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

February 2016
« Jan   Mar »
Watch-Outs. 94. Personal Presence, Job Search Tips, Academic SEO
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:06 am
Our world is emerging, evolving yet some things remain
as good habits in our job search.  This entry shares 
sites describing impressions and trends in how we appear
and what we wear is received by recruiters and interviewers.
We also uncovered an entry while targeted at academic
career track takes its key concepts from business development
and branding.
The third entry is a frank advertisement about the things
people with advanced technical degrees should be doing to
find opportunities and openings.  So often they display the
“prisoners’ dilemma” working for a faculty member exclusively
depending upon him or her to figure out what career path they
should choose and when and how to pursue that path.  It does
not work that way, as it is really your prime responsibility.  No
one tells you that.            
SOURCE:  WSJ 2-21-16 “Why Dressing for Success Leads to
There is an unconscious, nonverbal communication that
people offer in the clothing we wear for different circumstances.
You need to be aware of this as you enter the job market and
continue throughout your career.  Many of the comments
reinforce the importance of quality clothing and good grooming.


SOURCE  The Academic Triangle Blog
This article offers using marketing principles to increase your
search rank on Internet search engines.
-  Google scholar profile
-  Google +, Researchgate  ,
-  use of keywords in titles and abstracts
-  author a thoughtful blog
-  affiliate with panels, group discussions, and committed networks


SOURCE:  Cheeky Scientist
You must get out of the laboratory to find your next position,
as foreign as that world and experience may seem to you.
This cheeky scientist entry frankly spells out the realities for you
in the highly competitive, different “human” world of impressions,
relationships, and being in the right place at the right time. 

Most jobs are not advertised and many emails and uploaded
documents are not read or at least responded to. Committed
networks and referrals are key.  Take all opportunities to
differentiate yourself.
comments (0)
Professional Behavior. What you want to achieve–Write it out!
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 2:20 pm

It has been my experience that many people can achieve
what they think is important if they “put their mind to it.”

What does putting your mind to it entail?  I believe Henriette
has nailed it down in “Write it down–Can make it

Earlier entries have discussed various methods by which
we can overcome uncertainty in our lives, whether you
feel confused, or anxious, or stuck or making false
starts.  Often this can be due to being anxious, confused
or frustrated– brainstorming, prioritizing and setting
clear objectives will help. 

Once you write your clear objectives down, your mind
activates subconscious elements as it motivates your mind
to create and develop a clearer view of what is needed.

comments (0)
Watch-Outs. 93. ChemBark Employment, “Green science Site”, Open source publishing
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:15 am

It is true, this blog is a supporter of open source publications.
With the internet, with the incredible expense of hard copy
publication (Chemistry texts at >$150), with restrictions
in information….  While exploring the topic in ACS, ChemBark
blog appeared.

The impetus for sustainable chemistry, processes and
products continues.  This blog seeks to continue to support
its innovation, know-how and application.  My green lab
is shared in this entry.

Back to open source publishing, a dimension in textbook
publishing has emerged and has hopes will take off
as it addresses the cost and obsolescence issues.

Source:  ChemBark (Academic) Employment
This blog category lists some unique and valuable information
for people in the academic career path.  It is very readable
and contains tidbits from a career insider that are
thoughtful (UCLA, Haran) and helpful (StLUniversity,
for example).

This web site offers all aspects of sustainable design,
development and training, especially on institutions.
While a company, Lumencor, sponsors this as it is
in the business of environmentally friendly light sources,
it shows a new trend in outreach marketing.

I point to the Chemical Substitutions page as relevant
for this audience and two significant pages for Sustainable
Chemical Assessment
and MIT Green Chemical

Source:  M. Melia, SFGATE, 2-11-16, “Open-
source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

Article describes the texts as an aggregation of public
domain and Creative Commons sources.  The approach
takes advantage of funding sources requiring grant
recipients making their work available to wider
audiences.   There are certain pros and cons for
faculty, but the advantages for the students might
pave the way to broad adoption at least as an alternative.

comments (0)
Professional Behavior. Time management
Filed under: Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 1:15 pm

A colleague visited me asking for my thoughts on helping
her overcome a time management situation she faces.
Each day she comes into her laboratory in late morning
after sleeping late and having a little breakfast.  Her day
then involves responding to events, problems and questions from
others.  She finds herself staying late to complete work
she had started or was involved with in other people’s
projects.  Little of the work she wants to do moves forward.

What can she do?

It seems her direction lacked focus, not having determined
and communicated personal goals and objectives.  Once
these are done a gap analysis and timeline can be created.

She indicated she wanted to graduate in December, 2016
and we spoke about a fast track route by outlining and doing
literature research for a review article that she could write
about her methods and instrumentation.

Then, we spoke about setting daily and weekly agendas and
communicating with customers, collaborators and co-workers
a more disciplined approach.  In addition, she needed to identify
an accountability partner, someone who is interested, honest,
can remain confidential, and displays the behaviors of openness,
fast-response and care.

Other steps, captured by H. Bruch and S. Ghoshal in “Bias for
action,” includes:
1   Ask for feedback on plan and possible roadblocks
 2  Overcome negativity and build up excitement
 3  Visualize intention and make a personal commitment
Overcome ‘traps of inaction’
  1  develop an agenda\ reduce priorities, organize demands
   2  identify constraints and map trade-offs
   3  expand choices
   4  selectively break rules

comments (0)
Professional Behaviors. Teamwork is not Collaboration.
Filed under: First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:00 am

Read an interesting article summarizing arguments that
“collaboration has gone too far.”  It appears in the Economist
and reflects trends occurring with open office plans
and 24/7 electronic communication.  It may spill over
to technical professionals and managers.

