We have known each other for several years as volunteers.
SA and I have dined and enjoyed professional conversations.
We had the opportunity to explore her motivations, challenges
and what she found most helpful in navigating the employment
Quick profile: International student who attended a mid-tier
American graduate school in chemistry
PhD achieved in 5 years
Post doc at Pacific Northwest NL
Post doc at Rice University
Background/ Nano materials, carbon fibers,
Strengths : bucky balls and lubricant materials
Analytical techniques, synthetic methods
Administrative details, organization and
reports; Adaptable and efficient at meeting deadlines.
What she found In graduate school, finding a couple of mentors,
most helpful: outside of her department, yet from similar cultural
backgrounds. They eased her into the American
culture and helped her strengthen her core values
understand her values and how they could be
expressed in American society.
Observations : She is a very compelling communicator with
savvy business perspective. She will accomplish
her objectives. If there is not a reason to stay on
(promotion, new project, excitement in her roles)
she will seek another role where she will expand
her ever growing and ever more responsible skill
set. She does not burn bridges and easily moves
from one place to another.
Outcomes: She found first employment as a research scientist
and supervisor and has moved on every one and a half
to three and a half years to new companies with higher
levels of responsibility. Each of the four companies
is growing and benefited from her contributions.
She strives for new challenges, continuous learning and working on
important problems and finds smaller, high tech firms are a wonderful
setting for her personal and professional growth. She is now an
operations manager responsible for budget, personnel, technology and
interfacing with government and customers.
Are you able to attend the ACS national meeting in
New Orleans in April? NO.
Did you know that you can do it via computer,
Check the LINK: http://www.careerfair.acs.org/
Are you interested in a position outside the US?
You can find a number of organizations who will
be at the New Orleans national meeting who want
to meet with ACS members via the International
Ask for more information from ACS.
At a meeting last week, I met with several interesting people.
Some were in mid-career looking for a change, others desired
moving for differing reasons and a third set sought to become
involved in a start-up with ideas of their own. One fellow, CM, in
particular had developed useful technology in a university
laboratory under sponsored research and sought counsel.
Before my individual sessions, I toured the exhibition and developed
a connection with two entrepreneurs who are developing a business
and were willing to share and teach others in Entrepreneur Avenue
of the Exhibition. You can find their story and business plan at
They were JL, the principal and CEO, and WR-B, the operations
manager of an emerging genomics firm that had a terrific business
model and story to share. The CEO was quite forthcoming in offering
that the first step should be to:
Obtain and secure an exclusive IP license for technology for low cost
from the technology transfer office.
Then, the second action item, which can be worked on in parallel,
practice and prepare your sales pitch for what you will sell, make or
provide as a service to an experienced attorney
Having convinced a reputable, legal representative knowledgeable in
the field will aid in refining the sales pitch to each group that your
team decides to bring into the effort. They will have connections,
organizations and recommendations for funding sources, VCs, etc.
They will have insight in critical negotiation steps.
You want to provide an incentive for them to want to work with you.
“skin in the game…”
I found JL’s comments unique, well qualified and directly pertinent
to the client’s specific request and I could not offer it any more
In Segment 2, of this series on trends, we mentioned “meso-facts.”
They are so-named by S. Arbesman, since they shift slowly and
are part of the technological world in which we live. They
change more slowly than the fast-changing facts and we
notice them and sometimes have trouble dealing with them,
as they represent a certain notion of our understanding of the
Hard to believe, but true, standards for mass measurement do
not keep a constant mass.
Similarly, the scientific world has assumed new aspects
of investigation with computers, databases and searching.
As Brian Claus reported at a recent meeting, a fourth
pillar of scientific research interrogating “big data with
advanced computing infrastructures” has emerged.
It is in addition to experiment, theory and simulation/
modeling and will revolutionize therapeutics. See also,
2 . [informatics]
One of the MUD CARDS in a recent workshop asked:
How do I express to people that I am seeking employment
or a change of positions without seeming to beg or needing
to express why?
