Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Employment and Fresh Grads : Survive and Thrive

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Employment and Fresh Grads : Survive and Thrive


    The government says since October last year, over 10,000 people have been laid off from work. Another 5,000 opted for volunteer separation schemes by their companies.
    The Opposition puts this figure at over a million. They are insisting that over half a million Malaysian workers lost their jobs in Singapore alone.
    The truth is out there.
    But the reality is that people are really losing their jobs. Businesses are going bust. Factories are being shutdown. Many boutiques in town are being forced to fold. And while we are being told that things here are not and won’t be as bad as what many other countries are going through, we need to brace ourselves for more bad news.
    In such an economic scenario, what can the youth do to make things better for themselves or prepare for the future? For those who would be graduating soon, what are the chances of getting good jobs? And if there aren’t as many openings - like during the early 70s, mid 80s and 97; times when we went through almost similar situations - what do the youth do? Is there anything we could do to give us for a head start when the economic situation gets better? Please read and remember.

    Alliance Bank Group CEO, Datuk Bridget explains:

    The global financial crisis is like a cancer catching its victim by surprise. First, it surfaced as a US-centric problem on their subprime mortgage. Eventually, it metamorphosised into a full blown global economic crisis.
    (Note: A subprime mortgage is a class of mortgage used by borrowers with low credit ratings. Borrowers who use subprime loans generally do not qualify for loans with lower rates because they have damaged credit or no credit history, and are thus considered risky by lending agencies. Because the default risk for poor credit borrowers is greater than of other borrowers, lenders charge a higher interest rate on subprime loans.
    In the US, the surge in subprime mortgage sales went out of hand and when interest rates were raised further, many of these borrowers started to default on their loans. With increased bad debts in the portfolio, the value of the subprime security began to drop significantly causing a snowball effect on all related investments tied to it.)

    Some countries have already declared themselves in recession and their governments are taking steps to address the issue. It was a slower start in Malaysia for valid reasons because the central bank has reserves and knows intimately the state of the domestic banks’ health and ability to withstand stress.
    The lessons from the Asian crisis have not gone unheeded and credit has to go to the government and central bank for their proactive action which have to a large extent minimised the blow.
    Despite this, the economic meltdown in other countries has impacted us in respect to export, commodity prices and the stock market. Hence, development projects for commercial purposes are already affected.
    The sharp drop in oil palm prices will reduce the earnings of the plantation sector, factory close downs will increase unemployment and as companies freeze up employment, new graduates entering into the market are going to be stressed out when looking for jobs.
    The party is over.
    Tightening of the purse strings is inevitable as memories of the Asian crisis in 1997 are still vivid in many people’s minds.
    The difference, in respect to the crisis today, is as the name implies; the Asian crisis only happened in Asia while the US continued to experience a boom.
    This time around, the venom has left no one unaffected - from wealth destruction suffered by the very rich, to job losses experienced by both rich and poor alike.

    My first personal experience with this crisis came with the inability of my newly graduated daughter who, armed with a very good masters degree, was not able to find a job in Singapore.
    She is caught in a problem not her own doing. This is very demoralising for an enthusiastic young girl all ready to take on the world.
    I feel bad for her. Yet, at the same time, I also feel glad that she is having her taste of how never to take one’s job for granted.
    And thankfully, I am still able to support her.
    But what of Kenneth, my ex-staff in Singapore who has been retrenched by his bank? From the ever so bubbly chatty responsive person he is, Kenneth does not answer my sms-es. And when he does, it is very short and cold.
    A young man and the father of a young baby; sole bread winner in the family; who is going to pay the bills? He does not have rich parents to help him out.
    My heart goes out to him.
    Another ex-staff called me crying hysterically having just been told that she is among 100 others who have been retrenched. She had just bought an apartment in Singapore and her husband is potentially about to lose his job too.
    I was lost for words. There’s nothing I can say or do that would be able to reduce her pain.
    These are but a couple of examples of people I know who have been victims of the crisis and I am sure there are those who are even worse off.
    Yet, having been through many crises, I am familiar with the ups and downs. Things may be good for a while, but the bubble will burst sometime.

    Human greed will always ensure that the next cycle occurs; maybe in a different form but certainly, a crisis is guaranteed as long as human beings roam the earth.
    One customer told me that he decided to reduce his stock pile of steel earlier, despite the increasing price. He is so relieved that he had done so because many of his peers are now saddled with stocks that are less than half their value.
    The biggest losers in the crisis are those who have over leveraged and have too many debts.
    If you borrowed money to play the stock market, then you won’t be able to afford the losses. If you have over extended yourself in the property market - without any holding power - thinking you could cash out when the price went up, you are in trouble.
    Yet, many among the super rich will tell you that they made their fortune during the war or during a crisis because everybody tend to miss or refuse to see the opportunities that present themselves.
    This is something I urge youths to think about.

