I received a request from PP after he received a long
sought after job offer. He accepted the offer which he
pointed out included a $2000 relocation reimbursement.
“…Since this is my first industry based job, best
professional practices to follow as a new employee.
One item is the company has not followed up on its $2K
relocation allowance, which they offered during phone and
Other things not mentioned in the hard offer was processing
my O-1 work visa.
I am expected to relocate in early November. Please let me
know what you think about my relocation allowance?”
1. HOW TO ACCEPT AN OFFER
It is critical to understand your critical first step in accepting
a job offer. Besides signing the appropriate document, you
should devise an acceptance letter that re-affirms key elements
of the offer letter agreement and items that were discussed in
all the interviews and information exchanges. This should be
sent either at the same time as the acceptance documents or
Included in the letter is a request to know a direct contact person
to whom you can consult with issues, questions and concerns.
You should be able to contact them at any time and feel
You should ask for a company annual report and employee
Clearly, this acceptance letter would specifically address
relocation and working visa processing.
2. RELOCATION INFORMATION
should be confirmed orally and confirmed in writing:
- househunting, including transportation, hotel and meals
- costs of selling and purchasing, including closing costs,
commissions, legal and recordkeeping expenses
- Position searching help for spouse
- travel expenses and temporary housing for the move
- Temporary housing in cases where the home is not
- moving company expenses and logistics for packing
loading, unloading and unpacking, as well as insurances
Please realize that the details of the relocation policy
need to be confirmed and in writing. Also it is critical to
confirm the specifics of what forms, receipts and
timing of submission / reimbursement in advance.
I recommended that PP should not be hindered from
asking for information and suggestions at any time.
A more comprehensive relocation benefit discussion
Not to be lost in this discussion is the tax breaks you are
entitled to for job change as long as it involves a move
of employer greater than 600 miles. Please note that if
the job search occurs over a significant period of time
with various expenses they can all be claimed, but you
are responsible for keeping receipts (credit card
documents may be enough, if accompanied by expense
3. VISA DISCUSSIONS
You should not shy away from pursuing a firm understanding
of responsible people, timelines and your role in employment
papers. This has been a topic in this blog. We know the
visa situation has changed and will change again so it is
critical to be well informed and have a back up plan.
Visiting an experienced technical professional, I asked
how he would help people who are thinking of a consulting
career.. He gave me a text by William Cohen, “How to
Make it big as a Consultant.” Then we discussed some things.
The Cohen book was more than 30 years old and did not
include any Internet related nor association-network approaches.
In Cohen are listed direct methods for contacting customers–
1- direct mail
2- cold calls
3- direct response ads
4- directories and yellow pages
5- former employees and directors.
So he does not get into push pull marketing so much in the
Internet age. It all seems to be “push” marketing. It is
confirmed by the “indirect methods”…
a- speaking to groups
c- professional associations
d- articles and books
e- letters to editors
f- teach a course and lead a seminar
g- public releases and broadcast releases.
These are all still applicable, but likely not relevant!
Clearly having a proactive web page, linkedin page and
pull marketing strategy is not known in 1985 when the
It is not an easy task and one that evolves rapidly.
Now there is something in addition to learn from this
exercise….check the publication date of the book, and,
see if there is a more recent edition. There is in this
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.