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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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10/23/17
Stress. Revealing and Responding Behaviors
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:15 am

Are you feeling stress in yourself?  Need to make decisions?
Too many things to do and not enough time?  Meeting with
new people, people with opposing views or too many people?
Feel cramped or feel inhibited?

.
These things can happen in relaxed times or in business
situation.  They can happen without notice, rapidly or 
with a time suspension or delay.
.
GP contacted me about a post graduate role and her 
uncertainty over her visa situation, application process,
negotiation of starting date and leaving date situation.
GP has interest in an informal offer, but feels she faces
a series of hurdles, which create anxiety and stress. 
.
She “presented” a stressed mindset in our conversation.
So it was important to (1)share that several other colleagues
each faced similar challenges and dared to commit to
a course of action and take it as a learning experience.
The crisis occurs when catatonic behavior schizophrenia
locks us from moving forward.
.
(2)Compliment her for moving forward and following up
on an opportunity that is within her reach.
(3)Deal proactively with barriers she foresees.
.
However, knowledge alone will not necessarily reduce 
her stress.  Alice Boyes has offered some proactive 
physical, mental and behavioral ideas, a couple which
I had not known for relieving stress, –
  - running your fingers over your lips
  - slow down when you feel a stress or anxiety build 
up, pause
.
Some were ones that have worked for me–
  - going outside into nature
  - deep breathing
  - power posing (Amy Cuddy)
  - muscle relaxation;  Yoga
  - speaking openly with trusted mentors
  - try new things, test things out, learn from others
.
Author, Boyes, has several others, since it is true
there is no one “magic bullet.”
.
To formulate positive movement forward we discussed
several things that references are asked when we are
contacted.  Done as a collaboration, we built positive
hope in the direction she is seeking.
  a.  how long is our professional connection and in
what contexts.
   b.  what are clear strengths that will be valuable
in her next position, provide examples with stories and
positive outcomes.
The reference, me in this case, needs to personalize
the examples.
Then, (4) provide a “lifeline” to contact whenever
she feels the need arising. 
2 comments
09/28/17
Negotiations. 8. Relocation Benefits
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

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 
on-site interviews.

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 
soon after.

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 
welcomed. 

You should ask for a company annual report and employee
handbook.

ADDRESSING ISSUES
Clearly, this acceptance letter would specifically address 
relocation and working visa processing.

2. RELOCATION INFORMATION
The Balance blog lists things that can be included, and
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
readily available
  - 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
is provided by Money-zine

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
detail.).

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.

comments (0)
05/10/17
Negotiations 7. Strategies and Inquiries
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:23 am

FL and I have been working together for several years,
first during a post-doc, then, a second post-doc and a series
of interesting temporary positions.  While the post docs
were related to her graduate training in advanced biomaterials
and coating technology, the temporary positions were in
a wide variety of disciplines from project management and
accounting, to analytical services, to quality control.

.
FL contacted me from outside the US about negotiating
a higher salary at a 10 year old company where a network
member currently works.  FL was offered a position for six
months, after which there would be a review to determine fitness
for longer term.  The contract specified starting date, supervisor,
and broad assignment responsibilities along with a starting
salary.
.
The initial request involved discussing what can be expressed
to bring up salary and that the salary being offered was 
lower than current pay as a temp.  The position is located in
Toronto, so it is a stretch to correlate ACS salary survey data
results, based on limited data and currency differences (although
I did approximate using estimated analogies.  
.
SALARY INCREMENT IDEAS
First, however, thank the company for the pleasant news that
was received for the generous offer.  It was highly sought and
enthusiastically received.  FL is flexible in scope of the position
and hours of work, however, is there any room for compensation
discussions….wait, don’t fill silence with excuses, let the hiring
manager think and respond.  State what your needs and desires
are before offering up give ups (you never know if your spouse 
might not have separate benefit coverage.).
.
Ask for the firm’s annual report, employee handbook, and a
formal job description
.  After you receive and review them you
will be better able to discuss the offer details.
.
FL sought a $10K improvement.  So we reviewed areas of
possible approaches– spousal health insurance, no relocation
expense, day care needs, hours of work, self improvement plan,
other deferrable benefits.  Since FL’s spouse has family health
care coverage and there are no relocation needs, these could be
offered as “give ups” to measurably increase salary.  FL is flexible
for hours of work and has no immediate day care needs.
.
If salary is not negotiable, ask if a sign-on bonus can be brought
up to compensate for the difference from your current position
and the unique bonus you might forfeit leaving your current 
employer.
.
Have a list of other negotiating wish items– personal computer,
loaded with professional responsibility software, professional
society memberships, special training programs, special 
commuter passes not listed in the employee handbook. 
.
We also shared details of negotiating workshops brought up
in earlier blog entries.
.
INQUIRIES
It is worth asking for details of the firm’s current and recent
past finances that would be listed in the annual report.  That
not being shared, along with number of employees and
ownership of properties where company activities are
conducted.
.
Through Fidelity Investments, we were able to share
financial data on this start up.  It is relevant to see if the
same data is offered.  Going to work for a company is just
like investing in the company and it is important to perform
due diligence in its financial and commercial viability.  Who
owns the company, what is the market value and trend
and are there legal issues of concern.
.
FINALIZING
After critical elements of the position negotiation are resolved
satisfactorily, request that an updated offer letter be sent for
approval.  Since its location is relatively close, it might be
a nice gesture to personally go to the location, sign it in
person and meet other employees with whom you will be 
working.
.
Send thank you notes to all members you meet.  It will
leave a positive impression.
.
ADDED VALUE:  Fidelity Investments has a Canadian affiliate
to support business research 
comments (0)
03/15/17
Profeessional Behavior. Interview questions and post Interview Negotiations
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm

Yahoo had an appropriate article by Maria LaMagna
about the  consequences of lying in an interview when
asked how much you currently make.

This could happen in various interview formats…
screening, on-site, wrap-up with HR, or during
salary negotiations.   Preparation and research
are key.

In all cases tell the truth, as they may ask you to produce
a pay stub.  Alternatively it is fair to ask what is their
purpose. 
I feel it is appropriate to  state that salary is one
component of an overall compensation package.
While it is a gauge on your value to the company,
it is fair to point out that other factors may be equally
important to you…vacation, citizenship work papers,
insurances, location, travel requirements, etc.

1 comment
01/15/17
Watch-Outs. 100. Negotiation insight, Title IX-Parental Leave, Continuous Personal Development
Filed under: Interviewing, Leadership, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
MONEY12-2016  Trends in 2017 (Job Market)
In negotiations it is not unusual for you to be asked
“How much do you make now?” and Something 
like, “What are your salary expectations?”
.
Recent ideas have materialized into legislation in
MA where it is no longer legal to ask about salary
history for in-state positions.  Note, too, that a later
paragraph states the law takes effect in 2018.
.
The article offers a response to the salary query–
“.. personal practice to keep salary confidential, as
my research has provided employers compensate
qualified employees with a salary between $xx
and $xy, and your being a leader I would not be
surprised to hear from you in the upper portion of
that range.”
.
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
L
inda Wang CEN 1-2-17, P. 23-4 PARENTAL LEAVE
Let me shout out about Linda Wang’s meaningful
article in the first issue of 2017 CEN on parental leave.
With the continuing trend of very long graduate
school tenures followed by one or more post doctoral
stints those wishing the fulfillment of family life
either learn too late that certain people or organizations
frown on or discourage distractions from their goals.
I dare say there can even be blacklisting or not offering
strong recommendations as noted in 
Mason’s fine
article on Title IX
.
CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
What can we do to remain employable throughout
our careers?  We do not think about that until often
it is too late.  It is in the present that we carry out our goals.
You should choose positions that provide personal satisfactions
day-to-day so you stick with it.  Engage in activities that 
have outcomes that coincide with your personal longer
range goals.
.
Early on in your careers you should realize that doing the 
same things over and over is self limiting.  You need to 
bring to bear what is emerging in the larger employment 
market (artificial intelligence, computation, robotics) and
seek out and complete career focused education, experiences
and certifications.  The Economist highlighted observations
and some trends.  (1)Self examination leading to Curiosity
is critical to continually learn and
(2) knowing your learning style and adapting content to
meet your style for long term application and near term
demands is your responsibility.  
Large questions remain, namely,
(a)does the training and knowledge get recognition and
reward for the time and expense?  
(b)Will there be experiences, skills and abilities that will
be useful where I am now and/or in other organizations?
.
ACS seems to have a working model for continuous
education and needs constant input for what would benefit
members.  How can we better offer soft skill development?
is one specific area, for example.


comments (0)
10/19/16
Legal Issues. Ethical questions, Critical Reading of contracts, Reporting personal matters
Filed under: Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:38 am

Al Sklover offers insights that are unparalleled in the open
access world.  SEE EMPLOYMENT LAW blog link on the left.

