An email reached me about changing career paths
[from Zackary Crockett].
I will try to find a viable link
This can happen to many of us who are trained as
a scientist where technology takes a
hockey-stick-like shift in what methods and areas
of expertise are favored and successful.
Your mindset is your key to success, I can attest.
After grad school, I desired to apply myself to an
area where “the rubber meets the road”, practical
areas– To work in industry
After doing this for several decades, in electrochemistry,
applied solid state and polymer chemistry, photography,
statistics, I learned from a national lab researcher that
later in his career he sought areas where he noticed “gaps”
where he could bring knowledge and experience to bear.
It was a deciding moment. My targets changed.
One area that is not mentioned in the Crockett story is
changes in your health and outlook, as our careers
extend and our “perceived expertise” and creativity
might not fit our roles. Nonetheless, I recommend the
article for it may help you.
Following is a summary of this year’s entries with links.
You can find 2019 Career management HERE
USA Jobs.gov Suggestion
Chris Krebs has gotten appropriate notoriety for being fired recently.
The notoriety is for standing up to bombastic misbehavior and
practicing strong professional leadership in the cyber command.
Website publishers who sign up with PushWelcome are asked
to include a small script on their page which prompts visitors
to approve notifications. In many cases, the notification approval
requests themselves are deceptive — disguised as prompts to click
“OK” to view video material, or as “CAPTCHA” requests designed
to distinguish automated bot traffic from real visitors.
But many users may not fully grasp what they are consenting
to when they approve notifications, or how to tell the difference
between a notification sent by a website and one made to
appear like an alert from the operating system or another
program that’s already installed on the device.
This is evident by the apparent scale of the infrastructure
behind a relatively new company based in Montenegro called
PushWelcome, which advertises the ability for site owners to
monetize traffic from their visitors. The company’s site currently
is ranked by Alexa.com as among the top 2,000 sites in terms of
Internet traffic globally.
Fidelity Investment provided an appropriate list of
personal documents and card that one should not carry
around on your person. Losing them can be more than
uncomfortable. And, we know how anxious we feel when
we forget or lose our wallet or purse…
Included items on the top of my list are:
password cheat sheet
Some of these are not easy to replace. One strong recommendation
is to scan front and back of all items in your wallet or purse and store
pertinent items in a secure location where you can gain easy access
(including what to do if lost numbers and addresses).
We were at the last checking book for our credit union
account. On the top of the book is a reminder sheet to
order the next checks at an email address. So I went
through the filling the form exercise and it would charge
me more than $30 for plain checks.
That seemed much to high. So I phoned the credit union
Sandy, the representative , asked for our ages and determined
that seniors do not have to pay for new checks when ordered
through them. I googled senior checking accounts and
determined that this is a common practice.
As you approach your senior years and your parents do,
contact your credit union and ask for senior checking account
Have you heard of that book?
No, well, I am here to tell you you are missing out on a real ice-breaker
of a nonfiction written by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.
For decades there has been a struggle between the American economy’s
desire to constantly increase productivity and the desire to maintain
blue-collar jobs. We watched
- as more machines and cheaper workers replaced
American manual laborers
- as loss of blue-collared jobs were
compensated for by creating white collar jobs
- as we see the hyper connected world
threaten white collar jobs
We do it by inventing new white collar jobs, which requires
more start-ups and better education.
Workers who can think critically, who can tackle nonroutine complex
tasks, and who can work collaboratively with teams located locally and
Critical thinking has become the basic price of admission. Look for
proven ability to innovate.
Innovation is more than conceptual thinking. It comes our of working
with the problem. Working with the materials, on the line, seeing a
problem and devising a solution. Every employee is part of the
process of continuous innovation.
EDUCATIONAL TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES WHOLE
Graduation from high school is not enough.
Six improvements are proposed:
1. better teachers and better principals
the quality of an educational system can not exceed the
quality of the teachers. A principal recruits and retains great teachers.
WE NEED A NEW EDUCATIONAL ACADEMY MODELED
AFTER MILITARY ACADEMIES.
Great teachers make the difference. Colorado can be a model
for educational improvement
Education needs its “Tuskegee Moment”- prove that children can
compete with the world’s best.
2. more involved parents that demand more in children’s education.
3. politicians who push to raise standards
4. neighbors who invest in schools even if their children are not there.
5. business leaders committed to raising educational standards
FRIEDMAN AND MANDELBAUM URGE
As globalization and IT merge, expand and advance, old
categories of developed and underdeveloped will disappear.
The world will be divided between high-imagination-enabling
countries that encourage and enable imagingation and
those countries that simply fail to develop people’s
creative capacities and abilities to spark new ideas and
nurture their extra special features.
Add to the three R’s of education– reading, writing and arithmatic
with the three C’s– critical thinking, effective oral and written
communication, and collaboration.