    I recall the experience of a young lady in her twenties whom I met in 1998. She was running a one-woman business. Because it was the Asian crisis, I was on a cost-cutting exercise at the bank and had decided to cut the budget for the printing of our internal company newsletters.
    The printing companies would not budge.
    It was at that time, I was introduced to this lady who said she could do it for me. Armed with only a computer and a scanning machine at home, she designed and printed my newsletter for a very, very good price.
    I remember she always looked disheveled when she came to see me because she would work night and day to meet my deadlines as she had no staff.
    The orders form the bank continued, and as time went by, they increased, allowing her to outsource and also recruit people.
    She operated from home to cut overheads and paid people on piecemeal basis. It’s easy to do this in a crisis as people are glad to find jobs. But over time, she turned her business into a million dollar company and had a team of staff working for her. She told me that she cold not find a job having graduated and returned home during the crisis.
    She had always fancied herself working for a corporate company but was forced into starting her own small business because she could not find a job.
    This is a clear case of someone who opened up her mind to try anything when others may just sulk and moan about at home. She beat the big boys with their high operating costs by lowering overheads and was able to meet the demands of a big bank which was also trying to manage its expenses.
    Which brings me to the next topic: How do firms and companies think particularly during the lean periods and how can youths adjust their way of thinking to match these requirements?
    In an economic crisis, most companies will need to scale down their operations due to less demand and also cut down cost. Unfortunately, the highest operating cost will always be staff cost and this is why retrenchment and pay cuts always happen even though nobody likes doing it.
    Everyone will be hard pressed for ideas to try and come up with an alternative solution. How can we cut cost? Do we implement a job freeze? Can we double job functions for the time being?
    Indeed, preserving capital, lowering overheads and bringing down costs will be the key focus of most companies. Obviously everyone will be cracking their heads to look for potential business opportunities to close the gaps and those who succeed will come out of the crisis in better shape.

    The young tend to have an idealistic expectation of the market and it can be very demoralising to find that no one wants you. Immediately, those with minimal or little experience will be at a disadvantage because there will be a lot more people who are willing to earn less just to stay employed.
    Hence, it’s important to adjust your expectations during the bad times and take on a lesser job that can keep you employed because you will still gain the experience.
    When the job opportunity opens up, a graduate with work experience as a waiter or clerk would be more respected by a prospective employer than someone who admits he or she has been totally unemployed for months just waiting for the perfect job to fall on his or her lap.

    Willingness to take on bigger responsibilities without always being so calculative about compensation is very important. I believe one of the key reasons why I have always been considered for promotions was because I always did more than what I was paid to do.
    I was proactive and took the initiative in trying to help out all the time and did not mind doing more than my fair share. In the end, I ended up learning more. Being able to show them what I could manage, who else would my bosses have considered to fill up those jobs since I had proven myself to be the obvious choice?
    In an economic slowdown, you might find yourself being paid a clerk’s salary but doing a manager’s job. If jobs are hard to come by, it’s better to bear with the situation at hand because you are still learning and getting the exposure. If your boss does not reward you when time improves, you can have the option to move on.

    At the same time, try to be more innovative. Look for opportunities for yourself. Can you start a small business? What are your talents and skills and can you use this to get started. If you are good in accounts, do you mind coming in to work a few hours a day and being paid on an hourly basis? It will not be ideal but once you get started, you could offer the same service to other companies who have the same need and it all adds up.

    Stop blaming everyone or being negative. Stop thinking you do not want to lower down your standards because the whole world does not revolve around you. Make sure you keep yourself occupied no matter what job. To get jobs in these times will be tough so open your mind and consider other jobs that you will not normally consider. Who knows? You might find out your calling and do really well.

    As for how you need to live your life during these difficult times, always remember that spending less is not an option. If you like frequenting the more expensive coffee outlets, switch to local kopitiams. If you like to dine in hotels, switch to coffee shops where the food may be even better except that the ambience may not be to your fancy.
    Take public transport and walk if possible. Most of what we spend is the unnecessary stuff. Ask yourself if you really need the item and can you live without it.
    I normally put impulse at bay by delaying the purchase. Most of the time, the urge goes away and you save money. Carpool with your friends. Instead of going out to the movies or to play pool, meet up at your place or theirs.
    It’s important to save; who knows you may be faced with a pay cut or a job loss in a family and you would have to contribute more to the household expense.
    Defer the urge to buy a new car, a new television set or changing your furniture. When we first moved into our new house, my husband and I did not own a television or a dining table for almost a year. We ate in the living room and got to spend a lot more quality time with each other.
    Investment in current market is not easy. The stock market is filled with cheap bargains but no one is that gung ho expecting the market to drop further, it could work both ways but timing is key.
    You cannot rely on your relationship manager to tell you what to do. The decision must be all yours and you need to be prepared to spend some time reading the market.
    I believe cash is king at this current moment. Some people are liquidating their assets believing that there are opportunities to make some money when the market hits rock bottom.

