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

December 2013
« Nov   Jan »
Trends in Technical Careers. Life Cycle Analysis
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:21 pm

One of the evolving trends in chemical fields but not
often developed in education programs is life cycle
.  I learned about this as part of reviewing
EPA proposals.  This was one of the aspects that proposals
could enhance their consideration for support. 

Only one proposal incorporated an LCA.

What motivated entering this topic into the blog also was seeing
LCA in a psychology and ’science of attention’ book by
Daniel Goleman.  He talks about human brains’ ability to
have a razor-sharp focus on certain things, like smiles, frowns,
growls and babies, while we have “zero radar” for threats to the
global systems that support human life.

Goleman talks about LCA profiles using glass making as
his example which has 659 ingredients in its manufacture. 
There are “too many factors to assess.”  We need, however, to
focus in on a manageable number in  meaningful patterns to
deal with them

For the present readership BASF and SKB 2  have delivered
meaningful ACS presentations on how they have developed
Life Cycle Inventories and assessments for specific processes.
They used a process flow  diagram that has co-products and side
reactions, energy inputs and outputs for sustainable development

Life Cycle Analysis is as meaningful an area for technical people to
have some grounding in as hazards analysis and review

LCA is life cycle assessment, also known as ‘cradle-to-grave,’ analyzes
the human impacts of a product’s life from cradle to grave.  Wikipedia
describes Life Cycle Supply Chain, Life Cycle Inventory and Total
Life Cycle Impacts.

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Watch-outs. 50. Big data analytics continuum, Disruptive approaches to drug discovery, Time resolved Raman spectroscopy for combusion studies
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:43 pm

SOURCE  “Performed Predictive Analytics and
Analytic queries on big data
,” Intel White Paper
Parviz Peiravi, Ajay Chandramouly, Chandhu
Yallaand Moty Fania.
Future Business conditions are predicted using
an analytics continuum model of increasing
complexity and resulting value.  This alone is
worth reading and learning how the data can be
Living by numbers alone reportedly does not work,
however.  F. Salmon, Wired, Jan. 2014, p. 27-33.
“Numbed by Numbers: Why quants don’t know

SOURCE  SLAS ELN, “Disuptive technologies poised
to transform drug discovery”.
Open sourced 3d printing to emulate vascular structures,
fluorescing cells with clear membranes reveal drug interactions,
miniaturized spectral and mass spectral instruments
and other “disruptive innovations” are highlighted in
ELN briefs showing remarkable applications of
technologies to lead to improved therapies.
January meeting live streamed content.

SOURCE  J, J. Kojima and M. Shah, “Time Resolved
Raman scattering Spectroscopy facilitates combustion
, Photonics Spectra Dec. 2013 p. 32-5.
Using a newly developed detector gating and wider dynamic
range subsystems flame instabilities can be captured
and studied in many propulsion applications.

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Year End Highlights
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:12 pm

Most of the readers or browsers of this blog are tuned to
careers in technical disciplines– chemistry, and its affiliated
sciences and engineering, physics, biology and physical
sciences and medically and material sciences.  Much of
the blog’s attention addresses
 - mainline job hunting skills and trends,
 - public relations documents (CV’s, resumes,
cover letters, research summaries, research proposals,
list of publications, list of references and the like)
 - interviewing and its continuum before, during and after
formal interviews,
 - decision processes and thinking.

This year in addition to these topics we have ventured
into a series of wise skills, which differentiates highly
qualified candidates from those who eventually receive
job offers.
  intentional attention
  NOW to overcome procrastination
  audience analysis, key to delivering an impactful presentation
  mentors and board members for start-ups.
  committed networking

We continued to delve deeply into the nuances of INTERVIEWS
since after all this is usually where our performance bears
on the hiring decision.  As situations arose during the year
on various parts of the interviewing continuum and its zeroth
, the personal self assessment, topics included were:
  mock interviews
  interviewing “red flags
  business interview apparel
  screening interview questions
  academic interviews
Several career and job trends were highlighted, including:
  interdisciplinary areas
  marketing strategies
  job growth areas
  Job descriptions
  Internet presence
  job search approaches

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Thank you for reading and the many holiday greetings.
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 2:58 pm

We cannot see each other, nor hear each other.

