Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Good Bye 2014, Hello 2015!

It is the last day of 2014. Despite feeling tired having only slept few hours last night; I cannot miss blogging my last article of the year. Just like many other bloggers …*Yawn*…, I blogged about my life and portfolio in 2014 earlier. Refer link here.

For now, I lay out the following article, overviewing 2014, peeking into my 2015 and to close it all up with an interesting story from Donald Trump.

2014 at a Glance

General News
  • Oil Price Slump
  • Interest rate no major hike
  • Tragedies in Airline industry
  • Ebola
  • England and Scotland intact
  • Ukraine and Russia conflict
  • Germany wins World Cup
  • Alibaba biggest IPO
  • Robin Williams bid farewell
  • Liverpool FC sucks!

  • US stocks hitting record highs
  • China economy slow and corruption clamped
  • Japan PM Abe re-elected
  • Russia sanction and Rouble rout
  • Indonesia President Jokowi elected

  • STI up 6% closing the year at 3,365 points . Total returns including dividends up 8.5%.
  • O&G Stocks suffers steeply resulted from oil price slump
  • Consumer spendings lethargic. Property, Car, and Tourism downward pressure
  • Companies' cost pressures resulted from “Labour Crunch”
  • MAS strengthens REITs regulatory regime

Peek into 2015

The same plan as 2014 but better and improving in each and every moment!
  • Healthy
  • Peaceful relationships - Family, Relatives and Friends
  • Continue investing
  • Continue blogging
  • Continue meeting people
  • Continue reading
  • Sustainable job
  • Open mind to opportunities

Continue to Go Against My Comfort Zone in 2015

Yesterday, an overseas business associate SMSed to inform he is in Singapore and ask if we can meet up today. I was clearing my leave, and on New Year’s Eve. Does not seem like a great idea to me. Furthermore I always sleep late nowadays (can be as late as 5am) and meeting is early morning. But having get use to last minute “personal time invasion” for my job, I gave a “sure!” answer.

It turns out to be a fantastic meeting strengthening both our personal and working relationships.  

One reason to go was also because I remember Donald Trump's book “Think Big” that I read several years ago. In one example (details below), he go against his comfort level on a dreadful day to attend an event. It turns out that the reward from going to that event was enormous.

In fact, more than 3 years ago, I remember having gastric problems while 2 American clients visited Singapore for the closure of a contract. After the meeting, I was crying pain. Without prior notification, my colleague suggested a dinner. Carrying the pain, I attended the dinner.

It turns out that during the dinner, we had so many things in common. I still remember one of the clients is around my age and our babies were due in the same month! We enjoyed the dinner so much with non-stop laughter. Somehow my gastric pain subsided and you guessed it …. million dollars contract signed so smoothly within the next weeks or so.  

Donald Triump “Think Big” Example

I am lazy to recall and re-write hence I manage to find the excerpts from another author with link here

The story goes like this…..

In 1991, the property market in New York was terrible and everyone was going out of business. The banks were recalling property developers’ loans, and Trump owed the banks billions of dollars. Trump usually attended the black-tie dinner at the bankers convention, but didn’t feel like going because…. well…. Would YOU want to be in a room with people who want to put you out of business?

Donald Trump had come from a pretty ordinary day at the office. He recalls that he did not have the same energy or spirit as he did when things were booming. He was tired and felt like going home and watching football on TV.

It turns out that Trump did go along to the dinner, and was seated next to one particular banker who had forced 37 companies in the business of real estate into bankruptcy by recalling their loans.  At the time, Trump owed this particular banker $149 million. While the banker initially grunted and gave him a dirty look when Trump greeted him, Trump was able to get a conversation going as the night wore on.

Trump found out that the banker had problems of his own. The 37 real estate businesses he had put out of business had no way of paying back their loans. The bank he worked for was therefore losing money because their assets were being wiped out and the legal fees were eating them alive. His bosses at the bank were angry as he was spending too much money on lawyer’s fees and not working out deals that would bring money into the bank.

That night, the banker said “You know Donald, you’re not a bad guy! How about you come to my office to work this out.” The next Monday morning, Trump went to the banker’s office and had a deal worked out in 5 minutes.

