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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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05/09/18
Watch-Outs. 108. Working in Consulting, Important new areas
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:20 am

Three things have come to my attention.  One was a recent
graduate’s interest in a consulting firm position.  So we
have been in discussion about how she might prepare for
developing her cover letter, resume and other documents.

.
A second item relates to an important technical area that 
Bill Gates has indicated demands more attention– preparing
for pandemics.
 . 
Finally, an interesting letter to the editor in CEN by 
Professor Adam Heller talks about mitigation work
needed to deal with the growing global warming threat
we all face.  I note this because Adam has always been
at the forefront of where technology needs are…lithium
batteries, lasers, biomedical devices and more.
.
CONSULTING
The initial volley involved getting information on the company,
seeing the job description and related information from
insiders and Glassdoor.com.  As is found from many of
this class of employers, the job description offers generic
“musts.”…
  - desire blending information technology and management
consulting
  - recently graduated from top institution with credentials
  - skilled and experience with using software and developing
learning tools in C++, Java, C# and other platforms
  - demonstrates outstanding communication skills in all phases
.
So this provides some hints about important things to include
in application documents.  But we do need to go further.  Using
Linkedin, and the firm’s website we can learn more about 
the kinds of project areas and notable citations.  One citation
came up about a highly touted recent book on consulting that
the CEO wrote.  Probably would be good to pick up.
.
Then, consider making use of your network to glean other
useful information and tactics to allow you to stand out, like.
the name of the recruiter to send things to.
.
PREPARE FOR NEXT PANDEMIC
In a recent ScienceAlert post Bill Gates talked about an
area of high need.  Gates told of a simulated disease
spread model of a flu borne pathogen.  It would create
devastating consequences that we are not prepared for.
.
Strategies and organizations need to be formed to
identify the mode and source and rapidly develop
mobile operations to isolate, treat and inoculate larger
populations.  This is long range thinking well beyond
the fiscal and election cycles that should be of interest
to technical professionals interested in being part of 
something larger than themselves and making a difference.
.
GEOENGINEERING
In a Letter to the Editor of C&EN on April 30, 
A. Heller wrote of the high need to report in their
pages the critical need for scientific research to 
develop and test strategies to global warming
catastrophes the earth faces.
.
Where C&EN fills its pages with alternate energy
and conservation, these are “tip of the iceberg”
solutions.  Trends point to global wealth and the resulting
use of resources without sustainable management as
the dominating input for continued earth warming 
in addition to a series of unintended consequences of
loss of ice caps, changing climate patterns and severe
natural events in tropical areas.
.
Work on Geochemical approaches is needed and 
has to be reported in C&EN and to the wider 
community, like the I
nstitute for Advanced Sustainability
Studies.
1 comment
04/12/18
Critical Thinking on Testing Result Statistics. Questions to ask
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:23 pm

As we use artificial intelligence more and more and depend
on machines for decision making, critical thinking becomes
more important.  In particular topics like false positive results
and limits of detection.  This was brought up earlier in a
highlight.

.
False positive concept is more involved and can be 
misused when we apply statistics to test results.   It indicates
that a given condition exists when in reality it does not.
This conclusion can many times result in unnecessary
testing and costs (both to clinical patients (anguish) and
monetarily).
.
The previous entry pointed out limits of detection series
by Deming.  Two other notable contributions– one on being able
to compare quantities resulting from different methods (
Mandel Sensitivity) and the second from establishing the
requirements of changing from one to another method.
.
My experience is where a physician recommends a 
prescription for a chronic condition based on analyte
readings.  The algorithm is designed to predict a per cent
likelihood of an outcome.  However, the clinical testing
is much more complicated with false positives entering
the picture.  Not all of the people have have a minimmum
value will reach that specific outcome.  This is not
revealed in the analyte results.
.
This leads to needing to ask more questions of the 
results and their “true meaning.”  Often the physician
will not assess these critical elements leading to over-testing
and over prescribing.
comments (0)
03/31/18
Emotional Intelligence.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 11:01 am

One of my critical findings about IDPs Academic inspired
Individual Development Plans is it completely “whiffs” on
emotional intelligence.

.
I fear that if you ‘fill out the forms’ for IDP you miss nearly 
half of the skills many employers desire in applicants.
Justin Bariso wrote a thoughtful article on how emotional
intelligence is revealed.  It is not about using big words and
offering elaborate details about technical concerns.
.
He offers
1.  asking questions of yourself, like
     how does my mood affect my behaviors, thinking and 
decisions?
      what subsurface influences affect me and others?
to uncover self and social awareness.
.
2.  how do you control your reaction to things that affect
your emotions.  You have little to manage your emotional
take on things, but how you react can reveal your character.
.
3.   Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?
.
4.   Empathy for others;  not meaning agreeing with others
but trying to understand others.
.
5.  Do you intentionally commend and show appreciation
for others?
.
6.  Do you keep your commitments and help others?
conversely, do you apologize for short-fulfilling commitments
and even guard yourself from being taken advantage of
by being manipulated?
 


comments (0)
02/07/18
Audience Analysis. Five situations using DeBono Thinking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:13 am

One of the skills not often addressed in our formal education
is audience analysis.  It is one of the wise skills that we need
to develop in our career.

