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March 30, 2021
CATEGORY: Career Development

There’s a law of nature where everything is affected by time and changes. From wilting leaves to rusted iron bars - nothing is permanent. Being loyal to your company or management is admirable but soon you’ll face situations that can affect your decision making, comfort zone and personal economy. Whether you're employed for a year or months, this list will help you gauge your decision before quitting your job.  You’re at a difficult working environment A difficult working environment can make your work more laborious, tiring and monotonous. It can zap your motivation quickly and drain your peace of mind. A difficult working environment involves: Dangerous working conditions (metal foundry, exposure to biohazards, nuclear power plant) Unhealthy working hours (working late at night) Difficult working peers - aloof, bossy, control-freak and the hot-headed team leader, manager or director Prolonged and unpaid working hours Negative office politics that affect your productivity and career advancement To take advantage of a better opportunity The best opportunities are akin to comets - they occur seldomly. Ignoring them is like throwing away a winning lottery ticket. A saying “Excuses will always be there for you, opportunity won’t”, upholds this wisdom. So if you’re 100% sure that a better opportunity comes and negates your current working environment - grab it immediately. If you’re just in your comfort zone, you could be missing many opportunities. You may never know what lies out there until you start to search and analyse.  Missed chances can be:  Better working conditions, pay, and career advancements Workplace near home which means no need to pay monthly rents Job abroad or overseas that pays well more than your local employment The years spent on your current job could be better spent on more lucrative careers.  Obviously, if you get a new job offer that presents better pay and environment, then it’s reasonable to quit or resign. Once you passed the interview and signed a contract, and as long as there’s nothing holding you back, there’s no better alternative but to say goodbye to your current job and say hello to your new career. Career Change Career change refers to taking a new role different from your current job. You’ll do career change to improve job satisfaction, life quality and remuneration. This strategy is the best way to uplift your current standing and change the course of your life. A career change could mean: Assessing skills, beliefs and values Considering a new job within the same industry Setting up a job shadow (following and observing a professional) Planning to study for a short course or new degree Studying for a short course or degree is the best way to move up the social or career ladder. It can help you gain new skills that only an extra short course or degree can offer. While it’s possible to work and study at the same time, it might take a longer time than committing full time studying to finish. If you have enough savings and side income, you can still study full-time without going broke. Lay-off is looming Lay-offs are mass removal or reduction of staff caused by bankruptcy, company merger, and economic downturn. Just waiting for a lay-off and ignoring the signs can surprise you, if one day, you have been told that you no longer have a job while minding how to pay your never-ending monthly bills and rent. Relocation Working far away from your home can be taxing especially if you’re commuting.  You’ll wake up early and arrive early to cope with the distance of 40 to 60 km between home and workplace. Even if you own a car, it can be tiring to drive back and forth for such distance and endure heavy traffic. Conflicting schedules and working hours You may have urgent and important schedules that can be more or equally important to your work. Conflicting schedules include: A family member with a disease  Newborn child Schooling Serious personal medical condition

