What is Your Story?

March 24, 2014

Whether meeting someone new at a conference, or explaining to a potential employer exactly how your background prepares you to meet their needs, scientists are often asked to tell their professional history.  While it is hard to condense a lifetime of professional experience into a few minutes, it can be even harder to do it in a coherent way that makes sense to the listener.

When you stop to reflect on your career history (which you should do on a regular basis), do you see that your career followed a straight trajectory, with each job leading logically to the next one, until you retire exactly when and how you had planned?  I didn’t think so.

Most people’s careers take many twists and turns, as they take advantage of unexpected opportunities, and deal with unplanned disasters.  The problem comes when you try to turn that succession of steps, each of which made sense at the time, into a single, coherent story that others can understand.

When you start thinking about how to tell your professional story, start with the easy part.  What elements have remained consistent throughout the majority of your career?  Have you always used the same techniques, worked in the same subject area, or worked for the same type of company?  Have all of your jobs involved seeing things in terms of how they relate to the big picture, or were they more making sure the details were correct? Finding a common theme that runs through your entire work history will make your story “hang together” when you tell it, and convey a sense of continuity and stability to your background.

Next, think about what changed at the major transition points in your career.  Did you take the same skills but start applying them in a new field?  Did you expand your skills and learn new techniques, while remaining in the same field?  Or did you take the lessons you’d learned at a large company and bring them down to implement in a small start-up? Can you divide your history into a few major transitions, and other more minor transitions?

Think about what you have learned and how you have grown in each of your career segments. What did you learn about yourself, or your field?  How have your interests and abilities grown and changed over time?  What situations trigger your career changes?  Can you use those insights to frame your career transitions?  Being able to talk about you why you made the changes you did, and how you grew with each transition, will emphasize your flexibility and broad background.

Finally, think about where you want to go next in your career.  Whether you are happy in your current position or are actively looking for something new, you should have an idea of where you would like to go next.  Whether it’s a new type of project in your current job, or an entirely new career, you need to tell people where you want to go, so they can help you get there.

Summarizing your entire career path in a succinct way, that connects the dots in a logical manner for your listener, is not a trivial exercise.  While it may not have felt logical while you were living it, in hindsight you may be able to see how you were preparing for the change, even if you didn’t know it at the time.

Once the whole story makes sense to you, you can tell it to others in a way that will make sense to them.  While it won’t start with “one upon a time”, it will hopefully end with “happily ever after.


This article was written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants LLC.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer/editor and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers,” published by Oxford University Press.


Career Advice from Mark Twain

February 24, 2014

I recently came across the following quote from Mark Twain (1835-1910), explaining how he thought chemists could solve the problem of world peace. “I am going to get a chemist–a real genius–and get him to extract all the oxygen out of the atmosphere for eight minutes. Then we will have universal peace, and it will be permanent”  (1905 Nov 05).  While I appreciate his faith in our abilities, this may not be the ideal solution in this case.

But what about other matters?  Twain actually had a lot to say on a variety of topics, and much of it still applies today.  In fact, many of his quotes provide excellent career advice.  Below are some of them, with modern career-based applications.

Career Development

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

No one is going to hand you a job, or look out for your career.  In fact, no one else is even going to care about it as much as you do.  It’s up to you to find out what opportunities are available, what education and experience is required, and then to go out and get it.  It’s easy to sit around and wait for the perfect opening to fall in your lap, but harder to get up the activation energy to go out and make it happen.

Written Communication Skills

“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Twain said this in 1888, but it is just as true today.  We write much more than we used to – reports, emails, tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook status updates…and don’t  always take the time to make sure we’re using exactly the right words.   In this world of remote work, some people may only know you by what you write, so it’s important to take the time to find the right words, with exactly the meaning and connotation you intend to convey.

Oral Communication Skills

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

We all know that in meetings, you often learn more by listening than by talking.  However, scientists are often asked to give oral presentations on their work, either to share scientific advances with colleagues, or to sell their ideas to managers and business colleagues.  In either case, giving an answer when you don’t have all the data is tempting, but bluffing is almost never the best choice.  Admitting that you don’t know, and offering to find out and get back to the interested parties, is a much better solution.