While nearly every item I review from him could be brought
to your attention, this entry highlights three:
  -6 questions to raise on ethical dilemmas
  -mental framework for critical reading of contracts and handbooks
  -Dealing with uncertainty in personal issues 
.
SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK - ETHICAL MATTERS
Sklover ethical
While we do not wish for anyone to face such situations, it is
helpful to point out the guidance Al provides in the above.  When
you find yourself in an ethical deliberation consider six resources/
inputs:
1)  Is it legal?  private, in-house, outside association resources
2)  Is it consistent with employer’s policies?
3)  Is it consistent with employer’s values, published and unpublished?
4)  Does it advance employer’s long-term goals?
5)  Would you be comfortable with personal exposure?
6)  Does the action help your personal career?
.
CRITICAL READING - CONTRACTS
Sklover parse document
The referenced entry deals with non-comptete and non-solicit
agreements, yet it opens up the valuable process of “critical
reading” of documents which you are subject to.  It is not as
much a ‘loophole search’ and more of tactics lawyers use to deal
with other lawyers who construct broad language to cover
every conceivable instance.  Those trained in the law and who
practice “critical writing and critical reading” can be allies when
dealing with circumstances which you find yourself..
.
PERSONAL SITUATIONS - HOW AND WHEN TO TELL
Sklover Guidelines Pregnancy
              Negotiation Leverage during employment
              Negotiation Medical
In each of these situations, while it may not seem so, negotiations
to achieve win-win outcomes is all parties desired end.
For pregnancy, there is an excellent exposition of tactics when 
a woman learns her family/personal circumstances change.  
There are no hard and fast rules, but there is a process. 
.
For changes, new responsibilities and so forth, you are conferred
leverage if your boss calls you.  Sklover provides suggestions
for you to use.
.
Addiction is legally called a disability and thus covered by
statutes.  Many employers will have employee assistance programs.
It is still in your best interests to be aware of legal protections
and tactics that help create a process to move forward.
comments (0)
08/17/16
Negotiations. 6. Calibrated “how” questions, “rule of 3″, Ackerman planning
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:29 pm

Reading Chris Voss’s book on negotiations convinced me
that we need to keep learning.  Don’t ever stop the process
of gathering new information from different sources,
especially experts.

Chris Voss really has the expertise that can be applied even in
simplest situations.  Watch
 - never say: have you a few minutes to talk?
 - instead say:, is this a good time to talk?
.
Get that other person to say “That’s right.”
Use the facts as the other person sees them.
.
Let me highlight several significant take-aways–
1. Calibrated “how” questions keep the negotiation going.  They put
pressure on your counterpart to come up with answers and
contemplate your problems when making their demands.
.
How am I supposed to..  How do we know…How can we….
.
How questions allow you to read and shape the negotiating 
environment.  You just have to know where you want the conversation
to go.

2.  3 kinds of “yes”:  commitment, confirmation, counterfeit

3.  Ackerman plan– set your goal, then first offer at 2/3 point,
calculate at three smaller increments
   use lots of empathy and different “no” strategy to counter, before
you increase your offer.
   use non-round numbers in your final offer
   after final number, throw in nonmonetary items

What was interesting was that Chris challenges many of the earlier
strategies in negotiation tactics.
.


comments (0)
06/30/16
Negotiations. What might you do dealing with Intimidation
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:14 am

We had an interesting problem dealing with a vendor who wanted us
to commit “right now.”  It is a situation that can happen broadly in
many employment scenarios.

James Baker provides situations where you might feel manipulated
in making decisions–
1- pressure with deadline:  question how real the deadline is, test
the parties motivation and propose what will be best for both
2- pressure with competitive price, vendor or approach:  ask for
details on the quality and terms of the competition.  Look for other
features you offer or provide.
3-  missing person to be consulted or limited authority:  ask to meet
with the person who has final authority or find out who makes the
final decisions regarding delivery, price payment, exact details of
the work.
4- moral appeal:  what is underlying motivation, indicate you are
looking to be fair with all and create good long term relations
5- good guy/ bad guy:  understand the manipulation and understand
that your requirements and needs are included
6- name dropping or association of related situations, number of
other clients, or similar customers.

Intimidators will use every trick they have and know.  When they
find it will not work, they will become friendly.  It is just another
“face.”  We need to find a way to convert them into someone who
we can reach an agreeable outcome with.

Another good resource is provided.

