- articles and books
e- letters to editors
f- teach a course and lead a seminar
g- public releases and broadcast releases.
.
These are all still applicable, but likely not relevant!
.
Clearly having a proactive web page, linkedin page and
pull marketing strategy is not known in 1985 when the
book was written.  There are several other approaches .
.
It is not an easy task and one that evolves rapidly.
.
Now there is something in addition to learn from this
exercise….check the publication date of the book, and,
see if there is a more recent edition.  There is in this
particular case.
 
1 comment
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.
1 comment
08/22/17
Professional Behavior. Entrepreneurs
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

Your circumstances are different than most everyone else’s.
However, we can learn from other professionals’ approaches
if we have a mind to it– that is remain curious, or make up
our minds to be curious.

.
I can not tell you how beneficial it is to be generous and
thoughtful to people who serve you.  They may work for you
individually or be part of an organization.  Took time to drive
with our daughter to do some quick shopping where each of
us had our own shopping lists.  I watched as she hustled to
put items in our basket, but could not find “just” what I wanted.
.
Thought to myself, we could find a premium item as a takeout
from a suitable restaurant.  So we stopped and purchased the 
delectable salad for 2.  While waiting we got into a idle time
conversation with the server.  We asked if we might get a “short”
cup of coffee while waiting and she cooperatively brought it out
as we continued our conversation.   So, as we paid our bill we
asked if we could write a thank you note to management for her
kind and thoughtful service.  She did not exactly know, as she
was a summer hire…. She brought out her manager who informed
us how to perform the act online with detailed instructions.  Then,
went on to say by doing this in a specific order, she would be
rewarded, he would be rewarded and we would receive a modest
gift certificate online.
.
Back in our ride home, we chatted about learning from others’
behaviors is such an adult way of developing and improving skills…
especially in an entrepreneurial world.
.
We used three of Travis Bradberry’s 9 Skills that pay dividends:  
asking for help, staying positive and taking initiative.  Six other items
were–
   knowing yourself (personal self assessment),
   listening,
   know how to say “no”,
   sleeping well,
   knowing to pause and remain quiet, and 
   determining priorities to do the most important things.
.
These apply critically to entrepreneurs who either have too much time
on their hands or too little time.
.
This brings up five things entrepreneurs who find themselves with 
an episodic income stream need to be mindful of:
a.  formulate an exit strategy that propels your next direction–  musts
and wants for yourself and your current employer as a win-win outcome
b.  accumulate reserves and strategize how you can live lean should
events require ‘belt tightening’ 
c.  Set up long term retirement, big purchase, and emergency insurance
accounts and make the necessary contributions (insure matching 
contributions can happen and are accessible)
d.  Know the rules and double check on the amounts about estimated
taxes.  Use an accountant if you are new.  Perhaps fall back on
Turbotax, if you have some experience.
e.  Read the fine print, consult legal input on the fine print of signed
agreements and understand their implications and recourses.
comments (0)
08/16/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Design of Active Pharmaceuticals
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:33 am

One of the subtopics we cover in our Professional
Development course is LCA or Life Cycle Assessment
in our class on ethics.

This is a broad impact area that leading organizations have 
adopted for processes, final products, side reactions and
recycling.
.
Recently, a committed network colleague, John Warner,
shared a pertinent article in Chemistry World that addresses
“better design of pharmaceuticals” that do no harm to the
environment when disposed.  The article cites:
 -   birth control and antidepressant drugs persisting in our clean
water supply impact dependent animal life
 - certain drugs remain present and active in vegetable irrigation
supplies and are found in consumable purchases (wash all food
stuffs!)
 
As a result, certain first world countries have implemented extra
cleaning steps to scrub water before it enters water supplies.
The article, however addresses an alternate approach I know
John has been pursuing for over 30 years and is gaining more
supporters… designing active molecules to decompose when 
disposed.
comments (0)
08/12/17
Self Assessment Reflection.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:41 am

Yesterday’s first year graduate student seminar involved
a pre-class homework assignment.  

