Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Season...Can't Concentrate At Work

I like this time of the year. There are a lot of glitter, colors, and beautiful carols at the background wherever I go.

And most of the time, I felt a sense of “winter” (the song white christmas and decor in shopping malls kinda persuaded my mind to think so) and I can’t help but imagine myself being transported to another place, skiing and playing with snow.

But wait a minute, I’m in the office.

I should be working instead of day-dreaming.

This season dubbed as the holiday season makes concentration on work difficult. I'm sure I'm not alone.

So, are we less productive during this period? Should employers be concerned?

Surprise! A new survey from Accountemps said the week right before a holiday break can actually mean greater productivity at work!

One-third (34 percent) of senior managers surveyed recently by Accountemps said their employees are less productive the week before a major holiday. This compares to 44 percent of executives who cited pre-holiday productivity declines in a similar survey five years ago.

It seems the trend has changed for the better - that people are more productive than before!

Kathryn Bolt, an Accountemps executive, attributed this to many people working better under pressure.

“Although the results may seem surprising at first, it is evident that the need to stay focused and get as much work done as possible before [a holiday] break is a priority amongst many employees,” Bolt said in a statement. “To enjoy the season’s company parties, family festivities and other activities, it becomes greatly beneficial to put in that added effort during the work hours leading up to the break.”

Phew…that’s a great relief to employers!

Anyway, if you are in the retail industry, this is a joke! Who has time to think about holiday? The best time to earn big bucks is now...:)

Check out who’s hiring during the holidays? Click here

Friday, December 10, 2010

So You Think You Want To Be Self-employed?

It was some time ago now that I chucked my job and became self-employed. Why do I become self-employed? Is it for better money? Is it because I wanted to escape the stress of climbing the corporate ladder? Well, it’s certainly not because of the money for many who are employed earn much better. I often say it’s because I hated to be told what to do by someone else...:)

You probably have a good reason why you wanted to consider self-employment. But like any career move, it’s good to take the time to think deep and wide for this one. Unlike employment in which you can give up by handing a resignation letter, the stakes are higher when running your own business.

Well, besides having to slog it out during the initial period (ranges from months to even years) learning and doing things that perhaps not your strengths such as handling financial figures and going out making contacts with strangers, I felt there are some primary stuff that you need to consider before you take the plunge - stuff that will determine whether you have the package to make it or not.

1. What is the world you want to create? It simply means a vision and without a clear picture of what you want to achieve, you won’t last very long. When things did not turn out as expected, you would simply give up. Well, not everyone wants to make a million and going into self-employment may simply means you get to do what you love. Yet, you still need to visualize the world you wish to create.

2. Do you have some reserves? You can plan and budget well but sometimes things just don’t fit nicely according to your schedule. A hint: most of the times they don’t anyway. So, do you have enough reserves that you can rely on? Are you ready to go without pay for a few months?

3. Can you handle uncertainties well? In other words, do you have the mental strength? The uncertainties can be daunting. The market is changing all the time and you need to change and adjust that includes getting your hands dirty, charting into unfamiliar territory and taking risks. When the money is not coming in, what do you do? Sit and sulk? Mental strength is so crucial for there might be a lot of naysayers telling you that you won’t make it.

How do you stay positive and focused all the time? Speaking from experience, it’s easy said than done. I certainly experienced times when I have my doubts and to tell you that I can always perk myself up is a lie. I felt one of the things that had helped me is to surround myself with positive people. You need that as it takes a lot to stay motivated so that in turn, you can motivate and inspire your team. In this case, I’m thankful to my spouse. The fact he is also running his own business helps much. His empathy, support and encouragement during the tough times mean a lot.

Laughter, humor and other positive elements such as an inspiring book help too. You need to learn to stop and think, evaluate and restrategize and above all, not to take yourself too seriously. When things failed, you can basically say, "ok, it's a mistake. Learn from it and let's move on..." I must say experiencing failure is part and parcel of the whole deal and it's not a bad thing anyway. You get the opportunity to stretch your creativity and to know you are capable of doing so can be a very fulfilling experience.

I cannot stress enough the uncertainties you might face. So, if you are employed and happened to rank stability as one of the most important things in career or life, I can tell you right way that self-employment is not cut for you. I have friends that started with much excitement but the unpredictability stressed them out so much that they have to call it quits within a short span of time.

If you are unsure whether self-employment is your thing but seriously thinking about it, perhaps going part-time may help you to test the water. Guess what, some businesses continue to stay as part-time businesses and that might be the better option and probably what you are looking for.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jobs On The Decline

As technology advances, more work can be automated and slowly some jobs that we used to see today will be disappearing soon. What are some of these dying occupations?

1. Typist – I think they are already dead. But mind you, typists were in huge demand not very long time ago.

2. Petrol Pump Assistant – only found in rural areas but they will disappear anytime soon.

3. Stenographer – what's that?

4. Filing Clerk – what do they file when the office is going paperless?

5. Cashier – slowly replaced by automatic scanners.

6. Travel agent - who needs them anymore when air-tickets and holiday packages can be purchased online?

7. Real Estate Broker – again, blame it on internet.

8. Stock Broker – yes, the culprit is the internet.

9. Assembly Line Worker – replaced by robots.

10. Toll Booth Operator – I can’t figure out why there are still people refusing to use the Smart Tag. But I’m sure this will change pretty soon.

11. Telephone Operator – already been replaced by voice machines.

12. Store Assistant – when physical stores are slowly taken over by online stores.

13. Mail Sorter/postal service – who still send snail mails in ten years time?

14. Newspaper Man – blame it on online news portal!

What other jobs are in danger of dying? Is your job affected? If yes, get ready to learn new skills before it's too late.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note new position titles appearing in recent years – SEO Specialist, Blogger, Social Media Executive, Chief Greening Officer – who would have imagined that ten years ago?

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