1 comment
06/06/16
Job Offer. Background checks, Persistence, and Professional Way to Turn down an offer
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 3:23 pm

A colleague was encouraged by her PI to apply for a postdoctoral
associate (PA) position.  She was screened and traveled to an on-site
interview.   She reported back that the interviews went quite well
and she was optimistic.  Soon after (less than a week), an offer letter
came for a one-year appointment as PA.  The first paragraph also
included starting date, annual salary of $42K, the supervisor’s name
and proviso that a background check was a precondition.
[There were usual links to policies and benefits.]

My follow-up comments to her included:
- congratulations, but keep looking
- concerns about inserting phrases in the offer letter about learning
what they find in the background check, following Al Sklover
The “Background-Check” Provision in Offer Letters –
A Risk You Should Try to Reduce
- critical review of the starting salary using ACS salary comparator.
[$42K is at the 30 percentile of such offers.]

Initial back and forth negotiations said nothing could be done with
salary, but relocation assistance would cover all expenses.  No
support for green card application was forthcoming but they
understood the background check concern as her name is common
and could easily lead to confusion in such checks.  She approved
the offer and signed the document.

Not two weeks later did she attend another conference and met
an entrepreneur who invited her to come for an interview for a
position that looked even better than the post-doc.

She was encouraged to pursue the position.  She had two separate
interviews and dinner with the firm’s president.  The result was
a very nice offer, more than $20K higher, with a series of positive
incentives (including assistance with obtaining a green card). 
The problem was that she had accepted a post-doc offer.
Can you go back and turn down an offer to accept a better one?

Yes!  It is entirely feasible.  Yet, it is important to respond
professionally on both offers. Review the second job offer diligently
and confirm the offer details and starting arrangements (like
background check as, above).  Then, practice a turn down
conversation with the first supervisor.  Have all the details ready
and professionally articulated.
Then, do it in person, not via an email.

Her follow-up:
“I thought phone would be better and direct rather than just sending
an email.  As mentioned in this article you just sent, Dr. …. said that
my decision is certainly not convenient for them.  But he appreciated
that I called in a timely manner and discussed the situation.  He
realized that my preference has always been to work in industry, and
this job sponsors me for work authorization in the US.  I also told him
that I would be happy to help them in finding the best candidate for their
position.  So, in the end, he wished me best luck for my future career.

…After the phone conversation, I sent an email to the HR person …
acknowledge her and let her know my decision.  So she won’t [proceed
with other paperwork.”

comments (0)
05/30/16
Professional Behavior. Psychology background on Decisions- Dan Ariely
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:14 pm

One of the books I have read recently was “Predictably Irrational
by Dan Ariely, ‘The hidden forces that shape our decisions.’

Three concepts were revealing in understanding certain decisions
we make
1. arbitrary coherence that directs preconceptions
2. market norms and social norms influencing what is considered
in explaining resolving conflicts
3. how ownership pervades our life and shapes many things we do.

Arbitrary coherence signifies an anchoring effect (being first to set a
price or cost or salary) that encroaches on our minds for decisions. 
Considering where this preconception arises and how irrational it
may be can allow us to bypass this habit of mind.  (think:  negotiation
and other numerical choices)

The most telling concept for me was the difference and impacts of
market and social norms on decisions
.  Social norms seem to be
common in collective cultures.  It results in collaborations that lead
to a benefit to one person or group and builds on a social relationship.

Market based norms are revealed when money is involved and you
feel like you get what you pay for.  It can be controlled by contracts
or involved when rewards are given that have a certain monetary value
or equivalence.
Companies like to influence a market based transaction by bringing in
a social component.  It is this mixing of market and social norms
that changes the nature of decisions and the appearance of ethical
choices.

Companies also like to bring in social based norms in motivating
employees.

Finally, Ariely highlights how we feel the influence of owning a
physical (house, shoes, pen, whatever) or
nonphysical item (idea, virtual, insurance)
on decisions to change.  Ariely introduces several lines of thought
that help us manage our urges when ownership can impede our
decision process.

There are many situations where managing these psychological
concepts can lead us to more professional behaviors
.

comments (0)
09/16/15
Trends in Technical Careers. CRISPR, The Economist ‘Briefs’, Negotiations
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:24 am

Let me tell you about a recent exchange with a job seeker.
He asked, ‘hey what do you think of hirelifesciences?’   To
which my response was, ‘Sorry, that is not one I have worked
with.  When I visited it I noticed it lists companies and
locations, but I did not see how people are compensated,
how recent the listings are and the business relationship
to client companies (is it part of a society, for example).’

I went on to describe websites listed in the blog left column
and indicated that most jobs are not advertised.  They are
found through networking and direct contact with people.

