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When we were kids (ah….those were the days….), school used to be our 2nd home. We eat there, study there, sleep there (yea, i used to sleep a lot in classes). But as we grow older (suddenly sound so sad), our 2nd home is no longer our school but our office. We eat (sandwiches? biscuits?), sleep (nap?), work and study there. We spend 8 hours a day in our office and sometimes more than the amount of time we spend at home.

That’s why it is quite important to choose the right company…it is just like choosing your life companion. Unless, of course, you are someone who job hops a lot. πŸ™‚ If that’s the case, you don’t need to find the right company. Any company which pays well, will suit you. OK OK, i am not encouraging anyone to do that. Job hopping is a very bad thing especially if your objective is to gain quick money. If you job hop because you want to try many different industries, then it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Anyway, there are 2 major factors that you might want to look into when you start to hunt for the right company:

  • Core values – what are the core values of the company? Do they believe in the things you believe in as well? This is perhaps the most important thing that one should look at. If the company believes in slave driving and you prioritize work life balance….then it’ll only shorten you time working for the company. Also, it depends on whether the company provides the opportunity to learn. Does the company offer trainings or you are on your own? If it is on your own, does it actually fit what you want?
  • Industry – some companies are involved in different industries…especially the big companies. In these companies, you get to learn about different industries/fields and maybe find the right one for you. However, most companies focus on 1 or 2 industries. If you want to learn about IT, no point to work for a company which only does publishing.

Other factors will be things like benefits, salary, location, opportunity to learn, etc etc. But i believe the 2 major factors are as stated above. Do take some time to read Cirnelle‘s post “The kindess of a boss” which in my opinion, is a good post. She talked about the 2 different systems for a company – the Nanny or the Organized Chaos. πŸ˜€

Hope it helps. πŸ™‚

Ok, i’m pretty sure that 90% of you will say it is bad. πŸ˜€ To me, it’s good AND bad, depends on how you see it (gosh, i do sound like someone working in a consulting firm).

If you haven’t read my previous post on Family vs Work, do take few minutes to read. I find the post very meaningful (ok…now i’m back to the old Alvin Lim).

I just came back from dinner with few senior colleagues and they talked about our ex-colleague being workacholic. This ex-colleague (let’s name the person ABC – not air batu campur…or…er..in English is mixed ice?) of ours was quite an extreme person who has nothing in his mind but work, work and work. He is the type of person who will go back to office and work after dinner or during weekends. The type of person who always get his ideas at weird hours….3am. The bad thing is, well, he’ll call you up excitedly and let you know about his ideas!

Gosh, i’m fortunate that my boss is a family man.

To be honest, I myself can be quite a workacholic. I can work very long hours but my style is not the typical 9-5. I like to take short breaks in between….maybe to play games or watch animation or read comic or sleep. After that, i’ll continue to work. That’s my style and if i am working on something i am passionate about ….i can really work for long long hours.

But that’s just me and my own world. I am sane enough to know that i shouldn’t call up someone at 3am just to shout out my ideas to him. Work life balance…this is important.

I believe if you do have some “life” ….be it in between your working time (like my preferred style) or after your work, it is good enough. Don’t be overly absorbed in your work.

Some companies (especially chinaman styled companies) actually like to hire workacholics. They hire you to do more work for the same (or lesser) pay as the rest of the applicants. Isn’t that better? πŸ™‚

But these companies should also realize that a workacholic might cause other problems such as poor work performance (long hours will make you tired, regardless of whether you are batman, spiderman or superman), unhappy subordinates (don’t think you want your boss to call you at 2am right? or a boss who penalizes you for working lesser amount of time than he does), etc.

For me, work is important but your life is more important. After you retired, what is left? Your spouse and maybe your family…but it is definitely not your work, and not the company who you’ve worked so hard for. When you are sick, who will be there for you (besides the doctors)? Not your ex-bosses but your family and friends.

Life is more than just work, work and work. πŸ™‚

Before you all proceed with my post….please take a few minutes to read Cirnelle‘s post onΒ  “Counting Hours“.

