Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Sep 21, 2016

Know Yourself, know your pitfalls

Filed under: Career,Life — admin @ 2:33 pm

This is one of the articles that I published on LinkedIn. You can leave comments there, if you have any.

When my son was small, he would make a face-losing scene at the store if his wish was not met. The remedy for this was not to take him to the store until he could behave himself in public.

Sometimes, while I am in the middle of a task, I find the need to get on the internet for a brief search. Very often that 5-minute sidetrack quickly runs out of control as I click one link to another and then I forget what my initial intention is. This is what happens when time flies by without getting things done. The cure is, instead of stopping for each search, write on a paper notepad what you want to search. Do it at the end. If you need to get answers now, set a timer.

Sometimes, I feel very lethargic after eating too much. The cure is to avoid heavy food intake if I know I still have work to do.

Some people lose focus and become distracted when they get bored sitting in a not exciting classroom or meeting. The trick is how to keep them intrigued.

When I related the story to my daughter, she totally got it because that’s what happened to her, too. Most of us have our particular pitfalls or traps that lead us to the opposite of where we want to go, and to the waste of time and life. The question is how to hold yourself from falling into these pitfalls. I told my daughter this. You need a self-check mechanism.

To act proactively, you need to know yourself, know your pattern of behavior, know when you have your peak hours in a day so that you get serious things done in those hours, know under what situation you are most likely to lose focus. This way you can foresee what will happen in certain situations and proactively avoid getting into that situation, just like what I did with my young son.

The earlier in life you know yourself, the better.

1, Sep 15, 2016

What should young college graduates look for in their first job

Filed under: Career — admin @ 2:37 pm

Of course, readers here have read this article before, perhaps not under the same heading but having the same content.

When my children were at home, I often lectured to them on any topic that came to my head at the moment, so much so that by the time my daughter was in her senior year high school, she would put on her earbud when I got too boring. It was quite funny.

I remember talking to them about their first job upon college graduation. Number one, the decisive factor is not the paycheck. No matter how attractive your first paycheck is, if you don’t have strong expertise, your laughter won’t last longer than the snow flakes under the sun, and your tangible paycheck is as insecure as the delicious cheese in a rat’s mouth. Even worse is this, a big paycheck might intoxicate you and allure you to forget your own dream about your life.

Number two, don’t choose a company because of its world-class benefit. The more comfortable the comfort zone is, the harder it is for you to break away from it. To be sure, comfort hugging is in most of us. But when you are in your early 20s, you are too young for that.

What you should look for is something intangible, that is, an opportunity to learn and grow, and to enhance your skills and broaden your network. You might say, “I don’t know if there’s room for growth before I get my foot in the door.” Of course you wouldn’t. But this is the things you look for once you are on your first job. Your first job matters only in so much as it serves as the step-stone to the next one, hopefully a better one.

If you already know what you want to do with your life, find out if the company fits your plan. If you still don’t know where your passion lies, explore and learn as much about the company as about yourself. Like when I started with China Daily, a hugely fantastic place. I found myself unreal and uncomfortable when I had to extract information from people, sometimes a bit unscrupulously. Then I realized there was a mismatch and the rest is history.

If you enjoy yourself and find it rewarding at office, don’t just bury your head deeply in the assignments every day. Keep your eyes wide open and be mindful of on-goings around you, for your first positions should always be seen as the opportunities to something better, way better than anything currently under your nose.

You will laugh last if you can double or even treble your intangible assets on your first post.

1, Sep 14, 2016

What will you do when you are under-appreciated and under-utilized?

Filed under: Career,work — admin @ 2:42 pm

I have shared this article on the LinkedIn. Please leave your comments there.

My daughter started the first day of her fall unpaid intern at this new place after Labor Day. Of course things always go slow on your first day, no matter where you land. No rush at this moment.

I shared with her this. While you are a college student, it’s OK to accept unpaid work as long as you get what you need. You actually buy work experience with your time and money. If, say after two weeks, you sense that they don’t appreciate your talents, that is, they won’t involve you in anything above clerical nature of work, you really need to take some actions.

Take initiative.
Take actions.
Propose new ideas.
Nothing will happen before you do something.
It’s you time, your life, your responsibility.
Nobody cares but you.
It’s nobody’s business but yours!

One big SECRET about Young People

Filed under: Career,Life — admin @ 2:37 pm

I thought of outpouring more articles this year. But I have not kept my plan so far. My birthday reminds me of time running away and I need to do something. Writing is one of the things that I will keep doing. Here’s one article published on LinkedIn.

I learn this from the conversations with my children.

Let me share with you one big secret about the wealth of young people. Most people do not associate assets and wealth with young people, especially when you think of college graduates with huge loans and unemployed. Instead people tend to think of many senior folks with millions of savings under their mattress.

