The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
May 2018
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
05/12/18
Conversation in the Digital Age. Advice from S. Turkle
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:56 am
We all can relate to how our existences are consumed
by cell phones, computers, wifi and alexa.  AI is not
far behind where we relate more and more with robots
and devices for many needs, wants and desires.
.
Nonetheless, the art and reality of being good at conversing
with others makes human relationships hum.
.
Sherry Turkle wrote of an interviewing technique in her
book Reclaiming Conversation:  The Power of Talk in the 
Digital Age
.
“Employers have come to appreciate the vulnerability of
the new generations.  Some businesses explicitly screen
for an ability to converse.”  A  big pharma exec told of a
conversation with an applicant.  Then, at the end ‘I tell the
potential recruit that their homework is to organize what we
have discussed and from that make an agenda of interesting
themes for our next conversation.’
This approach emphasizes the importance of listening skills,
getting a clear understanding of each person’s ideas and
purpose and being able to synthesize a cogent argument.
.
This is not to say that the advantages digital technologies
are not used and important.  It emphasizes the “and” in
conversation and digital technologies, in addition to knowing
when and how and when not.
.
The author states some well demonstrated doctrines like
practice with conversation and digital technologies is key–
use it or lose it…
.
She adds in texting, punctuation is everything (it is easily
misinterpreted.) 
I liked where she relates the motivation for using digital
technologies (the Goldilocks effect) and what it does in
professional settings.
.
This easily readable book is a recommended read for 
technical professionals who want to get ahead and seek
some good advice.

comments (0)
05/09/18
Watch-Outs. 108. Working in Consulting, Important new areas
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:20 am

Three things have come to my attention.  One was a recent
graduate’s interest in a consulting firm position.  So we
have been in discussion about how she might prepare for
developing her cover letter, resume and other documents.

.
A second item relates to an important technical area that 
Bill Gates has indicated demands more attention– preparing
for pandemics.
 . 
Finally, an interesting letter to the editor in CEN by 
Professor Adam Heller talks about mitigation work
needed to deal with the growing global warming threat
we all face.  I note this because Adam has always been
at the forefront of where technology needs are…lithium
batteries, lasers, biomedical devices and more.
.
CONSULTING
The initial volley involved getting information on the company,
seeing the job description and related information from
insiders and Glassdoor.com.  As is found from many of
this class of employers, the job description offers generic
“musts.”…
  - desire blending information technology and management
consulting
  - recently graduated from top institution with credentials
  - skilled and experience with using software and developing
learning tools in C++, Java, C# and other platforms
  - demonstrates outstanding communication skills in all phases
.
So this provides some hints about important things to include
in application documents.  But we do need to go further.  Using
Linkedin, and the firm’s website we can learn more about 
the kinds of project areas and notable citations.  One citation
came up about a highly touted recent book on consulting that
the CEO wrote.  Probably would be good to pick up.
.
Then, consider making use of your network to glean other
useful information and tactics to allow you to stand out, like.
the name of the recruiter to send things to.
.
PREPARE FOR NEXT PANDEMIC
In a recent ScienceAlert post Bill Gates talked about an
area of high need.  Gates told of a simulated disease
spread model of a flu borne pathogen.  It would create
devastating consequences that we are not prepared for.
.
Strategies and organizations need to be formed to
identify the mode and source and rapidly develop
mobile operations to isolate, treat and inoculate larger
populations.  This is long range thinking well beyond
the fiscal and election cycles that should be of interest
to technical professionals interested in being part of 
something larger than themselves and making a difference.
.
GEOENGINEERING
In a Letter to the Editor of C&EN on April 30, 
A. Heller wrote of the high need to report in their
pages the critical need for scientific research to 
develop and test strategies to global warming
catastrophes the earth faces.
.
Where C&EN fills its pages with alternate energy
and conservation, these are “tip of the iceberg”
solutions.  Trends point to global wealth and the resulting
use of resources without sustainable management as
the dominating input for continued earth warming 
in addition to a series of unintended consequences of
loss of ice caps, changing climate patterns and severe
natural events in tropical areas.
.
Work on Geochemical approaches is needed and 
has to be reported in C&EN and to the wider 
community, like the I
nstitute for Advanced Sustainability
Studies.
comments (0)
04/18/18
Chemical Enterprise Business Models. Considerations for Jobs
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:14 pm

Rarely, if ever, do Chemistry graduates ever receive formal
or informal introductions in chemical enterprise business models.

.
We think it is of critical importance as it shows is how individuals
and corporations learn and how its core values.(business purpose,
core culture, operational processes and policies) are demonstrated.
.
So many of the BS, MS and PhD / post-grads do not find a 
match to what they believe are their skills and interests.  They
might initially desire to emulate their advisers, but opportunities 
are often limited.  So, they look for start-ups and entrepreneurial 
opportunities.
.
Mike Kubzansky of Brookings provides a comprehensive view of
business models.  Heintz et al show how business models can be 
different in different cultures.  This is an important consideration
for it affects decision making from many angles.
Deloitte has predicted that chemical enterprises will benefit from
digitalization but as a whole are slow to incorporate them.  This 
is an area to embrace or at least consider when assessing the job
market.
.
Sangeet Choudary pictures families of business models.
-  flow from raw materials to finished products with customer
service to offer value to customers
-  exchange driven platform where groups of consumers and
producers aim to maximize value 
.
So two examples to make things concrete for readers.  Think
about the way we consume news.  Newspapers in the 20th 
century were from larger news organizations, printed at
central locations, hand delivered  and read cover to cover.
Mass distribution of video and radio complemented printed
media.  Now, we consume news mostly online via internet
and cable 24-7 and there is so much that news is continually
updated and corrected.  Because of this nature and the various
media formats and sources how businesses make a profit has
moved from coupons and ads to clicks and eye balls.
.
Photography is a second model that reveals the revolutions
from print format to virtual world which can be re-constituted.
Then there are many other factors like portable power, 
miniaturization and software versions and security.

comments (0)
04/07/18
Letter Writing and Thank you notes.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:23 pm

After collaborating on a workshop I suggested to my
colleague that both of us contact the sponsor of
ours who recommended both of us for the role.

