From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

March 2018
« Feb    
Emily Post: Digital Profile and Networking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 am

While Pier Forni leads the way, I believe, in helping us
see civil behavior in organizations and different
situations, the updated Emily Post book adds some
useful suggestions for what your digital profile includes
and pointing out problem areas.

Post indicates what each professional should consider
as components of their digital profile.  Update each 
regularly and keep them consistent..

*      complete and update Linkedin profile, with
appropriate recommendations
*      have a well maintained blog and website
*      have links to published content in your name
*      list membership on boards, charitable/ educational
groups and organizations
*      include awards and achievements
*      cite positive press 
Just having a solid digital profile is not enough.  Be 
aware of potential trouble areas, like:
*      privacy protections on Facebook
*      uncensored, overly personal
or controversial history
*      less than flattering photos tagged to your name
*      old media that does not reflect who you are now
*      unflattering press
Search your name and some name alternatives

Social Networking Tips
1.  Online privacy is an illusion.  Just about everything has
a digital fingerprint.
2.  Think twice about offering negative criticism online. 
Can be easily misinterpreted, especially in the absence
of facial expression, tone of voice
or nonverbal cues…
3.  Opinions will be formed on everything you post and
much can be taken out of context.
4.  You bear responsibility for online image

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Job Search Fundamentals.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:01 am

A respected colleague of mine, Christine Kelly 
points out that much thought should be devoted
before you send your application for a position

There are several aspects to knowing yourself and 
how you can present yourself to prospective employers.
The easy ones are your skills and values, as Christine
presents.  Also, consider your behaviors and style as
they might fit into each organization’s culture.
The job description can be a help in describing what
successful candidates will bring to the organization.
I like her dividing job descriptions into short and long.
In the long ones observe the location and number of 
mentions of key skills (note the keywords used and
employ them in your documents).  In short ones, examine
Linkedin for people who have similar titles to see what
skills they list and what accomplishments they summarize.
Study the website for detail.
Above all, research via your network, including

Every interaction with every representative is part
of their interview of you.  Christine points out in the
screening interview or information interviews 
act and present yourself professionally.

In all interactions, virtual, visual, oral and in writing,
your future employer is interested in what you have
to offer.  In discussions, listen carefully to the questions
of what people are seeking to learn and respond to
their queries.  However, remain positive and phrase
negatives in ways that show your creativity and ability
to progress and learn from failure.

Do practice interviews.  Anticipate and write out
answers you can use.  Ask for feedback from 
experienced interviewers.

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Watch-Outs. 107. Considerations Resumes for Post Doctorals
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:27 pm

Industrial positions are often the description I hear
from PhDs and post-doctoral fellow.  Honestly,
these professionals seek a position as a scientist or
engineer in business.  That means ironically that
they need to project a profit motive or problem
solving motivation in their background and interests.

As you probably know recruiters are bombarded 
with a large number of public relations packages.
So they use many times either a screening routine
or software ATS for uploaded documents that screen
the packages for keywords and words in context.
The recent issue of Money magazine has an article
What your resume should look like in 2018“  by
Kristin Bahler.  I agree with many of the concepts 
yet the interpretation is significantly different for
professionals with several years of experience.
Bahler presents things that business might be 
expecting for recent BS candidates.  It is altogether
different for Post-doctoral fellows in terms of content.
For them, there is a need to convert an uninterested 
reader to an interested professional reader.  Thus,
critical information about what professionals are 
expected to do need to be incorporated, like
 - ability and experience in a fast paced environment
 - experience winning grants writing proposals for 
different groups
 -  managing budgets and negotiating experiences
How do you represent this if you are a post doc with
more than a couple of years experience?
Consider creating a new addendum for your resume
package called a “List of Projects” where you list
project work, areas of leadership responsibility 
(often outside the technical realm) and interesting
projects that required you to do the extraordinary.
Some mention of List of Projects might be presented
in your Linkedin profile (which must be up to date)
and your web-page (which leading post docs will
have for an internet presence.).
Another conversation might address internationals
seeking employment in US.  So often, Visa issues 
cloud their futures.  One of the questions they might
pose during their post doc is to ascertain if the 
sponsoring organization will sponsor their visa 
application.   The range of potential employers is
limited if their Visa situation is problematic.  Can
they seek employment in a start up for which they
are well qualified?  Since start ups can fail and make 
them need to fall back on a back up job search,
sponsorship can be lost.  
It seems imperative to seek employment in large
organizations or government institutions where
the visa can be obtained with commonly more
What might a post-doctoral application contain:
-cover letter
-resume (with reference to Linkedin profile)
-list of references (not part of resume)
-list of publications, patents and presentations
-research summary
-list of projects
    easy to read, error-free, neat looking,
    containing keywords
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Audience Analysis. Five situations using DeBono Thinking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:13 am