The fact is both young and the old have their own resources. With the old, theirs is money; with the young, theirs is TIME.

Right. Time is the resources of the young, which the old don’t have. With time, the young are not afraid of learning and trying new ideas, venturing out on a thousand-mile journey. They are not afraid of making mistakes. If one idea doesn’t work out, they have time to start all over again. That’s OK as long as they learn from their experience and keep moving ahead. The old do not have this luxury.

The sad reality is many young people are not aware of their resources. They have not fully utilized their resources while they are young. Some become a lifer at one place, like Robert Frost’s poem, “being shore to ocean –Holding the curve of one position, Counting an endless repetition.” For some, they don’t even realize they were once rich in their lives.

Yes, young folks are rich in TIME. Keep in mind TIME is something money cannot buy and TIME has an expiration date.

1, Sep 9, 2016

What will you do when you are under-appreciated and under-utilized?

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:14 pm

My daughter started the first day of her fall internship at this new place after Labor Day. Of course things go slow on your first day, no matter where you land. No rush yet.

I told her that if, say after two weeks, you sense that they don’t take you seriously, you really need to take some actions.

Take initiative.
Take action.
Propose new ideas.
Nothing good will happen before you do something.
It’s you time, your life, your responsibility.
Nobody cares but you.
It’s nobody’s business!

1, Sep 8, 2016

Work, career and calling…

Filed under: Career — admin @ 8:29 pm

I wrote down these notes sometime ago on the difference between a job, a career, and a calling. I don’t remember where and when I read it. I just remember I must share this with my children.

What you are doing everyday defines what you are.
The ideal life is this like. Your life blends seamlessly with your work.
Work is not the place where you get your paychecks.
Paychecks should be the last thing that you should think about when you go to work.
It is the place where you spend one third of your day.
It is where you are supposed to generate value for yourself and for he who pays you.
It is the place that defines who you are.
It is where your biography is written.
Have a dream of your own.
Don’t live your life trying to realize other people’s dream.

1, Jul 21, 2016

Gaming the system– a shortsighted approach to education

Filed under: Career — admin @ 8:19 pm

Many college applicants try to game the system by being over-achievers. They try to impress the admission officers with perfect SAT and AP scores, perfect class ranking, and a wholesome spotless extracurricular activities. In other word, the applicants look more perfect than real, so perfect that there is no believable life in these perfect metrics.

In their effort to beat the system, they behave rather shortsightedly and forget who they are and what they want to achieve in the long run.

I know someone who didn’t have perfect SAT, without even making to the top 10 class ranking, no collection of admirable AP scores, and who was admitted by some of the top universities. On the other hand, I know many with perfect everything still were denied by the school of their choice.

Make no mistakes. I don’t mean to say that grades are not important, that good performance does not count. They do. Decent grades show that you are a responsible student, that you are smart enough to handle tough courses, and that you dare to take challenges.

But one needs much more than that to tide one up to a higher level. People want to see the character, the potential of the applicants, and the whole person, perfect or imperfect.

The applicants should at least dare to be himself. Not afraid of showing their human side, that is, mentioning moments of weakness and how they have grown and got stronger over time.

Parents need to help their children to develop a goal in life, a strong character, a healthy attitude, and an upbeat approach to life. This seems a less straightforward approach to college application than simply gaming the system. Yet, in the long run, it works better in helping your child than any other way. Knowing what he wants to do with his life will benefit the child during and beyond college campus.

1, May 21, 2016

Try to learn more skills in one activity

Filed under: Career,children — admin @ 7:59 pm

I was asked to teach a group of children how to make origami. I want them to learn more than just origami making skill. I hope they can get the habit of trying to learn more skills from one activity or see the activity as a project that involves problem-solving skill.

Below are the questions that I have prepared for the children before class.

(1) Why do you want to learn origami?
My answer: have fun; gift ideas for classmate’s birthday; Xmas gift for teachers; donation; sell it among your friends so that you will have some money for your parents or friends’ birthday gifts and you don’t have to ask your parents for whatever you want to buy. I hope children will feel motivated if they have a big plan.

(2) What would you do if you forget some part of what we learn in class?
My answer: this requires your problem-solving ability. You can make friends with those who have learned it in class or who show special talent here, ask these friends for help. Remember nobody is good at everything. We are all good at something. You can help others with what you are specially good at. The key is we need to help each other. Asking help is the best compliment to your friends.

(3) It will involve a lot of work and time. What would you do if you need help to get more done and you don’t have enough time?
My answer: this again requires your problem-solving ability and other skills. You can teach your siblings, parents or friends, so that they can help you. You need to realize one person’s ability is very limited. It often takes a team to get something done. The best part of this is you can form a team with you being the boss.