Several authors (Newport, Cross, Gray) suggest that
collaboration can be overdone, as it disrupts routines
and distracts from prioritized tasks and responsibilities.

What confused me was the common belief that working
in teams is critical for success in many areas– big
2forecasting and problem solving in areas
facing first time problems.  Isn’t there collaboration in
teamwork?  Collaboration can bring people together
for some shared objectives, while each has some competing
objectives.  Thus, the differences between teamwork
and collaboration appear in not having an arbitrator for
conflicts and many times do not have contractual arrangements.

Business Insider summary of HBR points out in an earlier
article the definition of terms.  Move to a collaborative
in cases when a company objective is important
enough to engage in collaboration, but does not require a
dedicated team.

Success, the earlier article subscribes, involves:
  commitment to work together, emotional engagement
  recognition of competence, respect of knowledge and experience
  cost/benefit decisions can be influenced and supported or
Yet collaboration is not a formal arrangement, not a team
with a leader or a contract-bound relationship.  It requires
a shorter term outcome and a timeline.

comments (0)
Trends in Technical Careers. Resistance to therapies, Crowdfunding research, Teams and innovation
Filed under: Networking, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:42 pm

Amazing new insights about working in the world of science and
technology poured out of a meeting last week while I was working
on other things.

They are so thoughtful and inspiring it is worth sharing them
and making the case that smaller (boutique) societies have
incredible value
.  What they aim to do is look for the unmet
needs of the larger, very topic oriented (silos of sub-disciplines).
They seek out the intersections of fields and the forefronts of
often outside of the realm of the larger industrial

On reflection, three outstanding findings are shared in this
contribution about SlAS2016:  insights into resistance to
drug therapies of diseases
(cancers and ’superbugs’), crowdfunding
research, and tackling high risk, never performed team projects
with unknown outcomes.

Drug Resistance
Shana Kelley of UToronto reported chip based microfluidic
devices using electrochemical assays
to identify the bacteria
to know the proper therapies to apply.  Each year it is
estimated that 2 million  US cases of antibiotic resistant
infections, which can be caused by over use of prescription
drugs or employing the wrong agent for the infection.

An assay of redox active molecules that measures the levels
of metabolically active bacteria it the telling step in the device.
Anecdotally, having a tool like this available 90 years ago might
have saved Calvin Coolidge’s younger son.

Michael Gottesmann of NCI spoke about drug resistance found
during cancer treatment that involve at least four different
mechanisms:  target mutation, genetic mutation, cell type
changes and alterations of physiology (of blood or organs).
Cell models do not model in vivo gene expression.  calls for
coordinated treatment regimens of multiple mechanisms.

K Tom Pickard presented the case for a different research
sponsorship model that uses — “be viable or vanish”.   He cited
how this is becoming a viable approach to deal with shortfalls
in resources and seek out other sources that can have a
purposeful, entrepreneurial or doing the right thing motivation.

His primary focus is autism and he reported on use of
twitter, social media and kickstarter/ .

Teamwork to achieve high risk goals
Adam Steitzner amazed the audience with the story of landing the
Mars Rover on the surface of Gale Crater  to answer the question
of whether there was/is life on Mars… 100 million miles away.
-   Separate people from ideas
-   Lunch with Enrico
       Get to know and like all the people you work with
-   Plan to change plans
-   Many times the answers we seek are in the questions
        Challenge all assumptions

comments (0)
Professional Behavior. Travel arrangements and problems
Filed under: Interviewing, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:21 pm

The snowstorm moved up the east coast of the US last week.
Travel was snarled on the ground and, air and train traffic was
halted.  Government offices were closed.

I had a planned trip on the west coast for a meeting first thing
Monday morning.  Originally, I arranged travel on Sunday in enough time. 
All things needed to change.
SWA does not charge a change fee if you have to make a change.

I rearranged to leave Saturday on the same carrier SWA and
planned to fly through Chicago, rather than Baltimore which seemed
likely to close due to the storm.  (It did.)

Then, I had to figure out where to stay for the one night early
arrival.  I searched for accommodations on several sites and found
they all were $170 and up, $250 in the convention vicinity.  I have
a rewards program with one of the vendors, so I went to the site.
$169, with a match a lower price offer on the webpage.  I searched
and found one at $129, PRINTED OUT THE PAGE and brought it
with me. 

(You usually have to have proof of a lower price to get approval
and have to show it at check-in.)

The flight was on time.  The hotel I chose was 1 mile from the airport
and had a free airport shuttle service.  So, I could be picked up from
the airport even at 11pm.  Service requests need to be made when
you book
, so I booked via their 800 number asking for a shuttle

At check in, I negotiated a $50 lower stay and asked for shuttle
service to my pre-arranged hotel for the meetings.

Then, catastrophe struck.  We had a death in the family requiring me
to leave the meeting early.  In the rush and over-burden of the
moment I misplaced my parking ticket at the final destination
Again, I called SWA and asked for help to change flights asking
for an additional flight, a bereavement flight.  They provided
a nice service at quite a reduced cost over the advertised price
due to the problem– again without a change fee.

Step by step we proceeded through the lengthened trip.  Then,
I had to negotiate with the car parking garage.  You can usually
deal with an experienced attendant as long as you have your
itinerary, license and auto registration with you

When making travel plans, think about the possibility of
travel plan changes, book with an airlines, hotel and auto
rental firms that allow changes and provide the services you

Expect the unexpected and be prepared, having a copy of your
itinerary and registration with you (in the glove compartment).

comments (0)