Rolf’s View

Although Donald Trump is not one of my favorites, but this story of his, remains as one of my best reminder…

“Not to be lazy when you most wanted. Great things happen when you least expected!”

I wish all my readers, Best Health, Relationships & Wealth in 2015.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Reasons Why You Should Resign Your Current Job - Real Life Examples (Part 2)

This post continues from previous post...

The Wise Old Man

Several years ago, I had a boss-turned colleague. After the company where he owned a major share was acquired, he was no longer my boss. Let’s call him Mr. C. Until today, Mr. C is one of the wisest men I ever met and taught me so much in life and work. In the course of Mr. C’s career, he held MD/ED positions for more 30 years and had numerous stakes in other companies as major shareholders. He also invested in shares, property etc. Mr.C is not an entrepreneur by nature, but he takes calculated risk. It was him who told me that his lifelong investments had failures, but he won 7 out of 10. And those he won were substantially bigger stake. He also said "in business, risk is essential to grow!"

As colleagues, I remember lamenting to him all the negativities about the company and how this company has one of the worst cultures I ever seen after a change in management. He smiled and always said to me…

“if it’s just for work, anywhere is the same!"

What he was trying to imply is:

“The problems that unsettle you now in your current company may be eradicated in the new company you going to join. But very often, new found problems you never possibly anticipate will emerge in the new company after you join.”

Mr. C further advised that:

“The reasons for resigning must be for progression, to learn more and assuming a bigger role, not solely because there are many work related problems in your current company that push you towards resigning. The fact that you cannot even manage the current company problems, what makes you think that you can manage new set of problems in the new company?”

Problems are just everywhere in all companies. It is how you react that matters! Refer to SMOL blog on “It’s how I React that matters”

Reasons for Resigning – Pull Factors

Please do not get me wrong! It is not the intention of this article to go against resigning and looking for greener pasture.

Changes are absolutely necessary in our career, seeking for progression. Being stagnant is the biggest risk that most people are unaware. The essence, however is prior to the changes, we ought to be crystal clear about the reasons, and asked ourselves if we already tuned our mindset to prepare for the change.

Some examples of justifiable reasons for resigning listed as follows:

Very important. The new role needs to provide you with more exposures and more learning experiences. Different stages of your career, requires different exposures. For younger people, do not be overly eager to progress too fast, but that’s not to say that you should be stagnant. Grow yourself, just like any investments at steady upward pace. More haste less speed, is what we always say.

To Be a Manager
I encountered many friends that tell me they are looking for a new job, because they want to be a manager. When I asked them what it takes to be manager, some said a manager must have at least 5-10 years of working experience as engineer or executive. Some said they can be the manager, because are very good at their current job. They can do the job that requires two other colleagues to perform. Hmmm….with aforementioned attributes, you can be a manager, but the kind of manager that only manages yourself without any subordinates!

Before becoming a manager, one must have the mindset of a manager. One must also understand the attributes to be a good manager. Grab and read some books on management. Learn from other managers around you. Observe their strong and weak points. Instilled the positive and filter the negatives. Remember not to think so highly about yourself. 

In an ideal company comprise of good management with integrity, a good manager is a leader who put the company interest first, before personal/ department gain. A good manager sets direction, implements systems/rules, manages and motivates their subordinate, so that overall productivity is improved. Unlike what most people think, a good manager is not one that does the 2 or 3 x subordinate jobs, and not one that he can out-work or out performs his subordinate.

If you think you are already capable to be a manager, behave like one and not act like one.

With growing expenses, marriage, house, children etc, remuneration is always important. Those who tell you that money is not important, only passion and job satisfaction are, is pretty much “bull shit” in our current meritocratic society. That being said, money cannot be the sole reason.

Switch from Temp/Contract to Permanent Job
If you are not starting your own company, it is always important to have a full time job for stability and to enjoy the essential company benefits that one deserves rather than a temp one. 