One of the skills not often addressed in our formal education
is audience analysis.  It is one of the wise skills that we need
to develop in our career.

Fast Company has offered an interesting tactic to deal with
different audiences that uses deBono’s six hats concept.
Dealing with problem solvers:      Black hat thinking
Here are the major problems, brainstorm possible causes and
their solutions.
Eliminate weak points;  develop back up plans.
Dealing with data analyzers who seek trends:  White hat thinking
This is what we know [charts and statistics], all the hard
numbers and outcomes.  What can we learn from them? 
What is missing or how can we fill in detail? 
What are situational or critical trends?
Dealing with people integraters who seek collective good 
feelings.                                           Red hat thinking
Appeal to shared goal and appeal to team spirit and coordinating
efforts.  Each one is important.  Give everyone attention and
celebrate together.
Dealing with innovators and new approach, different angle
people                                              Green hat thinking
This is an opportunity to be open minded and go outside 
routine or casual solutions to problem or possibilities.  Pursue
creative ideas with little or no criticism/ rejection.
Dealing with optimists                    Yellow hat thinking
This is a group to whom you present benefits and future
positive outcomes and implications.  Don’t give up now,
hard work and persistence will pay off.  Realize and 
restate your strengths and the pay-offs will soon be realized.

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Robotics, Automation and Personal Protection.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:14 am

When do you start advising workers, employees, staff
and visitors about safety?

Are you looking out for your own safety and the safety
of others in your environment– present intentionally or
SLAS presents an important topic for discussion, as it
should, being a leader in the field.  Safety takes on a larger
dimension when robotics and automation is involved.
Going one step further, safety when dealing with infectious
diseases and disease investigations…
Going even further, safety for military and police in challenging
zones of chemical or biological warfare.
Scientists need to be aware and take a leadership role in
personal protection of all kinds.  See
ONET Roles Responsibilities - [job opportunities, training]
EHS Overview [Policy and Poster ideas]
Henry’s Suggestions
Safety equipment
NIOSH that point to:
  • monitor trends in injuries associated with robotics technologies;
  • evaluate robotics technologies as sources of, and interventions for, workplace injuries and illnesses;
  • establish risk profiles of robotic workplaces;
  • identify research needs and conduct studies to improve the safety, health, and well-being of humans working with robots and robotic technologies;
  • support the development and adoption of consensus safety standards; and
  • develop and communicate best practices, guidance and training for safe interactions between human workers and robots/robotics technology
See also.  
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Job Search Workshop Discussions. Structure, Organization and Content
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:40 am

Two interesting email requests arrived in my inbox, recently.
One was asking for participation in a job search workshop
by a professional society local section.
The second was a request from a graduate student seeking
help with his resume.