In today’s very mobile employment scene, changing jobs occurs
for many reasons and more frequently than we expect and at
times when we might not expect to.
My first inclination offers that we should in constant “committed
networking” mode. It helps you maintain relevance and contact
- in your field and outside of your field
- at the same stage of your career and at earlier and later stages
- needing help and offering help to others, even if nothing comes
back in return.
A step before committed networking involves you performing a
personal self assessment about what your motivations are
for employment at this point in time and perhaps if you
are tuned to near term changes, in your near future. Are you
motivated by: advancement, affiliation, balance, excitement,
ability to contribute to the greater good, security, desire to
learn, respect, — whatever it is!
Figure out if it is your feelings or the position that you are
in (if you seek a change from current employment). The
“rub” you may have may start with current job conflicts
(boss, responsibilities, time commitments, travel, co-workers,
mission, security), but evaluate if it is in your personal motivations
or in the position. A change of positions, if it is in your
motivations, might not be satisfied with a change of positions.
Amy Gallow authored a thoughtful HBR piece on modifying
one’s current roles and responsibilities to improve personal
job satisfaction without formally changing positions.
Perhaps the most telling approach involves understanding
the “interviewing continuum” and the role of networking
conversations, small talk and introductions. Viewing your
job search as part of series of interviews that you have
significant influence in participating helps you proactively
pursue positions without feeling as if begging.
Having an organized, keyword-loaded, up-to-date
LinkedIn profile is essential these days in having
jobs find our interest in discussing employment and
Our profile also allows us a way to asynchronously
remain connected to former colleagues and associates
who may be
T targets for future opportunities
A alert partners with whom we work well
R role models
and consequential strangers .
At a recent meeting I introduced myself to a marketeer
and author who offered a pertinent workshop on LinkedIn.
He helped by pointing out where to organize and manage
important features –> the settings directory .
There are several default settings which change if you
move from the basic to a premium service package.
Your Linkedin network is composed of levels where
direct connections are first level. Your first levels’
connections who are not in your first level are your
second level, and so on. So with basic service your
connections cannot see your second level email
addresses. They are enabled if you have premium
Other features were described, that can be explored
further in the directory .
With computer searching we are all familiar with boolian
structures, yet more advanced information extraction
can be accomplished by understanding search algorithm
structures SEO and strategies incorporating keywords .
Keywords should be included in your Headline, Job titles,
Experience and Skills and Expertise sections
SKILLS AND EXPERTISE
Linkedin has several interesting tools that give opportunities
to reveal that you are a thought leader (answering questions)
and having people provide endorsements of your Skills
and Expertise. The latter are an interesting “ranking
1- Never open or accept a LinkedIn invitation unless you are
viewing the invitation through the LinkedIn “Inbox”.
2-Develop a discipline about accepting invitations. Someone
you know well– YES
Someone you agreed to network with based on association
or affiliation– YES
Someone who is a hub and can connect you with others
with whom you wish to connect– YES
Someone you do not know but may be associated with
someone in your network– maybe, but I tend to not
respond. Be careful about saying NO.
There is an informal etiquette to accepting or inviting
For mid-career and leadership level profiles let me point
to two profiles that are now part of my network.
technical manager with strong technical and scientific
high tech marketing executive with broad experience
Recently, I attended a marvelous meeting where a number of
innovative products were on display and entrepreneurial
ventures spoke about their businesses. In addition to meeting
a number of members there, we offered a workshop on
the topic of committed networking .
In the mud cards following the session we captured a number
of valuable comments that I forwarded to the society staff
to know what audience members felt. In addition, some
cards asked other questions. [For more information see
One person asked:
Using a cell phone as an “idea notebook”, I am
concerned that it appears that I am viewing or
playing on my phone and not paying attention.
What should I do?
This is quite common these days with many people “addicted to
their cellular devices.” In fact, I have seen comments about
“digital prophylactics” where meeting members hang up their
devices to avoid distraction.
iPads seem to be less effective since it is not efficient for
In one recent meeting, I commented that it was a distraction
for me to see people texting on their cell phones. Only to
find out he was taking notes….