Done? Ok, that’s all I want to say.

LOL. Ok, just trying to be funny. πŸ˜›

Let’s get straight to the point (i’m actually rushing my work now). Do you agree that if one works late or long hours, it means that one is a good employee? I’m pretty sure most of you will not agree….but how many of you is actually doing something like that or have a boss who thinks like that? I’m sure most of you will say “Yea, I do work late, so i think i’m a good employee” or “I have a boss who only rewards those who work late” or “My colleagues always say that I never do my work because I go home earlier”.Β 

Oh please….we’re no longer in ‘that era’. This is the knowledge worker era. What matters most is your work performance, your knowledge and of course the overall results. If i were to start my own business, i will of course set a timeline for all the employees to complete a certain task…….and to do some proper quality check on the end result. I wouldn’t even bother whether they come to work or not. As long as they are there when there’s a scheduled meeting/appointment…..then i’m fine. Come to work late, go back early or work from home, I don’t mind at all. Why? Because working late or long hours DO NOT mean you’re a good employee.

Let’s see….if you work late…maybe it’s because you have unreasonable deadline…….or, you wasted too much time during the actual working hours? Either way, you are neglecting your private life (family life…friends..etc) when you start to work late. I actually know some people who spend most of their time in office chatting, reading newspaper/online news, surfing, checking shares (ok, i do this, but not that often since the site I used only update once every 1 – 2 hours), watching youtube (that’s why it’s famous), etc (you should know as well as i do πŸ˜›). In the end, they are forced to work late in order to finish their assignments.

There you go…work late doesn’t mean you’re a good employee. Good end result + good work attitude + work delivered on time = good performance = good employee.

So, start doing yourself a favor…….don’t treat yourself like a machine which works 9-5 (OK machine) or 9-7 (GOOD machine) or 9am – 12am (candidate for employee of the year)…..because you’re a human and not a machine. Fully utilize your working hours, and go back home earlier….regardless of what your boss/your colleagues think of you. A boss will always reward those with good performance, not those who works late but lousy performance.

Again, feel free to post any comments here πŸ˜‰

Turnover has been on the rise nowadays. I’m not sure how applicable is this for other companies…but I do know that it’s quite high for the few companies that I know. And I also know that having a high turnover rate will not help any organization/company and it will give more workloads for the Human Resource people.

And then people start to ask…..why don’t these organizations or companies have a proper employee retention policy to lower the turnover rate? Good question. To be honest, most organizations/companies in Malaysia do not have a proper employee retention policy. They feel that it’s too troublesome or costly. Well, I must give credits to those who do have……but as far as I know, most do not have or are doing a very bad job with whatever retention policies they trying to implement. And for those who do not have any at all…..maybe they think retraining their employee is a cheaper way?

No idea.

After asking bout retention policy……..people will ask WHY? Why so and so want to leave? Why this? Why that? Some people will just say “oh well, it’s a stupid company” or “the company management sux”. I do agree that some companies have very inexperienced and sucky management team…….but I also believe that they are not the main reason someone wants to leave the company. Most of the time, I realized it is the direct supervisor who is forcing people out of the company.

The supervisor is the one who will manage the employees. The person who is closest to the employees or the front line men. He is the one who will look after them and also the one who they will complain or voice their opinions to. Whatever the top management does, the employees will not know or will not see that clearly. In the end, it is the things the supervisor does that will involve them.

When someone leaves a company…….the person might say “Stupid boss la. That’s why i left!”. But the actual boss of the company has nothing to do with the guy leaving the company…well, most of the time anyway. If it’s a small company, the boss is most likely the supervisor. If it’s a big company……do you seriously think the CEO or the Managing Director will actually force someone who is 3 levels below in the organization chart to leave the company? He most probably won’t even notice the guy that much! And well, how much do you actually know your CEO if you are a lower level executive?

