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Everyday life Work

What type of worker are you?

April 28, 2016

There are two kinds of employees.

The first kind comes in to work for a pay check that will steadily sustain them until they retire. Their core interests are to protect their role in the company, even if its to the detriment of the business. They clock in and out at the same time each day. On repeat. Every single day.

Then there is the other kind of worker. The kind who is passionate about what they do. They start work before everyone else does, puts in extra effort to help their clients and customers; and stay late if that means that the world is a better place for it. To put it in short, they do beyond what it takes to advance the company’s interests and they are fully committed to the cause.

Large corporates are usually full of the first kind of employee. It is easy to hide behind the masses. Job security is high. It is more about valuing the employee than it is about performance.


What kind of staff worker will you be? Are you only willing to do the bare minimum to keep a job, or will you be the one that goes the extra mile to advance the cause?

Everyday life Work

Word consumption: What words are you digesting?

April 21, 2016

Today I had an excruciating tummy ache that lasted from the moment I woke up till just before I went to bed. It hurt.

Words are like the food you choose to eat or not to eat. In my case, due to my hectic schedule of running around like a headless chook, I didn’t feed myself and got gastric.

My pain was caused by my lack of food consumption. It wasn’t that I was on a diet, I had donuts and chicken mcbites and watermelon, but the problem was that I didn’t have anything substantial. I wasn’t consuming the right food. Once i made myself eat well and frequently, the pain ebbed away gradually.

What negative and unhelpful words are you consuming? What encouraging and positive words are you not letting dwell on your soul? Why do you choose to swallow the negative, but don’t believe the positive?

You are great at what you do.

You do it so you can help others.

If others don’t think you can do it, you just haven’t had the chance to prove them wrong yet.

Be prepared, be on the attack. So when the opportunity comes, you are able to deliver and wow them.

You can do this.

Dreams come true Everyday life Work

Why a quarter life crisis could be the best thing that happens to you

June 10, 2015

This time last week, I turned 25.

People around me have mixed views on turning 25. To some approaching 25, it is terrifying and scary. To others who have passed the mark of 25, it was the best year in their lives. Some say 25 is the time to dream big dreams, 30 is the time to start working towards your dream. Others say I had imagined myself achieving a lot more by that age.

I did not have to go through quarter life crisis (If you want to know what a quarter life crisis is, read this – 25 signs you are having a quarter life crisis) because I went through one at the 23 – 24 age mark. This is how I knew I had a quarter life crisis:

  • I imagined myself doing the work that I was doing at the time for the rest of my life and wanted to bang my head on the wall
  • I started asking myself – “I’ve got a job, I’ve got a career, but what is my calling?”
  • I was so eager to make a difference in the world but my current place did not seem to be taking me anywhere
  • I seriously considered a 180 degree career change
  • What I considered my dream job back in university ended up getting complete revamp after receiving a reality check
  • I resented certain choices I made that had been dictated by family and society expectations
  • My best friend posted an article on my Facebook page after a rather honest conversation titled “Quarter Life Crisis: 25 disappointments that you deal with when you turn 25
  • I realised that change had to happen because the pain of staying the same was greater than the pain of change

Change happened. I moved countries. I quit my job following a huge emotional upheaval because the notion of quitting your job and ditching security is a very foreign concept in my culture.

Change was the best thing that happened to me.

Now I look forward to work. I love the people I work with. I love the type of work I do. I love that my work allows me to make a difference in the business world. I love that everyday I am helping businesses get better at what they do, give customers a better experience and employees better work satisfaction.

Change is possible. Change takes time and courage. Change always happens in a trickle; drip, drip, drip.

A quarter life crisis (or a mid-life crisis) could happen to you at 23 or 25 or 38 or 50. If and when it happens, embrace it. Be comforted in knowing that this crisis will not last long, and having survived it will make you a much bolder, stronger, better person.

Creative Dreams come true Work

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Find a job then find your dream job

May 25, 2015

Sometime during your schooling life, you must have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The needs pyramid says that there are five levels that humans go through, where the bottom layer has to be satisfied in order to move up to the next layer.

This is something I personally experienced recently.

Two months ago, I quit my job to move to another country. It was a big step for me as I had envisioned myself as being unemployed for months on end and living off tuna sandwiches in order to survive.