March 19, 2021
CATEGORY: Career Development

As mortal beings, humans are expected to do their prime activities in their mid or late 20s. Others who aren’t fortunate enough to fund their education or unlucky to meet economic hardships, still decide to further education and career even at a later age. There’s a common mentality that learning is enough in college and that learning at a later age is futile. But here are these people who defied against odds - time and their age.   Ramil Comendador (Filipino janitor turned lawyer) The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that a former Janitor of COMELEC - Ramil Comendador became a lawyer after years of studying at the Universidad de Manila while doing full-time work at COMELEC. He is 38 at that time (in 2017). Mr. Ramil told the media that his mentor is the former constitutional commissioner Rene Sarmiento. Before pursuing the bar exam, he finished the pre-law course of Public administration. The bar passer hails from Catanduanes - an island province in the Bicol region.   Soichiro Honda (Japanese businessman and mechanic) The founder and chairman of Honda Motor Company started as a car mechanic in 1928. By 1948 at the age of 42, he formed the company. After 10 years, he turned his company into the leading motorcycle manufacturer. At 82 in 1998, Soichiro and his company made it to the Automobile Hall of Fame. The Honda chairman quoted “Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure.”   Generito U. Yusores Mr.Yusores is a Filipino tricycle driver who graduated with a degree in Education from Western Mindanao State University. Despite his age at 64 (in 2019), he pursued schooling and worked hard by doing two jobs - tricycle driver at day and student at night. Previously, his parents enrolled him in Ateneo de Cagayan but because of alcohol and peer influence, he lost his interest in schooling and eventually he dropped out. After years of contemplating and realizing that some of his classmates were earning good wages, he decided to enrol in a university.    Taikichiro Mori (Japanese real estate tycoon) Before he went to the property bloom, Takichiro left as an economic professor at 55 in Yokohama State University and started in 1959 as a real estate developer. He was successful in persuading businessmen and residents to agree to his plans of redevelopment. By the 1980s, his company Mori Building Company opened Ark Hills complex that includes a concert hall, apartments, offices, hotel, a shop and a television studio. In 1992 he became the world’s richest man with a fortune of $16 billion or $84.4 billion when adjusted for today’s inflation. Taikichiro is also known as “Ooya-san” - a friendly Japanese term for a landlord.   Paul Siromoni Paul Siromoni of Chennai, India was 90 years old when he became famous for earning a PhD even at his advanced age. Dr. Paul Siromoni earned his Doctorate degree after finishing his thesis or research entitled “God’s call to the church to join in transforming the world into a kingdom of love”, some seminars, six papers and three exams. Paul Siromoni is one of the inspirations for young, middle-aged and old people to learn even at old age.   Raj Kumar Vaishya Raj Kumar Vaishya of Patna, India, proved that learning post-graduate studies isn’t too late. At the age of 98, he passed the Master of Arts in Economics from Nalanda Open University (NOU). He finished his three-hour exam in 2017 along with students who could be younger than his grandchildren. Another amazing fact about this man is that - he can read even without glasses. His tips for longevity include - being vegetarian, avoiding fried foods and eating in moderation.   Gladys Burrill Aged 92, Gladys Burrill managed to complete the Honolulu Marathon in 2010 which took nine hours and 53 minutes, setting a Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female to finish a certified marathon. She was a horseback rider, climber, hiker and aircraft pilot.    Susan Boyle  Susan Boyle is a British singer who joined Britain’s got talent. Despite criticisms, she managed to defy all odds, amaze the jurors and send her albums into one of the best sellers in the United Kingdom.   Ray Kroc of McDonald’s The founder of the famous golden arch franchise has a humble beginning. Ray Kroc started selling milkshake machines. When he passed by a burger stand in San Bernardino, California, he bought the McDonald brothers’ business. At this time (in 1954), he was 52 years old. After six years, Ray Kroc expanded his McDonald’s franchises to 200. He managed to bring his franchises to stardom when he entered the Franchise Realty Corporation. The rest is history - McDonald’s is a global fast-food restaurant.

