Category: Work

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?

It worries me that many are calling for a blanket minimum wage policy in Singapore. Why should we argue for a policy that sounds good in theory but have not shown conclusive evidence of its success anywhere else in the world?

By appealing to our moral conscience (or perhaps ego when we feel good when we are championing social justice), ideas such as minimum wages have the potential to sneak socialism into our society.

And that’s what worries me more than the policy itself.

September 3, 2020

Us vs them

Millenial. Boomer. Gen X. Gen Z.

These titles are used to identify each generation of people. But the titles come with stereotypes. Each generation of people is believed to have certain unique traits belonging to that generation.

The problem is, we tend to use these differences between successive generations as a weapon to divide. It’s us vs them. Either my viewpoint is right. Or you are right.

When will we ever put aside our differences and meet in the middle?

August 26, 2020

Taking the long view

Being part of the generation that grew up with technology, I’m used to getting things done fast. It doesn’t help that I grew up in a small city-state known, among other things, for its efficiency.

But we each have our own race to run.

In a culture that places unnecessary limelight on quick successes – be it people or businesses, we can be the ones who believe otherwise. We can take the long view. And believe that slow and steady can win the race.

Many governments around the world have provided financial support to their citizens this year. It’s a challenging year for many – definitely.

Some might think that the financial support we receive is not enough. Others might want the government to do more. And perhaps, even if we might not want to admit, we might even think that it’s nice to receive unemployment benefits to just sit at home all day.

The problem is, why should someone else take care of our own needs and wants? With more welfare and support, will our individual work ethic be eroded?

We need to stop over-glorifying sacrifice. It’s noble, yes. It’s for the greater good, no doubt.

Doing great work doesn’t justify the neglect of family and other relationships. It doesn’t justify the loss of balance in someone’s life.

When executing a project or a new programme, details matter. You can’t always talk about big, fluffy ideas that don’t mean anything. Otherwise, it’s just all talk and no action.

What product should you build exactly? How would the new online program look like exactly? What materials do you need to conduct your workshop?

But although details mater, they don’t matter that much at the start.

Ideas are just that – ideas that float around in your head.

You might have verbalised that. You might have shared them with others. But the fear of the results of your ideas could prevent you from generating and executing them.

Will your ideas work?

As a freelancer, you are self-employed. So you have great flexibility in how you work. You get to set your price. You can choose the hours you work.

But that very same flexibility can become a double-edged sword.

You might not have considered the boundaries of what you would and would not do. Especially if you are new and trying to establish yourself in a certain field.