.
Fast Company has offered an interesting tactic to deal with
different audiences that uses deBono’s six hats concept.
.
Dealing with problem solvers:      Black hat thinking
Here are the major problems, brainstorm possible causes and
their solutions.
Eliminate weak points;  develop back up plans.
.
Dealing with data analyzers who seek trends:  White hat thinking
This is what we know [charts and statistics], all the hard
numbers and outcomes.  What can we learn from them? 
What is missing or how can we fill in detail? 
What are situational or critical trends?
.
Dealing with people integraters who seek collective good 
feelings.                                           Red hat thinking
Appeal to shared goal and appeal to team spirit and coordinating
efforts.  Each one is important.  Give everyone attention and
celebrate together.
.
Dealing with innovators and new approach, different angle
people                                              Green hat thinking
This is an opportunity to be open minded and go outside 
routine or casual solutions to problem or possibilities.  Pursue
creative ideas with little or no criticism/ rejection.
.
Dealing with optimists                    Yellow hat thinking
This is a group to whom you present benefits and future
positive outcomes and implications.  Don’t give up now,
hard work and persistence will pay off.  Realize and 
restate your strengths and the pay-offs will soon be realized.

comments (0)
11/05/17
Graduate Population in US. Much Speculation and Opinion Projections
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:54 pm

Recently read in interesting article on graduate education in
STEM fields by Nick Wingfield.  the article attracted over 400
comments in a couple of days.  The comments came from many
perspectives:

 - financial disincentives for US citizens due to loan debt
 - popular culture that creates negative attitudes for higher education
 - many employers do not value higher education 
- various political decisions to decrease government funding
 - masters degrees are valued, but companies do not reward with
high enough salaries for the added time and training, over bachelors
 - US students see it is not worth the effort and time to then be
competing with international H1-B holders with masters
 - international students may sometimes have financial backing
outside US and university sources
 - undergraduate preparation for employment and graduate school
fails to deliver critical thinking skills, articulation and working in
teams in problem solving 
 - work ethic American students is not well developed;  western
culture is sold on winning, getting something for nothing, self
importance and  sidestepping the law and rules.
 - many university professors sell their research to unprepared 
students who do not have the understanding to ask good questions
 
comments (0)
10/05/17
Leadership. Insights from observations during challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:30 am

Just finished reading Rudy Guiliani’s book Leadership.

Reading the book was an opportunity to see things from a
different perspective– legal mind with historical interests
who faced and met challenges.  It was a rewarding experience
in that it offered some remarkable take-aways about positive
behaviors of leaders and thinking processes in dealing with
challenges.
.
BEHAVIORS 
.
-   The importance of seeing things / situations with your own
eyes, as it allows all sorts of things that you can question and
suggest.
-   Practice simulations of actual events before they happen.  
Have a reaction plan.  Let it be modifiable.
 -  Have a command center
       organize and formulate communications, coordination
and evaluation
       prepare back up plan and unintended consequences
       anticipate what might happen next
-    Prepare relentlessly and eliminate making assumptions

THINKING PROCESSES

All leaders are influenced by those who they admire.  Reading
about them and studying what and how they learned will inspire
how you will grow critical traits.  Much of the material will be the
raw material of your own life.
-    insist on starting off with a morning meeting as your cornerstone
       get control of the start of the day
       set priorities;  have all key contributors present
       allow open discussion
       outcomes:  specific action plans and reporting
       everyone is informed and accountable;  carry the info forward
-    sweat the details and small stuff, as they reveal underlying 
processes
-     create arguments for different coalitions to influence decisions
-     instill preparedness
-     put your health as a first and main concern
-     take as much time as available to make decisions, but the 
process of making the decision should begin immediately.
-     seek different perspectives and points of view, yet avoid
predetermination or favorites.  [Sometimes it is beneficial to
leave the room when discussion is in process and receive a
summary afterwards.]
-     surround yourself with strong, independent people while
keeping battles internal.  manage results and expectations
-     underpromise and overdeliver-  how
               develop your personal beliefs
               communicate them
               have a plan of action
               word choice makes a difference
-    stand up to bullies.  Do it early.
-    do not exceed the ‘pig factor’ [spending more than needed,
overstating on expenses, it is a form of bullying]
-     read in depth about things you find come up;  do not
just leave it to experts. 

comments (0)
06/30/17
Watch-Outs. 103. Scientific Publishing, Limits of Analysis, Gas Cylinders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:36 am

Publication is a critical focus in the scientific world.  Societies
have publication wings.  There is a large commercial publication
business that earns nearly $20Bn/year with a third being
profits.  The Guardian published a revealing article about the
publication world which this blog has offered comments.