We were away on a vacation that delayed our responses.
However, I sent a follow up note to a colleague who was
a recipient of the job search workshop note asking to speak
before talking with the assistant professor who was coordinating
the workshop.
TH and I spoke on a telecon to address our concerns and 
requirements before “meeting” with the prof and TH volunteered
to set up a Webex.
From this arrangement, several things emerged…
1.  email is not a useful vehicle to coordinating a program between
different participants.  It is so easy to misinterpret what is going
on.  It is much better to do it in person, if possible, by Skype
or as a last result, telecon, if the participants know and trust
each other.
2.  the resulting meeting request was misinterpreted.  In addition,
a follow-up first discussion was delayed.
TH asked for a webex time slot.  It was then felt that not everyone
responded to the professor…
The professor had urgent reasons for not being able to talk for an
unspecified time…
3.  The prof indicated his desired date is two months in the future
 on a Saturday, but provided a date for Friday.  This kind of
mishap can happen to any of us.  But it suggests some problems. 
On top of that there is a conflict with the Saturday date that
prevents everyone from participating.
BOTTOM LINE.  These kind of workshops need to be planned
4-7 months in advance with back ups for most critical items.
It is useful to have a team of organizers.  
This personal consultation can be related to the workshop.
In a way, this is one of the key goals of what a workshop might
The initial email request asked for help writing a resume for
a job.  Well as we know it is critical to be both more specific
and have a strategy in mind for narrowing down options.
The first draft of the resume was sent as an attachment.  It 
revealed that the grad student was at “square one” of his
search.  He inserted some relevant data into an online 
resume platform without understanding the hard preparation
that needs to go into it.
A response email was sent with several attachments.  
The email pointed out that
- multi-colored, underlined, fancy documents are not
well received for technical professional resumes
- the application should involve a well written cover
letter and other documents that would positively
separate your application from the other applicants.
-  have a specific position in mind that provides the
keywords critical for inclusion in your documents
BOTTOM LINE:  The process, timeline and goals are
not defined.  So, as with the workshop planning, 
creating a workable structure and organization will
be as important as developing viable content.
Timing   2  
Academic world revolves around an academic calendar;
the rest of the world employs different time charts.  
Job searching is often a full time effort usually out of
sync with the environment you are in.
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Mid-career Job Searching.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Technicians, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:16 pm
It is an ever present challenge about finding another position,
either from job loss, limited growth possibilities, or loss
of excitement for the employment situation we find ourselves
We question our choices up till that point.  But alas we have 
learned that more often the choices we made were valid but
for changes in funding or preferences or timelines.
Mid-career offers different challenges than early career.  You
have an established work history, salary history and contributions
to your department involving trusting connections, lucid
communications and committed networks.
Not every personality faces this kind of job search comfortably.
It is certainly important to have established mentors to bounce
ideas off of.  They can be a sanity check…
You can always get better… if there is something lacking or needing
It is not too late to learn new things…  Especially if you know what
your career gap is.  It might be harder if you do not know the gap.
That is when you fall back on your strengths and building out from
You should not hold back from going in another direction,
especially if it is an area of high interest.
Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
Pay forward, pass on valuable information.  You never know what 
could make a difference for others.
Know your risk tolerance level, and those in your family that depend 
on you.
If you need help, ask for help;  join a professional organization;  use
your experience to volunteer to help others.
Learning Math and Science
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:01 pm

Recently perused another insightful book by Barbara Oakley,
SCIENCE”, Tarcher Penguin, NY  2014.

I enjoyed reading new ways to learn things, especially related to
our fields of math and science.  I like to compare other people’s
thought processes.  Barbara Oakley has given much thought
to this process :
 - Take pauses and breaks in my learning [so my brain makes
 - There is a concentrated and a diffuse mode [nice!  I can relate
to that.  Especially the thinking process while running or
driving to a place where I have been before…]
 - my working memory is now shorter, it seems.  It is about
4 items.  But what I can do is repeat the focused learning steps
and each time the process seems to be easier.
 - Chunking:  a key learning tool–.  Get to the key things you
want to learn and “chunk it” using the focused, concentrated
mode of thinking.  Chunks are built on focused attention,
understanding the basic ideas, and gaining the big picture.
 - Habits are based on 4 steps, adding one to Duhigg’s model:
Cue –  routine — reward — the Belief 
 - Memory tricks include:  combining things in different ways;
        use metaphors of natural, common, and usual things;
        repeat what you wish to recall;
        use stories and little memory sayings and songs.
        writing things down and say things out loud. 
 - it is more important how you think, than what you know.
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Mindshift. Seven Take Home messages for continued career growth
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:30 pm

Barbara Oakley, part of the team delivering ‘highly attended’
MOOCs, authored  a topical book “Mindshift:  Breakthrough
Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential”
that can open up your thinking.