I promptly apologized.
This brings up the point. Consider, if you plan to text into
your cellular device notes, telling the presenter, host or
coordinator that your are texting your notes.
Generally, it is considered bad form to use computers
or cellular devices in meetings. I sense this is only slowly
changing. So tell people if you are taking notes.
They are used to people using paper and pen…
Marketing technical products and services, especially to technically
savvy customers can benefit from formal technical training. I have
seen it a number of times myself, from
products I have purchased,
to trade shows and exhibitions I have attended,
to students who have good communications skills, are motivated
by working with, communicating and help technical people –getting
marketing and technical representative positions.
When I recently attended a terrific exposition of robotics and chemical
screening products in Orlando, I looked for marketing savvy people who
I could highlight for this entry. It seemed like everyone had one or
another skill and each firm had a team of people with different skill
sets. Marketing is more than a unique selling position [as in Madmen]
Scott Brinker does a fantastic job outlining the evolving skill
set for successful market managers. His 5 skills can be integrated
- working with customers to understand their present and future
needs, knowing that this must be translated in understandable terms
to both the customer service rep and the customer. Sometimes it
involves follow-up communication, since timing and training are
not easy yet essential.
- software and hardware integration and version updating without
customer awareness for hardware or robotics or analytical systems.
- anticipating new directions of customer needs, changing resource
trends and value and out-of sequence tools that work only some
of the time.
The terms and keywords in marketing are different than technical
jargon. They can and must be learned. And they seem different from
sub-field to sub-field.
Many indicators in the slow economy that “permanent
employment” is for the few (due to budgets, cut-backs,
grant funding decreases). All employment for
knowledge workers, however, is full-time; even if your
assignment is as part-time or contract work since it
means that they do not want to compensate you for full
time with salary, benefits and post-employment costs.
You are usually ‘on call, working from home, and
This entry offers (1) a counter to ominous 401K
changes, that it is still in our best interests to use.
(2) A pessimist’s view of the job horizon is that the
job market, that is more and more ‘not advertised,’
will challenge us to adapt to unfamiliar tactics,
(3) one being what freelancers do to reconcile
their ‘episodic’ income streams.
MORE ON 401K CHANGES
SOURCE: K. Greene, WSJ Jan. 7, 2013, p. B7
“How good is your company’s 401(k)?”
While in the last ‘W-O’ segment we spoke to some
changes, this article provide more of the same. BUT,
I note one of the comments “there are no other
programs that give immediate tax deferral on
contributions, employer contributions, deferred
taxation on gains/earnings, allows ‘institutional
rates’ of charges and shielding of assets from
Be diligent in reviewing your strategy.
SOURCE: L. Weber ad L. Kwoh, WSJ Jan. 9, 2013,
p. B1 ” Beware of phantom job listing”
“With the … market weak…, … back-channel methods
are the rule…” One comment summed it up, if you
see an ad for a job description, it has already been filled.
In the day when the talent market was tight, the
‘hidden’ job market was an apt description. Katherine
Hansen has talked about the unadvertised job market
where networking is one of many strategies. Positions
are not just hidden or restricted.
It calls for a “freelancer strategy” to know that your
career is in your hands and not in just one location.
Learn the skills of the successful freelancer– what
are your notable assets, what are people willing to pay
for you to do, build security by helping colleagues
help other colleagues, without expecting anything
SOURCE: Interview of S. Horowitz, Forum
Jan. 4, 2013 Freelancer’s Manifesto
Website link to an award winner who has initiated
programs to assist freelancers navigate the challenging
world where the economy, job market, and organizations
may challenge “at will” knowledge workers. As the number
of not fully employed grows with time, whether temp,
part-time, contracted or in transition, this podcast
offers a compass. There are no quick fixes.
Recently found this informative grant outline that
is shared. Kudos to skillassist.org .
