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Success no doubt
3 Tips to Take Pride in Your Own Success

by Frank Looi | 02 Jun 2017

Life is like a marathon: you’ve always got to arrive somewhere and achieve something while time sweeps beneath us like fabric. In our own journey, it is easy to forget that others are also on their journey of life with moments of joy and pain. (Photo: Paulius Jacionis & Quotefancy) June could be that month where you need a little bit of push for the rest of the year; so here is a reminder from our mentors for you to take pride in yourself, especially moments that are toughest and closest to you. These are heartfelt stories of grit, success, perseverance and pride as told by our mentors.   1. Sirhajwan Idek I always believe that my greatest accomplishment as a teacher is the achievements of my students. I invariably find it hard to educate and motivate my students but my persistence has been a key element to delivering outcomes: my students have shown major improvement in terms of their confidence and competence our unprecedented participation and accomplishment in English competitions, academic events, innovations and entrepreneurship we continue to explore more opportunities and possibilities. What made me proud even if they did not win – even if they were placed last – was the “winner” attitude and positive mindset that they had developed in the p r o c e s s. Their accomplishments have helped me earned state, national and international awards and although I won many awards, they have been the greatest award I have ever attained. They are the greatest accomplishment that I am most proud of.   2. Tarminder Singh We all have something we are proud of; something to look back upon with a great sense of pride. These not only serve as a motivation but also shows you that the seemingly impossible can be p o s s i b l e. For me, the accomplishment that I am most proud is one of personal success. When I finished high school, I was an obese teen and tipped the scales at 100kg. At that point, I knew that this had to change and the change had to be an inner desire rather than forced. Determined, I signed up for a gym, educated myself on fitness and nutrition, came up with a fitness plan and in 3 months, I lost 10kgs (and 30kgs in 1 year). Not resting on my laurels, I made sure this turned into a lifestyle change. Today, I am glad to say that my weight issues are a problem of the past. This taught me several life lessons: a sustainable plan triumphs quick-fix schemes focus on the end goal, and more importantly inner motivation is a powerful tool for any c h a n g e in this world. Since then, I have had many other accomplishments (career and personal-related), but this one tops the list as this showed me that you and I could achieve anything if we want it bad enough. (via GIPHY) 3. Thatchu Selvarajan My proudest accomplishment to date is securing an opportunity for me to further my career in UK/Europe. Attempting to secure an industrial placement has taught me a lot about how competitive the market can be, especially in the engineering field. Most importantly, not letting the failure of others’ attempts put me down was key to persevering. With that in mind, securing a role on a program with a company that affords me European & global exposure, leadership training, challenging roles, and career progression was everything I could ever ask for in a job out of university. It has been an exciting journey so far with tons more to offer, which keeps me excited and going daily! (via GIPHY) Thatchu is a recent University of Sheffield graduate and now Continuous Improvement Engineer at Morgan Advanced Materials in the UK.  Do you relate to them or want to share your struggles? Let us know and we will give you a free session for you to speak with them on our platform!

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Colleagues
4 Awesome Ways to Get Your Colleagues to Like You

by FutureLab | 26 May 2017

Working well with your colleagues is important. It is important for having a successful career and to be mentally and emotionally healthy. We spend 8-9 hours of our day at the office and if you are not able to speak with someone who is friendly enough to revert back or participate in a conversation, then it is likely that the time is being spent in a miserable place.  When you are working with a team, it is important that the morale is high and you have fun whilst working together no matter how grilling the day is. When there are team members who refuse to work with one another, the quality of work usually suffers. So what do you do if you want to build friendly working relationships but don’t know how to? Here are 4 awesome tips from FutureLab mentors that will help: 1. Practice common courtesy: This should be self-explanatory, but always greet your colleague with simple ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ with a smile. You never have to go over the top, but a simple hi and exchange of smile is the first step to a constructive workplace. Make eye contact and refer to them by their name.  This is the oil that keeps the engine of cooperation running smoothly. The general rule that follows after is always keep a smile on your face; never forget a “thank you” or a “sorry” where necessary and applicable. 2. Stay positive: Be as positive as you can. It is important that you stay positive and influence your colleagues with your positive energy as well. This will help you initiate healthy conversation with your colleagues and they will also enjoy your company. Positive vibes always initiate conversation and people will know that you are approachable. 3. Rise above office gossip: Workplace gossip is as common as grass, it grows everywhere. Engaging in it is a pretty effortless way to set a dubious example, diminish your stature, lose respect, and contribute to a toxic workplace environment. Gossips are major relationship killers at work. If you’re experiencing conflict with someone in your group, talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping about the situation with other colleagues will only exacerbate the situation, and will cause mistrust and animosity between you. 4. Encourage familiarity:  It is important to not keep communication formal and business based all the time but to also treat your colleagues as friends (or humans at least!). Take genuine interest in their hobbies, activities, etc (not just for the sake of it). You will soon find this being reciprocated when your colleagues take interest in you. Workplace relationship fails when communication is made only when necessary to get things ticked off the list. Change your approach and you’ll start to see how positively your colleagues react and communicate with you on a daily basis,  and thus improve your workplace relationships and the way you work together.     A big thank you to our awesome mentors who always generously contribute their thoughts for our articles. For this article, special credits go to Thatchu Selvarajan, Quan Phang, Sirhajwan Idek and Tarminder Singh! For more awesome content, head over to our blog The Futurist!

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3 Ways to Make Your Mom Proud of Your Job