EMERGING FIELD
I recently heard about a field that may have large impact–CRISPR.
Take a look at a short video worth our learning about.  Related
information for job seekers is a business article on firms
involved in this business
.  Did you notice how the idea connections
were made– not through a google search or a screening of lists
of positions, but through making business-technology-career
connections.

STORYTELLING
Have you seen the series of unsolved scientific mysteries in
The Economist?  Each of the six reveal factoids connected to
a lead story in fascinating stories.  Here are the first four
http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/08/economist-explains-10
BEGINNING OF LIFE
http://www.economist.com/news/science-brief/21660968-our-second-brief-scientific-mysteries-we-ask-whether-world-might-make-more-sense
MORE THAN ONE UNIVERSE?
http://www.economist.com/news/science-brief/21661575-third-our-briefs-scientific-mysteries-we-ask-just-what-it-makes-up-95
DARK MATTER/ COMPOSITION OF UNIVERSE
http://www.economist.com/news/science-brief/21662484-fourth-our-series-articles-scientific-mysteries-we-ask-why-mere-542m
CAUSE OF “LIFE EMERGENCE”

Their challenge is to paint an interesting landscape to a
broad readership.  One, these should be interesting topics to us.
Two, there is something to learn in how the stories are told and
illustrated.  Third, if there is some way to connect our work to
these articles it provides a nice context to our work.

NEGOTIATIONS
Negotiation Process was the topic of last week’s seminar.
Interesting possible items that might be considered were:
school loan repayment (Federal positions offer this) and “fair and
reasonable compensation” when a new position has higher deductible
insurances or rates.  See Barb Safani.  It is critical to consider the
“overall” compensation package and implications of bonuses and
incentives on taxes.

If you are asked to sign documents, you could inquire if they
will compensate you for having your lawyer review it for you.

2 comments
09/11/15
Negotiations. 5. Tools, Preparation
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 8:07 am

Many seminars on negotiations will either emphasize the Harvard
Process
or provide examples not directly focused on the
audience’s near term perceived needs.

Talking about negotiating a roof repair after a chimney pointing
process does not strike students who are graduating and looking
for a job.  They don’t pick up the relevance.

Yesterday’s seminar audience felt that negotiations begin
when they are presented an offer of interest.  Surprising.
Work and research must be done well in advance of the
position offer to define priorities, leverage points,
cultural influences and even words to indicate “no”.

The seminar also provided tools and how-to-express
things in three practical-to-their-needs stories.

TOOLS
1.  AfterActionReview and T-Chart
2.  Checklist

3.  Negotiations can happen at different times than a job offer.
Most people realize they will have 5-20 jobs in their career
and some they will need to change when their job is eliminated.
Being able to express and use use Appreciation to influence
the tenor of negotiations  can make a difference.

HOW TO EXPRESS “NO”
-  “I am flattered that you thought of me, but I am afraid I
do not have the bandwidth…”
-  “I would very much like to, but I am over-committed…”
-  “no, but”.. another time or situation.
-  “let me check my calendar and get back to you…”
-  focus on the trade-off:  what are we sacrificing if we…
-  to seniors or leaders:  “I would be glad to, but which of the
other projects should I lower in priority…”
-  “you are welcome to….;  I am willing to….”
-  “I am not able to do it, but so and so can…”

4 comments
09/06/15
Watch-Outs. 87. Asking for referrals,Detective mindset, Salaries, Patent Reform
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:52 pm

Recently several requests for connections to people have come.
It is interesting that some seek referrals far afield from STEM
in areas, like Medical Science Liaison and Patents and law. 
The relationship the requester has and the shared feeling
of reciprocity, of willingness to give back generously, must be
communicated both in the request and in the following reply.
Comments on one’s wording are shared.

A strong post from B. Sucher is linked offering that we
be a “detective” when seeking career opportunities.  This goes
for people fully in the job market as well as for professionals
in their current position who sense some uncertainty in
future directions.

One common thread in our capitalist society is wondering
how much salary compensation different positions offer. 
A web resource guide is linked to assist you.

Since federal legislators have missed opportunities to deal with
inequities and huge increases in patent infringement claims,
many states are creating measures to limit “patent trolling”
and other legal bottlenecks.  It is worth keeping a finger on
the pulse of these to be able to understand some questions to
ask should you be involved in a related case.

