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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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01/18/14
Local Section Meeting. Listening, Asking “good questions”, Committed Networking
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:06 pm

The turn out last Thursday at the Local Section meeting
was quite good as Katherine Lee moderated a ‘right on
target’ panel discussion entitled “Alternate Careers for
Chemists, or what I want to be when I grow up”.

It featured three chemistry trained people who have
transitioned into impactful careers:
Accounting:  Chris Montean, Ernst & Young

Venture Capital: Eddine Saiah, Atlas Venture

Intellectual Property Attorney: Heidi Erlacher, Mintz, Levin,
Etc.

Each one was progressing well in their careers and found
either
(1)they were “stuck in a rut” with limited futures or
(2)found their current roles doing more “paper pushing and
‘administrivia” and less science. learning and exploration or
(3)be limited to working at the bench where her legal intuition
and technical strengths could be leveraged for much more.

They all demonstrated curiosity and related stories of how
they found a path with an open mind, adapting (learning through
difficulties), and broadening their perspectives of what they were
good at and found they received satisfaction from.

ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS
Throughout the panel discussion, one or two questions that
clearly resonated with the audience

People noticed not only the responses but also who the
questioner was and how they articulated their query.  It is
situations like this that professionals notice who asks the
“aha” question making the session real value.  The timing,
the tenor and the tone
make a difference in a good question.

COMMITTED NETWORKING
I remarked to several people that I was interested in a couple
of companies that a colleague had interviewed for.  One
person, Maya, asked about this approach of me pursuing things
on another’s behalf.  This is one of the things good networks do. 
Committed networks are allies for you and do some of the
due diligence that you would want to do
.

LISTENING
While meeting a number of people I encountered colleagues
who I had not seen in some time and caught up with what they
were doing.  Several new people approached me and are now
part of my Linkedin Connections.  Several asked for advice
and ideas. 

OTHER AREAS JOB GROWTH
One questioner asked other areas where our technical skills
as scientists would be strengths.  So we met afterwards and
I shared some items that have been shared in the blog, including
  marketing
  intersection of fields
  defense related devices for security
  laboratory automation
  material science and engineering
  therapies for bugs that are pan resistant
  computational chemistry, property and toxicology predictions
etc.

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