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

April 2015
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Skills Not Taught. For Making Money, Legal Solicitations, New Science violating Old Rules
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

It is only human to think about what is near in our future
rather than what may happen farther in our future.  We
also dream about pleasures, rather the unanticipated
trials we may face.

James Altucher provided a recent note on skills
that will help make you money, but are not taught.

Al Sklover
explains agreements you may be asked
to sign that might restrict your future employment

Kathleen Haughney reviewed striking discoveries about
factoids, like californium studies, that will generate
revisions to the understanding of the order of the
periodic table.

All three of these might be important in the future and
are suggested items to file away when your need arises.

How to look at “failure” as a good thing?
How to offer things to others despite their immediate reactions
and without expecting anything in return?
How to think about your “Z plan” your long range outcome in a
perfect world?
How to better negotiate your future and conflicts you may face?
How to pursue things for the greater good:  sell ideas, accept
criticism, congratulate and thank others?

There are an amazing number of legal entanglements that
may happen when you sign an offer letter for your desired
position.  It is something that you need to know something
about, know what to look for and have resources to deal with.
Al Sklover produced a series of definite resources that should
be required reading before you enter into legally binding

Californium is a radioactive element whose chemical properties
were studied and reported recently.  Albrecht-Schmidt and his
team explored Cf chemistry using 5 milligrams of material.  The
Haughney article reveals how new findings can influence new
areas of research– some fundamental experimental, some applied,
some theoretical.

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Recommended Reading 4.
Filed under: Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am


We have found it useful to capture notes of books read on
communications, thinking, professional development, vulnerability
and Learning in files.  It is helpful for recall and for aiding forgetting
(I can forget facts, stories and ideas, since I know where I can find a
file on them.).

Above are links to the first three lists.

John Casey, Beyond the First Draft: The Art of Fiction, WW Norton
and Company, NY 2014

Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath, Little Brown and Company NY

Amanda Ripley, The Unthinkable– Who Survives When Disaster
Strikes and Why
, Crown Publishers, NY, 2008

Carmine Gallo, Talk Like TED:  9 Public speaking Secrets of the
World’s Top Minds
, St, Martins Press, NY 2014

Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,
Crown Publishing 2014

William Deresiewicz, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the
American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
, Free Press, 2014

Mark Forsyth, Etymologicon:  A Circular Stroll through the Hidden
connections of  the English Language
, Berkeley Books, 2011

Mark Goulston, Just Listen:  Discover the Secret to Getting Through
to Absolutely Anyone
, American Management Association, NY, 2010

Atul Gawande, Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters Most in
the End
, Metropolitan Books, NY, 2014

John Lanchester, How to Speak Money– What the money People Say–
and What it Really Means
, Norton & Company, NY, 2014

David Pogue, Pogue’s Basics:  Essential Tips and Shortcuts (that no
one bothers to tell you for simplifying the technology in your life)
Flatiron Books, 2014

Benedict Carey, How We learn:  the Surprising Truth about When
Where and Why it Happens
RandomHouse, NY 2014

Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself:  How to Lose
Your mind and Create a New One
, Hay House, Carlsbad, 2012

Brene Brown, Daring Greatly:  How the courage to Be Vulnerable
Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
, Gotham Books,

Liz Wiseman, Rookie Smarts:  Why Learning Beats Knowing in the
New Game of Work
, HarperCollins, 2014

Jim Davies, Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make us Laugh,
Movies Make us Cry and Religion Makes us Feel One with the
, PalGrave Macmillan, 2014

John Pollack, Shortcut:  How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark
Innovation, and Sell our Greatest Ideas
, Gotham, 2014

Brene Brown, I thought it was Just Me (But it isn’t), Gotham Books,
Penguin, NY 2007

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, Mark A. McDaniel, Make it Stick: 
The Science of Successful Learning
, Belknap Press of Harvard University,
Cambridge MA, London, 2014

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Transformative Planning. Looking for Disruptions Impacting your Industry, Business and Career Paths
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:33 am

A provocative concept introduced by Daniel Burrus
is transformative [rather than incremental] planning .

This concept results from a realization that there
are “wider” and broader forces influencing changes
beyond linearization of recent events.  Burrus calls
our attention to industries and organizations who remained
in their ’silos’ of view and perished or were left behind
due to total changes in context and culture.  (think:
iphones, ipads, and remote storage in place of cameras
and photos)

He teaches us anticipatory planning for what does not
even exist now.  He advocates a broader network of
information gathering and screening to be prepared
to explore in our information interviews and networking
interviews to be part of the future trend rather than trying
to catch up.  [ See blog.]