It left me with at least seven take home messages shared below.
1.   Learning via the Pomodoro Technique
      turn off distracting devices and sources
      focus on work for 25 minutes
      take a few minute break to rest your mind;  repeat…
2.   Cultures cling to legacies;  change is fought off.  New ideas
      form and flow with two classes:  young, unexposed people
      and people who change fields.
3.   ”Second skilling” permits you to adapt to the changing career
      environment.  Two tactics:  look to increasing and decreasing
      hiring trends;  overall picture of skill distribution and where
      are budgets decreasing and lowering of skills 
4.   ”Chunk” your learning practicing more on the areas you find
      more difficult
5.   Opportunity results from skill and luck.  Luck surfaces from
      a combination of (1) seeing problems as opportunities, (2)
      constantly upgrade and learn new skills, (3) assertively 
      be proactive.
6.   People have different learning styles.  Learn yours.  One is
      focused, another is diffuse.  You should use both, but 
      understand what works best for you.
7.   Value of selective ignorance.  You have only so much ‘cognitive
      energy’.  Be selective in what you choose.
This book is highly recommended for undecided people and
professionals in-transition.  [The review cited above provides
a thoughtful assessment.]

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CV Content. In the Internet Age.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:34 pm

Innovations in the way we present ourselves, our
research and technical work should impact how we
format and what we include in our CVs for academic

General guidelines for having
  - the document be in screen-readable sized font,
  - your name on each printed page with a page number, 
  - keywords that reveal that you understand that you
meet requirements (musts/wants) of the position being
  - your experience section state accomplishments led
by action verbs offering ‘
gapped-statements’ in

  - sufficient information to evaluate your academic
credentials and accomplishments (your thesis and adviser,
titles of presentations, patents and articles)
are certain.  Just as the essential need of a signed cover
letter that cites all the documents in your package.
Reviewing so many documents usually means that
they are in electronic form and items should be digitally
While several references suggest Purdue’s Online
Writing Lab and registration in ORCID, please
consider the Rice University listing which nicely
provides items to consider including as topics.  
In addition to those, it is now important to include
web-pages, blogs, open access articles on both technical
and topical interest, Internet commentaries, and
appropriate communication contact points (texting,
More and more academic position applications will ask
for teaching philosophy, diversity statement, research
proposals, list of publications, patents, and presentations
 and list of references.  All of the information should be
appropriately integrated to support each other.
Of interest to many academic positions is seeing your
contribution and participation in “service” to department,
university and field of endeavor and presentations to 
organizations  and audiences outside of your main field.
Special mention should be made about CVs for outside
the US.  If you are seeking positions in Europe, you should
develop a CV in the Europass format.  (See also
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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 
, stating the significance of a 
research paper
you wish to submit to a journal editor
, or filing an interest or complaint with an authority
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
 - 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
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.
Financial Considerations in your first Work Decade
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:00 pm

You learn and train in a wide range of technical skills,
develop writing ability creating public relations documents,
perfect public speaking and presentations in universities.

