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

January 2022
« Dec    
Job Loss, Job Search and Retirement
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:58 am

Now looking in the rear view mirror on this, it is possible
to offer a perspective.

One of the key things is to join and participate in professional
societies.  This was a strong recommendation of a former
boss at Exxon Research, Jim Amick.  Our conversations led me
to pursue roles that might provide experience in leadership and
networking.  It was not broadly spoken about at my first two
positions and it was not easy to get approval to attend meetings.
Yet when my turn for facing the music of job loss came,
it was my good fortune that managers encouraged me to 
attend a national ACS meeting to participate in the job clearinghouse.
That led to several interviews and offers.
Weathering the storms of corporate life is mostly being in the
right place at the right time, by good relationship and
skill building.  Accepting roles that are not part of my formal
background did stretch employment longevity.  But looking for
volunteer opportunities 
for the common good– chairing meeting
sessions, reviewing articles, 
volunteering as local section member
at national meetings and then
learning from successes of others
Then, help others pursue their career aspirations.
As I saw happen to even the most talented colleagues, cut backs occur.
Through no fault of their own I saw many people get “sacked” and 
pick themselves up and resume their career somewhere else.  My
content here is to bring up end of career observations, as are described
in Mark Miller’s article and podcast.  [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!]
 - Center for Retirement Research (BC) found 37% retire earlier
(55% fail to reach age 66 target)
 -  one quarter of loss of jobs due to health (UMichigan,
 -  Workers 55 and older:  unemployment rate 2.6%, but long term
unemployment of >27 weeks, is 26.6%,  [that is, if you get laid off,
recovering is less likely]
 -  Sporadic income is hard to manage, but expecting to reach your
retirement goals set early in life, is getting harder and harder.
Pointers from Mark Miller
1. Assess your health and employment statistics in viable fields, as
time goes on.  
2. Create interim plans including health care insurance and alternate
income streams that match outflows.
3. Fees and costs of retirement accounts.  Look for financial advisers
who pursue your goals [interview several and don’t just depend on
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Professional Behaviors. Teamwork with uncooperative team members and recalling emails
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:33 am

Our Professional Development class is interesting because
we can use feedback from class members for future discussion
items and exercises in class.

One feedback card read:  Could we engage in networking
conversations and elevator speeches from each person in class?
It is better than describing them.
>In subsequent classes we asked people to deliver elevator speeches
to their team mates [which should be done in all team situations].
Then when we brought in guest speakers, we asked each class 
member to deliver an elevator pitch to the guests.
A couple of other situations that are intriguing.  One class member
met privately and said she did not know what to do as her team
was unresponsive to requests to work together and complete tasks
on time.  We talked about it and in class performed an exercise. 
What can you do to work better as a team?  There are many excuses:
too busy, lazy, procrastinate, think the assignment is dumb….
  • plan ahead; discuss the work assignment
  • know yourself; study your teammates behaviors, values, likes
  • keep in touch; communicate, even over-communicate
  • offer help if others have trouble understanding/solving the assignment
  • Team formation usually follows easily recognizable stages, known as
    “forming, storming, norming, and performing.”
  • learn about your team-mates: their values, behavior, goals, time lines,
    honesty, promptness, caring; strength and weakness
  • When do you report to higher Ups?
  • Influence: consistency, scarcity, authority, trust worthiness,
    social proof
  • Work together, share ideas and don’t just divide up the work.
  • Use people’s strengths and interests to produce something that
    exceeds expectations.
  • Become familiar with due dates, put buffer between team
    deadline and final deadline alert people in advance
  • Givers succeed most, reciprocators are a close second
  • Adam Grant’s book “Givers and Takers”
A second class exercise was inspired by an incident where a class 
member forgot an attachment when sending an email.  It happens to
all of us.
The class came up with several and discussion ensued about how
some recipients might feel it revealed lack of attention to detail or
how you perform under pressure.  There are technological solutions
that we should know and use.
    Gmail, Virtu
    Attachments in Gmail
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Job offer situations. Reasons why you might not accept an offer
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 4:11 pm

There are many people with strong technical skills
and backgrounds competing for positions today.  After
you work hard to research and find a position, apply
by writing all your public relations documents,
interview in several scenarios, and then wait for
an offer.

When the offer comes, must you accept it? 

If you have competing offers, how do you choose
the best one to select?  The one with higher salary?
What other possible factors could be considered to reject
a single offer or deselect a second place offer.  This
post discusses some factors to consider.

- exposure to toxic chemicals, heat, cold, asbestos,
heavy metals, radiation, etc
- lack of personal protective equipment or procedures
to monitor health and exposures.

