Mentoring Corner Discussion Topic: Professional Objectives

By Tim Paz

The mentoring pair should discuss what the professional objectives are for the mentee in the next 3, 5 or 10 years.  In which professional sector do they currently practice?  Do they want to move to another sector, such as federal government, academia, etc.?  The mentor should discuss their career journey to get the dialogue moving.  How did they find out about the field of industrial hygiene and how did they make the move into IH as a career field?  What organizations have they worked for and in what business sectors?  Have they been EHS generalists or strictly practitioners of IH?  Help the mentee map out a plan of action to get to the desired end point.  If they want to get into the federal government, consider reaching out to someone working at a federal agency such as NIOSH, OSHA, NIH, CDC, etc.  What were the career choices that person made to get to their position within the federal government.  A career coach once had me list everything I liked and disliked about every job I’ve ever had.  This is a valuable exercise and was very eye opening for me.  What skills do you use when you’re doing the things you enjoy?  Have you considered expanding your practice to other EHS disciplines such as environmental, safety or fire protection?  Again, find the people who work in the field you are interested in or working at the places you are hoping to get hired on at, and speak to them about their career journey.

In summary, what are your ideal plans and goals?  My advice is to set personal and professional goals annually.  Review them at mid-year and at the end or beginning of each and every year.


Tech Corner: Using Outlook More Effectively

By Michelle Coutu

Most of us outlook as an email client however it was designed as a digital personal organizer. Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, and Journal Features allow you to manage and track you 2016 goals. Here are three underutilized features of Microsoft Outlook that will help you with tracking meetings, training, sampling, and compliance needs.

Using Inbox Folders and Rules

In order to avoid distraction while working on tasks, create rules that filter your email in to separate folders so that you can check on them later.

Create folders in outlook by navigating to the “Folder” tab in the ribbon bar and clicking the “New Folder” button. You will be asked to name the folder and selected a location. Click “Ok” when complete.

Then navigate back to the home tab on the ribbon bar and select the email you would like to create a rule for. Click the “Rules” button in the move section and select “Create Rule” from the drop down menu. You will then be presented with a form to set the conditions to file your email. In the example below all e-mails from Selwin Gray will be automatically moved to the RCB folder.

To change or delete a rule simple click the Rules Button and select “Manage Rules and Alerts.” You will be presented with a list of rules to edit or delete.




Categorize (Color Code) Your Calendar

Categorizing or color coding allows you to organize events and quickly scan your calendar for upcoming events.  It also gives you feedback on how much time you are spending on a particular project or focus area, which allows you to re target your priorities.  Outlook allows you to categorize appointments and meetings when creating your event. The “Categorize” button is located in the meeting tab of the ribbon bar of the new event.


Once you click “Categorize” Outlook will open a preset list of color coded choices. Click the last option “All Categorize…” at the bottom to make edits to the categories and colors. Outlook will open a menu that will allow you to change the names of categories and colors.



Emails to Action

Plain emails can be turned in to meetings or tasks in just the click of the mouse. To create a task from an email simply click the little flag outline. This will make the flag turn red and place that task on your to do list for the day, which you can see via the Calendar or the Tasks section of Outlook. Once you complete that task click the red flag again, this will turn in to a check mark and strike that ask from your list.

You can also create meetings or appointments from emails by dragging and dropping  the email from you email list to the date on the right hand calendar. This will automatically open a new appointment window  where you can enter the date and time of the event. The body of the email will be transferred to the body of the event.

Don’t have outlook, no problem, Gmail offers many of the same tools and features (for free!) that will also sync with your Android device.




S.M.A.R.T Goals

By Jennifer Sheffer

There are many resources available that provide insight on how to set and attain goals. While there are hints of George T. Doran’s S.M.A.R.T. goals in most of the resources, you may find using your strengths in a realistic manner will work for you.


Let’s briefly explore why most people fail when it comes to reaching their goals or resolutions.  Most of us create resolutions or goals that force us to break habits or traits, which, we naively find out the hard way, take a great amount of effort. So my friends, why aren’t you setting goals or resolutions that use your strengths? For example, perhaps you are proficient in Microsoft Excel, so why not set the goal to help two other people, within six months, in your work group, how to utilize certain features to produce a more efficient method to complete a work task. Your goal is specific, measurable, and by helping others you may improve the productivity of your work group. Harvard Business Review article, “Make Your Work Resolutions Stick” by Rebecca Knight from December 29, 2014 may help you on your journey.

Using the Microsoft Excel example, did you notice that it was vanilla yet has the potential to yield great rewards? The goal is realistic. (From 101 Ways to Stand Out at Work. By Arthur D. Rosenberg) Try doing a little soul searching before setting your goals to overcome your delusions of grandeur. Honestly, if you have little to no work experience is it realistic to set the goal to become CEO of the company within a year of starting your professional career? Or, if the farthest you have ever run is a mile, does setting the goal to complete a marathon in two months sound like it will end well? The good news is you’re already awesome; just be honest with yourself, and use your resources to help you achieve your goals.

