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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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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.
comments (0)
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.
comments (0)
06/09/17
Economics in the Chemical Enterprise. Career Management. Tips for managing the attention economy
Filed under: Recent Posts, 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: Recent Posts, 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: Recent Posts, 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] 

comments (0)
05/01/17
Business and Economics. Follow up to Sparteine articles
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:50 am

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

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

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

 

1 comment
02/27/17
Watch-Outs. 101. Economics influences, Spectroscopy in Archeology, Genomics / MS linking Gum disease to Arthritis
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:25 pm

In a blog we summarized three posts on Economics that are
critical to understand Rana Faroohar’s book Makers and
Takers.  A fourth entry went into “black elephant”
events which are very unlikely negative events that everyone
can see but feel that they cannot do anything about.
We point out here a video narrated by Matt Damon,
Inside Job” that is must see for everyone.

A second item is a very interesting piece about using 
spectroscopy on archaeological artworks.

Finally GENomics contained a piece about evidence
that a bacterium known to originate gum disease also
triggers rheumatoid arthritis using Mass Spec.

BLACK ELEPHANT - “Inside Job”
[available on Netflix] Many of us were directly or indirectly
affected by the financial turmoil of the 2000s.  Downsizing,
lower profits, stagnant economy, job loss, hard to find a new
position.
We think we have gotten out of that mirth, but this video
suggests we have only seen the beginning of it as 
nothing has been done to the perpetrators [Greenspan,
Paulsen, Bernanke, Summers, Fuld, Fed, the Huge
Wall Street Investment banks], the federal bureaucracy,
and the regulators.  They are still in an inept situation
with more to come.  
We only see things second hand and we need good leadership
to throttle the flow and trajectory.

 SPECTROSCOPY DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN 
ARCHEOLOGICAL STUDIES
SOURCE:  Biblical Archeological Review Mar/Apr 2017
T. R. Hanneken, Digital Archeological’s New Frontier.

The spectral signature of a pigment in one region can
be distinguished from a pigment with a similar appearance
from a different region.  Archaeological application devises
new techniques– low angle “raking”, reflectance
Transformation imaging and InsciptiFact Digital Image
Library which incorporates texture, color and non-visible
characterization of archeological pieces.
.
PROTEOMIC ANALYSIS LINKS ARTHRITIS TO GUM 
DISEASE
SOURCE:  GenEngNews 1-15-17 Proteomic Analysis used
to link RA to Gum Diseas
e
There has been a clinical association between periodontal 
disease and RA (arthritis) and both diseases triggered by the
same factor. Aggregatibacter Actinomyecetemconmitans
induces citrullinated proteins detected by mass spec.
Bacterial secretion of a toxin to kill host immune cells which
allows a flux of calcium  thus activating an enzyme that
promotes hypercitrullination. 
comments (0)
02/24/17
Career Path Choices. Preferences, Luck and Skill
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:28 am

This week we talked about what is valued and sought for in

individuals when they seek different career paths.  Then we
began a two part discussion of soft  2 [listing in comments],
hard and wise skills that benefit professionals.
We pointed out that much of our life is quite unpredictable
and that what we start out wanting, doing and behaving 
changes throughout our life.  An interesting piece in Quartz
reported on statistical data where in the past we could reflect
on anecdotal instances in changes.
In the short term there remains a consistency in our wanting
doing and behaving, however.  Here we might pose that Luck
and Skill arbitrate on what happens in our careers.
CAREERS  =  LUCK  +  SKILLS
                        LUCK = preparation + opportunity + attitude
                                       + action
                                                         / Hard
                                          SKILLS  -Soft
                                                         \ Wise
We suggested it is useful to set objectives, develop a plan
to achieve them and look for opportunities to be and act
professionally along the way.  Build your committed network,
ask for help, create and learn from “teachable moments”,
continuously learn, and be optimistic.
Two pieces of feedback from our class offered questions–
1- how can I network better?  What should I learn and practice?
[understand your current personal values, behaviors and emotional
make-up;  small talk, understand others’ make-ups and adapt
to achieve win-win outcomes] 
2-  it seems like the skills you list are just things to trick people on.
What is the basis for each item on the list, they wondered.
[real life often is a series of unpredictable events with little time
to think.  Thus our habits will determine our behaviors.  We wish
to figure out what our habits are modify them to be more effective.]
It is hard for some to learn that professional work is strongly
influenced by our cultural, personal and value-based habits.
It is often the case that how you do something is as important as
the outcomes that you achieve.  Sometimes the result is “pure 
luck” but as we know we “create much of our luck”.
1 comment
02/19/17
Resume. Qualifications Statements.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:47 pm

