A colleague and I are gathering information about
writing an article concerning careers in chemical
fields. Certainly, we all must continuously upgrade
our skills and seek out new skills that keep each of
Two very nice articles to point to are:
-”How to switch to a new career,” by Andrea
-”Finding Pride and Passion in Mid-Career in a Side-Job,”
by George Anders.
There are many insights in these. Let me simply
highlight three in each.
Hedging strategies- Ms Coombes points to several topics
that amount to translating what one does well into something
valued, in increments; Don’t invest too much time and effort
into something without mid-course “reality checks”
360-degree self assessment- go about viewing what you
have liked doing with imagination. Insert ‘the expansion’
of what kinds of emerging or growing concerns prize those
things you have done. Use resources like mentors and
instruments (social psychology tools) to get some objective
probes and some of the words that capture the thoughts.
Be a ‘purple squirrel’- speak and understand the lingo
that shows you are what recruiters seek and that you match
with experience many of the needs they have.
People in mid-career no longer talk about their career
in conversation, but express with passion their avocations.
They have learned that striving to work 70 hour work-weeks
for the adulation of their employer gives them little time for
family and passions. Work, however, provides the
foundations for allowing us to enjoy families and passions.
Second identities appear for a number of people in
professions that allow them to view and experience life
more broadly and in concert with their evolving values.
Time management, setting personal priorities and
communicating to achieve workable outcomes earn
higher marks for people who at mid-career want to
seek out their passions with second identities.
Can readers offer their thoughts on aproaches to
Another nice article by Perri Capell is a Q & A:
“What’s the best way to pick a career counselor
Before one asks this question, one might ask–
do I need a consultant or coach to work with?
Maybe I do.
Some very basic questions to help you decide
Is the resume I wrote understandable to others
who are in the field?
Is the resume attracting attention, so that you
are receiving interviews?
Are you receiving interviews but not receiving
Do you not know where to even begin? Where
a company can use your skills?
Are you familiar with the following trends–
- employers will look for tech savvy people
who will implement and improve how things
are done (to improve the bottom line)
- employers will look for continuing efficiencies
to get more done with fewer people. If a
person is not enjoying work and excelling,
their time may be short at the company.
- employers want to have employees do things
their way which often leads to training and
development so that they can grow their
own talent. Willingness to learn new things
or new ways is essential.
- various workplace tactics to keep
knowledgeable people, allow some
employees to come and leave after only a
short stay and find as many experts or
agents to do things that they are not expert
in will continue to expand (job-hopping,
off-shoring, flex-time, telecommuting, etc.)
If your response is less than satisfactory in
any of these, then you might need a consultant
or coach for help and suggestions.
Perri talks about the difference between
coaches and counselors. Counselors help
a person define a career path or job search
strategies. Coaches generally focus on
specific aspects of careers, like resume
feedback or suggestions for successful
interviewing. There are some grey areas,
like changing careers
The article points to commercial, fee-based
coaching. However, one of the terrific benefits
of the ACS is free– service by members who
serve other members as career consultants.
In this program you get help from people
in your field. Is this a no-brainer, or what?
Once you have decided to seek a coach or
consultant, what things should you consider?
1. Think about what you believe you need.
2. Be flexible about how you can work together
to match your needs.
3. Good coaches/consultants work as equals
with you to solve your problem, rather than acting
as “experts” who pass on knowledge.
4. Advice, opinions, and suggestions are
freely offered; YOU are the one who is
ultimately responsible and chooses to accept or not.
5. Good coaches/consultants make requests
to promote desirable outcomes, not to fix a
6. A trusting relationship is the foundation of
coaching. Hopefully, it is a growing and
mutually satisfying respect.
7. It usually involves mutual learning, as well
as offering of ideas, information and
judgments that are personal.
8. The final success is achieved by the
member who takes actions and creates
direction and formulates decision with
counsel from a coach.
9. References are useful, sometimes,
but there is a certain ‘positive energy’ and
chemistry that happens in successful tandoms.
A wonderful speaker I share the dais with at certain
workshops points to giving presentations as some
people’s worst fear…certainly among the top fears
of many people.
Understanding what effective presenters do to
“elevate their game” may be helpful to point out
to people who go on interviews and who are in
their first year on the job…
Susan, mentioned above, has great voice control,
as she starts her message she speaks louder than
normal and enunciates clearly especially certain
hard consonants– Ks, Cs, Ts, Ds. She also
has an interesting voice, changing her speed and
tone to suit the message.
What else? Body language and audience analysis…
Carmine Gallo authored “Body Language: A key
to success in the workplace” which offers nice tips and a slidehow with a couple
of effective shots.
Gallo covers several things I agree with in the
well conceived article:
- energy and moving around
- no barriers between you and audience
- EYE contact
In addition, please consider who is in the audience
and what it is they want, need or would benefit from.
Recently, I was asked to speak for an hour on
presentations to an audience of presenters. What
could I really tell them that they would want to know
or benefit from? First, I offered that audiences vary
and there is no one prescription. However, we could
offer ‘Deft presentations’ if we were in a sense humble
and remembered that it is not so much the material
we delivered that counted, but finding out what the
audience wanted and providing that to them effectively
so that each one could use and benefit. Get them
‘lost in the moment, part of the discussion, thinking
in the same wavelength, formulating responses,
active listeners, and participants in the presentation.’
So work on your voice, work on your body language,
and perform audience analysis for presentations.