“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”

How Twain managed to address social media before it existed is pretty amazing.  Do you spend too much time updating your online status and profiles, and too little time having actual conversations with people and building professional relationships?  Get away from the keyboard, and make time for some in-person conversations, over coffee or lunch.  Your network will be much stronger for the change.

On Continuous Learning

“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”

“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned”.

Don’t think you’re finished learning just because you earned a degree.  You need to continue to learn new things throughout your career, in both formal and informal settings.  Formal education in a classroom setting is not the only way to learn new skills.  Volunteer to be treasurer of an organization to learn how to set a budget and mange expenditures.  Start a blog with a regular posting schedule to improve your writing and deadline-meeting skills.  Don’t be afraid to try new ways of doing things, and learning what works for you – and what does not.


“A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.”

If you do find yourself in a job that does not quit fit, give yourself some time to adjust your expectations, attitude and actions.  There may be some small changes you can make, to yourself or the job responsibilities, that will allow you to fit much better.

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.”

The only thing worse than letting your career path be determined by random chance is having it determined by regrets.  Be alert for opportunities that arise, but also go out and make them happen.

This article was written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants LLC.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer/editor and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers,” published by Oxford University Press.

Do You Have the Right Attitude?

December 30, 2013

Have you ever had a great day, where everything was going right and one success just seemed to lead into the next one?  Conversely, have you ever had a bad day, where you started off in a poor mood, and all you could see was the bad in everything?  Did those good or bad days sometimes extend into weeks?

We’ve experienced stretches of time where things seemed to keep going in the same direction.  But did you ever stop to consider that it might be your attitude that is the driving factor?

Sometimes, your attitude towards a particular project is a productive thing.  For example, if you are a technical editor, you approach each new project with the attitude “what is wrong with this document, and how can I change it to make it better meet the needs of the intended audience?”  You go in looking for things that are wrong, knowing that they are there, and don’t stop looking until you find them and fix them.

If you are an analytical or quality control chemist, the right attitude might be “there is something wrong with this batch, and I am going to find out what it is”.  You run your tests and compare to standards, until you have exhausted the options and proven to yourself that your hypothesis was incorrect, and that particular batch of product meets all specifications.  (Are you now flashing back to disproving the null hypothesis in high school science class?)

While working from the hypothesis that “there’s something wrong and I must find it” works to your advantage in some cases, if you approach every situation that way it can work against you.  For example, if you are in the habit of looking for problems and mismatches, you will be at a decided disadvantage when you are searching or interviewing for a new job.

Instead of focusing on how well you fit with both the position and the company, and how your rich history of professional accomplishments is ideally suited to the requirements of the job, you may continue in your attitude of looking for problems, and the ways you don’t fit.

There is no job that is absolutely perfect for you – there will always be something you don’t like, or don’t know how to do. What you’re looking for is a position where the good outweighs the bad, and where you will enjoy doing the good parts so much that the parts you don’t like are only a minor annoyance.  Or even better, you enjoy learning something new to do the parts of the job you haven’t done before.  When looking for a new job, it is important to force yourself to focus on the positive, looking at the skills and experiences you have that do prepare you for that position, instead of focusing on where you do not fit.

This becomes even more important when you get to the interview stage.  The person interviewer is expecting you to convince them not only that you can do the job, but that you really want to do the job.  They expect you to describe in detail how perfectly suited you are for the job, and how your prior accomplishments have prepared you to do exactly what they need to have done.  In order to sell the interviewers, you first have to sell yourself. You have to approach each position with the attitude “I am the perfect person for this job, and here’s why.”

After all, if you can’t convince yourself that you’re perfect for the job, how do you expect to convince your future employer?  So the next time someone tells you to keep a positive attitude about your job search, remember that they are right.  You are positive that there is a job out there that for which you are the perfect candidate – and you will keep looking until you find it.

