Work Management

Kickstart yourself at work

The work is sheer boredom. The pay is relatively low. And you are trapped in a maze, with little prospect of advancement. What more could you want in your job?

How about being out of a job, for a change?

You can wake up as late as you want and turn over and go to sleep. But other than being idle, there are few activities you can do. You can’t shop and buy anything you fancy. You can’t book a cruise to Phuket when you want a change of scenery. You can’t gorge yourself at a buffet spread in a 5-star hotel.

If you haven’t discovered yet – the nice, enjoyable things in life cost money, money that you can only get from working in a job.

If you’re out of National Service and into your first job, motivate yourself by thinking of older folks who are jobless and dying to get a job, any job.

Workers who feel depressed most of the work days, brighten up during pay day. It’s motivating, they will tell you, when you queue at the ATM to wait your turn to draw out a few sheets of crisp, blue $50 notes.

The question is: how do you avoid being depressed and stressed at your workplace before the next pay day? Employers don’t like depressed and bored workers – they’re bad for morale and they infect others so that productivity goes down and the company’s revenue suffers.

Career counsellors agree that stress goes together with depression. Reduce the stress level and you will feel lighter, brighter and more cheerful about work.

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Nobody knows that I am good!

In today's high pressure, dynamic job market, results alone aren't enough-you have to get them noticed. No matter what field you're in, self-promotion is a key factor in making sure that your talents will become well known and widely appreciated. Here are some ways to blow your own horn to create music for your ears!

By Joshua Rayan

With fewer corporate ladders to climb and a more dynamic workplace, it’s easy for hard-working employees to be overlooked for advancement and promotions. If this is happening to you, well you’re not alone. Many others are fed up of not getting the credit and limelight they deserve. The trick is to realise that when the attention doesn’t come to you, it’s time to seek it out and bring it to your cubicle!

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The New Gold Standard of Leadership: A Counter-intuitive Approach to Rising from Adversity

By Steve Farber

A while back, I received a distressed email from Ken, a young manager at a high-tech company.

Ken and I had never met, but he had read my first two books and had done his best to apply the ideas and practices of Extreme Leadership to the way he’d led his team. To their culture, their work ethic, their camaraderie. When necessary, Ken told me, they would band together and work hard—10 to 20 hours a day at times—to solve a problem or meet a pressing need. Ken’s wife would cook food for everyone and bring it to the office. They felt like a family, he said, committed to doing great work and devoted to one another’s success. No one ever complained, least of all Ken. At one point, he’d even forgone his bonus so his employees could collect theirs.

And then something happened. A downturn, a re-org, a shift in the management structure—we all know the drill. Ken still had a job, but his position was eliminated. New management full of old ideas came in to oversee the department’s function and the emotional fibers that connected Ken’s team to each other and to their work unraveled.

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Smart ways to ask for a raise

Most of us, faced with higher bills and rising costs, would love to have an increase in salary even though it is not time for the company’s annual review. So we fantasize about how to approach the boss and make the request for a raise.

Most of us would think that a good reason for such a request is that we need more money to pay our bills, our children’s rising tution fees, and so on. However, your personal financial needs are not your company's problem.

HR experts advise that it is best not to talk about your financial needs. Instead, your request should be based on your added skills, productivity, tasks accomplished, your contribution to the company, and the market rate for the job position you are holding.

1. Draw up your job description. You should have two kinds of job description: a formal one given by the HR department, and an informal one you produce that includes all the actual tasks you do that are not mentioned in the formal description.

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Outplacement – A Winning Strategy

News about companies undergoing restructuring and retrenchment appears just about every day. However, here’s one word we need to see more of – “outplacement”, a human resource strategy which leads to win-win outcomes for an organisation and its employees (or ex-employees).

By Cheryl Lim

What is outplacement? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “the process of easing unwanted or unneeded executives out of a company by providing company-paid assistance in finding them new jobs”.

However, a conversation with Mr William Ayers of The Ayers Group, a renowned career transition management firm based in the United States, will prove that this talent management strategy takes care of more than a job-hunt per se.

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Raising the Competency of HR Professionals in Singapore

Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, speaking at the Singapore HR Congress 2009

In today’s rapidly-changing world economy, human resource (HR) challenges are aplenty. Issues such as retaining and attracting talent amidst a recession are pertinent to HR practitioners all over the world, while the knowledge and skills needed to address such matters have become more complex and demanding.

In Singapore, many companies have implemented cost-cutting measures to cope with the downturn, ranging from shorter work weeks and no-pay leave for employees to wage cuts and retrenchment. Such HR practices have a significant impact on corporate performance, and HR practitioners need to tackle them in a responsible manner.

“Over the longer term, cost-cutting will not be the key competitive advantage of a company. Rather, attracting the right talent, developing their capabilities and motivating them to give their best, and at the same time retaining the best and grooming the leaders – these are the real differentiating factors that will determine the success or failure of companies. These are not easy to deal with but HR professionals have a key role to play in this regard,” said Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, at the Singapore HR Congress & Business-Connect Exposition 2009.

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“That’s Not What I Meant!”

By Tim Russell

What a marvellously multicultural country Singapore is and how fraught with potential interpersonal problems that makes it.

When I first came here, almost thirty years ago, the population was 2.5 million people. Now, despite a previous ‘stop at two’ policy and a birth rate significantly below replacement level, the population has almost doubled to 4.5 million.

Clearly during this time there has been a massive influx of foreign talent and foreign workers who have gone straight into the workforce.

But whilst the business world all speaks English, we do so with the definitions of words from our earlier backgrounds and with the social constructs of our original culture. Add to these cultural variations what are obvious generational differences and we have the ingredients for some real misunderstandings.

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The Perfect World

by Scott Friedman, Certified Speaking Professional

Nancy, my Director of Everything, and I were talking about how we could better serve our clients and each other. How can we be more efficient and effective in the office? How can we highlight our strengths and outsource or minimize our weaknesses? Out of the discussion, came that one thing we knew we had been looking for . . . the perfect world concept. How do we create each other’s “perfect world?” Wouldn’t it be nice in our employer/employee relationship if we created a situation in which we both did more of what we loved, outsourced what we didn’t like, make it a point to do everything possible to make sure the other is happy, and stay focused on living true to our values? What a concept! In fact, that would be each of our job descriptions: to create each other’s Perfect World. Simple, yet profound.

My Perfect World

Okay, Nancy asked, “What is it for you? What drives you? What do you value? What is your perfect world?”

“It’s having more joy and less hassle,” I said. “Freedom to come and go as I please, freedom to create, and freedom to make a difference in this world in ways I’d like. If you help me do that, I’ll be one happy boss.”

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Workplace Dos and Don'ts

The workplace can be a minefield for any young professional. Learn the survival skills with our workplace guide.

By Selina Tan

It’s your first day at work and you have the jitters — will you fit into your new workplace, adapt to a different environment and get along with your colleagues? The concerns are plenty for a seasoned professional, let alone a fresh graduate. One of the best ways to start your career on the right foot is to cultivate good work habits. Here’s our guide to the top 10 things you should and shouldn’t do at work:

DO...

1. Organise
A messy desk says a lot about you as a worker. If you find yourself searching through a pile of documents for 10 minutes each time you need something, you really should organise your desk. File your documents into folders and label them — you’ll be thankful when finding information becomes a breeze. Repeat the same steps for your computer and email account. Multi-tasking may be a valuable skill, but if it’s making your work life a mess, you should be organising and prioritising your work. Pick the tasks that are more critical, and work through the list in order of importance.

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