- facilities with out of date inspections or equipment
to safeguard employees
- operations that expose you to back or foot ailments,
for example.

- small firms, for example, with limited resources but
with ambitious plans
- what is the last person in the position now doing
- what are the job review parameters and expectations

- is it a poor match to your skills, experience and interests
[so that you are always a step behind, trying to catch up,
with limited or no help or mentor]
- will it allow you latitude to get inside and outside
exposure, networking opportunities, training and personal
- will you be asked to take a lower level assignment that
might affect your reputation
- what is the formal title; “junior” scientist or engineer
is it suitable to your experience and background?

-  is there a good record of management, management
training displaying organization and motivational skills
-  is there a level of ease to know goals and speak frankly
about the organization and its prospects
-  good, clear answers to your questions in reasonable
time;  you feel a priority
-  would your next position possibly be her position

-  do the written, spoken and acted upon values match
your personal values
-  is the pace of business and teamwork style suitable
-  ask how things get done:  could be hierarchical, could be
informal with limited or no written rules; 
-  ask to see an employee handbook;  are you comfortable

-  is it heavy handed where everyone speaks the same
-  is there good communication with access to new or
different ideas and approaches
-  are different populations represented in management
and in departments
-  is there an authentic code of behavior and is it followed
-  did you see and feel it on your interview

-  how long has your supervisor been in her position
-  what was the supervisor’s career path
-  where have previous job holders gone next
-  will the position allow you to build and grow skills
and gain valuable experience

-  some leaders believe industry knowledge trumps
functional expertise, thus you start at a lower level
-  is it a “detour” or “fill-in” position

-  in informal conversations and discussions with your
network do you find “negative impressions” from current
and former employees
-  any signs of lack of respect

-  do they meet your family’s near term and future needs
-  are you factoring in cost of living and commute distance
and time
-  confirm all the details of relocation assistance, starting
insurance dates, etc.
-  will you need short term housing and transportation

-  establish through questions how much personal time is
taken up by work related roles and responsibilities
-  is the cost of living and residence expectations reasonable
for you to have more than one hour commute in rush hour

-   are you too restricted on your options if you leave

These are some of the items to gain information on and speak
with career consultants or mentors about.

Wikihow provides some thoughts on how you might reject an offer.


1 comment
International Graduate Students and Post Doctoral Fellows
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:01 pm

We had a unique segment in our Preparing for Life
after Graduate School Workshop in Norfolk last
week.  Our discussant covered ‘Opportunities for
International Students.’ Since a significant fraction
of graduate student enrollment is international
(ranging from 30 to 80 per cent in institutions),
this seems timely.

The focus on our segment was on practical experiences.
The guidance to not give up when you do not hear back
or get a request to re-apply was offered.  Also, apply early.

Since there is a lottery for certain countries of origin,
it is worthwhile to apply if your country of origin is in
the selected group.

What also seems relevant, but is generally not expressed,
is to know who are elected officials in your area and
to seek their help.   After all, once citizenship is attained
there is a strong notion for a vote at election time and
for good reason.

We are planning a similar seminar on the same topic this
week where we will also include the following in our

 - EducationUSA
- Understand the American educational system
- Get involved socially to overcome cultural and language issues
- process various factors in deciding whether to go home
country or work in US
- companies that you apply to should use e-verify and be
willing to help citizenship issues
- develop networking skills- small talk, introductions, 
networking conversations and story telling

Workshop Feedback. Question: Expressing Desire for employment
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 10:24 am

One of the MUD CARDS in a recent workshop asked:

How do I express to people that I am seeking employment
or a change of positions without seeming to beg or needing
to express why?

In today’s very mobile employment scene, changing jobs occurs
for many reasons and more frequently than we expect and at
times when we might not expect to. 

My first inclination offers that we should in constantcommitted
” mode.  It helps you maintain relevance and contact
with others
   - in your field and outside of your field
   - at the same stage of your career and at earlier and later stages
their careers
   - needing help and offering help to others, even if nothing comes
back in return.

A step before committed networking involves you performing a
personal self assessment about what your motivations are
for employment at this point in time and perhaps if you
are tuned to near term changes, in your near future.  Are you
motivated by:  advancement, affiliation, balance, excitement,
ability to contribute to the greater good, security, desire to
learn, respect, — whatever it is!

Figure out if it is your feelings or the position that you are
(if you seek a change from current employment).  The
“rub” you may have may start with current job conflicts
(boss, responsibilities, time commitments, travel, co-workers,
mission, security), but evaluate if it is in your personal motivations
or in the position.  A change of positions, if it is in your
motivations, might not be satisfied with a change of positions.

Amy Gallow authored a thoughtful HBR piece on modifying
one’s current roles and responsibilities to improve personal
job satisfaction without formally changing positions.

Perhaps the most telling approach involves understanding
the “interviewing continuum” and the role of networking
, small talk and introductions.  Viewing your
job search as part of series of interviews that you have
significant influence in participating helps you proactively
pursue positions without feeling as if begging.

1 comment
Importance of Attending Technical Conferences.
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:06 pm

Ok, it is the beginning of the year.  Let me bring
up a critical element for all scientists and engineers–
attending conferences, meetings, colloquia and local
, informal meetings (meet-ups).

I was reminded of this when I saw a portrait of
Dr. Cruikshank in the stairway of a university I
visited with a colleague.  I asked him why he believes
it is important to attend conferences.  Cruikshank as
many know served as director of the Gordon
Research Conferences
for many years

He responded: “Education, exposure, networking, and
of course, career fairs…But, I should emphasize the need
to overcome any hesitancy to go

“No” can be taken to mean “no, not now.  Ask me later.”

My colleague remarked:  “If one gives a talk or a poster, your
adviser is likely to pay.  You can always double-up or
triple-up with peers… Grad students sell goggles and use
some of the profits for travel grants.  Grants are also
available through associations. 
Local meetings are usually less expensive to get to,” he also

Conference attending, whether a large meeting, an
international conference, a topical symposium, a
local section lecture or tutorial are important parts of
“co-curricular learning”, that is learning outside the
educational institution.

When working in industry, conference attendance is either
limited to specific areas of pertinence to your project, or
by budgetary constraints or immediate needs of the
Those in government will be focused on attending meetings
related to their agency mission. 
Workers in both areas will attend gatherings if they are
involved in the organization or leadership or as a councilor.

Complications often arise from schedule conflicts.  [Life
goes on and few are indispensable.  Giving others a chance
to do things may prove very powerful.] So, planning and
finding win-win outcomes are an essential part of
professional behavior of attending conferences.

When working in industry, my request to attend a conference
was commonly met with the reply.  You can go on your own
.  Or, if you pay your own way, you can go.  So, rather
than taking this as a “no” it was a personal challenge for me
to develop strategies to volunteer to serve in different
capacities– chairing colloquia, chairing host committees,
coordinating AV or planning functions, volunteering to give
workshops, and serving on task forces and committees.

Nonetheless, once you arrive, it can remain a challenge
of what to do and where you should go.  See  2   and   2a  .

The more senior one is, the more challenging it can be.
It just raises the ante to learn from others how they are able
to manage the challenge.

1. Papers, presentations, 3
2. connections  [information interviews, networking conversations
       networking interviews],
3. trends (in favor and out of favor),
4. grants (to university proposals, to small businesses),
5. leaders in the field,
6. organizational business
7. affinity groups,
8. short courses [personal and professional growth],
9. new technologies [explore new technologies, uses],
10. Affairs, events [small talk, conversations, information
11. develop personal skills (presentations, wise skills)

B. Fischer wrote a recent piece indicating other
12. broaden your knowledge,
13. exposure to job and business opportunities,
14. plenary lectures [choose your seat so you can see]
15. asking questions 4   ,
16. voluntary presentations
17. exhibition area [And  “bling”]
18. satellite events.

She also provides a nice structure, layout and
content guide for posters and short 10-minute
talks which are becoming more common.

Make attending meetings and conferences one
 of your personal resolutions.  As Adam Cheyer
remarked at a recent meeting I went to — one of
your VSGs (verbally stated goals).  The other
success behaviors were:  try something outside of
your normal realm of experience and exposure and
be open to the significant, unpredictable role of luck.


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Recent Statistics. Where Chemistry PhDs Find Employment
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:25 am

My colleague and collaborator, Joseph Jolson, presented
a YCC seminar ‘Issues of Importance to PhDs entering
the workforce’ in Pittsburgh. Using data he obtained from the ACS
he declared that establishing, learning and practicing
professional skills are essential
.  “Hard skills” (technical know-how)
are not enough to be offered a position.

He revealed where PhDs with 2 or less years experience are in
their careers:
Permanent positions                33%
Temporary positions                  5

Post-doctoral positions            47    31  Academic
                                                               9  Government
                                                               7  Industrial
Not employed, seeking               9
Remainder are part-time or not seeking.