This article was written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants LLC.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer/editor and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers,” published by Oxford University Press.

Working Again for a Former Employer

January 14, 2013

There is an old saying, “You can’t go home again.” However, when it comes to working again for a former employer, this statement is often false. There can be many advantages for both former employees and employers when employees go back to work for a former organization. Indeed, one of the best hiring decisions I ever made was to hire a lab technician who formerly worked for my employer. This was because on the first day of the new work she already knew people in other departments of the company particularly in the analytical department and already knew many of the corporate procedures for submitting samples for analysis.

Once, it was very rare for a laid off, college-educated employee to return to work for a former employer. However, recent ACS employment surveys have indicated unemployment rates among ACS members are at historically high levels, 4.2% in 2012 (http://www.cen.acs.org/…/Unemployment-Data-Chemists-Improve-Slightly.html). The result has been a highly competitive job market and fewer jobs due to downsizing, mergers and acquisitions. As a result, chemists need to explore every possible employment opportunity. One such opportunity is to return to work for a former employer.  A Temple University study (not limited to chemists) found that 45% of people would return to work for a former employer after being laid off. Their findings were reported in the online in the journal “Career Development International” (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17062425).

The researchers examined unemployment effects on salaried professionals, middle managers and executives. Of the 382 respondents surveyed online, 64%earned more than $75,000 a year, 79% had at least a college degree, 79% were the primary source of household income when laid off, and 83%were salaried professionals or in higher positions.

Advantages for the employer

Advantages to the employer include returning employees’ familiarity with the workplace and culture. This means they can more quickly, become a productive contributor and navigate the political processes. They may rekindle relationships with some of their former coworkers. These coworkers are often more willing to help a former  colleague than someone new to the organization as trust and prior working relationships have already been established

Advantages to the former employee

Often former employees don’t have to relocate. This means they don’t have to sell their home in a difficult real estate market and their children can continue their educations in their current schools. The November 5, 2012 issue of C&EN reported the difficult personal situations of chemists who had to relocate to another city or country to obtain employment, leaving their spouse and/or children behind.

Making the decision to return

The Temple University research indicated the importance of fair and transparent layoff decisions in the treatment of downsized employees in affecting the decision of ex-employees in returning to work for their former employer.

“How employers treat employees through layoffs is always important and will become even more so when the economy fully rebounds and it’s an employees’ market again,” said human resource management Professor Gary J. Blau, lead author of the Temple University study. He notes that “employers have a vested practical interest in ensuring the process of deciding who goes and who doesn’t is perceived as a fair one,” especially when social media and review-your-employer websites such as glassdoor.com provide more opportunities than ever for laid-off employees to publicly vent their frustration and anger.

The former employees surveyed experienced a wide range of unemployment lengths, with 65% out of work for at least 27 weeks, which the U.S. Department of Labor defines as long-term unemployment.  Another 23% of respondents were unemployed for more than two years – and suffered the most in a number of areas, including: lower life satisfaction, lower re-employment confidence and higher unemployment stigma and depression.

“People are at a point where they’re losing their houses; their wives or husbands are leaving them. They’re in a severe hardship,” said Tony Petrucci, a Temple University assistant professor and managing partner at Gravitas LLC, an executive and board search firm. “People are saying, I may not like this employer because of how they handled my layoff. I’m angry, but I would consider going back to work with them.”

Of course the chemist must pave the way to reemployment by leaving his former employer in a dignified and professional manner. You don’t want to “burn your bridges” to possible reemployment.

John Borchardt is a chemist and freelance writer who has been an ACS career consultant for 15 years. He is the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers.” He has had more than 1500 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he holds 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents and is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers.


Are Your Communications in Context?