In the end….it’s not really the top management that is responsible for the employee retention policy. Everyone is, especially the leaders……any leaders. You might be a team leader, a division lead, a practice lead, a senior manager, project manager, anyone…….but as long as you have subordinates under you……you are responsible for them, their welfare, their career path..their future. If they choose to resign…well, it’s either they found a better opportunity….plan to change their field….or, well, they’re just pissed by you. πŸ™‚

Anyway, the above is purely based on my personal opinion. Do feel free to post up your comments. πŸ˜€

Let’s admit it, most of us do not like to face the ‘cruel-looking‘ customers or the ‘ridiculously unreasonable‘ client. But if you are in a business or profession where customer-facing is a must……there’s no escape no matter how much you hate or dislike it. This is sales to you. It can be very rewarding…but it’s never easy and it’s most probably one of the most challenging jobs in the universe.

Recently, i’ve just finished reading the famous book “Rich Dad Poor Dad“. In this book, Robert Kiyosaki talked about the importance of sales and marketing. How the ability to sell will impact our daily life.

To be honest, I used to hate all these sales things. I don’t like to go out and sell stuff…or maybe even to the extent of ‘begging’ someone to buy something from you. I don’t like this idea at all.

However, i’ve come to realize one important thing……i can never escape from doing sales, from selling things (services/products or anything) especially if i plan to start my own business. True, some of you might argue with me that you can find the right people to do sales while you concentrate on the company’s operation.

Valid point. I’ve had the same idea before this. But i soon realized how wrong it was to think that way when I witnessed something which happened to 1 of my previous employers. The CEO and other board of directors were concentrating too much on the operation of the company and they left the entire sales department to a lady staff. She did very well for the company….but she found a better opportunity after that. She left. The CEO and the board of directors were stuck…they have no proper knowledge in terms of sales…..they did not know how to sell for their own company! Well, as expected…the company went downhill after that and I left. πŸ˜›

If you are thinking to start your own business…..then always remember that you should be your own salesman. Maybe not the best salesman, but you should at least be able to sell your stuff. You’ll need the skill to sell it to the customers, the potential investors, business partners, etc.

If you still think otherwise, then feel free to post up your comments here. πŸ™‚

First of all, I must apologize for being away for so long from this blog. Been pretty busy with work….and i’m still busy actually. πŸ™‚ Just taking a break.

So here i am again…throwing this question to all of you who want to start your own business.

Let’s face it. Most people, especially in Asia, want to start their own business. But why? What’s the reason of you, wanting to start your own business? Is it for fame? To build an icon like Microsoft or Google? To pursue your dreams and ambitions? To work for yourselves rather than relying on someone else? Or is it you just want to be rich and become financially independent?

I’ve asked this question to a lot of people…..not just you. Most of the answers I’ve received, well…it’s quite disappointing. Most people gave me answers such as “I just want to be my own boss” or “I want to be rich”. And none of them actually say something like “pursue my dreams/ambitions”.

If you seriously want to start your own business….have you heard of people saying that 9 out of 10 startups will fail in the first 5 years? The 1 will actually survive the first 5 years….but after that, 9 out of 10 surviving companies will struggle and perish. The survival rate is actually 5-10%….and that’s only for the first 10 years…and jst to survive.

If your main objective is to get rich quick or be financially independent, then don’t start your own business. You can do that by using your money wisely – investing in the right place, generating money from money….etc. You don’t need to start your own business to be rich. You can use other people’s business to be rich. And also…even if you start your own business, there’s a very high possibility that you won’t get rich.

For myself, I still insist that i want to start my own business. Not to get rich from it….but more like to pursue my dreams and do what I want AND, be successful with it. πŸ™‚

What bout you? πŸ˜€ Ask yourself….and answer the question honestly. πŸ™‚ Hopefully, you’ll find the answer you seek. Β 

First of all, sorry folks…i’ll be rather busy for the next few weeks. I’m currently rushing for a project (design documents for now….implementation later). I won’t be posting that much….BUT…since blogging and sharing are part of me nowadays, I’ll still post something up here…maybe just not that much.

Hope you folks won’t mind. Sincere apologies. πŸ™‚

Till then, have a nice day and check out this interesting article from Entrepreneur.com

The Perfect Presentation: Materials.

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 πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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.