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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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09/12/17
Financial Questions. Start-up Stock Options Offer
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:21 pm

This note points out that when you end your academic career,
your continuous learning process really ‘begins.’  And guess
what, there are no texts for this learning and no absolute, correct
answers.

.
What we learn is that mentors can help you ask the best questions
and it seems each individual’s situation and priorities are different.
.
My colleague AJ asked:

“I also wanted to seek your opinion on employee stock options.
As a part  of the offer, the company extended an option to
purchase 2500 shares of stock…the company  is not public.
….attached is a document here for reference.
Before signing, I just thought of having a word with you.”

.
Each situation is different, but the specific wording and specific
details of the offer are very important.

My experience is that I trusted the public relations of a firm
I worked for and purchased many shares of stock with the
promise of growth and profits.  In the end, I lost a great deal
of investment dollars that I could have avoided if I studied
the investor literature and consulted wise counselors.

.
AJ advised me that he is contributing 8% of his salary in the
company 401K and has some short term expenses.  He will
check into the latest date when he must decide.  My advice to
him:
I totally understand your quandary.  I would have a similar problem
with this question, so I refer to Al Sklover Link is where I would start.  

[He describes critical questions AJ should ask before signing any 
documents.] 

Then, the next article is quite significant: in that it describes “traps” we
can find ourselves in when working at a start up.
It may be worth speaking with Al directly:
.
This could be a sizable dollar commitment for you, AJ.  Al is
very professional and knowledgeable.  $100 spent on solid legal 
advice can result in much more savings in a speculative situation.
 
comments (0)
08/31/17
Professional Behaviors. Habits can become Irresistible Addictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:02 pm

The book by Adam Alter is interesting reading from a |
number of perspectives.  Irresistible– The Rise of Addictive
Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked

.
Alter asserts that addiction is not genetic in certain people
but every person is vulnerable to situations and attachments
to them.  The Internet and various programmable devices
with continuous positive feedback,
- persistent “goals” culture,
- games and media that incur ‘down the line’ charges [get
you into it so you must and want to stay involved.  But
to do that you have to pay.]
- escalation [where you get challenged and learn, yet the
computer enhanced tool increases or varies from its
otherwise predictable trend]
are examples Alter provides.
.
These addictive technologies develop habits where
you have little control.  Nearly everyone of us has
our own and various situations make us instinctively
crave for that infernal habit.
.
Alter does readers favors by pointing them out,
showing what is going on and suggesting things we
can do 
to forestall, limit or move on to something else.
.
Worth reading for many of us.
‘Habits gone bananas!’ 
3 comments
08/25/17
Suggestions for actions if you lose your position
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:24 pm

Over a 30 - 45 year career, most everyone gets relieved of their
position.  Sometime it is sudden, other times there are indicators
that some positions will be severed and still other times we are
faced with a choice to stay or leave.

.
Let me pose that it should be part of our regular personal planning
process that we consider building resilience into our thinking.  Create
your personal action plan, keep your options open and know what
your personal goals, musts and wants are.
As much as possible plan so that it is not a total surprise.
.
Ruth Umoh contributed a piece offering things to do if you lose
your position.  I cannot agree with her more on
1.  don’t lose your “cool”, stay calm and manage your emotions
2.  personally ask for recommendations from specific individuals
(If someone hesitates at all, or will not provide a good one, move
on.)
2a.  these days more and more Linkedin recommendations can be
a useful starter in situations where policies limit employees from
providing recommendations.
3.  You should be continually active in your professional network,
also ask references for their network contacts and ideas.
.
I found Umoh’s thoughts about cleaning up your facebook, online
profiles and photos and comments something that might be easily 
overlooked.
.
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes 
push 
and pull marketing
, situations where you you meet people 
in person and volunteer roles in professional organizations.
.
Taking shorter term, temporary roles may be a big plus, while
you enroll for unemployment benefits and update your master
resume, targeted resumes for each position and Linkedin
profiles using current keywords for your industry and field.
.
Consider asking for outplacement services as part of your
severance package, while being wary of noncompete documents
that you have signed.
comments (0)
07/28/17
Watch-Outs. 104. First Impressions, Trust Documents for your Estate/Assets, Legal Trends
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:57 am

When we encounter people and when people encounter you
and I, initial impressions are made.  It is subconscious and
as the old saw goes, ‘first impressions are lasting
impressions.’  This entry offers some tips of things to avoid.

