JZ contacted me about preparing for an upcoming
interview and she is concerned about being an
international professional who has pursued her
dreams. She believes –”she does not have the
freedom to choose passion if they are not traditional
career paths. …I have H4 visa (spouse- H1B) and need
sponsorship to work. [Situations are such that I
want] to add income by looking at a job related to my
We corresponded refreshing what we had discussed
in person and in class five years ago as she was making
decisions for her family. The times have changed in
the immigration world since then and that may influence
employment decisions. These can be overcome by
thoughtful preparation, considerate follow through
and win-win comments during the interview..
- your Linkedin.com profile needs to show interest
and express background and experience in the chemical
- Arrange an information interview to re-familiarize
yourself with OSHA, MSDs, and HazWaste and good
laboratory practice with people in the field.
- Develop ~1 min. stories and jot down memory aids
for each bullet in your resume
- Study the company and area around the company.
Look at its website, goggle people, look at Linkedin
profiles for connections.
- Even if the interview is remote or virtual, dress as
if you were visiting the site. Plan to be prepared a
reasonable time in advance.
- Write down critical questions you wish to ask, Like:
What is a typical day like?
What are typical analyses and instrumentation used?
What is the safety record of the company?
Who will you be reporting to, who will you replace
and can you learn key information from them?
- Have pen, paper, your documents and a calendar and
- Salary expectation study for range
- Be prepared to offer names and addresses of
references. Contact references in advance asking
if they are available to go to bat for you.
- in the beginning introduce yourself and ask for
introductions of all participants, get correct spelling
and title and addresses (thank you notes)
- hold back from talking about or asking for salary
and visa status before a job offer.
- be ready to express your salary expectations based on
- Dress as if you are on site. Think about safety
shoes and apparel.
- Arrange for no interferences and test out tools
you will use, if remote.
- Near the end, consider offering a test run to work
for a day or week, per diem.
- Near the end, ask “what is the next step in the
- Be ready to follow up on each of their requests. It is
not unusual these days to be tested on pertinent skills
plan to show that you can do them well.
- Check with your references to confirm they have all
they need to work for you.
This note points out that when you end your academic career,
your continuous learning process really ‘begins.’ And guess
what, there are no texts for this learning and no absolute, correct
What we learn is that mentors can help you ask the best questions
and it seems each individual’s situation and priorities are different.
My colleague AJ asked:
“I also wanted to seek your opinion on employee stock options.
As a part of the offer, the company extended an option to
purchase 2500 shares of stock…the company is not public.
….attached is a document here for reference.
Before signing, I just thought of having a word with you.”
Each situation is different, but the specific wording and specific
details of the offer are very important.
My experience is that I trusted the public relations of a firm
I worked for and purchased many shares of stock with the
promise of growth and profits. In the end, I lost a great deal
of investment dollars that I could have avoided if I studied
the investor literature and consulted wise counselors.
AJ advised me that he is contributing 8% of his salary in the
company 401K and has some short term expenses. He will
check into the latest date when he must decide. My advice to
“I totally understand your quandary. I would have a similar problem
with this question, so I refer to Al Sklover Link is where I would start.
[He describes critical questions AJ should ask before signing any
Then, the next article is quite significant: in that it describes “traps” we
can find ourselves in when working at a start up.
This could be a sizable dollar commitment for you, AJ. Al is
very professional and knowledgeable. $100 spent on solid legal
advice can result in much more savings in a speculative situation.
Who can afford to purchase their own copy of their
favorite journal(s) these days? Prices are prohibitive,
even for libraries. So, societies and for-profit publishers
have taken advantage of electronic publishing.
Both non-profit and for-profit institutions generally
take advantage of a wide audience, leading authors
and mini-monopoly power.
part of our membership, but there are hundreds of
We can access ~42 articles/month from ACS journals for
$500, but who can afford this without research grants?
Then, there are so many more journals we want to read
and learn from.
This is what I support since so much research is
government or grant supported.
monetary rewards are offered in China for scientific
papers based on “importance” characteristics. He
touched on the understanding that most of us know
many articles are not considered ‘pioneering’ when
initially published. Years and sometimes, decades later
papers can become very useful.
The article on ‘pay for useful publication’ misses the
real world arrangement that many companies write
into their employment contracts awarding patent
bonuses for employees… Patents are available on-line
from the patent office.