by Frank Looi | 20 May 2017

Most of us find it hard describing our relationship with our mothers. Those low days when you had really strong opinions but felt remorseful that your mother did not listen to you is mixed with the good days when your mother was somehow just where you needed her to be – a face in the crowd, a supportive teammate, a captain, or the devil’s advocate. This Mother’s Day, we invited our mentors to trace their fruits today back to the seeds that their mothers had planted decades ago. For those of us who are busy chasing success, let’s not forget mothers around the world who are also contributing to society, and most importantly to give thanks to our own ah ma. #1 You’re doing your best If you try to name everything that your mother does not do well, you will likely have a long list. But the same goes for anyone, even yourself. Fung Wei, the CTO of on-demand job delivery platform GoGet, highlights the micro-responsibilities his mother had to ensure the family and her husband’s business operated as optimally as it could. “Seeing my mom, a Ph.D. holder and ex-student activist, take it upon herself to simultaneously manage the finances (a field unrelated to her academic practice) of my dad’s business as well ensuring the comfort of their home made me realise the importance of ensuring operations run like clockwork.” This drove the reliable tech that Fung spearheaded at GoGet which allows its service to be on-demand and beyond office hours. Thatchu, an engineer who have spent over half a decade in the UK (and counting) away from his family, is unable to fully actualise the kinds of verbal and physical communication that allows him to show his care and love for his mother. “We are restricted to the occasional trip home and weekend Skype calls,” but he always recognized his career success as an action item to repay his mother’s hope and love from since he was little. “Being away spurred me even more, to make sure I gave my best in what I do, love what I do, and make her proud; my way of saying thank you to her from 7000 miles away!” #2 You help others in your career path Like your mentor or superior at work, a mother too can inculcate values in ourselves that guide our actions. A mother’s story can help us highlight the problem in the world and urge us to tackle it. As explained by Brian, the FutureLab social enterprise model is etched by the stories of his mother’s hardships in her younger years due to her underprivileged financial background. “The reason why we want to give back to society and support underprivileged children in their education is so that it can underpin the improvements in their life quality,” says Brian. Rather than competing and eliminating each other, we should care for those around us and share the information that we have to help them improve. “And that is what mentorship is about; we want to cultivate a culture of sharing and help others in their path especially those who find it more difficult than others.” (Photo via http://www.mattempson.com) #3 You are honest with yourself While we’re busy gearing ourselves towards our goals and dreams, we tend to be hard on ourselves whenever we’re faced with setbacks. “It is to have respect for people and most importantly for yourself whenever you make a mistake or wrong,” Francesca tells of her mother, a retiree from the demanding corporate lifestyle, who developed a parenting style based on trust and strength. “My mother was so busy that she only could ask if we were doing good or not,” and she needed the honesty to admit the times that she was not feeling the best physically or emotionally, as compared to mothers who spend a lot of time with their children to sense something is wrong. (Photo via http://www.everyvowel.com/) Advice from the Family Ferret It is through this turbulent journey of personal growth where we internalise the advice and actions that our moms are so willing to offer. In some ways, our moms are our lifelong mentors who trust and understand us – she is someone who knows you, a listener, a supporter, and a best friend. Today and every day is an opportunity to spend some more time with your mother, tell them how you are doing and your problems. If there is anyone in this world who wants to celebrate your success and failure, it is most likely your birth giver.   Feeling like checking in with someone to assess how you are doing professionally, or want a little bit of boost in your career path? Hear it from our mentors who nurtured a professional journey that they love.

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Suits usa harvey mike
To practice, or not to practice, that is the question

by Yen Wei | 18 May 2017

Not entirely like “Suits” or “Legally Blonde”, a career in law is high-pressured, competitive and demanding, and often only those who genuinely love the work stand a chance at success. At least 40 percent of law graduates don’t end up in a legal career, but rather work across a multitude of fields ranging from business, PR and marketing, to even scientific and technical activities sectors. Many law graduates have gotten jobs in teaching and administration; in public service settings; for corporations and businesses; and for nonprofit organisations. Even though the theoretical aspects may not be utilised, your law degree is not wasted because it gives you skills employable in all kinds of profession. Graduates should realise that law and the legal profession is, in fact, alive. The “practice” of law is a verb for a reason; it is about putting into practice and applying concepts and theories to real problems. Lawyers are akin to doctors, as Qin Ru points out. Just as there are different doctors in different specialities – cardiologists, ophthalmologists and gastroenterologist – lawyers have various expertise too, such as family law, intellectual property and corporate practice. For those who are at crossroads whether to embark or remain in a legal career, our mentors shared their insights on some questions young lawyers should reflect on and what it takes to excel. Here are 5 checklists to help you in your decision:     1. Have you discovered the drive behind your work? Kelvin, a trainee solicitor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in London, gets excited when he speaks of the stimulating nature of the job. His favourite part is the feeling of satisfaction when he participates in large international corporate acquisitions and subsequently sees the impact he has made on companies, employees and people’s lives. He finds the legal practice intellectually rewarding, and loves problem-solving to find the best solutions for his clients. As a tangent but nonetheless equally important, Qin Ru also thinks that lawyers should ask themselves: “what is my co-interest?”  She draws an example from herself to illustrate. As a 7th year corporate and commercial lawyer currently in Teh & Lee, Qin Ru is in the capital markets practice which focuses on advising public listed companies with listings on Bursa Malaysia. She advises these companies on issues such as share issuance, initial public offers and listing, acquisition of companies and fund-raising. It is a relatively niche area and few lawyers in the country have the same profile as hers. “I love how my job is project based (6 to 9 months) and how much commercial skills are involved. It’s all about how you marry the two of your interests together because law doesn’t exist on its own. You have to peg it against some other real life skill. My area of legal practice is pegged against corporate and commercial growth of companies,” Qin Ru says. “Lawyers should figure out what their own self-interests are besides law, as this will open up career options and help them figure out their personal niche areas.” Izwan, a corporate lawyer at Widuri Capital Management, explains that it is hard to appreciate what you do if there is a lack of understanding. Your superior may not explain to you which adds to the confusion. “And so, you should be naturally curious about your job, and how it relates to the real world,” he says. (Image source: Giphy)     2. Do you have a high sense of self-awareness about your strengths and qualities?  Have a heightened sense of self-awareness about what your interests are. Knowing your strengths and qualities are also necessary to excel, leading to a higher sense of commitment. Kelvin thinks that some of the most important qualities a good lawyer should have are analytical skills, determination, communication skills and being commercially aware. As a whole, a good lawyer should have the ability to pick up issues and understand how they affect your clients, and consequently coming up with a framework, solution or method. “Admittedly, determination is not always an easy thing. Lawyers have to persevere – they have very tight deadlines and it’s a high pressure environment as clients want things done easily with high standards to push through,” Kelvin says. “Commercial awareness is hard to define so experience is key; the more you experience, the more you will know how business and commerce operates. It will give you a more holistic thinking.” Izwan also talks about the ability to “always anticipate, not react”. A client who gives you a contract and asks for a review will expect you to propose or advice his next cause of action, and to go the extra mile if necessary. However, Kelvin also mused that it is very important to be open. “I have seen so many lawyers who went into law thinking it’s just one thing, but they get an entirely different experience from what they intend it to be… so don’t set a strict benchmark for yourself!”    (Image source: Demetri Martin)   3. Do you enjoy summarising complex information and expressing them clearly? Upon asking Gregory Das from Shook Lin & Bok what he loved about his job most, he summarised it into two main parts. One, presenting cases in court; and two, reducing an argument into a simple form that caters to the person addressed in the best way possible. This could be anyone, from a judge in court to a client. For example, how you present legal arguments to your superiors in contrast with how you present to clients will differ greatly, although it should be thorough yet precise in both situations. Essentially, it is about explaining things in a clear and succinct manner best suited to your audience.  Being able to express your client’s point of view clearly is immensely important, and the best way of doing so is to have a strong command of language. Lawyers often deal with large chunks of information and will be expected to present them to a variety of audiences.  “Presenting information is what you will do daily – be it to the courts, your clients, your superiors or colleagues. Lawyers should know which relevant parts of the information to take out and to express them very clearly. This is indispensable and is a skill those who are interested should work on. I cannot emphasise this more,” Greg says firmly.   4. Are you a people person? “There are very few other professions that exposes you to so many varying aspects of society and industries, as law is so pervasive. A legal problem could arise in any field — from medical, technology to employment,” Qin Ru says. “Naturally, this means that you will be dealing with people from all walks of life. Law is a service based skill, after all.” Qin Ru also illustrates how learning to understand people will help you manage your expectations. For instance, a difficult client could be acting that way because he is concerned about an issue which he feels that you have not addressed or addressed it to his expectation.  Kelvin conjectures that legal problems are essentially stories. It is easy to be focused on the principle, but if you delve deeper into the facts, each case is essentially a personal problem and revolves around people and relationships. That said, a good lawyer, or litigator specifically, may not necessarily be an extrovert or outspoken in terms of personality. “It’s like putting on a show, a performance,” Greg says. “When lawyers stand on the podium, they could be embodying their on-stage personality, a different side of them. Some of the best litigators could be introverts.” Jane* also thinks that good emotional quotient (EQ) is necessary to handle any politics that may potentially arise in some notorious law firms. “I cannot overemphasise the importance of this, and the first few years will be especially hard. In my first two years, I was at the bottom of the food chain. Even though I am a 7th year associate now, handling relationships at my firm becomes tricky in a different aspect as financial rewards, partnerships and promotions come into play. There will be some not-so-nice people out there, and having good social skills will be important.” It is not all doom and gloom though, as not every superior will be unreasonably tough,” Greg says. “There are many nice lawyers, believe it or not!”   (Image source: Giphy)     5. Have you gained experience through a wide exposure of practice?   “Experience is key. It counts a lot, especially in law,” Kelvin says. “Trainee programs are great in that sense because some of them offer a few different placements to find your field. Try everything at least, unless you are really determined to only do corporate, much like me,” he says. However, joining a small boutique firm is not always a bad idea either, because there are some amazing ones who truly shine in their expertise. Kelvin advises to apply to as many places as a person can. Qin Ru have also mused that one regret they had was not doing more clerkships or internships when they were younger. Having more experience in different areas will definitely help with making wiser and more informed decisions about your interests. This should certainly be a key takeaway to all young lawyers and graduates who are reading this!   (Image source: Onsizzle)     Advice from the Family Ferret The business of lawyering is very much dependant on the growth of other fields from technology, business to a country’s political state and international relations. This is crucial as it determines the landscape of legal practice in the future, which will continue to evolve over time. If legal practice does not appeal to you, there are still many other legal-related or alternative career avenues which you can venture into. However, for those who are still undecided, our mentors advised that, perhaps, it is wise to first dip your toes into private legal practice before joining a company. In addition, doing a pupillage in a large law firm would also expose you to a lot of commercial and civil matters. With these new perspectives gained, you will eventually find yourself on a path suited to your interest, be it law-related or otherwise. Having that extra qualification will also make you more employable in any field of interest you choose to venture. *Name changed for privacy purposes.     Want to speak to our friendly mentors about a legal career? Click here or leave us a comment below!  