.
Yesterday, we had a successful appointment with a trust 
attorney with a firm we had vetted 15 years ago to update our
Revocable trust.  It is useful to share why you should consider
creating a trust for your family to manage your assets and
affairs.  It is your chance to spell out your desires while you
have the faculties.  
.
During our meeting with the trust attorney, several things 
tipped me off to look a little further into the attorney we
met.  I learned several things that should be no surprise but
piqued my curiosity…the attorney was a temporary contract
attorney, we met in a “branch” office in a LLC professional
building  with a collection of small firms, and there were no other
firm members and staff.  What questions should I ask and how
should I professionally explore this “gig” economy reality
in the legal field?
.
MISTAKES THAT SPOIL A  FIRST IMPRESSION
SOURCE:  4 H’s to avoid in self promotion
Humblebrag, Hubris, Hypocrisy, [Back-]Handed Compliment
.
The British Psychological Society listed these four behaviors
that can knock a person down a notch –
(1) humblebrag– ‘I am to busy…’ in a way to avoid or shift 
away by implying self importance.
(2) hubris– downward social comparisons;  [I recall a post-doc
doing this to me while I was in grad school]
(3) hypocrisy– pointing out someone’s failure that you might be
caught duplicating;  politician’s seem to reveal this in a 
noticeable way
(4) back-handed compliment– complimenting others puffing
up personal importance.
.
TRUSTS:  LEGAL ENTITIES PROFESSIONALS SHOULD
CONSIDER TO MANAGE YOUR ESTATE
SOURCE:  Ameriprise Financial
.
After your professional education and your career begins
other responsibilities accrue to you.  Your future, to be sure,
is not certain.  You need to think through and provide wisely
for unexpected situations.  Trusts are set up for you by
legal counsel to provide for you and your family in cases
where you are not able.
.
There are several estate planning vehicles for different
circumstances.  We are working on an update to a 15 year
old package that needs to factor in family, law and practical
implementation changes.  (we had a simple will at 35,
first revocable trust at 52)
Financial trust attorney recommend providing your choices
at specific milestones.
.
LEGAL ADVICE:  CONTRACT ATTORNEYS
SOURCE:  Lexology
.
Legal advice that we pay for is important and requires that
we perform due diligence.  To provide legal services to clients
at competitive costs firms substitute contract attorneys
for staff.  In many instances  I have read people have obtained
the services they sought.
.
Nonetheless, we need to look into any situation  which might
be different and unusual.  It is hard to use Martindale Hubbell
for exploring.
.
It is important to document the formal employment arrangement
of your attorney and liability insurance coverage at or right
after the first meeting.
Fortunately, I learned our attorney is formally listed at the
firm and covered by all liability and malpractice insurance.
1 comment
07/06/17
Trends in Technical Careers. Influence of ‘Morphing’ of Goals, Values
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:48 am

While preparing for a seminar on Overcoming Challenges and 
Adversity, several items are worth highlighting for our blog.

The chapter, “Generational Career Shift:  Millennials and
the Changing Nature of Careers in Canada,
” by Lyons, Ng
and Schweitzer was found to contain good insights. [in
book by the same authors, 2012]
.
The original idea [for this seminar topic] resulted from 
this year’s class suggestion and a seminar by
N. Halpern, 
on Careers for Mid-level Professionals.
.
Think about it.  100 years ago people lived, on average, to
48 years, whereas now it is beyond 78.  The length and nature
of careers has and continues to change this life span and equally
important our values and goals.
.
People seek much more control over their career paths, seek
personal satisfaction [over organizational], pursue advancement
[over organizational commitment] and realize multiple careers.
.
The seminar will discuss how we need to encourage
 - adapting to adversity and challenges by seeing them as
opportunities to learn useful skills
 - building personal resilience skills [see Sandberg, Grant ]
 - developing critical habits, including listening and
effectively managing technological tools.
comments (0)
06/30/17
Watch-Outs. 103. Scientific Publishing, Limits of Analysis, Gas Cylinders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:36 am

Publication is a critical focus in the scientific world.  Societies
have publication wings.  There is a large commercial publication
business that earns nearly $20Bn/year with a third being
profits.  The Guardian published a revealing article about the
publication world which this blog has offered comments.

