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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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10/16/18
Virus World. Interdisciplinary short course
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:50 pm

Carl Zimmer has written two very meaningful books recently.
One is on the world of viruses.  It creates a meaningful picture
for the world of viruses and their interaction with humans. 

.
Virus, as a term, initially meant venom from a sake or the semen
from a man.  Its meaning evolved over time to mean a contagious 
substance that could spread disease and initially used a tobacco
disease, tobacco mosaic virus. 
.
Bijerinck used virus to describe an agent in the fluid which was 
composed of 95% protein and 5% nucleic acid, a protein shell holding 
a few genes.
.
Carl Zimmer outlines eight classes of viruses and how they originated
and infect humans.  So many of these virus types are treated via 
chemical means.  Classes included-
1. rhonovirus (meaning ‘nose’ virus) spread by hands, hoorknobs
2. influenza  (from Italian)  droplets in air releassed from coughs,
sneezes, and runny noses
3. human papilloma virus HPV Papillomanvirus require some physical
contact
4. ocean viruses -  many types are still being  discovered
  Cholera is caused by blooms of waterborne bacteria 
which are hosts to a number of phages, that are viruses.
5. Retroviruses insert their genetic material into hosts DNA.
  HIV is spread by contact with body fluids 
6. West Nile Virus is spread by mosquito.
7. Ebola - spread by body fluids

comments (0)
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.
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)
03/31/18
Emotional Intelligence.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 11:01 am

One of my critical findings about IDPs Academic inspired
Individual Development Plans is it completely “whiffs” on
emotional intelligence.

.
I fear that if you ‘fill out the forms’ for IDP you miss nearly 
half of the skills many employers desire in applicants.
Justin Bariso wrote a thoughtful article on how emotional
intelligence is revealed.  It is not about using big words and
offering elaborate details about technical concerns.
.
He offers
1.  asking questions of yourself, like
     how does my mood affect my behaviors, thinking and 
decisions?
      what subsurface influences affect me and others?
to uncover self and social awareness.
.
2.  how do you control your reaction to things that affect
your emotions.  You have little to manage your emotional
take on things, but how you react can reveal your character.
.
3.   Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?
.
4.   Empathy for others;  not meaning agreeing with others
but trying to understand others.
.
5.  Do you intentionally commend and show appreciation
for others?
.
6.  Do you keep your commitments and help others?
conversely, do you apologize for short-fulfilling commitments
and even guard yourself from being taken advantage of
by being manipulated?
 


comments (0)
03/11/18
Absenteeism and Illness. Should you take off when ill?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:46 pm

Two organizations that employed me had rules for
absenteeism.  One was quite strict in that you could
choose certain number of days off with pay.  Requests
should be made in advance.

.
Importantly, attendance records were criteria for
advancement and ‘perfect attendance’ was clearly
and widely recognized and rewarded.
Thus, even when you are ill, with a flu or fever,
people were expected to come in, and ,if you could,
visit the company nurse who could dispense some
over the counter remedies.
.
Another employer left it to supervisors to decide whether
it was in appropriate to report not coming in to work and
exposing everyone to the spreading of illness.  Interestingly,
it was recorded but did not seem to make a difference in
assignments or promotions.  [We were to call the supervisor
and report illness.  As many sick days as needed were 
granted.  I do not know of any specific limit.]
.
Allison Doyle has written a nice piece about absenteeism
in the workplace, noting its costs to employers to be on the
order of half  a billion dollars.  Since absenteeism can cost
in productivity and revenue, time off for illness has varied
treatment and risks.  Many places seem to go the route of
PTO paid time off for vacation, special event or illness.
Others provide an annual number of sick days one is 
entitled to take.
.
Various medical organizations have investigated personal
illness and its impacts on the organization  and the individual.
While it may not be part of policy, one might argue a case
can be made to follow CDC guidelines for actions to take.
  -  encourage people to take preventative measures
  -  limit contact with others to avoid spreading;  even
stay home 24 hours when symptoms are real and invasive.
  -  supervisors should be proactive at every level in protecting
individuals and noticing symptoms
.
Recently, this writer was beset with a sinus like infection.
I limited contact as much a possible for as long as spreading
symptoms existed.  It meant sending condolences to events
I was expected to attend.  It is important to be the first
example of proactive behaviors and enforce similar 
recommendations on others.  It should start in the class
room and grad school research labs.
.
Then, practical policies of dealing with this perennial
issue of staying home when you are sick can be the general
policy, with appropriate checks and balances when 
appropriate.
 

