Time Is Money: Importance Of Punctuality In The Workplace

One cannot simply deny that time is among the most valuable commodities on Earth. The idiomatic expression of “time is money” was first recorded in 1572. Time was seen as a finite resource that shall not be wasted since then. We must complete tasks as quickly as possible because time is irreplaceable. You can always stream shows online but, you can never bring back time.

The nature of time is understood in diverse ways by different cultures. Generally speaking, the manner that the Southern Europeans perceive time opposes how Americans and Asians perceive it. Southern Europeans put more weight on multi-activity. They will feel more fulfilled if they accomplished more things simultaneously. Setting appointments is less important than living in the present moment.

On the other end of the spectrum, Americans put more weight on linear activity. In a capitalistic society, time is considered as a fast flowing and precious currency. You have to take immediate actions if you want to benefit from its passing.

For Asians, I am only focusing on the Japanese and Singaporeans. Japanese are globally renowned for their punctuality and ability to commit. They have a high degree of predictability and consistency. This is why you must not bring “surprises” (e.g., hidden costs) during a business deal.

Lastly, Singaporeans practice courtesy most of the times. One of the cultural values we possess is the potent adherence to hierarchical relationships in the society. This is partly influenced by the Confucian teaching. A good way to maintain courtesy and respect toward our superiors is by honoring their time.

Fortifying Timekeeping In The Workplace

Timekeeping is an important skill to practice in the workplace. A dimension of timekeeping is punctuality. What is special about punctuality is that it can communicate a basket of positive characteristics to your superiors, subordinates, and peers. It creates initial and long-lasting impressions.

At first glance, it manifests that you are dedicated to your position and that you controlled the responsibility handed over to you. Punctuality is crucial to efficiently finishing assignments and projects. Sticking with the deadlines assures your clients that they can depend on you to get the job done.

In the long run, punctuality acts as a sign of professionalism. In an interdependent working environment (seen in many Singaporean firms), you must do your own part so that things can run smoothly. Can you imagine how many patients will suffer if the resident Physicians were an hour late to the hospital? The nurses are not equipped to do some of their tasks.

Aside from the impressions, punctuality has team and personal effects. You can display that you are a great team-player when you arrive on time for meetings and shifts. The way that you value your time demonstrates your respect for your colleagues and clients. Let us be honest! It is usually frustrating to cover for someone’s shift with no valid reasons.

Lastly, punctuality is beneficial due to its personal effects of building discipline and self-confidence. Discipline is a result of constantly paying attention to your tasks and organizing your time based on your priorities. While self-confidence is shaped by mastery. The more promises and tasks you fulfill, the more you will believe in your own capabilities.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

May you begin to realize that timekeeping is essential in the workplace. Stand out from the crowd and assure your employer that you are worth keeping by being punctual!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4

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How To Ace These Tough 10 Interview Questions

There is nothing worse than coming into a job interview and the interviewer asks you with hard questions, which you do not know the answer to. Avoid this situation by being ready with polished interview answers.

1. WHY DID YOU LEAVE YOUR PREVIOUS JOB?

No matter how tricky this question sounds, you can make your way around it. I know how tempting it is to dish about your colleagues who mistreated you. However, this is not the time for that! Talk about your past experiences and focus on your career goals.

Elaborate about the important values and skills that you learned from your past experiences. Then, highlight that you are ready to use these in the position that you aspire to land. Another alternative is to state that you left to chase a better opportunity and face new challenges.

2. WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

There is no perfect way to respond to this question but, you must avoid literal and generic answers. Saying that you are a workaholic or you are incapable of driving will not boost your image during an interview. Instead, identify the areas that you want to improve on and explain how keen you are to develop that skill in the new position.

3. WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?

This question allows you to shine the competition. With this question, the interviewer is looking for work-related strengths that are in lined with the vacancy. Provide realistic examples of the times you displayed these strengths and connect it with the objectives of the job.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

4. WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE?

Most job seekers answer this question by stating that they are 100% happy with where they are at the moment. If that statement is entirely true then, they will not seek a new job opportunity to change their careers.

Rather than coming across as cliché, pinpoint a major turning point or a missed opportunity in your life. Manifest that you are willing to move on from the situation by taking positive actions to turn things around. Provide examples to back up your claim.

5. WHY DO WANT TO WORK HERE?

This question calls for prior research and analysis regarding the targeted company. As a Registered Psychometrician, I know how important it is to find an employee that matches the objectives and goals of the company. This is why you must respond in a way that echoes the essence of the company.

Mention the aspects of the company that you admire and how your abilities make you a perfect fit.

6. HOW HAS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND PREPARED YOU FOR THIS JOB?

There are various ways to respond to this broad question. I suggest to highlight the practical applications of the knowledge that you absorbed in school. State some examples that support the crucial competencies needed for the job.

