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All inquiries STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Just what do you do to help us change careers?
  2. Will you be directing us to the library to read through giant directories of the industries we want to approach, or do you have compact resources that you are willing to share with us?
  3. Will you be giving us advice on how to make contacts, or will you be pointing us at people who are willing and eager to meet us?
  4. Do you have specific advice for: How do you convince someone I'm qualified to be an "X" when it's clear to everyone that I'm really a "Y"?
  5. I can see your materials and ideas are a move in that direction, but despite actually reading those $15 "self-help" books, I remain unconvinced that anyone in his right mind would hire a 30-, 40-, or 50-something Ph.D. in biology, physics, chemistry, or mathematics over a 25 year old with three years experience in the field I'm trying to enter. I understand that it is at this point--convincing us that we can approach people about doing other things--that your enthusiasm and optimism come in. How do you help us overcome the perceptions that our credentials turn off real people, that we may be educated beyond our abilities?
  6. What does the Program give me that a self-help book doesn't?
  7. Still, beyond a fear of rejection and a generic ex-grad student's paranoia, I think that this is the biggest question for anyone wanting to switch careers, and I think it's an especially big question for academic scientists, whose work may seem esoteric to "real people", and whose ivory-tower background is distasteful to people with real jobs. It would be very reassuring to hear how you as a career counselor who works at placing scientists and others deal with those sorts of issues.
  8. Another big concern is the fee. I hope you know that I do not expect something for nothing. It's difficult for me to commit to paying out money without some sort of guarantee that if I work hard things will work out OK. I know that life doesn't come with any guarantees, but frankly, after years in science, the idea of working hard to end up further in the hole is losing its appeal. Is there some flexibility in the fee schedule?
  9. Another concern is that you are experimenting with us and this program. I'm sure that no matter how hard you or we try, there will be problems.
  10. How can you be so sure of your good results?
  1. Just what do you do to help us change careers?
    Our work with you divides a career transition process into three broad phases: First, we e-mail to you specialized exercises--designed by and for scientists--that will evaluate who you are, identify your "preferences" (skills, most enjoyable skills, you interests, your values), and your level of "career well being" (career versatility, career reliance, and career transition ability). Second, we help you identify new career options and new "markets" for your abilities and talents that emerge from this evaluation of your dormant skills and interests; Third, we help you develop strategies to reach those newly identified new career goals, and stay with you as a guide, coach, or mentor until you reach them.
  2. Will you be directing us to the library to read through giant directories of the industries we want to approach, or do you have compact resources that you are willing to share with us?
  3. Will you be giving us advice on how to make contacts, or will you be pointing us at people who are willing and eager to meet us?
    Answers for Q2 & Q3:
    We provide and point out both compact and giant sources of data, show you how to tailor them to your specific circumstances, and when we have specific information we make it available to you. We have a contact base of people who're available as resources when you are "market ready." We also have databases and lists of specialized relevant web sites and we can do a database search for you once we've identified your "preferences."
  4. Do you have specific advice for: How do you convince someone I'm qualified to be an "X" when it's clear to everyone that I'm really a "Y"?
    We have methods that show you how to do this. Nothing mysterious, no magic--but it works. Your self-confidence in "X" emerges by identifying and learning how to present your skills and interests in "X".
  5. I can see your materials and ideas are a move in that direction, but despite actually reading those $15 "self-help" books, I remain unconvinced that anyone in his right mind would hire a 30-, 40-, or 50-something Ph.D. in biology, physics, chemistry, or mathematics over a 25 year old with three years experience in the field I'm trying to enter. I understand that it is at this point--convincing us that we can approach people about doing other things--that your enthusiasm and optimism come in. How do you help us overcome the perceptions that our credentials turn off real people, that we may be educated beyond our abilities?
    Our positive experiences with the career transitions of many other scientists, engineers, and other technical professionals we've helped to change directions, and our own personal career transitions, is simply that "it can be done"--if you want to do it. P.W. Bridgeman defined science as "doing your damnedest". I'm proud that I do my damnedest to help people. You probably do so in your current job...and "d. y. d." applies even more to the process of career change. By helping you systematically take inventory of your strengths, by "devil's advocacy", by practice interviews that make you "job-ready", we see to it that you're able to present yourself confidently, truthfully--and in your most positive light. As a result, you'll learn how to enhance your self-presentation abilities, not only in your new career directions... but even in your current field.
  6. What does the Program give me that a self-help book doesn't?
    A physician can diagnose an ailment more effectively than a self-help book can. It's important to remind yourself that no book and no one close to you will have the same ideas and suggestions that a seasoned and objective outsider will, and those suggestions invariably spark people to think about possibilities that they've never considered. We've sparked many. Moreover, it's hard for some of us to push ourselves in new directions; it's easy to temporize and procrastinate endlessly; it's comfortable to keep doing what you're doing as if it was a reflex. "...A scientist in motion tends to continue in motion in the same straight line..," to paraphrase Isaac Newton.
    Click here for "Trained Incapacity"
  7. Still, beyond a fear of rejection and a generic ex-grad student's paranoia, I think that this is the biggest question for anyone wanting to switch careers, and I think it's an especially big question for academic scientists, whose work may seem esoteric to "real people", and whose ivory-tower background is distasteful to people with real jobs. It would be very reassuring to hear how you as a career counselor who works at placing scientists and others deal with those sorts of issues.
    Caution, skepticism, scorn, distrust, and entitlement seem to be intrinsic to many of us because of our training as scientists. We're not all "happy campers." These qualities hinder your job search and career change more than you probably realize. On the other hand, "just 'cause you're paranoid doesn't mean nobody's following you." We've helped hundreds like you to change directions successfully in today's truly daunting Darwinian job market.
    Example:
    A Ph.D. naval architect (a successful veteran of the SCT Program) noticed our shipbuilding industry was shrinking, but our communications and computers industries were expanding; invited to a world-class communications laboratory, he spoke about how his knowledge of applied mechanics could improve laser-chip reliability under thermal stress--without once mentioning the words "water", "propeller", or "ship". Accepting their offer, he now explains that he changed his career from "ships" to "chips" ...by changing one letter only!
    Example:
    A computer-software Ph.D. is now a very successful insurance salesperson. With our help, she discovered an unused aspect of her personality that was "bankable"--her keen "social intelligence". Please see our references for independent confirmations. However, because the "medium is the message", we cannot fully articulate our total capabilities online--due its two-dimensional coolness--as well as we normally do in person. (Probably 90% of human communication is non-verbal.) So we use the telephone when really needed. The overhead costs of our non-profit organization, our eagerness to be affordable, high-quality, professional, helpful and cost-effective to you and newcomers to the SCT Program, have led us to flexible fee structures. Thus, you'll have the option to use the telephone when you really need to: just before a job interview, for instance, or to evaluate the quality of our counselors. You can minimize your necessary telephone contact with us by e-mailing questions to your counselor in advance of your call.
  8. Another big concern is the fee. I hope you know that I do not expect something for nothing. It's difficult for me to commit to paying out money without some sort of guarantee that if I work hard things will work out OK. I know that life doesn't come with any guarantees, but frankly, after years in science, the idea of working hard to end up further in the hole is losing its appeal. Is there some flexibility in the fee schedule?
    All of this is eminently practical, sensible, and logical. But we've already anticipated the difficulties in getting from where you are now...to where you want to be. If you are successful through our efforts and of course yours, then the fee will seem minimal--for the result--and you can (and should) compare this fee with other professional career counseling services, and you'll find it reasonable. I know of no career management services online--created by scientists for scientists--with staff members as strongly committed, capable, energetic and as seasoned and optimistic as ours are. Face-to-face quality career counseling, if you can find it, runs one to two hundred dollars a contact hour with no guarantee of success. We're able to do this in part because of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's modest support, a temporary subsidy. Some portion of our costs are underwritten by an up front materials fee--materials that have been market-tested and reality-checked for five years by over 1000 real scientists under the "battlefield" conditions of the actual job marketplace.
  9. Another concern is that you are experimenting with us and this program. I'm sure that no matter how hard you or we try, there will be problems.
    The purpose of this program is to see what your problems are, and how to resolve them; we've solved so many career problems so many times that we can do it in our sleep (but don't). Please take another look at the credentials of our staff. And please check my references -- one of whom has happily changed science careers with the SCT Program's help, while another, an individual very highly-regarded in the science community, knows the Program intimately -- to reassure you if it would help. We have been online since 1996.
  10. How can you be so sure of your good results?
    We've probably made most of the career mistakes it's possible to make, and this helps prevent you from making the same ones and others. I'm confident of our results because I've seen and helped enough floundering professionals make safe landings in new and satisfying careers. Einstein once remarked, "To punish me for my arrogance in challenging authority, Fate made me an authority." Although I'm no Einstein, this seems to have happened to me too. I have also made five career transitions of my own, which allows me to assert with some confidence that I've actually done what I'm helping you do.

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References