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

April 2011
« Mar   May »
New job Considerations in Equity compensation
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:46 pm

Recently a student nearing graduation mentioned that he
was interested in a smaller company that might offer him
equity in partial payment for salary.

That got me to thinking about the term equity and the things
one should seek and ask about equity.

As an employee for two firms that offered equity as ESOPs
(employee stock ownership plans) I learned that employees
are given or offered various forms of equity in return for
certain things put forward in an equity plan.  One of the
ESOPs I earned yielded a net gain, one was an utter loss. 
I am told that my .500 batting average is quite good.

Al Sklover discusses equity offerings as being of several
varieties determined by conditions, limitations and obligations.
Terms such as vesting, purchase price, strike price, and
who manages the account are important details.

There is a tax advantage and a business need that usually
give rise to equities.

A good idea is to seek legal counsel in understanding the
pros and cons of equity arrangements.  Sklover counsels:
“The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.”
[See Sklover for an actual case study.]

comments (0)
Comparison of jobs. Recent grad
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 9:37 am

It is a positive sign when a call comes in asking for
help in what to do with competing job offers.  A
recent B.S. in engineering received a second offer
from a small engineering manufacturing firm
where he is currently working as an intern.  [He
had originally received an offer to start at a hardware
manufacturing plant of Fortune 500 June 5.]

What factors should he consider? 
What should he do, in what order?

While he tried to hide it, his heart was clearly with
the second offer, although its starting salary is
$10K lower.  The cost of living appears to be lower
and no move was involved.  These things are usually
what mid-career people would consider significant,
so it was interesting that this recent grad prized these.

We ran down the list of things to consider–
1  2  3  and what stood out were
 - starting date  (June 5 vs. April 25
with time off, no pay for a planned trip to Europe for
10 days in May)  [This starting date and time off seems
to make the first year’s salary difference disappear.],
 - no health and disability insurance coverage for the first
month in one position [Higher salary offer-  insurance
begins after 1 month.],
 - no vacation until after the first year anniversary [both,
with a wrinkle in 4 personal days granted in the 2nd.].

Some features of one seemed to be matched by
equivalent features of the other, like 401K in one
and profit sharing in the other.

Since things seem hard to compare, you can see
why he called looking for help.

The first company is a large, international company
with many locations and an impressive recent
earnings sheet record.  The second offer was a
privately held company.

Decisions are emotional tug-of-wars, especially
where there might not be a clear winner.  As we
always say, salary is only one component of a
compensation package.

Where does this fellow’s heart belong?  Which
place would he look forward to rising every day
and head off to his goals and career?  He was
strongly attracted by the second offer, but wanted
a way to make the decision seem a good choice.

First step:
He should get back to the second company
and tell them he really would like to work there.
It would be an easier choice if their offer was
comparable.  What might be their best offer?
Have ideas in mind of what would be meaningful.
Go to ACS Salary comparator for ballpark
estimates [which I did for him.] of salary and
go to other sites for benefits.

Second step: 
Ask to get the negotiated agreement, if
changed in any way, in writing.  It is significant
to have things in writing and companies are
understanding.  Thank them.

Third step:
In a professional and friendly conversation
contact the first company and tell them that
you have received a competing offer and
wish to decline their offer.
He thought that he should contact both the
hiring manager and human resource
professional, since they were terrific
We then did a mock conversation and 
practiced doing this, especially dealing
with what changed his mind.  Again,
realize decisions are emotional in nature and
we rationalize them with data.  He should not
have to say clearly the job description did not
match his desires or did not want to leave home.
These although true do not reflect well on
the job seeker in his situation.

Note:  Have the desired job offer in hand
before rejecting a valid offer.

Step four:
Write a formal letter of acceptance and
rejection to each company.

comments (0)
Searching for positions and contacts.
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:53 am

A common question many recent grads ask came in an
Email recently: 

“I’ve been trying to make as many connections as I can. 
Although, I’m finding that most of my references have
connections in academia and since I would prefer working
in a government research lab or in industry compared to
academia, they have not been able to help so much in
that area. 
Do you have any suggestions as to how I can make
connections in these areas of employment?”