BONUS LINK:  Giving good presentations

REFERRALS
SOURCE:  R. Roberge, The best way to ask for referrals;
A. Doyle, How do you ask for a referral ;
Getsidekick, How to ask for a referral
For people I know and have a recent or long term connection,
it is usually a pleasure to share names who could be excellent
resources or have valuable information or connections.  The
problem comes with requests with scant connections.  They,
honestly, have to do more to have me work for them.  Their
letter of request, if in an email, might only be an email reply
with links, if they don’t take the time to build a relationship and
enhance the connection.

Then, after the reply, a prompt ‘thank you’ is in order.  If it is
not done or done in an appreciatively timely manner,
the next request will either be slowly responded or
less detailed and thought-inspired.

DETECTIVE BEHAVIORS
SOURCE:  B. Sucher, Do you cry wolf?
Billie offers that in our environment we need to ascribe to
the habits of the best detectives to be successful and offers
over 30 behaviors.  The ones that jump out for me are:
communication and listening,  observational skills and
putting pieces together.

PATENT REFORM
SOURCE S. Malanga, WSJ 9-4-15 “States move to do-it-
yourself patent reform

There are wiser people battling over this issue and like in
wars the victors will write the final story.  It is worth
looking into this if you live in VT, MN, NC and
skimming Law360 blog.

SALARY RESOURCE
Be aware that it appears several sources are cutting back and
using the same output/survey result.

comments (0)
07/12/15
Salary Information. Public or Private Information
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:06 pm

Over the years confidential information which is not shared
within a company includes health records, bank account,
social security details, finance and investment records
about you by law.

On the other hand, many report seeking offers with the highest
possible starting salary.
  In many places co-workers do not
often reveal their numbers to one another.  However, making
this information public to professional association and sites
like glassdoor.com is done.  The question is:  can you be
restricted from sharing your salary compensation by an
employer?

The answer is yes, but the debate goes back and forth.

Why would an employer want to?–
  to prevent unhealthy employee competition,
  to lessen undesirable interview negotiations with others,
  to avoid prosecution for wage discrimination [Ledbetter
Fair Pay Act 2009]

If, in any of your signed documents there is a clause stating

“…both during and at all times after termination …., I shall not
use, disclose, publish or distribute…any confidential information,
… as authorized in advance and in writing by the company…”

you agree to the restriction despite NLRB laws permitting
sharing of information to allow employees freedom to organize.

So, if the information can not be traced to specific individuals,
individuals feel it helps others to report it.  People reading the
data need to know it can be both over- and under-reported and
more importantly, salary is only one component of a
compensation package.

The package also might cover vacation time, child care, hours of
work (including travel time and time to handle personal affairs),
sign-on bonus (taxes paid), relocation package, performance
related bonuses, parking, transporation assistance, company
van or transportation, flex time, dress code, intellectual
property rights, subscritions, wellness facilities, memberships
insurances (health, life, disability, other) and others.

Executive packages
in addition might also include incentives,
stock options, termination provisions, loans, deferred compensation,
and other features.

So looking at a single number as a basis of comparison might
seem shortsighted.  It should be more ethically judged on your
family’s needs and requirements and market value.
 
 

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)
01/14/15
Watch-Outs. 78. Retention bonuses, Financial numbers and Google biomedical devices
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:08 pm

Several years ago, my boss shared with me that new owners
would agree to a purchase, if he and I were to remain with
the company.  It had to do with understanding significantly
valuable to a new owner and what they planned to do.  This
kind of arrangement is not uncommon in technology companies
that may be involved in merger and acquisition activity.
(Note all the activity in Pharma.)  Al Sklover’s recent
excellent guidance on what to look for and what to seek
is heady information in the first item.

We did not receive nor ask for a retention bonus.

A second article gave insight on the financial side of
our careers relating to some financial indices that
signal good habits.  There is some debate about adding
different ones than the 15 given in the linked article.
Nonetheless a couple were quite meaningful for me.

Google is diving into the biomedical device arena
starting with contact lenses by partnering with Novartis
(-Alcon) and other technologies to solve the world’s
problems.  Andrew Conrad spoke about this on WSJ.com
and is highlighted in various business magazines.

RETENTION BONUS CONSIDERATIONS AND INSIGHT
SOURCE:  A. Sklover, Sklover’s working wisdom, 1-6-15
Responding to a Retention Bonus Offer
The retention bonus is a good faith business agreement, thus
will be offered with a formally drawn contract that is legally
binding when finalized.  Al points out the usual meanings, traps
and details that can be considered for negotiation.

There are certain terms to look out for and exclude, actively
employed and sole discretion, and better phrases that
represent your position better.  There is also an opportunity
to negotiate, he points out, but beware with a legal counsel
on your side.

