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Something actually happened to me lately….something bad. My PlayStation Portable (PSP) which was bought less than a year ago at around RM 1000 (around USD 300-400 ?), was pronounced dead by the second doctor. I was feeling very sad (er…maybe i should use “I am feeling very sad”).

There’s something within me that shouts the line “Alvin, go ahead and buy another PSP for goodness sake. It’s only RM 700 now!” And I seriously mean it, I do have that urge to drive to the shop and purchase another PSP…especially with all the nice games coming up.

If this happened 6 months ago…..I would’ve bought myself another PSP…around RM 700 (total cost of owning a WORKING PSP will then be around RM 1700). But now…something within me, is telling me not to buy another PSP. Why?

Because it’s a liability.

A lot of things around us can be considered liabilities. Branded clothings, bags, shoes, luxury watches, video games, LCD TV….I’m sure you know better than me. True, some of you might argue with me (or with yourselves) that the NICE thing that you’re planning to buy (such as Nintendo WII) is NOT a liability. Well, let me ask you this question “How sure are you?

Asset is something that you should buy, if you want to be in control of your finances. Assets can earn more money for you. These are the things which will make you rich. These are the things which will make money work for you. Example? Shares, bonds, etc….of course…the right ones. 🙂

Liabilities, on the other hand, are mostly our desires. The “nice-to-haves” such as …well, i just listed some of them down.  These are the things that will make you spend money….but there will not be much (if any) returns of investment.

One of my best buddies told me he plans to buy a new PC…cool. I asked him one question “Do you think it’s a liability or an asset?” He said…”It’s an asset“, and I asked “Can it make money for you?” and he said “Of course! I can start an e-business using it!“. Pretty relevant. You can indeed start an online business using your PC………but…….i pushed on with my last question “How sure are you that your main purpose is to start an e-business using this PC?“…and he went silent.

If you are pretty sure the “liability” you are buying can earn you some $$…then please, go ahead and prove to yourselves (not to anyone else). Most of us thought that these liabilities that we are planning to buy, will end up bringing some $$ to us….but most of the time, this “dream” of ours will not materialise.

So, the next time you are planning to buy something….think about this. 🙂

p/s…of course, it helps to reward yourselves from time to time with nice-to-haves. Don’t be so stingy to yourselves. 🙂 But please don’t overdo it especially if you have big dreams. For me…I don’t think I’ll get another PSP just yet. 😉 …..even though I seriously want 1. LOL.  

Phew…last week was a pretty busy one for me. 2 of my good friends got married (yea, the husband n wife are my good friends). Congratz to Ryan and Andrea 😉

Wasn’t been able to post up something until now (which I think, is late Monday).

I’ve been reading a book titled “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I’m sure some of you have heard about this book before. It actually enlightened some of my friends who have read this book. I’m still at chapter 2 or 3….so…don’t expect me to talk much about it. 😉

What I intend to discuss today is the so-called “Rat Race“. In the book, the author mentioned that most people work for money…and not the other way round. Don’t believe so? Let me ask you a simple question. I am sure most people (including myself) have this big dream of doing whatever we like…pursuing our passions in life…abandoning our current job and go chasing after our dreams. But we didn’t. Why? Because we have something called commitments – families, bills, etc.

We need money to support these things.

In other words…we’re being controlled by money. We are working for money.

Also, most of us will say that a higher pay can actually help us to solve the problem. I can assure you, it won’t. The higher your pay…the higher your expenses. You will have more bills to pay, more desires (nice-to-haves) to fulfill. The cycle will go on and on and on…never ending, and this is what they called the “rat race“.

So if you are in a situation I’ve described above….do take some time to ponder…whether you are really in control of your lives…or you’re being controlled by money.

Think about what you really want. I know what I want…. and it’s not paying bills. I have the option to go to the SAP world…earning big bucks, but I chose not to because I realized that’s not the direction I wanted to go. Bigger bucks might be able to solve some of the short term solution……but the long term problem here is, I am still chasing after the $$…working for the $$.

Do take some time to think about this. 🙂 Life is not just about chasing after money…or involving in the never ending rat race.

It has been 3 years since I started working. I only took 2 weeks of rest after my final exam….and started working immediately after that. Fortunately for me, I’ve found my passion in the world of IT (though some may feel it’s a bit hopeless) ever since I decided to study IT (it stands for Information Technology in case some of you may wonder, and it’s not Idiotic Transformation). Till now, I’m beginning to step into another new field called Business & Management (but i’m not letting go of IT just yet).

That’s me. I’ve sort of found my own direction….the direction, the route that I wanted to take.

What about you?

