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

April 2017
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Undergraduate Majors. How do you Decide to Major In Chemistry?
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:40 am

Isn’t it interesting:  Some sources try to make, or offer advice
on, your decision process for your major very simple as
1-2-3-4.  While you and I can not disagree with specific
steps in their “quick-fix, instant” proposal, we can ask
is that all there is?

The basic frailty of simple ideas is that the world is non-linear,
unpredictable and constantly changing and we need to be
constantly learning and adapting.
  The “roadmap” will not be
so simplistically non-changing, but there will be changing
endpoints and detours.

In a recent example, Nathan Gebhard nicely points out (a)
set your goals, (b) following your passion is less important
than developing keen interests and refreshing them, (c) have
reality checks, and (d) whatever you pursue, be good at it.
Sure, all make sense, but there are practical measures that
might help things along–
 1   pursue internships,                     
 2   develop mentors,
 3   don’t be afraid to fail as long as you learn from failing,
 4   get broad exposure to many things,
 5   develop an inquisitive curious mind, how to play on
a team and how to be likeable.

Adding these five practical measures does make it harder.
See Brian Tracy for nice descriptions.

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Tools to Gain more Security in our Career Paths
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

Nearly 80% of the members of our graduate course in
Professional Development rank security or certainty as
a leading desire.  Thus, a high percentage sense a higher
level of un-certainty.

I led a seminar recently on ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ where
the attendees were asked what were they uncertain about.
Was it how to make good decisions, or
What should be their next career step, or
Should they stop with a MS, or
How to do a good job search, or
How long should they expect to stay at a job, when should
they move, how do you look for a position while working,
What do you do if your boss disagrees with you or
does not like you, or…
You might get the point.  Then, I asked them to share
their uncertainty with others before asking them to
discuss what feelings do the uncertainty evoke?

Did they feel confused, or anxious, or frustrated, or
stuck (and not able to change or move), or making false
?  The top three feelings they expressed were:
anxious, confused and frustrated.

We talked that many of their situations were created by
the circumstances that they were in influenced by outside
forces.  They have relatively little control over these. 
What they each have control over is how they individually
respond to the feelings that the circumstances evoke.

Those who felt confused might lack VISION.  What are
their career objectives?
Have they done a S-W-O-T, strengths-weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis?
Do they participate in setting goals, performing a “gap
” and design a personal development plan?
Do they have a Z Plan, a personal desired outcome
when everything comes out “jelly-side up”?

Those who felt anxious might lack the NECESSARY
SKILLS.  Have they performed a personal self assessment?
Do they know soft and wise skills that they are expected
to display and will provide advantages?  Do they know
how to manage and build personal self esteem?
Ref. Brian Tracy

Those who felt frustrated might not have developed and
used available RESOURCES.  Have they mentors that
seem committed to them?  Are they aware of legal
counsel of Al Sklover for employment issues?  Are
they aware of the WRAP method (Widen options,
Reality check solutions, Attain distance/perspective
and Prepare to be wrong)

Working through these brought some clarity to dealing
with each person’s sense of uncertainty.

Thanks to Hari Narayanan for bringing the uncertainty
matrix to my attention.

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Recommended Reading for Career Management. Issue 3
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:16 pm

Delightful conversations led to people talking about books
that could be inspirational and helpful.  My first list and
second list links are enunciated.   Here is my third list
that I share.  Thanks, Lin.