November 22, 2012

Once upon a time there was a scientist who worked at a company in a highly-regulated industry – let’s call her Olivia.  When she started at the company, she was hired to conduct quality assurance work – testing new and potential products, troubleshooting formulations and processes, and developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for new processes and procedures.  She got along well with her colleagues, enjoyed her work very much, and received glowing annual reviews. Over the years, her responsibilities grew to include reviewing procedures and reports written by her colleagues.  In addition to conducting tests herself, she was now responsible for identifying discrepancies in tests that other people had conducted, and making sure any deviations from standard protocols were documented satisfactorily.

After a few years, Olivia decided to cut her working hours to half-time. She gave up the lab work, and focused on reviewing SOPs and product development reports of her colleagues, notifying them of deviations from the established protocols, and ensuring that they were corrected in a timely manner.  While she missed the daily interactions with her colleagues, this provided the needed balance in her personal life.  However, at her next annual review, she was surprised to learn that her peers had reported problems with her attitude, and her overall rating had been downgraded.

What happened?  She was still doing exactly the same type of regulatory oversight work that she had been doing before.  However, she was no longer in the lab, so she no longer had regular, daily contact with the other scientists.  In fact, the only time most of them heard from her was when she was pointing out a problem and demanding it be fixed by a certain date.

In another situation, Jason was trying to contact a potential seminar speaker, to confirm details of his upcoming talk.  As the date of the talk got closer, Jason got more and more nervous as the speaker did not answer emails.  Jason mentioned this problem to a co-worker who knew the speaker, and who suggested Jason send a text message with his question instead.  Jason did, and less than 5 minutes later he had his answer.

What changed?  In this case, the message was the same, but the method of delivery changed.  With the deluge of emails, the speaker easily missed one from Jason, but fewer people texted him, so the message stood out.  Since it required a quick, factual answer, it was easy for the speaker to answer quickly.

In each of these cases, a small change to a single aspect of the communication (or attempted communication) either caused or solved a problem.

In the first case, it was Olivia’s relationship with her colleagues that changed.  Instead of being one of them, she was now the enforcer from above, and only appeared to point out their mistakes.  Without the pleasantries of small talk and shared technical experiences, her relationship with the scientists quickly faded.  They came to dread hearing from Olivia, and their ratings of her performance reflected that fact.

In the second case, it was not the relationship but the method of communication that changed.  These days, we have a plethora of communication methods from which to choose (face to face, phone, email, text, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, ACS Network, LinkedIn…..).  By identifying the method his colleague preferred, Jason was able to make it easy for him to respond, and Jason got the information he needed in a timely manner.

Communication is one of the most important non-technical skills in the workplace today, and the methods available for communication are continually evolving.  One of the best things you can do when planning your communications (and you do plan them, don’t you?) is to put yourself in the place of your intended audience.  What do they want or need to know, in what format will the information be most useful to them, do they need any context, and so on.  By taking a few moments to consider the best way to convey your message to the recipient, you will maximize the value of your communications and enhance your own reputation.

This article was written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants LLC.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer/editor and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers,” published by Oxford University Press.

Four Key Leadership Qualities

November 19, 2012

Leaders exist at all levels of the organization whether they are in formal management positions or not. Leaders are the people whom others look define strategies and guide them to solutions to problems. Leaders possess four key qualities: strategic thinking, executing, influencing others, and relationship building. Let’s look at each.

Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is identifying and developing new and unique opportunities for the employer to create value for customers. Strategic thinkers do not come up with all the answers themselves but do promote creative dialogue among employees who can affect a company’s strategy and direction. Strategic thinking involves understanding the fundamental drivers of a company and identifying opportunities for creating value through the development and growth of new businesses. Leadership may involve challenging current assumptions about the employer’s value proposition. (The value proposition is the unique value a firm offers its customers. It is why your customers prefer to do business with your firm and not its competitors.)

Strategic thinking must take into account: your firm’s strengths and how they can be used to create a competitive advantage. It also requires understanding your employer’s weaknesses and how they can leave the company vulnerable to competitors.

The result of strategic thinking is an action statement defining the goal you want the company to achieve. For example, when I headed my employer’s pulp and paper chemicals team, our action statement was “Become the number 1 supplier of biodegradable chemicals that remove ink from pulped wastepaper for paper recycling.”

