Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jobs in Malaysia

Whose job would you like to have?

I have 4 answers so far from the question that I posted at Sodahead yesterday.

1. A singer in a semi-big band

Image source:

2. Quentin Tarantino - an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor.

3. A potter (specifically this guy, Charles Smith - must be a talented guy)

4. Running an advertising agency

Jobs that are... not so common, shall i say? Can we find these jobs in Malaysia?

Probably, but chances is that you may not get that many opportunities.

If you do a search in some job sites, you usually come across jobs that are "common". If you are sighing now, do not. Ya see, we all have the tendency of coveting jobs that are not ours. We always think the other side's pasture is greener but the reverse may be truer.

Look at it this way, these so-called "common" jobs are in demand and you who are reading this blog are more likely to fit in...

Assistant Human Resource Manager

Senior Presales Engineer
Accounts Executive

Seriously, if you are looking for a job now and think you have what it takes to be hired for any of the above job, feel free to drop me a mail anytime.

Thank you and cheers!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is this your dream job?

Visit more than a dozen countries within a year...

and reading books for FREE as part of your job scope...

Hey, is this your dream job?

We dream to have a job like that but heck, some lucky ones are already living out that dream. Meet Oliver Crispin, a 21-year old from Tasmania. He said he would not trade anything in the world for the life experiences he received on board the ship which is a floating bookstore where people are also allowed to read books for free.

You mean there is such a job? Yess...there is. Welcome to MV Doulos...

“Being on board the ship outweighs anything else that I have ever done,” said Crispin, adding that he had visited over 10 countries so far.

The MV Doulos, a 130m-long vessel is the second largest floating bookstore with over 6,000 titles. It stopped at Pasir Gudang port recently.

Although the volunteers work on the ship, they are still required to pay for food and lodging which would amount to about US$350 (RM1,209) monthly (So, that's the's not entirely free after all)

Crispin said his family agreed to chip in for his voyage when he brought up the matter two years ago. Now he plans to extend his work for another year.

He does maintenance work in the engine room and prepares the ship for docking.

Ship media relations officer Floyd Bascones said there were over 320 volunteer crew from over 50 countries on board the ship.

For more reading, click here.

Minus the food and lodging expenses, I think it's a great experience to be involved in such voluntary work that allows one to be connected with people from various countries/cultures and at the same time, making use of the skills that you are trained for. After a year or two, one can still get back to shore and find a reasonably related job but the difference had that rare valuable experience behind you that not many people in the world has. Amazing!

Too bad I get sea-sick so easily...sigh... Otherwise, I would have put in my application by now...:)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pay workers more to boost economy, says Dr M

Malaysia's economic expansion will be even greater if there are higher salary schemes and benefits for workers in the country so that they are able to increase their productivity, says former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"Generally, the income for all workers is quite low currently although the managers of GLCs (government linked companies) seem to be getting high salaries," he said during a visit to the shipyard of NGV Tech in Sijangkang, Banting today.

Without higher salaries, the country will not be able to achieve high growth, Mahathir said, adding that the increase in pay however must be met with equal amount of work.

He said when the productivity of staff is raised, the company achieves higher profits, and the employer will certainly reward the workers with higher income.

Mahathir also at the same time called on workers to have a sense of loyalty to their respective companies. He cited the Japanese workers' sense of loyalty as a factor that had indirectly contributed to the economic progress of the country.

Many welders from the country for instance are being pinched by companies from the Middle East which offer salaries three to four times higher than what they are getting now from their employers in Malaysia, he said.

Malaysia will not be able to also compete at the international level citing low labour cost as there are several countries offering low labour cost together with higher productivity where one worker is able to perform the work carried out by two to three workers.

Source: Malaysia Kini

I agree only in part that higher growth can happened with higher salary. Yes, higher salary can draw more talent to Malaysia or even attract talented Malaysians that reside overseas currently to return to Malaysia. But by paying high salary alone does not guarantee higher growth. No way! Instead I believe in FAIR payment...salary that commensurates with the job scope and its contribution. The adage of "it's not so much of what you know but who you know" is too ingrained in our system right now - from public service to private corporations. Because of this, the deserving people usually don't get "high" salary. Sad, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Generation Y workforce - who are they and what makes them tick?

I'm not from Generation Y and having to deal with this specific generation, I sometimes find myself dealing with a generation gap issue here - a gap issue similar to dealing with my parents - the baby boomers. So, who are in this Generation Y and how do employers deal with them?

It was said Generation Y workforce are those born between 1978 and 2000. Sometimes, they are also called the Millennials. So basically, we are dealing with people who are in their 20s now. As in every generation, Gen Y has its own unique characteristics. This is the generation that is familiar with internet, mobile phone and digital cameras. Due to such background, they often exhibit these following traits:-

Tech-savvy. Technology is part of their lives and they have to be plugged-in 24 hours. Their first preference of communication is through email, text messaging and online chat, rather than face-to-face contacts.