Previous comments have been offered on peer review,
papyrocentric 
model 
and critical thinking when reading.  
This blog is on record for supporting the idea of “open access”
and questioning the viability of “rating” journals based on
citations in the internet age [it is like mindless “likes” in
social media.].
.
Been following of Deming’s articles on Applied Statistics
for decades.  He is in the middle of an important series on 
limits of detection.  I just received a water analysis report
and have received blood and urine medical reports that refer
to one or another of these.  These articles are important and
significant for all of us.  We should know and use these terms
properly.
.
One of the types of questions I ask in some interviews 
concerns gas cylinder set-up and use.  Articles in LC/GC 
often reveal solid scientific thinking to answer questions
in this area.
.
ROBERT MAXWELL AND PROFITING ON SCIENCE
SOURCE:  S. Baranyi, The Guardian June 27, 2017 
“Is the Staggeringly profitable publishing business bad for
Science”
Although the ACS continues its efforts to 
expand its
profit center, most of the members do not realize what
is going on in the publication business.  This Guardian
article goes into details what the ACS publications 
division might be emulating.  
.
Should we not ask questions to make more science, often
paid for via taxes, available free online?
.
SCIENCE AND THE LIMITS OF DETECTION
SOURCE:  S. N. Deming, Amer. Laboratory June/July 2017
P. 41.  ”Statistics in the Laboratory:  The Limit of Detection
Deming teaches in this article L(D) the limit of detection, which
he points out is different than the smallest amount of 
analyte that can be detected or the limit of quantitation (appearing
in future articles.).
.
He points out:
- false positive risk needs to be appropriate for the application.
[drug testing example]
- in a plot of a calibration curve with a non-zero intercept, L(D)
the limit of detection is the amount of analyte that yields a
signal outside the error of the false negative.
.
These comments are often not brought out in many classes.
.
GAS CYLINDERS
SOURCE:  J. V. Hinshaw, LC/GC North America 11-2016, P. 41
Gas Cylinder Safety, Part II:  Set up and Use
What I like about Hinshaw is that he does a fishbone diagram
to assess a wide variety is issues that could come up in
working with a common analytical tool.
1 comment
06/16/17
Resumes for Technical Roles.What can be done to improve chances to get interviews.
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 10:42 am

Recently I have received requests to review resumes and cover
letters for people who have completed several post docs and
wonder what can they do to attract interview attention.

.
First it was important to realize that they do not see the
changing role of push-pull marketing using on line profiles.  
Since online profiles can contain much more information than
resumes and can be accessed in a multiplexed mode, quite often
this is a leading recruiting step.  Push marketing is typified by
sending your resume to a recruiter or uploading to a website.  
Pull marketing occurs when recruiters review profiles on line.
.
The online profile needs to be very good and show
communication savvy, while being consistent with your resume.
.
Second.  When I examine the profile/ resume/ cover letter package
I  ask for the job description.  The exact title [cover letter], job code
[cover letter], 
and keywords [cover letter, resume, online
profile-Linkedin] need 
to be listed in the documents.  It is critical
since screening is often done by ATS applicant tracking systems.
.
One colleague was an ORISE Fellow at FDA and did not mention
knowing about FDA regulations, how 
FDA reviews applications
and industry specific qualifications in the highlights section.
.
Third.  While the ATS examines the full document, human reviewers
will want to see information that is easy to read, error-free and
specific 
to the position.  Please:
  - avoid long paragraphs of information in cover letter or resume
  - use gmail, not yahoo, aol or education-based email address
  - insert your experience section before education, after you
reach five or more years beyond your last degree.
.
While it might be very true, statements like the following are
not taken seriously:  
‘I believe I am a
quick learner as demonstrated previously where
I
have
worked in various fields (materials, analytical and clinical)
and published
papers
. I hope my skills and background are a
good
fit
for to satisfy the requirements for the … position. I thank you for
your time and enthusiastically look
forward to hearing from you
soon. ‘ [note too many ‘I’s’– whole letter had >16]
for we know other interpersonal, cultural, and nonverbal 
factors can dominate.  [Technical skills alone are not enough.]
.
While the ACS offers good general suggestions about 
writing documents, specific situations require outside-the-
box thinking.
-  when there is little evidence for scientific accomplishments
via patents and papers, consider creating a List of Projects
addenda that might mention project work on proprietary
material ethically and legally.
-   when seeking positions of some authority and responsibility,
providing information in the affiliations or highlights section
or in the cover letter or in the Linkedin profile where you
point out project and team leadership and responsibility 
revealing emotional intelligence
1 comment
01/04/17
Critical Thinking and Reading 2017
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:39 am

`How do you figure out appropriate information that is important
and verifiable, relating to your interests and goals?
.
We can subscribe to publications.  Does that provide what you need?