This is an example: “During my last two years at SIM University, I had the opportunity to become a part of the program-committee and represent the whole batch of my course. I constantly practiced my communication skills given this responsibility.”

7. IS MONEY MORE IMPORTANT THAN JOB SATISFACTION?

It is alright to value money as it aids in our survival. By answering that money is more important, the interviewer may perceive you as someone who is blinded by a larger paycheck. Job satisfaction shall trump money in this situation.

Put emphasis on the pivotal role of job satisfaction to your internal motivation and to increasing your productivity at work. This will surely impress the interviewer.

8. HAVE YOU APPLIED FOR OTHER POSITIONS?

Interviewers like to ask this question to identify how interested the candidates are in the position and how determined they are on their search. Candidates who are applying for similar jobs (i.e., in the same industry or work environment) are more desirable. You may enumerate the typical characteristics that are needed for the job that you are applying for. Say something like: “I have applied for other positions that involve strong customer service orientation too.”

9. HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?

This question comes up frequently because it gives a glimpse into a person’s character and work-life balance. Instead of tailoring your answers to show some extraordinary pursuits, be honest and realistic. The interviewer will appreciate the conversation more if you explain why you engage in such activities.

10. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE WORST MANAGER YOU EVER HAD?

Ranting about your horrible ex-manager will not work to your favor. It is unattractive to talk badly about your previous managers or bosses. This is because your potential manager may anticipate that you will treat him or her in the same manner, somewhere down the line.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

A better response to this question is: “While no boss is perfect, there were some who taught me more than others. I am not complaining because I learned the types of leadership styles that I respond to the best.”

Sources:  1, 2, & 3

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Do You Have The 5 Traits Of A Good Boss?

If you want to succeed in running a business, you need to understand that it takes more than just telling people what to do. You must have the qualities that make you stand out from the rest.

Do not get me wrong, possessing the traits of a good boss will not make you perfect. This is because an individual must act based on these traits. You cannot preach to a crowd if you are disorganized yourself.

Fortunately, these traits can be and must be learned through repetition. Start by knowing what some of these are:

1. CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

Conscientiousness, a trait in the Five Factor Model, has long been associated with success. This is because people who are highly conscientious are dependable and organized. While, people who are low on this trait tend to be more careless, spontaneous, and laid-back.

You can easily spot this trait in the workplace. A boss with a high sense of duty comes to work on time, follows the projects’ deadlines, and avoids unnecessary absenteeism. Acting beyond what is required of you (going above and beyond) is also an indicator of your conscientiousness.

2. COMPASSION

As the noble Dalai Lama once said: “Compassion is not religious business, it is human business…”

He highlights that regardless of our status, compassion is an essential trait for human survival. It is also applicable in the workplace. A compassionate boss can create a workplace filled with people who value each other and who go thru the hurdles as a unit. After all, the Latin etymology of the word “compassion” translates to “to suffer with”. Try to practice compassion in everything that you do.

3. CREATIVITY

Some of the world’s most inspiring leaders are creative individuals. These inspiring individuals include Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and Patanjali Ayurved’s founder Baba Ramdev. In the local scene, Jeannie Chew of Soaplah comes to my mind.

The invention of the Soaplah came from Jeannie’s previous experiences with skin problems. She was troubled with eczema and other skin issues at a young age that she started making her own natural soap. In her journey to find the best solution, she handcrafted her soaps using natural ingredients such as pure essential oils with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Her hard-work paid off as Soaplah offers a variety of soaps that can absolutely soothe even the most sensitive of skins!

If you are like Jeannie, creative thinking can spark a vision or a sudden epiphany. The road to perfection comes with mistakes. It is your job as a good leader to navigate the wrongs into rights.

4. INTEGRITY

Majority of the people agree that a good boss must uphold integrity and sincerity. Integrity entails honesty in internal and external aspects of the person. It requires you to tell the truth in every situation.

For instance, an honest boss is willing to share the good and the bad news to its employees. It is because he or she knows that they deserve to know.

5. ACCOUNTABILITY

The grave responsibility bestowed on you comes with great accountability. Accountability is not only for the achievements of the company but also for its downfalls. There are no “absolutes” in business. One can never ascertain the things that can happen in the future after making a decision.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Be fearless and accept the responsibility of your actions. If necessary, hold others accountable too.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4

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Infographic: Top Earners – Graduate Employment Survey

This is a guest post from Digital Senior.