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/types2.asp 
Since the group was large, eleven of the 16 preference
types were represented.  That meant that there were a
variety of learning styles in the seminar.  
.
The larger group size meant that we could not go into
detail into each individual preference class.  
.
We did reveal how preferences can influence us in both
subtle and explicit ways by asking each individual their
name and whether they were left or right handed and
whether they liked cats or dogs.  These are preferences
that are genetic and influenced by our early life 
experiences… much the same as MBTI.
.
To maximize the experience we had each person
sit with their own similar preference groups and
complete and compare a Values and a Behaviors
instruments to go after an emotional understanding
They learned that despite similar MBTI profiles their
values and behaviors revealed different trends and
these are also important to learn in working in teams.
.
The second half of the seminar involved two
exercises– one involved discussing projects which
troubled several since they had to come up with their
own project and a physical constructing project where
they had to describe their result.
-In the first, one outstanding group had an individual
take leadership and point out how each person, by 
name,  would contribute to the expected outcome.
.
-In the second we had a group presenter relate a 
story to describe their constructed model  she asked
for a volunteer to participate in a short role play and
provided a reward for the participant.
.
In short, they learned about themselves, about 
working together in teams and how to interact
with others and develop a baseline for continuing
learning about themselves– this session was not
over at the end, but a beginning.
3 comments
08/07/17
Patents. Intellectual “Property” and Precise Wording
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:01 am

Jennings Taylor and Maria Inman apply a ‘technologist
lens’ to patent law that is useful for learning about
patenting.

.
Two articles offer
1-  What intellectual property entails and the concepts
involved in patent examination
.
They frame what intellectual property is by a clearly
logical figure comparing physical property ownership
PROPERTY                    PATENT
Owner <—————->  Inventor/Assignee
Sell/Purchase <——–>  Sell/Acquire
Charge/Rent<———->  Charge License Fee
Pay Taxes <————>  Pay Maintenance Fees
Repossessed  <——–>  Abandoned
Trespass  <————->  Infringe
Mortgage  <————>  Loan/ Financing
Deed  <——->  Claims descriptions and specifications
Survey/ title search  <-> Examination/ prior art search
.
The article describes a patent application examination that
involves a prior art search of knowledge and expertise in
the public domain and compares the claims of the
application to determine if there is overlap.
.
 2- Using the English system model, the second article 
offers the right of a patent (and property owner) and 
motivation of the patenting process, which is to promote
progress.  [p. 45-46 in hard copy journal]
.
The third article coming out in the fall addresses how to 
overcome legal aspects of rejection.  [A comment will
be inserted when it comes out in press.]
.
These article will be included in future course sections
on Patents and should be included in ACS Pflags
literature.
1 comment
07/21/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Electronic Laboratory Notebooks
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:18 pm
Hi Dan,
How are you doing?  I would like to ask if you have any
experience using electronic labbooks in an R&D lab?
and if there is any in particular you could recommend.  
.
Thank you for any advice you can provide.
.
Best regards”
.
When I regularly attended several large conferences I tried
to look into this emerging field by speaking with vendors about
their market penetration and features for different user 
profiles.
.
Interestingly my deepest learning at this time involved
ensuring legal advice was following in purchasing, training,
and compliance.  Maintenance and regular updates for eLN were
essential as this is a emerging and evolving field.  Years have
past and eLN are essential tools.
.
Glossary of terms:
.
List of Vendors
-  at least 16 countries are represented as vendor developers
-  open source vendors are included in the list
.
eLN features:  Different fields and operations will have different requirements
It is nice to have a big picture for what customers, users, legal and
regulatory applications are provided.
 - basic functionality
 - quality, security and compliance
 - data management
.
eLN decision making
 - The system needs to organize and be able to tag, filter and search entries. 
 - all entries, imported data, and links can be exported to a generic format
(pdf, zip, xlm, etc.) for backup and reporting as well as allowing a bailout
in case the maker of the software stops development, or your funds to pay
for licence fees run dry.
 - 
support of your IT department at an early stage (selection of particular eLN).
 - h
idden costs (hardware like server, backup; on-site support and user training, )
.
What are your customers using?  How frequent are updates?
What are the computer requirements and robustness of the system?
.
These days, eLN are essential to compete
1 comment
07/11/17
Professional Behavior. Ethics, Whistleblowers and Cassandras
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm
What do we do when we face a major risk or possible
catastrophe?  It is not something that normally comes up
in any but exceptional situations and is the “elephant in the
room.”  That is, is not spoken about.
Here are some thoughts to ponder.  A following comment
lists some situations and Casandras from Clarke and Eddy’s
book that is good reading, especially if you are interested in
cyber-security, global warming, CRISPR technology and
nuclear weapons and disarmament.
.
Casandra:  Sentinel intelligence experts who sense something
catastrophic before anyone else does, before disaster happens
.
Whistleblower: popularized by Ralph Nader for informing about 
illegal or unethical actions picking up on a much earlier term used to 
alert the public about a commission of a crime or a breaking of rules.
Whistleblowers are motivated to do their reporting or announcing by
wanting to do the right thing, or to make right a decision that went
against them.
.
Large federal agencies record whistleblower complaints and are
able to substantiate only a small fraction.  Because of the limited
confirmation rate and going against the culture or leadership or actions
of an organization, whistleblowers have a generally poor reputation.  
So despite positive ethical motivations we may have going into a
situation, it does not always work out for the best.
.
.Recently Clarke and Eddy have published a book exploring this
concept of warning where an individual strongly feels certain
decisions should be made or certain situations should be avoided.  
In Warnings:  Finding Cassandras to stop catastrophes they assert
the Greek concept of Cassandra.  Cassandra was graced by the
gods to be able to predict the future however cursed with the
response that no one believed or listened to her predictions.
.

