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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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06/03/19
Hot buttons. 1. Motivation underpinnings Financialization and Laws
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 am

This entry starts a new dialogue called “hot buttons.”

This first button is “Motivation”.  I found it curious what
Ladders” articulated on this topic, that for:
  newbies (1-2 years) -  “new skills or new knowledge and self
pride in accomplishing a task”
  individual contributors (3-7 yrs) - “frequent communication
with higher ups” and value 
in work life balance [whatever that
evolving concept means]
  mid-career (8-15 yrs) - “contribute to their organization’s
overall mission, goals”
  sages (>16 yrs) - being able to and in a position to ‘get
things done.’
.
It seems that business schools have influenced “motivation” as
Kellogg’s School program attests.  Their program offers finding
two or three personal drivers from five — 1- accomplishing meaningful
goals, 2-being part of a collaboration, 3-gaining status, 4-directing and 
controlling your activities, and 5-being part of a larger effort.
.
This blog recognizes these academic elements.  There are
two subsurface realities in our capitalistic system that need
to be realized. 
Reality 1 money-profit- and advantage dominates the economy
of the chemical enterprise.  It is a big business.
[Think of bankruptcies, mergers, patent infringements, and
technology generations.]
Reality 2legal contracts and laws of commerce in different
societies projects a ‘larger than life’ influence on results that
happen.  [Mores in societies evolves over time…think of race
and gender equity.]
Few of my mentors shared this with me early in my career.


 
comments (0)
05/26/19
Gig Economy. Scientific Writing Editing Review
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:12 am

Say, you have strong technical writing skills in English.
Say, you have time (more than 4 hours a day) and credentials
that clearly show proven skills in improving technical
communications.

.
Well, there is a need, that some societies promote, is available
It is an interesting avocation for some, but I am not advocating
it.  As I contacted an excellent technical writer to seek her 
“take” on this proposal.  As an article by Joanne Chen observes,
while many people look at on-site reviews for determining
a purchase decision, objective assessment from a trusted 
colleague will do better for you.
.
I shared Enago’s offering with Lisa Balbes and bring up several
of her noteworthy comments.  The remuneration is sub-standard, 
sometimes it is not equitable and not timely, the feedback on
performance can seem arbitrary, without recourse..  Other,
online reviews also point out caution.
.
She wisely points out that payment in advance and individual
contracts with stated expectations can avoid many troubles.
comments (0)
05/08/19
Tax Law Change. Relocation and “Gross Up”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:32 am

Al Sklover shared one of the impacts of the 2018 tax law
change that allowed the mega wealthy a tax cut is to tax
as income any relocation reimbursement by employers.

.
The article recommends that new or relocated employees
ask for “grossing up” that is having extra sum of compensation
to pay for the taxes due.
2 comments
04/17/19
Habits. Top four that enhance your self esteem
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:06 am

Many times authors write about and speak about habits that
will help you be successful.  As we come to appreciate,
winning and “success” are fleeting until the next event in a
competitive world.

.
I enjoy much of what David Brooks writes in his NYT
editorials.  One of the latest is about 2 mountains we face
in our lives–

“If the first mountain is about building up the ego and
defining the self, the second is about shedding the ego and
dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition,
the second
 mountain is about contribution.

On the first mountain, personal freedom is celebrated
keeping your options open, absence of restraint. But the
perfectly free life is the unattached and unremembered life.
Freedom is not an ocean you want to swim in;  it it a river
you want to cross so that you can
plant yourself on the other
side.
.
So the person on the second mountain is making
commitments.  
People who have made a commitment to a
town, a person, 
an institution or a cause have cast their lot

and burned the 
bridges behind them. They have made a
promise without 
expecting
a return. They are all in.

.
I can now usually recognize first and second mountain people.

The former have an
ultimate allegiance to self; the latter have
an ultimate allegiance to some
commitment.”
.
Supporting this are habits that build self-confidence and
lead to commitment. [taken from ]
1.  delay celebration and develop a ‘reserve capacity’ to persist
2.  make choices and have the mental agility to have a back-up
if first choice does not work
3.  organize details, set priorities and understand root causes
of shortcomings
4.  be kind even in the face of rudeness, bitterness and
unhappiness

1 comment
04/14/19
Artificial Intelligence. Best Jobs and Predictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:36 am

Readers of this blog might look at recent reports for: 

   looking for best jobs
.
  companies are predicting when employees will quit
IBM Watson and GM have a “predictive attrition program” which
assesses employee flight risk and offers proactive steps to retain
those employees.
Career path assessments and key employee skill area predictions
are also AI targets..
Ginni Rometty predicts AI will change 100 % of jobs in the future.
.
Suggestion:  While it is nice to track trends, finding what
is likely to happen in the future and how to prepare for it
is better for our futures.
  
comments (0)
04/05/19
Professional Profile. 7
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:01 am

Profile:  Technology Specialist, Science and Technology Patent LLC

Style and Responsibilities
Proficient in both experimental and computational exploration of
synthesis and evaluation.  Developed technology assessment 
experience through post-doc and internship.