Less than two weeks after moving to Melbourne, I got myself a job.

When I did not have a job, my full focus was spent on getting one.

Now that I have satisfied what was previously lacking – my need for employment, I can focus on doing what I enjoy – writing on this blog.

The secret to doing your best work or being creative is not from quitting your job to free up spare time but from creating your best work in spite of the lack of time.

Wake up two hours earlier each morning.

Spend less time watching TV shows.

Say ‘No’ to some social events.

Book in time in your calendar each week for creative pursuits.

First get a job that pays for your rent and food, then focus on pursuing what you love to do. Otherwise you will find yourself compromising creativity for money, and then it will just become another job.


Bi-Vocational Generation: You are more than your job title

March 17, 2015

We are now a generation that have many passions. Our self value is not determined by our job title.

I was having dinner at a local Japanese restaurant recently with a crowd that I hardly knew. Naturally, as you do with people you just met, we broached the subject of work.

“I believe that we are a bi-vocational generation. Our generation are passionate about many things and we don’t have to limit our job to just one label.”

The phrase he used: bi-vocational generation, sums it up perfectly. A simple way of defining it is a generation with two or more “jobs”.

Is an early childhood teacher who sings a teacher, or is he a singer who teaches?

Is an engineer who DJs at weddings a DJ, or is he a DJ who happens to lay foundational work for buildings?

Is an accountant who loves to bake beautiful cupcakes a baker, or a baker who upkeeps finances?

A work colleague recently validated this idea.

“Guess what! I just got a second job!”

He went on to explain that he had gotten himself a second job in organising social charity events for a cricket club. The aspect he loved most about this: he was able to contribute back to the community.

Many of us want to do work that matters and give back to the community, have fun in the meantime and earn a decent wage to support ourselves. We must make smart choices about what we choose to dedicate our time towards.

I narrowed down the four things that make up your work: source of income, emotional fulfillment, personal achievement and social welfare.

Source of income: Make money to pay for our basic needs

Emotional fulfillment: Stems from having help contribute to the greater good of the world, a higher purpose than self

Personal achievement: Satisfaction from having pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone and perceived limits of fear

Social welfare: Giving back to the community and those in need

A select few are fortunate enough to have balanced all four in one job title. While we should always strive for this, the majority of us are still on the continual journey of self-discovery. We either have one job that caters to all four, or have four different responsibilities that each serves one purpose.

If your day job is your primary source of income but is not meeting your social welfare needs, you can start by volunteering at the local refugees organisation or start a side business, you never know what it might turn into.

What do you think of the four aspects of work that I outlined above? Do you agree?


How to cure Mondayitis

December 1, 2014

It’s December; Christmas month.  Did anyone else have Mondayitis like me today?  It seems to be a recurring bug that you think has gone away but plagues you again the next week.

If you did, don’t fret. Of course I wish there was no such thing as Mondayitis.  Gone is the weariness on Sunday nights from knowing I have to be up early on Monday morning.  No longing to lounge outside in the warmth of the sun while I’m stuck at a desk.

So when I had Mondayitis today, I decided to do two things. The first; do a few of your favourite things. Here are a few of mine.

I munched on my favourite food; a Turkish salad where an assortment of flavours from the olives and pickles and jalapeños all danced in my mouth and tingled my tastebuds.

I sipped on my favourite cup of Vanilla Chai tea, with a dash of milk.

I watched this cute kid called Super Kai sing Roar on youtube; it made me laugh.

I told my colleague that I was craving for chips and he sweetly gave me two dollars to buy a packet of my favourite snack.

And at the end of the day, I started writing. Expressing myself through words. This is one of my favourite things.

Soon my frowns turned into smiles. The heavy cloud dissipated, leaving me feeling light and happy. This is what happens when you do a few of your favourite things.

As part of the month of December I want to write on ending the year well; today it starts with thanksgiving. Hailing from Malaysia and now living in the exotic New Zealand, I’ve never grown up celebrating thanksgiving, unlike the American culture that we see on TV.