 - Join and participate in professional organizations
 - Attend meetings and engage in conversation and information
   interviews with attendees and speakers
 - Determine where graduates from your group, department and
   school have ended up.  Contact them.
 - Expand your personal network, include ‘consequential
   strangers,’ and people who know people ‘go to the second
   tier in your network’
 - Search in Blog, may also provide ideas for you
   Social media searching
   Consequential strangers and being prepared
   Go outside field of concentration
   Relocation factors in tight economy
 - Use to explore particular people.

1 comment
Storytelling. As part of presentations and interviews
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

So many job seekers want to know: 
What questions will I be asked in an
interview?  What is the “right” answer?

In fact, interviews take on a life of their
own, if they morph into a pleasant conversation
going beyond the basic- “why are we here”
function in interview settings.

Stories accelerate this process of a conversion
from a Q&A session to a pleasant conversation.

P. Gordon and I held a planning meeting for
an upcoming event and he broached the
subject of storytelling as a tool to evoke key
elements of the topics we wished to cover.
Each of us identified with situations and
stories that we shared.  Nonetheless, we needed
to reveal “purpose” behind each story. 

We decided that we would do this to cover
topics and partner with each other, one as
storyteller, the other as “clear-eyed concept

When you wish to point out a particular key competence
paint a word picture that shows the result (STAR
situation-task-action-result) or implication (SARI
situation-action-result-implication).  Clothe the bare
bones with enough significant detail that supports,
relives some cues, offers some observations or
colors in the picture.

Have the story stay on the track of the response
and elaborate a combination of I-M-I-A, your
intellectual skills, what motivates you, your interpersonal
and information organizing abilities and your
attitude that shows you would fit in.

Have a set of anecdotes and ‘adjust your antennas’
to listen carefully while displaying body language
revealing your focus of attention and looking for
common ground and opportunities to ‘build on’ or
be ‘reminded of a situation’ that occurred to you.

Two set-backs in story-telling are 1)”over qualifying
and 2) use of worn-out cliches
1) I am ‘fairly good at…..’
2) Cliches are lazy shortcuts that assume common
knowledge.  If done uniquely, it can spice up a
conversation.  If done too frequently, it dilutes
the story.  [Select your audience for a cliche,
and manage your use.]

Interviewers will commonly have an approach
and an agenda.  They will start with a set series
of questions and be willing to deviate or probe.
Don’t be surprised that you are posed emotionally
charged phrases, like ‘how did you feel…,’ ‘what
makes you upset…’, or ‘what surprised you about…’
Use these as springboards for stories that also
animate you, while mirroring the body language of
the interviewer. 

It does not have to be said, but
-  “but” means disregard everything I just said
in a sentence.
-  interviewers can ferret out things looking ‘too good
to be true.’  So honesty is the best policy.

1 comment
Internet Presence. “Crafting” your LinkedIn profile
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 12:32 pm

These days I encourage scientific, engineering and
technical professionals to include a web-page item in
their resume or CV heading.  For documents intended
to be sent or shared over the internet consider removing
the hyperlink, as some virus-prevention software will
block documents and emails containing hyperlinks.
(in Word:  right mouse click and select “remove

Many have not formally developed their personal
web-page or have a shortened version of their
personal page as part of a larger group or
organization.  What can you do then?  You can list
your profile. 

We have suggested what you might list in the
profile in a previous post and comments mentioning
strong posts by Sital.
Recently, suggestions from
update this growing in importance element of
our career management and job search portfolio.
Four ways to strengthen your profile are:
-  use keywords in your descriptors of interests,
passions, accomplishments and competencies.
[’searchable keywords to your industry’]

-  it is not the quantity of connections one has,
but the quality of your connections that count.

-  join and participate thoughtfully in technical
group discussion, remembering the rules of
civility and nettiquette.

-  identify yourself with both a professional
internet address and a professional profile
photo doing something you wish to be identified

comments (0)
Resumes and CVs
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:13 am

Over and over, people early in their career can not fathom
the key differences and similarities of these two public
relations documents.