February 26, 2021
CATEGORY: Work Life Balance

While remote working is a blessing for some, unfortunately not all industries can switch to or offer work from home. Not everyone has skills for work from home jobs and so they have to report on-site or work on the companies’ offices or job sites. Knowing what work can be performed at home or not will help you choose a job and career especially during this time of pandemic. Flexible jobs - These are the jobs that can be performed on-site or at home Remote working is doing tasks right in the comfort of your home. The following jobs can adapt or are ideal for such setup: Accountant Animator App developer Beautician (home service) Bookkeeper Carpenter (home service) Chef (cooking foods to sell online) Child caregiver Content writer Customer service representative  Data analyst Data encoder Event planner Front-end and back-end web developer Graphic artist Healthcare writer Marketing consultant Medical doctor (telemedicine or online medical consultant) Online language teacher Online seller Physical therapist (home service) Proofreader Psychologist QA Tester Realtor/Renter (landlord) SEO consultant Technical writer Video editor Virtual assistant Voice actor What industries have work from home jobs Information technology Social media marketer Arts and graphic designer Database administrator Front-end web developer Back-end web developer Network administrator Insurance Accounting firms Healthcare  BPO related accounts Remote consultations Medical transcriptionist Telemedicine operator Marketing and sales Social media marketer Online seller Entertainment Subtitle transcriptionist Advertiser Voice over artist Dailymotion, Vimeo and Youtube content creator Matrix The matrix below lets you analyse the degree of likelihood for the specific industries (words in purple) and jobs (words in black). The two arrows correspond to the degree of computer or telecommuting usage and social interaction.  What jobs can’t be performed at home Jobs that are obviously can’t be made at home: Ambulance worker Bank teller Barista Construction workers Delivery riders Factory worker Garbage collector Grocery store worker Hospital assistant Hospital-bound doctors Mortician Nurses Pharmacist Physical retail store staff Pilot Police Security guard Social worker Soldier Statistics surveyor Taxi driver Truck driver Waiter Welders Conditions that qualify a job or tasks for work from home: Tools used to finish tasks should be procured and available at home. Such tools include a laptop, desktop, webcam, external keyboard, extra monitor, graphics tablet and software. Availability of stable internet and electrical connection. Contingency plans such as pocket wi-fi, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and extra hardware in case of problem or trouble such as wifi or power outages and computer breakdowns  Working arrangements and procedures allow efficient submission of deliverables before or within a deadline. Conditions when work from home isn’t possible: Products and services that only can be made or manufactured on-site. The production of product and rendering of services require sophisticated/professional machines and raw materials. Example, you can’t have car factory workers to work from home. The manufacturing tasks and handling of raw materials or ingredients are too dangerous to be performed at home. The performance of a specific task involves highly classified or confidential info or material.  Social interaction is absolutely needed to perform or finish the task - such as in the case of police, soldier, statistics surveyor and social worker.