We can view broadcast media or skim Flipboard or other “news
aggregators” or subscribe to twitter feeds for our philosophy matching
sources.
.
We all have limited time and viewerships.
.
I offer three critical things
- Ask good questions,
- Set your short and longer term goals
- Pay attention to “cognition
.
ASK GOOD QUESTION
A good question is not concerned with a correct idea.
A good question cannot be answered immediately.
A good question challenges existing answers.
A good question is one you badly want answered once you
    hear it, but had no
inkling you cared before it was asked.
A good question creates new territory of thinking.
A good question reframes its own answers.
A good question is the seed of innovations in Science,
    technology, art,
politics, and business.
A good question is a probe, a what-if scenario.
A good question skirts on the edge of what is known and not
    known, neither
silly nor obvious.
A good question cannot be predicted.
A good question will be the sign or an educated mind.
A good question is one that generates many other questions>
A good question may be the last job a machine will learn to do.
A good question is what humans are for.

GOALS- Think through your “purpose”
   1- Do you like what you are now doing?
   2- What do you feel and think you want to do?  Like is not
enough.  Purpose is about setting up a direction and a path
and pausing and allow back up plans and ideal case formulation.
   3- Can you do what you want?  Know the difference between
your wants and what you are competent at.  Understand your
priorities and values and your organization’s priorities and values.
   4- Have you define your next and following steps involving
awareness, action and accountability
   5- Who can you depend on for good, reliable advice?  Who
will tell you the truth without involving their personal interests?
   6- What are you willing to re-pay, offer up and return?
   7- What do you to learn or gain experience in?

COGNITION
It is useful to consider the words we use.  ’Truth’ is most often
not strictly absolute, black and white.  Yet there are certain words that
do not trigger the outcomes we desire.
NEED  very few things “need” to get done.  OFFER, maybe, WHAT
DO YOU THINK ABOUT… or HOW DOES THIS SOUND…
CAN’T  you probably can.  In reality, there are multiple or opposing
“can’s”
 EASY  This is a way to describe other people’s jobs. Notice how
many times that speak about their jobs as easy.

“Cousins” of these words are everyone, no one, always and never.

1 comment
12/20/16
Undergraduate Resume Review
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:52 pm

HL and I had an interesting discussion about a job
application for a pharma position.  We arranged the
position via email where we asked and sent draft resume,
musts-and-wants and the job description.

It is important to realize that each cover letter, resume
and contact network association needs to be targeted
and properly researched and framed
.

What kind of position is being pursued?
What specific skills or experiences will be expected?
What are your specific skills/ experiences that may apply?
Who do you know who might help and provide a reference?

The position seeks BA/BS with some senior research
experience or an MS.  The skills sought are LC, MS and
working with bioassay prep and data analysis.

It is a stretch to have a senior undergraduate having
these, but our discussion proved that HL had good
experiences that could be of  interest.  HL had done
a semester of undergraduate monomer synthesis research
in junior year.  Quite interestingly, HL had completed a
semester research abroad where detailed discussion
revealed working with and troubleshooting LC-MS and
data integration systems for study of metal binding to
synnuclein.

It is now a challenge to create a document that points
out the specific instruments and work done both abroad
and as a junior.  What keywords were used in the job
description?
  Find a way to articulate HL’s work using
those or comparable terms.  Experienced reviewers will
 notice!
We talked about the big difference in working in a
research lab where things constantly go wrong or need
maintenance and calibration compared with doing an
analytical course lab experiment where everything is
pre-ordained and set up.

Then we spoke about another element– who were HL’s
references?  Has HL spoken to them about interest in
the position?  Can each one of three provide “good
references?  Does the reference know anyone at the
firm?  Can HL get to meet or speak with the possible
network referral to learn more about the position, hiring
manager, and company situation?

Does HL have a quality Linkedin page?  Let’s look.
What will be critical things to provide realizing the
first use might be for this LC-MS bioassay role?
What keywords, content and organization should the
Linkedin profile have?

What started out as a request for a resume review, morphed
into
 - job description study,
 - revising a draft resume highlighting key experiences
 - critically thinking through references and the roles they
assume (and, also including a reference list in the PR
submission
)
 - critically thinking that a professional presence is
expected (Linkedin profile and working on that)
 - outlining and drafting a cover letter for submission
 - seeking out people who could be referrals for the
position application; 
six other important steps.

comments (0)
07/21/16
Bayesian Thinking. Use of Slack for Project work
Filed under: Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:26 am

Innovation, experimentation and support from
leaders are often the keys to bringing progress.

As we have mentioned in a recent post, simply 
listing pros and cons is not the most effective 
way to move ahead, or, for that matter, make decisions.

Look for countering information, add more factors
and categories… Then apply the Bayesian logic of probabilities.

This is an example of critical thinking to consider.
Recently I had a conversation with a small business
in high tech who applauded “Slack“.  What he said is
that it has revolutionized his teams’ fun, focus, and
outcomes.  
Let me share how Slack is project management 
“mindfulness” from his blog.

 The suggestion here is this tool is one that can be broadly
applied and due to ease of use widely adapted.   It is like
using shared cloud storage or using search engines.