Personable and highly organized with different cultures.  

Position involves bringing technical skills to bear on business 
strategy and best legal practices for technology concept protection
for biomaterials, formulations, optophotonic electronics, food
and nanomaterials.

Challenges and Stresses
Time is currently a limited resource with long commute, 
management of household with preschool children and 
current housing arrangement.  Am using mentors to figure
out longer term strategies  and encouragement to ask questions
and seek help.

Landing Current position and openness to new opportunities
The search for my current position that I started a month ago
faced several hurdles.  We became new parrents, had my
work papers approved and dealt with several months break in
appointments.  Yet we were successful due to persistence,
preparation and practice.

Just as one might expect, as soon as I started a new position
other opportunities arise.  While the benefits package is quite
satisfactory and meets our needs (eg.  salary exceeds ACS
Salary Comparator benchmark), I will find a way to accept
interview invitations.  I do not do them from my employer’s
locations nor on employer’s time.  I keep all engagements 
confidential and record notes.

Interestingly, since this is a legal position “billable hours”
is a new work constraint that I am learning to include in my
agenda.

Opportunities for Growth
In addition to a highly skilled staff and generous benefits,
the firm offers continuous in-house training, support for
personal growth and patent agent certification and help
in pursuing a legal education.  
1 comment
02/23/19
Professional Profile. 6.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:24 pm
Profile:  Senior Supervisor Immunoassay disease detection.

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities? 
I would say my personal style is pretty easy to work with and always trying to
accommodate others reasonable requests within my ability. My responsibility
I would say it’s really to help others, either it’s the upper management or my
colleagues. 
- Are you challenged?  What stresses you? 
I’m definitely challenged at work, but I welcome that as it gives me a sense
of accomplishment. As with any projects, finding and managing resources can
be pretty stressful, but I think our team are doing pretty well so far.

- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most
enjoyable responsibilities and tasks. 
I currently hold a supervisory role and I enjoy very much working with my team
to meet our targets and present our work together to the cross functional team.

- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions? 
I started as a scientist role in my current company and was approached by my
current boss to work on a special project that expands our companies current
portfolio, which I thought was and still is pretty interesting. As my experience
grows, I always think about the next step, for which I have continuous dialogue
with my current boss.

- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position? 
Not afraid to take on really challenging but low visibility tasks.

- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were
the factors in your decision? 
Yes, long term professional growth was probably the biggest reason I decided
to refuse. The offer I refused was definitely a much better short term offer, but
I think I made the right decision.

- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you? 
Right now, gaining experience in resource and project management is the
biggest learning opportunity for me.

- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network? 
So far, I think not being afraid to ask for help and others advice has helped.

What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or
planning on moving on in the next year? 
Keep an open mind, what you do after graduating may be different than
what you studied for 5+ years. Be prepared for the interview and know your
audience before your presentation, expect questions on anything you put
up on the slides, sometimes it’s the small details that trip people over.

comments (0)
02/11/19
Professional Profile. 5.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am


Profile: Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience


- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?

In terms of overall work, I like to be given a project and work independently, while knowing where to go for help if needed. It’s also very important for me to know where my work fits into the overall mission of the group, and that we all work together towards a common goal- that is usually very motivating for me. I also typically enjoy being given a great deal of responsibility in my work, as I take that as a sign of trust and therefore try to achieve the goals at hand as best I can. I try to utilize these principles in my current job, where I am part of a great team and also feel that I am given enough freedom to learn, explore, and manage projects and assignments. We have plenty of meetings about various aspects of the work, which is very helpful. I enjoy the group interactions as well as the independent work.  


- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?