There are few people I know who do not like what they were doing in the university time. Some of them who graduated with a degree in IT, ended up in the world of investment…or banking…or marketing. I even have few friends who have worked in all kinds of jobs/fields…just to find their respective direction. They do not know what are their passions…they do not know what drives them forward. They are trying hard to find the answer by switching jobs, again and again…and again.

One of my friends graduated with a first class honor from a reputable university in the IT field. He started his working life as a programmer. Within months, he got bored and switched to sales….car salesman. Again, in less than a year, he realized that his personality is not really meant for sales. He changed and became chef (lowest ranking) in a restaurant. Again…he left within months. He was shopping around for few years before deciding to return to the world of IT. He has spent so many years…in vain. When he went for the interview, he was treated as someone with a lot of working experience but minmum technical experience. He was treated as a fresh graduate.

Don’t get me wrong. I always support people to switch jobs (not job hopping, mind you)…either within the same company or not…just to find your own direction, your own passions. It might take a while…and it might not. For those who did not take too long to find their passions, good for you. For those who did…just always remember that one is never too old to discover that. 😉

However, there is one thing that you must know….you should not continue to change job or type of job once you have found your direction. Keep the pendulum swinging…and you should be pushing the pendulum in the direction that the pendulum is swinging…to increase its momentum. This means that once you’ve found your direction, you should work hard and improve yourself in that field.

Remember not to push the pendulum in the opposite direction…thus decreasing its momentum…and eventually bringing the pendulum to a halt. Try not to switch too much…especially after you know what you actually want to do with your life.

LOL, hope you all can get my idea from this article. My “weather” inside my brain is cloudy…very tired today.

Hope it helps. Do drop your comments 🙂

In our world today, money is something that you no longer can escape from. Everything that you need…you’ll need money. Food, vacation, daily necessities, entertainments, etc….all of these, you will need money to buy them.

For myself, I am actually looking into investing my money in certain areas right now. I’m planning to diversify a little – maybe a bit in mutual funds, a bit in stock, and when I have enough money, put into real estate. The latter is less volatile but has bigger risk. So…it really depends on your financial capability and how big a risk are you willing to take.

Well, in the end, the most important thing is…do you actually have the money to start buying or start investing?

For the younger generation (20s and 30s), spending your money on something you really like is quite normal. For guys, gadgets and for girls, clothes, cosmetics, etc etc. I used to be like a typical young man…spending a lot on gadgets, games, food and entertainment. I used to spend like 5k in 3 months…on such things (my salary is not much, fyi).

But recently, I’ve changed. I no longer spend so much on gadgets and food. I feel most of those stuff are “nice-to-have” and not “need-to-have“. With 5k…there are a lot of things that I could do. I can buy a lower-end blue chip stock in Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. I can deposit the 5k into a Fixed Deposit…or even put them into the mutual funds. There are so many things that you can do with 5k…and all of them will lead to making you 5k multiply. True, it’s not something that you can see overnight and it’ll most probably need some time to grow..and at times it might gain negative progress. However, it is still better than using your 5k on purchasing a liability.

So, how much have you save this month? I am sure all of you have your own ambitions, your own dreams…and everyone wants to see their current money grow. But I can seriously tell you……..spending majority of your money on short-term happiness will never help your money to grow. 🙂

I’ve learnt this, and I hope you do too.

And this is EXACTLY what i intend to do when I start my own business in the future. 🙂

http://www.entrepreneur.com/humanresources/managingemployees/article179274.html

Why I want to do this? I personally believe this will boost the morale of the employees – teamwork, competition (and perhaps some extra stress…well, couldn’t help it right?), fun, etc. Most importantly, the employees get to feel at home…doing what they want…enjoying and having fun before getting back to their work.

Some people have doubts over this so-called “new method of retaining employees“. It might have few side-effects, just like every other thing in this world. In terms of productivity…i believe there’s something called “timeline” for every assignment. No? If that’s the case, a responsible employee will know when to get back to work and not becoming a game addict. 🙂

More entertainment will make the employees feel much more like home….and stay longer in the office…and work only when they feel like (but of course, the assignments should be handed in within the given timeline).

So if you are running your own business and are wondering how to retain your employees (especially the creative ones)…. do consider this option. 🙂

Check out this slideshow from Eweek.com on the 10 most wanted future technologies.

Here’s the link …. http://etech.eweek.com/slideshow/index.php?directory=futuretech

I found this article from CNN Money. Quite an interesting read especially for an entrepreneur. It might provide some insights as to how you should start a business.

Here’s the link http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/moneymag/0706/gallery.success_stories.moneymag/index.html

Offtrack a little….

I’ve started a new blog (with few friends) called The Life Frame. The new blog is something like a photo blog. My intention is to minimize wordings (less serious stuff…not like this blog), replacing them with interesting photos.

The selection of photos are quite random. 🙂

Do pay a visit to this blog whenever you’re free (or plan to escape a little from the forever serious Thinker blog).