This is another excellent, point-by-point discussion on legal
matters in lucid language.

DECISIONS:  BUY OR RENT, RMD STRATEGIES, MUTUAL
FUND EXPENSES
SOURCE:  A. Prior, WSJ 1-3-15, p, B1
The numbers you need to know.”
We are in the process of considering downsizing and wonder
where to move and do we rent or buy.  This article listed the
price to rent ratio.  In a high, scarce rent area, it is better to
buy and in a cheap and plentiful rent area, it is better to rent.
Market assessment by other words, I suppose.

It also offered a strategy for required minimum distributions
RMD [for when we reach 70 1/2] when little else exists.
If you have enough income without RMD, then ask your
sponsor to hold off payment until the 4th quarter and
request enough to cover both state and federal taxes
as well as quarterly estimated taxes.  This allows you to keep
the money in the tax shelter for most of the year.
Should have thought of that!

How much is your estate tax exemption (differs in each state),
mutual fund expenses (keep <1.0%), home insurance coverage
(replacement cost), debt service and rate, AGI levels, fixed,
recurring and discretionary expenses?  Seems like a good
checklist, even if only a couple apply to you now. 

GOOGLE BIOMEDICAL VENTURES
SOURCE: L. Friedman, Business Insider 11-3-14
Here’s what experts really think about Google’s plan to
find cancer sooner

I viewed an interview on WSJ Live and dug a little into
creating devices with nanoparticles made from iron oxide
to monitor what is happening in our bodies to get both
early detection and continuous monitoring of proteins,
enzymes and biologically relevant signal molecules.

Here is a scientist speaking to business people and
marketers who understands the different modes of
thinking.  For marketers good outcomes in
experiments point to successes;  for scientists,
experiments disprove hypotheses.  He also “paints
a memorable word picture” in a story about what
motivates the work and Google.

The topic is unusual, the speaker fluent and this
reveals a new technological direction for the future.

1 comment
11/12/14
Negotiations. 4. Overcoming Bad Habits
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:29 pm

Negotiations can lose momentum quickly when our
untrained, emotional habits and fears are exposed.

We saw this in our Negotiations Seminar.  Four groups
were invited to choose one of three scenarios of negotiations
and set up a two party negotiation within their group.
The seminar had covered all of the elements of the
Negotiation Process
-offer in writing, job description in writing
-set up your process, enlist a helping team, set your family’s
priorities among the possible items and do thorough research
and due diligence
-develop and practice your strategy
-develop ideas for your BATNA
-execute and adapt to situations

We had covered the Negotiations Checklist.

A. One of the comments afterward was that there weren’t clear
instructions of what to do
.  The response is it is an applicant’s
responsibility to show that they can create order out of an
uncertain situation
.  Each group should have gravitated to the
process flow chart and checklist.  This was a teachable moment.

B.  Another interesting observation was that there was no
strategic thinking and establishing of a priority order of the list
of things.  This was demonstrated by one proposal:  Will the
company pay for my student loans.

Again the point is to find out leverage points.  What are the company’s
highest needs?  How can you the applicant meet and exceed them?
Listen carefully after exploring their wants to develop your
leverage in the negotiation.  Then, the company representative is
more than willing to pursue their BATNA ideas to have you want
to join their organization.  Another teachable moment.

Instead, the question showed an attitude that might only turn the
representative off.

There are organizations– the Federal government, that have certain
loan repayment provisions
for specific position hires.  But your
responsibility in negotiation is to explore leverage points.

Good habits:  Use the negotiation process
                        Know and implement the Negotiation Checklist.

1 comment
Job Offer. Low Salary, No Offer Letter
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 1:10 pm

A very recent PhD attended the Negotiation Process
seminar.  This person seemed to be both pleased
and concerned.

This person expressed not being aware of the importance
of receiving a formal offer letter.   The list of possible
items that could be negotiated and how to form and
conduct the process were quite valuable.  However,
it seems, preliminary research work for this small
company had already begun without pay or even an
offer letter.

Let me indicate that this entry is not focused on the
offer letter and its contents.  Please refer to excellent
entries in Sklover Working Wisdom.

This person asked:  What should I do now, as I have
not heard from the small start up company entrepreneur?

The verbal job offer for the PhD was $50K/ year.

This is clearly an opportunity to put the negotiating
checklist and negotiating process to work.  It is
important to ask for an in person meeting to seek
a written commitment stating starting date, title,
salary and formal benefits and any conditionals

(like, receiving a grant or funding or contracts).