We in Chemistry should be leaping to use this in our
smaller groups.  Share your experiences and learnings.
Remember a negative outcome is often more useful in
the long run and not a “con!”
1 comment
07/12/16
Preparing for Career Paths in Graduate School.
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:59 am

The seminar on the titled topic highlighted three
key areas that people in grad school can focus on
in addition to items successful predecessors pointed
out
, namely:

  - get out of the lab and meet people from different 
backgrounds, for the degree alone is not enough
  - develop critical thinking skills that will help
writing communication, audience analysis in dealing
with different audiences and 
  -  be on positive terms with your advisor and committee
members so that they want to be allies for you in your
career for the long term.

The first TOPIC area was GRIT.  That is perseverance in the face
of challenges.  Angela Duckworth has pointed out its value
and ways we can gain this formidable character element.
We see this essential in all career paths.

The second area was TRUST.  
Trust is an unmistakable key allowing teams be effective and
successful.  We had a true life story about how a manager
in a company micro-managed a professional repeatedly
returning to find out results.  It was done to the point of
indicating a lack of trust and commitment.  
Trust between all levels in an organization or in a partnership
is something we can learn and be able to foster and recognize.

The third was bringing out the concept and examples of
Bayesian thinking to develop as a critical thinking tool.
We had a working example and then lively discussion
how this is applied in a job search where a person accepted
a temporary position.  Then he navigated unemployment to
receive four interviews and multiple offers helped by
the short term position experience.
3 comments
05/01/16
Critical Reading. Patents, business results and technical literature
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:48 pm

One of the short discussions we had in our class this year was
on the role of critical thinking.  It was not elaborate or drawn
out with many inferences and examples like it could.

It was about reading with a “thinking” attitude.

One of the members brought up how he would teach undergraduates,
especially how to read the technical literature.  The citation he used
mentioned the old paradigm structure of the scientific method, as
if it were gospel. 

SOME QUESTIONS
Another view is to seriously evaluate the source who funded
the work, who gains from its publication and the true value?  What is
it do you want to learn from the report, communication or
article?  Is this too hard to ask?

This blog has cited Galea’s Fortune piece which points out biases.
Scientific literature can be read [or mis-read] with a structure
to influence the readers’ take-away message.

CORPORATE RESULTS
The Economist offered a remarkably insightful piece about corporate
financial results on which we depend on for employment, investment
and purchasing.
  It should be totally unbiased and reflect truth as
well.  The article puts forth the “carnival of confusion, obfuscation,
and fibbing” that would make “even presidential candidates blush”.

The article speaks to Valeant, Microsoft, SunEdison, GM, GE
restating earnings, adjusting figures, and using measures of
profit that do not have regulatory significance. 

Rules of thumb:  profit should be revealed in standard accounting
rules, without adjustments for mature firms
                              firms should not have large and persistent gaps
between official accounting and adjusted profits
                               firms should not have low tax payments, since
it should be reporting profits to investors and government
                                look at the “cash flow”
Look at this before sending in your application!

TECHNOLOGY REALITY CHECK:  PATENTS
For the first time I have seen CEN talk about reading the patent
literature
[and not an ACS journal article] to learn about something.
The recent issue revealed more significance can be gained
from reading the patent literature
.  While not the headline
or example, this statement is something we will not find
many research professors teach our students and post-docs.

There is something legally binding in patents.  When researching
the literature about your work or potential job applications,
patents should be a must area to review.

1 comment
01/13/16
Exploring a Position at Company. Mentors, Preparation for contact
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mentoring, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:49 am

A colleague recently contacted me about applying for a
research position in his field of interest of brain imaging.

It is a small company with a limited amount of
of public information.  He asked about who to address
in the cover letter and details about virus-protection
software that blocks link-containing documents.

He also wanted to explore why it was critical to join
and become an active member of a professional society.

USING MENTORS AND THE LONG TAIL
My first thoughts directed me to explore the company
in LinkedIn after studying the company website.  It is
important to go beyond the website in looking for details
about any position.  So a google search looking at many
pages beyond the high frequency first page is important
to use.  This is also known as the search distribution
long-tail
coined by Chris Anderson.

In Linkedin, I found a second degree connection to the
CEO and founder which led me to an information loaded
profile which I then shared with him.
I learned the company was a start-up, had recent funding
and had advertised the position he had interest in.  So,
I forwarded a suggestion to contact the CEO by Inmail
and ask to engage in a short conversation about the
position
Before doing this he should prepare thoroughly
by having stories to tell about how he uniquely qualifies
for the position, by using information at hand about
salary ranges for the position in that area of the country,
and by having critical questions outlined for him to ask.
This is a common information interview.

Listen carefully to keywords he uses that can be
incorporated into the cover letter and resume.

If salary comes up in the discussion, reveal what your
research has provided.  Then ask, how much is budgeted
for the position, rather than saying how much you wish.
Defer that discussion until you have an offer, know
what the job entails and get a sense that you like the
culture and they like you.

So, contact a person in the company before uploading
documents.  This way it is not a “cold contact” application
without assessing keywords to use and a person to
address and follow up with.