As Reid Hoffman says, you are the CEO of ‘Me, Inc.’ and
responsible for the direction and accomplishments in
what you do.  It is imperative to look for ways to information
, have networking conversations, learn how to
meet people and help them reach their goals using wise

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Keystone Habit. Committed Networking
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 12:40 pm

This week’s Seminar Workshop urged attendees to
make “committed networking‘ a “keystone habit.”

More than 40% of each one of our daily routines
involves habits.  Institutions either inculcate, take
advantage of or create new habits.  Charles Duhigg
wrote a fascinating treatise on “The Power of Habit
where he dissects their nature and influences and derived
the concept of habits that change other habits and
allow us to achieve other desired outcomes.  He
called these “keystone habits.”

We reviewed in our seminar:  networking conversations,
networking interviews and elevator speeches and wove
them into elements of a habit to develop in ourselves
the positive habit of a proactive form of networking with
members of our networks who are STARs
  Technical Experts
  Alert partners with whom you work well
   Reviewers and mentors
and consequential strangers.  Then we practiced
conversation introductions, listening skills, exchanging
key information, nonverbal communications and
what to do next to make committed networking.

Two guest presenters revealed how they put these
“habits” into practice getting results, ie, interviews.

Then we talked about asynchronous, remote
networking and the importance of putting your
best foot forward in leading online platforms,
like Linkedin.

The substance being that committed networking needs
to be developed before you need it and therefore is
best regarded as a keystone habit.

1 comment
Conference Attendance. Exhiitions
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:13 am

Scientists and engineers might focus on attending only
technical sessions at conferences.  I know that was the
approach for my first decade.  However, there is a
lot of important work that gets done at conference
exhibitions.  Not the least is networking for job
openings and applications

Scenario:  Invited to visit a governance, risk and
compliance exhibition in Boston this week to meet
up with my brother.  Every one knows exhibitions
are great places to meet up with people while work
is going on or at a conference since there will be free
time, interesting things to learn and people in
networking mode.”

Bling (=free hand-outs and gifts) is also available,
as a fun sidelight.

Perspective:  While I am not at all involved with
this ‘formal’ field, there are “hooks” from my interests
and background that can be used to get into conversations
with people in the exhibition area.

Some insights
 - Bring your business cards.
 - Have plenty of time to wander around and chat. 
 - Have something to write ideas down on and bring a
carrying case or valese (true, many exhibitions hand them
out;  however, some don’t.)

Go in with the idea that you belong and want to meet people
and learn things about their products, businesses, and roles
in the company. 
Have a short story about yourself ready to tell. 

Some benefits:
Just ordered some software from an electronics vendor that
I needed.  There was a discount available and free shipping.
Net cost:  $0.  [Ad cost $60.]

Learned to use youtube much more to solve problems.

Spoke with very knowledgeable technical sales people and
learned a lot about things that I can use.
   -how several large firms are using Sharepoint with some
front end software as ELNs [electronic lab notebooks]
    -how a lot of firms have developed product and service
niches that create significant business process improvement.
    -ideas on my passions, hobbies and problems through
small talk.

Some surprises:
There is a pecking order of people at each booth and
table.  Be highly respectful. 
If it is near the end of the quarter, some key people will
not be at the meeting.  Quarterly business activities
take precedence.
It is always pleasant to get involved in mixers and
cocktail hours.  People tend to loosen up and mingle,
if their business needs are met.  If someone is alone
at their booth, offer to get something for them.

Oh, yes, got a couple of bling items– flashlight-screw
driver combo, Starbucks free coffee card….

1 comment
Networking at a National Meeting
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 7:10 am

One of the chemical professionals who met with me in Denver
was a student who remembered I mentioned to her to come
and see me at the meeting and we can do some “faceting”
together.  What is faceting?  It is accompanying a mentor and seeing,
learning and then doing networking. It allows you to see another
dimension of a person that you know in a specific context.
So, a student from a class can join me at a meeting as we
engage in conversations in an exhibition hall.

When DM came, it was a great time for me.  I wanted to
attend an awards ceremony in a ‘close-by’ hotel but had been
heavily “booked” with clients all day.  It did not look like I
would be able to attend, since I wanted to congratulate several
of the award winners.  DM gave me the chance since she
signed up to meet with me.  So we walked over to the hotel
and went from floor to floor, and one big meeting space and
lounge to another.  As we went, I kept courteously asking for

As we walked (in comfortable shoes, I might add), we had a
continuing casual conversation.  Clearly, if there was a barrier
or shyness at the beginning, it was gone by the time we entered
the awards ceremony room.  We must have spoken to a dozen
people in the process of getting there.