Deep down inside me I feel humble gratitude to NESACS
and ACS for letting me have this piece of cyber space
to share with any readers who may find it of value.

It is an honor and privilege to serve you and I hope
I can continue to share stories, things people have
taught me and broadcast insights that may be helpful
for you in making decisions, determine what you might
want to do in your career, and make our society and the
profession it represents a cornerstone of a sustainable,
better lifespan for all.

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Wise Skill. Intentional Attention
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:05 pm

Do you look into TED Talks every once in a while like
I do?  I find many engaging and helpful.  One by Peter
caught my attention recently that seemed
related to a recent book, article and podcast of  Daniel
.   It wasn’t until I listened to Randi
podcast that they all made sense to me.
…retroactive sensemaking… an Aha moment.

Intentional Attention is an important skill to master.

Randi (of Facebook fame) made the case best for me. 
There are two ends of the spectrum.  Those whose lifestyles
are strongly disrupted and interrupted by modern social media.
The second end are people who are resistant to change
and will not adapt. 

Both ends lose out.  This is where Doolittle and Goleman
come in.

Goleman makes a strong case for needing to manage
the modern 24-7 hyper media and diagnoses where over
use leads to loss of “cognitive control” and an “empathy
gap”.  He also poses that too much addiction leads individuals
to laser focus into the present and narrow, losing sight of
others and of the wider world. 

Doolittle and Goleman both offer intentional attention
management skills
building up the “attention focus muscle”
identifying tools, systems and practices that can be used
and offering that we need to proactively employ the modern
social media with:
  -Mindful moments  [meditate to sharpen our focus]
  -Wise waiting [restrict and plan your digital and fun times]
  -Unit tasking [small wins each day with and away from media]
  -Digital awareness [personal mindfulness of best practices
  where media enriches, solves problems, enhances creativity]
  -Mindful transitions [permit ‘open awareness’ to unconsciously
  solve problems]
  -Scheduled digital “detox”  [creative cocoon]  and
  -Focusing signals to task at hand.

Learn that our short term memory has a limited capacity.
Assess information systematically by asking questions and
seeing where it fits
.  Determine if it is knowledge that it is
elaborative or illustrative
.  Have a “capture mechanism” allowing
you to come back and reconsider.  Fit it into a structure
where you can share with others with meaning and example.

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Strategies for your Job Search. Marketing concepts.
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:24 am

We need to be proactive, persistent and assertive in our
professional careers
to respond to changes in our
situations often outside of our control or influence.

It seems that few jobs are secure.  Thus, we need to set goals,
objectively evaluate whether we are meeting them and assess
if changes are needed to either our goals or our paths to
reaching them.

In preparing for some presentations, I have been looking for
more material from the business world to apply some of the
terms we see, such as branding, target audiences, positioning
and push-pull
marketing.  For those looking to go into the
business side or entrepreneurial direction would be served to
have some grounding in these concepts.

It seems true, also, that technical careers, with lay-offs
(who would have predicted Kodak, Lyondell, GM, and Polaroid,
to name a few) changing business conditions (who would have
predicted the bubbles and resulting depresssions of 2001-9)
and outside influences (who could have predicted the US
would be a net exporter of petroleum 10 years ago) are
subject to the same consequences.

Sebastiano Mereu created a simple and quick presentation
of some useful business terms
in the context of push and
pull marketing.  For applying these concepts consider
targeted, brief resumes with appropriate addenda (list of
papers, patents and presentations, list of projects, research
summary, for example) for “pushing” job searches.  Consider
creating keyword containing profiles, SEO optimized blog
or website (also Linkedin Premium service) profile, and
volunteer to offer presentations and your services to
represent your skills and expertise.  Then, reviewers, placement
services and jobs are “pulled” to your profile and you.

Barb Poole writes a strong article pointing out how it
is likely wise to apply both push and pull marketing to our
Job search strategy to be effective.  Her business terms
do fit strategies to consider for the evolving technical
R&D, manufacturing, and high tech environments.

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Job offer situations. Reasons why you might not accept an offer
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 4:11 pm

There are many people with strong technical skills
and backgrounds competing for positions today.  After
you work hard to research and find a position, apply
by writing all your public relations documents,
interview in several scenarios, and then wait for
an offer.