In fact, we may offer some help in that a curriculum vitae
CV can represent a “master resume”  or starting point
Nonetheless, CVs can also be organized to be more
easily readable and targeted for specific academic positions. 
Think of the long term value of continuously maintaining
a CV.  From the master CV/resume you can select items
to go into targeted CVs (reorganized to match needs) or
targeted resumes (shorter to show match to needs).  This
highlights the need to develop specific resumes for each
position and a different one for job fairs.

Both named documents, CVs and resumes, serve you when
they are well organized and  easy to read.  A simple analogy
was offered by B. Sucher as opening your refrigerator or
kitchen food cabinets. 
Does it look like a random placement wherever there was
room at the time? 
Does it look distinct with easy to locate items, unique,
keyword accented, and professional ?
If it is like the former it will not be read.

If you go to generic placement centers in institutions, many
will offer what business centered documents are preferred,
rather than scientific and technical organizations seek.  That
is one of the clear values of working with industry professionals
associated with professional societies.  My experience with
outplacement firms and unemployment centers, bless their
hearts, models and examples are similar.  Do your best to
meet with people in the industry or company you seek to
work in–  honestly it will serve you well.

None of the places one goes for advice will support
incomplete or factually distorted documents either. 
B. Safani wrote about well known misrepresentations
in resumes
that stand as eye-openers.  In fact, one person
early in my course this year asked me what I felt about
lying in resumes, as everyone does it– to which I said
now you have met someone who has not, nor does not
recommend misrepresenting anything on a CV or resume.
It did reveal to me a little about her expectations.

Resume reviewers pick up distortions in resumes
and can easily verify things that do not make sense.
In one resume, a person wanted to pass off that he
had business training in MBA courses that he did not
take, but audited.  In another, a person wanted to
reveal “leading a collaborative project,” which seems
like an oxymoron. 

Finally, I agree with the observation made by D. Dib
that resumes are finding serious competition from
Internet based profiles, like  I also note
a significant comment by L. Kursmark that Heading
information in on line resumes or profiles are becoming
shorter due to internet security issues.  1 

comments (0)
Mentoring in Action. Dealing with “rudeness”
Filed under: Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:26 pm

Whether we are in a class, or serving customers in
a profit-oriented company, or teaching a technical
course or walking down a hall way with strangers,
or sitting at a restaurant table, we observe various
forms of rudeness.

Over the past couple of years P. Forni and
civility project
have been mentioned in various
situations in this blog, including:

 - subtle, perceptive ways of paying attention
- significance of recognizing presence of others
- “active” listening skills
- causes and responses to speaking ill of others
- respect for others’ time and space
- thoughts on asserting yourself without over-
- how to deal thoughtfully with personal questions

Recently, I read his 2008 book on what to do when
you face a situation where you are rudely treated.
1.  What to do when you face rudeness   video
Focused and un-focused rudeness
Causes of each

2.  Rudeness prevention  video 2
Argue vs. discussion;  zero sum, win-win outcomes

3.  Personally dealing with rudeness  video 3
Going with the flow
Accepting reality
Thoughtful next steps- assertion in open forward-seeking

4.  Facing rudeness  video 4
Preparation for possible reaction 
SIR sequence:  state - inform - request
Focus on actions, not berating imposing person


comments (0)
Working with feedback.
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:59 am

Throughout our careers we are likely to be the donors
and the receivers of feedback. 

Boy, is it hard to provide constructive feedback without
having the receiver feel that it is criticism.

Despite all of my best efforts, I experience that although
people show and submit things to me for feedback, they
feel stung by it and consider it criticism.

Let’s put feedback into perspective.  Bo Bennett phrased it
nicely as containing three elements
  Donor motives:  what is the feedback donor’s motivation
  Idea merit:  how do you measure the feedback’s value
  Receivers response:  What do you do both with the idea
                        and in communicating with the donor

The response we offer to feedback is often more telling
and revealing of our person and character than the idea
merit or the donor motive.

Confident, forward moving, improvement seeking people
accept feedback and find ways to act on it.  Even if you
do not agree with feedback, a thoughtful sign is to clearly
understand the idea and show appreciation to the donor.
It is a continual life lesson to train your mind to be open
to feedback.

Following comments on:
  Three elements of feedback
  Approaches to accept feedback on writing and documents