.
Within a day of the workshop I thanked AH for
suggesting me for a very positive experience in
the program.  Included in the letter were brief positive
details and a sense that I look forward to working
together in the future.
.
Two things of significance, one reinforces the importance
and the other the timing of writing the thank you letter 
at this time.  
.
IMPORTANCE OF IN PERSON COMMUNICATION
Sherry Turkle’s book: Reclaiming Conversations.
In our present time, digital technology, through FB, 
Tinder,  MOOCs, texting, email tyranny and shallow
online activisim is argued to lose certain human strengths
Turkle says we have adopted new technologies to gain
control, only to feel controlled by them.
.
LETTER WRITING MONTH:  APRIL 2018
Letter writing is a lost art and there are commercial
interests advocating the positive aspects of making
an effort to relate personally to another individual.
.
This is just the opposite of getting fired by text
message and everyone at a dinner table texting
someone else….
.
Interestingly, two people attending the workshop
contacted me afterwards and thanked me for helping
them find a position starting on their career path.
Those notes made all the difference!
comments (0)
03/02/18
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

comments (0)
02/24/18
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
interview.

SELF ASSESSMENT
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.
,
MUSTS AND WANTS
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
consequential 
strangers

INTERVIEWS
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.

comments (0)
02/18/18
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
certainty.
.
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
comments (0)
02/07/18
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.

comments (0)
02/03/18
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
unintentionally?
.
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.  
comments (0)
01/30/18
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.

.
INTERESTING WORKSHOP DILEMMA
We were away on a vacation that delayed our responses.
However, I sent a follow up note to a colleague who was
a recipient of the job search workshop note asking to speak
before talking with the assistant professor who was coordinating
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.  
.
PROVIDING HELP FOR INTERNATIONAL JOB SEARCHER
This personal consultation can be related to the workshop.
In a way, this is one of the key goals of what a workshop might
provide.
.
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.
.
INTERESTING FOOTNOTE:
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.
comments (0)
01/01/18
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
in.
.
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
improvement.
.
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
them.
.
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.
3 comments
12/26/17
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,
called “A MIND FOR NUMBERS:  HOW TO EXCEL AT MATH AND
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
connections]
 - 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.
comments (0)
12/04/17
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.]

comments (0)
11/24/17
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
positions.

.
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
filled 
  - your experience section state accomplishments led
by action verbs offering ‘
gapped-statements’ in
parallel 

construction 
and
  - 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
accessible.
.
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,
twitter, 
etc.).
.
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
1 comment
11/12/17
Letter Writing. Importance of tailored, precise and respectful letters
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:31 am

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

.
Articulating thoughts in writing means that there is a
specific goal for your letter, whether  
  showing your 
interest in a specific position 
opening
, stating the significance of a 
research paper
you wish to submit to a journal editor
, or filing an interest or complaint with an authority
figure.
.
Lindsey McMahon encapsulates barriers to lucid
writing identifying four hurdles:
 - cultural differences:  while it is easier to describe 
international professionals working in American 
enterprises, I have found manufacturing organizations
have “time critical” focus that is not present in R&D,
for example.
Observe and pay attention to words used and timeliness,
intent and action.
.
 - verbs, active/passive voice and word order:  
interpretations and meaning can vary from person to
person
.
 - finding the right term:  so often loss of specificity
can lead to undesired outcomes
.
 - anxiety can lead to including unrelated information
due to uncertainty.  Joining organizations like 
Toastmaster International may prove to be a growing
exercise.
.
In most cases good letter writing open doors to many
opportunities as well as the goal for your writing.  
Keywords, knowing how letters are received and 
recorded (sometimes documents are screened by 
software before humans scan them), and who and
how letters are addressed (formal is more often
appropriate) are take-aways for good letter writing. 
See also.
 
2 comments
10/31/17
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
rule 
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 
forgiven.
.
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
decision-making.
.
Suze Orman offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
3 comments
10/25/17
Arctic Amplification of Atmospheric CO2 increases
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:59 am

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

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

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

 [you never know how these links display!]
where she is the third speaker.
.
She describes three effects of the loss of the Arctic sea-ice cap
(Arctic Amplification):
 - weaker steering winds
 - wavier jet stream
 - stagnant formations of wind flow (resulting from jet
stream splitting)
.
On top of sea ice recession, land-ice loss due to thermal
effects due to less reflection of solar radiation (Less ice,
polar cap is darker and more absorbent) raises sea levels
and enhances storm water surges in coastal regions.
.
Her talk last night ended with forecasts for future
scenarios that point to the need for important changes
in global behaviors, changing populations settling and
migration patterns and serious infrastructure redesigns.
[Several of these are pointed out in the Wilson Center 
video link.]
.
A recent article provides a less technical view.
comments (0)
10/23/17
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. 
2 comments
10/09/17
Technical trends worth noting. CRISPR and other models, Analysts career path, and Astrophysics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:42 am

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

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

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

Just finished reading Rudy Guiliani’s book Leadership.

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

THINKING PROCESSES

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

comments (0)