Previous comments have been offered on peer review,
papyrocentric 
model 
and critical thinking when reading.  
This blog is on record for supporting the idea of “open access”
and questioning the viability of “rating” journals based on
citations in the internet age [it is like mindless “likes” in
social media.].
.
Been following of Deming’s articles on Applied Statistics
for decades.  He is in the middle of an important series on 
limits of detection.  I just received a water analysis report
and have received blood and urine medical reports that refer
to one or another of these.  These articles are important and
significant for all of us.  We should know and use these terms
properly.
.
One of the types of questions I ask in some interviews 
concerns gas cylinder set-up and use.  Articles in LC/GC 
often reveal solid scientific thinking to answer questions
in this area.
.
ROBERT MAXWELL AND PROFITING ON SCIENCE
SOURCE:  S. Baranyi, The Guardian June 27, 2017 
“Is the Staggeringly profitable publishing business bad for
Science”
Although the ACS continues its efforts to 
expand its
profit center, most of the members do not realize what
is going on in the publication business.  This Guardian
article goes into details what the ACS publications 
division might be emulating.  
.
Should we not ask questions to make more science, often
paid for via taxes, available free online?
.
SCIENCE AND THE LIMITS OF DETECTION
SOURCE:  S. N. Deming, Amer. Laboratory June/July 2017
P. 41.  ”Statistics in the Laboratory:  The Limit of Detection
Deming teaches in this article L(D) the limit of detection, which
he points out is different than the smallest amount of 
analyte that can be detected or the limit of quantitation (appearing
in future articles.).
.
He points out:
- false positive risk needs to be appropriate for the application.
[drug testing example]
- in a plot of a calibration curve with a non-zero intercept, L(D)
the limit of detection is the amount of analyte that yields a
signal outside the error of the false negative.
.
These comments are often not brought out in many classes.
.
GAS CYLINDERS
SOURCE:  J. V. Hinshaw, LC/GC North America 11-2016, P. 41
Gas Cylinder Safety, Part II:  Set up and Use
What I like about Hinshaw is that he does a fishbone diagram
to assess a wide variety is issues that could come up in
working with a common analytical tool.
1 comment
06/21/17
After Action Review. Job Search and Interview Process
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 am

Recently a colleague reported his experiences he observed
during his job search.  It points out the importance of networking
[2] , doing After Action Reviews, knowing that you can build your
career by taking related positions, where you learn and practice
applicable skills productively.  After all, a career is a process of
growth combined with continuous learning.

.
Networking:  
   applied online and got a personal contact of mine to forward my resume 
to the hiring team…he felt comfortable to refer me.
   it was too late, they had already considered a candidate. 
   This year they contacted me.   So as you have so many times emphasized,
networking is key to getting one’s resume noticed.

Career is a Process:  
A senior level manager:
-  Asked about my industry experience and was probing about my interests,
strengths and ability to work in a team. We really clicked in the interview.
It was a pleasant conversation about various aspects of manufacturing, QA,
 QC , work ethics, and honesty. he was very pleased that I was familiar with
Quality Management System. I felt we were already colleagues in the interview.
Among questions asked:
-  what I do not like, and what I like.
-  given a situation what do I prefer: perfect and late, good and on time, or quick
and early…something like that.  I elaborated on each as it all depends according
to me. For example, I recall saying it depends on how critical it is. In a situation
where you are looking at an API, it is critical to be within the acceptance
criteria/specifications, better be late but safe.  But for a report, as long as all
the important information are there, I won’t delay it for perfection. I recall also
talking about how in a team, different people have their own preferences - in
terms of how to present a table. I personally don’t like to delay output for these 
things (as long as it is not wrong). 
.
Another Interviewer/non-technical manager:
-  were able to relate a little as I had previous experience in the finance
department when i was in accounting.
-  ended up in a conversation about the market, competitive advantage, pains
of month/year/quarter ends.
-  Talked about SAP and Oracle.
-  He actually appreciated that I knew about science and financial side of the
business.
.
After Action Review:
-   if I run into a situation like that again, I should transition my mindset into a
“sales pitch”- meaning, I should do the best I can to use facts from my
experience to support each criteria they are looking for.
 asked to visit the lab and areas of interests. I found it odd they did not propose.
comments (0)
06/16/17
Resumes for Technical Roles.What can be done to improve chances to get interviews.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 10:42 am

Recently I have received requests to review resumes and cover
letters for people who have completed several post docs and
wonder what can they do to attract interview attention.