We stood in the back of the room, having arrived 15 minutes late
and observed several presentations till the conclusion.  Then,
there was a professional reception.  We both diffused through
the receding audience looking for one person we both wanted
to congratulate.  In the process, I had the pleasure of greeting
several awardees.  Exactly what I wished.

Neither DM nor I found the person we were looking for.  So,
we politely asked an award winner if he was there.  In fact,
the professor knew him and was a professional competitor
of his (UCONN vs. UMASS).  He was not in attendance.
That is why we missed him.  We had a cordial conversation
and departed.

All was not lost, yet I felt we should facet a little more.  We
had explored an event at the national meeting and obtained
a result, but it was not as good as I hoped.

So we returned to the location of our meeting.  Right next
store in the meeting space was the exhibition area.  We could
do more faceting here as we engaged several exhibitors
learning about their products, meeting them and exchanging
business cards.  We enjoyed small snacks that are now
offered during exhibition afternoons.

Clearly, you have to be daring and be willing to go up to
people you do not know and start a conversation. 
You should also know that I intentionally facet with
colleagues to improve my networking, meet new people
and learn new skills.   I attendied several receptions I would
not normally join– a diversity reception, a grad student and
post-doc reception and the AEI where I must say I enjoyed
seeing people I knew and met a whole new group of people.

In fact, I have received four or five emails from people
I met this way since the meeting.

Want to improve your networking skills?  Review this
Caltech handout and ‘facet’ with someone.

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Attending ACS Career Fair. Denver, CO
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:21 am

The Denver National Meeting is about 2 months away.

Are you less than 2 years away from looking for a
position?  Whether you seek a post-doc, working in
a small or large company, working in government, or
perhaps considering academic positions?  this is a great
opportunity for you.
What about considering entering a career away from
the laboratory bench
– law, production facility or factory,
government technical liaison, technical writing,
regulatory affairs, information science and many others.
You can meet people who are involved in these fields

If you are planning to attend, now is the time to line up
your Internet Presence, your public relations documents,
your meeting plans [what you plan to do], your personal
arrangements and even your clothing.

Do you have a career consultant?  Consider working on
your PR documents now before the meeting by working
with a career consultant.  They may also be able to
point out things to do at the meeting that will be of

If you have not developed your Internet Presence, do
so before the meeting.  How is your LinkedIn profile?
Practice small talk and conversations which are at the
heart of networking.  Ask the career consultant to help
you refine your LinkedIn profile.  2 

- ask for references and prepare them,
ask them for their help
- ask the ACS which companies will attend
perform detailed and networking research
- define what you want on your business
cards, print them out
- look at the detailed program coming out
next week, organize your days for specific
activities you most want to attend, people
you most wish to meet, companies you want
to interact with

Career fair sign up

Consider being proactive in attending.  If you
are faced with a tight budget, find people who
are attending and “room with them”.  Ask to
volunteer at the meeting and ask for your
registration to be waived or reduced as a
volunteer.  Recall unemployed members can
attend without cost.

1 comment
Workshop discussion. First year on the job
Filed under: First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 1:58 pm

You might call these things “zeroth order skills.”

In the Boston ACS meeting workshop on ‘First
year on the job for industrial positions,’ which
could be for academic and governmental
roles as well, we had a lively discussion.

One question a participant asked:  What do you
do when you enter a room full of people and you
know no one?

Well, (1) if you were the speaker, a panel
discussant or
other figure, it is not a bad idea to
ask for the organizer
or chairperson or host(ess). 

Now, the usual case is an (2) attendee entering
a room. 
There are two or three strategies.  Of
course, before
entering the room it is not a bad
idea (2a) to visit the
restroom and check yourself
in the mirror.  Entering
the room, one strategy is
(2b) to look for others who
are individuals and look
like they are open to your
introduction.  Similarly,
you can (2c) observe different
groups that seem to
be open to accepting new people in.

An alternate approach can be used when food or
is being served.  One can (3a) approach the
bar or table
and “queue up.”  While waiting (3b)one
can engage in
small talk and introductions, which can
last beyond getting
one’s drink.

When entering groups or meeting individuals, it is
not bad to offer compliments, ask non personal
questions or add something to conversations by
keeping things flowing in a positive vein.

In a sense, the is a zeroth order element of networking.

A follow-up question came from a very professional
young lady, “What should I do when people call me
Sean?”  “I don’t feel flattered when people call me that
and it is not my name,” she added.   “My name is
Shauntrece.“  I can understand this somewhat.

