The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
December 2016
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
12/27/16
Job Polarization, Black Elephant events and Cognification
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:34 pm

It is amazing to realize the rapid changes in career
management factors we face.  Psychology, economics and
computer-automation-robotics-artificial-intelligence-and
-inference are longer term factors for our careers.  

Let me list some specific examples:
.
ROUTINE TASK AUTOMATION 
Computer capital supported by financialization (where highly
leveraged loans to automate functions with software and 
robotics ) puts middle skilled workers in precarious straits.
[Read:  recent graduates with no experience or internships.]
.
Those who do non-routine work (low-paid, unskilled and
richly paid, highly skilled) are in demand.  We see this Job
Polarization in many situations with supporting elements 
being stagnating wages and reallocation of roles from 
specialization to variety of roles with less specialization.
.
Thanks to advances in deep learning and AI, computers can 
perform not only manual but also cognitive tasks better and
faster than humans.  This augers the result that highly trained
specialists are replaced by internet enhanced software, a
specific example is radiologists since much of their work
are “routine cognitive tasks.”
.
BLACK ELEPHANT SITUATIONS
In my day it was the Arab Oil Embargo that set us in a path
for alternate energy sources, energy independence and electric
vehicles.
.
Tom Friedman in his recent book Thanks for Being Late. wrote:
” A black elephant is a cross between a black swan, a low
probability, unanticipated event with enormous ramifications–
and the elephant in the room, a problem that is widely visible to 
everyone, yet no one wants to address, even though we
absolutely know that one day we will have vast, black-swan-like
consequences.”  Ocean acidification is an example.
.
Black elephant events can provide a once in a lifetime opportunity 
or the end of the line for industries (think chemical photography), 
companies, and directions in our careers.
.
 COGNIFYING AND CONTINUOUS LEARNING
Adding AI to various tasks enables us to do more at lower cost and
higher efficiency.   Add AI to laundry to tell washing machines to
adjust to the contents of each load as directed by the clothes (sensors).
.
AI added to chemistry can aid discoverability and optimization by 
performing virtual experiments to reduce the number of lab
experiments to reach a goal.  Think of the way Netflix and Kindle
come up with customer recommendations.
.
This is cognifying.  All cognition is specialized.  In this continuous
learning process we need to work with AI and robots and let
these tools take our routine tasks and help us dream up
new work that matters.  There are four classes of jobs:
.
1.  Jobs humans can do, but robots can do even better.
highway driving, tax preparation, routine x-ray analysis,
pre-trial evidence gathering, etc.
.
2.  Jobs humans cannot do, but robots can.
remote locations, hazardous environments, monitoring,
then signalling an alarm.  Jobs that would not be done without
robots and sensors.
.
3. Jobs we did not know we wanted done.  
.
4.  Jobs only humans can do– at first. 
creativity (on what we should do), new situations, one of a
kind roles.
Our human assignment should be to keep making jobs for
robots and software.
comments (0)
12/20/16
Undergraduate Resume Review
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:52 pm

HL and I had an interesting discussion about a job
application for a pharma position.  We arranged the
position via email where we asked and sent draft resume,
musts-and-wants and the job description.

It is important to realize that each cover letter, resume
and contact network association needs to be targeted
and properly researched and framed
.

What kind of position is being pursued?
What specific skills or experiences will be expected?
What are your specific skills/ experiences that may apply?
Who do you know who might help and provide a reference?

The position seeks BA/BS with some senior research
experience or an MS.  The skills sought are LC, MS and
working with bioassay prep and data analysis.

It is a stretch to have a senior undergraduate having
these, but our discussion proved that HL had good
experiences that could be of  interest.  HL had done
a semester of undergraduate monomer synthesis research
in junior year.  Quite interestingly, HL had completed a
semester research abroad where detailed discussion
revealed working with and troubleshooting LC-MS and
data integration systems for study of metal binding to
synnuclein.

It is now a challenge to create a document that points
out the specific instruments and work done both abroad
and as a junior.  What keywords were used in the job
description?
  Find a way to articulate HL’s work using
those or comparable terms.  Experienced reviewers will
 notice!
We talked about the big difference in working in a
research lab where things constantly go wrong or need
maintenance and calibration compared with doing an
analytical course lab experiment where everything is
pre-ordained and set up.