If you want to begin a self-assessment of where you are
in your career, consider looking at
150 - 200 in control with goal in mind
100 -149 need work in specific areas– identified for you
50 - 99 consider outside help to assess strengths, marketability, re-tooling strategy and next steps
20 - 49 seriously underutitilized or unemployed. Recommend counseling.
Let me share with you a terrific web-site opening up
good dialog on the elements of leadership.
There are several guides and models of leadership.
We intend on covering some. One of the common
ingredients is confidence. Confidence can come
- practicing a skill of which one is passionate,
- being proud, yet humble, about what you have done,
- assuming responsibility, by owning difficulties,
commiting to complete things and sharing successes.
Eugene Raudsepp called “being proud, yet humble”–
self-esteem and it is a reflection of one’s self-image.
Self image “gives people the power to survive … defeats”.
It has a certain “prescriptive power”, as we are limited
by our dreams and aspirations.
“Strong self esteem can help you advance.”
Raudsepp offers compelling prescriptions for building
one’s self esteem that are valuable to highlight:
Deal with failure, disapointments, self-limiting
Observe, study and adopt habits of people who
demonstrate a humble, yet high self-worth
Increase energy, focus and awareness of what
can be done better.
Salary was addressed in an earlier inquiry on
6-29-06 in response to comparative offers among
colleagues and one received by a member. I wish
to bring up a nice follow-up article on “Salary data”
by Perri Capell, “Where to find salary data for your
next job interview.” Http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/qanda/salaryissues/20070206-qandasalaryissues.hteml?cjposhome_whatsnew_major
Perri points to several useful sites, besides the
salary comparator from the ACS
This is one place that might offer help since there
is the potential for many respondents from the
society. However, the information might not
include bonuses, options, and have a realistic
cross-checking mechanism. One always
wonders about the “currentness” of surveys
A thought is to consider several such calculators
and learn from them all. Perri lists:
salary calculator at CareerJournal.com (see the
salaryexpert.com, be aware of limited sets of
indeed.com, which pulls data from newspapers,
professional organizations, job sites.
Perri’s caveats at the end of the article are “clinchers”
for me. (ie, worth reading!)
- If you really like the company, coming up a few
thousand dollars is not a large deal.
- Another approach to responding is offered by
Thomas Williams: Don’t quote a figure. Specify
how you are currently compensated, then advise
them that most people would like to advance
their earnings potential throughout their career and
that salary is only one factor you are considering
as you explore new opportunities. You are
confident that if both you and the employer think
this is right for both that you will be made a good
and fair offer.
If pressed to provide a number, Williams
suggests, that you should indicate you are not
prepared to do so and wish to receive a formal
offer if they think you are the right candidate.
How do you feel about this tactic?
Found an interesting article in Q&A format by Matt
Villano, “The Job Transfer: Look before you leap”
and can relate to some of what Matt has to say.
A job transfer offer from your boss comes. What
should you do and what things should you consider?
Several things that we often don’t think about can be
highlighted from the article:
- job transfers can lead to the next great lesson and
- you never know where technology or your career
are leading, take advantage of situations where faith
in your ability is shown.
- understand the practical issues are for your family
and what can be done to help you.
- evaluate whether you can share professional
concerns with your boss, sometimes it is not wise.
- create a career plan, and see where the transfer
might fit, consider adjustments.
Most leading firms look for people to explore in a
business wise sense new career opportuniites. One
“no” can set your career into the ”less than fast track”.
My career could have moved me to different and
faster tracks if I was more careful in what I did and
perhaps accepted roles that the business seemed to
need. It is worth a person’s while to assess their
decisions and actions, figure out what might have gone
otherwise, and learn for the next time you face that
situation. That happened to me.
Consider developing mentors that you can
confidentially talk with and bounce these issues to.
Learn from others in your network.
Let me know other strategies you might have
taken in a job transfer.
Our world hasn’t moved completely to posting
resumes online yet. The time seems to be coming
fast. In many places, people are posting their
“general resumes’ on boards and winning interviews.
They are doing a number of things “right” in their
resume. Some “winning” observations I have seen
- format the resume so that it is viewable on screens
without too much shifting
- clean, readable appearance
- for experienced people, listing the web-pages
of the firms rather than the address in the
- in the experience section, list accomplishments
with enough factual detail that it means something
and indicate some link to your skill set
- consider listing a key words section at the end
to cover words that software may look for.
Another item that is happening online is creating
profiles for ourselves. The profile is common with
online networking as well as many companies and
departments are asking for people to post their
profile (not mine, yet!). The ways these kind of
tools are being used is increasing geometrically.
So it is worth mentioning several things about
profiles– some rules of thumb–
1. Don’t print anything you would not be very proud
of, that includes
badmouthing former employers, co-workers,
embarrassing photos or videos or even links
(check them out)
2. Show youself in professional, high quality
images acting the part. Looking good.
3. Understand there will be economical, abbreviated,
business-ways of expressing your accomplishments.
Study them, get feedback on them for readability and
clarity, and modify as time goes on. Plan to update
4. Make your profile searchable and represent you
and where you wish your career to lead.
5. If there is a format, use the format. Find ways to
actively use these networking tools. Share them with
others, even for example people you ask to be your
6. Remember they don’t replace the personal touch
or in-person interaction. So, consider having this lead
to professional interaction, whether it is paper, or phone,
or in person.
Any thoughts on these documents will be valued.