What I might do is offer the following kind of
anecdote.  “Once I was in a meeting room and
came to the doorway and yelled, “Sean!” 
Three guys
immediately got up and looked at the door, 
I didn’t get up.

I honestly like my given name, Shauntrece,
and feel much 
better when people use it. 
Could you please?”

Offering a more negative comment does not feel
good for either the speaker or the recipient.

Another professional in the room had an unusual
for America.  Her name is Aimee and she
asked how
to help people to use it.  Another attendee
up offering that these were two of the first
pronouns in English.  So, she might say,
“My name
is Aimee, you know like two first personal
in English, ‘I-me’” 

Use what you prefer to be called and give them
a ‘thought hook’.

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Managing your career. Patience and textured communication in Long term networking
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:18 am

A truism that stands out in the current economy
is that technical skills alone will not land a person
their desired offer.  In a tight market, it behooves
job seekers to do the little things that show that
you recognize the hiring manager’s needs and the
company’s interests.

Longstanding issues for all chemists and technical
professionals are, whether you are in search of
better opportunities or in a satisfying situation:
-     learning what to do in an emergency or
problem while you are not in the situation
-     developing a mindset that recognizes the
early onset of downward spirals (in business growth,
technology development, industry trends) and
looks for solutions and new directions [what are
ways to end “losing streaks?”]  I recommend these
be entered into your personal workplace notebook.
 -    patience, presence and preparation.

This post focuses on the last item of three Ps.

Many people fall into their comfort zones too
easily or get impatient with slower developing
results.  Networking is a good example. 
People should expect a time and participation
commitment so that you “earn” the right to
have people want to work with you.
People, as Colleen DiBaise writes, “will be
impressed when they see you joining
committees, making decisions and getting
things done” for the greater good.  1

Presence– oh, wow!  Don’t be taken
by “slick” or fast talkers who may too
readily offer responses and answers without
the necessary audience analysis and
introspection.  This is an example of a
good communicator without presence
[They can brilliantly communicate things
they shouldn’t.]

People demonstrate presence by sizing up
their audience and determining what level
of detail and elements of needs are for these
stakeholders.  Then, there is the impact of
unintended audiences.
Presence is shown by knowing what to
communicate and how.  There is a texture
to good communication.  2 

Preparation here refers to clarity and
brevity leading to short well phrased
expression of messages to
carefully chosen audiences.  Quick,
impressive follow-ups seal the deal with a
strategic trail of updates, links and
conversations.  [This does not happen
by accident, it is planned and executed.]


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Networking in Job Search. Making connections.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:29 pm

PG and I met at a couple of meetings this year. 
She has
completed her Ph.D. and defense and
seeks a position in
environmental or green
chemistry in industry.  From our
conversations and
some correspondence, she seems to have
behaviors and personable skills that will fit in a
of organizations.

Recently she reached out to me for a connection
to one
of the firms looking for environmental
chemists at the
SF national meeting.

Although we have met, we are not closely linked
in each
other’s networks.  Some refer to people
outside your network
span as “weak links“.  Some
refer to people who you don’t
necessarily think of
first when you seek information or
contacts to a
person or a reference, yet these
” will willingly share information or
contacts in their network to work for you. 

So, I explored linkedin and identified a dozen
jobs and
twenty people.  To me, there was at least
one of each of
interest for PG.  I pointed out what
I did in an email.  She
then explored linkedin and
came up with several “hits”.

Also, I reached out to a cluster and found that,
while they would
not link and interact with me,
they would choose to interact
with PG, given the
right information.

In recent versions of networking theory weak links
up as critical elements.  They are outside
our normal every
day network.  1  2 

The lessons are:
  1.  use consequential strangers or weak links
  2.  understand some network elements prefer to
be selective
and choose to be one-way.  It is your
job to find a way to
get the information to
choose you.

1 comment
Career Fair Preparation. Washington
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 1:22 pm

How can you benefit from attending the
ACS meeting and Career Fair?

This post suggests some things to do in
advance of the
meeting.  Several previous
posts can be also be consulted

-  Sign up for the career fair (even if you
are not
looking for a job right now)  It gives
you the chance
to have conversations with
top employers.

-  Attendees’ preparation
           organize your references and
prepare them for follow up 
           do research on companies and
           define and print your BUSINESS
           have your resume reviewed by a
career consultant and submit to
career fair

Study the program documents before you
go.  Plan to organize your days between
specific presentations,
specific companies’
booths in the exhibition hall, specific
(resumes and interviewing) and career


Any way you can plan to participate in
workshops will
greatly enhance your
benefit in workshops.