.
First it was important to realize that they do not see the
changing role of push-pull marketing using on line profiles.  
Since online profiles can contain much more information than
resumes and can be accessed in a multiplexed mode, quite often
this is a leading recruiting step.  Push marketing is typified by
sending your resume to a recruiter or uploading to a website.  
Pull marketing occurs when recruiters review profiles on line.
.
The online profile needs to be very good and show
communication savvy, while being consistent with your resume.
.
Second.  When I examine the profile/ resume/ cover letter package
I  ask for the job description.  The exact title [cover letter], job code
[cover letter], 
and keywords [cover letter, resume, online
profile-Linkedin] need 
to be listed in the documents.  It is critical
since screening is often done by ATS applicant tracking systems.
.
One colleague was an ORISE Fellow at FDA and did not mention
knowing about FDA regulations, how 
FDA reviews applications
and industry specific qualifications in the highlights section.
.
Third.  While the ATS examines the full document, human reviewers
will want to see information that is easy to read, error-free and
specific 
to the position.  Please:
  - avoid long paragraphs of information in cover letter or resume
  - use gmail, not yahoo, aol or education-based email address
  - insert your experience section before education, after you
reach five or more years beyond your last degree.
.
While it might be very true, statements like the following are
not taken seriously:  
‘I believe I am a
quick learner as demonstrated previously where
I
have
worked in various fields (materials, analytical and clinical)
and published
papers
. I hope my skills and background are a
good
fit
for to satisfy the requirements for the … position. I thank you for
your time and enthusiastically look
forward to hearing from you
soon. ‘ [note too many ‘I’s’– whole letter had >16]
for we know other interpersonal, cultural, and nonverbal 
factors can dominate.  [Technical skills alone are not enough.]
.
While the ACS offers good general suggestions about 
writing documents, specific situations require outside-the-
box thinking.
-  when there is little evidence for scientific accomplishments
via patents and papers, consider creating a List of Projects
addenda that might mention project work on proprietary
material ethically and legally.
-   when seeking positions of some authority and responsibility,
providing information in the affiliations or highlights section
or in the cover letter or in the Linkedin profile where you
point out project and team leadership and responsibility 
revealing emotional intelligence
1 comment
06/09/17
Economics in the Chemical Enterprise. Career Management. Tips for managing the attention economy
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:28 am

Herbert Simon is credited with recognizing that in a
data rich world what is critical is managing audience
attention.  Combined with the attitude that audiences
prefer A I D A, the digital media promoters code…

attention,
     interest,
         desire,
            action
,
we lose our focus, disturb our direction and slow our progress.
.
Leaders of the digital and media organizations realize this
and take advantage of the uninformed.  It is critical that
technical professionals understand this and improve the
way we manage ourselves, our colleagues and teams.
.
The technical world including the chemical enterprises is
dominated by the “attention economy.”  Earlier this blog posted
the influence of robotics and artificial intelligence in career
management in the chemical enterprises.  Financialization
also dominates chemical enterprises.  
.
Recently, Tristan Harris’s work was discussed on HBO where
he described what we can do to contain and manage attention
hijacks which Kevin Kelly referred to in The Inevitable.  Harris
prescribes actions we can take to contain the outside influences
that digital media and devices introduce in his web site: 
time well spent   
.
Tristan’s article
is must read for each of us interested in proactively
managing our attention and careers.
1 comment
05/16/17
Remembering Names 2. F-A-C-E & C-H-A-R-M
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 8:29 am

Some people are in roles that it is an asset to remember and
use people’s names.  Sales, interviewing, teaching, politics and
guess what, leadership roles.

.
[They offer F-A-C-E:  Face the person, Ask how they like to be
called, Cross reference to links, Employ the name in conversation.]
.
In a recent podcast I learned another acronym that might be useful
to recall names that gives useful advice:  C-H-A-R-M. from Jim
Kwik
 - Care.  Showing that you care enough to remember a person’s 
name reveals a connection.
 - Hearing.  Often we are thinking of something else when another
person offers their name.  our attention is not focused on listening
closely, Distraction leads to not hearing.
 - Ask.  How do you spell it?  Where does it come from?  What is 
the meaning or who were you named after?  How would you like to
be called?
 -  Repeat  Say the name and impress yourself with the name, situation,
origin/factoid.
 - Marker.  imagine the names spelled on their face, or link their face to
another face with the same name and jot it down in another medium.
.
Previous blog entry offered consistent ideas.
comments (0)
05/04/17
Listening. Mlodinow’s “Subliminal”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 12:30 pm

Mlodinow, in Subliminal, delivers a clearly written book that helps
us understand Listening and Remembering.  He explains that it all
comes from William Carpenter’s book “Principles of Mental
 Physiology” in which he told that human brains carry out three
things simultaneously–  autonomous functioning (without formal
thinking), conscious mental actions, and unconscious processing.

