From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

December 2007
« Nov   Jan »
Career Planning and Transitions
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 1:43 pm

Received an interesting book as a gift,
offering some motivational thoughts
as we end one year and enter a new year
with opportunities and challenges.

BOOK:   ‘Zingers,” by P. M.. Croft, Tyndal
House Publishers, Carol Stream IL 1990.

“The father of success is work, the
mother of achievement is ambition.”

“Housework is something you do that
nobody notices until you don’t do it.”

“If a [person] does only what is required
…, he is a slave.  If he does more than
is required, he is a free man.”

“It takes as much energy to wish as it
does to plan.”

“People may not remember how fast
you do your work, but they will 
remember how well you did it.”

“You may be on the right track.  But
sit there and you will be run over.”

“The world does not pay for what a
person knows, but it pays for what
a person does with what he knows.”

“There may be luck in getting a good
job, but there is no luck in keeping it.”

“Good intentions die unless they are

“Work isn’t work if you enjoy it.”

“To gain success, do not merely stare
up the steps, step up the stairs.”

“The difference between a career and
a job is about twenty more hours per

“If you make your job important,
it is likely to return the favor.”

“The price of mastery in any field is
thorough preparation.”


comments (0)
Networking. Nodes, Feedback, Keeping in touch
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 5:11 pm

This is an entry based on four phone
calls in the last three days.

Call #1 was from VC who is finishing
his work and in the middle of his job
search.  He could have done it in an
email offering that he has had some
interest in his resume but none were
in his desired location of the Bay Area
in California.  It was nice to have him
speak, for it revealed his patience and
dedication to his search.

Call #2 was from RK who reported
that he accepted a position in R&D
with Lincoln Labs and was looking
forward to starting his position in
nanotechnology.  He had been looking
since July and found his networking
through his grad school contacts gave
the strongest leads.

Call #3 was from LJ who happily shared
that he accepted his hoped for position
offer from one firm in pharma.  He wanted
to get back to another firm that had also
given him a respectable offer.  Both were
in the location he wanted.  He opined
that his big learning was to work much
harder on relationships with his supervisors
in the future.  And when any relationship
looks like it is weakening, not let it happen.
Certainly, not end a relationship without
a positive relationship with everyone.
You never know when you will need a

Call #4 was from a headhunter looking
for a person with 0-3 years experience
in electrochemistry in the Bay Area….
She has VC’s contact information (call #1).

It is important for people to understand
the concept of nodes in information theory.
In networking it is important to have contacts
who act as nodes for many forms of contacts
and information exchanges… recruiters,
lawyers, universities, industries, and attends
many meetings…..

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Annual Dues. Don’t let them lapse
Filed under: Networking, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 2:14 pm

This is the time of year when our
annual dues mailing come to our
Don’t let your
membership lapse

There are certain rules to allow
members to maintain
their membership. 
It involves 
requesting a dues waiver.

Please see the reply from Membership
Activities ACS
— If he is unemployed
rather than retired, and seeking
full-time employment, he could
apply for the dues waiver.

If he was involuntarily retired,
to his dues, the eligibility
for the
50% retired discount is
30 years
of membership and
retired from
full-time employment. 
Member and Subscriber
Services at
They will be able to answer
any other questions.

In addition, another society to
which I am affiliated does not
offer this unemployed benefit.

They do offer emeritus
membership for
people over 65
with more than 30
years as a
member.  I phoned the
Executive Director and posed the
question about unemployed
workers membership dues. 
He contacted the membership
representative who contacted
with her approval to waive
the annual membership fees.

These are small features in the big
scheme of things but every little
bit helps.

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Podcast for all age-groups
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 10:02 am

In the preparation for a talk in NOLA on
Retirement planning a great interview with Ken
Dychtwald was discovered.  My gameplan, developed
with several sources, dovetails quite nicely with
the thoughts of Ken Dychtwald.

              “New Retirement Mindscape

It is worth listening to the whole thing for every reader
of this blog.

comments (0)
First Days on Job
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 11:19 am

Recently, a conversation led to an interesting
dilemma.  A person started working at his
firm, but found things “slow” and almost
remote, unorganized and little prepared to
“bring him on board.”

This is not an uncommon situation for a person
just joining a company.  The position is
likely to be
challenging, and  the people,
policies and procedures
will be unfamiliar.
While most managers understand you
need time to adapt, the
however, is expecting things from
you and watching you right from the
beginning.  Remember, too, that
first impressions last a long time.

Because first impressions are lasting ones,
here are tips to consider
in your first
month on the job:

* Begin your job at your best.

