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

October 2019
« Sep    
First year on the job. Attractive Position opens up
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 6:33 pm

Professional life brings about difficult decisions.
A recent email came from a bright young analytical
chemist who requested me to contact an individual
through LinkedIn and introduce him to this hiring

Long story, short:  I don’t personally know the
hiring manager.  The person is one step removed
from me, so I went to a direct link to ask their
relationship.  The outcome is that I did not follow
the request since the downsides were too obvious
and outweighed the short term personal gains.

This is a long entry highlighting segments of several
interesting emails

Hi V,                     DAN TO V
Let’s see.  You have been at your company for
about a year, is that right?  You indicated that
you like working in industry.  Your note in August
indicates your desire to get ahead.  No Problem
with that.  Your message asked for an LinkedIn
invitation to c[name left out].

So, V, can I ask what motivates this
We, in industry, understand that it takes
about a year for a new employee to get
grounded with the company, co-workers,
customers and products.  It takes the next
year to pick up roles and begin making
positive contributions to a company.
Many employees excel at this point.

In fact, it is possible to increase salary by
hopping from one company to another
early in one’s career.  It catches up to
professionals who “job hop” from one
employer to another without major
accomplishments.  In technical fileds,
as opposed to MBAs working for
consulting firms, an accomplishment
track record developed with patents,
or publications, or improvements in
processes, products or innovations.

Now, if the desire to move is motivated
by drop in sales, closing down facilities,
or things like this, it may be appropriate.

It feels to me I should provide a
seasoned view of what can happen.
hope this makes sense. 

Hi Dan,                     V TO DAN

Thank you very much for your emails…

I am glad you asked me this [motivation]
question [listed above].  I will try to
answer it, and perhaps you can tell me if I
am thinking in the right direction…

First of all, I would like to tell you what
I am aiming for.  These are all ideas in
my mind.  I am not sure if they will
work.  But it will be a dream come
true if I can achieve these goals.  When
I was a Ph. D. student, my research work
involved the use of a lot of instrumentation
… During this process I decided that I
want to channelize my career more into
scientific instrumentation.  My goal is to
obtain expertise in one of more such
instruments and one day eventually
start a small business of my own with
new innovative ideas…

The reason why I am trying to get in
touch with C[name withheld] is a
job posting on the P[name withheld]
website which was related to analytical
instrumentation…  The current
company that I am working for …
gives me the chance to learn about
industrial … analytical R&D …
I feel everyone looks for better
opportunities and better pay.  In
my case I am also keeping an eye
on my goals that I want to achieve
and hence I am trying to move in
that direction.

… could you tell me whether my thought
process is correct?


Hi V,                                 DAN TO V
Interesting outlook!
As many highly intelligent and motivated
people, you have many good opportunities
open to your future.
What are your priorities, needs answering.

Let me take the liberty of switching roles–

I am you, for a “Schroedinger moment”…
Hmm, I have an advanced degree in
chemistry and have landed a position in
a small pharma firm…  What do I need
to do that will satisfy me, energize me
and set a good foundation for me and
give me more tools to grow?

In my job search, I (NOT REALLY ME,
BUT YOU!) have found that I am limited
by citizenship.

#1:  I need to earn and legally obtain the
privilege to work in the US full time.  Get
that green card.

#2:  I need to earnestly build trust with
my co-workers and superiors that there
is great communication allowing the
real problems to be surfaced and solved.
Make your boss look good.

#3:  I need to be part of the solutions
to the problems.  What is prized most
at your company… process improvements,
cost reductions, following FDA rules and
still remaining keenly efficient, be a
‘go to person’ for customers, a product
manager?  You will see this in who
receives promotions, salary and
recognition, challenging assignments. 
Find a way to make significant
accomplishments for the company
every day.  Focus and channel your
energy for success for the business.

#4:  Don’t lose sight of other areas of
interest.  Find ways of networking to
stay abreast of leading companies,
learning of new advances, and
bringing something back to your

The Schroedinger’s moment is over…

When I was at Polaroid, I read an ad about
the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry
at U. of Washington in Seattle (3000 miles
away!).  I thought this could be valuable in
the manufacturing plant that makes film.  So,
I contacted them and asked about their
programs.  With all their information, I
went to my senior manager and proposed
we explore this and find technologies in sensors,
statistical tools, and flow injection analysis
for at-line or in-line process analysis.  He
liked the idea and sold it to his boss’s boss.
A week later I was in Seattle.  A quarter
later I was there again as an industrial rep
on their affiliate’s board.  The next year, I
was asked to write a review article in
Analytical Chemistry and a chapter in a book.
Several years later, I led a team that developed
NIR methods for the lab, all based on reading
the CPAC ad and acting on it.

Several times in my career this kind of
proactive, creative thinking, combined with
good communications and trusting relation-
ships with bosses led to positive results.

Earning a salary provides for you and your family.
The proverb is (I I don’t know if I should blurt this
our.) you can’t buy happiness.  Curing a disease
can make you happy.  Helping people learn things
and get satisfying careers can make one happy.
There are many ways you can develop your
innovative skills that can make you happy.

Consider developing a supporting, helpful and
fun network.  YCC at ACS should be part of this.
Learn leadership skills, entrepreneurial skills…

V, I believe it is, unless your company is having
a hard time now, too early to look to move on.
Set personal goals and achieve them.  You will
be viewed for your next job on how fast you
come up to speed, how much of a difference you
make and how your co-workers like working with

I hope this truly helps you.

Hello Dan,                             V TO  DAN

 Thank you for such a wonderful email and
also for the patience to go through my really
long email :-)  I always take your advice
seriously.  The points that you have mentioned
surely make a lot of sense.  As I mentioned in
my email, I was not sure what step I should
be taking next and when.   After reading your
reply I feel that I should first establish my career
and then look for better opportunities in the
future.  I think for now I should stay and thing
how the company will progress by contributing
new ideas and by networking with people.

Thanks again Dan.
And please stay in touch.


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