I’m challenged every day in the sense that I am faced with having to find something, learn a new system or vocabulary- sometimes I am challenged in terms of time constraints, other times because I am working on a task that I’ve never done before. But this also contributes to the value of this experience. I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity to be a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. This is my first exposure to working in a department where there is a blend of biomedical PhDs and those from other backgrounds, and first time working for a scientific society and seeing how that works, while also learning more about policy & advocacy. I enjoy being fully immersed in all the novel experiences in this position, whether they are in the office, or outside going to Hill events (which is a lot of fun!). What stresses me is sometimes the element of surprise or changing circumstances, meetings or tasks, although currently I am fascinated by everything and soaking it all in. In general, I like stability, but in some cases, especially if it’s something I am interested in and wanting to learn more about, I welcome chaos and embrace new things no matter how hectic it is, because I know it’s a tremendous learning opportunity and I feel passionate about it. I suppose a lot of how we approach life comes down to our attitude towards things- if we think that something is exciting and we are grateful for it, we will enjoy it more. I am also stressed sometimes about not knowing what comes next in my career, however from past experience, my plans don’t usually work out but something else works out which typically turns out to be even better than I could have ever imagined. So I’m trying to learn a bit of the art of “going with the flow” and seeing where my interests and passions will lead, and enjoy the process.


- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.

I am the Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. I started in this role on January 2, 2019. I enjoy having variety in my day, therefore the ideal day is a combination of office work and Hill time, which is not very common (although Hill Day in March will be exciting). The idea of interacting with people outside the office during the workday for networking is really important, and I’m trying to also take advantage of living in D.C. and engage in experiences outside of work as well, because there is so much here for me to learn from and I don’t want to miss useful opportunities. In terms of specifics, I enjoy drafting letters and working on excel sheets with information, especially if I know what the goal for them is, and in particular if they are collaborative efforts. It’s exciting to contribute to a collective project in the office, but I also enjoy being out of the office to and getting some practical experience.


- How did you land your current position?  
Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  
How long should we stay in our positions?

I had some prior science policy experience. Once I realized that I wanted to pursue this as a career path, I applied to relevant jobs that fit my background. Out of all the jobs I applied to and interviewed for, this was my favorite, so I am very happy to be in it now. I searched for and applied to jobs for some time, and in the process learned the right level of job to apply for, my application materials improved and my Skype interview skills sharpened with each conversation. This position just happened to be there at the right time, I was very excited about it (which probably showed in the process!) and it was just a really good fit overall. I was happy to learn that, when I got the position, everyone in the office unanimously voted that it should be me. I am reminded of this every day and I am really grateful for how accepting and welcoming they have been towards me since the very beginning. I’m also lucky to be in a really good working environment, which I didn’t always have. I think we should stay in our positions for as long as we are still learning and growing in them, and when it starts becoming boring and not useful, switch. We should not switch if it’s challenging, however, only if there are good reasons to do it. We should always be striving to better ourselves and thus look for that next thing that will allow us to accomplish that. The exception to this is a situation where the environment is really toxic or detrimental to our well-being, in that case we should leave it immediately.


- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?

I had demonstrated prior interest and passion in the area that I was looking to get hired for, and this position was a logical next step for me. I was able to articulate what I had previously learned and done, but also knew exactly why I wanted this position. I was looking for exactly this type of experience as the next step in my career. Although I had some experience with policy, I had never worked in a department like this. I work hard and I think I had demonstrated that in the past, so I came across as someone who was reliable and whom they could count on for pretty much any task at hand, which I imagine is what they were looking for. Finally, I also had the scientific background, and I believe they wanted a PhD graduate for this position, and that serves me well now as I am able to apply that background to this position. At the same time, I am also learning the policy & advocacy side of it, which is what I wanted to learn. Overall this is a win-win situation, and I think that everyone on the team is gaining from it. Plus, it is a really good working environment which is great.


- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  
What were the factors in your decision?

Not an offer. There were other potential interviews on the horizon when I decided to accept this one, and some of those were more long-term and potentially more stable as well. But this was my only offer I had at the time, and I didn’t want to wait any longer before moving in this direction, so I accepted immediately. At the time I was still toying with several options as to where I wanted my career to go, and I applied for jobs in two different directions along the same continuum. In a sense it was maybe a bit of a coin toss in terms of which one would work out first. Interestingly, I interviewed for the other type of job first, and I got pretty far in the process (I got to the in-person interview) but then ended up not getting the job, which I was very disappointed by. In retrospect, I am grateful that happened because it determined my direction towards something else that I instinctively knew was the right thing for me, and my current position was exactly that. I remember saying to a friend after I didn’t get the other job offer that it would be ideal for me to work in policy at a scientific society. I am now doing that, so it couldn’t have worked out any better!


- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?

Right now this position is both a tremendous opportunity and challenge at the same time, and I took the job knowing that it would be both, and I need both. I haven’t entirely figured out where to go from here, but I am learning more every day about what my future interests might be and where I might want to take it, just by being exposed to various experiences. My opportunity right now is to work with people from a different background, and learn how they think about the same issue that I am bringing my scientific expertise to. This is really valuable. The challenge is that I to put myself in situations which are outside of my comfort zone. I purposely seek them out because I know they will be growth opportunities for me. Sometimes this means talking to someone I might be intimidated by, so I force myself to just go up to them and start talking! This job is definitely teaching me how to network, and I find it’s getting easier overtime. I also often seek out projects that I know nothing about but could help with, in order to gain that expertise and grow in a different direction that I might not have explored otherwise.


- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?

Being in DC provides a lot of opportunities to meet people, and I find that most people are happy to have an afternoon coffee and talk about what they do. This is usually very  informative for me, and provides good practice for me in talking about my interests and goals to as many people as possible. The interesting thing is that I almost always get a different response, a new perspective, or a resource I didn’t have before. I attend some events related to work, and others on my own in particular if they are on something I am interested in (for example at the NASEM) but wouldn’t have the opportunity attend in person otherwise. I also try to go to social events related to policy work, where either peers or higher level experts would be present, and seek to meet both types of people. I find that talking with peers is helpful for practicing my pitch before going up to someone who might be more intimidating.


- What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?

I would say that career exploration should be a constant endeavor, and not done only when you are in your last year of your PhD, for example. Don’t wait until the end to try and figure out what you might want to do. Every day is an opportunity to explore something new, and everything you do can change your career trajectory. If you work in the lab, get out and meet people, especially those from different research areas or non-scientific backgrounds, because you will learn a lot. Keep an eye out for opportunities to grow and help others in your community. Never stop learning and growing, and find opportunities that will facilitate both of these things.


comments (0)
12/22/18
Professional Behavior. Terms for interviews and social media recruitment
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:48 pm

Professional responsibility requires that we have some idea of
terms that are used in relation to interviewing and internet and
social media searching.

.
“Ghosting” is a term describing applicants and current employees
who are impossible to reach in our tight job market.  As most early
career professionals now find many openings, it is incumbent on 
them to communicate and provide updated reliable contact 
information to recruiters.
While the article by C. Cutter views it from the recruiters’ perspective,
many of the comments and my experience is that companies more
often “ghost” candidates after contact and do not offer availability
to candidates.
.
Catfishing - behavior in social networks using senseless rejection, 
belittling, and sadism.  It is used by network profiteers to enact
behavior modification.
.
“BUMMER” is a term coined by Jaron Lanier who discusses the
pros and cons of social networks which are implemented to 
search of positions and inquire about employees.  BUMMER is
an acronym for Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into
an Empire for Rent.
.
BUMMER represents statistical algorithms that calculate the
chances that a person will act in a particular way.    The overall
population can be affected with greater probability than can any
single person.
.
Lanier outlines the components of BUMMER           
               A – attention acquisition leading 
               B – butting into everyone’s lives
               C – cramming content down people’s throats
               D – directing people’s behaviors in the sneakiest way
               E – earning money from letting the worst assholes secretly
screw with everyone else
               F -  fake modes and faker society

Fake people are present in unknown vast numbers as  Bots,
AIs agents, fake reviewers, fake friends, fake followers, fake posters,
automated catfishers.

About Social Media
.
Social media is based on “engagement.”

When people get a flattering response in exchange for posting
something they get in the habit of posting more.  It is the first
stage of an addiction that becomes a problem both for individuals
and society.  Significant aspects of increasing engagement include
randomness, economic
motivation without responsibility, and
adaptability. 

The benefits of networks only appear when
people use the
same platform.  [Think apple iphone, messaging, facetime,
and apps.]  Once the
app starts to work you are stuck with it. 

These are called “lock-ins” and they are hard to avoid in digital networks. 

We are carrying devices suitable for mass behavior modification.

We are crammed into online environments controlled by few
centers guided by
business models that involves finding
customers ready to pay to modify someone
else’s behavior.

New companies measure whether an individual changed their
behaviors
and the feeds for each person are constantly tweak
to get behaviors to change.

comments (0)
12/03/18
Good Companies List
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:40 pm

You know, it is hard to come up with a list of firms to
consider applying to.  Sure you can go to your placement
services, whether academic, commercial or governmental,
and see who they cite.