(4) How do you get others’ help?
My answer: you can promise something, depending on what your parents like most. Such as, practice piano for one extra hour, do laundry on weekend, share with them your proceeds, etc. You will need to enhance your ability to convince people to work for you. The key here is to keep your promise.

Based on what we just talk, you can see that potentially you can learn both soft and hard skills, which are a lot more than origami making. How much you can learn from this activity depend totally on you.

1, Apr 5, 2016

College and your future job — Don’t have to be related

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:06 am

For most of science and technology majors, such as biology, chemistry, etc., students often use what they learn in classmate on their first job. Still, with these majors, college graduates don’t have to use what they are taught at college. Like you don’t have to work in a lab with biology or chemistry major.

You might be wondering: what is the use of college education if you don’t use it in your future job? Also, if you don’t use it, you forget it, like you have not learned anything. Well, if you forget, that means you don’t need it. If you need it, you will always be able to pick it up.

Number one, you form lifelong friendship and important connections during those college years.
Number two, you learn different ways of thinking, which should be critical one.
Number three, you learn lot of general theories, which you can apply to your life in general.
Number four, you get a college degree, which is still valued in many places.

Of course, there are a lot more than this. The bottom line is don’t restrict your future self with your college majors. If you do, you are very much trapped down and never rise above.

One thing you need to watch out during your first five years fresh out of college, that is, don’t be a lifer in one place.

1, Apr 3, 2016

Startup, Baby, and Responsibilities

Filed under: Career — admin @ 7:27 pm

I heard someone referring his startup company as his baby. You have to babysit it or watch it closely at its early stage. Like a mother who is thinking of her baby all the time or whenever she is free, a startup founder thinks of its company all the time, too. This is a good strategy to keep teenagers occupied.

If you want your teenager to steer away from trouble or to do something more meaningful other than wasting time on gaming or social media or if you want your teenager to take advantage of his extra energy and time for something potentially beneficial, engage him in a startup and assign him the full responsibility for its survival.

Kids love responsibilities. They see it as a heavy dose of respect and trust in their ability. In fact, parents can start this as early as the teen is ready for it. It is also great for resume building.

1, Apr 2, 2016

Remove mental blocks, never say I can’t, Think how you do it…

Filed under: Career — admin @ 4:23 pm

This I always encourage my children. That is, there is something called mental block, which is self-inflicted obstacles, restricting us from trying new realms, stepping out of comfort zone, or opening mouths asking for an opportunity. I want my children to totally liberate themselves mentally when they think what they can do. Remove all forms of mental blocks. Focus on how to do it. The sky is the limit.

Never think that I can’t because I don’t have proper training for doing this or I don’t have experience in this area or I don’t have a degree majoring in this field. It doesn’t matter what your major is or what your background is. Apply for the position or share your enthusiasm, your passion when you think you can do it.

All you need to do is to show your work, if you have or to ask for an opportunity to prove yourself.

On 3/25 post, I mentioned that I applied for the position left vacant by one RN colleague. I applied for that at the beginning of 2014, which I was rejected on the ground of my lack of nursing background. I know I can do it even without nursing background in this healthcare environment. So I applied again. Last Wednesday, on 3/30, the hiring manager came over to inform me that I got this position. At first, it sounded so unreal.

I believe once a person is given the opportunity to prove him or herself, nothing is impossible.

1, Apr 1, 2016

You have to take a risk, get out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve big in life

Filed under: Career — admin @ 11:54 am

I read this piece some weeks ago, “8 things I learned from The Martian as a young entrepreneur” I forgot if I have shared them here. The list is not long. I will post it again even if I have already.

1. One thing at a time
2. Keep an eye on all the resources you have and try to manage costs effectively
3. You have to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone, go big or go home
4. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
5. Others can help you but you are still the one who takes all the responsibility and face the difficulties
6. Whatever you do, be the best at it, know what you do
7. Only work with the best
8. Don’t afraid to try something new, don’t afraid to fail and never give up

1, Mar 25, 2016

Cover letter for a job application

Filed under: Career — admin @ 2:38 pm

This is what I wrote when I applied for a position today.

“Nine years ago when I applied for my current position, it took the hiring manager a giant leap of faith to give me an opportunity to thrive and contribute. At that time I did not have any experience in research and in the world of healthcare. I have realized this is a huge trust not only in my ability to learn and grow but also in my attitude and work ethic. I have proved to be worthy of this trust. Today, I apply for this position, hoping to be conferred the same trust again.

While I cannot guarantee that I will be error-free in this position, I can guarantee that I will bring the very best of myself to honor this position.”

