Some people are in roles that it is an asset to remember and
use people’s names. Sales, interviewing, teaching, politics and
guess what, leadership roles.
[They offer F-A-C-E: Face the person, Ask how they like to be
called, Cross reference to links, Employ the name in conversation.]
In a recent podcast
I learned another acronym that might be useful
to recall names that gives useful advice: C-H-A-R-M. from Jim
- Care. Showing that you care enough to remember a person’s
name reveals a connection.
- Hearing. Often we are thinking of something else when another
person offers their name. our attention is not focused on listening
closely, Distraction leads to not hearing.
- Ask. How do you spell it? Where does it come from? What is
the meaning or who were you named after? How would you like to
- Repeat Say the name and impress yourself with the name, situation,
- Marker. imagine the names spelled on their face, or link their face to
another face with the same name and jot it down in another medium.
FL and I have been working together for several years,
first during a post-doc, then, a second post-doc and a series
of interesting temporary positions. While the post docs
were related to her graduate training in advanced biomaterials
and coating technology, the temporary positions were in
a wide variety of disciplines from project management and
accounting, to analytical services, to quality control.
FL contacted me from outside the US about negotiating
a higher salary at a 10 year old company where a network
member currently works. FL was offered a position for six
months, after which there would be a review to determine fitness
for longer term. The contract specified starting date, supervisor,
and broad assignment responsibilities along with a starting
The initial request involved discussing what can be expressed
to bring up salary and that the salary being offered was
lower than current pay as a temp. The position is located in
Toronto, so it is a stretch to correlate ACS salary survey data
results, based on limited data and currency differences (although
I did approximate using estimated analogies.
SALARY INCREMENT IDEAS
First, however, thank the company for the pleasant news that
was received for the generous offer. It was highly sought and
enthusiastically received. FL is flexible in scope of the position
and hours of work, however, is there any room for compensation
discussions….wait, don’t fill silence with excuses, let the hiring
manager think and respond. State what your needs and desires
are before offering up give ups (you never know if your spouse
might not have separate benefit coverage.).
Ask for the firm’s annual report, employee handbook, and a
formal job description. After you receive and review them you
will be better able to discuss the offer details.
FL sought a $10K improvement. So we reviewed areas of
possible approaches– spousal health insurance, no relocation
expense, day care needs, hours of work, self improvement plan,
other deferrable benefits. Since FL’s spouse has family health
care coverage and there are no relocation needs, these could be
offered as “give ups” to measurably increase salary. FL is flexible
for hours of work and has no immediate day care needs.
If salary is not negotiable, ask if a sign-on bonus can be brought
up to compensate for the difference from your current position
and the unique bonus you might forfeit leaving your current
Have a list of other negotiating wish items– personal computer,
loaded with professional responsibility software, professional
society memberships, special training programs, special
commuter passes not listed in the employee handbook.
We also shared details of negotiating workshops brought up
It is worth asking for details of the firm’s current and recent
past finances that would be listed in the annual report. That
not being shared, along with number of employees and
ownership of properties where company activities are
Through Fidelity Investments, we were able to share
financial data on this start up. It is relevant to see if the
same data is offered. Going to work for a company is just
like investing in the company and it is important to perform
due diligence in its financial and commercial viability. Who
owns the company, what is the market value and trend
and are there legal issues of concern.
After critical elements of the position negotiation are resolved
satisfactorily, request that an updated offer letter be sent for
approval. Since its location is relatively close, it might be
a nice gesture to personally go to the location, sign it in
person and meet other employees with whom you will be
Send thank you notes to all members you meet. It will
leave a positive impression.
to support business research
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
You know, I am a strong proponent that scientific professionals
have a strong understanding of working with statistics and
perceive the hazards in our environment, that have good and not
so good effects on humans.
So in our final class we talked about three features we should
look for in evaluating statistical data. [I am always amazed that
their relevance is not emphasized in classes.] variation, shape
and central tendency.
In our daily lives we are faced with statistics for nearly everything
and given “selective” interpretations to sell or convince us of various
- insure the data provides its sample size and range and variability
[small sample size, limited range, no measure of variation should
not be basis of a general position.]