.
You can go to fields of specialization where previous people
from your area have landed positions.
.
You can take recommendations from mentors who may have
current knowledge.
.
As we are seeing, what is important to some people is not as
important to others.  I recall when I began my search, all I
heard was that finding a good post doc was critical after 
grad school.  Then, I had a mock interview with a mentor 
who offered a unique idea of looking for energy related 
fields (now this was in the 70s, just before the time of the 
Arab oil embargo in the US).  So when I was involved with
screening interviews, I accepted all that were offered and I 
could request.  Then part of my decision process involved
determining energy companies.
.
These days business aspects are paramount.  Which firms
have good management, philosophies and practices?  The 
WSJ determined a ranking of 752 firms using Peter Drucker’s
criteria of doing the right things well.  It is well worth taking
a look at the criteria and perhaps digging into the listing to
determine where you might search.  
.
It is true that other factors besides this play a role for each 
of us and that we need to define them– company culture,
location, specific fields of interest, and so forth.
.
When I perused the list at least half of the top 50 are technology
intensive companies and there are some firms that I had not
known before.  This is valuable and should be of strong 
interest to you.
Look at a number of the companies listed and go to their 
websites.
[Even get a copy of the 12-3-18 issue of the WSJ.]
comments (0)
11/26/18
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise. 6. Take-overs, Mergers, and Activist Investor Break-ups
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:45 pm

The Chemistry Profession encourages through the
training institutions focusing attention on exclusively
the technical side of the business.  So much of what
we face in the industrial and government realms
involves ECONOMICS.

.
This blog has offered several glimpses via entries on
this different perspective.   I could not help but exclaim
“wow” when CEN covered a story about Bain and
Pfizer forming Cerevel (10-29-18, p. 14).  The same
issue reported Deerfield and UNC organizing a
curious partnership (p. 15).
.
Dow and DuPont dominated CEN 11-19-18) after
their merger and activist investor inspired breakup
of various lower performing divisions.  (pp. 11, 22ff)
.
The latest news is from United Technologies breaking
up into three separate companies.
All these activities remind me of bank buyouts,
ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) and 
rapid turnover of company leadership and philosophy
of the 1980s.  
So, please study and become aware of the
economics 
of the industries 
chemistry leads you into. 
Your success, stability and satisfaction will require it.
comments (0)
11/11/18
Resumes. History and Future
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:52 am

Lydia Dishman wrote in Fast Company:  “The need exists for a 
summary of professional achievements, preferably verifiable
and hinting at what a person might be like to work with.”   Though
a delivery system for this information is bound to change.

.
Accompanying this future seeking view is some controversy
for first time resume writers, career changers and job-hoppers who
seek growth in low growth environments.  The overall history, 
author Dishman chronicles, includes da Vinci’s ten point ability
list in a letter to Sforza about painting the Last Supper, the French
word origin of personal summary of job skills, and changes in
sections and information to include and/or drop based on length,
format (using PCs and programs).
.
She suggests Linkedin is hastening an irrelevance.  At least nearly
nine-tenths of recruiters seek out the contents and sections of your
profile.  What is problematic is job titles, despite the advances
in keyword matching, full expedited listing of accomplishments
(often via links to documentation), and detail often not possible
in hardcopy forms.
.
With so many possible applicants, time is a premium in making
appropriate decisions without bias.
.
It is highly recommended that you create and seek out best 
practices in digital formats, which Linkedin leads.
Academic positions still do not favor the use of digital forms,
however.

comments (0)
09/28/18
OKR Systems. John Doerr
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

OKR Systems described in outline and detail in Doerr’s
book Measure What Matters:  How Google, Bono and the Gates
Foundation Rock the world with OKRs see also videos.

.
Goal setting is not bulletproof:  When there are conflicting
priorities or unclear, meaningless or arbitrarily shifting goals,
people become frustrated, cynical and demotivated.  
.
Goals may cause systematic problems in organizations due to 
narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking,
decreased cooperation, and decreased motivation.  Hard goals
drive real progress more than easy goals.  If they are specific
results observed are on target more than vague ones.
.
For those making the transition from academic experiences
to commercial or mission oriented organizations, Doerr is
a powerful mentor.
comments (0)
09/17/18
Harari. Philosophical implications of Economics of Chemical Industry
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:16 pm

No body knows what will happen in the future  Yuval Harari
describes in his books and in podcasts.   [See “21 Lessons for
the 21st Century”].  The twin revolutions of information
technological disruptions and biotechnology could restructure
more than economies and societies, but also our own bodies
and thinking.