Higher expectations. They live in a digital age and therefore, a sense of immediacy is expected. Their expectations of services and relationships are higher.

Not afraid to challenge authority. With easy access to information, they know their rights better and therefore not fearful of asking questions and questioning authority.

Attention-craving. They crave for praises and assurances for their accomplishments.

Multi-channelers but restless. They are able to focus on a few variables at one time and would find concentrating on one object for too long rather boring.

Care about what their community says. They get information from one another, not so much from the media, and they take their network’s recommendations seriously.

Value “experience” more than anything else. They do not want to be told what to or not to do. They want to experience the world for themselves and make their own judgments.

Start their career or family later. They are not in a hurry to settle down in a long-term career or start a family and have kids. Some of them would not even mind staying with their parents/family until their early 30s. And talking about giving allowance to parents? Oh, they don’t have to because their parents usually have no problem fending for themselves.

Knowing these traits will require employers to deal with them differently.

• As they have high expectations of their employers, watch out for the type of managers on top of them. They would need managers that are fair and get engaged/involved in their career development. They prefer you talking “with” them, and not “at” them.

• As they are multi-channelers, they are able to multi-task well.

• Employers should create challenging tasks for them in order to prevent boredom. Bear in mind, they are not the type that would just take orders and not ask question. They want ownership and control of what they are doing. Get them engaged in projects, set goals for them but leave it to them on how to get it done. They perform better that way.

• As they seek meaning in whatever that they do, giving them immediate responsibility would engage them as they are always looking out for opportunity to excel.

• And flexi hours would appeal to the Generation Y’ers, so include that in your recruiting strategy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Job Hunting Jargons - What do they really mean?

In a job advertisement, it is usual to read some background of the company and a list of requirements for the job. Do they literally mean what it’s said…or is there something else behind the lines…? Well, most of the time, they mean exactly what they mean but experience will tell you there is more to it.

Want to know what some of these lines really mean….. check these out…

We operate in a very COMPETITIVE environment – probably means…
Our staff turnover is high - Not many sane people can stick around for long.

We are a FAST-PACED and DYNAMIC company – probably means…
Don’t expect us to train you. You joined us and you are supposed to deliver results…FAST!

Our salary package is COMPETITIVE – probably means…
The company remains competitive by paying less than their competitors.

We offer FLEXIBLE HOURS - probably means...
Expect to work overtime and more than 40 hours a week, but get paid for 30.

Ability to COMMUNICATE effectively at all levels – probably means…
Management communicates, you listen and find out what you need to do on your own.

Candidate must have AN EYE FOR DETAILS – probably means…
We don’t have time to review your work and don't expect quality control. You screw up, you pay!

You may be assigned OTHER TASKS FROM TIME TO TIME – probably means…
They want to make full use of you and beware: anyone in the office can boss you around.

Candidates with a wide VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE are welcome – probably means...
You are most likely to do “three-persons” job.

PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS is a must – probably means...
You will be part of an organization that is forever on “fire-fighting” mode. So, be prepared!

Ok..ok..they may not be as horrific as it sounds and not all job advertisements were drafted with that in mind, but I have a hunch many people, like me who have been in the job market long enough will admit there is a grain of truth in every one of them!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tips To Successful Job Interviews

You’ve just been notified that you are short listed for a job interview!

Hurray! You made it… but wait a minute, that’s just the beginning. You wanted the job desperately but before you are hired, the job interview has to be successful. How do you ensure that?

Let me start by saying there are many other articles in the internet that you can search and help you on this.

So, I am going to just keep the tips short and sharing my views from the standpoint of an interviewer. For an interviewer, what would I consider as a suitable candidate?

1. Has the knowledge and skills/competencies to do the job (qualification & experience)
2. Has the willingness to perform the job (attitude)

With that in mind, the keyword for you is PREPARATION.

To satisfy point (1) above, check this:-

1. Know what the job is all about – the responsibilities and expectations. Do you have what it takes to be hired?

2. What are your strengths to support your case for the position?

3. Do you have a past experience to substantiate your strengths – most interviewers are interested to know whether you have done something similar in the past rather than telling them what you would do in the event you were put in the position. If you do not have a direct experience, find an example that is closely related to it.

To satisfy point (2), you need to:-

1. Exhibit confidence and enthusiasm.

2. Be seen as wanting the job – evidenced from you coming on time for the interview, dressing for the occasion, getting all your documents organized/ready when requested.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What career shall I choose?

This blog entry is for those that are still studying. By virtue of my profession, I have students that are doing their Form Five asking me this question. My common answer is usually, “Take care of your study now. Think about this only after your exam.” Although I want them to stay focused on what is important but I think I had missed out their intention behind this question. The person is concerned and serious about his future and though he has an exam to worry about, he is more forward-looking by looking beyond the exam. You see, if they decide what career to have, they will then know what kind of course/further study to take.

Thus, asking such a question is a good sign. So, how do I answer now?