January 15, 2021
CATEGORY: Work Life Balance

The ongoing COVID-19 has, once again, emphasized the importance of remote working or working from home. Others say it is telecommuting which is the use of the internet, VOIP software, Google docs, etc. Remote working is a blessing for workers and employers who are coping with the onslaught of a pandemic. If you’re working for an industry or organisation that will offer possibilities of work from home, you can learn from this list. Pros Savings for the employers This is the most visible benefit of allowing employees to work from home. You‘ll save hundreds to thousands of money and time without the need to pay office space rental (the highest expense), electricity, water and internet bill. Your employees are all working remotely and so they are the ones who will be shouldering the monthly utilities. Such savings could be diverted to research and development, marketing and buying new equipment. Savings for the employees Employees can save from working remotely. If you’re working at the office, you’ll reap the following benefits: Zero transportation costs - From bed to bed. Savings from expensive lunch and dining at restaurants and fast food. At home, you can just cook an inexpensive meal with cheap ingredients. Freedom from stress Remote working brings the following benefits: Less stress because you don’t need to wake up early, wait at the bus stop, stand with commuting crowds and worry about getting late. Less stress because you don’t need to walk far away to reach the office. Less stress because you don’t have the pressure of being watched. Less stress because you don’t have to deal with rush hours (7 am, 5 pm). Less stress because you don’t have to deal with office distractions. Mutual benefits for both parties  One of the best blessings of working from home is that it benefits the employees and employers. Mutual benefits result in more morale, better performance (team and management) products and services. Flexible schedule Working from home equals flexible scheds. Even if your company requires you to work a fixed schedule and day off, you'll find that you can work beyond the working hours. When you work at an office or in-house, it’s more difficult to work overtime as you’ll always worry about going home late and being left behind by public transports. Avoid office distractions and stressors The office is a centre point of unpredictable distractions such as chatting co-worker, customers calling an admin, demanding boss, blaring sirens outdoors, fire drills, and accidents. Reduced to zero risks of contracting COVID-19 One of the reasons why companies allowed their staff to work from home is the ongoing COVID-19. It seems that the pandemic will stay longer - maybe 2 years or more. The need for social distancing and avoidance of staying longer in space to avoid inhaling virus makes working remotely an absolute necessity.  Work from home negates the risks of COVID-19 associated with public transports, dining at restaurants and handling money. Reduced boredom Setting at the office chair in front of a desktop or laptop computer and dealing with restroom restrictions can raise the boredom level. Just imagine if this routine never changes for an entire year. At home, you’ll have flexible work and ease your nature’s calling when the time comes. Customised working environment At the office, you don’t have the freedom to choose the space, the type of chair and table, window location, wall colour and decors. At your home, you’re the king and you always have the decision. You can turn a wall into a mural of cats or polka dots, decorate your mini-office with cactus and potted plants. Reduced risks of inhaling pollutants Since you’re indoors, the risk of you inhaling smoke from cars, factories, trucks and jeepneys is zero. Remember that these vehicle fumes contain myriads of chemicals that could impair your lungs in the long run. Think about the following chemicals: Benzene (a carcinogen) Carbon monoxide Formaldehyde Nitrogen dioxide Nitrous oxide Sulphur dioxide Polycyclic hydrocarbons Suspended particles (particles with a size less than 10 microns) More time with loved ones Remote working allows more time with loved ones - parents, siblings, spouse, kids and grandparents. Another is if you have a baby that is best cared by a biological parent. You can’t just entrust your baby to anyone. If you’re working at home, you have more time to safeguard your baby and attend to his or her needs. If you’re married and both working at home or even one of you is working remotely, it’s still manageable to care for your child.   Cons Working at home isn’t devoid of cons. It’s still not perfect. At mercy of power and internet outages A glaring con of working from home is that you’re at the mercy of power and internet outages. These two essentials are beyond your control except your capacity to pay (which is, of course, you can) as long as you have a livelihood. If you live in the Philippines, a country always visited by storms, you have to brace yourself for fallen power lines and cables that can always cut off electricity and the internet. Depending on the technical team of both utilities, you’ll have to wait for repairs which can take a day or a week). Willpower can be affected Willpower is the ability to delay gratification, impulses and short-term temptations that can be watching a movie marathon or video streaming over studying to become better at web development. Finishing a study is for the long-term goal - for better job prospects and career. In remote working, you’ll face myriads of temptations to procrastinate such as message notifications from your Facebook, an urge to watch your favourite channel or surf the internet. All these things may result in delayed submissions and/or loss of concentration. Your question may wait for an answer Even though the other side is online, you don’t know if they are immediately available unless you and the other side are video calling. This happens if the first or second party is chatting with someone, being too busy to reply or having a very slow computer. Less socialisation The most obvious downside is less social interaction. Not all remote jobs involve video calling or constant real-time connection. Some only connect a few minutes or an hour and after that, they just send and expect the deliverables through project management tools. At the office, everyone can party, celebrate birthdays and attend after-work happy hours. When you work from home, you can be alone or be with your relative.