NTU’s rise in rankings

We are spotting notable changes in the ranking of the top 10 paying degrees. Last year(http://digitalsenior.sg/graduate-employment-survey-ges-2015/ ) , the only NTU degree we saw was aerospace engineering at number 10. This time round, at 5th and 6th placing, we have both NTU double degree courses. It may be due to a NTU’s rapid rise in world rankings.  In 2015, NTU jumped to 13th position in the widely-used QS system, putting it ahead of even Ivy League and European universities such as Yale, John Hopkins, Cornell and King’s College London. NTU doesn’t have a law program and its medicine course is relatively new. As a result of that, some of its strongest degrees are NTU Business and Computing and NTU Accountancy and Business degrees with graduates salaries over $4500. With NTU’s newly established star program- Renaissance engineering students graduating soon, it will be interesting to see how much they would fetch.

updated-digital-senior-infographic

IT graduates

Also, there is a trend of computing graduates getting increasingly paid better. It is not surprising considering that many industries in Singapore have transformed with the widespread adoption of internet and technology. Print media is one such example of an industry that has shifted. Individuals with IT skills are definitely in demand.  On the other hand, the top 2 paying degrees remained , with law and medicine graduates commanding the highest salaries. It is unlikely that computing students can overtake them anytime soon.

Increase in salary

In general, starting salaries of fresh grads have also went up  by around 5-10% compared to last year , beating inflation rate slightly. It is definitely a good sign that our graduates are getting better paid. The better students can expect to be paid around 4-5k a month.

Importance of money management

While it seems like a huge amount as compared to what their parents receive decades ago, it bears knowing that prices of everything else has also increased. Graduates have also their 5-figures student loan to repay, which could be several times the amount of their monthly salary. Financial prudence have to be exercised right from the time they graduate. We see a tendency for many people new to working world splurging their new-found wealth as soon as they graduate.

While we do not want to paint an overly pessimistic picture for an event as delightful as graduation, the importance of financial planning cannot be overlooked. Many other financial obligations will set in awhile after graduation- housing loan, car loan and kids’  expenses etc. If proper planning is done beforehand, alot of heartaches can be saved.

Advice for graduating students

Luckily, more than 90% of graduates are able to find jobs 6 months within finishing their final papers, which is what we see in the previous years as well. As long as savvy management of money is carried out, we are confident that a smooth sailing financial life is a guarantee for graduating students.

The salaries definitely comes with a “price” as it can be seen that there is a correlation between potential salary and entry grades requirement for each course. If you are looking at earning well in the future, it definitely pays to study harder! That said, the ideal scenario would be find a course you like and can pay well! All the best.

 

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5 Steps To Write An Irresistible Business Proposal

A business proposal (BP) is a written document that is sent to a potential client in order to obtain a specific goal. It is a crucial tool that can help you navigate and manage your business.

The challenge is for you to write a proposal that will keep your prospects hooked!

UNDERSTAND YOUR PURPOSE

It makes perfect sense to begin your journey by identifying and understanding your purpose. Answer this simple question: “What product or service are you selling?

A business proposal is created to earn sales and not just to inform people about what you are offering. Understanding the purpose of your business proposal will help you define the problems it needs to address as well as its solutions that provide value.

CREATE AN OUTLINE

After knowing the direction that you intend to take, it is time to organize your business plan by building an outline. The six fundamental parts of the BP are the executive summary, business overview, offer description, marketing analysis, detailed implementation, and financial projection.

The executive summary is synonymous to the abstract of a research paper. It includes the essential elements of the business plan that your client can easily read in a glimpse. Be sure to include the background of your business, its mission and vision, the market opportunity, its financial requirements, the competitors, and its financial projections.

Business overview gives a background of your business. It includes when and why your business was formed, its mission and vision, its business model, and any existing strategic relationships with other brands or institutions.

Image Credits: wikihow.com/Write-a-Business-Proposal

Image Credits: wikihow.com/Write-a-Business-Proposal

As the name suggests, the offer description highlights the nature of the products and services that you are selling. It seeks to describe these in detail by including information such as the manufacturing process and the availability of materials.

Inside the marketing analysis is the layout of your marketing strategy that addresses customer service, sales, public relations, and advertising.

The second to the last section is where the investors focus on – the detailed implementation. This part includes the dates and the deadlines of your business plan.

Lastly, the financial projections specifies the “quantitative interpretation of everything you stated in your organizational and marketing sections”. Include your projected profits and losses in the next three years or so.

DO SOME RESEARCH

Tailor your business proposal to the personality and the “vibe” of your potential client as much as possible. If you prospect’s target market is the youth, highlight the benefits of your products to the hippie millennials. Do further research on the needs and wants of your prospects.

This will ensure that your BP is comprehensive.

WRITE THE CONTENTS

Curtains are all set. It is time to perform! Let your thoughts flow in harmony with the outline you set.

Add additional information such as the people involved in the business, your successful track record, and the evidence of the business’ financial stability. This will strengthen your claims as well as your perceived competence.

EDIT THE PROPOSAL

The last step entails that you transform into your own critique. The face value or the appearance is as important as its content. Make sure that there are no grammatical and typographical errors. If you are not good with words, you can always high a professional to do the task.

Image Credits: wikihow.com/Write-a-Business-Proposal

Image Credits: wikihow.com/Write-a-Business-Proposal

Remember that the BP must manifest how you and your business can benefit potential clients.

Sources: 1, 2, & 3

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