Charles Wheelan, Naked Statistics:  Stripping the Dread
from the Data, Norton and Company, NY 2013

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt
Bloomsbury Press NY, 2010

Martin J Blaser, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse
of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues
, Henry Holt
and Company, NY, 2014  

Les McKeown, Predictable Success  Greenleaf Book Group,
Austin TX 2010

Brian Tracy, Goals: How to get everything you want:
faster than you ever thought possible. 
Publishers.  San Francisco, 2004

Brian Tracy Create your own Future:  How to master the 12
critical factors of unlimited success
John Wiley and Sons, 2002

Brooks Landon, Building Great Sentences:  Exploring the
Writers Craft
  the Great courses, 2008

Charles Seife Virtual Unreality  Viking NY 2014

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan,
Fukushima, a story of a nuclear disaster,  The new press,
NY 2014

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine
Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a time of brilliant
, W W Norton and company, NY 

James Pennebaker, The Secret Life of Pronouns: What our
words say about us,
  Bloomsbury Press NY, NY 2011

Clifford Pickover, Archimedes to Hawking:  Laws of Science
and the Great Minds behind them
  Oxford 2008

Charles Duhigg  The Power of Habit:  Why we do what
we do in life and business,  Random House  NY  2012

Eric Topol, The Creative Destruction of Medicine: 
How the digital revolution will create better
health care,
Basic Books,  2012

Samuel Arbesman, The Half Life of Facts: Why everything
we know has an expiration date
Current of the Penguin
Group, 2012

Norman Rosenthal  The Gift of Adversity The unexpected
Benefits of life’s difficulties, setbacks and

Jeremy Taucher   Penguin 2013 NY

Gary Klein, Intuition at Work: Why developing your
gut instincts will make you better at what you do,
Currency Doubleday  NY  2003

Viktor Mayer-Schoneberger and Kenneth Cukier  Big Data:
A Revolution that will Transform how we Work, Live
and Think, 
Eamon Dolan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston 2013

Chip Heath and Dan Heath  Decisive:  How to make Better
Choices in Life and Work

Vicky Olliver, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview
, Sourcebooks Naperville IL 2005

Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Will Not Get You
  Hyperion 2007

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The new digital age: Reshaping
the future of people, nations and business
.  Alfred A Knopf NY 2013

Douglas Rushkoff  Present Shock: When everything happens
Current Penguin Group  NY  2013

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Watch-Outs. 61. Peer reviewed publications, Politics and Intuition
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:01 pm

One of the criteria for graduate degrees, promotions in academia,
and measures of scientific leadership is publication in peer
reviewed journals and chapters.  In the Internet-age this has
undergone several changes that are not readily apparent but
should be more broadly known. There are a few elements to
this including the “google effect” [the more times a fact
shows up in searches, the more popular.  See comment], 
“New York Times effect” [if it is in the NYTimes, it is true.],
and scientific findings are “truth.” Several evolutions in peer
reviewed publications are revealed.

Politics is something that all organizations are susceptible
of and many people feel crushed by not being able to come
across and compete on an even and fair playing field.  A couple of
links are offered to provide some background on causes and
what you might do.

Intuition is an unscientific ability that people with technical
training use but can be unconscious of its importance and
that your can train yourself to get better at.  A good read
link might show you where the ‘intuition gas pedal’ is.

The technical literature aims to publish factual detail,
results and conclusions.  A review of manuscripts by
peers knowledgeable in the field certify uniqueness, value
and worthiness.  A recent WSJ editorial excoriates science
for mistakes and errors that were reported and found.

The op ed, by a person who seeks to gain from the notoriety,
misses what science can teach us.  It, as a nice comment
to the online version reveals, teaches us the findings of
particular experiments.  Peer review allows others to consider
the results and compare it with their knowledge.  They may
even seek to repeat or discuss to clarify the results. 

There are other distortions to the classical concept of
peer reviewed publications especially in the Internet age with
online publications.  W. Arms brought many up in a Journal of

Electronic Publishing review.  There is no easy answer as
one of his main claims is publishing in a “top flight” publication
with enhanced editorial review.  “Cut and paste” journalism is
becoming acceptable.  Consider the Jonah Lehrer affair.

In 2012 the New Yorker hired Jonah Lehrer a science reporter
with best selling publications in neuroscience.  He was found to
“recycle” large amounts of his work and plagiarized other
in unacceptable ways.