A question came in:
“Hi Dan,

Can you tell me again the differences (e.g. particular years’
experience) between adept, skilled, proven track record in and
proficient? Thanks.
Regards,”
RESPONSE:
These “lead in” phrases are common introductions into
skill qualifications and Highlights section of a resume. 
 - adept;   a person who is skilled or proficient at something.
they are adept at kung fu and karate”
adept, expert, good, practiced, proficient, skillful, skilful(adj)

 - Proficient  having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude

 - Proven track record is last and only relates to things like sales,
managing projects where you have metrics to describe the results- 
budget, time, results, people.
 - Experienced in can be used for software or running equipment.
When you do more- design, develop, implement, and solve
problems with, Experienced is not strong enough.

 It is a sign of low skill to repeat the same one more than once. 
That is why we have several to choose

Hope this helps.
Regards,
Dan

Additionally under unique situations certain individuals can be
“experts in…”.  Daniel Levitin has written about who can be
described “expert” in “A Field Guide to Lies...”:

The term expert is normally reserved for people who have
undertaken special training, devoted a large amount of time to
developing their expertise (e.g. MD, pilots, musicians, athletes.)
and those whose abilities or knowledge are considered high
relative to others’.
As such, expertise is a social judgment and relative.  …

Expertise also falls along a continuum.

Individuals with similar training and levels or expertise will not
necessarily agree with one another, and even if they do, these
experts are not always
right.

Experts are often licensed, or hold licensed degrees, or are
recognized by other authorities.

In science, technology and medicine experts’ work appears
in peer-reviewed journals or on patents, recognized with
awards, running or starting a company or amassing wealth.


Expertise tends to be domain-specific and typically
narrow.
comments (0)
01/15/17
Watch-Outs. 100. Negotiation insight, Title IX-Parental Leave, Continuous Personal Development
Filed under: Interviewing, Leadership, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
MONEY12-2016  Trends in 2017 (Job Market)
In negotiations it is not unusual for you to be asked
“How much do you make now?” and Something 
like, “What are your salary expectations?”
.
Recent ideas have materialized into legislation in
MA where it is no longer legal to ask about salary
history for in-state positions.  Note, too, that a later
paragraph states the law takes effect in 2018.
.
The article offers a response to the salary query–
“.. personal practice to keep salary confidential, as
my research has provided employers compensate
qualified employees with a salary between $xx
and $xy, and your being a leader I would not be
surprised to hear from you in the upper portion of
that range.”
.
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
L
inda Wang CEN 1-2-17, P. 23-4 PARENTAL LEAVE
Let me shout out about Linda Wang’s meaningful
article in the first issue of 2017 CEN on parental leave.
With the continuing trend of very long graduate
school tenures followed by one or more post doctoral
stints those wishing the fulfillment of family life
either learn too late that certain people or organizations
frown on or discourage distractions from their goals.
I dare say there can even be blacklisting or not offering
strong recommendations as noted in 
Mason’s fine
article on Title IX
.
CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
What can we do to remain employable throughout
our careers?  We do not think about that until often
it is too late.  It is in the present that we carry out our goals.
You should choose positions that provide personal satisfactions
day-to-day so you stick with it.  Engage in activities that 
have outcomes that coincide with your personal longer
range goals.
.
Early on in your careers you should realize that doing the 
same things over and over is self limiting.  You need to 
bring to bear what is emerging in the larger employment 
market (artificial intelligence, computation, robotics) and
seek out and complete career focused education, experiences
and certifications.  The Economist highlighted observations
and some trends.  (1)Self examination leading to Curiosity
is critical to continually learn and
(2) knowing your learning style and adapting content to
meet your style for long term application and near term
demands is your responsibility.  
Large questions remain, namely,
(a)does the training and knowledge get recognition and
reward for the time and expense?  
(b)Will there be experiences, skills and abilities that will
be useful where I am now and/or in other organizations?
.
ACS seems to have a working model for continuous
education and needs constant input for what would benefit
members.  How can we better offer soft skill development?
is one specific area, for example.


comments (0)
12/27/16
Job Polarization, Black Elephant events and Cognification
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:34 pm

It is amazing to realize the rapid changes in career
management factors we face.  Psychology, economics and
computer-automation-robotics-artificial-intelligence-and
-inference are longer term factors for our careers.  