Ok, there is really no absolute foolproof guide but the following are some cues that you can follow:-

1)Look within yourself

• Are you an introvert or extrovert? Most people are a mixture of both but one of the traits would stand out more than the other. Be honest about it and accept your personality make-up. A tip: an extrovert will get bored in a desk-bound job and an introvert will be too stressed-out dealing with people 8 hours a day.

• Do you like to think and analyze facts on your own OR do you prefer to hang out with people to talk things through? From here, you are able to gauge whether you should engage in a task /concept oriented or people-oriented job in the future.

• Do you have a special interest or talent in something? For example, some of you may have a gift in playing the piano and you have won some competitions in the past. If that’s the case, a career in music is a great possibility. Bear in mind: Talent and interest have to go hand-in-hand. Talent without interest will make you frustrated in the long run.

2) Look outside yourself

• Check out the job market. What are the jobs that are available? What are the jobs projected to be in demand in the next five to ten years now? If these jobs make a connection with your inclination, go a bit further by talking to people who are already doing the job – take this advice - a huge difference between reading an article about a job and talking to someone who are actually doing it!

Getting it right from young does make a difference – it certainly will spare you from headache and heartache later. But having said that, many who thought they made the right choice at the beginning may end up in a job that they don’t like.

Sometimes we may have read ourselves wrongly, sometimes due to environment influence – the people that we mix with, economic reasons, change of values and priorities in life and etc– all these factors may cause us to re-evaluate our career choices later in life.

But surely it’s a good idea to ask this question as early as possible in life so that you wont’ be spending the next 30 years on something that you were not sure about.

Ok, this is just a quick tip. If you are really serious about this, read more from a book.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RM800 minimum wage proposal

Indonesia is proposing RM800 minimum wage for its nationals working as maids in Malaysia.

Not a good idea. Why?

1. Malaysians may resort to illegal hiring
2. Abuse cases could go unreported as the maids may worry about being deported.

The above reasons were given by the Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.

Agencies handling foreign maids said the minimum wage salary of RM800 for the Indonesian maids was not commensurate with their qualifications. Unlike Singapore, maids from Indonesia had to sit for entry exams and had to be fluent in the English language. Malaysian employers are apparently more accommodating and able to accept lower standard maids because the salary is much lower – (perhaps its lower compared to hiring a maid from Philippines)

Malaysian Association of Foreign Maids Agencies (Papa) secretary Foo Yong Hooi said the proposed minimum salary will be a burden to families.

The above facts were taken from NST today.

I have to agree it is burdensome. Wages of Malaysians have not been rising very much over the past years partly due to economic downturn, but the cost of living is constantly on the rise. This is the dilemma faced by Malaysians.

Most household expenses have to be supported by two incomes – gone were the days the husbands were the sole bread winner and the wives stay at home taking care of kids. Not because the wife wanted to climb the corporate ladder although in some cases, that’s the primary reason but in most cases, it’s a purely a matter of survival. So, that leaves most couples no choice but to send their kids to day care centre or having maids to help them out at home.

Although RM800 is the pay, but if include food and other necessities, a family may end up spending more than RM1000 monthly on keeping one maid. It’s tough especially for couples that have to take care of their old folks too.

At the end, I have to conclude that the take home pay of salaried Malaysians are not in line with the current cost of living. The struggle will continue... I better stop now before it gets too depressing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Worst Is Over, Or Is It?

There was a survey done by Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) that represents some 28,000 chinese entrepreneurs in the country, that believes the worst is over for the local economy. Some two -thirds of the respondents had indicated that they would not reduce the number of employees.

Read more at Mida Official Website.

So, two-thirds would not reduce their workforce? What about the other one-third – considering cutting down? If that ‘s the case, then one-third is a huge figure. So, how can we say the worst is over when 33.33% of the respondents are considering cutting down workforce?

At grassroots level, people’s confidence is not getting any higher – so far, I have not seen a turn for the better, well.. not yet from my point of view. I interviewed a senior consultant in network security this afternoon. He joined the company for less than a year and now considering moving, citing slow business and because of that, salary payment is always delayed. Two days ago, I have a friend in Facebook telling me she has just been retrenched and now asking for my help. So, is the worst really over?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dress Code For Job Interviews

Dressing right for job interviews has always been a hot topic. Why? Cos the way you dress can build or destroy your chances for the job, no matter how well you answer the questions. Mark Twain has this to say, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

For every first time interviewee, give some thought to your grooming. Males usually do not face as much headache as their female counterpart though. But the general rule applies to all, it’s better to stay conservative than trying to be creative.

The classic advice is this: Dress one step up from what you’d typically wear to work in that position. Others may tell you to dress 10% better than you ordinarily would. Still others would reckon, “dress for the position you’d like to have, not for the one you do have, so you’ll be seen as promotable.”

My take: Dress your professional best that gives you such positive feeling that when you speak, it exudes confidence and enthusiasm. Yes, that’s the attire for you!