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Blog 1
A Heartfelt Letter from Cikgu Umi Zuriati

by Neekita Patel | 17 May 2017

Funds required / Dana diperlukan: RM 4,025 No. of students impacted / Bil. murid diimpak: 16 Name of school / Nama sekolah: SK Jengka Batu 13 State / Negeri: Pahang Here is a heartfelt letter from Cikgu Umi Zuriati, who wishes to create a more conducive environment rich in learning materials for her primary school students: To anyone who is reading this, I am a teacher from SK Jengka Batu 13. This school is located in a rural area in Chenor, Pahang. There are altogether 106 students in the school and I have been given the responsibility to handle the 16 students in Year 6. My students come from low socioeconomic backgrounds whose parents are either farmers, rubber-tappers or vendors. Moreover, there are also aboriginals amongst them. Parents are supportive in terms of money for us to run programmes such as the “Program Kecermelangan UPSR”, but it is still a burden for them to support additional projects financially. Currently, I am teaching the subject of English and most of the activities I carry out in class are group activities. A favourite activity among the students involves presenting topics they have learned using various types of media. Some students would present using mahjong paper, some with scrapbooks and others with powerpoint slides. They enjoy creating slides and then presenting because they feel they have learned so much about presentations when creating slides on the computer. They also enjoy researching and looking for pictures to print out and show their friends to supplement their presentations. Unfortunately, my classroom is not equipped with an LCD projector, printer, speakers or other ICT facilities needed for 21st century learning. In addition, the school’s computer lab is not sufficient for an entire class of student to use regularly. Because of this, I bring my own personal LCD projector and printer to use in the school. I am not the only teacher who faces this problem. Imagine the difficulties teachers face when the school owns zero projectors. Some other teachers even bring their own television sets as an alternative for LCD projectors. Besides that, the classroom environment is not encouraging. The class is bare with little to no stimulation and without proper ICT facilities for them to have easy access to, students have little confidence in carrying out tasks related to ICT. Because of this, I have begun the process of a makeover to transform the classroom into a more conducive, ICT equipped learning environment. The process is carried out in two main phases, with Phase 1 being recently completed. Phase 1 – COMPLETED Repainting of classroom walls Fixing broken windows and doors Getting coverings for student tables Phase 2 Installation of ICT facilities (LCD projector, printer) Creating language corner and stocking up on books and learning aids Purchasing of teaching aids such as mini whiteboards and stationary Decorating the classroom to be more cheerful and full of visual aids Purchasing of cupboards and shelves for storage Before and after Phase 1 Over the course of 3 months, I have used my own personal funds as well as additional support from friends and family mounting up to RM 1,735 for the completion of Phase 1. However, Phase 2 was forced to be put on hold due to insufficient funds. Therefore, I am sincerely hoping and praying to raise enough funds to begin the second and final phase of this project. We need the balance of RM 3,780 to complete it, and I believe this will make a huge difference in the students’ learning and future. By doing this project, I hope my classroom will be an example of 21st century learning in the school. Sincerely, Cikgu Umi Zuriati   Budget _____________