Let me list some specific examples:
.
ROUTINE TASK AUTOMATION 
Computer capital supported by financialization (where highly
leveraged loans to automate functions with software and 
robotics ) puts middle skilled workers in precarious straits.
[Read:  recent graduates with no experience or internships.]
.
Those who do non-routine work (low-paid, unskilled and
richly paid, highly skilled) are in demand.  We see this Job
Polarization in many situations with supporting elements 
being stagnating wages and reallocation of roles from 
specialization to variety of roles with less specialization.
.
Thanks to advances in deep learning and AI, computers can 
perform not only manual but also cognitive tasks better and
faster than humans.  This augers the result that highly trained
specialists are replaced by internet enhanced software, a
specific example is radiologists since much of their work
are “routine cognitive tasks.”
.
BLACK ELEPHANT SITUATIONS
In my day it was the Arab Oil Embargo that set us in a path
for alternate energy sources, energy independence and electric
vehicles.
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Tom Friedman in his recent book Thanks for Being Late. wrote:
” A black elephant is a cross between a black swan, a low
probability, unanticipated event with enormous ramifications–
and the elephant in the room, a problem that is widely visible to 
everyone, yet no one wants to address, even though we
absolutely know that one day we will have vast, black-swan-like
consequences.”  Ocean acidification is an example.
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Black elephant events can provide a once in a lifetime opportunity 
or the end of the line for industries (think chemical photography), 
companies, and directions in our careers.
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 COGNIFYING AND CONTINUOUS LEARNING
Adding AI to various tasks enables us to do more at lower cost and
higher efficiency.   Add AI to laundry to tell washing machines to
adjust to the contents of each load as directed by the clothes (sensors).
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AI added to chemistry can aid discoverability and optimization by 
performing virtual experiments to reduce the number of lab
experiments to reach a goal.  Think of the way Netflix and Kindle
come up with customer recommendations.
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This is cognifying.  All cognition is specialized.  In this continuous
learning process we need to work with AI and robots and let
these tools take our routine tasks and help us dream up
new work that matters.  There are four classes of jobs:
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1.  Jobs humans can do, but robots can do even better.
highway driving, tax preparation, routine x-ray analysis,
pre-trial evidence gathering, etc.
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2.  Jobs humans cannot do, but robots can.
remote locations, hazardous environments, monitoring,
then signalling an alarm.  Jobs that would not be done without
robots and sensors.
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3. Jobs we did not know we wanted done.  
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4.  Jobs only humans can do– at first. 
creativity (on what we should do), new situations, one of a
kind roles.
Our human assignment should be to keep making jobs for
robots and software.
comments (0)
12/01/16
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise. 3. Financialization
Filed under: Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:28 am

Reading a powerful work by Rana Foroohar, “Makers and
Takers
,” that explains the strong undercurrent that drives
the visible trends we see in offshoring, in automation, in
uneven distribution of profits and benefits.  It is what she
calls FINANCALIZATION.

ECONOMICS BACKGROUND
The first entry into Economics highlighted the need for the
ACS to engage “Economics practices,” like true forecasting
and principles that members can truly benefit from.  Older
practices of “reporting old news” is insufficient for a true
professional society
The second Economics posting pointed out observations of
limited startups and further concentration bigger firms
driving short term profits, bonuses for C-suite, and shareholder
dividends/ share-price.
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WHAT IT IS ABOUT
This posting on Makers and Takers who are
  M: people, companies and ideas that create real economic
viability
  T:  users of the evolving dysfunctional market based systems
that aim to enrich themselves without resulting consequences

The Takers  implement “FINANCIALIZATION” that push 
outsourcing, not thinking about challenges to supply chain, 
and promote flash trading and computer-generated algorithms
used in complex securities resulting in market crashes.

Another longer term result is that the labor practices of Wall Street
are being imposed on the nature of employment and kinds
of workers used everywhere.  ”Wall Street values not worker
stability but constant market simultaneity.  If mortgages are
not the best thing, let’s get rid of the mortgage desk and we will 
hire them back in a year.  They are ‘liquid people.’”

Besides decreases in lending (to support start ups and new ideas),
and increases in trading and debt securities (rising debt and
credit levels stoke financial instability;  debt fueled finance
has become the saccharine substitute for growth),  we observe
the mounting monopoly power of large financial institutions
that dominate allocation and are causing even the most successful
ventures to take on debt, reduce regulation and influence legal
code changes.