.
When we listen we hone in on specific utterances and fill in the
gaps with our unconscious.  It is similar to the way computers
capture images and store them as thumbnails.  Taking in certain 
‘pixelated’ data, allowing us to reconstruct by filling in the details.
.
Our memory on the other hand is known to be “faulty”.  We are
almost always never right with our recollections unless we take
special precautions to capture details.  People try to maintain a
story’s general form, drop and change others to make us be able
to tell stories “confabulating” choices we make in the dropped
details.
.
Thus, false memories  and misinformation is a common human
frailty.  With time we drop more and more information.
Mlodinow offers several examples one of the most striking is 
James Dean, President Nixon’s personal attorney, in his responses
in the Watergate hearings.  Mlodinow writes that Dean misstated 
and mixed up nearly every detail of the affairs in which he was
involved based on a comparison of actual tape recordings from
the Oval Office and the Watergate hearings.  At the time, we
were informed that Dean had a nearly perfect memory.
.
This goes to point out the importance of having and maintaining
a calendar, a professional daily diary, an ‘idea notebook’ and records
of key goals, accomplishments, master resume, and personal
records.
comments (0)
04/18/17
Watch-Outs. 102. Statistics and Radioactive Elements
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:48 am

You know, I am a strong proponent that scientific professionals
have a strong understanding of working with statistics and
perceive the hazards in our environment, that have good and not
so good effects on humans.  

.
So in our final class we talked about three features we should
look for in evaluating statistical data.  [I am always amazed that
their relevance is not emphasized in classes.]  variation, shape
and central tendency.
.
In our daily lives we are faced with statistics for nearly everything
and given “selective” interpretations to sell or convince us of various
positions.
- insure the data provides its sample size and range and variability
[small sample size, limited range, no measure of variation should
not be basis of a general position.]
- If the data is presented with many significant figures, it should
raise “red flags” in your mind.  [10,234,511.39 ?]
- The shape of the distribution of measure reveals critical insight.
[power law, normal, bimodal, skewness…]
- What is the appropriate central tendency representation?  Mean
if it is normal distribution…Other than that, questions are needed.
.
This leads to a link to be part of your toolkit for how to get “facts.”  
Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO, has researched USA
government statistics
and presents them in various forms.
.
There are two radioactive species in our environment that we
should be aware of some things.  One I encountered when I was asked
by a middle school student about a science project on radioassays.
That is when I learned about technetium.  Technetium-99 is most
useful as a radioassay measure for imaging internal organs.
CEN published a short factoid recently about this lightest, artificially
produced element.  ”Technetium cows” were developed by BNL
researchers and have been in use for more than 50 years in 
medical diagnostics and research.  In addition, technetium is a
by-product of U-235 decay and thus can be a valuable monitor
for nuclear reactor spent fuel rod decay and storage.
.
A second radioactive element is the gas, radon.  Radon is naturally
occurring in the environment and is attributed to be an effector of 
lung cancer in humans 
.  Radon decays naturally producing alpha 
particles.  Maps of the prevalence of radon in the US point to where
it is.  This should be a point of reference for us where we live
and work.
1 comment
04/13/17
Professional Behavior. Suggestions for Salary Increases
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:51 am

Many articles we find about requesting for salary
increments overlook the need to do three things– 

*  perform consistently well in meeting and exceeding your’s
and your team’s goals [time in grade is often insufficient],
*  gather critical information about pay, time in grade and value
to the organization, and
*  have a proposal for your continued growth plan and how it
contributes to the organization [it is helpful to have mentors
who are knowledgeable about the organization, policies and
culture].
.
One article offered:
 - separate salary conversations from performance review meetings, so
that you demonstrate you are not focusing as being money-driven.
 - know that a timely one-on-one can be helpful in supporting the
value you provide to the organization with a successful project 
completion 
 - ‘plant the seed’ for an increase before the organization’s budget
planning (article indicates 3-4 months, is that too early?) 
 - practice what you are going to say, plan for interruptions, and
have a back-up plan
comments (0)
04/08/17
Professional Behaviors. Teamwork with uncooperative team members and recalling emails
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:33 am

Our Professional Development class is interesting because
we can use feedback from class members for future discussion
items and exercises in class.