Then we spoke about another element– who were HL’s
references?  Has HL spoken to them about interest in
the position?  Can each one of three provide “good
references?  Does the reference know anyone at the
firm?  Can HL get to meet or speak with the possible
network referral to learn more about the position, hiring
manager, and company situation?

Does HL have a quality Linkedin page?  Let’s look.
What will be critical things to provide realizing the
first use might be for this LC-MS bioassay role?
What keywords, content and organization should the
Linkedin profile have?

What started out as a request for a resume review, morphed
into
 - job description study,
 - revising a draft resume highlighting key experiences
 - critically thinking through references and the roles they
assume (and, also including a reference list in the PR
submission
)
 - critically thinking that a professional presence is
expected (Linkedin profile and working on that)
 - outlining and drafting a cover letter for submission
 - seeking out people who could be referrals for the
position application; 
six other important steps.

comments (0)
12/15/16
End of the Year Career Management. 2016
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:52 pm

Three top line topics have appeared this year:
1) Evolving trends in technical careers
2) Professional Behaviors that can help you
3) High Need for New Division in ACS– Economics
and Chemistry [Not only short periodic webinars that
are at 30,000 foot level and CEPA] 

*Trends in Technical Careers   
   Protein Binding, Quaternary Structure, Thorium Reactors
   Drug Resistance, Crowdsource Funding, Teamwork in High Risk Goals
   New forms of Light, Epidemiology, Cell research  
   Photonics and Si-C chemistry
   Omics, Panomics
   Optics, Spectroscopy and Miniaturization

*Professional Behaviors
   -Learning to Say “No”
   -Listening Skills          Activities of a Listener
                                        Focus elements
   -Trust                           Highest form of Motivation
                                        Elements of Communication  
   -Ethics                          Legal elements
                                        In Decision-making

*Economics and Chemistry
    New Division Proposal
    Need for “Forecasting”
    Superstar Organizations
    Financialization

 

comments (0)
12/13/16
Preparing for Decision-Making. Ethics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:31 am

Reading a blog entry by B. Perlmutter, reminded me of
a section in the second class of our Professional Development
class.  What I like about it is that he  creates a nice context
and story about factors we need to consider in making
decisions. 

Our class offers fewer steps and a template to consider
classroom exercises that students might face now and
will possibly face in the future.
Template steps:
1  determine the facts
2  identify the stakeholders
3  identify the ethical choices
4  make a decision
5  double check the decision

Perlmutter frames his process and story in terms of situations
and risks to reputations in a golf tournament.  Early in his
ethical process, he points out recognizing ethical problems,
even before knowing the stakeholders, interests and
alternatives. 

At first, this order of process steps is not one better than
another but a different perspective about something
scientists and engineers are not often trained to think. 
Ethics can be ambiguous and relative.  In Perlmutter’s
perspective, ethics needs to be considered earlier.  I
think this can be good and a point of emphasis.

Not long ago, this blog offered a legal perspective of
ethical decision-making
.  It appears different than the
first two in that it asks questions about legality,
reputation and consistency with values.

We need to understand that different people will
make a case for processing their thinking.  Forni
I think states it best and has me thinking Perlmutter
says it best for me.  Forni  outlines the urgency to
develop and place good thinking habits as
a priority.  Good thinking makes having thought,
having thought leads to a wider range of viable
choices;  Good choices offer the chance for good
decisions that lead to a good life that lead to
happiness. [paraphrased].

Perlmutter’s process is documented in the
comment.

2 comments
12/06/16
Recommended Reading. 6.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:57 am

Previous years’ lists
  Recommended Reading. 5.
  Recommended Reading. 4.
  Recommended Reading. 3.
  Recommended Reading. 2. 
  Recommended Reading. 1.

