Common Sense is Uncommon

October 16th, 2013


I was reading an article on CNN that we need to limit the human population for us to survive. Link here. 

I feel that we need to look closely at our lives and see whether they are going to last for the next 100,200 years or more. I have even thought of a few possibilities in terms of transport, business and food 

Just have a read and give a thought to it. Where will we be if we do not make a change?

Next month, I have 2 invitations to my ex-staff's weddings. Congratulations guys and see you there! Anyway, it got me thinking and I tested this on a few people I know. How many of you would invite your ex-manager or ex-colleagues to your wedding/birthday/celebration?

It makes a good point to think of how you interact and treat people you know, whether they are your direct reports, peers, superiors or other colleagues. How will you be remembered? How will you be treated? If you feel that you aren't being included, you have to think to yourself why are you being excluded and how can you change (if you want to). 

So how many invitations have you gotten from your direct reports or 

Sorry for the short hiatus, been down with a bad flu and had lots on my mind the last few weeks.... 

How many times have you celebrated your birthday at work? Doing your job, getting stressed, sometimes getting acknowledged it is your birthday, and sometimes not?

I learnt many years ago that it is better not to work on your birthday as it is a day for you to celebrate how you want, with who you want. A day for yourself to relax and ponder of the past year and what you have done. 

So, just take a day off when it is your birthday. Relax and enjoy yourself instead of stressing on work.


How to recycle?


You know... everyone tells you to recycle. It will help save the environment, it will help reduce pollution and reduce our dependencies on fossil fuels.

Here in Malaysia, it is no exception. We all are encouraged to recycle and the government has spent millions on advertising campaigns in order to encourage us to recycle.

However, my thoughts are that it is pretty much a complete failure. Not many look at recycling for a simple reason... it is too difficult to do so. I myself admit I am not much at recycling but the way I look at it, there are no amenities to do so.

I don't buy newspapers so there is no need to recycle that. But when it comes to bottles and cans, I am unable to find a place to recycle. Except maybe at a couple malls, there are no recycling bins available at all! On top of that, at the condo's that I stay at and have visited, there are no provisions to recycle. There are no places to separate the trash out and also to dispose of them properly. Even at public places, I have not seen any places with recycling bins. 

Maybe we should start a movement to increase the installation of recycling bins around the country, Get shopping malls to have them to encourage everyone to throw their cans away separately or even paper cups. 

Today, the Malaysian health minister said that sugar subsidies should be reduced in order to reduce the number of diabetic cases.

Article here

But if you think about it, where do we consume sugar? In Malaysia, it is mostly from our drinks at the mamak and all food outlets. Also it doesn't help that most of us have a sweet tooth as well...

It took me a long time to reduce the amount of sugar I take in my drinks. Just cutting down on coke to once in a while has actually helped me maintain my few KG weight loss. And during this time, I get to notice that there are very few and cheap alternatives to soft drinks alone. Majority of eateries in KL alone serve fountain soft drinks and if you want a non-sweetened option, you usually have coffee or tea as an alternative. The worst case is that when you want water, they only have premium bottled water at an extremely high cost. 

To me, Mr Health Minister, please ensure that all restaurants serve filtered water to all patrons for free in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Please encourage the reduction in prices of healthier foods like fruits and vegetables in order for us to eat healthier. In my opinion, when McDonalds can serve you a meal cheaper than the nearby 'chap fan' shop and still make money, then how is that encouraging people to eat healthily? 


Why do cops hide?


I am just wondering... the cops always hide and tag motorists with speed trap guns in order to issue them summons that they were speeding.

Why do they hide? Where are there no signs? Is it ethical as this would mean that the police were waiting for you? Can we say entrapment?

I always think about life and how can we move the world forward. There are so many ways but I always believe that we must invest in training the next generation up in order to progress as a species.

I have seen and heard many times that there are managers who do not invest in training up their staff and keep intimidating them until they leave. And yet, these people say that their staff sucks and are horrible. However, if you were the one who hired them in the first place, why do you say they suck? Does that mean that you suck as an interviewer? (Note: No one has a 100% track record of hiring but many cases I hear of involve majority of the team)

But anyway, what I am talking about today is whenever we have direct staff or junior team mates, we must take the initiative to coach and guide them. If not, no once will be able to replace you and release you to do something more useful. If we don't encourage and train up juniors, do we have the right to complain that there are no good staff out there? If we don't train anyone up, how will anyone be able to do the job?