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Day in a Life of a Product Developer at GoGet.my

by Yen Wei | 16 May 2017

This is Brandon Pong. He is 27 years old and works as a Product Developer at GoGet.my. This is him in his element.  We are kidding! This is when we caught him after a long hard day of work and finally had a chance to relax.   This is GoGet.my.       Brandon says: “One of the things I love about my role is how I get to learn many facets of a business. My job isn’t boring because it changes and excites me! On one day, I work with designers and developers to improve user engagement of the product. On another day, I work with marketing in planning growth related experiments.” Here is a peek into his diary with these three random (but somewhat typical) of his work days:       10:00 am: Go through backlogs, check emails, and every channel on Slack.com. I take all the new information and prioritise task for the week. B: Slack is the official team communication tool. Yes, that is my official work time! 11:30 am: Daily stand-ups. B: This is not the literal meaning of standing up! It’s when the team gets together and share what they accomplished the day before. We also share if we have faced any obstacles – this allows other members to help. 11:45 am: Go through user flow with the designer. We do research, come out with basic sketches then get quick feedbacks from the team. B: This is on pen and paper so we do not waste time designing. So part of my job involves drawing too but nothing majorly artistic! 3:00 pm: Meeting with Fung, the Chief Technological Officer (CTO) to turn user stories into technical requirements for the developers. B: This includes coming up w new notification, such as general and job activity notification, character limits etc. 4:00 pm: Test the newest mobile built before submitting it to the App Store B: Every time you make changes, the Store will have to review it and will approve before it goes live. I use a template called test cases. Its all about functionality! 5:00 pm: Weekly Sprint meeting. B: The development team gathers to determine what we need to do this week. In this meeting, we discuss requirements, delegate task, and communicate expectations. ——   10:00 am: Go through emails, backlogs and attend to urgent tickets. I reprioritise task often. B: Urgent tickets are when customers have problem with the app. 11:00 am: Daily stand-ups 11:15 am: Check on what the community is saying on Facebook, check key metrics on various analytical tools. B: I use Pirate Metrics (AARRR), which stands for Acquisition, Activtaion, Retention, Revenue and Referral.  1:30 pm: Team Leads’ meeting: We review weekly growth metrics and priorities. 2:30 pm: We segment users to various personas. B: Personas are such as people with no credits but no top-up, people whose usage is increasing over the past few months and so on. We do analysis and find abnormalities, starting with the high impact ones. After that, I call them to understand behaviour and get product feedbacks. 5:30 pm: I video call remote developers to discuss weekly deliverables. B: GoGet has three platforms — web, Android and IOS. We only have web and Android based in KL, and we outsource our IOS team within Malaysia, which is why they work remotely. For example, one of our employee responsible for IOS lives in Pakistan! I have been calling him the past few months to check on progress.   ——   10:00 am: Go through emails, backlogs and attend to urgent tickets. 11:00 am: Daily stand-ups 11:15 am: Prepare a script for user testing later today. B: We want to see if users understand and feel confident in our new payment flow. So I will show them the product and check whether they understand, and ask questions on what they think. Very visual stuff. 1:30 pm: Meeting with operations team. B: Currently, they are working on some ideas to improve the match rate between supply and demand. 2.00 pm: Run quick user testing for the latest payment flow design. B: We run these tests internally and externally. We are currently working on a new payment flow for credit card, so I will have a bunch of mock-ups and show it to people and ask their opinions. 3:00 pm: Analyse findings with product team and make any necessary adjustments. 5:30 pm: Meeting with a merchant for potential product integration. B: We are currently working on new feature where when a customer buys a product on our site, it creates an instant delivery on their system (its called delivery API!). API allows your product to communicate with my product.   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Although this is what Brandon does in GoGet as a product developer, he tells us that it varies in different companies. For example, in Facebook, there are probably a team of almost 200 product managers, with many developers working on each feature. There is even a team just to handle their notifications! Working in a start-up is significantly different as compared to a big company! One key talent in a start-up you need is the ability to adapt fast – it helps to be a jack of all trades because you will work in many different areas, from design, business, technology to the product itself. You also have to work with everyone. Brandon is optimistic that anyone can be a Product Developer, as long as they are hungry for knowledge and are willing to learn. He once bought all 10 books on product management off Amazon, and read them in less than 6 months!     Pssst… before you go, we have a special behind-the-scenes footage that our cameraman captured:   It’s a good balance of work and play in Brandon’s life! Want to speak to Brandon to find out more about similar jobs? Book his time here!

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5 Reasons Why Spending Money on a Master’s Degree is Worth It