Have a game plan not to “sit through”
talks that are not
benefiting you and have
alternatives that will benefit you.

There are downtimes at meetings.  Use
these as times to
practice networking
conversations and do information

interviews.  3 

-  Workshops schedule is out.  Look for
times and days
when the attendance is
smaller.  It will be better for you
to get
your questions answered.  Note– look for

workshops that address your specific

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Chemistry Career Fair. Internet Use and Conversations
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 9:08 am

The NSYCC sponsored Career Fair brought up
two topics that were covered and talked about
in some detail.  In the very challenging job market
that looks to last for the foreseeable future,
discriminating Internet use and the art of
conversations will play more pivotal roles as
more positions will be “hidden.”

Suggestions for wiser Internet use:
 - practice all phases with career consultants
      - determining what you wish to do and where
      - constructing and improving your PR docs
      - practicing your interviewing skills with
interviewstream (available through ACS
 - Information on businesses, industries and
trends:  benefits, contracts, products,
 - Social networking -;
‘google” yourself
 - Technical competencies - assess what
companies seek and match your skill set.
 - Apply online- create focused resumes
based on available job descriptions using
appropriate files that you make
 - Examine competitor companies web-
sites for information on positions
 - Up-to-date communication with your

Conversations are the heart of networking.
We practiced and offered tips and tricks
concerning how to open and things to do
to break the ice with the idea of getting
to know people.  Special attention was
paid to:
 - listening intently (develop habits to
remember names and common ground)
 - find ways to “elevate” your conversation
 - enter into a conversation with the idea
of capturing “how nice it was…”
 - develop a win-win outlook for each
 - set, meet and exceed expectations

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Connectors in your Network
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 5:44 pm

This week’s Philadelphia meeting was a
personal opportunity
for me to act as a
connector (See
Gladwell for more in depth
description) for members who came

A connector is a willing person who
places your needs
above his or her own. 
The connector has a cache with
in her network in which a certain value goes

along with her recommendation.  The
following examples
might be representative.

A professionally dressed Asian lady SS
asked for a mock
interview.  We had the
chance to get to know each other
defined what outcomes we sought in our
interview session.  We covered all the
ground we set
out and then talked about
some deeper goals she had.

SS really wished to find a position (not
going into the
details of field) that would
allow her to return to her
homeland and
be closer to her family.

Being very sympathetic to her wish but
not tuned
to ways that could help her, I
suggested that she
make contact through
the career consultant program
with Dr.
Mukund Chorghade who is a highly esteemed,

multicultural leader, program organizer and
who might be willing to chat with
her to help her
pursue her goals. 
Conversations later in the week
with both
SS and Dr. Chorghade confirmed that

contact and conversation. was most fruitful.


VC visited the appointment desk at the end
of Tuesday and indicated that he was not
interested in resume, CV or mock interview.
He did, however, want to have the chance
to speak with someone to explore how he
might set up a sabbatical in the US taking
leave from his Italian university.

My suggestion was that he make contact with
Dr. Louis Kirschenbaum, an eloquent, “Colin
Powell-like” (always tells the truth) professor
of chemistry at URI.  Here is the communication
Dr. Kirshenbaum shared with me:

VC wrote:

Hello Prof. Kirschenbaum.
I am writing upon advice
from Dan
Eustace to figure out if we might be
able to meet for a short chat over
ways and procedures and
opportunities to spend one or more
years in a
research university .

I am an associate professor in Polymer
Chemistry in
Italy, with a tenure to be
granted in about 2 and a half years (this
probably not allow me to take any
sabbatical until then).

If you are
available, I will be in Phila
until saturday and of course at the
(not available on thursday
morning  -  I have a talk at a PMSE session)

Thanks for your attention


“Dear V

I am sorry to miss you, but I have
already returned to Rhode

Arranging a sabbatical leave is mostly
a matter of finding
potential collaborators

and contacting them directly (perhaps,
even this week
while you are at the

meeting).  Most of us are thrilled to
have a visitor of
your stature, but, of

course, funding is always a consideration. 

You will need
to be clear about whether

you will keep all or part of your salary
and whether
you have your own

research fund that can be used. You
should investigate
possible fellowships

or binational grants.  If  you find a
collaborator soon,
you might want to

investigate the NATO program,
which allows for reciprocal
(short) visits

for both partners. [I had a NATO grant
with Edoardo Mentasti of
Torino a

number of years ago. ] This is not
enough for sabbatical support, but

be very productive and an excellent
way to prepare or a full year’s stay.