Several sites recommend looking in to your passport expiration
date. If less than a year, now it may be a good time for there are
concerns that delays may be in store.
One of us was close to that timing and googled passport renewal.
She went to the site and printed the form with her data. At the
bottom of the page was a form to pay a fee. ALERT. There is NO
fee for the passport renewal form DS-82! She paid it and learned
that it was a scam.
Our immediate action was to contest the credit card charge (which also
had a foreign transaction fee included. This is a further sign that it is
a bogus charge.). Please be alert and not deceived by this.
There is a fee for a new US passport and renewal. [$110′ It is
sent to the passport renewal address.
It is not enough to do good research on topics of interest and
importance. You need to formulate a strategy to present your
work so that it is read by a wider audience and referenced
as a meaningful contribution.
- attractive title”\
- storytelling introduction providing implications
- broad access (I am a supporter of open-access. Also, provide
independent links in your online presence sites to google docs,
- outreach (this is not often promoted in science communities.)
The author wrote:
“…seek out readers. …Reach out to potential audiences…
It is important to take the time to help a general audience
understand the bigger picture of whatever you do …social media,
local media, professional media.”
Broad outreach can yield interviews and support future attempts
to scientific collaboration and application.
We are into the 6th month of the Pandemic that affects
all industries and the chemical enterprise, including
universities and funded research. While I could list several
things to do,
The ACS does a creditable job in the following link.
Please consider three related things regardless of what stage
your career is in?
1. Be prepared for a job loss or unexpected job change.
Regularly line up your public relations documents and digital
2. Continue to learn new skills and expand your abilities
new and emerging areas, in-demand strength areas and areas
where you know or have been advised you need improvement.
3. Extend a helping hand to others. Let them know you are
there for them. Work hard at it, as it is amazing how much this
will mean no matter where you are in your career growth path.
[mentor others, offer strong recommendations, promote people
for honors, awards and honorary designations, if you are authoring
a technical journal article consider mentioning recognition of
a teacher or mentor]
As mentioned in the last post, something that may be of interest
is for us chemists to learn about our heritage, our familial
My Academic Genealogy follows the academic paths of my
senior thesis adviser, Bob Alendoerfer, from SUNY Buffalo, and
Ernest Grunwald, doctoral thesis adviser from Brandeis University.
My career path information is provided in the Linkedin.com
Also, my career path found me involved in a number of
projects and departments for Esso Research/Exxon Research/
ExxonMobil and Polaroid Corporations, the University of
Connecticut Chemistry Department, and as a career
consultant/workshop presenter for American Chemical
-Advanced Battery Project Zinc Bromine Flow Batteries
co-workers: Bhaskara M. L. Rao, Paul Malachesky, Richard
Bellows, Tom Whitney, Augie Venero
Lithium Ion Batteries
co-workers: B. M. L. Rao, M. Stan Whittingham, Bob Hamlen,
Joe Shropshire, Bob Thomas, Al Groman
-Solar Photovoltaic Project: Polycrystalline Silicon - Solar
co-workers: Jim Amick, Paul Maruska, Tom Feng, Amal Ghosh
-Shear Thickening Fluid Technology for Oilfield Problems
co-workers: Don Siano, Evelyn Drake
Negative Manufacturing: Silver Halide Emulsion Production
co-workers: Ed Brandenburg, Bob Woeller, Mike Riebe,
co-workers: John Cabral, Jackie Pires, Jack Horrigan, Nimi
Natan, Sandy Levine, Don Preissler
Six Sigma Projects
co-workers: Chuck Page, , Brad Pires, Barry Mahoney,
Freeman Chen, Emil Cuiczak, Mike Young,
Bonnie Ferreira, Project Bridge Teachers
Health, Environmental And Safety
co-workers: Dick Chandler, Dave Morreale, Mike Walters,
Sean Riley, John LeFevbre, Tony Pisano, Dick
University of Connecticut
Department of Chemistry
Colleagues. collaborators: Amy Howell, Steve Suib, Patrick
Gordon, Doug Adamson, Marisha Godek,
Chris Eustace, Brenda Eustace, Lisa Balbes
David Brooks, The Second Mountain: A Quest for a Moral Life,
RandomHouse, NY 2019
Rachel Maddow, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State
Russia, and the Richest Destructive Industry on Earth, Crown, NY, 2019
David E. McCaw, Truth in our Times: INSIDE THE FIGHT FOR PRESS
FREEDOM IN THE AGE
OF ALTERNATIVE FACTS, All Points Books, NY
THE ROAD TO UNFREEDOM: RUSSIA, EUROPE
Tim Duggan Books, NY 2018
Preet Bharara, Doing Justice: A PROSECUTOR’S THOUGHTS ON CRIME
AND THE RULE OF LAW, Alfred Knopf NY 2019
Doris Kearns Goodwin, LEADERSHIP
IN TURBULENT TIMES, Simon &
Schuster, NY, 2018
Clint Watts, Messing with the Enemy: SURVIVING IN A SOCIAL MEDIA
HACKERS< TERRORISTS, RUSSIANS ANND FAKE NEWS,
HarperCollins, NY 2018
One of critical pieces of data you must have ready in an interview
is a list of at least three references.
