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I have this idea of integrating work and games together. I’ve told some people about it. 1/10 said it’s interesting. Another 1/10 told me to go for whatever i believe in. 2/10 said i’m crazy and 6/10 just said that it’s impossible.

They actually made me believe that it’s impossible until i found this article in Entrepreneur.com. Apparently, there’s someone in the US who is researching on the same thing.

So my dear readers, do you think this is a good idea? I know it’s not going to be easy especially to some people who are anti-games.

Here’s the link.

Are You Game?

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˜‰

Some of my friends have been working in small companies for few years. You might say that some people prefer to work in smaller companies. True. But these friends of mine always have this mentality that big companies or so-called Multi-national companies (MNC) are actually better in terms of prospects and rewards. They like to say “Alvin, your salary so high la…jealous leh” and I’ll say “Nope, my salary actually quite low” and then they’ll say “Don’t bluff la, MNC sure high pay 1”.

Then it struck me….and I’ve asked few of them “If MNC is so nice to you…why don’t you join MNC?”. And well, you should be able to guess what is the answer they gave me – “Don’t want lah…MNC a lot of politics”. 😐

SOOoooo, the question is…. does it mean working in a big company will expose you to more office politics? Answer is YES. Why? Because the possibility of being involved in office politics is higher, when there are more people in the company. Human beings are the cause of politics in office. So with more people in a company, the possibility of having some screwed up individuals will be of course, higher.

However, one should not be afraid to join a big company if one really likes the company and what it is doing. You can always try to change team (or company) if you are being dragged into something you do not want to be involved in. πŸ˜‰ In big companies, you can at least try to change project team…or division or department. If you work in a small company with office politics……..well, where else can you escape?

In the end, it all boils down to one thing – luck. πŸ™‚ Just do what you like …if you wish to try your luck in a MNC, do it. Don’t be afraid of politics because if you are unlucky…..you’ll be involved in the politics even if you don’t work in a MNC. 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˜€

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 

Here’s an interesting article from Entrepreneur.com.

Do check it out when you have time πŸ™‚

I think it’s a MUST READ for all entrepreneurs-wannabe.

Countdown to Startup

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

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. πŸ™‚

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. 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.