by Yen Wei | 12 May 2017

Is graduate school really worth spending your savings on?  A degree, which used to be a privilege or a commodity, may not even open the doors, or windows of opportunities you seek nowadays. We sent this question out to our mentors, and received bounteous reassurances this was a good choice to consider (they are not paid by any schools to endorse this!)  Here are the top 5 reasons why: 1. You will stand out via Giphy “Once I had done my integrated masters, I realized that a master’s degree not only allows you to stand out among other candidates with a bachelor’s degree when scavenging for your FIRST job out of university, but also gives that extra bridge towards industrial knowledge,” Thatchu reveals. It is very much dependent on the field of study, university, and course structure. But for instance in engineering, by doing that extra year to achieve your masters, modules are very much tailored towards relevant industry knowledge allowing you to pick and choose based on your interests. Thatchu specially highlighted FIRST job here, because it is his strong belief that your degree plays a somewhat similar level of importance to your experience straight out of university. But after your first job, degree rarely takes precedence over your experience, as your experience can give you valuable knowledge that one may not obtain through a degree. “Perhaps something to ponder about?” he quips. However, it could still be an advantage overall, at least in terms of academic qualifications, as there are many job seekers with a bachelor’s degree nowadays and the job market is growing more competitive and demanding, as advised by Sirhajwan. 2. It will develop your specialty expertise   via Giphy Daniel Loy believes that the fast-changing dynamics of the world today challenges the relevance of academic degrees but it is often an argument centered on career preparedness. As we grapple with that question, it is still important to note that graduates far and large do command more career opportunities and higher earnings – so don’t discount formal studies just yet. And as we go up the academic ladder to master’s programs, the benefits equation change. Unlike a generalised bachelor degree often seen as an entry level requirement, a master’s graduate begins a journey towards developing a specialty expertise. Yes, such expertise can be acquired on the job, but the rigour of academic research at the post graduate level is often a powerful skill in and of itself. Also, the nature of in depth research work requires you to familiarise yourself not only with the experts, leading voices, and theorists in the field but also those against – which then helps you to frame concise, coherent, and inclusive arguments. “A master’s degree is an indication to employers that you can undertake competent research, can claim some level of specialisation, and with a rounded work experience, positions yourself as a compelling and thoughtful hire,” Daniel advices. Sirhajwan also notes that it is a chance for you to pursue your passion and potential in a different field of study than what you did in your bachelor’s degree. This would not only help you realize your true capabilities on your other interests, but it also makes you more versatile.    3. You will have lifelong friends from all over the world who will go on to achieve great things via Giphy Faz Kamaruddin, Group Head of Talent of AirAsia, admits that although she has 20 years of work experience, she still cannot stop thinking about getting a master’s. Partly because she has been so impressed by the quiet confidence of a representative from UTS (University of Technology Sydney) who told her that graduates from UTS have a 97% employability rate. Ironically, she believes that her detractors have helped her to be clearer about her purpose. “I had to think – why a master’s degree? It adds another dimension to my decision-making,”  “People who decide to dedicate some time in their lives to pursue a full-time or part-time postgraduate education are signing up for a wild rollercoaster ride of juggling financial commitments, family, studies, project work and career,” Faz elaborates. “As a postgraduate student, I will also be making connections with faculty and accomplished leaders and business executives sharing their experiences and applying the theories in their real-life decisions. Being a part of this network of like-minded individuals means creating another level of support system for the next stages of my life,” she says. Tarminder Singh, a senior executive at IMU, also points out that pursuing a master’s is an important decision considering the investment involved. Regardless which juncture of your career you are at, opting to take on a master’s qualification is highly beneficial. The main benefit stems from the networking opportunities and the shared learning experience that you will experience with the other students. A master’s qualification tends to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds and careers. This is a golden opportunity to network and enhance your learning. 4. A chance to contest the real competitor: myself via Giphy Talk about a challenge! Not only will you be improving your best against your class members who are brilliant in their own right, you will also need to consistently improve your clarity of thought and clarity of expression to make the most of your interactions. “Will I need to enhance my confidence in what I stand for when I express myself and justify my points to the professors and mentors whose aim will be to stretch my thinking? For sure!” Faz exclaims. In addition to developing your specialty expertise, a master’s will also be great intellectual stimulation. Our brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised after all, and who knows this could bring upon new cognitive heights! “Pursuing a master’s degree will give you a new and fresh perspective on how you view yourself, the job market and the opportunities in real world that you have yet to explore. You may become more motivated and driven to accomplish more in your career,” Sirhajwan adds.  5. A clearer focus on the next big step in your life via Giphy Besides, Faz also shares her perspective that going through life without reflecting on that experience will not add to your learning. Pursuing a career in a different field or industry, or even setting up a business would be major steps in someone’s life. Immersing yourself in organizational challenges that are normally part of a great postgraduate curriculum will give you the opportunities to reflect on your own experience and will influence the decisions you will make. “As an action learning coach, I believe in the maxim that there is no learning without action; no action without learning. This means I need to apply what I have learnt to get the full value of the theory and I need to continue learning to make better decisions. However, she also reminded that choosing the right master’s program is important, and thinking about what their benefits are and what you hope to achieve will help you in deciding this question. Want to learn more about our mentors’ experiences in graduate programs? Click here! via Giphy

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Purpose
4 Things That Drive You Away From Your Life Purpose

by FutureLab | 10 May 2017

  “How to Find Your Life Purpose in 5 minutes”, “These Are 3 Foolproof Ways to Pick The Right Career”, “Quiz: What’s Your Dream Job?” — we’ve read them all, the typical self discovery/soul searching articles. And you don’t need to be ashamed to admit that sometimes (if not often) you do take the quiz and follow the steps suggested by the so-called career coach. But in the sea of self discovery articles, somehow I couldn’t — or probably haven’t — found any writing that actually tells us about things we should avoid that will drive us away from our life purpose/true calling. Yes, we know we should follow our so-called passion and strengths, but how do we know we’re not going opposite direction? So in the spirit of soul searching, here’s 4 things we do that can actually drive us away from our life purpose: 1. Always talking about having to find a purpose, but never actually try anything Only a few people in this world is lucky enough to find their calling in a very young age. It seems like, for these few, their purposes are effortlessly given to them. But majority of people are not that lucky. That’s why sitting, complaining, and whining about how you don’t know what you want to do with your life are a complete waste of time. Just take any job, path, or activity for now. Any thing would do, as long as you try something. You’ll eventually find it if you keep moving. 2. Caring too much about people’s opinion on what’s cool or rational and what’s not We all know that person. The one who always tries too hard to impress. The one who’s always so pressured by how people see them. The one who has… no identity whatsoever. You have one job: making sure that this person is not you. Take people’s opinions into account (after all, plenty of them might be useful), but at the end, listen to yourself. How do we listen to ourselves? That brings us to our third point. 3. Not spending enough time alone. And by alone, I mean, truly alone. There are people who have never been single their whole lives, people who have always had their evenings filled with get-togethers — basically people who are never truly alone. Yes, I know, humans are social beings. Being surrounded by loved ones and living a life full of fun activities are among the things worth having and envying. But as I said, to be able to truly know what you want to do with your life, you have to listen to yourself. And to be able to listen to yourself, you have to take some time alone. People are fun, but people mean noises. Not only noises in the form of opinions about what’s cool and what’s rational, but also noises in the form of expectations. Everyone — your family, your friends, your spouse — has a certain expectation towards you: family expects you to have a stable job, friends expect you to go to some industries, spouse expects you to not work too hard so you have more time for him/her. Expectations from people are normal; you yourself has expectation towards your closest ones. But spending too much time with them and not enough time with yourself would make you consider their expectations more than you consider your own expectation. 4. Always being part of a typical circle — always having the same kinds of friends If you always socialize with the same kinds of people your whole life, you will start to believe so much on only one worldview. You will despise other worldviews that are actually equally valid. Remember, truth is not absolute. The point is, don’t be an elitist. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with always being stuck with a typical circle of friends — but what if your true calling is on the other side of society? What if your current worldview is what’s holding you back from your life purpose — from living a fulfilling life? Make friends with people different from you. Expand your horizon. There’s a reason why the world screams for so-called diversity and inclusion. It’s because too much homogeneity brings more harm than good.   Raisa is Community Manager at Bukapintu, a career network for Indonesian students and fresh graduates. She believes that storytelling and pop culture are powerful tools to change the world. Raisa is always on board for any cause that encourages people to find their life purpose earlier.  