This is a readable book that illuminates much of what we are
experiencing and ACS members need to know about.

comments (0)
11/27/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Photonics and Silicon-Carbon Evolution
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:25 am

As we look to intersecting fields with the chemical enterprise,
photonics continues to make enormous strides.  Related
fields include optomechanics [interaction of EM radiation and
mechanical vibrations], opto-atomics [in precision time-keeping,
metrology, etc.], and polaritonics [carrier is polariton].
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My exposure and, perhaps, many readers is with photochemistry
energy levels and quantum mechanics.  With the advent of
lasers, emitting diodes, nonstoichiometric compounds, 
nanomaterials and devices, a wider range of materials, devices,
timeframes, meta-structures and forces/particles emerges as
significant.  Photonics opens a wider range of career paths and
suggests attention to SPIE news and developments.  SPIE is
also a leader in the open-access realm of technical publications.
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Note the digital library and upcoming conference is available.
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So much of the origin of photonics is silicon based.  In addition,
the natural abundance and similarity of silicon to carbon
coordination bring up a question to the curious– what about 
silicon and silicon-carbon based evolution?
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A recent Science publication highlighted in an article in
CSM points out how bacteria isolated from Iceland’s hot
springs have enzymes that efficiently form C-Si bonds. 
This brings us back to some chemistry.
comments (0)
11/20/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Omics and Panomics
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:37 pm

Genome, proteome, epigenome, metabolome,
pharmacogenome and dozens of other fields of study involve
chemistry.  They all relate informally to the characterization
of molecular entities in biological fields translating into the
structure, function and dynamics of organisms.

Wiki sketches the word suffix origin.
Omics International pulls together open access publications
and conferences aiming to taking science, engineering,
technology 
and management of biological fields and disseminate
broadly.  Panomics is a more inclusive term for interaction with
all biological functions within a cell and with other body
functions by combining data from targeted tests, global assays 
with other patient-specific information. 
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Pharmaceutical enterprises face complex networks in understanding
and developing therapies for diseases.  More systems wide biology
based approaches
(-omics) provide one of the directions to develop
predictive and actionable models
 
So we see this in the evolution of epigenomics, lipidomics,
and lipoprotein proteomics.  Recently, interesting reports of
the human connectome project which studies how the brain is
wired and how this wiring relates to brain function by
integrating many 
diverse sources.
This -omics factoring should be looked for in reports of newly
developed approaches like CRISPR/Cas9

comments (0)
11/03/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Optics, Spectroscopy and miniaturizing instruments
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:15 pm

Do you feel amazed each time you read about new advances
where one of the fundamental components is optical?  I am.  
Optical fabrication and materials  play a central role in many
things we do– practical every day, engineering and scientific.

The first reference is in Photonics Spectra magazine which
gives major milestones in optics fabrication.
The second is a link to a compact review of real world applications
and methods of applied spectroscopy.
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The third is a link to a review on miniaturization driven by reduced
costs and space impacts combined with advances in microelectronics.
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OPTICS FABRICATION
SOURCE:  History of Optics Fabrication  2  PHOTONICS
SPECTRA  Vision History
What this sketch outlines is an 800 year acceleration of development
especially over the last half century.  This is part of a review by
Marie Freebody .  It can be overlooked  as so many devices 
combine optical tools with spectroscopic and multi-laser 
sources and computer integrated sampling.
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REAL WORLD SPECTROSCOPY
SOURCE:  Annual Industrial Trends Spectroscopy  
Nice appropriate review on some of the latest developments
including Total-reflection X-ray Fluorescence, Laser-induced
breakdown spectroscopy at small scales, rapid cancer detection
FT-IR and peptide folding using laser-Raman.
3-D imaging and continuously increasing complex NIRS
applications were reported and cited.
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ADVANCES IN MINIATURIZATION
SOURCE:  V. Balaram Spectroscopy 10-16
Current Advances in Miniaturization of Analytical Instruments
Most are aware of Moore’s Law and its influence.  Miniaturization
of analytical tools is allowing scientific investigations in a number
of realms, including space exploration, geological studies, 
environmental sensors and redundancy to increase the validity 
of measurements.
comments (0)
10/26/16
The Inevitable and Recent Article about Moving to the Cloud
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:46 am

The recent article in CEN on Cloud Computing in the Pharmaceutical
industry
was on point for the some of the trends that Kevin Kelly
pointed out in his recent book The Inevitable.

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Essential things that readers of the CEN article should be aware
of that Kelly documents include:
  1.   Existence in the digital realm is chiefly MAINTENANCE.  The
more complex the gear, the more attention it will require.  Upgrade
this and you need upgrades everywhere.
   1.a.  The cycle of obsolescence is accelerating, you will never have
time to master anything.
    2.   There are ERAS of this Internet Cloud Computing.  Think about
how we employ hyperlinks, interrogate large data troves, carefully
curate processes and “platforms.”. [Platforms favor services and access.]
     3.   Great QUESTIONS create new territories of thinking and lead
to the need to FORECAST with more possible outcomes.
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Readers are encouraged to pick up and read Kevin Kelly’s book that
looks at the unrecognized present and optimistic future integrated
via cloud resources. 
 
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