I know the hiring manager, so I basically tell her that this is a matter of trust. If she doesn’t give me the job, it means one thing to me, that is, she doesn’t trust me, which is the key. In the beginning of 2014, I applied for this position and was turned down by her due to the fact that I didn’t have nursing background. Then later that year she offered another person, without nursing background, the same job that she denied me.

As with everything, man proposes, God disposes. This is all I can do. I will do my share and let fate take care of the rest.

1, Mar 14, 2016

How to be a great employer

Filed under: Career — admin @ 8:15 pm

I don’t remember when I saved this article and where I read it but I remember that I am going to share it here for people like my son who is the head of his company. It is as well-said as it is rare in reality. I wish I could send this to the management team in my workplace. But I know better than that.

7 Proven Ways to Genuinely Connect With Your Employees
Communicating openly with your employees, recognizing them for good work, and giving them room to grow will vastly improve their engagement and your company’s bottom line, by PETER ECONOMY
What kind of difference would it make for your company to get every one of your employees excited about solving problems, making recommendations, expressing their new ideas, and taking care of your customers?

Every company today needs employees who are enthusiastic and who bring the very best of themselves to work. Companies need this not just from top performers but from every employee, every day, in order just to be competitive and survive, let alone thrive. The single element that distinguishes one company from another more than anything else is its people and the effort they exert.

The secret to unlocking this unlimited source of energy for your company is to build and strengthen the bonds between you and your employees. When you trust and respect your people–and really connect with them–they will respond with commitment and enthusiasm. Give these seven strategies for connecting with your employees a try and see for yourself how your organization will benefit.

1. Put people first.
All employees–no matter what their positions are or how well they perform their jobs–want to be respected and valued for their contributions. Respect comes in many different forms: respecting opinions, respecting time, respecting culture, and more. And respect is a two-way street. Employees also need to respect their employers and their own careers instead of viewing their jobs and salaries only as entitlements.

2. Create a safe haven.
In many organizations, bosses rule their employees through bullying, threats, and intimidation. Unfortunately, over the long term, fear causes employees to contribute less to their organizations and to disconnect both mentally (checking out, clamming up) and physically (absenteeism, resignation). Employees must feel safe when they take the initiative to try something new, whether or not the idea works. It’s your job to provide your people with a safe haven to bring forward their ideas, and to tell the truth–no matter how hard it may be for you to hear.

3. Break down barriers to information.
Information is power, and bosses have traditionally wielded this power by selectively granting information to employees or withholding it from them. Organizations today can no longer afford the practice of selective communication. Employees must be informed–through constant, complete, and unfettered communication by their co-workers, managers, and customers–about what’s going on in the organization and their place within it. Only when they have complete information can they and will they give all they have to their organization.

4. Create golden opportunities for personal growth.
Owners have an inherent interest in ensuring that their organizations get the biggest bang for their buck, that is, that revenue is maximized, expenses are minimized, and customers are consistently delighted with the products and services they receive. The granting of stock and other financial incentives is one way to develop a sense of ownership in employees. But there are many other nonfinancial ways that leaders can instill an owner’s mentality in the workplace, including giving employees real responsibility and authority to make decisions that affect their jobs and their work.

5. Undo the organization.
In the past, rigid, bureaucratic, and rule-bound organizations were the model of consistency, dependable results, and steady if not stellar profits. However, this old model of business is now officially extinct, and a new model of business–a lean model built on speed, flexibility, and the active involvement of frontline employees–has taken hold. When you give your employees the responsibility and the authority to do their jobs, you and your organization will be successful because you’re depending on them to do the right thing on their own instead of depending on policies and procedures that force them to do so.

6. Engage your people.
Although many organizations have spent a lot of time over the past few years developing and installing elaborate employee suggestion systems, few have made them a permanent part of the way they do business. Even fewer actually implement the good suggestions they receive. This is a mistake. Employees are a tremendous potential source of organizational improvement, and you should make it a point to regularly tap this wealth of ideas.

7. Make recognition a way of life.
Despite years of research proving the overwhelmingly positive effect of employee recognition on the bottom line, few bosses take the time to recognize and reward their employees for a job well done–and even fewer employees report that they receive either recognition or rewards at work. The amazing thing about this is that the most effective forms of employee recognition cost little or no money, such as verbal and written thank-you’s for employees who do a good job, and publicly celebrating team and group successes.

1, Feb 28, 2016

It is so easy to get trapped down by your surroundings

Filed under: Career,work — admin @ 2:03 am

I don’t know what happened to me last Friday when I wrote to one of the upper management of going to conferences. I don’t mean that I shouldn’t have written that email. I should. And I should feel good after sending it out. After all, they don’t know and don’t care what you think. It is up to me to make myself understood.

