Friday, October 22, 2010

Questions You Should Not Ask

There are some things that you should not ask on your first or initial interview with an employer. Not in the 21st century when information can be obtained through a mere click on the internet. If you asked these questions, it reflects on your lackadaisical attitude and it just go to show you are not the most resourceful person around.

So, before you go for any interview, you should do your homework and find out these:

1. What are its products or services?
2. Is the company listed?
3. How long has the company been established?
4. Who are their main customers?
5. Who are their major competitors?
6. What is its position or ranking in the industry?
7. Are they growing or shrinking?

The only exception is when the employer is a start-up company.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cut Down The Noise

Noise comes in many shapes and sizes. They are noise when they interrupt our focus, taking our attention, time and energy away from what matters.

But most of us didn't know they are noise and we unconsciously entertain them.

We make commitments that we cannot keep.

We sign-up for engagements that we do not enjoy.

We buy the latest gadgets that we do not need.

We read and listen to every latest news.

We say we need to stay on top of things. Otherwise, we won't make it.

And we go through this cycle of illusion that to be busy and to be seen doing lots of things, we will be on the path to success, that we are the next real thing.

But our body tell us something else. We get sick.

Our minds felt overwhelmed - we ended up burned out, discouraged or even disillusioned.

Things that we do that do not give us a sense of fulfilment, that do not enhance value to our lives or the lives of others are noise. They are stress in disguise that cripple us eventually. Cut them down!

But wait a minute...

What about things like sweeping a dirty floor, washing the toilet, taking out the garbage, relieving a sick colleague and etc. These tasks are obligations and you can't avoid them!

Yes, I said cut them down for it's not possible to completely cut them off.

Yet, we can turn the mundane to meaningful task if we understand the consequences of our acts. By relieving a sick colleague, I'm saying to her that we are a team and we should watch out for one another, besides I might just learn something new from her work. To arrive to such a perspective and attitude takes a renewed mind - that your every act means something, has a purpose after all.

Yet again, it's in the silence away from the noise pollution that one is able to get to that perspective.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Are You A Moral Hazard? (inspired from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps)

If you watched Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, you will not miss these words: moral hazard. Well, I actually thought "moral hazard" made a more appropriate title than money never sleeps. What is moral hazard? “It means they can steal your money and no one is responsible.” Well, that's in accordance to Gordon Gekko.

So, we have a new buzz word in town! Ok, probably it's just me.

Anyway, I decided to read up more about it.

Interestingly, “moral hazard” originally comes from the insurance industry. It arises because a party does not take full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. This leads to personal acts that by definition are moral hazards. For example, if you buy fire insurance for your house, you may not care less about smoking in bed as you know the insurance company will pay for the repair of the damages.

Guess what? Moral hazards occurred in employment context too especially in regards to relationships between the business owners and their management staff. As working relationships at that level are largely based on trust, business owners may not be able to observe and scrutinize every action and decision-making of their managers. Moral hazard can happen when the managers are protected from the consequences of poor decision making. Bear in mind, the managers are essentially not dealing with their own personal money and therefore likely to be less vigilant or worse still, completely with a full conscious mind, squander away company’s money for self-interest. Sounds familiar?

Wikipedia explore it further by quoting some examples of such situations:

• When a manager has a secure position from which he or she cannot be readily removed.

• When a manager is protected by someone higher in the corporate structure, such as in cases of nepotism or pet projects.

• When funding and/or managerial status for a project is independent of the project's success.

• When the failure of the project is of minimal overall consequence to the firm, regardless of the local impact on the managed division.

• When a manager may readily lay blame on an innocent subordinate.

• When there is no clear means of determining who is accountable for a given project.

So, are you a moral hazard in your company? ....:D