Another funding possibility would be
for you to fill in as a sabbatical

replacement for an American professor.
Certainly, a lead time of 2-3 years

should provide you with ample
opportunity to find a suitable placement.

am just trying to catch up so this is

just a note to help you get started, but
wanted to reply while you are still

at the meeting. Please feel free to
me again……Louie Kirschenbaum

These connections emerge over and over
as leading ways to help make progress and
grow careers.  This item is #46 in a list of
networking habits.

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Mid-career. Consultant - Member interaction
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 9:12 am

This is a fascinating continuation of an
interaction with

We met at a mutually convenient (or
inconvenient )
location at a
university library where we would not be
disturbed and could use the resources
available there.

The university is between sessions and
thus access is
easily available.  More
importantly, it
forced DW out of his
, and into the exploring mode so that
he had several appointments to do after
meeting with

In our last conversation, he indicated he
had several
things to do.  One related to
the extension of
unemployment benefits. 
It benefits all who are out
of normal work. 
He learned that he is eligible for
13 more
, if needed.  Many others will be
as well.  Check with your local

DW met with a colleague we both knew
well.  This
started a series of conversations
paths, some bore
fruit, others didn’t. 
(Notice the nature of the note–
informal agenda, specific topics covered, and

points of value to him, me and everyone else!)

BW, our friend, shared a strong
willingness to help
for he had been out of
work 9 months and knew
how troubling
this feels.  He
shared his story and
that he used personal contacts
(networking) to
develop the situation
that led to his position with
which he is

By doing these things we were lowering
any tension
that may have existed before
getting together.  Next,
we talked about
what did DW really want?  He
just wanted
to get together based on our
conversations and offer.  It is hard for

many to put into words, so we just explored
several avenues– his approach to interviews,
his mannerisms, his style.  (His resume was
  Sure, a couple of minor suggestions
were offered
to simplify wording and line up
references that can
work for an experienced
person.  The point being
that his resume
was getting interview results.  Focus

on interviewing for improvements.)

In all of these he revealed a tensenss
that gets
in the way of his confidence and
ability to get down
to business and get things
done.  We explored
relaxation strategies
He talked about a self-
awareness activity
that he learned that works for
This is one of the things he will do now

before an interview.  He revealed that he
his notebook a little too much,
especially early
in a conversation.  Rather
than underscoring his
style, it might reveal to some
a lack of
confidence and focus of attention away

from the interviewer.  The suggestion
was to
look more closely at people’s
nonverbal signals
.  Seek clarification, but
more importantly, “listen between

the lines.”

He was encouraged to identify his strengths
were what the job description provided
communicate evidence with stories
that he had them.

Before the conversation was over,
other contact names and
LinkedIn were offered
to broaden the

Before the day was out, DW sent off a pleasant
and professional thank you note.  It felt
sincere and appreciative.

Interviewing. International firm outside the US
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 1:07 pm

One of the interesting learnings in the “networking
conversations” section of class yesterday was the
process by which MA was interviewing for an
international company in western Asia.

She re-established contact from the US with an individual
whom she had met while in-country.  Following a
resume/cover letter, she was invited to take an
“intelligence test”, like a GRE.

Then, she was invited to participate in a
video teleconference where she was
at Yale (a company designated site) and
the interviewers were in the home country.

After passing this hurdle, she was invited
to complete a problem solving test. 
These all were factors in the hiring interview

Some companies list their approach to find
the candidates that match companies’ in
such detail.
See for example:

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Networking Conversations
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 6:42 am

One of the most noticeable features of the ACS
national meeting career center is an innovation
developed in the career center.  It is the learning
tool called networking conversation exercises.

It is included in a couple of workshops and is
such a fun and positive experience for the
audience that they almost don’t want to stop
and want to attend other sessions just to do.

One of my colleagues demonstrated to me how
useful it is to do the exercise more than once.

The networking conversation is a real life, turn
to your neighbor and introduce yourself and hold
a conversation, be attentive listeners, describe what
you do, where you are from and what it is you seek
or wish to learn.

The first time the exercise is performed the feedback
is modest.  Some participants are experienced and
share and can probe in a friendly manner.  Others need
to learn and experience. 

The second time results in a conversation performance
that is a crescendo of an orchestra in the meeting room.
The audience does not want to stop.  Business cards
are exchanged, the audience enjoys the new partner,
and the feeling is uniform.  A third time results in people
enjoying more opportunities to be guided in a stimulating
growing experience that they want more of

During a session I was delighted to meet a fellow who
was awarded a polymer science recognition and the
editor of Nano-materials that dynamically expanded
my appreciation of the tool.

Please attend this highly recommended learning experience.

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