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Personal branding
Does Personal Branding Matter?

by FutureLab | 10 May 2017

I have two friends (let’s say their names are Simon and Garfunkel) who have completely different views towards personal branding. Simon truly despises personal branding. “It’s bullshit. The only thing that matters is the quality of your work,” said Simon. Garfunkel spends a great deal of time revamping his Instagram feed and bio. “How can people believe that you can do great works if you can’t even do something as simple as getting hundreds of likes?” said Garfunkel. Both friends work in the field of marketing and branding. And both often criticize the way the other one works. “You know, man, you’ve got potential. Show it to the world! Get press coverages!” Garfunkel always says these things to Simon. Simon will jokingly reply with things like, “And before you ask me to do that, you’d better fix your obnoxious typography”. Their casual quarrel over a simple point-of-view’s difference makes me sick all the time. But their arguments always trigger me to rethink about this question: “Does personal branding matter?” What is Personal Branding? I did a lazy Google search and found this definition from Wikipedia: Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Personal branding, then, is not so different with branding in general. It’s a series of efforts people do to be perceived as how they want to be perceived, remembered as how they want to be remembered. Now, the simplest way to do personal branding is by association. I will use myself as an example. I won’t deny that I do care about how people perceive me, although I won’t put a series of efforts to the extent that it becomes my number one priority. But I sometimes do things like posting pictures of books I read on Instagram and updates the movies I’ve watched on Path so people know that I’m–more or less-“cultured”. But then, what was my objective? Did I only aim for people’s perception? In my case, yes. I don’t think right now I have a need to look for a job, or be asked to do some projects. I simply want to be perceived as someone cultured by making associations with cultural products such as books and movies. The case is different for my two friends. As people working in the field of branding and marketing, they have one big objective: to get clients. And so, if they decide to do personal branding, they will need to go to far greater lengths. Personal Branding is More Than Just Social Media Simon doesn’t believe in personal branding, Garfunkel does. And yet, the two of them run a good business in branding and marketing. Both of them never stops getting clients. You might have recognized the flaw in the story I told you before: Simon and Garfunkel argue with an assumption that personal branding is all about social media and press, while the fact is, it is not. If Simon doesn’t believe in personal branding, but he still can get good clients and run his business, then what does he do? Is it merely about the quality of work like what he always believes? But how did people know about the quality of his work firsthand? The answers: relationship and connection. Simon might not have thousands of followers on Instagram, but he does spend many times grabbing coffee with people who can connect him with potential clients. He leverages his connection. The quality of his work determines his clients’ satisfaction. And because he does pay great attention to quality, each of his clients is satisfied. One client then will introduce him to the next client. It’s a never-ending cycle. By the time Simon had enough clients in a particular community, he was then known as someone who is good at what he does. So, can you say that what Simon does is not personal branding? Of course, it is. What makes it not seem like a personal branding effort, is because Simon focuses on building relationships and leverages connection. It may not seem like he has audiences, but he has a circle of people who continuously promote his work. Now, what about Garfunkel? The Effort Doesn’t Stop at Getting Known One look at Garfunkel’s Instagram account and people would agree this guy is popular. He might not be an Instagram celebrity but you would be tempted to scroll through his feed. He gets most of his clients from social media. He actively posts his work-in-progress pictures. He tags his clients’ Instagram account on the finished works’ pictures. His clients give credits to him on their photos caption. Garfunkel clearly does a good effort in showing his works to the world. But what he (and also Simon) might not realize, is that they both actually pay attention to the same thing. Would Garfunkel’s beautiful Instagram feed help him if his works have bad quality? Would his thousands of followers save his life once a client is dissatisfied? Of course not. Because at the end, personal branding is not just about getting known–it is about getting remembered. And as a marketer, Garfunkel wouldn’t want to be remembered merely as a creative guy, but as a creative guy that has created great works for hundreds of clients. His Instagram feed is just a way to open doors. The rest of the story lies in his ability to make great works and build relationships just like Simon does. So yes, personal branding matters, but the real output is personal reputation. Conclusion My two friends, Simon and Garfunkel are actually not that different. They both are creative people who do great works. They simply have different ways to get themselves known. But what matters is, their personal branding efforts work (although Simon might not want to admit what he does as a part of personal branding), proven by their great personal reputation. Here’s one easy-to-digest key takeaway: your personal branding is proven to work, not when you have a beautiful Instagram feed and thousands of followers, but when someone actually refers you to another person saying, “I knew just the right guy for this. This is his number”. Disclaimer: These two friends are not real. I just made them up so I can deliver the stories easier. By the way, Simon and Garfunkel’s songs will make you feel good on rainy nights. Raisa is Community Manager at Bukapintu, a career network for Indonesian students and fresh graduates. She believes that storytelling and pop culture are powerful tools to change the world. Raisa is always on board for any cause that encourages people to find their life purpose earlier.

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Ameel Beesony: Finding a Job as a Lawyer in Australia