To be a good strategic thinker, you must develop the capability to clearly define your objectives and develop a plan to achieve each objective. Thus, for each objective, you’ll need to establish a set of tasks that will accomplish that objective.  Developing a list of resources and a timeline to accomplish each objective is also important. Using the basic principles of project management (1) is very helpful. The technique of mind mapping (2) to develop objectives plans to achieve them, and explain these plans and objectives to others can also be quite useful.

Your plans need to be flexible to account for changing circumstances. Using project management is an excellent way to do this. If you set up your plan using project management, project milestones can be occasions to review progress, assess the current situation and change plans as needed. Milestones are the completion of a major task in your project.


Having developed plans to generate and grow new businesses, you must now execute the plans. In some cases you can do this working alone or with a couple of technicians. For other plans, you may need to assemble a multidisciplinary project team. To execute major efforts, more than one team may need to be assembled.

Project management is essential to keep projects on schedule and preventing them from drifting off course (1, 3, 4). This requires effective communications between the project manager and team members and among the between team members. Proper planning, establishing project milestones and smart staffing can keep projects on schedule.

Influencing others

The old workplace style of command and control leadership is decreasingly productive in today’s fluid work environments with project team members reporting to different managers, team members often working for different organizations (suppliers, customers, consultants, etc.) and coworkers increasingly scattered across different work locations.

To get one’s plans and proposals accepted and obtain budgetary and other needed support, you must influence others. This means developing persuasive arguments to get what you want and be able to get others to accept these arguments in a nonabrasive way. Often you must gain the support of people who do not report to you but are your peers in other parts of the company or even are your superiors (5, 6).  Negotiating skills are often essential in doing this. It is essential to approach negotiations with the goal of developing win-win agreements. Start negotiations with your goal clearly in mind but be willing to compromise to get most of what you want.

Relationship building

Another essential skill is relationship building. When you are trying to get people to accept your proposals, good working relationships with stakeholders can reduce their resistance to change. However, many chemists, because of the pressures of routine activities, do not devote adequate time to building beneficial relationships with coworkers. How can you do so?

Listen to your coworkers and colleagues to learn what their goals and skills are. When you identify relevant information they may be interested in, send it to them. Respond when coworkers when ask you for your opinions or feedback. Above all, reciprocate by helping others when they help you. Be sure to thank them for the efforts in helping you.

Building relationships in this way is enlightened self interest. When senior managers make promotion decisions, they usually consult their colleagues. In choosing between two equally qualified colleagues, they’ll usually pick the individual with whom they feel they can work best.


  1. J.K. Borchardt, “Project Management for Teams,” Today’s Chemist at Work, http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/tcaw/11/i05/html/05work.html (May 2002).
  2. J,K, Borchardt, “Mind Mapping,” Lab Manager, http://www.labmanager.com/articles.asp?ID=753 (October 7, 2010).
  3. J.K. Borchardt, “Invention, Innnovation and Lab Management,” Lab Manager, www.labmanager.com/articles.asp?ID=171 (January 2009).
  4. J.K. Borchardt, “Staying on Schedule,” Lab Manager, http://www.labmanager.com/articles.asp?ID=332 (August 2009).
  5. Alan R. Cohen and David L. Brandford, Influence without Authority, John Wiley & Sons, 2nd edition (2005).
  6. Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp, Getting It Done: How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge, HarperBusiness (1999).

John Borchardt is a chemist and freelance writer who has been an ACS career consultant for 15 years. He is the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers.” He has had more than 1200 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he holds 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents and is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers.

Teamwork Training

August 13, 2012

The ability to work in a team is essential in today’s workplace environment. This is true for many industries and many types of jobs. To be effective, each team member must coordinate their work with that of other team members like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Working together is the responsibility of each team member and team leader. However, working in a team doesn’t come naturally to many scientists. They’ve been trained in undergraduate and graduate school to work independently. That’s a major reason why team-building and training courses are big business in the United States. Since the recession hit, this type of training has been cut back at many firms to reduce costs. Team leaders have become more responsible for coaching team members in how to work together effectively.