What actually bothers me is I should not feel upset at all. Why did I feel so upset? The fact I feel upset shows that I got myself trapped down by the workplace surroundings. I should always keep myself above and beyond what is going on around me, instead of allowing it to disturb my equilibrium.

Now think how not to get myself trapped down by the going-on like last Friday.

1, Jan 26, 2016

Job Hunting needs tons of courage and Persistence

Filed under: Career — admin @ 10:55 pm

I keep telling my daughter how she goes about looking for interns and jobs. Meanwhile I try to prepare her for the challenges ahead.

For one thing, not getting the job you have applied means rejection, which can mean many other things. Like they don’t trust you have the ability to hold the position you apply, they don’t believe in you, like they don’t see your value, your potential, like they might even have prejudices, like all sorts of negative thoughts that surge up in your brain, and that’s enough to ruin your day and your mood.

You need to amass a large chunk of energy and will power to repel these negative thoughts. You need to keep in mind that the only person that is being hurt by negative thought is nobody but you. So, regardless what happens, stay upbeat. And that takes great efforts.

You also need to keep in mind that hopelessness means when you give up trying, that there is hope as long as you keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t despair.

Of course, I cannot tell my daughter that you are only 20 years old, that you still have time, etc. She would not buy that. She knows too well time and tide wait for no one.

1, Oct 29, 2015

Do your best but don’t aim at perfection

Filed under: Career,Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 3:21 pm

I read this from Harvard Medical School newsletter. “Trying to be perfect can cause anxiety.” Below is the article. I shared it with a colleague of mine today.

“No one is “perfect.” Yet many people struggle to be, which can trigger a cascade of anxieties.
Perfectionism may be a strong suit or a stumbling block, depending on how it’s channeled, as clinical psychologist Jeff Szymanski explains. Dr. Szymanski is an associate instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the International OCD Foundation.

“The core of all perfectionism is the intention to do something well,” says Dr. Szymanski. “If you can keep your eye on intention and desired outcome, adjusting your strategy when needed, you’re fine…. But when you can’t tolerate making a mistake, when your strategy is to make no mistakes, that’s when perfectionism starts veering off in the wrong direction.” In its most severe form, perfectionism can leave you unable to complete any task for fear of making a mistake.

To help you prioritize the projects and activities that mean the most to you and keep your personal strategy in line, Dr. Szymanski has shared the following exercise:
What do you find valuable in life? What would you want 50 years of your life to represent? If that seems overwhelming, think about where you want to put your energies for the next five years.

Think about your current goals and projects, and assign them priorities. Use the letters “ABCF” to help you decide where you want to excel (A), be above average (B), or be average (C), and what you can let go of (F). For example:

• A (100% effort): This is reserved for what’s most important to you. For example, if your career is most valuable, your goals might be to impress the boss, make sure clients are happy, put out good products at work.

• B (above average, maybe 80% effort): Perhaps you like playing golf or tennis or want to learn a new language. You enjoy these activities, but have no plans to go pro.

• C (average effort): Perhaps having a clean home is important, too. But how often does your home need to be cleaned? People aren’t coming to see it every day. Could you just clean up on the weekends? Or focus on a few rooms that get the most traffic?
• F (no effort): Time-consumers that don’t advance your values or bring you pleasure — for example, lining up all your hangers or folding all your clothes in a specific way. Do you have any tasks that, upon reflection, don’t really matter — you’ve just done them one way for so long that you’re on autopilot? These deserve to be pruned.”

1, Aug 17, 2015

“Where do you see yourself five years down the road?”

Filed under: Career — admin @ 4:37 pm

A young colleague of mine, one year younger than my son, came in for a short while today. She was in a hurry, saying too much work and too much stress. She is a smart one and has a high aspiration. I once told her to look out for her own dream and her own agenda. I shared my son’s word with her — “Life’s too short to live other people’s dream.” It’s been over a year since that conversation.

She started working here at the end of March 2014. It’s been nearly a year and a half. I wish she could start something seriously instead of toiling on here. Really this is the place where people like me are hanging on and waiting for retirement. Today I wrote on a thick piece of paper — “Where do you see yourself five years down the road?” and gave it to her, telling her to keep it as a reminder. She said I always gave her good advice. She will keep it with her all the time as a reminder.

This reminds me of my advice to another colleague of mine back in 2007 when both of us just started at research. She was in her early 30s then, now pushing towards 40 with two young children.

At that time, I asked her if she wanted to be like the then CRC in our team by the time she was their age. She said no, with an emphasis. Now after 8 years, nothing has changed. It is harder to initiate changes now than if she did it, say 5 years ago, even though she still can. Time and tide wait for no man.

1, Jul 13, 2015

10 ways to ruin your career

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:43 am

I read this from CareerBuilder. It was written by Kate Lorenz. Here are the ten ways that you could damage or even endanger your career.

(1) Poor people skills
(2) Not a good team player
(3) Missing deadlines constantly
(4) Conducting personal business on company time
(5) Isolating yourself at office
(6) Starting an office romance
(7) Fearing risk or failure
(8) Having no goals no plan
(9) Neglecting your professional image/reputation
(10) Being indiscreet. Remember office is not your private domain.

1, Feb 2, 2015

Your office is a platform for something bigger than a paycheck

Filed under: Career — admin @ 10:32 am

I went for my first interview of the year on 1/6/2015, Compliance and Monitoring Specialist position. No news so far, which means a gone case. I should not feel too bad about this lost one, even though being rejected is always a bad moment to endure. Yes, I don’t like the idea of being rejected. I like rejecting others, not been rejected by others.

After all, taking this job means (1) driving around the town to all the five clinics — Lee’s Summit in the east, airport up north, and of course far west clinic, and much more. It is almost dreadful when I think of all the driving, the stress, the risk associated with it. I always find it hard to focus on driving for a long time. (2) it will keep me super busy, leaving zero free second for what I enjoy doing, like what I am doing now, thinking and writing. (3) I have to glue my eyes to the computer all the time verifying data like monitoring job, which means havoc and long term damage to my aged vision. I used to take pity on those monitors for their boring and eye-ruining work.

I almost hate this job even before taking it. The most thing I like about this job is its title. Well, vanity plays a role, I should say.

For now, I want to remind myself of this: your work or the office provided by your employer is at best the platform for something bigger than a mere paycheck, something of your personal agenda. You define what your personal agenda is. You must have something of your own all the time. You can never build your happiness on the unreliable whim/mood/like/dislike of others. This is also the message that I want to share with my children.

You are your own savior. Remember the song The International?
“No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver”

1, Oct 29, 2014

Man proposes, God disposes. Don’t wait. Take initiative

Filed under: Career — admin @ 9:07 am

Last Friday, 10/24/2014, a position was announced at our monthly meeting. I was excited over the news. I wrote to someone saying that I would like to write to the hiring manager to express my interest, even though the job has not been posted. I was advised not to appear too eager and that I should wait till it was posted online. So I didn’t do anything until this morning when I decided to go ahead and do something. I don’t think appearing eager can have any impact on the hiring. This is what I wrote to the hiring manager.

Hi …,
I have been thinking of writing to you since last Friday’s CTO meeting that announced the opening of a protocol writer position. I am greatly interested in this position and would like to know more about the responsibilities and challenges involved.
Thank you,

If nothing ever comes out of it, well, my bad luck and I am not going to lose sleep on this bet. Life just moves on and so am I.

Man proposes, God disposes. I have to take initiative to make things happen. Nobody can help but myself. It is already the end of October. Hopefully, there are some changes before year ends. Only two months left for this year!

I recorded this piece for my children. Don’t wait. Take initiative.

1, Sep 22, 2014

Whatever your goals are in college, do something to make it happen

Filed under: Career,College — admin @ 3:24 am

Reading Time magazine, 9/22/2014 issue, “10 Questions, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.”

Q: If you are stuck picking up dry cleaning, what’s the best way to ask your boss to take you more seriously?
A: Say, “I love this company. I love this job. I am willing to do anything, because I am that kind of person. I do want to make sure I am progressing and taking on things that are going to challenge me more. Can you walk me through the things I need to demonstrate so I can earn more responsibility?”

Q: Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?
A: When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us overestimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.

Q: How should college women balance exploring different interests with focusing on career goals?
A: It can be either, but you have to be explicit. Maybe you want to use college to …. But don’t let life happen– make it happen.

In other word, no matter what your goals are, do something to make it happen.

1, Jul 29, 2014

College “should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life”

Filed under: Career,College — admin @ 10:22 pm

I read this article not long ago, “Ivy League miseducation,” by By Anthony Zurcher. Here’s part of it.

“In a lengthy article in the latest issue of the New Republic, former Yale associate professor (and Columbia graduate) William Deresiewicz says that the prestigious private colleges dotting the US, particularly in the Northeast, are creating a class of entitled ‘zombies’.

The author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to Meaningful Life, writes:

Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.’

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them.’ William Deresiewicz The New Republic.

Ivy League colleges and their ilk, says Deresiewicz, have created an education-industrial complex that processes the children of privilege from cradle to diploma and beyond.

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them,’ he writes. ‘The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk.’

College shouldn’t be this way, Deresiewicz writes. Instead of four years of career training, it should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life.”

It is a very good article, much worth reading and thinking…

1, Jul 8, 2014

Labor surplus in the US, good or bad news for the coming generation?