Reasons for Resigning – Push Factors

Boss Hates Me
With a boss who pick at you all the time with no valid reasons, probably it’s time to go if you are seeking progression. If your boss is purely biased against you, you will never be treated fairly for any opportunity progression. Unless you are patient enough to wait until he was removed. It can be as long as tens of years? You decide?

No More Job Satisfactions
Your initial reason/mission for joining the current company was already successfully completed. And for a long time, current job has been too routine to fulfil your appetite of constantly improving yourself to achieve greater success. Then it’s time to ponder. But before leaving the company at first instance, do have a heart to heart talk with your superior. There may exist internal opportunities within the company, but in a different role or different department for progression.

Not long after graduation, I worked in a job which required me to constantly perform work onboard offshore rigs, marine vessels, other sites etc at irregular hours without proper timings in meals. I left the company after more than two years due to gastric problems. 

Schedules and Timing
E.g. from irregular shift work to normal working hours. Or for reasons of more time for family, children instead of flying non-stop.

Several years back, I had a colleague who quit a job because he needed to be back in Singapore after being located in China for many years. He loves his job in China but his wife is already losing control of their daughter who is in her teenage age of being very rebellious. It’s a pity for him that after he resigned from that job, he was never able to find a job that he enjoyed as much. For what he lost in job satisfaction, his daughter is now in reputable university supported by scholarships.

Going Back to School

Difficult work environment
For this reason, do review your options for staying as describe below.

Options for Staying  - Stop blaming for a minute…Review yourself!

Very often, you can find employees who blame the company culture, blame the boss, blame their colleagues, blame their clients, blame their suppliers etc…But they never blame themselves because they are the most perfect, and better than everyone in the company???

Reviewing Yourself….. Ask:
  • Is there sufficient communication with your superior about your problems?
  • When telling problems to your boss about someone/something, are you careful enough with your words?
  • Is your words/tone more finger pointing and blaming, or is it aiming constructively to create greater benefits for the department/company?
  • Is your boss really unreasonable or are we not receptive to changes ourselves?
  • Is your EQ or your interpersonal skills good? Or are you only work capable individually without being able to cooperate with most colleagues? 
  • Is there a better way of managing colleagues / subordinates?
  • Did we try our best to improve to overcome the problems first, before always seeking for superior assistance at first instance?
  • Did we always provide our boss with problems, or we do we also suggest various solutions to problems?
  • Did we put ourselves in your boss/management’s shoe, understanding that they may have untold reasons from a management point of view?
  • Did we complain for the sake of complaining? 

Related Posts:

Monday, 29 December 2014

Reasons Why You Should Stay in Your Current Job - Real Life Examples

This topic about when to resign or when to stay in a job was brought up after I started a blog post stating:

 “In life, you will not suffer forever, but you will definitely suffer for a period of time. If you run away from short term sufferings, you will definitely suffer forever!”  

Refer here for the blog link.

This is why sometimes (I re-emphasize “sometimes”) in a job, when you are suffering, you probably will not suffer forever and there are many instances that it will be 雨过天晴 i.e. rainbow after the rain. Of course it is easier said than done, just like the phenomenon in investment “Be greedy when others are fearful.”

Below I detailed few REAL LIFE EXAMPLES why “sometimes” you should not resign in a job just because of work unhappiness.

There will also be Part 2 in which I will discuss why sometimes you really need to resign from your current job.

1. Mr. K Story - Contemplating to Quit

Background of Friend Contemplating Resign
Recently, I was with a friend who wanted to quit his job after few months. Let’s call him Mr. K, in his late 20s, been working for 5-6 years. He is a Malaysian started working in SG after graduating in Europe. He was with two previous companies in SG before joining current company located in China. This job comes with a good increment and a jump in role and responsibility.

Reasons for ponder to leave
He was currently tasked to handle a very huge project. This project started few months ago and should last for the next 3 years. He is the key contract guy and his job scope is very hectic with heavy responsibility resulting in no work life balance even during weekend. The good side of it is he has good relationship with boss and colleagues.  In this job, he also gets to directly interact with high level executives all over the world. Sometimes it can also gets too tough for him at his age and experience.

