The Mid-Career Transition

28. October 2016

There are many reasons to begin searching for a new job or career path—and just as many everyday-life hindrances, such as recurring bill payments, that make taking the leap into a new position unnerving. Sometimes self-doubt is the biggest deterrent to change.

Luckily, Engineering and Technical Jobs, in the article You Can Completely Change Your Career - and Your Age Won't Matter, has compiled the key questions to answer in determining whether you really are ready to make a career transition. These rather straightforward questions, such as "How happy are you at the moment?", are surprisingly thought-provoking as you find yourself answering the real question: "Is job dissatisfaction the real source of this unhappiness or are there other areas that can be addressed as well?"

No matter how confident you are in your skills, experience and knowledge, the job search arena can be overwhelming, even if you have only been out of job-search mode for a few years. To help ease the shock, several online resources, like Job Seeking for the First Time in Years: How To Do It, another article from Engineering and Technical Jobs, offer simple guidance for established professionals who are re-entering the applicant pool. Tips range from updating your CV to brushing up on the latest advances in the field. Taking courses to expand your skill set and volunteering while on the job hunt are great ways to constructively use any employment gaps!

Job Search

Conquer Social Anxiety One Conference Reception at a Time

18. October 2016

With the autumn meeting and conference schedule in full swing, the air is frequently buzzing with new scientific advances and applications. The plenaries and panel talks are invigorating and inspiring. Then come the anticipated, yet dreaded, cocktail hours and receptions.

A great opportunity to engage in further discussion and to forge new connections for future collaborations, the social aspects of conferences are also a huge source of anxiety for some. Although attendance isn't mandatory, many people feel pressured to attend - and, once there, are awkward and unsure of themselves, marveling at the conversational ease displayed by the extrovert in the center of the room.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. While there is no instant cure for social anxiety, Forbes contributor Megan Bruneau has 5 Hacks For Overcoming Social Anxiety and Networking Like a Pro that you can begin implementing today. Don't be discouraged or skeptical of the beginning step, "Change Your Relationship to Anxiety" (as if you need help being aware of it!). The small steps advised in the article center mostly around mental preparation, like remembering that anxious thoughts are not "objective truths." We found that what's in this resource can be applied to many other aspects of life, not just large scientific conferences.        

Networking

Are Your Online Profiles Haunting You?

14. October 2016

The internet has revolutionized the job hunting process in some really great, and some not-so-great, ways. A prime example of the double-edged nature of internet-enabled capabilities is the internet name search. Many experts strongly advise active job seekers to ensure that if a prospective employer were to search their name, most search engines will return their most relevant resume information. But what happens after the job offer is accepted? How many of us remember which websites we posted our profiles and resumes on, let alone return to them to deactivate our accounts?

Those mysterious and now out-of-date profiles are not just cluttering the spam box of your email with new alerts; they may actually be impacting your online presence, or digital footprint. Long after the job search ends, your digital footprint is continuing to speak for you to a wide variety of audiences including current and prospective colleagues, fellow conference attendees, potential clients, and even funding sources.

In her article, Ten Ways Your LinkedIn Profile is Hurting Your Credibility, Forbes contributor Liz Ryan lists simple things to do that will keep the popular networking website from becoming problematic. The first, and biggest, piece of advice: Keep your profile current! Review and update your professional activities every few months while they are still fresh in your mind. An updated profile can also make networking at events much easier. As Liz points out in the article, "it only takes a moment to grab someone’s business card when you meet them, and to ask them, 'May I send you a LinkedIn connection request?'"   

Your Digital Footprint

An Extra Dose of Inspiration For This Monday

3. October 2016

As The Optical Society celebrates the past 100 years, we cannot help but look towards the next 100—a period that some scientists are referring to as the Century of the Photon. At several events this year, OSA is hosting a series of Centennial Authentic Moment (CAM) Lounges to give members a chance to share what they find exciting about optics and photonics, as well as their visions for the field’s future.

Over the next few months, we’d like to share some of the videos that we have found to be particularly inspiring. After all, on some Mondays it takes more than that first cup of coffee to get you through those unread emails!

Here, in a discussion of his current work, OSA Fellow Kishan Dholakia, University of St. Andrews, U.K., poses some very interesting and inspiring questions, such as: does quantum friction exist? Visit the OSA Stories page for the entire collection, and keep a lookout at upcoming events to record your own CAM Lounge video!

Inspiration