COVER LETTER AND DOCUMENTS
There are three clear objectives that a cover letter provides–
explains gaps, shows a clear match for you in the position
and provides your thinking about your career movement
into the position.

Documents we upload can be blocked if they have
links in the cloud by software.  So, either delink the
documents, in Word, or use .txt format without links.

PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
People in professional fields use societies to continue
to learn important elements in their field through meetings
and publications, to share what we learn with other
professionals and to be part of the professionals
advocating for the growth and importance of the field.

We all should be members of professional technical
societies.

Good luck! ended the reply, where
LUCK = preparation + attitude + opportunity
+ action

1 comment
12/17/15
Watch-Outs. 91. Critical thinking while reading, Energy conservation, Open Access Content
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:55 pm

Our mind travels in two directions when we read or view media.
We either reinforce our previously held beliefs or become
convinced of one side in a controversy.  An article link
suggest that this should awaken us to become critical
consumers
, always asking what is the supporting data and its
origins and can other, viable conclusions be drawn with the
personal self-assessments which draws the conclusion that
so many of these tools are out there and she bemoans any
of their benefits.

Are you amazed as I am looking around at all the solar
electric panel installations appearing on neighbors roofs and
in barren fields?  An almost forgotten approach to energy
conservation remains viable for us– conversion of
incandescent to LED lighting.

Slowly but surely, step by inching step, we are observing
ACS adopt open access journal publications.  Recently
ACS announced ACS Omega in addition to Central Science.
Cost and availability of publications are encouraging the
movement.  It is hard to understand the reluctance other
than that is the way it has always been done, especially
since more journals than not are both in print and
electronic form.
 
WE BELIEVE WHAT WE READ;  BE CRITICAL
THINKERS
SOURCES: S. Galea, Fortune 12-15-15, p. 75 “The Big
Think,” and V. Sole-Smith, RealSimple, “Getting to know
you,” 1-2016
S. Galea informs readers that reading can be confusing
when critical conclusions by different authors are
diametrically opposed.  It is the role of “leaders” he
opines to ask the hard questions, dig up the answers,
imperfect as they may be, and importantly distinguish
the motivations that may bias the conclusions. 
[Strong article about CRITICAL THINKING.]
Sole-Smith presents her study in a popular magazine
of emotional assessment tools.  It might be that her
conclusions do not ask the hard questions.  Her
preferences might be not as clearly defined in the
output.  These tools provide insight about a range of
other “types” and she may find she is a mixture.
This can offer unrealized value.

GLOBAL ENERGY– CONSERVE USING EFFICIENT
LIGHTING
SOURCE:  A. Staller, ECS Blog, “Low Hanging Fruits of
Energy
,”
While replacing fossil fuel power generation with solar
energy conversion seems attractive, it is costlier and has
unanticipated side costs that are not advertised to
consumers.  Staller points to a simpler and adaptable
approach that is proven and useful on a large scale.
Worth the quick read and implementation.
See also  #1 way to fight climate change

OPEN ACCESS THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE FOR
SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATION
SOURCE:  A. Yarnell, CEN 12-14-15, ACS publishing
ACS Omega

Beginning to be “published” in Spring, 2016, also allowing
authors the flexibility to transfer manuscript submissions
from one ACS journal to another.
It is a step in the right direction.
A balanced discussion occurs in wiki.

comments (0)
11/18/15
Watch-Outs. 90. Clarity on Global environment issues, Investments, and Critical Thinking
Filed under: Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:29 am

When you are in the presence of a forward-seeking,
thoughtful person, it grabs your attention.  The first
link for your consideration is an ECS lecture from
October, 2015.  If you want to see where STEM education
can make a difference, this is a must view link.

We are barraged with half truths about where we
should place our hard-earned savings, our tax deferred
investments and rainy day securities.  While I am an
amateur, I am struck by some things that more than
not consistently work and that fail miserably.  Two links
point these out on municipal bonds and MLP master
limited partnerships.

The third entry was debated between embroiled free
speech controversies
, skeptical views of online
credentials and an amazing saga of a runaway best
selling book.  I chose the last.  It might be that the
naming of the saga can give similar information for
all three, by just changing a few words.
  
PRIORITY: SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC
SOURCE:  A. Heller, Electrochemical Society Lecture, 10-15,
Wealth, Global Warming and Geoengineering
S. Arrhenius recognized that sunlight was reflected by clouds.
How much the world will warm depends on managing the
global climate.  This ends a sterling lecture that informs and
projects what we can prioritize to make a difference for
our world.

INVESTMENTS:  AVOID MLP AND CONSIDER MUNICIPAL
BONDS (TAXABLE ACCOUNTS)
SOURCES:  L. Saunders, WSJ 11-14-15, p. B7
A shock $24000 Tax Bill
A. Kuriloff, WSJ 11-5-15, p. C1
Surprise 2015 Victor: Munis
Laura Saunders hit the nail right on the head about unexpected
tax bills resulting from owning partnerships in their IRAs.
The article addresses UBITs, unrelated business income, in
the tax code.  All the comments support this report.
Where do we invest in?  The world is uncertain, the market is
in frenzy mode, will the Fed increase rates…
Kuriloff gives readers a current comparison and then in
an insert offers what to look for when investing in
municipals and what to watch out for.