A dozen past and current case studies were discussed in some detail
in a format that provided a view of classifying four features of each
case.  They were:  (1)nature of the threat or risk,
(2)is the person who needs to act known, knowledgeable, able to sort out
conflicting data and biases,
(3)is the predictor, or Cassandra, well-trained, highly creditable, respected
and confident in their findings and conclusions,
(4)what do the critics rely on and assert about the threat’s imminence.

1 comment
07/06/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Influence of ‘Morphing’ of Goals, Values
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:48 am

While preparing for a seminar on Overcoming Challenges and 
Adversity, several items are worth highlighting for our blog.

The chapter, “Generational Career Shift:  Millennials and
the Changing Nature of Careers in Canada,
” by Lyons, Ng
and Schweitzer was found to contain good insights. [in
book by the same authors, 2012]
.
The original idea [for this seminar topic] resulted from 
this year’s class suggestion and a seminar by
N. Halpern, 
on Careers for Mid-level Professionals.
.
Think about it.  100 years ago people lived, on average, to
48 years, whereas now it is beyond 78.  The length and nature
of careers has and continues to change this life span and equally
important our values and goals.
.
People seek much more control over their career paths, seek
personal satisfaction [over organizational], pursue advancement
[over organizational commitment] and realize multiple careers.
.
The seminar will discuss how we need to encourage
 - adapting to adversity and challenges by seeing them as
opportunities to learn useful skills
 - building personal resilience skills [see Sandberg, Grant ]
 - developing critical habits, including listening and
effectively managing technological tools.
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06/26/17
Professional Skills. MBA, Six Sigma Technologies and PMI Project Management Certification
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:10 am

After our formal technical training, which may be experiential,
[non-academic] but most often involves the academic realm–
BS, MS, PhD and post-doc, many in government, industry and
entrepreneurial career paths find business certification a very
positive growth dimension.
.