.
One feedback card read:  Could we engage in networking
conversations and elevator speeches from each person in class?
It is better than describing them.
       
>In subsequent classes we asked people to deliver elevator speeches
to their team mates [which should be done in all team situations].
Then when we brought in guest speakers, we asked each class 
member to deliver an elevator pitch to the guests.
.
A couple of other situations that are intriguing.  One class member
met privately and said she did not know what to do as her team
was unresponsive to requests to work together and complete tasks
on time.  We talked about it and in class performed an exercise. 
What can you do to work better as a team?  There are many excuses:
too busy, lazy, procrastinate, think the assignment is dumb….
>
  • plan ahead; discuss the work assignment
  • know yourself; study your teammates behaviors, values, likes
  • keep in touch; communicate, even over-communicate
  • offer help if others have trouble understanding/solving the assignment
  • Team formation usually follows easily recognizable stages, known as
    “forming, storming, norming, and performing.”
    YOU ARE EXPECTED TO GET TO NORMING QUICKLY
  • learn about your team-mates: their values, behavior, goals, time lines,
    honesty, promptness, caring; strength and weakness
  • When do you report to higher Ups?
  • Influence: consistency, scarcity, authority, trust worthiness,
    social proof
  • Work together, share ideas and don’t just divide up the work.
  • Use people’s strengths and interests to produce something that
    exceeds expectations.
  • Become familiar with due dates, put buffer between team
    deadline and final deadline alert people in advance
  • Givers succeed most, reciprocators are a close second
  • Adam Grant’s book “Givers and Takers”
.
A second class exercise was inspired by an incident where a class 
member forgot an attachment when sending an email.  It happens to
all of us.
.
The class came up with several and discussion ensued about how
some recipients might feel it revealed lack of attention to detail or
how you perform under pressure.  There are technological solutions
that we should know and use.
    Outlook
    Gmail, Virtu
    Attachments in Gmail
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03/31/17
Where can grad students go for skills not taught in Universities
Filed under: Recent Posts, 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
03/25/17
Professional Behavior. Influence and “Pre-suasion”
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:26 pm

We have written about using emotions in our
storytelling
 especially related to trust, by Brene
Brown.
.

Robert Cialdini has offered convincing theories about
the psychology of influence.  His latest Pre-suasion
is highly recommended in offering ways to understand
how we are influenced and might be able to express
ourselves better.
.
Cialdini presents “pre-suasion” as frontloading attention
by altering audience members associations with what we do
or say next.
  - privileged moments:  tuning in to times when audience
is most receptive
  - channeling attention using attractors and magnetizers
  - ‘I link, therefore I think’ - creating or building on
associations
.
Influencing examples:
Agenda setting theory-  media rarely produce change by
presenting compelling evidence;  more likely persuade
indirectly by selecting issues and facts and excluding
unfavorable items.
.
Forced confessions have a history going back to the 1692
witchcraft trials appearing in many trials, Chinese Cultural 
Revolution ‘convictions’, and Joseph McCarthy Communist
Party affiliations indictments 1950s.
.
Neidert Core Motives Model of Social Influence
Stage 1:  cultivating a positive association, using
“reciprocity” and “liking” in a meaningful, unexpected and
customized way
Stage 2:  reducing uncertainty, using authority and social 
proof to provide priority to a course of action
Stage 3:  motivating positive action, sealing the action
to move ahead.
.
Where Influencing is used in marketing: 
1. media traffic reports as programming space editors
2. naming of supplements and nutrients sounding like
derivation from natural products.
 
1 comment
03/15/17
Profeessional Behavior. Interview questions and post Interview Negotiations
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm

Yahoo had an appropriate article by Maria LaMagna
about the  consequences of lying in an interview when
asked how much you currently make.

This could happen in various interview formats…
screening, on-site, wrap-up with HR, or during
salary negotiations.   Preparation and research
are key.

In all cases tell the truth, as they may ask you to produce
a pay stub.  Alternatively it is fair to ask what is their
purpose. 
I feel it is appropriate to  state that salary is one
component of an overall compensation package.
While it is a gauge on your value to the company,
it is fair to point out that other factors may be equally
important to you…vacation, citizenship work papers,
insurances, location, travel requirements, etc.