    Investing in yourself is also important. My niece could not find a job in Australia when she graduated last year. Because she could afford to, she went back to university to do her masters. She is not wasting her time and knows she is better off pursuing her education than simply lazing about doing nothing. The knowledge she acquires eventually is going to add to her marketability factor.
    In hard times, the competition will indeed intensify and it will be triple your effort to get the same job. I find it appalling that most youths don’t know anything about the global crisis and their lack of knowledge is translated as having poor IQ or just indifference, both reasons would make potential employers assume that this would be the same output they would be doling out at work.
    A candidate with good general knowledge will stand out during an interview and be impressive. However, one won’t be able to be convincing enough by just making some superficial comments - some depth is required.

    Go out and speak to as many people as possible to find out their views because you will learn about what is happening out there and perhaps find the answers to your questions. Be open-minded about the jobs you can do. Just because you are qualified as a lawyer does not mean you shouldn’t be looking at other jobs such as banking or running a small business. Banks may be looking for more collectors and therefore this could be an avenue for you to find out something new.
    If you are looking for a job, the local papers offer an excellent source of information. You could also look for work online. Otherwise, register yourself with the human resource department. They offer training courses too.

    We have no choice but to be well prepared and very resilient simply because it is not up to us to decide when the recession should end and it certainly looks set to drag on for some time. Even if the US declares itself out of a recession, full recovery can be and will be a long drawn process taking years. So, one has certainly got to be extremely resilient.

    When you are young, you have less to lose. Avoid borrowing money to start a new business unless it’s from your parents. Because it takes time for a business to pick up and you may not be able to service your loans. Start small and grow from there. Manage your overheads tightly.
    As long as you don’t get into debt and understand you may lose everything and tip off the balance, it is a good time to try out new things.

    I was at my doctor’s office today and noticed an old lady manning the reception. The doctor told me she had been unable to recruit anyone and had to rely on her mum for help.
    “Youths today are so unreliable. They promise to come for an interview and never turn up”.
    I received the same comments from the management office of my condominium. “Staff nowadays are unwilling to work longer hours and they can’t take any pressure.”
    My advice to youths is you need to work hard and be able to handle the good, the bad and the ugly in order to get the experience to take on bigger jobs.

    The grass is never greener on the other side of the fence. In order to harvest your field, you first have to toil first. Most companies get put off by applicants who seem unable to hold a job and change or jump jobs ever so often.
    It either reflects his or her lack of commitment or capability.
    Consider the years you put in as a form of investing into your future and building the foundation of your career. If you don’t stay long enough, you will never reap the fruits of your labour.
    During the boom period job-hopping seemed like the favourite option for many people to get an immediate increment and double their salary.
    Yet, the reality is they can ill do the big job they landed and would be first disposed off when times are bad.
    Every job has a price tag to it and it’s tied very much to the output. When you are paid at a premium minus the experience, you are in a soup.

    Look at a job professionally and don’t let your emotions get mixed up with work. The daughter of my friend started work as an air hostess six months ago. Her mum told me that she was being bullied by her boss who seems to thrive on scolding her.
    I bumped into Linda on a recent flight and got the opportunity to witness her “tyrannous” boss first hand.
    Linda who was stationed at economy class came into the business class cabin, perched herself on the edge of my seat, got cosy and started chatting with me. She got so carried away that her boss told her to go back to her cabin and do her work.
    I just heard Linda didn‘t get confirmed because she missed her flights too many times due to having overslept. But both she and her mum kept blaming her boss for victimising Linda.
    I have had bosses who had no qualms in scolding me for my mistakes and reprimanding me for any sign of bad attitude. Discipline is important in the office.

    You may be spoilt and allowed to sulk at home, but why should anyone tolerate it in the office? If you don’t have the maturity to act grown up and responsible at work, quitting each time you are counselled or reprimanded, than you will end up a 40-year-old overgrown baby and a loser.
    The fun times at school will slowly diminish as you pursue a career in the real world. There is no reason not to have fun at the office but remember that the first three years are when companies pay you and you are still not earning your keep.
    Work ethics matter as much as job competency skills. If you have a bad attitude, bad habits and so forth, you won’t survive. Once out of college and in the working world, you need to grow up fast; no big company will trust or invest in a big baby! However, a young person with the right attitude and resilience will go far.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Employment and Fresh Grads : Survive and Thrive

    Good article, Lok. Check out the Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko. An excellent book to guide would-be entrepreneurs.

Visitors found this page by searching for:

Nobody landed on this page from a search engine, yet!
SEO Blog

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts