Monday, February 25, 2013

Translating ACS President Marinda Wu into Up-Goer Five

In the beginning of January, ACS President Marinda Wu talked about her plans for ACS in the pages of C&EN. Here's a key portion on #chemjobs (it is not the whole section):
We must learn to view globalization—the movement of research, manufacturing, and consumption around the world—more as an opportunity than a threat. Globalization is here to stay and, indeed, it is accelerating. 
The task force recommendations were presented to the ACS Board of Directors in December to show how ACS can help connect members with more employment opportunities and thrive in an increasingly global environment. After incorporating the board’s feedback, action steps will be finalized and shared broadly with ACS leaders and members to facilitate implementation during the course of this year and beyond. 
For example, we are launching a new International Employment Initiative (IEI) at the April 2013 ACS national meeting in New Orleans at Sci-Mix. Employers with overseas job opportunities will be able to connect with job seekers. IEI will be part of the ACS Career Fair and also the virtual career fair. In addition, a Presidential Career Advancement Symposium highlighting numerous successful career paths including entrepreneurship will be featured at the September 2013 ACS national meeting in Indianapolis.
I found this sadly full of buzzwords, so I decided to do my own version in Up Goer Five language (i.e. the 1000 most common words in the English language) -- let's see if it makes more sense:
The study of stuff, how to make new stuff and the spending of money on stuff will change from how it is now (where we have lots of money, and people in other parts of the world have less money) to a world where many people in other parts of the world have about as much money as us. That is a good thing that might help us make more money and it might not be a bad thing. This will not go away, and it is probably happening faster.  
The people that I asked to help me with this told me and the people who work with me to show how our group can help people find more jobs and do well in this world where people living around our world, but not near us have almost as much money as we do. Once we agree, we will tell you about how to make this happen this year and later.  
Very soon, we are going to help people find jobs not here in the States, but other places in the world. In the fall, we will be talking about how you can make your own job, or ask people to give you money to help make your own job. 
Sounds about right.  


  1. "We must learn to view globalization more as an opportunity than a threat. Globalization is here to stay and, indeed, it is accelerating."

    If that's the case, then perhaps it's time for the ACS to lose its tax exempt status.

  2. Yeah, that's the problem with being the AMERICAN chemical society. I would have assumed there would be at least some protectionism there.

  3. ACS President Marinda Wu is full of bull! Here she is perched at the top and blurting away BS. What is her claim to fame other than running and getting paid by ACS at my expense. People like her would like to think that they are smart (and she is not) and that is why they are at the top! She is there because of right time at the right place and in my life time I have seen good many scientists fall by the way side and the stupid one climb to the top!

    1. It should be noted that the office of ACS president is not paid a salary. Expenses (travel, etc.) are paid, but a relatively low level compared to the time commitment.

  4. Your summary made more sense.

  5. Amazes me that ppl continue to pay for memberships in ACS. If the whole organization were to disappear tomorrow, would there be any tangible effect? I guess ACS conferences are nice, and those mugs with moles on them are cute.

  6. Globalization – the realization of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. “Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do” There will be plenty of chemistry jobs in the US when the wages of US chemists equal those of China or India or, thinking ahead, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We’ve also got to get rid of “job-killing” OSHA and EPA regulations.

  7. President Wu reminds me of my local school superintendent and other executives who open their mouths and emit an endless politically correct stream of consciousness with little substance.

  8. But who wants people to tell them the truth? People hate the truth.

  9. ACS stands for the AMERICAN chemical society, not the "International Chemical Society." If I have to emigrate out of the US to find a job, it may be an opportunity but it will be an opportunity for a future immigrant to India or Brazil or China. It won't be an opportunity for me to be both an American and a chemist.
    Nearly every immigrant to the US that I have met, however successful in their career or however much they embraced their new country, did so in large part because they felt they had no choice and because the situation in their birth country was becoming increasingly shitty. Their psyches are always pulled in different directions- How do I keep my culture? How do I cope with the new language? How do I get my kids to learn my first language? What do people here think of my people? Have I abandoned my parents or grandparents who need me back home? Will I be allowed to stay? And that stress takes a toll. The ACS has no right to dismiss this personal hardship and demand that we be good perky upbeat little workers who do whatever the multinational companies want us do.
    I don't want to have to leave the U.S. I like being in a country where at least in principle I have the rights and recourse that comes with being an American citizen (like freedom of speech and council of an attorney and ability to vote in local elections and protection of intellectual property). I like knowing that I can own land here because I am a citizen. I like having an FDIC. I like breathing air that usually meets EPA standards. I like having OSHA requirements about my working conditions. I like having fire codes. I like being able to search web pages without the government blocking them. I like having the freedom as a women to go places on my own. I like eating the foods I grew up with. I like the climate of where I live. I like not having to use a squat toilet. I like having some immunity to the local germs. I like being a short flight or drive to relatives in case of emergencies. I like the English language with all its confusing spelling and ill-bred Germanic/French/Latin words.
    The ACS is watching globalization saw off our hands and telling us it's a great opportunity to learn to write with our toes.

  10. That's the most genuinely useful application of Up Goer Five I've seen so far. Now we just need to build this in to real-time translation, and buzzword obfuscation will be useless.

    That should be no more than eighty years from now.

  11. Just out of interest, does the ACS publish a report detailing where all of its members live and work? i.e. what percentage is outside the US.

    I ask because I'm based in the UK and am constantly bombarded with emails and letters trying to get me to join. I haven't joined because I'm not really sure why a Brit should be a member of the American Chemical Society (I'm a member of the RSC instead).

  12. I don't know, It might be kind of neat to work in an overseas sweatshop. Maybe it's just because I'm feeling nostalgic for grad school...


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