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

January 2010
« Dec   Feb »
Academic Position. Very nice interview PUI
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:10 am

When a blogger encounters excellent contributions
we can’t help but want to share it.  Chemjobber
did this in an interview of an assistant professor
at a principally undergraduate institution.  A
couple of take-aways for me:

-  take time to assemble a first class application
          get input from people you know, from people
             at comparable institutions and career
             consultants who are experienced and willing
             to do a insightful reading of your documents
          contents:  cover letter, transcripts, CV, research
              proposals, letters of recommendations,
              teaching philosophy
          be sure your commitment to teaching and
              working with students comes through strongly
 -  Tailor each application specifically to the school
and kind of department to which you are applying.
  -  Apply to several positions after doing considerable
detailed research on the institution, the department and
its teaching and research organization and distribution,
its facilities, and its reputation as a place to commit to.

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Chemistry jobs. Chemjobber
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 8:43 am

There are some sites we can go to that provide
job listings.  There are some sites we can go to
that provide
 - comments on where, how to and
 - suggestions for finding positions, public relations
documents, interviewing and transitions. 
Chemjobber seems to analyze and review the
continually changing employment situation. 
See if it is a resource you need.

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Self-assessment. D. Pink - Drive
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 1:23 pm

A common model for figuring out what it is
you want to do has been mentioned in a
blog where you identify what are the leading
characteristics that you seek in your next
position and in your career.  It can be
phrased as your needs, your desires and
your personal wishes (preferences). 

Daniel Pink in his book “Drive:  The surprising
truth about what motivates us” ciphers it into
Motivational operating systems:  Motivation
1.0 (survival needs);  Motivation 2.0 (carrots
and sticks;  rewards and punishments) and
Motivation 3.0 (mastery, purpose and

For short-term-achievement meeting Operating
Systems 1.0 and 2.0 are sufficient for a majority.
However, for longer term growth and satisfaction
Pink argues that purpose-driven employment
that progresses over time or Operating System
3.0, in addition to the the first two motivates
most people.

He, further, goes on to talk about the evolving
stages of human life, from educational phase,
to employment phase, to encore phase, and
to passive retirement observes different motivational
operating systems.  It can be challenging when
a person wishes to move from one operating

system to another since he describes there
needs to be a “scaffolding” and “values
resetting” to get there.

Has your your perspective changed on what
you seek and what makes you work hard?

Company research. Objective assessments
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 11:42 am

Many career mentors suggest that job seekers perform
Company research to determine the business stability,
the company direction and whether it competes
successfully in its industry.

Clearly, examine the company web-site to get
pertinent information about a company’s
leadership and public relations (what it wants you to
know about itself).

Positive side business news is commonly revealed in

Look also at how its stock price has fared paying
attention to trends and what may have triggered
them (in the company news).

Look at long term issues and how the company
has dealt with them in their local area and globally.

Let’s use Dow Chemical as an example since Dr.
Liveris has been cited in various newspaper and
magazine articles (interview):
  - web-site ; notice sustainability goals, corporate
citizenship, and its values (integrity, respect)
  - C&EN story about after both a tough year
and Rohm & Haas purchase coming out ahead
  - WAPEDIA :  outlines a corporate history
  - yahoo :  stock price charts and other
financial delineators
  - information news sources can be consulted
but the information might be partial or premature
1  2  3  4  5 
  - - who you know and data,

HQ Region Saginaw, Michigan Area
Industry Chemicals
Type Public Company
Status Operating
Company Size 46,000 employees
2006 Revenue $49,124
Founded 1897
Common Job Titles
Engineer 3%
Leader 3%
Account Manager 2%
Manager 2%
Specialist 2%
Median Age 37 years
Male 69%
Female 31%
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Academic Position. Teaching Philosophy 3.
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:20 am

As we know several ACS publications on teaching
chemistry offer a page or two about writing teaching
philosophies.  While I have written evolving teaching
philosophies, I continue to learn more on this deep
and intriguing subject.

Recently Robert Leamnson’s book Thinking about
teaching and learning
was given to me.  It is a clearly
stated scientist’s view on the challenging task of
changing students’ brain patterns.  It requires less
the teacher’s total mastery of subject matter
and more

   -understanding the students
   -using relate-able language (to the subject matter),
   -repeating and reforming concepts, techniques
and key subject matter in the students’ minds and
in chemical sciences, experimental laboratories,
   [called coached recitation, developing checklists
containing safe and hygienic practices, and paraphrasing]
   -maintaining the individual student’s attention and

With this as a backdrop, he points out teaching
philosophies based solely on experience are
reactive, expressing our responses to our teachers.
There is much to be learned from experience and
deep thought of the ‘big picture,’ of the goals of
the participants, and methods that have proven to
be successful for masters in the field.  If you aspire
to a teaching career,
consider perusing Robert
Leamnson’s book.

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Careers AFTB. Patent agents and attorneys
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:56 am

When was the last time you attended an ACS Local
section meeting?  My last one provided a rich
storehouse of information, some introductions to
new contacts and a great chance to reconnect, in

The meeting was held at Emmanuel College
in Boston’s Fens district and had Dr. Christine
as the featured speaker offering her take
on what it is like move from chemical research
to her enjoyable career, now as vice president for
intellectual property and legal affairs for Hydra

There are some wonderful ACS workshops
on Careers in this field AFTB (away from the
bench), but they do not provide the insights
Christine shared.  Some highlights of Dr. Bellon’s
remarks about her career were:

-  at a law firm, you work at the behest of the
partners for clients and their products and interests.
This means if you are there at 3 pm on Friday and
a call or emergency comes in you are likely to
be working late and through the weekend.
Time is not your own, and time is measured
in “billable hours”, in 6 minute increments, for
on average about 2000 hours per year.  “There
is an app for this!”

- no matter where you are, there is a lot of reading
and writing in the legal arena.  One has to learn to
choose what to read and not read thoroughly, what
and how to express things in precise formulaic
  In fact, one of the smart things to do for
chemical professionals is work with your legal
experts.  Have them read and assess patent
information in existing patents. 

A hidden nugget that the
legal arena is imbedded
in PCs and PC software that may not be the most

- the 3 year patent law school process is intensive
becoming an attorney (it is slightly longer, 4
years, for part-time students).  One of the biggest

hurdles is working with the patent office.

Others who attended this wonderful talk
probably learned many other notions.

Career Consulting Case: Networking, telephone interviews, storytelling
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

This weekend I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with
UH and he remarked that one of the new things he learned
is about the different people he should have in his

He was familiar with people in his “direct” network.  He
indicated that he had not identified people who (1) his
direct network knows nor (2) consequential strangers
(recent post).

In reply to my question: who represents his network?
He indicated that his advisor is more than willing to
offer and write a strong recommendation.  I then
asked have you (UH) asked him (UH’s adviser) if he
knows people who you can call?  No.  This is how
we entered into the discussion about the three layers
of people’s networks.

A second new item related to a telephone interview
he was invited to participate.  The conversation
elicited that it was being conducted with a former
graduate of his department.  How fortunate! 
Develop small talk topics by finding out when and
with whom he graduated and some of the common
people they both know.  Find him in
and learn of his accomplishments. 
[We also covered:  Learn about details, recent
news and recent business results of the company. 
Have good questions to ask as part of the
telephone interview.  Job description?  Be
prepared for the telephone interview 1  2  3  ]

The third new item involved UH needing to
formulate STARI stories for responses to
question noting key elements that pertained
to the key performance attributes he can bring
to the company.
STARI = situation, task, actions, results and

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Downsizings. Termination letters
Filed under: Networking, Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 12:21 pm

Last night I had a pleasant conversation with mid-
career and senior level scientists.  They shared
their perspectives of the chemical industry they
have their careers in, saying there is diminished hope
for many.  Some people, still employed, are
looking for new employers.  Downsized have
been exasperated in not getting job leads.  Sure
the economy is not robust.  However, it is the
off-shoring of chemical industries to Asia, in their
view, that concerns them.

Wish I had many answers to questions I am hearing from
three groups of people who face different facets of
what is happening– already out of work, those
(currently employed) who feel their days might be
numbered, and those preparing for careers in fields
that are moving off-shore.
[Parenthetically, downsizings affect not only
employed workers, but
also possible future workers
who are in university
programs guiding them into
areas that are “roads
under construction.”  There
seems to be a
disconnect between chemistry
and industrial reality.]

The main focus of this post is points out an
excellent summary about severance agreements
by A. Sklover.  He points out how careful
reading of the agreement is essential and things
to be mindful of.

Chemists online
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 9:45 am

A strong, thoughtful discussion appears in Derek Lowe’s
blog In the pipeline about communication behavior
of chemists.  1  

Two remarkable comments came from
Rich Apadoca:  a new problem solving tool
Tierneylab: an outsider’s view of chemists

My take is that there is much more to gain from
the long-tail influence of the Internet and
thoughtful communication that is honest and
of high integrity.

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Careers in Chemistry. Future Trends 22. Xenobiotics that bioaccumulate
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:18 pm

It is interesting to read E. Grossman’s book on synthetic
chemicals that
have unintended consequences of
  - persistence in our environment and are either fliers,
swimmers or hoppers
  - bioaccumulate
  - endocrine disrupters
  - have epigenetic effects on organisms
  - are xenobiotic and toxic in specific organs.

Commenting on the subject, Joe Thornton, an associate
professor in the Center for
Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology at the University of Oregon
recommended three
changes that future chemists
might pursue  1  :

This is such a profound topic for all chemists to transform
our discipline and make it sustainable.

Unemployed Chemists. Membership dues
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 12:05 pm

My mailbox contained a notice that I was
delinquent in
paying dues and I am out of
work.  Since I have been
a dues paying
member for over 30 years and I have

considerable interest in the people and the
I have taken the option to continue

What should you do if this is a situation you face?

Look at the C&EN page offering services for

When I was initially unemployed and later
I applied for and received a
dues waiver.  Most recently,
the half-rate annual
dues is available to me.

Other societies (like the Electrochemical Society)
one year dues waiver.  After this, one can
apply for
“emeritus” membership.

Because the value of membership is so great,
linger on applying for membership.  It can
be a strong
link to moving to your next position.

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