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:54 am

I read this article on 7/2/14, “U.S. Will Have Something Other Countries Want: A Big Labor Surplus.” This is from the article.

“Over the next 15 years, the U.S. will have a problem that plenty of other countries would love to have: too many workers for the jobs available. That’s according to a report released today by the Boston Consulting Group.

Idle labor isn’t a good thing, especially for the unemployed workers. But you could argue that it beats the alternative, which is having so few workers that jobs go unfilled and economic output falls short of potential. That’s the problem that most other major nations, from Germany to Brazil to South Korea, will face between now and 2030, according to the BCG report.

A relatively high birthrate and liberal immigration policy give the U.S. an advantage in labor supply.”

It seems like a bad thing when you have many people competing for a limited number of jobs in the market. Still, I would say there is always market for really skilled people, people with needed expertise.

Yes, the key to the problem is to be above the average. When you rise above the average, you will face less competition and more opportunities. Go ahead and meet the challenge!

1, Jul 6, 2014

Re-read the article “Build a career worth having”

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:38 am

This article was posted on 8/5/2013, by Nathaniel Koloc, on Harvard Business Review blog site. When I recently talked about this article with another adult in the house, I said we actually belonged to the great majority of people who, as the article describes, “wait until they are unhappy, look around for opportunities that seem better than their current job, apply for a few, cross their fingers, and take the best option that they can get. Then, they toil away until they are unhappy again, and the cycle repeats.”

The author offers this as the solution to “this dismal cycle.” — “Let go of the idea that careers are linear. These days, they are much more like a field of stepping stones that extends in all directions. Each stone is a job or project that is available to you, and you can move in any direction that you like. The trick is simply to move to stones that take you closer and closer to what is meaningful to you. There is no single path — but rather, an infinite number of options that will lead to the sweet spot of fulfillment.”

Here are his advice:
1. See your career as a series of stepping stones, not a linear trajectory.
2. Seek legacy, mastery, and freedom — in that order.
Legacy. A higher purpose, a mission, a cause. This means knowing that in some way — large or small — the world will be a better place after you’ve done your work.
Mastery. This refers to the art of getting better and better at skills and talents that you enjoy using, to the extent that they become intertwined with your identity. Picture a Jedi, or a Samurai, or a master blacksmith.
Freedom. The ability to choose who you work with, what projects you work on, where and when you work each day, and getting paid enough to responsibly support the lifestyle that you want.

3. Treat your career like a grand experiment.
“The faster and cheaper that you’re able to validate your career hypotheses, the sooner you’ll find fulfillment. You don’t have to take a job in a new industry to realize it’s not for you. You can learn a ton about potential lines of work from reading online, having conversations, taking on side projects, and volunteering.”

1, Jun 20, 2014

Envision yourself five years down the road

Filed under: Career — admin @ 8:51 am

I once shared with my children this, one year or five years or 10 years will come and go, regardless what you do or what you not do. If you don’t take initiative and do something, you will find yourself in the same spot, no change, say five years down the way.

I encourage them to imagine where they are five years down the road. If you want to see a career leap, take these actions.
1. Have short-term and long-term goals
2. Have a clear road map to reach your goals
3. Have an open mind to new things and opportunities. Let nothing go by without your close scrutiny
4. Keep constant self-pep talk as morale booster and also as a reminder not to forget your goal. Nothing can come true without your believing it. Be your own cheerleader if nobody’s around
5. Learn from your failures. Move on regardless of all the setbacks.

1, Jun 17, 2014

These unpleasant tips on getting the job you want

Filed under: Career — admin @ 9:58 pm

This is from Money magazine, June 2014 issue, “Get the Line on Unlisted Jobs.” It gives some tips for job hunters. Without these tips, “the job seeker who waits to be tapped on the shoulder might be waiting awhile.” I truly hope my children won’t feel the need to use any of them, that is, they have skills strong enough to get whatever job they desire without having to even think of them.

(1) Talk to the top recruiters. Higher-up HR reps tend to be gate-keepers for higher-level positions, so identify recruiters with sway at the businesses you admire. Write to them or send your resume… “They may not look at it, but they’ll remember your name…” I wish my children have better ways to make themselves known to others.

(2) Make a friend on the inside. Since upper-level jobs are often revealed only internally, it can pay to establish relationships with peers at companies on your wish list. Use LinkedIn to find a second-degree connection then request an introduction from your mutual pal. The trick is how not to make people feel like they are being used.

(3) Impress the C-suite crowd. For you to be identified as a candidate, the companies need to see that you are a known commodity.” “To capture the attention of those with hire power, you must steal the spotlight. This sounds uncomfortable to me.

(4) Get the boss’s buy-in. Not me.

How I dislike these tips, even though deep inside me I know they are useful. In fact, the dreadful fact that one is put in the situation in which one has to resort to these tips.