This can happen when we choose to continue formal academic
work with an MBA or 13-week MBA certification.  When we
explore this option we find 2-year and 3-year MBAs where the
longer term allows developing specialization skills.  The 13-week
in-residence programs had prerequisites of solid business experience
and tighter admission and stronger longer term career commitment
from a sponsoring organization.
.
One clear strength of the MBA programs is the networking, both
formal, through the university, and informal, through connections
and associations (alumna, alumni).
.
In the 1980s formal business certification programs were developed
in parallel to MBA programs.  These should be of interest to many
people since they may be more specific to certain aspects and
more broadly respected as providing necessary background and
organization useful in certain fields.  These are the PMP Project
Management Professional and Six Sigma “Belt” programs.  
.
I am surprised that ACS has not incorporated both of these in
career continuous education plans.
.
PMP Program covers a broad range of 
skills and experiential 
training
 to help improve the success rate of projects.
.
Six Sigma asks about understanding customer requirements and
mapping a process to identify and measure defects, losses and waste
using statistical methods, measurement systems and data analysis.
I find people who complete an MBA curriculum or are certified
PMP or Six Sigma are encouraged and are proponents of their
programs
.
  
The training in each seem to differ and it is worth noting PMP
emphasizes the “waterfall model“.   The training methodologies
may emphasize other approaches, as listed here.
An objective comparison of PMP and Six Sigma appears in this chart.
1 comment
06/21/17
After Action Review. Job Search and Interview Process
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 am

Recently a colleague reported his experiences he observed
during his job search.  It points out the importance of networking
[2] , doing After Action Reviews, knowing that you can build your
career by taking related positions, where you learn and practice
applicable skills productively.  After all, a career is a process of
growth combined with continuous learning.

.
Networking:  
   applied online and got a personal contact of mine to forward my resume 
to the hiring team…he felt comfortable to refer me.
   it was too late, they had already considered a candidate. 
   This year they contacted me.   So as you have so many times emphasized,
networking is key to getting one’s resume noticed.

Career is a Process:  
A senior level manager:
-  Asked about my industry experience and was probing about my interests,
strengths and ability to work in a team. We really clicked in the interview.
It was a pleasant conversation about various aspects of manufacturing, QA,
 QC , work ethics, and honesty. he was very pleased that I was familiar with
Quality Management System. I felt we were already colleagues in the interview.
Among questions asked:
-  what I do not like, and what I like.
-  given a situation what do I prefer: perfect and late, good and on time, or quick
and early…something like that.  I elaborated on each as it all depends according
to me. For example, I recall saying it depends on how critical it is. In a situation
where you are looking at an API, it is critical to be within the acceptance
criteria/specifications, better be late but safe.  But for a report, as long as all
the important information are there, I won’t delay it for perfection. I recall also
talking about how in a team, different people have their own preferences - in
terms of how to present a table. I personally don’t like to delay output for these 
things (as long as it is not wrong). 
.
Another Interviewer/non-technical manager:
-  were able to relate a little as I had previous experience in the finance
department when i was in accounting.
-  ended up in a conversation about the market, competitive advantage, pains
of month/year/quarter ends.
-  Talked about SAP and Oracle.
-  He actually appreciated that I knew about science and financial side of the
business.
.
After Action Review:
-   if I run into a situation like that again, I should transition my mindset into a
“sales pitch”- meaning, I should do the best I can to use facts from my
experience to support each criteria they are looking for.
 asked to visit the lab and areas of interests. I found it odd they did not propose.
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06/09/17
Economics in the Chemical Enterprise. Career Management. Tips for managing the attention economy
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:28 am

Herbert Simon is credited with recognizing that in a
data rich world what is critical is managing audience
attention.  Combined with the attitude that audiences
prefer A I D A, the digital media promoters code…

attention,
     interest,
         desire,
            action
,
we lose our focus, disturb our direction and slow our progress.
.
Leaders of the digital and media organizations realize this
and take advantage of the uninformed.  It is critical that
technical professionals understand this and improve the
way we manage ourselves, our colleagues and teams.
.
The technical world including the chemical enterprises is
dominated by the “attention economy.”  Earlier this blog posted
the influence of robotics and artificial intelligence in career
management in the chemical enterprises.  Financialization
also dominates chemical enterprises.  
.
Recently, Tristan Harris’s work was discussed on HBO where
he described what we can do to contain and manage attention
hijacks which Kevin Kelly referred to in The Inevitable.  Harris
prescribes actions we can take to contain the outside influences
that digital media and devices introduce in his web site: 
time well spent   
.
Tristan’s article
is must read for each of us interested in proactively
managing our attention and careers.
1 comment
05/27/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Resources for Unpredictable Futures
Filed under: First Year on Job, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:50 am