.
He finds jobs in the future will be robust if they retain a menial
and creative element.  Yet, so much of professions can be data 
managed, searched and automated.  
.
We are seeing a real “AI arms race”, led by remotely controlled
autonomous weapons.  It is rapidly leading to invading human
decision making,
.
Technological disruption_engineers are taking over.  
Ethicists and  philosophers are being lost, but incredibly missed
and needed alongside technological development.
Technologies provide immense positive outcomes, but there
can be unintended consequences and bad actors are even more likely.
.
We must remain very skeptical, questioning ideas and choices.
and defend and uphold a legal system that protects people.
There is human suffering and we must know it happens.
1 comment
06/30/18
Economics of the chemical enterprise. 5. Moat Nation of Steven Brill
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:08 am

Steven Brill outlines the changes that have occurred
triggering the financialization of the chemical enterprise
that we have highlighted through the work of Rana Faroohar 

.
Brill points out that business today has taken on a new meritocracy
with a “get rich quick” philosophy that works through cut-throat
tactics  and the flooding of political influence money that no 
longer prioritizes the common good, but “win at any cost” for
the privileged few.
.
The resulting model finds successful businesses protected by
“moats” that shield off predators.  Moats he describes as good
product lines, great reputations, predominant market share and 
sterling management who hire the best of the best teams that
savvy investors will seek out. 
.
More and more we see AI and robotics impinge on human
roles.  So in addition to seeking cognifying roles in our careers, 
consider what John Meacham has urged
  - do practical work in the political sphere employing your highest
principles
   - respect and insist on true facts and deploy reason (avoid 
dictators who lie frequently assuming that repetition will lead to
concurrence)
   - keep history in mind.
.
Just doing chemistry is not enough for professionals.


1 comment
06/02/18
Trends in Technical Careers. Intersections with Other Fields
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:43 am

Interesting observations in several fields that touch
on scientific realm are offered in this post.

.
Controlled Environment Agriculture.  Leading to
beneficial nutrition, yield and pharmaceutical 
value.  Tessa Pocock wrote about the photosynthetic
efficiency of different low intensity wavelengths
on plant growth, the McCree Curve.  This is a
possible application for solid state lighting and 
specific crop production.
.
CRISPR Patent Rulings.  Two sources talking
about the continuing saga of patent protection
filings from UC Berkeley and Broad Institute
are teachable moments for technology development.
The Scoop offers that the result could impact
future funding.
The Courthouse and expedited application process
is discussed in detail in a Jacob Sherkow interview.
.
AI in Science.  While the first of two articles 
addresses applications in life sciences, there are
ramifications in all fields.
AI- diagnosis and disease probability
AI- personalized medicine (skin cancer, smoking
      cessation)
AI- drug discovery using unsupervised learning
       algorithms of pattern recognition
AI- predictive analytics in clinical trials to reduce time
       and cost
AI- interpretation of scans using smart algorithms to
       assist
AI- seamless communication of health records
.
The second article by Stephen Boppart argues with
more detail about “optical biopsies” in the near
future as part of AI in diagnosis.
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05/28/18
Professional Behavior. Timing and Human Behavior
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:12 am

You prefer to wake at a certain time.  You do your best
thinking, analytical work at certain times during each
day.  Physical work feels right, too, at definite times.

.
Michael Breus authored a popular book about chronotypes 
that offers a classifying tool with some quick observations
about each “type,” similar to MBTI personality and 
Behavioral tools.  I have not decided if chronotype is 
definitely a feature that will help you understand yourself.
.
Daniel Pink wrote a very readable book, When, that 
broadens the scope of time, timing and psychology
that you should pay attention to.  Using physiological
observations he relates body temperature routines to human
concentration and deduction powers , test taking, daily
activity scheduling, taking breaks, naps, interviewing, 
how to begin important tasks and endings.
.
INTERESTING POINTS (book or You-Tube)
LIWC - peak-trough-recovery pattern of mood
            - earnings calls of CEOs;  morning better
Breaks and naps;  break out of “trough”
Brene Brown - mid-career slump relief
James Dean Effect - careers, life style assessment
Peak-end rule of Kahneman
Baumeister synching
 Synching forms:  codes, garb and tough times to
yield 
greater synchrony
 
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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.

1 comment
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.
1 comment
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.

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