*Assess the unwritten culture.
     spend some time studying the culture at the firm.
HOW:  Consider arriving 30 minutes early and
leave half an hour late on your
first few days to
get a sense of how many others in your group do the


    Note whether your co-workers or manager
are fielding calls or
emails from home,

    Determine the prevailing communication style
email, voice mail, formal documents, formal
meetings or
informal meeting with face-to-face

    Appearance counts:  observe the dress code:
semi-formal, business-casual

     Breaks, exercise, lunch traditions:  When and
for how long do people do these things?

      Adapt to unwritten company rules.
some customs may seem strange to you,
keeping an open mind shows
you’re willing
to be part of the team.

* Clarify your boss’s expectations and goals
       *  be on the “same page” as your manager
        * meet with him or her to discuss your
responsibilities and how your position fits into
the grand scheme
- What are the immediate priorities and issues
that need to be addressed?

- How often and in what form should I provide
you with project updates?

- How will my performance be evaluated?
* You may also want to request feedback
three or four weeks into the
position to make
sure you’re on the right track.

*Get to know the team.
            Take the initiative to speak to colleagues
for a longer period of time,
whether it’s over a
coffee break, lunch or more formal one-on-one

             learn specifics about the other person’s
how his or her responsibilities affect your
own and
how the two of you can most
effectively work together.

*Have a plan
            develop a strategy your first days on the job.

             personal goals
               will serve as a useful tool for your first review.
               steps you must take to reach them.

Examples: learn a proprietary file system, memo
retention policy and practice getting feedback or
lunch with a co-workers each week during your
first month.

Exude confidence, but you don’t want to seem
like a know-it-all who
won’t adapt.
Be enthusiastic displaying an upbeat, dedicated
attitude, your boss and
co-workers will be
thrilled you’re part of the team.

1 comment
Chemical Technicians 3.
Filed under: Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 10:35 am

What does the ACS provide its members
who are thinking of being a chemical
technician,  who are chemical technicians
or who supervise / manage technicians?

There are “oodles” of links to useful
surveys with information on what we do,
what are the mean compensation amounts,
what companies expect from us, and BLS
(bureau of labor statistics) projections.

I consulted a terrific resource at the ACS,
Dr. Blake Aronson, who astutely pointed
out the following resources (These did not
copy is a bummer when it works the
first time and doesn’t on subsequent tries!) :

“What a chemical technician should consider…”

She cited O*NET, which is a relatively user-friendly interface for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
For ACS defined laboratory technicians, data is combined from the following SOC’s (standard  occupationalclassification)
- 19-4031 (chemical technicians)
- 19-4041 (petroleum technicians)
- 19-4091 (environmental technicians)
- 19-4092 (forensic technicians)
For process technicians:
- 51-8031 (water/liquid waste operators)
- 51-8091 (chemical plant operators)
- 51-8093 (petroleum operators)
- 51-9011 (chemical equipment operators)
For chemists and similar researchers:
- 19-2031 (chemists)
- 19-2032 (materials scientists)
- 19-1021 (biochemists)
- 17-2041 (chemical engineers)
Once you know what occupations you want statistics on, getting moreinformation is pretty simple.
BLS provides: 
- an overview of science technicians,
- an overview of a given industry,
- an overview of the statistics for a given occupation, employment projections for a given occupation.

comments (0)
Interviewing. Helpful insight
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 10:02 am

What will you be asked in an interview?  Wouldn’t
it be nice to know this before you go to an interview?
Louise Kursmark provides this insight for nearly
all kinds of positions.  She cites five classes of
interviewer directed conversation starters, not questions.

Starting off questions to establish rapport and,
hopefully reduce the tensionSmall talk.
              Come prepared to thank her(him) for
the invitation, be willing to carry on some light
conversation with a positive, cooperative and
enthusiastic attitude.

-   Skill, competency and what you bring to the
company (your requirement is to demonstrate
a match to their needs.)
              If you don’t know what the needs are or
the requirements of the position, clarification
may be in order.

Relevant situational questions. (your role is
to clarify enough to be able to demonstrate
not only the response but also the manner in
which you explore uncertain things– patient,
respectful, good listening skills)
              Be prepared to engage with
an (1 minute moment) experience story.

Behavior-based questions.  (clarify, again,
but also develop compelling, thoughtful
stories.  Several acronyms for creating
stories are useful– CauseActionResult,

               Many employers outside academia
try to predict future behaviors based on
what a person has done, how he(she) has
behaved in the past.

-    Employee fit into company culture.
(This is where homework on a company
pays dividends.  Knowing people who work
there, knowing recent good news about
company, exploring the web-presence of
a firm will help you relate your likes to
their mission, methods, and reputation.)

            Homework to be able to match
motivations and valued experiences will
provide suggestions of examples.