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

July 2014
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Savvy Legal Advice. Affidavits, Recordings, and Legal Perspectives
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 10:44 am

Several entries of this blog link to Alan Sklover’s blog,
“Sklover’s Working Wisdom”  for it contains both ’state
of the art’ information and suggestions, as well as a
professional legal resources for more personal issues.
Legal and ethical topics previously identified include:
  Important considerations in offer letter
  Checklist when starting a job
  “In the meantime” clause in Employment contracts
  Noncompete agreements and subpoenas
  Unemployment compensation considerations
Each of the above items are widely useful contributions.

More narrowly applicable items he has discussed are:

1.  After a complaint, your employer’s and your responsibilities
(Use of affidavit)
2.  Legal issues of recording conversations
3.  How to respond to question of managing people
4.  The phrasing and meaning of “term of appointment” in an
offer letter.

Keep Sklover on your radar screen in your “bookmarks.”

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Watch-Outs. 62. Security, Shortage of Skills/Positions, Trends in Technical Societies
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:30 pm

Over the last few years in graduate student self-assessments, one
of the leading values that they express is  for Security.  In a sense,
we can all relate to the desire for a secure future. 

Interestingly, very recently an accomplished scientist who was hired
by a drug discovery company CEO was publicly fired
(ie.  story in the WSJ) for not rapidly leading his team to develop
new profitable products
He had been there but 7 months
Security needs “a 21st century meaning in technical careers.”
It is the ability to look where fields and needs are moving and
proactively seek out skills preparing us to contribute and
have further development plans.

Desperation, exasperation, and despair appear in the eyes of many
STEM field graduates about what they will do for STEM JOBS.  It is
more about “minding the gap” between what is taught and practiced
in your education and training and what is needed in emerging and
growing fields. 
   Just as the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky
said ‘pay attention to where the puck is going to be, not where it
has been.‘ 

What societies do you belong to?  What local sections do you
actively participate in?  How do you decide?  What is offered and
WIIFM (what is in it for me)?  Just as the Internet has triggered
changes in marketing and sales of books, consumer items, and all manner
of knowledge sharing (MOOCS, weblogs, webinars) it is also changing
the playing field for technical societies. 

SOURCE:  Career Planning Career Mapping Tool MONSTER
Monster has put forward a forward seeking tool that might
be of value to your thinking process about managing your

However, leaving this on a computer or in a cloud file
while seeming to be current misses the urgency humans place
in face-to-face interactions. 

Plan to develop mentors, sponsors and referrals by working hard
to help others meet their goals.  Lou Adler offered salient advice
- get help in being a “perfect fit” for an opening.
- people who refer you for an opening, help themselves by helping
- know what recruiters seek when filling a position (they work for
the company), and give examples in your resume and relate stories
when you interview

is also about protecting your valuable information,
reputation and computer resources
.  In a podcast I recently listened
to I became convinced to explore ‘Krebs on Security.
- security tools
- patches

We need to “keep up with the times.”  If my university is not dedicated
to doing it, I need to find other avenues.  If my employer does not have
the funds or give me the time to do it, I have to find other avenues.
We must keep abreast of evolving needs of employers. 
EXAMPLE:  25 years ago only a few places sought HTML coders. 
Ten years later, your entry card was punched with HTML experience. 
HTML is less a key but a commodity today.  Jobs can be had with a
lower salary or for niche hiring (projects). 
Other experience with cloud computing and analytics seems a better path.

There is a “gap” between curves of skill level in what we learn and
what is needed in positions.  Peter Grey points out to independently
learn and gain experience in emerging technologies and critical ‘hard
skills’.  Gain experience and meet goals in new areas of challenge
instead of repeating previous career path efforts.  Learn from and keep
peers in your network.

Further reading from a recruiter about STEM jobs.