Ok, it is the beginning of the year. Let me bring
up a critical element for all scientists and engineers–
attending conferences, meetings, colloquia and local
, informal meetings (meet-ups).
I was reminded of this when I saw a portrait of
Dr. Cruikshank in the stairway of a university I
visited with a colleague. I asked him why he believes
it is important to attend conferences. Cruikshank as
many know served as director of the Gordon
Research Conferences for many years
He responded: “Education, exposure, networking, and
of course, career fairs…But, I should emphasize the need
to overcome any hesitancy to go.
COST, TIME, APPROVAL
“No” can be taken to mean “no, not now. Ask me later.”
My colleague remarked: “If one gives a talk or a poster, your
adviser is likely to pay. You can always double-up or
triple-up with peers… Grad students sell goggles and use
some of the profits for travel grants. Grants are also
available through associations.
Local meetings are usually less expensive to get to,” he also
Conference attending, whether a large meeting, an
international conference, a topical symposium, a
local section lecture or tutorial are important parts of
“co-curricular learning”, that is learning outside the
When working in industry, conference attendance is either
limited to specific areas of pertinence to your project, or
by budgetary constraints or immediate needs of the
Those in government will be focused on attending meetings
related to their agency mission.
Workers in both areas will attend gatherings if they are
involved in the organization or leadership or as a councilor.
Complications often arise from schedule conflicts. [Life
goes on and few are indispensable. Giving others a chance
to do things may prove very powerful.] So, planning and
finding win-win outcomes are an essential part of
professional behavior of attending conferences.
When working in industry, my request to attend a conference
was commonly met with the reply. You can go on your own
time. Or, if you pay your own way, you can go. So, rather
than taking this as a “no” it was a personal challenge for me
to develop strategies to volunteer to serve in different
capacities– chairing colloquia, chairing host committees,
coordinating AV or planning functions, volunteering to give
workshops, and serving on task forces and committees.
The more senior one is, the more challenging it can be.
It just raises the ante to learn from others how they are able
to manage the challenge.
SO WHY ATTEND CONFERENCES
1. Papers, presentations, 3
2. connections [information interviews, networking conversations
3. trends (in favor and out of favor),
4. grants (to university proposals, to small businesses),
5. leaders in the field,
6. organizational business
7. affinity groups,
8. short courses [personal and professional growth],
9. new technologies [explore new technologies, uses],
10. Affairs, events [small talk, conversations, information
11. develop personal skills (presentations, wise skills)
B. Fischer wrote a recent piece indicating other
12. broaden your knowledge,
13. exposure to job and business opportunities,
14. plenary lectures [choose your seat so you can see]
15. asking questions 4 ,
16. voluntary presentations
17. exhibition area [And “bling”]
18. satellite events.
She also provides a nice structure, layout and
content guide for posters and short 10-minute
talks which are becoming more common.
Make attending meetings and conferences one
of your personal resolutions. As Adam Cheyer
remarked at a recent meeting I went to — one of
your VSGs (verbally stated goals). The other
success behaviors were: try something outside of
your normal realm of experience and exposure and
be open to the significant, unpredictable role of luck.
A person never honestly knows what interviewers and
recruiters seek when making their case for a product
manager or project manager position.
Accomplishing difficult goals, managing various aspects
of projects are common for experienced workers.
Read an interesting piece by Lou Adler in which he
indicates his admiration for people who have an “achiever
pattern” in their recent experience. There is more to your
preparation if this is how you wish to market your skills:
- Well thought through examples
- Understanding of what interviewers will be doing with
both your spoken (screening and on-site interviews)
and written (resume, etc.) data: comparison to other
- “Presence” in professional settings, Internet, and in
person, showing confidence. adaptability and
desire to learn
This is from a “recruiter’s perspective,” a perspective not
many technical people consider. He has presented this in
various forums (contains several resources) and it has a
following. For those with interest in start-ups, business
development and are open to new challenges in business
Adler can be a solid resource.
BUSINESS POSITIONS, WORKING WITH RECRUITERS,