December 28, 2020
CATEGORY: Career Hacks

Underemployment is a labour condition where an employee doesn’t use his or her full capacity and skills. If you’ve been working as a cook but an IT graduate, then you’re underemployed. Economists, sociologists, HR personnel, employers and job seekers use the term to describe job market trends or career development. Here we discuss underemployment effects and what to do with it. Two types of Underemployment The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development views underemployment in two types. Invisible underemployment  This refers to employees who work full-time jobs but not using their educational background or skills. For example,  Mr John Smith, who is an electrical engineering graduate, works  as a salesman Miss Jane, who is an agricultural science graduate, works as a medical representative. Mr. Niel is working as a fast food service crew despite being an accounting graduate. Visible underemployment This refers to employees who work part-time or only for a few hours to make ends meet. What makes underemployment undesirable It makes your resume look bad If you stumble upon meticulous hiring personnel or stringent hiring processes you might not pass the hiring process. They will look into your educational background and skills set and ask why you’re now flipping burgers instead of designing websites which should be your main job. The hiring manager might question your ability to excel should he/she decides to hire you. It can lead you to the misdirected path Doing jobs of various positions or consecutive job titles after a year or two can lead you to diverted careers. You’ll have difficulty deciding if you want to pursue plan A or plan B. At this point, you end up in a comfort zone or underemployed or face a difficulty of mastering a specific skill or skill set. You might not work at your full capacity It’s likely that you aren’t enthusiastic to work or excel because what you’re doing isn’t in your interest. The perform at a fair or average performance. Some life stories show that people who are passionate or like what they are doing tend to succeed in their fields. Waste of time and resources Since you’re not using your full capacity, skills and education, you may end up not using your years of education - an investment of years of studying and training. In the end, after years of working then deciding to return to continue your original profession, you have difficulty applying to your intended career. You might not get your dream job Everyone goes through a life stage as a kid who dreams to be a pilot, teacher, accountant, doctor, nurse, etc. The very purpose of studying at college or university is to prepare you for fruitful employment and avoid ending up living for the rest of your life with diplomas that only function as a filler for your resume. While no one can predict 100% what lies ahead of time, planning to avoid underemployed is one way to avoid losing your dream job. When you can’t use your 4 or 5-year degree to earn a decent salary, you might take a detour. Causes of underemployment  Supply and demand The law of supply and demand functions in the labor market as well. When the supply of labor exceeds the employer demands, unemployment and underemployment are inevitable. When the volume of graduates of a certain course or degree is too high and graduates are vying for the same position, many will tend to accept any job just to pay the bills rather than endure months or a year of unemployment. The price you must pay for being underemployed is you risk forgetting your skills and years of education. Technological changes or trends Back to the 1990s, many occupations flourished in telecommunications, entertainment, energy and transportation. Science fiction writers predict that robots, tablets and holograms will be common in the early decades of the new millennium. Few people thought advancements in mobile communication will replace telephone operators in the early 2000s. Forums, websites, blogs and videos described that someday a robot could replace a human worker. You may have seen cash deposit ATMs already replacing the task of a human bank teller. Economic cycle Businesses experience economic cycles. Visualised in waves - sometimes at the crest and sometimes at a trough. A prolonged and continuing downward economy brought by pandemic, natural disasters and complex financial crisis can lead to recession. Hiring managers will settle for a part-time worker to save on rents, utilities and wages. How to survive an underemployment Seek a freelance or part-time work While working underemployed, capitalise on your side skills whether it’s designing social media posts, writing blogs and translating between languages. You can use video streaming sites (e.g. Youtube, Vimeo) to upload your video blogs about cooking tips and ghost hunting. You can make homemade products such as dioramas, desserts, snacks, and keychains. Apply to companies seeking part-time workers who are either needed to work from home or in-house. Boost your monthly savings Save every 15th or 30th of the month. Trim your expenses by reducing wants and keeping needs. If you can find cost-savings for your needs, that’s better. Here are the places you can save your money: Stable bank savings account Cooperative Stocks and bonds Volunteer in your free time Surely, you won’t be working 24/7. So you’ll have free time on weekends or within weekdays. You can use that to volunteer for part-time jobs related in your chosen profession. Let’s say, you’re a medical technologist, find a clinic or hospital with volunteer vacancies. Leverage social media, email and search engine for research. By volunteering, you’re gaining experience and skills which you can use to back up your resume when the time comes you apply for your dream job. Study and train in your free time Study on online schools (MOOCS or Massive Online Open Course Sites) which can be free or paid. On your day-off, you can retrain at schools related to your profession and course. Review through videos, ebooks, and physical books and pass certifications. In this way, even if you’re underemployed you keep your skills current.

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