- If the data is presented with many significant figures, it should
raise “red flags” in your mind. [10,234,511.39 ?]
- The shape of the distribution of measure reveals critical insight.
[power law, normal, bimodal, skewness…]
- What is the appropriate central tendency representation? Mean
if it is normal distribution…Other than that, questions are needed.
There are two radioactive species in our environment that we
should be aware of some things. One I encountered when I was asked
by a middle school student about a science project on radioassays.
That is when I learned about technetium. Technetium-99 is most
useful as a radioassay measure for imaging internal organs.
published a short factoid recently about this lightest, artificially
produced element. ”Technetium cows
” were developed by BNL
researchers and have been in use for more than 50 years in
medical diagnostics and research. In addition, technetium is a
by-product of U-235 decay and thus can be a valuable monitor
for nuclear reactor spent fuel rod decay and storage.
A second radioactive element is the gas, radon. Radon is naturally
occurring in the environment and is attributed to be an effector of
. Radon decays naturally producing alpha
of the prevalence of radon in the US point to where
it is. This should be a point of reference for us where we live
Our Professional Development class is interesting because
we can use feedback from class members for future discussion
items and exercises in class.
One feedback card read: Could we engage in networking
conversations and elevator speeches from each person in class?
It is better than describing them.
>In subsequent classes we asked people to deliver elevator speeches
to their team mates [which should be done in all team situations].
Then when we brought in guest speakers, we asked each class
member to deliver an elevator pitch to the guests.
A couple of other situations that are intriguing. One class member
met privately and said she did not know what to do as her team
was unresponsive to requests to work together and complete tasks
on time. We talked about it and in class performed an exercise.
What can you do to work better as a team? There are many excuses:
too busy, lazy, procrastinate, think the assignment is dumb….
- plan ahead; discuss the work assignment
- know yourself; study your teammates behaviors, values, likes
- keep in touch; communicate, even over-communicate
- offer help if others have trouble understanding/solving the assignment
- Team formation usually follows easily recognizable stages, known as
“forming, storming, norming, and performing.”
YOU ARE EXPECTED TO GET TO NORMING QUICKLY
- learn about your team-mates: their values, behavior, goals, time lines,
honesty, promptness, caring; strength and weakness
- When do you report to higher Ups?
- Influence: consistency, scarcity, authority, trust worthiness,
- Work together, share ideas and don’t just divide up the work.
- Use people’s strengths and interests to produce something that
- Become familiar with due dates, put buffer between team
deadline and final deadline alert people in advance
- Givers succeed most, reciprocators are a close second
- Adam Grant’s book “Givers and Takers”
A second class exercise was inspired by an incident where a class
member forgot an attachment when sending an email. It happens to
all of us.
The class came up with several and discussion ensued about how
some recipients might feel it revealed lack of attention to detail or
how you perform under pressure. There are technological solutions
that we should know and use.
Yahoo had an appropriate article by Maria LaMagna
about the consequences of lying in an interview when
asked how much you currently make.
This could happen in various interview formats…
screening, on-site, wrap-up with HR, or during
salary negotiations. Preparation and research
In all cases tell the truth, as they may ask you to produce
a pay stub. Alternatively it is fair to ask what is their
I feel it is appropriate to state that salary is one
component of an overall compensation package.
While it is a gauge on your value to the company,
it is fair to point out that other factors may be equally
important to you…vacation, citizenship work papers,
insurances, location, travel requirements, etc.
It is that time of year again. Remember the challenges last year?
We learned about negotiating with hotels and airlines to minimize
the impact of east coast snowstorm causing travel hiccups. Maybe
I was overconfident when it happened again this year.
With two presentations planned for Pittsburgh on Friday and
Saturday I booked flight and hotel leaving Thursday and returning
Sunday. The storm struck Thursday cancelling flights. I should
have looked at the path and factored in leaving earlier, say one day
in the week, arriving Wednesday.
SWA was helpful in allowing my one day later flight enabling me
to arrive in Pittsburgh to partially be able to meet my commitments.
However, it never occurred to me that the plane I was to fly out
on Friday am needed to arrive Thursday. It did not. So my flight
Friday morning was cancelled just like Thursday morning due to
Now I had to cancel hotel reservations and work with my colleagues
at the other end to determine what could go on in my absence.