.
This year I will attempt to link readers to discussions of some of the
books that follow in this blog.
1.  Ed Catamull, CREATIVITY INC. OVERCOMING THE UNSEEN
FORCES THAT STAND IN THE WAY OF TRUE INSPIRATION 
RandomHouse NY 2014
.
2.  Robert Gates, A PASSION FOR LEADERSHIP, AA Knopf, NY  2016
.
3.  Brene Brown, RISING STRONG Spiegel and Grau, NY, 2015
.
4.  David Livermore, THE CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE
DIFFERENCE: MASTER ONE SKILL YOU CAN’T DO
WITHOUT IN TODAY’S GLOBAL ECONOMY, American
Management Association, NY 2011
.
5.  Elizbeth Charnock, E-HABITS THAT YOU MUST DO TO
OPTIMIZE YOUR PERSONAL DIGITAL PRESENCE
, McGraw Hill
NY 2010
.
6.  Alan M. Webber, RULES OF THUMB:  52 TRUTHS FOR
WINNING AT BUSINESS WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF
,
Harper Business, NY, 2009
.  
7.   DanAriely PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL, , Harper Collings
Publisher, 2008 Revised and Expanded Edition:  The Hidden Forces
that Shape our Decisions  
.
8.  Charles Duhigg SMARTER FASTER BETTER: THE SECRETS OF BEING
PRODUCTIVE IN LIFE AND BUSINESS, RANDOM HOUSE, NY, 2016
.
9.  Daniel J Levitin THE ORGANIZED MIND THINKING
STRAIGHT IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION OVERLOAD,
Dutton, NY 2014
.
10. Tom Vanderbilt, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:  TASTE IN AN
AGE OF ENDLESS CHOICE
, Alfred Knopf, NY, 2016
.
11. Chris Voss NEVER SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE: 
NEGOTIATING AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT


HarperCollins 2016
.
12. Robert Colville, THE GREAT ACCELERATION:  HOW THE
WORLD IS GETTING FASTER, FASTER  Bloombury London NY 2016
.
13. Zackary Berger MAKING SENSE OF MEDICINE: 
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN DOCTOR GUIDELINES

AND PATIENT PREFERENCES,
Rowman & Littlefield Lanham  2016
.
14. Kevin Kelly NEW RULES FOR THE NEW ECONOMY
RADICAL STRATEGIES FOR A CONNECTED WORLD, 
Penguin Australia 1998
.
15. Kevin Kelly THE INEVITABLE:UNDERSTANDING THE 12
TECHNOLOGICAL FORCES THAT WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE
,
Viking NY 2016  2  
.
16. Joseph Ellis, THE QUARTET:  ORCHESTRATING THE
SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION 1783-1789, Knopf 2015
.
17. American Heritage, A SENSE OF HISTORY FROM THE
BEST WRITING FROM THE PAGES OF AMERICAN HERITAGE,
Houghton Mifflin,, Boston, 1985  
.
18. Rana Foroohar MAKERS AND TAKERS THE RISE OF
FINANCE AND THE FALL OF AMERICAN BUSINESS,
 
Crown Business NY 2016
.
19. Thomas L. Friedman, THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE,
Farrar, Stevens and Giroux, NY 2016

comments (0)
12/01/16
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise. 3. Financialization
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:28 am

Reading a powerful work by Rana Foroohar, “Makers and
Takers
,” that explains the strong undercurrent that drives
the visible trends we see in offshoring, in automation, in
uneven distribution of profits and benefits.  It is what she
calls FINANCALIZATION.

ECONOMICS BACKGROUND
The first entry into Economics highlighted the need for the
ACS to engage “Economics practices,” like true forecasting
and principles that members can truly benefit from.  Older
practices of “reporting old news” is insufficient for a true
professional society
The second Economics posting pointed out observations of
limited startups and further concentration bigger firms
driving short term profits, bonuses for C-suite, and shareholder
dividends/ share-price.
.
WHAT IT IS ABOUT
This posting on Makers and Takers who are
  M: people, companies and ideas that create real economic
viability
  T:  users of the evolving dysfunctional market based systems
that aim to enrich themselves without resulting consequences

The Takers  implement “FINANCIALIZATION” that push 
outsourcing, not thinking about challenges to supply chain, 
and promote flash trading and computer-generated algorithms
used in complex securities resulting in market crashes.

Another longer term result is that the labor practices of Wall Street
are being imposed on the nature of employment and kinds
of workers used everywhere.  ”Wall Street values not worker
stability but constant market simultaneity.  If mortgages are
not the best thing, let’s get rid of the mortgage desk and we will 
hire them back in a year.  They are ‘liquid people.’”

Besides decreases in lending (to support start ups and new ideas),
and increases in trading and debt securities (rising debt and
credit levels stoke financial instability;  debt fueled finance
has become the saccharine substitute for growth),  we observe
the mounting monopoly power of large financial institutions
that dominate allocation and are causing even the most successful
ventures to take on debt, reduce regulation and influence legal
code changes.

This is a readable book that illuminates much of what we are
experiencing and ACS members need to know about.

comments (0)