November 26, 2020

If not now, then when?

You have a career dream that you would like to pursue. But it will bring you on a path of uncertainty. How will you feed yourself? And how will you put food on the table for your family?

So instead of taking a step of faith towards that direction, you fall back on the security of what you already know.

The problem is, will there be a better time in the future? If not now, then when?

I would like to believe that we live in an abundant world. A world filled with joy, beauty, creativity and more than enough.

Yet, not everything is unlimited.

With wisdom and good management of priorities, we probably could get anything we want. But probably not everything we want.

How do you determine whether to continue pressing on or to give up? How do you know when to stop fighting for the success of your project? Or when call it a day and look for the next opportunity instead?

November 2, 2020

Thinking critically

A classmate asked the following questions during one of my tutorial last week:

  • What is critical thinking?
  • How do we learn to think critically?
  • And if it can’t be taught in the traditional way of knowledge transfer, then how can educators teach it?

Those were interesting questions, especially given the complexity of our world now.

October 23, 2020

Research shows…

Any decent university professor, especially for graduate-level studies and above, will tell you that most research can be contested. They will keep reminding you to remain critical of all sources you read. Even if the sources are from well-respected, peer-reviewed journals.

So when someone tells you that “reams of research shows…” in whatever areas it may be, be wary.

Apparently, ghosting happens in the professional context too. Is it that hard to say “No thanks, I’m no longer interested”?

I used to think that design thinking follows the divergent-convergent thinking model. Same for any kind of creative thinking where you are not following a script or a standard operating procedure.

But perhaps we can use another model to think (or rethink) about design and creative processes.

The fear is that technology will eventually replace most of our jobs. And those who prosper are going to be the elite few who own the machines. The rest of us will be left out.

But will that really happen?

As I’m surrounded by people who work in one job and in one company at any one time, it’s hard to imagine if multiple careers can be a viable, long-term plan.

Can we really have our cake and eat it too? Especially in a culture with working hours among the highest in the world?

Making career changes. Moving to a new city. Going back to school. Changing jobs. Switching to another company. Starting your own business. Going freelance. Going back to full-time employment. Moving back to your home country.

In the important decisions that we have to make while navigating our careers, few of them are ever final. Wrong decisions are seldom fatal. And we can always pivot and adjust our directions along the way if we find that we’ve made a wrong decision.

Traditional career planning tells us to identify the role we want to end up in eventually.

Want to be a neurosurgeon? An architect? A school principal? The pathways to getting there seem clear. If your dream career is crystal clear to you, great.

But I’m not sure if that applies to the majority of us.

What if you don’t have a clear vision of the role you want yet? And what if the role doesn’t even exist right now?