After listening to his situation, me and another friend (Mr. J) who was spending time with Mr. K, advised him to consider the options of staying and shared our personal experiences.  

For me, I advised that this is a wonderful opportunity to learn as much as possible. The exposure of interacting with high levels executives globally is a rare opportunity. This project is also state of the art breakthrough project, by far the largest in his company. If succeeds, the rewards will be enormous. Furthermore, the project only started and it’s better to 有始有终 i.e. start and end gracefully. I use the below example illustrated to him.

“For a marathon of 42km, even if you give up after 41km into the race, you are no different from someone who gives up after 1km. You will not earn your finisher status”

See advice from Mr. J below.

1. Mr. J’s Story – Do not quit when you most wanted to

Mr. J is in his early 40s. In current job for 17 years, with rotations to different departments within the company. During his initial years in the company, he mentioned that he experienced many low periods such as colleagues and work difficulty related problems and wanted to quit. In each occasion, he persists. Every time it works out better thereafter and he progresses to the next level within the company. Mr. J’s advice:

“The time when I suffer most and wanted to quit is the time I do not quit!” 

He also mentioned, bad colleagues / bosses come and go and will not stay forever! But if your boss is the owner of the company, most likely he will stay very very long. :) 

2. Ms X’s Story – Good will Always Triumph

Ms X in current job since 2007. More than 3 years ago, she wanted to quit because there was a management change. A new MD was transferred from overseas branch causing havoc in the company.

Ms X was then a member of the operation team reporting to her Head of Department (HOD). Due to the new MD foul politics and as what he plotted, several HODs left. Immediately, many new HODs were recruited including Ms X’s new HOD. Ms X new boss is a 27-28 year old french lady, first time in this country pretty much lacking in terms of work and local experiences. Aside from being a very nice person, she lacked the necessary hardworking attitude, this hectic country needed. Making things worse, she began recruiting new staffs who mostly chit chatted and accompanied her for many smoke breaks, focusing on the leisure and neglecting the real work. 

The consequence was, poor Ms X was always “OT-ing” working day and night for almost 1.5 year.

Mr Rolf, then having more unimaginable problems at his work persuaded Ms X to persist on.

Reasons to stay are
1)    Ms X boss despite throwing all the work to her, still treat her very nicely. To endure hectic work is better than to endure a boss who pick on you and hates you.
2)    The evil MD is incompetent and will not last too long, before he is fired.

Justice prevails after 1 year! The MD was sacked by the regional MD with a new one replacing him. The new MD is no-nonsense in work and absolutely nothing evil/political up her sleeves. Half a year after her appointment, she replaced Ms X’s HOD due to work incompetency.

The new MD recognised Ms X’s commitment in work and instead of appointing a new HOD, Ms X was promoted. She is still the HOD today after 2 years. So was the MD who appointed her, where they worked closely together.

The 1.5 years sufferings resulted in a promotion and smoothness in career for the next 2 years or so.

3. Mr. R’s Experience – Wrong Temptations Can be Your Worst Nightmare

Essentially, it was Mr. R second real job after graduation. Mr. R worked hard and learnt diligently from his bosses. The effort paid off and he was promoted 5-6 times in the 5-6 years stint to become the youngest HOD in the company. Of course luck is very important as there were acquisitions and management changes throughout creating various opportunities for R to seize.

The parent company was an MNC with >10,000 staffs. Singapore is the HQ of the business unit comprise of >500 people spread regionally. Mr. R’s role has virtually no limits as he managed a business unit with global outreach and global subordinates. He had the authority to make high level decisions closing deals worth tens of millions reporting to VP in Europe. Things get sweeter when a new local MD appointed in SG also like Mr. R alot.
Note business unit head does not necessarily report to local MD in MNC.

Things took a change, ALWAYS
Life is funny, just when everything seems calm and gets better, new sets of challenges and problems surfaced. 

For years, Mr. R had a “pest” colleague in competition. The pest held same position as Mr. R but he was very selfish and good in politics. To be fair, this colleague also worked very hard and indeed capable. He is also many years more senior than Mr. R in terms of age and time in the company and was even once Mr. R’s boss for 1 month. However with the new MD being no-nonsense and fair, his political plot cannot be implemented.

