This blog entry is aimed at exposing introspection. Asking what
are each of us are thinking and feeling. I asked several individuals
if they would be willing to respond to a series of questions.
1. Describe your title and most enjoyable responsibilities and
2. How did you land your current position?
3. What do you believe aided you in enhancing your candidacy?
4. What opportunities and challenges do you see to provide
growth for you?
5. What is your experience for the length of time for positions
before you see people moving on to another professional positions?
7. What are special ways in which you expand you network?
8. What comments do you wish to make for people who are
graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?
Positions: Applied Researcher, Rechargeable Batteries,
Solar Energy, Complex Fluids for technical applications
. Photographic Chemistry Process
Chemist, Process Safety, Scale-Up, Process Analysis
. University Adjunct and
Professional Behaviors, Workshop & Seminar Presenter
Personal Style and Responsibilities
My chemistry career span started out with JFK’s “Let’s go to the
moon” message and it was encouraged by summer laboratory research
jobs and honors research projects before grad school. Grad school
occurred during the Vietnam War escalation and Arab Oil Embargo gas
lines. My early career style revolved around ‘working harder than
expected,’ experiencing many different things, and being observant for
surprises and opportunities.
I took in that I had to aim very high and learn from rejection. Rejection
is not permanent. That “No:” can often mean ‘not now.’
In addition, I need to learn something more or do something special.
So, to an observer I was an assertive, analytical go-getter who worked
through all four undergraduate years on a straight and narrow path with
purposeful objectives that evolved over my career with changing
circumstances: family, economy, business prospects, health and longevity.
That personal strategy operated in a time when fellowships
and research was well supported. Economic cycles, competition from
emerging technologies and war time priorities change hiring and support.
Being ‘dropped’ by one firm opened my eyes to keeping options available
via professional society participation and developing other income streams
for unexpected events.
ADAPT IN MID CAREER
In my first 10 years I was an individual contributor. I soon learned that
I needed to develop leadership,
communication, and technical breadth for
problem solving skills that employers ‘hand select’ individuals for training.
societies and networking offered one alternate way of gaining skills.
[Began initiatives for the company related to manufacturing efficiency
at university collaborative. Developed and completed Six Sigma projects
as a black belt master.]
ASK FOR HELP AND HELP OTHERS
Many times companies do not reward employees for
professional and technical societies. Oh, they don’t [surprised?]?
It was interesting that by volunteering to
support as a member-volunteer,
I learned many insider skills, met hundreds of
informative and distinguished
professionals and grew as a professional
scientist. The more I gave, much
did I receive in benefits and experience.
The mid-career span was quite stressful with long, variable
unexpected problems with complex causes, business challenges—take-overs,
mergers, change of managers and business objectives, and bankruptcies.
[Be thankful, express appreciation and optimism.]
I started interviewing for ‘other positions’ about five years
school. Learned thant not having the experience
and training for managing
and leadership slotted me for only entry level roles. I perhaps stayed too long
for career advancement purposes at my applied research positions. That
my background and I did not ask for specific opportunities (Maybe I should
have.). Staying longer in organizations does provide pensions at the end of
my life span (not a lot, but of some value. Bankrupt company yield PPGC
insured retirement. Otherwise, I made some poor investment decisions and
some productive ones.).
Rather than exploring permanent positions, which many of my
contemporaries chose and were successful choosing, I pursued professional
society support, participation and leadership roles in mid-career. In one
situation, I wished to attend a conference 50 miles away
and was unable to
obtain management approval.
I volunteered to assist workshop AV and
projection in exchange for
registration. Soon I was offering
and offered registration, room and board compensation at meetings
the country, as long as I could get time off from work.
Another experience involved a dinner with department faculty where
explored offering a graduate level course.
This led to a decade of productive
activities near the end of my career. Dozens of former attendees, students
consultees have reached out for various support roles to advance their
There are few things in a technical career better than
achieving your goals. One of them is
having your goal helping others
maximize their skills. Another is realizing we are one of a small
of people with a common thread
holding us together. We do not know
what is in store for the future. We can
project and guess. There are
who have freely given of themselves to me that have
made all the difference. I want to do the same for those who follow
Second-guessing choices: No. I put 110% effort into each of my
commitments and try not to have regrets. I have a habit of creating
back-up plans in case we need to go in a different direction.
Suggestions: Volunteer for different roles and responsibilities,
especially in professional societies.
Study successful people and learn their habits. Read biographies.
Learn and adopt worthwhile habits. Continue to develop communication
skills. in various media.