1, Jun 12, 2014

Do we need to be told again that dream needs actions?

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:07 am

This message is as old as I can remember. That is, dreams need actions, plenty of them, for them to materialize. Dream without actions remain forever a dream.

I can’t believe we still need to be told of this ancient message today and even get celebrity like Shonda Rhimes, on the list of TIME magazine’s 100 people who help shape the world, to repeat it at Dartmouth’s graduation speech.

I don’t feel comfortable reading these words of hers — “Dreams Are for Losers…” I am wondering what Martin Luther King, Jr. would think with his “I have a dream” speech. And don’t forget my favorite piece by Langston Hughes,

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

For me, I still hold my dreams and work steadily toward whatever I fancy to hold.

1, Jun 10, 2014

Revisit New Year Resolution as we approach mid June

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:54 am

As I turned the pages of 2014 calendar, it dawned on me that the mid month and also mid year is approaching quickly, faster than I’d prepare. At this point, I thought of my New Year Resolution and realized that I have somehow moved away from my resolution, not totally though.

At the beginning of the year, I was very determined to move on in my life to another post, to leave the work place that I have been with since 2005. It is rather dreadful to see myself in the same position for a decade. In fact, I still don’t like my work place, more so now than before. But after a few attempts of job hunting and a few interviews, I became disheartened, because the process has been exhaustive and completely fruitless and time-wasting.

I don’t want to keep looking any more. This does not mean I will stop making efforts. Nor does it mean I will give up my personal agenda, totally dedicating myself to my work. That will never happen.

I am glad I revisit my New Year Resolution now as I need to revise it in order to channel my energy and time toward some new goals for the rest of this year.

1, Jun 9, 2014

Help your youngsters cultivate these great habits

Filed under: Career — admin @ 10:20 am

I read this piece during the weekend of 6/7/14. I like it so much that I shared it with some of my friends today when I went back to the office.

I told them “I just shared this article with my daughter. I told her ‘You are not twenty-somethings yet, but they are good habits to start having.’ Not sure if she will read it. Still. There is only this much that parents can do with their children. We’ll just do as much as we can while they listen.”

The article “Effective habits to cultivate as enterprising twenty-somethings” lists the following good habits. Below is pretty much a copy of the article.

(1) Read every day
(2) Experiment & launch every week
Get something out the door once every few days. Build and launch, do it quickly while using some intuition to guide you.

(3) Explore your areas of talent
Are the businesses you involve yourself in within your range of passions and talents or are you beating away at something you won’t be able to continue with when things get hard. Working within your element is important not only because you know more about what you’re working on but also because you will feel excited every day to get to work.

(4) Keep your house in order
Stop putting off the small things. Every hour of the day shouldn’t be devoted to business and working. Spend time to clean up the house, keep track of your finances, your relationships and all of those other things you’re building a business for in the first place. If you don’t take care of the little things, they pile up and come back to haunt you, and potentially kill you.

(5) Work out
Exercise, and the lack of, has a huge effect on your health, ability to think clearly and how happy you feel overall. Not to mention, it will improve many other areas of your life… In short, working out will give you the state of mind to stay balanced and clear about what you’re doing.

(6) Save every cent you can
Some day you’ll want to quit your job and work full time on your business. When that happens there is no guarantee you’ll be making mad cash or totally financially stable. Save every cent you can. Set up a few accounts, investments and start throwing money in there every week. This changes your overall outlook on how much you actually need your job and if you can take the risk of pursuing your business full time.

(7) Find more reasons for what you’re doing
Money is a great motivator. But what will that matter if you’re too old or busy to ever enjoy it and explore your life while you’re still fairly young.

My motivator is money as well. However, maybe even more is wanting to travel, be free from a job and enjoy more things while my wife and I are young. Nice cars and big houses don’t need to even be a part of the picture. More than anything, I’m looking for freedom to do what I love while making money and creating value for other people.

(8) Be a strategy builder and problem solver
Just launching random crap without thinking will cause you to run into the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe without learning anything.

The world pays problem solvers everything. Everything we pay into is to solve a need, problem or urge. Problem solvers make life easier and, if they’re smart, get paid for it.

(9) Don’t waste your youth
Maybe another motivator to work hard, get things done right and set yourself up is that twenty years makes a big difference. More importantly, what you do with that time.

My parents are going to retire with almost nothing. A small pension and an outstanding mortgage. How different would things be if they would have saved a little more money for those forty years, gotten better careers and knew what they actually wanted?

Doing these things now saves you a lot of pain later. So many twenty-somethings waste the most critical decade of their lives doing absolutely nothing that they’ll care about five years, months or even weeks from now.

Be smart and work hard.

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