1 comment
03/14/17
Change is “in the air.” Yuval Noah Harari
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:30 pm

What is my future like?  many are asking as we face an
uncertain future.  It seems as this was the case decades ago,
but it is more uncertain now.

What is the reason?  What are the drivers?
Harari has something to say about this.  Look at his TED Dialog
discussion.
.
1.  We have lost “our story”.  The narrative that describes modern 
life in the 21st century is not what previous generations’ stories 
were.  This is one of the major roots of upheavals seen around the 
world.
.
2.  Technology is bringing people together in many ways while
it separates us into many many subgroups.  The wealthy, in
information-rich positions, influence the decisions of authorities
and will take advantage enhancing  income mal-distribution. 
.
3.  National priorities have no connection to reality in many global
issues.  Job loss, despite all the rhetoric,  is not as strongly
influenced by immigration as it is by robots, algorithms and AI.
.
4.  Political leaders have very little influence to do good.  They
have great influence in doing bad and it is usually not one
individual responsible, because there are many supporters and
people of influence.
.
See some of the reviews of Harari’s work bring up several other
disconnects we observe and may not easily explained.  Knowing
what Harari describes 
allows you to define for yourself
the meaning of joy, satisfaction, happiness and help.
1 comment
03/10/17
Visas. EB-1, EB-2, TN
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:15 am

Two recent communications provided thoughts for this
post on the complex visa issues facing international
technical professionals.

.
CASE.  EB-1, EB-2
One was from Southeast Asia who earned a Ph.D. and worked
as an industrial post-doc before accepting a permanent position.  
She learned that her firm was closing its doors and landed a
technical position at a leading international firm.
.
It was a positive experience for more than a year as her
direct manager and senior technical professional mentored
her through the politics of the product development group.
Unfortunately he is no longer there.
.
She finds that the work is challenging and a positive experience.
However, there are “people challenges” that are hard to work
through.  How long should she stay and what goals should she
set?
.
Pressure seems to be building up with the challenges.  We talked
about retaining benefits (401k, bonuses, promotions in title) 
seeking her working visa, and long term ambitions if things turn
out perfectly.
.
She pointed out that if she knew what she knows now, she
would pursue an employment attorney.  This attorney offers a 
free assessment of her case and guarantees if she self applies
for an EB-1 or EB-2, there is a money back guarantee.
.
CASE.  Canadian Visas
A second conversation was with a Canadian professional
working in the US as a post-doc.
Canadians are allowed to visit the US for up to six months 
(
182 days) per calendar year. Nationals of other countries
are allowed only 
90 days. You can accumulate those
days by one long trip, or an aggregation of several short ones.
.
The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TNvisa allows
citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals,
to work in the United States in prearranged business
activities for U.S. or foreign employers. Permanent residents
of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for 
TN visas 
to work as NAFTA professionals.

.
$50 for the filing fee and $6 for I-94 fee. Pay at the border
at the time of applying for the TN Visa. Total Cost by Mail
 = 
$325 for Form I-129. See the USCIS website for the
latest fee amount.

.
Current U.S. laws and regulations say that Mexican and
Canadian citizens can stay in the U.S. in TN status for periods
up to 
three years. Even better, TN workers are supposed to
be able to extend their stays indefinitely, in three-year
increments, so long as they satisfy the requirements under
the TN program.

.

As a Canadian citizen hoping to work in the US, there are multiple
options that are available to you. Some relevant work-related visas
include:

  • HB-1 Visa-this option is available to individuals who at least
    hold a bachelor’s degree. The employer would have to agree
    to sponsor you and should file the appropriate paperwork on
    your behalf.
  • E1 or E2-if the business you plan to work for is 50% owned
    by nationals of your home country and it trades and invests
    in the US then this could be another option for you.
  • O Visa-if you have proven substantial contribution to areas
    such as education or science you may be eligible for this type
    of visa.
  • L Visa-this type of visa may be an option if you have
    worked for a company for at least a year and then wish to
    pursue employment in the US under another branch of the
    same business.
  • Green Card-if you have a master’s degree or work in a
    position that requires it, you may be eligible to apply for
    a green card to continue working in the US.

As you can see, there are various avenues you could take to achieve
your desired results. To better understand your options and to select
the appropriate option, you should contact an immigration
attorney. 
Keep in mind, many of these processes take time to complete, so
you we want to be sure to choose the best option.

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?….

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