Expedia was willing to help. First with changing the initial plans
from a 3-night stay to a 2-night stay. Then, cancelling the reservation
due to weather created flight cancellation. But, I had to provide all
information that Flight 622 was cancelled on Thurs. and Friday
due to the plane not arriving and there was no substitute available
that was available.
Lessons: Possible storm caused delay or cancellation of flight–
change my reservation to leave one day earlier, not later than when
the storm hits.
You can not get charged for room if you have all the facts
at hand when you call to cancel the hotel reservation.
Have all the cell phone numbers ready to call to deal with
the situation promptly. Call as early as you can to avoid last minute
From Dennis Brown:
Ideas 5 and 8 are applicable. Remember online marketing is
the current state of the art. Job seekers can use this tool
use of keywords
involvement in groups
Reading a book that you may wish to get your hands on.
That is if you are interested in improving your “small
I know I am. So let me tell you more. I am visiting several
friends and new acquaintances and am looking at how I can
ideas that are encapsulated in three acronyms for different
HPM SBR EDR
draws on memory, focused on topic focused
experiences and on exploring
focused on you
History - Specific Emotion
Philosophy Broad Details
Metaphor Related Restatement
H reply to comment
using personal experiences on a topic
this reminds me of…
what a coincidence…..
P personal stance on a topic
I always enjoyed….
there was a famous quote ….
this allows for a subtle change of topic
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S ask to go deeper, more specific
B ask to springboard into subtopics
R explore into tangential topics
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E It seems to me you feel …. You are…. Other people’s emotions
D define the details
what were they wearing…
how was the weather…. How did you deal with it…
R employ 5 Ws to complete a restatement
is this what you mean?….
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
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
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
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
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
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
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.
Reading a blog entry by B. Perlmutter, reminded me of
a section in the second class of our Professional Development
class. What I like about it is that he creates a nice context
and story about factors we need to consider in making
Our class offers fewer steps and a template to consider
classroom exercises that students might face now and
will possibly face in the future.
1 determine the facts
2 identify the stakeholders
3 identify the ethical choices
4 make a decision
5 double check the decision
Perlmutter frames his process and story in terms of situations
and risks to reputations in a golf tournament. Early in his
ethical process, he points out recognizing ethical problems,
even before knowing the stakeholders, interests and
At first, this order of process steps is not one better than
another but a different perspective about something
scientists and engineers are not often trained to think.
Ethics can be ambiguous and relative. In Perlmutter’s
perspective, ethics needs to be considered earlier. I
think this can be good and a point of emphasis.
Not long ago, this blog offered a legal perspective of
ethical decision-making. It appears different than the
first two in that it asks questions about legality,
reputation and consistency with values.
We need to understand that different people will
make a case for processing their thinking. Forni
I think states it best and has me thinking Perlmutter
says it best for me. Forni outlines the urgency to
develop and place good thinking habits as
a priority. Good thinking makes having thought,
having thought leads to a wider range of viable
choices; Good choices offer the chance for good
decisions that lead to a good life that lead to
Perlmutter’s process is documented in the
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.]
Ten years ago R. Jones edited a series of factors
giving rise to the apparent trend involving the
globalization of chemical enterprise industries.
We have urged ACS in this blog to report and
follow the Economics in the Chemical
Enterprise as the older model (of globalization)
is less valid now as an important concept for
We observed that globalization is less
significant now and plays much less of a strategic
role as superstar companies
that use an array of
qualities. They have distinctive cultures and
traditions that many academic centers are little
aware of, including seeking and following top
talent (stretch assignments, accelerator
experiences, and crucible roles) and keeping their
focus on a long term vision (by modifying their
shareholders’ voting rights) and managing finances,
legislation and financial markets.
The Economist reported on recent trends in its
article as a new age of corporatism giving rise to
consolidation to stay on top “hoovering up talent,
buying patents and investing in research.” We can see
this leading to problems ascribed to concentration of
pay, technology, top execs and vast amounts of
In an interesting related piece in Cheeky Scientist Blog
which are critical to a company’s success. While most
know “companies have R&D, Marketing and Sales,”
few realize also critical to success are finance, supply
chain and information technology.