When the offer comes, must you accept it? 

If you have competing offers, how do you choose
the best one to select?  The one with higher salary?
What other possible factors could be considered to reject
a single offer or deselect a second place offer.  This
post discusses some factors to consider.

- exposure to toxic chemicals, heat, cold, asbestos,
heavy metals, radiation, etc
- lack of personal protective equipment or procedures
to monitor health and exposures.

- facilities with out of date inspections or equipment
to safeguard employees
- operations that expose you to back or foot ailments,
for example.

- small firms, for example, with limited resources but
with ambitious plans
- what is the last person in the position now doing
- what are the job review parameters and expectations

- is it a poor match to your skills, experience and interests
[so that you are always a step behind, trying to catch up,
with limited or no help or mentor]
- will it allow you latitude to get inside and outside
exposure, networking opportunities, training and personal
- will you be asked to take a lower level assignment that
might affect your reputation
- what is the formal title; “junior” scientist or engineer
is it suitable to your experience and background?

-  is there a good record of management, management
training displaying organization and motivational skills
-  is there a level of ease to know goals and speak frankly
about the organization and its prospects
-  good, clear answers to your questions in reasonable
time;  you feel a priority
-  would your next position possibly be her position

-  do the written, spoken and acted upon values match
your personal values
-  is the pace of business and teamwork style suitable
-  ask how things get done:  could be hierarchical, could be
informal with limited or no written rules; 
-  ask to see an employee handbook;  are you comfortable

-  is it heavy handed where everyone speaks the same
-  is there good communication with access to new or
different ideas and approaches
-  are different populations represented in management
and in departments
-  is there an authentic code of behavior and is it followed
-  did you see and feel it on your interview

-  how long has your supervisor been in her position
-  what was the supervisor’s career path
-  where have previous job holders gone next
-  will the position allow you to build and grow skills
and gain valuable experience

-  some leaders believe industry knowledge trumps
functional expertise, thus you start at a lower level
-  is it a “detour” or “fill-in” position

-  in informal conversations and discussions with your
network do you find “negative impressions” from current
and former employees
-  any signs of lack of respect

-  do they meet your family’s near term and future needs
-  are you factoring in cost of living and commute distance
and time
-  confirm all the details of relocation assistance, starting
insurance dates, etc.
-  will you need short term housing and transportation

-  establish through questions how much personal time is
taken up by work related roles and responsibilities
-  is the cost of living and residence expectations reasonable
for you to have more than one hour commute in rush hour

-   are you too restricted on your options if you leave

These are some of the items to gain information on and speak
with career consultants or mentors about.

Wikihow provides some thoughts on how you might reject an offer.


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Mock Interviews. Preparation and Practice before formal interviews
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:34 pm

Interviewing is a performance.  It takes preparation,
self-assessment, research, planning, practice, feedback,
and review
.  Consider the performing arts or competitive
sports as an analogy.

It is also marketing of yourself.

It is helped by actively doing it and facing the nervousness
of being on the spot and not knowing exactly what will happen
and in what order.  Yet you want to make a positive experience
while making a strong case for your candidacy.

As such, it helps to actively learn interviewing skills by
observing others.  In so doing, you can place yourself in another’s
place and assess what you would do.  You could note positive
behaviors and places where things could be done better.  In this
process you can improve your interviewing skills and behaviors.

This week we performed a Mock Interviewing workshop in
which many attendees agreed they gained great benefit from the
big picture continuum and the very professional feedback each
mock interviewee was offered by Marisha Godek, the experienced
interview reviewer.

We chose to perform six different interview scenarios taken
from the Interviewing continuum.  Every single one had
excellent “teachable moments” that was followed by discussion
  clarifying what happened,
  shining light on nonverbal signals,
  pinpointing things to avoid,
  offering situations where improvisation was required,
  positive small talk leading to either agenda
setting or elevator speeches, and
  offering how to face challenges in problem solving and case study

As a NACE survey reveals your technical skills, accomplishments,
abilities and acumen help you get the interview and provide ~30-40%
of the input for a hiring decision.  The remaining factors influencing the
decision include social acumen, self understanding, behavior and
interpersonal skills, working with data, computers, teams and
setting goals.

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