by Yen Wei | 11 May 2017

Meet Ameel Beesony, who grew up in Mauritius and has been living and working in the land Down Under for almost 11 years. Ameel is also fluent in French, another native language of this beautiful mountainous Island just off the southeast coast of Africa. As Mark Twain once wrote, ‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’, Ameel thinks there is good reason in that and often talks fondly about Mauritius’ stunning beaches and waters great for scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. He now calls Australia his other home – and shares with Yen his advice on working and living as a lawyer in Australia.        Y:        Tell us about what you do? What is your job like?     A:         Sure! I am a Legal Counsel at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science with the Australian Commonwealth Government. The department aims to “enable growth and productivity for globally competitive industries” through various ways. Practically, the department provides access to valuable resources and information (e.g. through its business.gov.au portal), and administers programs to support science and commercialisation, growing business investment, streamlining regulations and building high-performance organisations.   As part of the department’s legal branch, I provide end-to-end legal advice to various clients comprising of the department’s portfolios. These generally relate to such areas of law as commercial, privacy, statutory interpretation, constitutional, and a little bit of everything else. For example, I provide advice on funding agreements and other commercial arrangements. I also participate in inter-agency working group to facilitate the development legal documents used throughout the Commonwealth Government.          Y:        Wow, thanks for sharing! How are your working hours?   A:        It’s great! The Commonwealth Government, and particularly my department, actively promotes its flexible working conditions. This includes “flex”, which lets employees have flexible working hours (e.g. starting or finishing earlier or later, and working extra hours or less hours on certain days) provided the weekly working hours end up around 37.5 hours on average. Also, there are no assigned workstations, and you can switch desks around the office, or even work remotely from home or anywhere with an internet connection.         Y:        Can you share with us the process of how you moved to Australia and started working there?   A:        Of course. It was easier because I studied in Australia, so I didn’t completely start afresh. Networking helps tremendously, but I also had a few casual jobs which added to my work experience. While studying for my professional qualification, I used to chat with the admin staff at my Law School’s office to just say hi, and inquire about potential job opportunities. Do not underestimate the possibilities of conversations! They put me in touch with the right people, which is how I got my first professional job.         Y:        With all your experiences, what tips would you offer those who looking for a job?   A:        Ask around to learn what others have done – what worked and did not work for them. First, use all available resources including websites such as seek.com.au, local university’s job billboard, state’s law council job ads, and even LinkedIn. Even whirlpool’s “graduate jobs” sub-forum is a great resource. Definitely contact recruitment agents, submit your resume and meet with them, and apply for relevant graduate programs.   I also used the “cold-calling method”, where I called all (yes, all) law firms in my immediate location to find out which firm would consider recruiting. If they were not looking, you would save time by not sending them your resume. Before you call, make sure you do your research first! At least you will have something to talk about. Follow up in a week or so after submitting your resume if you’ve not heard back. For Australia, you will need an appropriate visa or otherwise you cannot apply for many jobs (including state government ones), which can seriously limit your chances.   Your resume and cover letter are incredibly important. Therefore, make sure they are tailored to each individual organisation you are applying for. While your resume and cover letter may be quite general at the start of your career, you should nevertheless try to tweak subtle details as appropriate. At a minimum, you should research each firm’s areas of practice, size, and partners.         Y:       Oh yes, The wait can be long and excruciating. Do you have any advice for those    who are waiting to hear back from employers?   A:        Definitely. I would say make sure you are still working. It does not matter the industry you are working in. Working casual jobs will firstly earn you money, and secondly help you develop transferrable skills that are generally useful and valued in all professions (e.g. try to develop your interpersonal and managerial skills, and develop experiences where you can demonstrate you are good team player).         Y:        How do you think someone can stand out from the crowd?    A:        Ultimately, I think it all boils down to being personable, possessing good communication skills and being a good team player. In my experience, these are the most important factors employers look for, and demonstrating these attributes will put you ahead of competition. Generally, grades matter much less than you think. Do not underestimate experience and skills developed in casual jobs. Use them to demonstrate you have good interpersonal skills, a winning personality and can work well in a team. Think of how you can dress up these experiences for your applications for professional jobs as these are all transferrable skills. For example, do not simply say you worked in hospitality or retail – demonstrate how you developed skills during your interactions with your team, manager and clients. Be creative.   There are a lot of resources available online on interview preparation, so I will not re-hash generic interview tips. My personal tip is to properly thank your interviewers at the end of the interview, and let them know you really want the job and look forward to an opportunity to work with them.           Y:        What do you think are the some of the problems students or fresh graduates may face while job searching?     A:        Students and fresh graduates may sometime lack motivation or get sick of applying for jobs particularly if they receive a few rejections. The truth is you must actively seek opportunities. All the time. There are hundreds of people applying for the same positions, so you need to set realistic expectations and most importantly, you need to be prepared for rejections and not let them get you down. Be resilient, and keep applying.   What I have learnt is that sometimes, employers may simply hire the first decent applicant who applies simply because they are satisfied with the applicant and do not need to wait any longer for ‘the best applicant’ to apply. This is usually for the smaller organisations as they have less processes. So, it can be as simple as you being the FIRST. Do not waste time, and apply immediately when you see an opening.         Y:        If you could have dinner with one person in the world, dead or alive, who would    that be?   A:           Without hesitation, dinner with my mum who passed away in 2007, but who will always remain an inspiration, a big influence on me and a significant contribution to me and my achievements.        

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Edmond
FutureLab Interviews: Edmond Yap, Chief Education Officer and Co-Founder of EduNation Malaysia

by Byron Tan | 09 May 2017

B: So Edmond, EduNation is focused on providing the entire Malaysian school syllabus online, available free for every Malaysian child and it hopes to improve education for all students regardless of their socio-economic background. This is awesome! Can you tell us a bit about your life in school? E: Apart from being punished all the time? Haha, When I was in school I was quite naughty. I was always told to stand in corners and was told to get out of the classroom a fair number of times. I think it was because the way I was being taught at the time wasn’t how I learned naturally, and I think this is true for many people, not just students. We learn by doing, and learn by experience and problem solving. It’s difficult to be told to sit down and just absorb without questioning, which is how the current system is laid out, and this leaves a lot of students behind. B: So School wasn’t that fulfilling for you I imagine, what came next? E: I studied Civil Engineering in the University of Adelaide, and worked as a civil engineer for 5 years. We did large scale projects like water treatment systems for drinking and irrigation and transportation systems like highways and airports. In this line of work there were times I was happy, but for the most part I wasn’t. There were things going on with the work environment and contractors that just didn’t align with my own values. I earnestly started questioning my role in society. I started thinking ‘what am I doing, is this what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?’ I really wanted to make my country and the world a better place. Malaysia hasn’t even scratched the potential it has. I looked around and thought this can’t be it. So I asked myself how do I work to make Malaysia a better place, at this time I thought I didn’t have the opportunities to do so as a civil engineer but in hindsight, yes I realise there are things I could’ve done then. B: So how did this lead to starting EduNation? E: Well, after I left civil engineering, I spent a year with Dale Carnegie’s Leadership training. From what I learned there I started my own Training company, and spend a few years with it. EduNation really came into ideation when I saw Khan on TED, and from there I realised we could be helping so many students, and we didn’t even have to be physically there! I’ve also extensively researched education in Malaysia, and it’s a problem bigger than anyone is willing to talk about it’s a horror story. So I decided to pursue this path. I sold my training company for cash flow to run EduNation. B: Can you share a story from this time? E: It was a difficult time, after selling the training company for cash flow, we looked for funding to continue to grow. We got so many negative replies for funding EduNation, nobody wanted to help us and it felt like nobody cared. My then girlfriend, now my wife and I were living together; we were so strapped for cash we spent 10 minutes debating which bag of rice to buy because the price difference was 50 cents. B: Wow, you’ve sacrificed a lot for this vision. E: Yes, but we finally found the start up cash we needed from BAC college. We contacted them and they came to support us as part of their CSR. Since 2012 they’ve been sponsoring us every year and we managed to get traction for EduNation. We started with nothing but now we have over 4000+ videos, branching into a diverse range of subjects, in so many languages. We have between 5-15 teachers at any one point, if each of them provide 10 videos a month this would result in 50-150 videos. Over the course of 5 years this translates into the current content library we have. In November we had 100,000 unique users, and this may seem like a lot of students and it is. But we’re not there yet. There are 5 million students in Malaysia, 100,000 sounds like a lot but it’s only 1-2% of the population. So we still have a long way to go. EndNote: At FutureLab, we believe education is the backbone of a successful society. Every human being should have the right, privilege, and opportunity to get the best education possible. Unfortunately in our world, this is often not a reality for many people groups. Education falls by the wayside as people groups struggle to find food, shelter, and healthcare. Changing the social infrastructure is an enormous endeavour requiring manpower, money, and agreement among opposite ends of the political spectrum. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait until all that is straightened out to make a difference. In our quest to ensure every person receives quality basic education, we are currently working with our 3 Education Partners through various ways. One of them is, EduNation Malaysia. Roll up your sleeves and support EduNation through purchasing a subscription now! Be a part of the change the world needs whilst simultaneously receiving