HEADLINE LABELING CAN BE THE LEADING INFLUENCE
SOURCE:  D. Benoit, WSJ 11-17-15, p.1
Some Train readers on wrong track
This is a case of mistaken identity in the modern era.  Search a
book by title and come up with a book with a very similar title
and get increased sales in the book.
Modern era– depend so much on search routines that can lead
to different, unexpected results.  The tie-in to free speech on
campus and online certification is that there can be a loss of
“critical thinking” in the current day.  We must guard against
this loss and help bring that back to public discourse proactively
and courteously.

comments (0)
03/30/15
Thinking. Role of Luck and Classifications of things that grab our attention
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 10:32 am

Two very interesting books came across my desk recently that
informed me about our thinking processes in different ways.
Good to Great by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen  2 
Riveted by Jim Davies.

We can benefit by understanding our thinking processes so that we
see the importance of analogies, strategic & tactical elements,
decision making processes, problem solving strategies, time
management
, and flaws .

Collins writes and speaks about what patterns and trends lead
to achievement and success
in an uncertain and chaotic
environment.  He defines an element called the “return on luck.”
Luck, as you know, is a significant event that occurs largely
independent of our plans and actions;  it is unpredictable and
results in some good or bad.
Collins indicates there are strategies to prepare for, inform
when luck happens and endure that hypervigilant people use to
manage themselves and their organizations.  They include
specific steps to
-    methodically establish empirical facts,
-    question to perform calibrations with low risk, and
-    discipline yourself to deal with adverse circumstances.

Davies classifies situations, events and objects that grab and hold
on to our attention into categories.  This study can help us
choose themes to incorporate and see in others’ presentations.
Included are:
-    things we hope for or fear
-    repeat familiar patterns
-    incongruous idioms or images
-    storytelling that incorporates useful information that ties to reality
-    connections to personhood, human condition, and human feelings,
senses and physical features.

comments (0)
02/02/15
Hiring Trends. Perspectives from the Hiring Side
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 11:17 am

This entry was going to be about a recent collection of
tips and shortcuts for digital technologies in “Pogues
Basics
“  by David Pogue which is helpful for many who
need to use technologies and struggle to keep up.

In the process of thinking about it, Pharmalogics Recruiting
was “re-discovered.”  It is a remarkable resource for
pharma and biotech industries.  It’s blog website serves
more than just the segment it serves.

JOB OFFERS
Just like the considerations offered in the “interviewing
continuum
” that an interview begins much earlier in the
process and includes preparation and soft skills to explore
and narrow down prospects, the company’s interview team
needs to be “on the same page” for requirements and
responsibilities and expectations.

A positive interview experience is where the candidate feels
wanted and the process is deliberate and communicated.

It is interesting to note the other little things that can be
done to make the process a successful negotiation, as
the article portrays for the best companies.  This is
telling reading for those in the job market.

DESIRABLE CANDIDATE QUALITY

Recall that the zeroth step in a job search is understanding
who you are and your primal behaviors.  This article
seconds this notion and builds on it with what they
call is a person’s “coachability.”

The article describes it as the capacity to listen carefully,
absorb and adapt in a positive way to change and
constructive feedback.

IMPACT OF CULTURE AND MISSION ON INTERVIEWS
AND OFFERS

One of the critical points in preparation is to understand
the mission and goals of the organization you are interviewing
for.  It is a must at the offer stage since your satisfaction
in accepting and working there will reflect a good match between
your personal needs and values and the company’s.

Explore with some detail what is important and what is
valued at the company before the interview.

comments (0)
01/04/15
Watch-Outs. 77. Critical thinking Employment, Trends in other fields, More on Open Access
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:50 pm

Did you observe the oxymoron headline on scientist employment
in C&EN 12-22-14, p.11 Temporary Turmoil?  It got me to
looking deeper to find out more– differences between fields,
differences between locations, where is the data and what does
it really mean…See Critical thinking questions we should
apply when reading reports.

Are you currently in a position and wonder how to move
to another position?  An interesting link is shared giving
the trend in “prized ponies,” in job market terminology,
those who are passive candidates, already working but
“shackled” into their current position.

Many scientific and engineering societies are finding
that subscription-based publication of findings and applications
are not meeting their core mission.  Open access has the
potential of distributing more evenly (without bias) and widely
advances that are the output of scientific and engineering
research.
One of the leading objections in the publication world
dominated by large societies and publishing houses is the
curious use of  “impact factor” for whole journals for
career advancement purposes.

EMPLOYMENT TRENDS
SOURCES  J. Wright, Forbes 5-28-2013
Influence of international graduates on STEM worker
shortage”  ,
and following articles
J. Weismann, Slate 7-10-14 “The stagnating job market for
young scientists“;  Simply hired trends
 Since the graphic made little sense in the above mentioned
magazine, it seemed like a good starting point to ask some
questions.  Wright indicates 40% of 25,000 PhDs are
granted to international graduates.  30% obtain positions
in the US on temporary work visas.