I suspect these are all new to Chemists and Engineers
and this reveals the need for further education in these
and traditional areas that have further evolved.
Yesterday I enjoyed a conversation with a resume reviewer
who has a senior level position in a government organization.
He shared several poignant remarks about his experiences
when he often reviews resumes to bring in candidates to
interview for technical positions.
He expressed disbelief that some resumes seem to be
unrelated to the “must and wants” described in the
USAJobs.gov requirements. To him, it seemed they were
applying simply based on their degrees.
Some resumes contain typos or do not meet the specifications
listed in the instructions to authors. Others list out extensive
biographies with many bullets unrelated to the description.
Some are three and more pages long and don’t realize how
their resume will be evaluated. [They don’t read the
evaluation criteria listed in the description.]
There are some positive things he reinforced that can be
a master resume, but do not use it for your submission
as it is too long with unrelated TMI (too much information]
items. Use a “targeted resume” for your application.
Why have the master resume? Well, because you will need
a little more detail to include in your federal positions, like:
- month/date for starting and ending roles
- details on your personal history, military service, VISTA
city, state and ZIP of employers, hours per week worked,
level of experience via roles and responsibilities, reverse
chronological order, specific keywords in the description.
[see the above link.]
Master resumes provide a useful resource that each of
us can use throughout our careers. It is not what we
actually submit. It is a data resource that needs to be
regularly updated and refreshed … think about former
companies who have changed names, and addresses
of your references, keywords, list of projects some which
were shorter term and even incomplete.
Targeted resumes are “marketing documents” that may
be read by people who without the formal technical
background. Appearance makes a difference, so avoid
using ‘fill in the blanks’ forms. and software that does
not always translate when uploaded.
(.doc, for example– .pdf or .txt may work better).
Honesty is always expected and it is easier to verify
things via the Internet.
The global pace is speeding up. To meet the needs and
interests of members and institutional stakeholders the
Society needs to incorporate broader and deeper aspects
of economics in the technical and scientific aspects of
the chemical enterprise.
Think: mergers and acquisitions; government funding of
CDC, EPA, NIH, chemical research; international trade
arrangements; patent implications for different industries;
water, power, recycling…
We need to access disciplines that will continuously
FORECAST business cycles that affect the chemical
enterprise and describe implications to members and
has described how
- more attention is paid to one issue rather than the
gradual and incremental changes all around us
- flashy and superficial is promoted
- faster and shorter-lasting dominates
- ease of money, ideas and pathogens moving around
with less friction and checking means disaster can
happen before we are aware
- industries and companies can disappear with a click
of a network or computerized trading micro-second
- trajectories are nonlinear and interruptable
One strategic area ACS needs to grow and foster
is economic forecasting. This blog has reviewed
Scientific thinking has undergone an evolution in the Internet
age. Science commonly rationalizes outcomes based on
each effect has a cause.
There are rules and boundaries and limits and established facts.
That may be for the physical world. Does that also survive for
humans, for teams, for what we like and what we may choose and
Scientific work can offer results, interpretations and predictions.
about the dramatic evolution we see in our imperfect, more
In a scientific world where we work with teams, customers and
suppliers, it is a challenge to deal with the concept of human tastes.
They can be quite different than habit and cause-effect processing.
We can also think of our own “tastes” in light of some things
Vanderbilt wrote that
- our preferences most often depend on things we like in frameworks of
- tastes seem to depend on situations, circumstances and locations
- we choose and change choices and call upon a story for an explanation
[not the other way around]
- taste is comparative and adaptive
The Internet has brought about an explosion of the use, expression and
growth of our tastes, A/B testing, and recommendations. We see this
from Facebook, to texting photos, to Netflix as everyone can have and
express opinions which may or may not affect our thoughts. We live
in a world of limitless choices so it behooves us to consider
1. shortcuts come at a price in what we think we like
2. choices of words and meanings can bias thinking and feeling
3. express why you like your choice/preference and it helps to consider
developing categories as our brain is a pattern matching processor
4. it is easy to fall into the trap of ‘easy likes’ especially if we morph
what we see into something we think we see because we like.