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Is Being a Perfectionist a Strength or a Weakness?

by Yen Wei | 04 May 2017

Do you find yourself feeling uneasy when you lose control over a task? Do you often find faults with yourself and others? Do you have an “all or nothing” mindset? For example, you feel bad after eating one cookie when you are on a diet because you think you have blown your whole plan for the day. It is often debated whether this is a trait that is highly valued in an organization, a bane, or whether the answer lies somewhere in the grey area between. Perhaps first we should decide the premise of it all which lies with the definition of a “perfectionist”. This is tricky as perfectionists are shapeshifter (like Pokémons) and could take many forms, varying in intensity and frequency.  However, we can all agree that moderation is key and you know its time for “Mayday” in blazing red signals when it impedes your ability to function and your happiness. Read on to find out what our mentors think!   1. A perfectionist is an asset to the organization   “Being a perfectionist is a strength. It reduces the need for a superior to look into nitty gritty matters. For instance, I am known by my company for my somehow advantageous ‘OCD’ traits.” Kuhan says. “I am particular when it comes to engineering precision, report formatting and presentation styles – yes, even to the extent of consistency in font types and sizes! As such, it reduces the need of multiple reviews which in return reduces man hours. I rather have one perfectionist working with me than ten complacent engineers,” he says.   2. It depends on the situation   However, Thatchu gives a balanced opinion by noting that being a perfectionist could either work for you or against you, depending on the situation. As a team leader, being a perfectionist could lead you to get too much into the detail of tasks, causing you to lose the vision of the whole exercise and team. This can cost time and effort that could have been better utilised. On the contrary, a perfectionist could be a strong trait when the situation requires it. As a task doer, a perfectionist would allow a very effective job to be completed. Here, he or she would tend to not only ensure all loopholes are covered when solving a problem but also create a culture of striving for the best and not making mistakes. Vijayakumar sums it up by delineating two camps when a perfectionist is in team – upsides and downsides. The upside is that the quality of deliverable is generally good and less unanticipated delays. This gives a sample of goodness to drive appropriate behavior and shaping culture. The downsides are the opportunity cost of delayed time and the tendency to be stuck in an analysis paralysis. Perfectionists are more likely to be stuck in a grove becuase they are unable to move forward until it is “perfect”. This is a highly dangerous zone!   3. A weakness disguised as a strength (at best!)   As Voltaire once declared, “perfect is the enemy of good”. “Perfection stifles innovation. Nowhere is that more true than in today’s rapidly evolving world driven by our unabated hunger for more convenience, speed, apps, variety, gizmos, glitz and kicks.” says Jeff, a consultant.    “That said, I would surely want my heart surgeon to be a perfectionist,” he jokes. Sirhajwan also agrees that being a perfectionist is a limitation as they tend to strictly follow a set of specific standards, criteria and expectations with little room for flexibility, creativity and uniqueness. It serves as a hindrance for something original and new to manifest.   4. Both a strength and a weakness   Kristyn Gan, who juggles two hats as a corporate finance manager in BDO and manages an educational start-up called Guruu, thinks that perfectionism is a double-edged sword. It is both a strength AND a weakness! “The weakness being that perfectionists tend to overthink things and may waste time on getting something perfectly right. Is anything ever ‘perfect’? Aside from Ryan Gosling, of course,” she quips. “However, if I had to pick a side it would be that being a perfectionist is more of a strength as it helps you develop an acute attention to detail, improving both quality and efficiency of your work,” Kristyn says. To counter the weaknesses, her advice is to be aware when you’re going overboard on a project. Set timely and realistic goals and will yourself to move on when you run out of time! Be a productive perfectionist.     5. Aim for excellence instead   Daryll Tan, co-founder and digital consultant at OpenMinds, thinks that there is no such thing as “perfect” within the human capability. A perfectionist is somewhat of a myth. “One thinks he or she is a perfectionist simply due to him or her being highly meticulous and is often too caught up with a single task that is indirectly causing the un-optimised use of time and effort. In short, being a ‘perfectionist’ is a weakness. It drains the life, fun and performance out of a person,” Daryll says. The greater, more achievable personality to embrace is to be excellent. Perfection versus excellence is separated by one thin line of magic.  Excellence allows for quicker sprints at work or tasks while perfection only delivers at the very last minute (sometimes due to the lack of choice). Excellence is about “doing the right thing at the right time” while perfection focuses on “doing it right“. Nothing wrong with that, but most of the time, we try to do it “right” at the expense of time and the lack of accountability from others. Daryll’s advice was to strive to be excellent at whatever you do. Being a perfectionist can potentially ruin your self-esteem as you will never achieve perfection. In all things, go through the seasons and every responsibility with enthusiasm, wisdom, and good character and produce outstanding work.   As Condoleezza Rice puts it, “people who end up as ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first. They set out to do something they love.” Doing something you love will eventually leave to excellence, and that is what we should be striving for instead of perfectionism.    Do you think that being a perfectionist is a boon or an Achilles’ Heel? Join the discussion by commenting below!

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