Some areas and fields have gained openings, Wright cites.

Weismann examines trends in separate STEM fields in
a helpful manner.  His conclusions, stated by quoting
other writers, may be debated.

ONLINE MARKETING FOR NEXT POSITION
SOURCE:  Rachel Silverman, WSJ 1-2-15, p. B1
New Year, New Job?  Read this first
The Economist, 1-3-15 p. 17
There’s an App for that
Silverman’s article hints at how companies are competing
for talented professionals.  Cost-cutting seems to be
edging out retention and engagement and, rather than
giving pay increases, bonuses are offered.  She puts forward
findings that new online services like online dating models
now exist– Poacht, Switch, Poachable are seen for
hard to fill and engineering positions.

A related piece by Lindsey Gellman “Show me your
Stuff” reveals that corporations are hiring using simulations
and assessment tools to reveal decision making ability and
temperament.

The final lines in the piece: leave three positives
with the hiring entity.

Finally striking a similar cord to what has been brought
to your attention is the breaking up of tasks into different
skill level parts and having temporary staff handle less
impactful portions and outsourcing.  The Economist
article highlights this that seems to be a continuation
of PfizerWorks.

PITCH: OPEN ACCESS
SOURCE ECS Interface Winter 2014. p. 31
Trends:  erosion of subscription revenue and subscribers
competition from commercial publishers that game
the impact factor system and impose deals to library
collections, reduced library budgets, consolidation
in the publishing industry, and increasing number of
journals.

The article hits a number of important long term
issues that our society could do better opening a
discussion.

comments (0)
11/28/14
Teaching Chemistry At Associates Degree Level
Filed under: Position Searching, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:53 pm

It was an eye opening experience  visiting lecture,
laboratory and seminar sessions at a community
college
recently.  Chemistry professionals from
many backgrounds play important roles in this less
heralded segment of an academic career path.
Recent advanced degree graduates, mid-career people
who have transitioned from industry, scientists with
interdisciplinary backgrounds in marketing, product
development and analysis, and experienced community
college professors with a passion for instilling a strong
desire for the chemical field to curious minds are all
dedicated to this sub-field.

The excellent Preparation for Life After Graduate
school
program offers Community College teaching as
one of “four” academic directions with a eye-popping
1811 institutions (~60% of the total number) enrolling
44% of all chemistry undergraduates.  The roles that
this major subset of our community needs to provide
is met by incredibly dedicated staffs of professionals.

RESPONSIBILITIES
They not only teach general chemistry and organic
chemistry lectures, seminars and laboratories, but also
have important roles in preparing undergraduates in a
dozen other technical fields with interdisciplinary
foundations in chemistry.  A major component of their
professional roles involves mentoring, coaching and
teaching the accountability and determination skills (grit)
that we all recognize as important.

THE STUDENTS WHO ENROLL
The “average age” of community college students is
nearer typical graduate school population of 24-26
with many more adult responsibilities that typical
undergraduates and graduates may not– families,
full time jobs, military commitments, travel and
home considerations, and more.

They often do not know where jobs are or what graduates
can do or where they can progress to the next academic
degree.

HOURS, INCIDENTS AND STYLE
A recent AHA (History) description of some differences
in teaching intensity of more sessions in survey courses
can be translated to general chemistry and organic
chemistry lectures.
Community colleges manage student traffic and hours
of classes in a way that allows student to attend classes.
So often that means late afternoon through evening classes
and mid-day classes.
Classes can be longer (1.5-2 hours) and focus more on
repetition of core concepts and ideas in interactive
problem solving styles either with individuals or
groups. 
Classes begin on time, yet students arrive at various times
due to conflicts with traffic and work.  The teacher has
to be creative and resilient to bring late arrivers up to
speed in considered ways to be effective teachers and
learners.

LABORATORY-  MAJOR DIFFERENCE BOUGHT OUT
IN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Nothing replaces the need for good laboratory instruction
in chemistry.  It is hard to simulate labs without at least a
performance type of run through.  I observed wonderful
listening, organization and problem solving of a half
dozen cases as students encountered set-up, execution and
laboratory report writing (incidentally, handed in on the
same day of the experiment.).  A dedicated full time staff
member needs to be involved and committed to student
centered learning.
In addition, critical habits involving preparation, cleanliness,
safety, hazardous materials  and operations need to be developed
and repeated.  A one time through a process is not enough.

This is just one of several ways chemistry curricula is different
than the history community college description by John Ball.
Another way is the logical and mathematical content and
formalism of homework and examination responses.  So while
there can be essays or multiple choice responses chemistry
requires critical thinking problem solving.  Often times, one
can understand the descriptions, but chemistry requires sticking
to things till the end without taking shortcuts.  While many
students “live on” partial credit, it is not a desired approach.
 
 

1 comment