This motivates why this blog lists topics as Trends in
Technical Careers
, Watch-Outs, International Job
Applications, career paths you might not first consider,
and Interesting Links.

An example of a company seeking to adapt and adjust
is Bayer

A recent ad in Atlantic elaborates on AOT Analytics
of Things which is being incorporated into our daily
lives via predictive maintenance for safety, health
and efficiency and up-to-the-second awareness.

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Interesting Links. Knowledge Exchange
Filed under: Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:40 pm

I. Hot Questions. Share knowledge.
Geeky IT computer know-how Q&A

II. “Bold“  by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler describes
a continuation of a previous book about Abundance due to
technological innovation.  When a neatly defined problem
is identified, technology and technological innovation can
provide solutions.  This book does not touch on ‘unintended
consequences’ or some longer-term consequences while
trying to convince readers of future possibilities that
technology provides.

Entrepreneurs will find promise in the six Ds of exponentials:
digitalization, deception, disruption, dematerialization,
demonetization and democratization.

III.  Wharton Leadership Program
Nano tools dialog includes interesting discussions of:
Resilience, bouncing back from setbacks
Generating ideas with stakeholders

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Should I Send my Resume or Cover letter Inside an Email?
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:01 am

Received a Question:  “Met someone who asked me to send him my
resume so he could give it to people he knows… Should I include
a cover letter, or does the email serve that purpose?

As we all realize and career advisers have mentioned, so much more
is done through emails now.  However, it might not serve you to
send the resume or the cover letter within the email
So much communication is conducted on smartphones and
tablets resulting in loss of formatting and it is challenging to
read page long documents on smaller devices.

Please consider sending a shorter email and add one attachment
that contains your cover letter, resume, list of references, list of
papers, presentations and patents and other public relations

This brings up the topic of email etiquette for professionals.
Cheryl Tan wrote a piece in WSJ “Mind your Email Manners
which elaborates on a few items.  Here we would like to have
you think about creating professional email “habit stack.
Tan recommends to compose ‘formal’ emails by starting with a
salutation, an up front greeting and a formal structure and
appropriate wording, punctuation and content. 

Before that consider the reader first and compose a clear subject
line that fits the content.  Often times, bullet points can make it
easier to read with phrases, rather than full sentences.  But avoid
emoticons and “text-speak”.

Email Habit Stack
1.  Know when to send an email.  Send when required and expected.
Sending email creates more email (and we all receive more than enough
as it is.)
1.a.  If a response is expected or required, indicate you will reply
within a certain period.  But let the sender know you have received it.
1.b.  If it is important, ask– is email the best medium?
1.c.  Avoid debating complex or sensitive matters via email.  Too much
communication is missed in textual formats.
1.d.  Let the addressee line guide you about replies.  If you are a
recipient, acknowledge receipt.  It could even be Thank you or Done.

2.  Don’t check email first think in the morning, or last thing at night.
Doing this can lead to burnout.  What you do first thing in the morning
can set up your whole day.

3.  Set an agenda for each day with limited email check times.

4.  Keep your subject line current over a long thread.  (Gmail does not
do this.  Makes it hard to distinguish.)

5.  Conclusions and bottom lines should be expressed first.  Emails are
read quickly.  Give additional context later.

6.  Express your thoughts and feelings politely and with an upbeat
manner as humor and sarcasm can easily be misinterpreted.

7.  Include attachments.  But be wary of trying to send too many.  Send
multiple messages and make it explicit about what you are doing.

8.  Review your document for spelling, composition, brevity, economy
of words and consider the “5 second rule.”  You should be able to find what
you seek on a screen in 5 seconds.

9.  Be formal when you are not familiar with the organization mores.
Ask, if you are not certain about acceptable practices.
There is no right or wrong language.  Context, convention and
circumstance are all!

-  if you can not say something face to face, don’t do it online
-  it is permanent and not private
-  be careful about reply all and bcc:
-  avoid all lower case and all capitals
-  shorter paragraphs (think about the receiver)
-  copyright and plagiarism issues apply

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Trends in Technical Careers. Where do you publish, How do you teach, Calibrating your contributions
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am

Metrics, biases, and how we learn better.