Along with this, please know it is critical to have asked those
individuals whether they are available to provide good references
for you. To help them do their job, it is so critical to provide
a current CV or resume and with whom you have or will be
Recommendation references can be requested via mail and email,
and also via email in a phone call where there is an actual
conversation between an interviewer and your reference.
I have known HC for nearly ten years where we have worked on
her career path search process. Her goal from the beginning has
been to work in a government research lab or federal department
as a scientist/ chemist. After her Ph.D. she gained a post doc position
in a field related to pharmaceutical sciences. A four year R&D role
and academic positions followed. In each, she has come up to speed
quickly and made creditable contribution.
Earlier this year, I strongly recommended her for the academic
role. To prepare me for this we had a telecon to help me develop
an understanding of her motivation and qualifications. The process
followed where I wrote a supporting letter to the search committee.
Since I have not been a supervisor or co-worker, I perform as
a professional personal reference and provide a brief summary
of my background as a manager and interviewer and teaching
professional skills as a consultant and adjunct for many.
Ideal references need to provide your assets and specific examples.
So, it is important that you know he or she will be able to do
this. Rank of the individual is less significant than their ability
and experience supporting your candidacy.
If your reference is asked to conduct a phone reference
conversation, it may be a sign that your quite highly considered
for the opening and the conversation will “close the deal”. So
it was for HC, there was a strong positive reaction to the interview
process. Yet one of the other three references failed to respond.
This could be a situation where you are asked to provide three
references and where you add a fourth, just in case.
References for professional positions, you should:
- Have a list of four four professionals–name, title, affiliation,
address, phone (confirm the right one for interviewers to use), email.
(Senior level positions could require 5 to 7.)
- Obtain permission and availability to provide a good reference
- Keep your references aware of your progress.
- Send current resume, CV, cover letter and related documents to
- Thank your references, letting them know you appreciate their efforts.
- When leaving a position, thank your supervisor in that role for their
role with respect to you.
- Consider greeting references with a holiday card in a personal, more
than casual way.
- Understand providing a reference requires thought, time and know-how.
Find ways of professionally recognizing them for doing more.
Debilitating illness related to stress may not happen to you
for a long time. It happened to me, a Ph.D. after 3 1/2 years
of grad school with 3 hot offers a month after my defense and
a meaningful 44 year career in three major fields and an
unbelievable post career retirement.
Working out at a gym on an elliptical machine, I fainted (medical
term syncope) because blood did not get to my brain due to
blocked arteries. Ends up a cardiac cathetarization found
blockage in my main artery in the heart leading to open heart
triple bypass surgery. That was a year ago and resulted in a
major life change. Back to near normal again, thankfully.
What did I learn?
Take care of yourself. Manage your diet, weight, physical exercise,
annual physical. Even that is not enough, for I did that. There are
genetic contributions but it is occurring more and more frequently
as we live longer.
Family and friendships
make all the difference. I believe it is part of taking care of yourself
by looking after others in your
close circle. The stresses I see grad students point out
are real. It
is important to factor that element into your career path choice.
for recognizing this.]
Time management and organization. To me it seems to start with
goal setting and prioritization. Whether it is in grad school, post-
doc, or ina part time or full time career path position, figure out what
it is you wish to attain or grow or benefit from your effort.
Recognize any significant goal requires effort. The higher the goal,
can say something to others about you.
Work hard to develop strong personal relations with your adviser,
supervisor and mentors. Your success is part of what they wish for
as well. Share your goals with them and ask for advice. You will
be surprised by how you can be helped. Then when it is your turn,
pay it forward to others.
Stress is a root cause of diseases. WebMD points our eight stress
inducing medical issues:
- Heart disease. …
- Asthma. …
- Diabetes. …
- Headaches. …
- Depression and anxiety. …
- Gastrointestinal problems. …
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions related to stress include:
- The common cold. …
- Weight gain. …
- Slower healing. …
- Sleep dysfunction. …
- Depression. …
- Ulcers and other stomach problems. …
- Back, neck and shoulder pain.