The best way to cure Mondayitis:

  1. Do some of your favourite things
  2. Write down three things you are thankful for

The internet is saturated with the theme of thanksgiving, but I join it because I know it is something that works.  It worked for me and I know it will work you, if only you took the time to really think about the things you could be grateful for.  I’m not talking about general statements.  Make them count, make each one as detailed as you can.

Because when I am grateful, I focus on the things that I have and not what I lack.  Because when I am grateful, I put on the mindset of fullness and remove the mindset of scarcity.  Because when I am grateful, I live fully in the moment rather than what could have been.

That is the antidote to Mondayitis.



Things I wished I knew after Graduating from University, Part 2

November 27, 2014

Last week, I wrote a post on a few things I have learned since starting my first full-time job.  Read it here.

Even with almost 3 years of life experience under my belt, I am still constantly learning on the job,  I hope I never stop learning.  I hope you never do too.

Everyone is stumbling along, just as you are

Some may be further along in their journey; others are just starting out like you are. Some may see their job as a means to an end, using their job to fund their extracurricular activities. Others rather chase their dream job and trust that finances will flow on as a result. There is no one formula that will suit everyone. Each is on a journey, making mistakes and changing their minds along the way.

Seek out friendships at work

It is harder to make lasting friendships after university simply because you spend less time with one another, you are more cautious and you have busy schedules which limits your time. When you meet that workmate you instantly click with, even tedious projects become fun. Seek out friendships that make your work life enjoyable.

Toughen up without losing the purity and freshness of a graduate

The corporate environment can be tough. Workplace conflicts are almost inevitable. It will teach you how to navigate interpersonal relationships and deal with that passive aggressive workmate. Try not to let it corrupt the freshness of your youth. The world is still your oyster.

You have the power to shape your job, but be careful not to strive

Your job is not contained to your job description. If you have more capacity than what it entails, shadow someone in a different team or ask to be involved in other projects. You alone can own your career development, no one else can. Find the balance between coasting and striving.

At some point you will ask yourself, “Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life?”

If the answer is no, that’s okay. Read books. Talk to others further in life than you are. Talk to people whose jobs you think are interesting. In this post-industrial age, most people won’t stay in the same job for more than 3 years, unlike our parents and grandparents. According to Forbes, Millennials will hold 15-20 jobs over their lifetime. Let’s hope that by your 3rd or 4th job you have a better picture of what you want.

Don’t be afraid to steer your career in a different direction

You don’t have to work in the same field as what you studied in university. You may be surprised, but employers value university graduates because of their logical thought process and attitudes rather than their technical skills. Time spent in university will never go to waste either. Be practical but be ready to quit when the time is up.


Things I wish I knew after Graduating from University, Part 1

November 20, 2014

My first year of full time work was a breeze. I landed a job in my top company of choice. As a fresh graduate, I dived in head first, eager to prove myself and make a difference in the world.

Soon the reality of working life caught up with me and left me disillusioned. Workplace conflicts. Unmet expectations. Feeling that my work didn’t matter.

Having open and honest conversations helped me move forward in my disillusionment. Over time through conversations and books, I realised that I had a warped view of what work life was meant to look like. Knowing these things could have softened my transition from study to work life.

Don’t be in a hurry to change the world

Companies hire you to first make money, whether it is in the form of generating sales or reducing costs. Once you have proven your ability to generate profit, you will naturally earn the power to make decisions that can make a difference in the world.

Take risks

One of the best things about being fresh out of university is that you have nothing to tie you down, no mortgage, no partner, no kids. It’s a great time to take risks because you have nothing to lose. Join a start-up. Take three months off to go and travel. Run marathons. Do an internship at your local church.

Hard work and connections make a killer combo

Hard work alone does not sell itself. Good connections with people of influence combined with excellence in your job will enable your reputation to travel by mouth. Rather than talk yourself up, allow others sell your talents by helping them and doing a good job in the process.

Your first job will not likely be what you imagined work life to be

Instead, your first job will help you find out what you dislike and you can use that to narrow the scope down to what you enjoy. Finding a job that you love is a journey that takes time, so enjoy the journey while you are at it.

Embrace mundane, routine work

Routine work is unavoidable. Use this as a chance to take a breather from stressful periods. Be grateful for a job that provides.  When you are constantly under the pump to produce results, you will come to relish the times when all you had to do was menial tasks.