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)
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
12/05/17
Recommended Reading. 7.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm

Previous years’ lists

  Recommended Reading. 6,
  Recommended Reading. 5.
  Recommended Reading. 4.
  Recommended Reading. 3.
  Recommended Reading. 2. 
  Recommended Reading. 1.
This year I will attempt to link readers to discussions of some of the 
books that follow in this blog.

Maria Konnikova THE CONFIDENCE GAME:  WHY WE ALL
FALL FOR IT. EVERY TIME, Penguin Random House NY 2016

Thomas L. Friedman THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE Farrar
Stevens and Giroux NY 2016

Yuval Noah Arari HOMO DEUS:  A BRIEF HISTORY OF
TOMORROW
audio 

Robert Cialdini INFLUENCE THE PSYCHOLOGY OF
PERSUASION Collins division of HarperCollins NY 1994

William Strauss, Neil Howe THE FOURTH TURNNG:  AN
AMERICA PROPHECY Broadway Books,   NY 1997

David Livermore, THE CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE DIFFERENCE: 
Master the one skill you can’t do without in
today’s global economy,
American Management Association, NY, 2011

Adam Alter, IRRESISTIBLE: The Rise of Addictive Technology
and the Business of Keeping us Hooked,Penguin Press NY 2017

Rudolph W. Giuliani with Ken Kurson, Leadership, Miramax
Books Hyperion NY, 2002

Lisa Randall, KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR:  HOW
PHYSICS AND SCIENTIFIC THINKING ILLUMINATE
THE UNIVERSE AND THE MODERN WORLD
HarperCollins 2011

Robert Colville, THE GREAT ACCELERATION:  HOW THE
WORLD IS GETTING FASTER, FASTER  Bloombury London NY 2016

Michael Breus THE POWER OF WHEN:  DISCOVER YOUR
CHRONOTYPE AND THE BEST TIME TO
EAT LUNCH,
ASK FOR A RAISE, HAVE SEX, WRITE A NOVEL AND MORE,
Little Brown and
Company NY  2016

Alan Alda  IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU WOULD I HAVE THIS
LOOK ON MY FACE
RandomHouse 2017

Barbara Oakley, MINDSHIFT BREAK THROUGH OBSTACLES
TO LEARNING AND DISCOVER YOUR HIDDEN POTENTIAL
Tarcher Peregre Penguin Random House 2017

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
05/10/17
Negotiations 7. Strategies and Inquiries
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:23 am

FL and I have been working together for several years,
first during a post-doc, then, a second post-doc and a series
of interesting temporary positions.  While the post docs
were related to her graduate training in advanced biomaterials
and coating technology, the temporary positions were in
a wide variety of disciplines from project management and
accounting, to analytical services, to quality control.

.
FL contacted me from outside the US about negotiating
a higher salary at a 10 year old company where a network
member currently works.  FL was offered a position for six
months, after which there would be a review to determine fitness
for longer term.  The contract specified starting date, supervisor,
and broad assignment responsibilities along with a starting
salary.
.
The initial request involved discussing what can be expressed
to bring up salary and that the salary being offered was 
lower than current pay as a temp.  The position is located in
Toronto, so it is a stretch to correlate ACS salary survey data
results, based on limited data and currency differences (although
I did approximate using estimated analogies.  
.
SALARY INCREMENT IDEAS
First, however, thank the company for the pleasant news that
was received for the generous offer.  It was highly sought and
enthusiastically received.  FL is flexible in scope of the position
and hours of work, however, is there any room for compensation
discussions….wait, don’t fill silence with excuses, let the hiring
manager think and respond.  State what your needs and desires
are before offering up give ups (you never know if your spouse 
might not have separate benefit coverage.).
.
Ask for the firm’s annual report, employee handbook, and a
formal job description
.  After you receive and review them you
will be better able to discuss the offer details.
.
FL sought a $10K improvement.  So we reviewed areas of
possible approaches– spousal health insurance, no relocation
expense, day care needs, hours of work, self improvement plan,
other deferrable benefits.  Since FL’s spouse has family health
care coverage and there are no relocation needs, these could be
offered as “give ups” to measurably increase salary.  FL is flexible
for hours of work and has no immediate day care needs.
.
If salary is not negotiable, ask if a sign-on bonus can be brought
up to compensate for the difference from your current position
and the unique bonus you might forfeit leaving your current 
employer.
.
Have a list of other negotiating wish items– personal computer,
loaded with professional responsibility software, professional
society memberships, special training programs, special 
commuter passes not listed in the employee handbook. 
.
We also shared details of negotiating workshops brought up
in earlier blog entries.
.
INQUIRIES
It is worth asking for details of the firm’s current and recent
past finances that would be listed in the annual report.  That
not being shared, along with number of employees and
ownership of properties where company activities are
conducted.
.
Through Fidelity Investments, we were able to share
financial data on this start up.  It is relevant to see if the
same data is offered.  Going to work for a company is just
like investing in the company and it is important to perform
due diligence in its financial and commercial viability.  Who
owns the company, what is the market value and trend
and are there legal issues of concern.
.
FINALIZING
After critical elements of the position negotiation are resolved
satisfactorily, request that an updated offer letter be sent for
approval.  Since its location is relatively close, it might be
a nice gesture to personally go to the location, sign it in
person and meet other employees with whom you will be 
working.
.
Send thank you notes to all members you meet.  It will
leave a positive impression.
.
ADDED VALUE:  Fidelity Investments has a Canadian affiliate
to support business research 
comments (0)
03/31/17
Where can grad students go for skills not taught in Universities
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Leadership, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 11:28 am