Teamwork training

How do you train yourself or others to work effectively on teams? “We are developing a new science to show what works and doesn’t work and why,” says Eduardo Salas, an organizational psychologist at the University of Central Florida. His research is in this area and the subject of a paper in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science.

A team is not just a machine for doing things; it is a system of social relations. Teamwork training is about instilling knowledge, skills, and attitudes; all needed competencies to work effectively in teams. Team building helps individuals on a team learn about each other, clarify roles, work through problems, and cooperate towards accomplishing shared goals. Most interventions focus on the latter—”team building is the largest human-resources intervention in the world,” comments Salas. However, according to Salas, much teamwork training is ineffective. He suggests that organizations rarely do the front-end work of figuring out which they need in the way of effective teamwork training but rather deal with team effectiveness problems on an ad hoc basis.

One problem is that teamwork successes get published and talked about while failures just fade away. Yet sometimes one can often learn more from failures better than successes. In terms of training, it’s not difficult to determine if team members liked a training program or absorbed some of the knowledge it imparted. However, it’s much more complicated to evaluate team members who have adopted the behaviors in which they’ve been trained.

Managers are now less willing to take people off the job and to spend money on team training without clear proof that they’ll get what they paid for. This requirement has been invigorating for the science of teamwork, Salas suggests. “Because of the push for results, we are getting better at collecting the data and are making a better case for cause and effect.”

Where can you get teamwork training when corporate training budgets have been reduced? Reading books is a good way to start. References 1 and 2 below are two of the many books available on developing teamwork skills. Some independent consultants offer modestly priced teamwork training. Internet search engines can help you identify some of these individuals. Perhaps your ACS local section could organize a teamwork training short course presented by one of these individuals.

Capturing the information

In the wake of staff reductions, best practices that took years to develop can disappear overnight – without a trace. Why? The people who developed these teamwork skills and their team leaders have lost their jobs.  Much of this knowledge is never captured in reports. Because of the need for this information some large companies have developed knowledge retention programs to capture the data. One approach, on which I’ve worked, is to interview highly competent employees leaving their assignments as a result of retirement, job transfers, and promotions. The focus of these interviews is to capture information on teams’, both the successes and failures. The interviewer must be skilled in giving the interview and capturing outstanding performers’ teamwork experiences and opinions in well-written reports, reports understandable to people who aren’t specialists in the field of the team’s efforts.

These efforts work best if one hires outsiders, usually in a consultant capacity, to conduct the interviews and write the reports. Outsiders will not have preconceived notions of individual and team performance.

Methods of knowledge retention have been described (3-7).


1.    C.M. Avery, M.A. Walker, and E. O’Toole, Teamwork Is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility, Berrett-Koehler Publishers (April 9, 2001).

2.    S.J. Stowell and S.S. Mead, The Team Approach: With Teamwork Anything Is Possible, CMOE Press (November 12, 2007).

  1. J.K. Borchardt, “Retaining Knowledge,” Lab Manager, http://www.labmanager.com/articles.asp?ID=595 (June 2010).
  2. S. Parise, R. Cross and T.H. Davenport, “Strategies for Preventing a Knowledge-Loss Crisis,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 31-38 (Summer 2008).
  3. Knowledge Harvesting, Inc. http://www.knowledgeharvesting.com/Clients.html .
  4. D.W. DeLong, “Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce,” Oxford University Press (2004).
  5. M.T. Hansen and B. von Oetinger, “Introducing T-shaped Managers: Knowledge Management’s Next Generation,” Harvard Business Review Online (March-April 2001), http://hbr.org/2001/03/introducing-t-shaped-managers/ar/1.

John Borchardt is a chemist and freelance writer who has been an ACS career consultant for 15 years. He is the author of the ACS/Oxford University Press Book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers.” He has had more than 1200 articles published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. As an industrial chemist, he holds 30 U.S. and more than 125 international patents and is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers.