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

October 2010
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Insights. Tours of International Companies
Filed under: First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:23 pm

When we travel and visit other countries,
whether for business, recreation or
education, opportunities present themselves
for touring companies.

Style of work
teamwork among different levels
sense of hierarchy and deference to position

Organization and order
no badges or sign-in for visitors
advanced permission needed
company bus to terminals
similar design of work areas for visitors

This week while visiting Shanghai, I was
invited to tour ChemPartner Co., Ltd.
It is a touch of honor when visiting
Asian companies and for that matter
American firms as well, to bring a gift. 
[It is true that many US firms do not
condone bringing gifts.]

Dress for the visit.  Comfortable, safety
conscious shoes and clothing.   Remember,
also first impressions are lasting impressions.

Bring business cards.  Add a touch of class.
Here at ChemPartner, I specifically wrote my
name in Chinese on the back of my card.  I did
not freely distribute but waited to exchange
cards with those who offered theirs.

Learn the introduction style of the country
you are in.

Respect differences.  My trip via subway and
taxi was a little adventure.  It is appropriate
to respond to the question how was the travel,
“fine, I made it just as we had planned.”  But,
in truth, while the subway was smooth, I was
“taken for a long ride” to pad the taxi fare.

I recognized it on the ride.  In the future knowing
how much the ride would cost (12RMB) I would
just pay that amount as I left.  But this time, I
revealed slight inconvenience and paid the
40RMB fare.  I only told this to the lead person
at ChemPartner, who as we expect apologized.
It was a warning to the others and a lesson to me.
Send thank you notes.  Look for the possibility
of friendly professional exchange.

This is a strong sign of the international future
of the chemical enterprise.   Several companies
have set up affiliates here as I saw during my
drive.  I also took the opportunity to learn about
the infrastructure and sense the vibrancy of


1 comment
Watch-outs 23. Planning for our later years
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:07 pm

True, they are special advertizing sections. The
WSJ has offered constructive discussions
on life insurance, financial adviser help and
later career planning within firms.  Since this
is useful for all at one point in their  careers
and for mentors and managers, the topics
are worth “bookmarking.”

Source:   R. Banham, WSJ 9-15-10, p. D10-11
Mapping it Out
Banham scopes out one’s life insurance
need considerations from early in one’s
career to our mature years.  This is a “must
read” for those who have little idea of the
various considerations.
Added is a section involving our financial
planners.  It suggests questions we should ask
-when should we retire
-how to plan for expenses and income
-developing fund withdrawal plans
-RMD considerations
-quantifying specific risks

There are combination insurances and
other insurance “riders” that are introduced.

Source:  G. Weinstein, WSJ pull-out 9-15-10
Life insurance is a financial tool that has evolved as
an instrument to achieve many purposes.  This
article touches on considerations and options.
If interested Grace Weinstein has authored
several books that should be consulted.


Source:  J. Mullich, WSJ 10-7-10
Coming of Age
This article reveals the rethinking that
individuals and firms are applying to
maintain and maximize the contributions
mature workers provide.  It is an eye-
opening perspective that might spread
from the few that have been cited in the

Interview Invitation. How to politely reject
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 8:54 am

Everyone wishes they are faced with this situation!
Not really…

We have reported on this job search previously .
Now she began her career at the institution
she targeted as her first choice.  Unexpectedly,
the third company called to invite her for a
second, comprehensive interview.

She waited to respond until after our discussion.

Listed below are response recommendations,
her actions and other thoughts about this situation.

1.  Please don’t respond via email.  Do it in
person directly to the staffer or hiring manager
who contacted you.  This could be on the phone
or in person. 

2.  If it is possible to do it in person, stop by
during regular hours.  To make a strong
impression you might wear your garb and working

3.  Tell them that you had a tough decision to
make.  They made a very good impression on
you.  However, you had to decide the week you
interviewed with them.  So, you selected another
institution.  You are sure they would have
provided an equally attractive offer.  But their
timing was not good for you.
You received another the offer and needed to
start working.  You love it.

4.  Thank them for their efforts in your behalf.

5.  Benefit:  recommend people in your network
still seeking a position.
By being there with your scrubs on sends a
professional signal to them.  Print out copies
of your friends’ resumes that you highly

Her Actions:
She phoned and reached an administrative staffer.
She employed items 3 and 4, above.

Other recommendations:  1 
1.  Say: No, thank you.  (civility!)
2.  Be as upfront as you can.  If you are saying
‘no’ for a particular reason, tell the person on the
other side of the phone call or table what the reason

comments (0)
Internet Presence: Things to avoid revealing
Filed under: Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:58 am

It might seem to be obvious, however a
recent article about what not to broadcast
on the Internet are: 

- anything related to typical questions listed
to provide ID and PW on sites

- certain travel plans when your home will
be left empty

- personal information that can open the
door to identity theft

- embarrassing photos, stories, or
letters using unprofessional language.

Facebook entries

1 comment
Negotiating and Deciding. One offer in, waiting on second
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 11:47 am

GM and I spoke as her deadline on one offer was
approaching.  She had interviewed at an even more
desirable firm (broader long term opportunities,
higher starting salary and better benefits) but had
not heard back.

She was asked if she could start soon and to
travel to the new location for a physical and
certain standard tests. 

What should (s)he do?

With a firm offer in hand, we do not want to
jeopardize anything.  There is a chance if delayed
the offer might not be there in a week. 

As we chatted, we talked about agreeing to do
two additional things, one with the current
offer company, A, and one with the potential
company, B.  (1) Agree to the visit with the A.
See if it is possible to arrange a househunting
trip for where you might live.  Since firm B
is nearby, you could explore common commuting
(2) Contact your main contact at B.  Let
the firm know that you are very interested in
working for the company.  Ask if a decision on
employment for you will be made shortly.  Tell
them you have a competing offer in hand and
they wish to have you respond, giving a due

Well, she did these two things.  Company B
was not forthcoming.  So, she happily accepted
company A’s offer.

“Hi Dan,

I accepted the position at Company A, I
still have not heard anything from Company
I’m fine with that, I’m really excited to
been offered a job with such good
doing something that sounds
I get the feeling that it might
get boring
after awhile, but right now I’m
happy with
how things are working out. 

I cannot begin to thank you for all your

help, I really can’t…

GM and I then talked about the her starting
our strongly at A offering suggestions
listed as daily reminders in the yellow
column of the blog.  GM was also reminded
that: “you will have several jobs with several
employers throughout your career.  Now is
the time to develop great habits–  develop
mentors, help others, network, engage in
professional development activities, and
join helpful societies that will support your

GM asked if there were good societies to
join and participate in.  In addition to the
ACS (which is bridging the gap from grad
students to professionals with a grad
student/post-doc offering) employers sometimes
encourage involvement.  Consider taking them
up on those suggestions.  Nonetheless, be
proactive in seeking out ACS divisions that
will help you continue to grow and smaller
societies that you find provide forums for
you to continue to develop (’boutique’
societies, race/gender groups and

comments (0)
Two offers. Legal considerations when offer is rejected
Filed under: Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:05 pm

This blog entry is a continuation of a previous
negotiation where a member has received two
offers.  See the factors in negotiation  1  .

He has decided to reject the previous offer.
So, he accepted the second offer first and
arranged a househunting trip the week before

Email:  “Dear Dan,

I would like to tell you that I arrived yesterday

in … to start working for H… beginning October 11.
I am currently looking for apartments here.”

“I also thought to update you with the situation
that might arise in future related to previous
company Es….”   I turned them down a week
ago.  “They seemed to be angry.”

“Yesterday, I received email from the Es…
manager saying:

You may want to prepare for a breech of implicit contract
and damages suit.”

“I did not sign any contract with them except
company application form and acceptance email.

The application form indicated that the employment
is “at will”.”

“This new situation might arise has made me worried.

“I need your advice and suggestion to avoid breach
of implicit contract and damages suit.”


It does not appear that an enforceable contract exists
between the two parties.  Nonetheless, I reached out
to several employment attorneys for their input,

Should I tell the new company that I might have a

Should I respond to that email?

Should I hire an employment attorney?

In short, he should not have to inform his new employer.
There is only a need to respond in some manner, if
you feel you are being harassed.  In that case, you
may request an attorney to draft a “cease and desist”
letter, as one attorney recommended.
Pleased read the following comments for more
comprehensive legal advice.
[See also 2  .]

Mid-career and Mature Chemists. Financing innovations
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:55 pm

There are limitations and invisable barriers when
we, who are in our 50s or beyond, seek positions.
It could be salary expectations, it could be areas of
experience or expertise, or other barriers.

Let’s not talk about the barriers, let’s talk about the
opportunities.  Seriously.

Eric Hintz authored “Creative Financing” chronicling
strategies to spur targeted innovation. Hintz  offers
that prize winning contests are an historical approach
for innovation.  Contests to award
innovation go back at least 300 years
and have been successful in developing
many great innovations, like longitude
(J. Harrison), vacuum packing (N. Appert)
food, and trans-Atlantic flight (Lindbergh).

If there is any place where experience and
creativity find common ground it is with
experienced scientists.  While searching for
career continuation, it might not be a bad idea
to develop or further your own ideas seeking
a prize.
McKinsey and Co. can be a source of  prizes.