The person should be doing formal due diligence on
this position and its competitors
, should be forming
a negotiating team
to help define and evaluate, should
be establishing BATNA and all the other process
steps and checklist items
.

To start, going to the ACS Salary Comparator can
establish a ground state.  It does not seem to me,
besides protests to the contrary, that $50K is a
reasonable starting salary for a full time PhD position.
The 2013 data assessment bore this hypothesis out.

SCENARIO   Academic     Commercial                   
Specific area  N. E. outside of NYC and Boston
                       20,000
                       research        Contract        Profession
                                              Research       Services
80 %ile          $83K             $109K           $114K
60 %ile            73K                 96K              100K
30 %ile             61K                80K                83K
10 %ile             51K                67K                70K

There is certainly room to seek a better offer just
in this. 

The workshop provided 30 other negotiating factors
that in the best interest of this person should be prioritized
before the formal in person meeting.

In addition, a viable back-up plan needs to be developed
in short order.

1 comment
Negotiations. 3. The Negotiation Process, Being Likeable, Priorities and Leverage
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:11 pm

Negotiation is not something people feel comfortable
doing  for it can feel like moving from a certain offer
to a risk-laden proposal with an uncertain response.
Our minds are uncomfortable with uncertainty.  Thus,
some people are shy to negotiate and aim to please the
other party (undermining their own family needs).

It is helpful then to have a working definition that
clarifies that negotiation is a process of “motivating”
another person to do something that (s)he at the moment
is not inclined to do.
The power you have to motivate is “leverage” to
excel and complete the tasks and projects assigned
to you.  Thus, your approach is not “me-centric”
(ie.  I want, I need….)

You can establish leverage by being likeable so that
both you and the other party feel comfortable in
sharing and more importantly listening to each other,
and clarifying interests and needs.  We then agree to
understand the interests and meet and exceed
the needs which yields leverage in a negotiation.

Many successful negotiations are not “one-person
shows,” but result from team efforts, resources and
inputs to define priority needs to seek in the
principled negotiation.

Previous posts on negotiation
   Using T-Charts to compare offer terms
   Legal aspects of negotiations
   Things to avoid
   things to have– written offer
   Things to ask and of whom to ask them

2 comments
10/12/14
Watch-Outs. 70. IRA Scrutiny, Negotiating salary, life’s priorities
Filed under: First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:24 pm

Our long term health and financial security often follow
family as important and indeed “priorities” in our lives.
It is reason enough to keep an open eye and mind to
tips, strategies and changes to investments, IRAs
and 401K accounts that are linked to.  [Not being
an expert, more to share items of potential value to
you.]

Negotiating for various items is a second topic.
As it is a subject we do not identify as important,
but it really is something we do not only when we
are hired but throughout our life.  The context in
this post is for women professionals salaries.

Looking for answers to what is important in
our lives is the third link.  While it is done in the
context of business and economists, I dare say it
is a common area of interest for chemists and
technical professionals of all levels and disciplines.
It is sorely missed in our world view.

IRA ACCOUNT SCRUTINY
SOURCE:  L. Suanders, WSJ 10-11-14, p. B8
“Scrutinizing Supersize IRAs

While the comments offer considerable backlash
from those who legally took advantage of things
the lawmakers could not envision, the article
offers some advice.  It offers
1.  “if you have an IRA that holds nontraded assets,
make sure to cross every “T” and dot every “I” for
the IRS.
2.  Don’t count on your IRA surviving many decades.
3.  Consider maximizing contributions to tax
sheltered plans now.”

NEGOTIATIONS:  SALARY MAY REFLECT “ASK GAP”
SOURCE:  John Bussey, WSJ 10-11-14 P. B4
Gender wage gap may reflect ask gap

The comments to this article go outside the bounds
of a plain hypothesis.  The idea is to ask for what you
identify as a priority.  If you do not ask it is rarer
that you will get it.  To ask “put your best case
forward and ask…”

While social scientist have a list of explanations
for differences between men and women– job
choice, career interruption, experience, being
in a union, hours of work, child care, [from article],
asking for a raise is a difference– men ask more often
by putting their best case forward.

APPROACH TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU IN LIFE
SOURCE:  Schumpeter, the Economist, 10-4-14, P76
Philosopher kings

When we retire is when we often wait to figure
out what is important.  It is too late.  You have
heard stories about suicides in offices of people
who let everything go except their business or career.
This article cites several examples of people who
think about and establish their priorities as part
of the daily adult lives.  The article is worth pondering.
If interested in this, the book by Greg McKeown,
Essentialism gives you more depth.

comments (0)