Thanks!

Here’s the link – http://lifeframe.blogspot.com 

I did not start this post earlier because I always thought I have already written something like this before. I’ve checked my archives and unfortunately (or fortunately), I wasn’t able to find one such article.

Ah well, this is going to be quite a long post. So, please bear with me.

We’ve talked about what you should do AFTER an interview but what really matters is not the post-interview period. It is the interview period itself. True, some of you might say pre-interview is important. Valid point. However, no matter how much preparations you’ve done during your pre-interview process……you will still screw up if you don’t do well DURING the interview. No?

So, here are few things that you should always keep in mind especially when you are in an interview session.

  • Always have enough sleep – Never go into an interview with your sleepy eyes. You need to be fully awake and remain alert all the time. Always try your best to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep the day before the interview. This is to keep your mind fresh and fast enough to answer any questions properly.
  • Avoid heavy food – If your interview is in the morning, then just make sure you don’t take any heavy breakfast to avoid feeling sleepy and to avoid…stomachache. Most of the interviews I’ve attended were scheduled in the morning period. If it is in the afternoon, again, same thing..avoid heavy lunch.
  • Know your job description – Always understand your job description well. The interviewer will surely ask you about the job that you’re applying to. You wouldn’t want to go to the interview, only to question the interviewer about the job you are applying. Know the job description and ask other related questions such as job scope, who do you report to, etc. Basic stuff, find out yourself before going to the interview.
  • Research on company background – Make sure you know the profile and background of the company you are applying to. You don’t need to know all the directors’ names. What you need to know are basically the type of services, products, field of expertise the company are involved in. You can easily find such information in the company web site – background/company profile. At least 7 out of 10 interviewers will ask you what do you know about their company. This is actually the easiest to answer, and the best opportunity you have in the early stages of an interview to impress the interviewer.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses – Another common question that people will ask is “Tell me 3 of your weaknesses and 3 of your strengths“. This, you need to know yourself well. For strengths, it’s easy right? For weaknesses, try to come out with weaknesses with are double-edged sword such as “I’m a perfectionist“, or “I take too much detail into consideration“.
  • Have an accurate CV – Your CV is the first thing your interviewer will look at. Technical questions or any question related to your skills will mostly be based on your CV. If you wrote that you know A, B and C in the CV…..please ensure you do in fact know A, B and C. You’ll give a very very bad impression if you don’t do that.
  • Be honest – If you couldn’t answer a question thrown by the interviewer (some of them are just testing you), don’t be afraid or panic. Just answer you don’t know. I know it’s hard because I came across such situation before. But well, it’s better to say “I don’t know” than to crap something out which is entirely wrong.
  • Always remain calm – Sometimes, the interviewer will ask u a question and you’ll answer. Once you’ve answered….the interviewer kept quiet. Stay calm. Remember that talking too much is not a good thing. The silence will certainly make you feel uncomfortable but do bear with it. Answer whatever you want and nothing more.

Last but not least……be confident, be natural and be honest. Don’t be over-confident. It’s better to be humble. Ask questions that you want to askknow the company better and your potential boss better…… If you find it not suitable, then it’s better not to join them. You wouldn’t want to join a company which you know you will leave within few months.

Again, I might’ve missed out some important points. Do send in your comments if you have anything to add or comment.

Thanks. Hope it helps.

There are a lot of things you should do BEFORE the job interview – like finding out about the job scope, company background and profile, the location of the office, preparing your certificates and photocopies of them, your latest CV, a proper mindset, get enough sleep to stay fresh, and the list goes on and on. To be honest, there are more things you need to do BEFORE the interview than AFTER the interview.

In this short article, I’m going to talk about the AFTER interview.

  • The first thing you should do right after the interview is to email the HR who arranged the interview, and also the interviewer (if you managed to get his/her email address). What you need to do then, is to send a “Thank you” email to them. I know to some people, it looks a bit ‘fake’ and ‘hypocrite’ but if you truly feel grateful to them for giving you the opportunity of an interview, then why not? It’ll make you feel better and sometimes, make them feel better too. It’ll also leave a good impression on them.
  • The second thing you should do is to call back and check the status to show you are eager to join them. However, most of the time, you will only do this if you are desperate for the job. Just don’t make it sound like you are desperate. During the interview, the interviewer should actually inform you (or you should’ve asked) how long it will take for them to get back to you (pass/fail). Pick a day (2 or 3 days after the given ‘time frame’) and call up the HR. Just to ensure that they won’t forget to inform you if you fail….and you won’t need to wait forever.

These 2 are, by far (in my opinion), the most important things to do after an interview.  Just remember that the most important of all…is still the interview itself. 🙂

Hope it helps.