So, do reflect on yourself whether you encourage and teach the people you know or do you just pour cold water on them. And are you afraid if one of them replaces you...

Some food for though. 


Fail Fast


It's been a while since I wrote something... been having other things on my mind and I keep forgetting what i wanted to write about anyway...

As i was talking the other day with the FI group, we talked about failing fast. We were discussing it on the context of starting our own company and knowing when it is time to pull the plug. It's not about failing but to know when is not the time to push things through. 

I think this is quite relevant in our daily lives covering everything from fixing the leaking pipe to the light bulbs and to some extent, even our relationships. We must know when it is time to pull the plug and call for help! We can't do everything alone and even if we can, it probably is not good for our mental health. 

Many times in our lives, we will always try to make things work out. We will work harder to complete projects, burning the midnight oil just because we have to. We will tolerate behavior from our colleagues that is detrimental to ourselves and yet we persevere because we are afraid of what may happen. End of the day, we have to learn to let go when the time comes. To fail fast. 

A case in point we were discussing the other day were some start ups that have been around for 2-3 years but nothing major has materialized out of it. The idea when it was founded a few years ago was great but with the world and technology evolving at such a rapid pace, it has now become an OK idea. So is it time to fail? It will always depend on the founder and how much emotional attachment he/she has on the project. And also how much money the person has. 

End of the day, we need to know when it is time to move on. When to look at other things and when to push to complete things. It is a choice we have to learn for ourselves...

I was having some drinks with a few friends at the mamak store the other day and we started talking about work. One of my friends was telling me that the HR of a company I used to work with said I am banned from returning because I worked there for just a few months. 

Mmm... banned... so be it. I have been told that quite a few times and I don't care.  But this is a problem that I notice in many HR and hiring managers. If you leave, you are at fault. It's your fault you didn't stick to it and you wouldn't take the pressure/shit/problems etc. 

But how is that being true to yourself? Just working for the sake of ensuring that your resume shows you were at a company for a few years? Wasting your time not learning anything new or growing yourself as an employee? 

Well, I am classified as a job hopper. I change jobs more often than others and you can check my LinkedIn on how many jobs I have had over the years. And I always see that there are so many HR/Head Hunters/people that tell me I am stupid for doing so. I however have a different opinion. 

If goes back to one of my first jobs where my manager gave me some career advice. He told me that since I was young and have a long way ahead of me, always update your resume every 3 months. It's not to find a job but for you to know if you are growing. If you have nothing to add to your resume in 3 months means you have not done or accomplished anything in the last 3 months. And if after 6/9 months you can't add anything useful, you are wasting your time at the company. 

I believe that we need to constantly grow in order to become better. We have to be better than the previous generation else we will not be moving forward. I practice what my old manager taught me and I look at my resume every 5-6 months to see if I am growing and if I am learning anything at all. And if I find I am wasting my time, I will look to move on to be able to learn more in order to grow myself.

It's kind of weird that managers are scared of people like me. It's not that i will leave in a short period of time but I will leave if I am not able to grow. I don't plan on taking over their job but it is important that we all continuously increase our knowledge and skills. 

So, lets see if anyone will be willing to hire me again as it is not just about work but also about improving myself. 

I am sure many HR and managers will not like this but in the end, in this modern world we must be loyal to ourselves first. Loyalty to the company comes later as companies are no longer loyal to you.

If we read the news these days, many companies in the US are downsizing and they look at us employees as cost, no longer an asset. Gone are the promises of retaining talent as those with talent would have moved on to other jobs that would be more stable! Many companies these days are so worried about the bottom line and share prices that they treat their employees as just a number, a cost that they have to pay and how can they reduce these costs.

There are numerous articles on CNN, LinkedIn, New York Times etc that have said this. I am not the first but just deciding to write my thoughts on this down. 

It's sad actually as just a few years ago, companies were rapidly expanding, looking for the best people around to work for them in order to grow and expand. And the slightest hint of instability causes them to retract back into the shell and hide. It works well for the bottom line and stock options but is this the culture that is being taught?

So that is why I say, we must be loyal to ourselves first. Do what is best for yourself as when the time comes, the company will take care of itself first before taking care of you.