After less than 1 year, the new MD was sacked because of some stupid mistakes he previously make (haiz…long story…) Then came corporate restructuring. Very common in MNC. A new MD was appointed in SG. The new MD is a nice person, but was very soft and indecisive in work. While R’s relationship with new MD was good, work wise became frustrating.

The softness in the new MD allowed the pest competitor to make his political moves. To make things worse, sales starts to decline in a year where market is quiet, though never sufficient to cost Mr. R a his job. There are plenty of project issues where Mr. R phone was always ringing even over weekend during a Cinema show. Mr. R was very unhappy but never set sights for new opportunity. To close it all, Mr. R was flying all over the world for work. It’s tiring. 

*Ding Dong*…. A CEO of a listed company came knocking. Mr. R and this CEO met many times, each meeting always lasted for hours over a period of close to half a year. Eventually, an MD/GM position leading more than 100 people was accepted by Mr. R. This is in view of both push and pull factors.

Worst Nightmare
The next one year was the worst nightmare in Mr. R’s work history. Problems in cashflow, remuneration not in time, never receive his claim, digged into his own pocket to finance the company, questions over integrity at highest level, suppliers non-stop chasing for money, and many other issues in the company….

CFO left way before Mr. R, having joined almost same time with him. Mr. R had to assume his role after he left. More problems but more things to learn!

Mr. CEO is also under tremendous stress! Being egoistic and also no solutions on hand, he chose to stay abroad escaping the bankers, and instead focusing on his own private business which is far more important to him than this “mini” listed company.

Mr. R left the company after close to one year stint. It was a not long period of time, but he is in fact one of the longest serving Executive Officers being appointed by the board of directors. It’s absurd! Haha…

The grass isn't always greener at the other side.

4. Mr. B’s Experience – Reversal Turnaround

A popular local blogger's personal experience of him leaving and returning to his old company after two months. Refer to his story here

Rolf’s View

Bear in mind, at different stage of your career life, different sets of reasons are applicable. There is no one pill that fixed all. Different strokes work for different folks.

I have simple needs in my job for now, focusing on my family and growing my portfolio. I will not look for greener pasture as long as the below criteria are met.   
  • Integrity is crucial to company, and co continue to be pay my salary / claims on time
  • My boss likes me 
  • No opportunity yet to start my own business (wait till neck long long.....)

Having said that, my company is undergoing acquisition/ management changes, who knows if I can get along with my new boss. Fingers crossed!

Stay tuned to Part 2 on “Reasons why you should resign from your current job!”

Related Posts:

Sunday, 28 December 2014

人生不会苦一辈子….. 爱情保卫战, 涂磊

Inspired by Jared from “Singapore Man of Leisure” blogpost here, I decide to write a post with Chinese Heading. No intention to pay SMOL copyright fees...haha.. I am sure he does not want either. 

Unlike him, who documented Alibaba Jack's Ma famous philosophy, I herein document a phrase from a relatively unknown (to Singaporeans at least) 涂磊He said the below phrase which leaves a deep impression on me. 


Translated in English as follows, although the wordings are not as meaningful as derived from Chinese character.

“In life, you will not suffer forever, but you will definitely suffer for a period of time. If you run away from short term sufferings, you will definitely suffer forever!”  

爱情保卫战 - A TV Serial on "Love Preservation"

Who is 涂磊?

During one of my business trips in China, I chanced upon this Chinese TV show 爱情保卫战.It is a reality show presenting couples who faced relationship problems and seek help publicly on TV. The couples' problems will be brief, before a panel of expert commentators give their views and advices helping to resolve the couples’ love life issues.  

涂磊 is one of key teachers/ commentators in the show who I look upon to. At the same time, he is also TV hosts for other programs. 

How real is the reality show, is not my primary concern. I am more intrigued to find out the typical problems couples faced, and the valuable advice from the teachers to improve and sustain a relationship.  

If you are interested on this reality show, please refer to link here . Alternatively you can click below on one random episode.