You are more than your job title or description

Your job title does not define you anymore than your name does. You have hobbies, passions and a personality that is greater than your job description. Your job only makes up a small part of who you are. Even Solomon found that his work was not able to fulfil him in the end. Place your identity in God and not in your work.

Everyday life Work

How to push through when you feel like quitting

October 15, 2014


I have found that no matter what you choose to do, the desire to quit or give up will at some point appear in your mind. This has happened too many times to me. Take my blogging for example, often I struggle to take time out to sit down and write. Sometimes I just want to take a break from my weekly posting. When it comes to waking up at 6am for volunteering, I often ask myself just as the alarm goes off for the third time that morning “Why in the world am I doing this?”.

These three things have helped me when all I have wanted to do is quit.

  1. I remind myself that the feeling of showing up is ten folds better than quitting.

The feeling of euphoria and satisfaction from publishing my blog post is one of my motivations for writing. I have once heard that creating is the key to making your soul live. Creating reminds you of your creator and lifts the focus off self. While I have found it hard to start creating, once I started, the dread immediately dissipates.

  1. I focus on the why rather than the what.

Why did I start writing? I enjoy writing. I believe that in this digital age, writing in the form of short articles or lists is the way to break down wisdom from books into bite size chunks. Sometimes we simply don’t have time for a 500 page book, but we can spare 15 minutes a day for a blog post that is relatable and encouraging. It can be likened to the idea of consuming small snacks throughout the day to boost your metabolism rather than having one big buffet for dinner. So when I focus on my belief that if one person reads my blog post and is impacted, then that is worth my time spent on writing it.

  1. I focus on delivering promises.

On my about page, I promised that I would update my blog once a week. I want to be a promise keeper. I want to be someone who can be trusted to come true on her words. I don’t like disappointing others. Even though I may not have a large group of readers, if I can’t be trusted with a small following, I know I will fail when my platform grows.

Dreams come true Work

How to find your calling

October 7, 2014

“I have not found my calling.”

“I envy those who have found their calling.”

If one of those two statements resonate with you, then this post is for you.  A calling in my opinion, is something that people would label you if they had to describe you.  Surely you have heard or said such words of praise.  He creates beautiful melodies when he plays the piano.  I love her style of photography, it is so natural yet captures the moment perfectly.  She has such a big heart to serve others as a nurse.

I find those who live a purpose driven life very attractive.  They are focused and not easily distracted.  They spend their free time working on their talent, honing it, never settling.  They are gifted in their area of calling and it comes naturally to them.  What they do cannot be done by the average masses.  When they are in the zone, the atmosphere just seems to come alive and you cannot help but leave being impacted and inspired.

Now you are excited, you want to find your calling also.  You are unsure how to do that, what next steps you should take.  Observing the lives of those around me who have found their calling, I noticed a common theme.  These are three things that will help you identify your calling.

  1. Passion

This is something you get excited over.  It is something you can see yourself doing over and over again without getting bored.  You would do this if failure did not exist.  This is your dream.  When you spend precious time doing it, there is fulfilment and happiness that overwhelms you.

  1. Skill

A passion without expertise does not produce results.  A singer cannot sing without being able to carry a note.  A writer cannot write without a good command of language.  You can generally measure the extent of your skill by the fruits it creates.  Have you won awards?  Has a stranger given you compliments?  Do you feel comfortable showing your work to the public?  Often, we know deep inside if we have the ability to take our passion to the next level.  There is saving grace if you have not acquired the confidence to do so.  Repeated practice can make you a master of your craft.  Find the time to practise, this should be your priority if it is your passion.

  1. Cause

Combining passion and skill produces a job, even a career.  Yet over time a job or career can easily fizzle out and lose its meaning or purpose, even if you are both good at it and love doing it.  This is when you should ask why you do what you do.  It is only when you know that what you do day in and day out adds value somewhere in this world that it makes a difference.  It is when we have learned to look beyond self, instead of wanting to earn the most money or just live a safe and comfortable life, when we are serving others by improving the lives of others, that it can be a calling.

Spend the next 15 minutes pondering these three questions:

What are you passionate about?

What are you good at that others cannot do?

How does what you do increase the lives of others?