This is a story about two conversations.  The first is
one with a very accomplished senior grad student.

The second conversation is one of a series with
a department of chemistry chairperson.
.
Ph.D. LACKING NEEDED SOFT SKILLS
Almost Dr. Smith (not his or her real name) wanted
to talk about a situation in which she finds herself.  She
has received several promising offers, only to be rejected
after providing references.  She has learned from a reliable
source that the reference supplied the information that her
writing skills were not up to acceptable standards, whereupon
the offer was pulled.
.
She asked what can she do now?  Learn by various means–
reading for style and formatting, specialized training to write
for specific audiences, and practice, of course are several 
possibilities.  Shouldn’t the grad school provide that for her?
.
The answer is generally, not in today’s climate.
Second conversation, now.
.
PROPOSAL TO CHAIRMAN TO OFFER PRACTICAL
SKILLS TRAINING 
[Bring a solution, when you ask about a big concern you
have.]
When the new chair was installed I went to her with the
concern that many graduates do not have essential writing
skills and other “Soft skills” that we need to be successful.
What are some courses, programs of study, and tutoring
assignments (shadowing, draft writing, editing, reading)
that are offered or can be offered?  We will bring it up to the
dean, was one response.  
.
Another time, post-docs are people without support,
representation or a voice.  What can be done to help their
case?  That is up to the individual PI was the response.  I reflected
on several national labs, medical schools and NIH programs
and received the feedback.  That is not something I can do.
.
I pursued:  Why not?  some of the ideas are nice, but I would
be stepping on people’s [departments] toes and it is imprudent
to do here.
Another reason is that I can not impinge on the time they are
working in the lab.  They have so many distractions and
commitments as it is.  To add another requirement would take 
time from the research work that needs to get done.
.
So, it goes.  Outside speakers emphasize it is important to “get 
out of the lab” and learn extra-curricular skills through different
activities, internships and volunteer roles.  Most students immediately
reflect that their boss would not like them doing that.  Most say
they feel pressure to be in the lab 7×12 getting results.
.
While I receive consistent support for Professional Development
 activities in summer and both semesters, I am only one and
so much more could be done to make a difference.  What we
do is as much or more than is offered in other R1 institutions.
Please send in ideas and concepts working in other institutions.
I look forward to them.
 
2 comments
02/24/17
Career Path Choices. Preferences, Luck and Skill
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:28 am

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

individuals when they seek different career paths.  Then we
began a two part discussion of soft  2 [listing in comments],
hard and wise skills that benefit professionals.
We pointed out that much of our life is quite unpredictable
and that what we start out wanting, doing and behaving 
changes throughout our life.  An interesting piece in Quartz
reported on statistical data where in the past we could reflect
on anecdotal instances in changes.
In the short term there remains a consistency in our wanting
doing and behaving, however.  Here we might pose that Luck
and Skill arbitrate on what happens in our careers.
CAREERS  =  LUCK  +  SKILLS
                        LUCK = preparation + opportunity + attitude
                                       + action
                                                         / Hard
                                          SKILLS  -Soft
                                                         \ Wise
We suggested it is useful to set objectives, develop a plan
to achieve them and look for opportunities to be and act
professionally along the way.  Build your committed network,
ask for help, create and learn from “teachable moments”,
continuously learn, and be optimistic.
Two pieces of feedback from our class offered questions–
1- how can I network better?  What should I learn and practice?
[understand your current personal values, behaviors and emotional
make-up;  small talk, understand others’ make-ups and adapt
to achieve win-win outcomes] 
2-  it seems like the skills you list are just things to trick people on.
What is the basis for each item on the list, they wondered.
[real life often is a series of unpredictable events with little time
to think.  Thus our habits will determine our behaviors.  We wish
to figure out what our habits are modify them to be more effective.]
It is hard for some to learn that professional work is strongly
influenced by our cultural, personal and value-based habits.
It is often the case that how you do something is as important as
the outcomes that you achieve.  Sometimes the result is “pure 
luck” but as we know we “create much of our luck”.
1 comment
02/05/17
Linkedin Updates. Dennis Brown Suggestions
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:03 am

 From Dennis Brown:

Ideas 5 and 8 are applicable.  Remember online marketing is
the current state of the art.  Job seekers can use this tool 
for “push Marketing.”
  use of keywords
  involvement in groups
  online presence
  links 
  connection to “hubs
1 comment
01/31/17
Small talk suggestions. Patrick King tips.
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 4:10 pm

Reading a book that you may wish to get your hands on.

That is if you are interested in improving your “small
talk” skill.
I know I am.  So let me tell you more.  I am visiting several
friends and new acquaintances and am looking at how I can
improve my “connectability.”  We have brought up the critical
nature of this “co-curricular” practice”.
Patrick King wrote “The art of witty banter…” that offers
ideas that are encapsulated in three acronyms for different
circumstances.

HPM                         SBR                          EDR
draws on memory,    focused on topic       focused 
experiences and                                          on exploring
opinions
focused on you
History -                    Specific                     Emotion

Philosophy                Broad                         Details

Metaphor                  Related                       Restatement 

==========================================
H
   reply to comment
using personal experiences on a topic
this reminds me of…
what a coincidence…..

  personal stance on a topic
I always enjoyed….

M
   metaphor
there was a famous quote ….
this allows for a subtle change of topic
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

S
  ask to go deeper, more specific

B
  ask to springboard into subtopics

R
  explore into tangential topics
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

E
   It seems to me you feel ….  You are…. Other people’s emotions

D
   define the details
what were they wearing…
how was the weather…. How did you deal with it…

R
   employ 5 Ws to complete a restatement
is this what you mean?….

comments (0)
01/25/17
Entrepreneurs. Nonobvious trends and CCA Cooperatives
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:12 am

One of the requests from one of the new students is “how
to get involved in entrepreneurial ventures.”  It got me to
thinking about things we could bring up.

Two interesting concepts that we can point out is Nonobvious
2017 and Cooperatives for entrepreneurs.
Rohit Bhargava gives thoughtful tips on 
finding nonobvious 

trends
before they take off.  This is something that should 
interest entrepreneurs.  He suggests ideas for trend curators:
 - be curious:  ask why, continuously be in learning mode
 - be observant of the small details of organization
 - attend to various ideas and hold back from fixating
 - pause and think through things;  avoid jumping to results
 - be elegant in expressing things

Riding on a flightI learned about CCA Global Partners which

has a remarkable corporate mission and business model to help
entrepreneurs.  The web site boasts more than ten divisions
of fields they enhance by bringing folks together involved
in related enterprises.
Sometimes seeing what works in one field helps progress
in your area.
 
comments (0)
08/21/16
Listening.
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:43 pm

R.Nicholls and L. Stevens presented a case that listening
is an underappreciated and poorly instructed skill that
has many barriers.  

It is time to put it out front and center on this blog as a
skill all professionals need to pay attention to.  Just how
do we do that?

Also, it is incumbent on our educational system to
engage students in regular exercises that will be an asset
in all endeavors.
.
Nicholls and Stevens write about a University of
Minnesota approach that improves outcomes.  Notable
are four activities of the listener: 

  Engagement to have an idea what is coming and “think 
ahead”
to conclusions and generating a summary statement
  Internal reflection about evidence, logic and 
interfering features
– emotions, background, completeness
  Active listening to bridge all information, data and 
circumstances
pointing out what might not fit even at
intermediate points
  “Listening between the lines” to assess emotions,
nonverbals, and speaker editing and emphasis.

The authors provide some appropriate cases and
suggestions some of which may apply in your situation.

Then, Zenger and Folkman reveal what you and I
think what we should do and that those things are not
enough to be a great leader-listener.  As the key
requirement for being a leader is listening to others —
Key among them:

 - deliberate on the substance of the message
 - be alert to and observe all communication elements
 - awareness of cultural, physical and behavioral biases and
barriers
 - acknowledge and support deeply held features
 - respect in not trying to hijack the initiative of the
speaker.
comments (0)