Based on the editorial in Interface by V. Ramani,
it was insightful to explore the value of publications,
rated by impact factors IF.  While not being a fan of this
metric since many articles can only be viewed by those
with access to subscriptions, it was clear that Julien
study of this paradigm measure is tilted by its
use of a poor central tendency
(mean with a heavily
skewed distribution) and using only recent publications
(and different journals survey different timeframes.).
[academic outcomes of funding hiring and tenure can
be influenced by such measures.]

When an author publishes, she might ask who does she
wish to share her new found results and discussion with
and how can he make it accessible to them.

A recent measure revealed in Interface is Altmetrics
which also looks at data and knowledge bases, article views
and downloads and views in other media.

NIH reviewed its decision outcomes for funding
grant proposals and shared it supported 18.8% of RO1
proposals.  Trying to be objective, it used an algorithm
developed by E. Day that identified a small but significant
.  The results indicate that nonpreferred applicants
need to submit higher quality proposals to get funded.

Fingers are not pointed at specific subsets however when
such a small deviation can lead to significant outcomes
it will be interesting to see where NIH will find ways to
improve this process in budget cutting times.

Controversies in teaching and learning strategies are
 not new.  Yet I liked trying Brown, Roediger and McDaniel’s
“Make it stick:  The Science of Successful Learning,

Bellknap, Cambridge 2014.” which emphasizes that active
engagement leads to deeper learning.
- active use in the learning phase:  simulations, problem
solving before specific training to solve
- spaced learning, requiring retrieval and relearning
- reflection on classes and practical exercises
- interrupting the forgetting process

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Watch-Outs. 81. Meetings, Long term corporate research, Big-Picture personal finances
Filed under: First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:53 pm

In this week’s class we will do a procedure I
learned from a “Free Exchange” commentary
in the Economist.  I will be seeking input from
everyone.  To keep the meeting timely and not
dominated by one or another, by having everyone
note one idea of their own first.  Then call on
less vocal members in the second round first.
Then reverse the order after letting groups
discuss and discover new items via their interaction.
The article and associated comments is “Meeting up”
and takes ideas from several disciplines and
points of view

A second link describes the current system
Google Labs uses to get results in shorter time with
less total investment.

A third link advises us how to avoid making serious
mistakes in our finances.

SOURCE:  ‘Free Exchange’ The Economist “Meeting
” 4-4-15, p.72
Many observations of the waste of time organizational
meetings can be be biased leading to bad outcomes and
wasted resources.  The article cites Gole and Quinn’s
work on votes by judges at debating tournaments to
assess processes that that would both be effective and
be harmful to achieving better outcomes.

SOURCE;  A. Barr, WSJ 4-1-15 “Google Labs puts a
Time Limit on Innovations
The article details some project management and
research trends and recent changes worth looking
at for how high tech forms are experiment to find
better ways to innovate as they become larger and

SOURCE:  J. Clements, WSJ 4-4-15, p. B8
Are you overlooking big threats to your finances

1. Misjudging risks;  consequences of early death
on your family;  Disabilities from unexpected
2. Concentrating investments and holdings
3. Avoiding worst case scenario assessment
and creating action plans

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International Job Applications
Filed under: Interviewing, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:14 pm

Class members in this year’s course were interested in documents
used and the interviewing process for European positions.

We had the benefit of a visiting scientist who reviews resumes and
interviews for an international firm headquartered in Germany.

He told us of quite a few differences as he compared European and
American processes.  The European CV contains a current photo,
marital status and birth date, children and hobbies.  Of course, formal
training, education and certifications are important.  Any gaps
and transitions in experience are seriously noted in the experience
section which is chronologically listed.  A helpful format is the
Europass outline.  Data needs to be exact stating months and

The interview process commonly involves a Skype screening
interview after receipt of a CV and cover letter.  The cover letter
is less focused on showing the specific match of musts and
wants for the position using specific keywords and describes
more your motivation.

It is not unusual for an off site, third party organization to
screen and verify everything on the resume and perform
detailed assessments of your psychological profile and
hard and soft skills. 
After completion of this is the onsite interview
which also takes a day. 

Similar questions asking you to describe your skills start their
process, however a short summary is not always enough.
They may “drill down” on specific areas and pursue your future
plans.  The interview process is different in that they really
want to know what makes you tick and what you do outside of

As in the US, networking and referrals are leading steps to
successfully land an interview and position.  Internships and
formal program relationships between companies and
specific universities are maintained and lead to job

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