5. related to this is we like what we remember even if it is not true
Various publishers promote journal impact factors JIF to
measure ” the importance of articles by the number of times
an article is cited. This measure in light of the continuing change
of technical literature is changing and deemed less significant.
Did you know you can change irrevocable trusts that you create
with your attorney when (1) tax law is revised or cease to exist,
(2) family circumstances change, (3) errors exist in the the documents?
This is a document professionals should know about and
decide if and when it fits in your financial plan.
Linkedin profiles have not and should not replace resumes.
They are part of your professional presence and a
link is offered.
Ewen Calloway summarized recent discussions on the use of
journal rating and previewed articles in various fields that
suggest it going away. Worth looking at.
FINANCIAL DECISIONS FOR YOUR FAMILIES
Trusts are often created to save paying federal estate taxes in
relation to a specific tax law. There are, according to Cody,
Cody and McCarthy, five ways trusts can be modified: (a)
have a judge restate your intent, (b) adjust pay-out options
to current situations, (c) change the terms of the trust due to
unforseen circumstances, (d) invoke a trust advisor without
going to court, (e) consider another “do-over” trust.
So, if you find a need to modify your trust, or you waiver
in creating an irrevocable trust, there are things you should
know to help you.
Robert Hellmann wrote that resumes and profiles have many
of the same information. But a resume helps us obtain interviews
and the profile does support the interview screening process
and much more. Hellmann proposes an active profile approach
in your job search.
Don’t indicate openness to opportunities in your Headline
Don’t put unemployed or looking for a job in your profile
Do consider using more informal language than the targeted
Hellmann’s article is worth taking seriously in your career
BONUS VIDEO SERIES: The Australian series “The Future
of Water” is definitely of high value to view. Each segment
offered incredible insights into the bigger picture. I was
very surprised by the underground reservoir in South
America that was recently defined.
One of the books I have read recently was “Predictably Irrational“
by Dan Ariely, ‘The hidden forces that shape our decisions.’
Three concepts were revealing in understanding certain decisions
1. arbitrary coherence that directs preconceptions
2. market norms and social norms influencing what is considered
in explaining resolving conflicts
3. how ownership pervades our life and shapes many things we do.
Arbitrary coherence signifies an anchoring effect (being first to set a
price or cost or salary) that encroaches on our minds for decisions.
Considering where this preconception arises and how irrational it
may be can allow us to bypass this habit of mind. (think: negotiation
and other numerical choices)
The most telling concept for me was the difference and impacts of
market and social norms on decisions. Social norms seem to be
common in collective cultures. It results in collaborations that lead
to a benefit to one person or group and builds on a social relationship.
Market based norms are revealed when money is involved and you
feel like you get what you pay for. It can be controlled by contracts
or involved when rewards are given that have a certain monetary value
Companies like to influence a market based transaction by bringing in
a social component. It is this mixing of market and social norms
that changes the nature of decisions and the appearance of ethical
Companies also like to bring in social based norms in motivating
Finally, Ariely highlights how we feel the influence of owning a
physical (house, shoes, pen, whatever) or
nonphysical item (idea, virtual, insurance)
on decisions to change. Ariely introduces several lines of thought
that help us manage our urges when ownership can impede our
There are many situations where managing these psychological
concepts can lead us to more professional behaviors.
Al Sklover posts a “did you know…” blog post every once in a
while. So, I thought it might be worth mentioning something
some applicants would consider after interviewing. Knowing
something about what else may be expected from each
successful applicant includes polygraph, credit, security
Applicant medical evaluation and drug testing.
You might be aware of mental and competence testing that
some employers have third parties administer. Also, it is required
by federal law to pass alcohol and drug testing of blood and
urine. There is a benefit for employers since insurance premiums
can be lower. In addition, employers seek to maintain a drug free
perception, which also includes nicotine from tobacco products.
Complications occur with medications and statutes that legalize
controlled substances in certain states. Thus, marijuana is listed as
a schedule I drug under federal statutes leads companies to fire or
refuse to hire, if detected.
Certain prescription medications may also trigger a red flag, so it
is worth knowing about medications that physicians prescribe for you.