We have brought up Mlodinow’s book, Subliminal, that offers
that human’s memory faculties are faulty.  One suggestion is to
create a research notebook for yourself– it could be new business
ideas, new research projects, new and improved products…

.
We cannot sit still in this fast evolving world.  We have minimal
memory resources, until computers evolved, and we can easily
store ideas, links and lists.  
.
This entry offers two trends worth noting that you may incorporate,
even if you are not currently engaged in fields.  Things are both
changing and unpredictable and it helps to try to be open-minded
both to new directions and opportunities.
.
DRUG DISTRIBUTION:  MALDI-MSI
Cornett offered an keen review of an approach yielding new 
insights into risk assessment of pharma candidates .  Matrix-
assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectral imaging is
used to visualize where in samples chemicals and metabolites
are distributed in model system sections.
.
Cornett indicates that this tool might be required to
inform decisions on regulatory submissions, as it offers
deeper understanding of pharmacology and toxicology.
.
NOVEL CHEMISTRY:  COMMERCE
Novel chemistry is found in patent literature, chemical journals
and offered by custom chemical firms.  If it were one and 
done, it would not be so special.  
TCI Tokyo Chemical Industries 
Co. Ltd., America
provides a substantial series of categories of ideas and resources.  
Here are several:
-  Glycoscience building blocks
-  Liquid Crystal building blocks
-  Pharmaceutical Ingredients
-  Review articles on various topics
.
The idea is to open up our resource notebook to various inputs
for continuous learning.
1 comment
05/22/17
Job Market for Career Growth. Think beyond the first position
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:34 pm

So often articles and blog entries talk about hiring trends
for recent graduates.  When I peruse them, it seems most
are either anecdotal (few specific examples highlighting
certain concepts) or statistical summaries that are often time
a year or more earlier than the date of publication.

.
This entry looks at your second and subsequent positions.  So,
in another perspective, we can take a longer, career view.  
A career is a process, not an outcome, with many transactions
involving
     -learning new skills,
     -defining your strengths and building on them, and
     -articulating your values so that others will understand
and appreciate you and your contributions.
.
As scientists, commenters bring up the discussion of being
involved in a “profession.”  A nice description of a profession is
that of an occupation formed by setting up formal qualifications
offered by education, internship/apprenticeship and examination,
a regulatory organization which admits and restricts and has a
code of behavior.
.
Honestly, however, scientific disciplines, like chemistry, may not
be bound by discipline tracks
 when thinking about job markets.  
This may be less important when we look at markets for
our careers. 
Jan Osburn wrote a remarkable article on career mistakes
that hinder personal growth and happiness that we obtain from
careers.  I contend these apply to advance degreed scientists.  
.
Let me highlight five frames of mind that restrict the “real job market:”
1.  hold off pursuing positions of interest due to <100% match to
musts and wants [lack of confidence, weak in resilience, fear of
failure;  be willing to learn on the job and seek help]
.
2.  lack of self assessment knowing your strengths and what makes
you thrive and be constantly challenged and engaged. [engage
psychological and economic instruments outside of your employment
chain of command]
.
3.  fall behind in your learning curve of new skills and experiences
to those who extend themselves [could be in work environment and
professional/ volunteer organizations]
.
4.  fail to take an outsider’s perspective of your industry, organization
and department.  This can be a situation where you ‘coast’ for a while.
It is important to continue connecting and keeping up with your
network.
.
5.  miss opportunities to learn about branding your skills and abilities
and be visible in more than one organization.   In the information era,
this can seem to be trying things that are not immediately rewarded
in one organization, but opens up opportunities in another.
[no funding to attend a professional meeting;  become a volunteer, 
offer to assume organizational responsibilities, show that you can be
counted on] 

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