Do you get an introduction into solid financial practices
and decisions when you start your career?  From a number
of recent interactions I sense most don’t have those 
conversations or know people they can feel comfortable 
to ask.
Some situations, for example:
- start at a position and get reduced in staff in less than
a year;  Immediate actions
- decisions at sign-up starting a position at the new 
company-  stock options
- accepting an offer and relocation benefits
- financial planning questions and answers
Columbia University offers ten items worth bringing 
to mind.  The last hits home — money is not an end in
itself, it is a means to create personal satisfaction and
value.  Leading among the ten items are:
1.  figure out your required and optional expenses
2.  include creating an emergency fund, insuring yourself
and life essential properties
3.  manage your loans, payments, and credit record.
The time value of money can be estimated by the
of 72
The financial world is changing constantly.  The recommendations
and rules of the past in general may not be applicable.  
Think 401Ks, IRAs, pension plans, how you use tax returns
and estimated tax payments.  
Create a “financial notebook” for yourself as a continuing learning
tool.  Learn from your mistakes.
Seek financial counselors or mentors you can go to.
If you work for the federal government, student loans can be 
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
Suze Orman offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
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

 [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.
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Stress. Revealing and Responding Behaviors
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:15 am

Are you feeling stress in yourself?  Need to make decisions?
Too many things to do and not enough time?  Meeting with
new people, people with opposing views or too many people?
Feel cramped or feel inhibited?

These things can happen in relaxed times or in business
situation.  They can happen without notice, rapidly or 
with a time suspension or delay.
GP contacted me about a post graduate role and her 
uncertainty over her visa situation, application process,
negotiation of starting date and leaving date situation.
GP has interest in an informal offer, but feels she faces
a series of hurdles, which create anxiety and stress. 
She “presented” a stressed mindset in our conversation.
So it was important to (1)share that several other colleagues
each faced similar challenges and dared to commit to
a course of action and take it as a learning experience.
The crisis occurs when catatonic behavior schizophrenia
locks us from moving forward.
(2)Compliment her for moving forward and following up
on an opportunity that is within her reach.
(3)Deal proactively with barriers she foresees.
However, knowledge alone will not necessarily reduce 
her stress.  Alice Boyes has offered some proactive 
physical, mental and behavioral ideas, a couple which
I had not known for relieving stress, –
  - running your fingers over your lips
  - slow down when you feel a stress or anxiety build 
up, pause
Some were ones that have worked for me–
  - going outside into nature
  - deep breathing
  - power posing (Amy Cuddy)
  - muscle relaxation;  Yoga
  - speaking openly with trusted mentors
  - try new things, test things out, learn from others
Author, Boyes, has several others, since it is true
there is no one “magic bullet.”
To formulate positive movement forward we discussed
several things that references are asked when we are
contacted.  Done as a collaboration, we built positive
hope in the direction she is seeking.
  a.  how long is our professional connection and in
what contexts.
   b.  what are clear strengths that will be valuable
in her next position, provide examples with stories and
positive outcomes.
The reference, me in this case, needs to personalize
the examples.
Then, (4) provide a “lifeline” to contact whenever
she feels the need arising. 
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
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
.  Science offers an evolving body of knowledge, as old
ideas get incorporated into more fundamental theories and science
proceeds with uncertainty at the edges.
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,].  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.
LC/GC completed and published a 2017 salary survey and
company listing that job seekers in the chemical analyst
career track will use.

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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
-   The importance of seeing things / situations with your own
eyes, as it allows all sorts of things that you can question and
-   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


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 
-     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. 

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Negotiations. 8. Relocation Benefits
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

I received a request from PP after he received a long
sought after job offer.  He accepted the offer which he
pointed out included a $2000 relocation reimbursement.

“…Since this is my first industry based job, best
professional practices to follow as a new employee.  
One item is the company has not followed up on its $2K 
relocation allowance, which they offered during phone and 
on-site interviews.

Other things not mentioned in the hard offer was processing
my O-1 work visa.

I am expected to relocate in early November.  Please let me
know what you think about my relocation allowance?” 

It is critical to understand your critical first step in accepting 
a job offer.  Besides signing the appropriate document, you
should devise an acceptance letter that re-affirms key elements
of the offer letter agreement and items that were discussed in
all the interviews and information exchanges.  This should be
sent either at the same time as the acceptance documents or 
soon after.

Included in the letter is a request to know a direct contact person
to whom you can consult with issues, questions and concerns.
You should be able to contact them at any time and feel 

You should ask for a company annual report and employee

Clearly, this acceptance letter would specifically address 
relocation and working visa processing.