Don’t take things for granted.! Recognize subtle things
happen when you are stressed and it may not happen
In the days in mid-20th century, women were a smaller
fraction of class members in math, geology, chemistry,
and physics classes in many departments. This population
dynamic resulted in fewer women in scientific leadership
Implementation of programs to reach more representative
fraction of balance in leadership can benefit from thoughtful
attention, like Melinda Gates book
She argues that there are unseen benefits by broadening
the equality balance. While many organizations feel it is
nice to do but do not sense the “pipeline” permits more of
the perceived minority. In fact it is quite analogous to people
of non-Americans natives in emerging industries– their
different approaches and perspectives offers great benefits.
It often starts with men and men in families.
Ms. Gates writes about how Bill Gates driving his children
to school a couple of days a week moved other families
to share the transportation task in their families as well.
One issue of C&EN contained several noteworthy items.
The first of three was appropriately tri-hydrogen ion reported
The story about the incidental discovery of the spectral
profile led to identification of this ion’s significance in
interstellar chemistry. (p. 18 of issue)
in properties of elements at higher pressures. It changed
an undergraduate. You mean elements have different
reactivities at higher pressures! Wow. (p. 11 of issue)
The article on retractions caught my attention (p. 16)
since that is related to a significant topic in my
Professionalism course. We had exercises, both intentional
and unintentional, on ethics, behaviors and what to do
if you observe something. Plagiarism heads the list of
root causes of retractions and one item that the article
missed that is quite important is that there are truth telling
a cost that everyone who writes for an audience should
be aware of. Several instances I have remarked on
assignments that the work looks like a copy from
another author, would you like to put things in your own
Now looking in the rear view mirror on this, it is possible
to offer a perspective.
One of the key things is to join and participate in professional
societies. This was a strong recommendation of a former
boss at Exxon Research, Jim Amick
. Our conversations led me
to pursue roles that might provide experience in leadership and
networking. It was not broadly spoken about at my first two
positions and it was not easy to get approval to attend meetings.
Yet when my turn for facing the music of job loss came,
it was my good fortune that managers encouraged me to
attend a national ACS meeting to participate in the job clearinghouse.
That led to several interviews and offers.
Weathering the storms of corporate life is mostly being in the
right place at the right time, by good relationship and
skill building. Accepting roles that are not part of my formal
background did stretch employment longevity. But looking for
volunteer opportunities for the common good– chairing meeting
sessions, reviewing articles, volunteering as local section member
at national meetings and then learning from successes of others.
Then, help others pursue their career aspirations.
As I saw happen to even the most talented colleagues, cut backs occur.
Through no fault of their own I saw many people get “sacked” and
pick themselves up and resume their career somewhere else. My
content here is to bring up end of career observations, as are described
in Mark Miller’s article
. [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!]
- Center for Retirement Research (BC) found 37% retire earlier
(55% fail to reach age 66 target)
- one quarter of loss of jobs due to health (UMichigan,
- Workers 55 and older: unemployment rate 2.6%, but long term
unemployment of >27 weeks, is 26.6%, [that is, if you get laid off,
recovering is less likely]
- Sporadic income is hard to manage, but expecting to reach your
retirement goals set early in life, is getting harder and harder.
Pointers from Mark Miller
1. Assess your health and employment statistics in viable fields, as
time goes on.
2. Create interim plans including health care insurance and alternate
income streams that match outflows.
3. Fees and costs of retirement accounts. Look for financial advisers
who pursue your goals [interview several and don’t just depend on
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
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
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.
Are you planning international travel in the future?
I know when I was in grad school, the situation came
up that had me travel to several European countries.
Emergencies happened and we had to cut it short.
An article, Think you only need a passport?
WSJ 3-27-2019 by Scott McCartney
should be read, as it includes great trips:
- make sure your passport is valid for at least another
6 months from the end of your travel
- carry extra passport photos with white background.
[remember AAA offers photos– free for some members]
- carry at least $50 cash for on-the-spot visa fees
- register with the state department’s Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program STEP for contact with updates
- carry a copy of passports, itinerary, birth certificates,
medical prescriptions, credit cards in case of loss.
- plan a contact near home who knows where you are
and can help in an emergency
Another area of interest to readers might be journal articles,
where to publish and availability of publications.
I searched the ACS evolving policy and viewed the page
This is an area we should all take note of in consideration
with what is occurring with the rest of the global scientific
community aiming for Open Access by 2020. See details
I was tuned into this by an editorial in Interface by Jannuzzi
who linked to Richard Kiley at University College London
who wrote about the aim of “Plan S” to ensure research that
is publicly funded to be openly available. As a species we
face climate change, epidemic preparedness, major disasters.
He wrote of the Liberian government not being aware of
research of the potential impact of an Ebola outbreak.
If research was openly available and acted upon, some of
the thousands of death could have delayed to their normal
There is a sizable cost for ACS members
to participate in
OA open access. We can influence this by voicing what is
being done in proactive societies giving its members a
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.