Common Sense is Uncommon
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.

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.

Earlier on I talked about doing job research and asking questions to know more. But I forgot to add a part on actually looking at those jobs that you want and trying out for them. 

How many have actually tried this? I am not sure. But I do it. I apply for jobs every couple years to see what do i qualify for now and what am I worth. 

Give it a try, I am not asking you to accept it but do always try out to apply for positions that you would want and remember the questions that they ask. Because if you don't have the work experience to back it up, you will not be able to get the job. And by knowing what they are looking for, it makes it easier for you to know what you need to build up!


A Book?


My wife has always told me that I should write a book, about my thoughts, my management style and recently, on relationships. This is partly the reason why I have this blog, which is to help me write about things and get more thoughts written down instead of being spoken.

But maybe I should look at writing some things down on relationships. either personal or work relationships. :) I do talk about networking and relationships next to networking is important and it is something that we need to look at during our working and personal lives. 

Personal relationships are also important as they do affect our working efficiency. When we are happy, we work better. When we are sad, we won't work well. So it is important to ensure that our personal relationships are also on track if we want to ensure we are able to do well at work. 

I will probably continue on this later on. :) Hope to write more posts on this later on. 

I always wonder if i am the only one who does job research and focuses on what I need to improve on to become better at what I do. It's not just a simple what do I want to be in 3 or 5 years time but actually looking for those who do it and ask them about the job itself.

Just felt like writing about this today as for many years, I have usually been the youngest in whatever post I do and I do feel I am pretty well compensated for what I do. Or maybe it's just because money is not a major motivator for me. 

But anyway, what do I do? Well, it's simple... I just observe and ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. I ask so many questions until some people get sick of me. Well, I am trying to achieve my objective!

I just look to ask on a few basic things
  1. What do you do
  2. What do you need to qualify
  3. What do you look for when hiring a replacement
  4. What do you think about me
  5. What are the skills that are must have for the job

It's easy right? But it's more than just that. You need to know how to ask questions and also to get the information that you want. You need to think on your feet and have an objective. 

So as you think about moving up the ladder and look for better jobs, you need to do some research on your target jobs and talk to the people who do it. A skip level 1x1 is a really great tool to ask how to become your boss but most people take it as a time to complain about their bosses. 


Itsy Bitsy Spider


This is one of my favorite nursery rhymes as it helps me think when things go down.

The itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

So what does it have to do with a blog that is talking mainly about working life?

Well, the answer is very simple… just read it again!

Life and work life has its ups and downs. We are always looking to climb the corporate ladder and to get to a higher position with more money, responsibility and in some cases, fame.

However, we do get washed down by “rain” every now and then but don’t fuss, don’t fret, just pick yourself up and climb on up again. The sun will come out and the rain will stop but we must always look to continue climbing up again.

Inspiration does come from places where you find them. 

I have been thinking a lot recently on where should my path take me. And all more importantly I have figured out is what I enjoy doing. Earlier I discussed that we need to know what we don't want to do and that makes it easier for us to know what we like. So now lets explore on the stuff that makes us happy.

Why did I start off with what we don't want? It's simple. We must know what we don't want before we can concentrate on what we want. I not, we will focus on the things we want and forget about what we dislike. And by continuing to accept things that we dislike will make us unhappy in the end.

The path is very simple, like earlier when we listed out things that we don't want to do, start to list out things that you want to do. Be realistic. Just because you want to be a CEO of a company doesn't mean you are qualified for it now. (I'll talk about skills planning in another post, on another day)

Once you know what you would enjoy doing, it's then simple to add the lists together and start looking at jobs that will be able to grant you both. Choose what is a must have and what is a nice to have else there will be no job in the world that would satisfy you. Like I said earlier, its about living with the maybe's and staying away from the will not's.