The debate goes on:  Is it worthwhile to belong to a technical
professional organization

The presence of the Internet and online Open Access Technical literature
might influence some segments of the professional population.
The need shifts depending upon the fields that you are involved,
your current and future needs, and your personal assessment and
how you would use the society for your advantage (WIIFM).

Some questions to help you decide about society membership:

Are you stuck where you are with little or no help out? (connections,
networking, sense for where field is moving and what is emerging,
access to leaders and hiring managers, finding solutions to problems,
finding resources and tools to solve problems)

Do you have mentors to ask about alternatives for decisions?

Do you feel that you are doing something that has already been solved
by someone else before?
  (Googling your question does not help!)

Are there situations that a group effort in advocating a cause would
be much more effective?

Some questions to help you decide about belonging to a large, broadly-
involved organization or a smaller, more cutting edge, faster moving

Do you want to be elected, volunteer for and serve in a leadership
?  (chances are better in smaller org.  or a local section)

How are you planning to continuously improve and update your
skills to be prepared for the future

How will safety and common good be served best?  Prevention
(like checklists) rather than band-aiding failing flow chart or procedures

BONUS:  It is noteworthy to point out an organization that is
reinventing itself as it sees the changing landscape in publishing.
The way they are doing it is an example to point out.

Watch-Outs. 61. Peer reviewed publications, Politics and Intuition
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:01 pm

One of the criteria for graduate degrees, promotions in academia,
and measures of scientific leadership is publication in peer
reviewed journals and chapters.  In the Internet-age this has
undergone several changes that are not readily apparent but
should be more broadly known. There are a few elements to
this including the “google effect” [the more times a fact
shows up in searches, the more popular.  See comment], 
“New York Times effect” [if it is in the NYTimes, it is true.],
and scientific findings are “truth.” Several evolutions in peer
reviewed publications are revealed.

Politics is something that all organizations are susceptible
of and many people feel crushed by not being able to come
across and compete on an even and fair playing field.  A couple of
links are offered to provide some background on causes and
what you might do.

Intuition is an unscientific ability that people with technical
training use but can be unconscious of its importance and
that your can train yourself to get better at.  A good read
link might show you where the ‘intuition gas pedal’ is.

The technical literature aims to publish factual detail,
results and conclusions.  A review of manuscripts by
peers knowledgeable in the field certify uniqueness, value
and worthiness.  A recent WSJ editorial excoriates science
for mistakes and errors that were reported and found.

The op ed, by a person who seeks to gain from the notoriety,
misses what science can teach us.  It, as a nice comment
to the online version reveals, teaches us the findings of
particular experiments.  Peer review allows others to consider
the results and compare it with their knowledge.  They may
even seek to repeat or discuss to clarify the results. 

There are other distortions to the classical concept of
peer reviewed publications especially in the Internet age with
online publications.  W. Arms brought many up in a Journal of

Electronic Publishing review.  There is no easy answer as
one of his main claims is publishing in a “top flight” publication
with enhanced editorial review.  “Cut and paste” journalism is
becoming acceptable.  Consider the Jonah Lehrer affair.

In 2012 the New Yorker hired Jonah Lehrer a science reporter
with best selling publications in neuroscience.  He was found to
“recycle” large amounts of his work and plagiarized other
in unacceptable ways.

This is an area all editors know well and have tools to manage.
Nonetheless, it is well to note science is done and reported
by humans.  Mishaps will pop up and it is responsible to be

SOURCE:  S. Shellenbarger, WSJ 7-9-14 p. D1
 ”Ever thought how did he get promoted
She reveals research on skills people use to gain attention,
influence, and advantage over others.  People displaying
these behaviors may not know, if done once.  If it is a
pattern of behaviors they will be detected and their careers
derailed since they are interested in short term benefits for
themselves .

Brian Tracy in “Create Your own Future” recommends:
  assume personal responsibility;  stop making excuses
  be compassionate;  avoid judging others
  express kindness in thought, word and deed
  build friendships, thinking of others
  be gentle to others

In the Accelerators Blog M. Webb talks about
partnering with people known for strong relationships
with others.  He also indicates the need to craft
agreements to meet each partner’s goals while
protecting and keeping confidential secrets.
The agreement needs to frame work, rewards and
commitments appropriately.