The Balance blog lists things that can be included, and
should be confirmed orally and confirmed in writing:
  - househunting, including transportation, hotel and meals
  - costs of selling and purchasing, including closing costs,
commissions, legal and recordkeeping expenses
  - Position searching help for spouse
  - travel expenses and temporary housing for the move
  - Temporary housing in cases where the home is not
readily available
  - moving company expenses and logistics for packing
loading, unloading and unpacking, as well as insurances

Please realize that the details of the relocation policy
need to be confirmed 
and in writing.  Also it is critical to
confirm the specifics of what  forms, receipts and
timing of submission / reimbursement in advance.

I recommended that PP should not be hindered from
asking for information and suggestions at any time.

A more comprehensive relocation benefit discussion
is provided by Money-zine

Not to be lost in this discussion is the tax breaks you are
entitled to for job change as long as it involves a move
of employer greater than 600 miles.  Please note that if
the job search occurs over a significant period of time
with various expenses they can all be claimed, but you
are responsible for keeping receipts (credit card
documents may be enough, if accompanied by expense

You should not shy away from pursuing a firm understanding
of responsible people, timelines and your role in employment
papers.  This has been a topic in this blog.  We know the
visa situation has changed and will change again so it is
critical to be well informed and have a back up plan.

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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
Interview Preparation and Follow-Through.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:21 am

JZ contacted me about preparing for an upcoming
interview and she is concerned about being an
international professional who has pursued her
dreams.  She believes –”she does not have the
freedom to choose passion if they are not traditional
career paths.  …I have H4 visa (spouse- H1B) and need
sponsorship to work.  [Situations are such that I
want] to add income by looking at a job related to my
graduate degree.” 

We corresponded refreshing what we had discussed
in person and in class five years ago as she was making
decisions for her family.  The times have changed in
the immigration world since then and that may influence
employment decisions.  These can be overcome by
thoughtful preparation, considerate follow through
and win-win comments during the interview..
Preparation Considerations-
 - your profile needs to show interest
and express background and experience in the chemical
-  Arrange an information interview to re-familiarize
yourself with OSHA, MSDs, and HazWaste and good
laboratory practice with people in the field. 
-  Develop ~1 min. stories and jot down memory aids
for each bullet in your resume
-  Study the company and area around the company.
Look at its website, goggle people, look at Linkedin
profiles for connections. 
-  Even if the interview is remote or virtual, dress as
if you were visiting the site.  Plan to be prepared a
reasonable time in advance.
-  Write down critical questions you wish to ask, Like:
  What is a typical day like?
  What are typical analyses and instrumentation used?
  What is the safety record of the company?
  Who will you be reporting to, who will you replace
and can you learn key information from them?
-  Have pen, paper, your documents and a calendar and
computer handy.
-  Salary expectation study for range
-  Be prepared to offer names and addresses of
references.  Contact references in advance asking
if they are available to go to bat for you.
During interview-
-  in the beginning introduce yourself and ask for 
introductions of all participants, get correct spelling
and title and addresses (thank you notes)
-  hold back from talking about or asking for salary
and visa status before a job offer.  
-  be ready to express your salary expectations based on
salary surveys for the region and title, if asked.  
ACS Salary Comparator
-  Dress as if you are on site.  Think about safety
shoes and apparel.
-  Arrange for no interferences and test out tools
you will use, if remote.
-  Breathe, perform a power pose knowing that it helps
our body to relax and be prepared
-  Near the end, consider offering a test run to work
for a day or week, per diem.
-  Near the end, ask “what is the next step in the
hiring process”
Following Interview-
-  Formulate an After Action Review of the process
-  Write “thank you” notes to each interviewer
-  Be ready to follow up on each of their requests.  It is
not unusual these days to be tested on pertinent skills
plan to show that you can do them well.
-  Check with your references to confirm they have all
they need to work for you.
1 comment
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
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 
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes 
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