This is an area all editors know well and have tools to manage.
Nonetheless, it is well to note science is done and reported
by humans.  Mishaps will pop up and it is responsible to be

SOURCE:  S. Shellenbarger, WSJ 7-9-14 p. D1
 ”Ever thought how did he get promoted
She reveals research on skills people use to gain attention,
influence, and advantage over others.  People displaying
these behaviors may not know, if done once.  If it is a
pattern of behaviors they will be detected and their careers
derailed since they are interested in short term benefits for
themselves .

Brian Tracy in “Create Your own Future” recommends:
  assume personal responsibility;  stop making excuses
  be compassionate;  avoid judging others
  express kindness in thought, word and deed
  build friendships, thinking of others
  be gentle to others

In the Accelerators Blog M. Webb talks about
partnering with people known for strong relationships
with others.  He also indicates the need to craft
agreements to meet each partner’s goals while
protecting and keeping confidential secrets.
The agreement needs to frame work, rewards and
commitments appropriately.

Avoid partners with “sharp elbows” and who
optimize for their individual gain.

BONUS:  Brian Tracy, “Create your own future:  How to
master 12 critical factors of unlimited success

John Wiley 2002.
There is much to like about this book.  I especially benefited
from his section on using your “superconscious mind” to
build capabilities to size up new situations and recognize
patterns to make decisions. –> tool kit for Intuition.

Watch-Outs. 60. Trends in Linkedin Job Seeking, Setting Goals, Businesses and Investment
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:30 pm

We need to spread our information gathering “net” out wider
and deeper and even do some ‘Levy’ Flights [how animals of
prey search for food in a prey-starved environment] to find
information pertinent to your career.

Tom Friedman interviewed Jeff Weiner CEO of Linkedin
in our first link.  He talks about new tools linkedin is
developing for managing your career.  Also he points out
five attributes employers are looking for.

John Bogle, Rosebeth Moss Kantor and WSJ panel wrote
about important emerging trends in business, investment
and research on companies.  We need to note that when we
go to work for a company we are “investing in that firm and
industry/”  Thus, we should know quite a bit about it.

As a bonus, I share a recent book you might find useful for
setting goals, by Brian Tracy.

SOURCE:  D. Madey, Linkedin blog “Linkedin’s vision for
an Economic Graph”. 
I know you will find this interview of Jeff Weiner compelling
in that he talks about his vision where Linkedin is moving to
help you manage your career.  He also indicates five attributes
employers now seek in new hires:  business acumen, resiliency
in leadership (come back from defeats), get “stuff done”,
vision of where technology is moving and shifting, and good
fit with the business culture.

SOURCE:  WSJ 7-8-14, P. R8.  “Why  global companies will
behave more and more alike
“  R. Moss Kantor
Now more than 100 of the world’s largest 500 firms are
Chinese and the former US corporate models of governance
and proliferation are “shape-shifting” .  She talks about “triple
bottom lines” of financial statement, requirements for the
environment and social reporting as represented by responsible
citizenship, carbon emissions and sustainability.
SOURCE:  WSJ 7-8-14, P. R22.  “The Incredibly Shrinking
Financial System
“  John C. Bogle
Bogle suggests a bubble in the international financial system
and that the 300 largest institutional managers who own 2/3 of
US stocks and will seek to influence longer term investing.
His four points are worth detail study as they signal the direction
of changes.
SOURCE:  WSJ 7-7-14, P. R10.  “How should Potential
Investors Evaluate a Top-performing fund
What goes up, must eventually go down, in the market.
Things don’t last forever.  Avoid chasing short term
performance and seek the “back story” of what is going on
in individual companies and wider industries.

BONUS   Brian Tracy, Goals:  How to get everything you
– faster than you ever thought possible, BK, San Francisco
The book title is a promotional one, but what he has to say
is worth listening to and studying.  There are some recent
google SEO findings that point out the negatives for setting
goals.  Do not let that get in your way of giving serious thought
to Tracy’s ideas.

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