Avoid partners with “sharp elbows” and who
optimize for their individual gain.

BONUS:  Brian Tracy, “Create your own future:  How to
master 12 critical factors of unlimited success

John Wiley 2002.
There is much to like about this book.  I especially benefited
from his section on using your “superconscious mind” to
build capabilities to size up new situations and recognize
patterns to make decisions. –> tool kit for Intuition.

Branding and Career Management
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:46 pm

Most scientists and engineers are trained and the belief is
passed on to avoid snappy sound bites.  Most readers are
familiar with the “big bang theory”, not the sitcom, the
theory about the formation of the universe.  In fact, most people
in the western world would be tuned into this phrase and its
meaning.  Interestingly, though, it was first mentioned by
someone, Fred Hoyle, on BBC as a “poppycock idea”, for
he was a strong proponent of the competitor “steady state”
theory.  “Big bang” is a brand.

In our Career Management seminar Friday, Marisha Godek
spoke lucidly about how, in her company and industry, she
realizes the importance of developing a rapport with colleagues
and customers whose training and expertise are much different
than hers.  She also observed that being able to be a person
called on when there is a problem to solve or be invited to the
table when decisions are made calls on developing your personal
  It is sort of your colloquial “reputation”.

We see “branding” of science all over the place.  Scientific
publication is fabulously being rebranded in various contexts
by free access to publicly funded research results, to online
communities that discuss results and interpretations and implications,
and about evolving publication models.  In the last, note that
ACS now offers access to 25 articles without subscription, as
a temptation to inspire more journal subscriptions.
Stanford’s library did an excellent review of publication branding.

What Marisha was relating to is the importance, in corporate
and some institutional environments, of branding yourself.  This
is not a subject area that most scientists and engineers are familiar.
In her case, she seeks out mentors in her business realm, senior
director levels and multidisciplinary leadership backgrounds.

Quintessential Careers, Katherine Hansen, has a strong
commentary on how to brand resumes and profiles

Skills  +  Personality  +  Market need  =  Branding statement

and provides a list of brand representations for various industrial and
organization job seekers, for example

Able to deliver industrial engineering insights, gained through strong
record of accomplishments to your firm in manufacturing engineering.

Eager to strengthen the mission of patient focused pharmaceutical

Eager to contribute recent degree in Environmental Science and
strong applicable, hands-on testing and evaluation field experience

PRINCIPAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST, with a proven track record
in developing and bringing to market surgically relevant innovations.

Watch-Outs. 60. Trends in Linkedin Job Seeking, Setting Goals, Businesses and Investment
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:30 pm

We need to spread our information gathering “net” out wider
and deeper and even do some ‘Levy’ Flights [how animals of
prey search for food in a prey-starved environment] to find
information pertinent to your career.

Tom Friedman interviewed Jeff Weiner CEO of Linkedin
in our first link.  He talks about new tools linkedin is
developing for managing your career.  Also he points out
five attributes employers are looking for.

John Bogle, Rosebeth Moss Kantor and WSJ panel wrote
about important emerging trends in business, investment
and research on companies.  We need to note that when we
go to work for a company we are “investing in that firm and
industry/”  Thus, we should know quite a bit about it.

As a bonus, I share a recent book you might find useful for
setting goals, by Brian Tracy.

SOURCE:  D. Madey, Linkedin blog “Linkedin’s vision for
an Economic Graph”. 
I know you will find this interview of Jeff Weiner compelling
in that he talks about his vision where Linkedin is moving to
help you manage your career.  He also indicates five attributes
employers now seek in new hires:  business acumen, resiliency
in leadership (come back from defeats), get “stuff done”,
vision of where technology is moving and shifting, and good
fit with the business culture.

SOURCE:  WSJ 7-8-14, P. R8.  “Why  global companies will
behave more and more alike
“  R. Moss Kantor
Now more than 100 of the world’s largest 500 firms are
Chinese and the former US corporate models of governance
and proliferation are “shape-shifting” .  She talks about “triple
bottom lines” of financial statement, requirements for the
environment and social reporting as represented by responsible
citizenship, carbon emissions and sustainability.
SOURCE:  WSJ 7-8-14, P. R22.  “The Incredibly Shrinking
Financial System
“  John C. Bogle
Bogle suggests a bubble in the international financial system
and that the 300 largest institutional managers who own 2/3 of
US stocks and will seek to influence longer term investing.
His four points are worth detail study as they signal the direction
of changes.
SOURCE:  WSJ 7-7-14, P. R10.  “How should Potential
Investors Evaluate a Top-performing fund
What goes up, must eventually go down, in the market.
Things don’t last forever.  Avoid chasing short term
performance and seek the “back story” of what is going on
in individual companies and wider industries.

BONUS   Brian Tracy, Goals:  How to get everything you
– faster than you ever thought possible, BK, San Francisco
The book title is a promotional one, but what he has to say
is worth listening to and studying.  There are some recent
google SEO findings that point out the negatives for setting
goals.  Do not let that get in your way of giving serious thought
to Tracy’s ideas.

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Watch-Outs. 59. MOOCs, Email changes, Posture effects of computer technology, Experiments in cloud, Virtual Unreality
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:09 pm

As is often said, the only constant is that things will change.
Several links to nonlinear Internet trends are offered in
this post. 
Regarding Massive Open Online Courses–
who seems to benefit, what is happening in traditional
‘brick institutions’ and start up companies.
Regarding attempts to improve email efficiency,
Regarding the unintended effects on people’s posture
of our Internet based society.
Regarding where the cloud is moving next.

SOURCE:  The Economist, 6-28-14, P. 20, “The digital degree
MOOCs  is upsetting previous models of higher education of
lectures, cramming and examination.  As most technical areas
of study include texts, references, laboratories, computational
resources and sophisticated equipment, there is a gap.  This is
despite the improved access the Internet provides.

This article gives an intriguing status, offering
-  MOOCs are likely good for experienced, degreed professionals
who have goals and specific outcomes in mind
-  ‘digital courses are intertwined with existing curricula…
half …at MIT take a MOOC as part of their course.’
-  a second generation of MOOC, with a MOOC Masters in
computing parallel to an on-campus course at Georgia Tech.
-  some MOOC companies are ‘pivoting’ their models, Udacity
-  all is changing; it is far from the initial idea of John Newman’s

SOURCE:  R. Feintzeig, WSJ 6-18-14, p. B7. “A company without
Email?  Not so fast.

Email usage continues to explode.  It remains preferred and widely
used to collaborate.  Yet, it is inefficient.
This article alerts to innovations to substitute some elements of
email and their early results.

SOURCE:  J. Whalen, WSJ 6-24-14, P. D1.  “Slouch at your own

Our body positions and posture are affected by sitting in front
of computers and hunching with smartphones in our hands.
These activities experts attribute give rise to a chronic
condition called Kyphosis, affecting back tightness that
many feel and even suggested a depression of mental

It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it.

SOURCE:  E. M. Rusli, WSJ, 7-1-14, P. B4.  “Research
labs jump to cloud
There are some experiments that can be contracted,  dialed
into into robot routines and analyzed with appropriate
outputs.  This is an emerging trend, just as ’round the
clock’ experiments around the globe are used to accelerate
progress.  A couple of start up companies at various
incubators are developing routines and cataloging what
is working and their associated business models, in a
way like does for customer relations

A new book by Charles Seife hits hard at all the places
that should be scrutinized in our world of virtual people
and devices, including SEOs, photo hoaxes, dating
scams, fake news reports, discrediting personalities,
and many others.

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