Aside from sage advice from experts to leverage your strengths, be honest with yourself, and use your resources, there are many practical tools available to help you on your path to greatness. Michael Hyatt (author, blogger, speaker, and former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers) provides a review of a few apps in his online article, “7 apps to help you achieve your goals and build new habits: How to turn your intentions into actions and accomplish what matters most to you.”

You have the know-how and tools to attain your goals, so quit reading this newsletter and make things happen!

Taking Control of Your Career

By Justin Klavan

“I am not responsible for your career”.  That phrase came from my manager at my first job fresh out of Graduate School.  Looking back on those days I remember feeling overwhelmed and lost, lacking a clear direction and unsure what to do.  I wanted so badly to be given some type of guidance.  Try as I might though, it never came.  I spoke with my coworkers and learned as much as I could from them but I still had a hard time finding my path.



Finally, I decided I needed to take one step at a time and hope the picture would become clearer as time went on.  In graduate school, we were taught that becoming a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) should be something we strive for.  So, I made my first career decision; become a CIH. It had some elements of a good five year plan:

  • Learn and grow technically,
  • Gain the necessary real world experience,
  • Increase my value to the company.

So that’s what I did.  I focused on my goal of becoming a CIH and tried to make sure every aspect of my work contribute in some way to meeting that objective.  My hope was once I obtained my CIH, I would be able to figure out my next step and it would open a wider aperture of opportunities.


I took the exam in the fall, around the time for end of the year assessments, and was fortunate enough to pass.  After four years of focusing on the exam I was looking forward to having a meaningful discussion of “what comes next” with my manager.   When we met I still had not thought much beyond becoming a CIH.   I was expecting my manager to give me the next step but again was disappointed.  I had no aspirations and he had no advice to give.  Again, he reminded me that “he was not respon
sible for my career”.  Once again I was no longer on a path and I felt lost professionally. I tell this story because I have seen it played out over and over again as an AIHA Mentor and as I moved through organizations.  Young EHS professionals tend to have trouble figuring out what direction to go and are unable to pull out the desired guidance from their leaders.

So what is the solution?  How do you find your path?  Unfortunately there is not a single solution for every situation, but there is a wealth of experience from other Professionals to help you make decisions.  For this article, I will simply give my perspective.

Try as I may to forget the phrase “I am not responsible for your career,” I cannot.  It haunts me and is a constant reminder of an undeniable truth.  In the end no one is responsible for your career but you.  But there is hope.  Just because you are responsible does not mean you are alone.  If you have a boss, you have a resource.


As a leader with direct reports, I can most certainly say that leaders are responsible for their team’s professional successes and failures.  In other words, if you make a mistake, your leader is accountable for allowing it happen and responsible for righting the ship.  On the other hand, if you succeed, so does your leader.   What does this have to do with your career?  Your manager is invested in your career whether they realize it or not.  By helping you be successful, they help their team be successful.  I am by no means condoning taking a back seat to your career and letting your manager drive, but I am saying they are a wealth of information that can benefit you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Another resource I will shamelessly plug is a mentor from the AIHA Mentoring and Professional Development Committee (MPDC).  The committee and subsequent mentoring program is an amazing resource with dedicated EHS professionals available to give help.  I am lucky enough to have been associated with that group for the last 4 years and I can honestly say it helps.  Having and external resource to help work through problems and offer a different perspective can help you find your path. If you are unfamiliar with this Committee or the Mentoring program, then check out the “Mentoring Corner” of this newsletter has more information.

Having resources is one thing, but using them effectively is entirely different.  Remember that quote that haunts me?   I would submit my slightly altered version of it:

“I am not responsible for your career, but I am available to help you.”

The key word there is “available”.  Available does not mean it automatically comes to yo
u, it means it is there to use.  You must be proactive and use your resources as you would a tool!  You have to get their undivided attention and to do that requires effort on your part.  Find a time and set up a meeting when you are both available.  Be sure to find a place you both can go where distractions are minimal.  Think of specific questions prior to your meeting and have something with you to take notes.  When you speak with them about your thoughts, try and avoid lamenting or complaining. Ask probing questions such as “I want to lead a team in the future.  What types of skills do I need to develop?”  Ask them about their experiences and what decisions they made a difference in their careers.

One topic I believe to be a “must” is a discussion around identifying your weaknesses.  Knowing your weaknesses is powerful.  You cannot get better if you do not know what to improve.  Use that conversation to establish goals to help improve.  Having the ability to confront those weak points is an essential skill for any professional.

leadering ppl

In the end taking control of your career is all about being proactive and finding those leaders, peers, friends, and family that can help you. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not sitting back and letting things happen.  If you want to excel, if you want to grow, and if you want to one day look back and admire where you are, you have to take the steps yourself.   Use your resources wisely and take advantage of their knowledge.  I would not be where I am today if I did not finally realize that I am the one responsible for my career.

Justin Klavan is Senior Manager of EHS and Facilities at Textron Systems located in Hunt Valley Maryland.   He is currently a member of both the Mentoring and Professional Development Committee and the Student and Early Career Professional Committee.