Monday, November 23, 2020

11/22/2020

It’s been such a long time since I sat behind the computer screen to blog about my musings . . . that I’m kind of lost on what to write, lol. Anyway, a couple of things have unexpectedly cropped up and summoned most of my energy. It also didn’t help that I grew selfish with whatever free time I had and just wanted to catch up on . . . me. Maybe it’s a subtle hint from my subconscious that I need to learn how to take a chill pill?

I have to, considering that my life’s about to take a 180 turn with intense chaos.

Things have been on such a roller coaster ride for the last year or so - especially with how the pandemic has thrown everyone’s plans around with its severity. I’m sure we’ve all been affected by it in various ways, be it travel plans being shelved or being unexpectedly laid off from a job position among other effects.

I’m now back at work in full swing after staying away for some time - together with a freelance position attached to it. Yup, you read that right. *sighs* In a matter of weeks, I’ll be juggling work with freelance and blogging. How I’m going to do that remains to be seen because work in itself will take up a large sum of my time on a weekly basis. Think of the future me as someone rocking up to work with bedraggled hair, sunken eyes and dark eye-bags while squinting at everything from sleep deprivation. Or me holding a takeaway cup of coffee from my favorite coffeehouse nearby. Too bad the nearest one would involve me walking at least ten minutes (one way) under the intense heat. Either way, the need for a mug of cappuccino with double shot of caffeine would definitely be desired soon.

Sad to say that there’ll be an off chance blogging will take a backseat if the balance between work, freelance, and blogging can’t be achieved. A lot of brain cells would have already been dedicated to my primary employment and side hustle, so the remainder might or might not be enough to plan and draft blog posts. We’ll have to see about it in due course. I’ve a tad bit of plans stacked up, such as resuming food reviews (albeit undercover at nearby cafes or ones that have been a favorite over the years) and penning more about my daily adventures and thoughts. But whether that can be achieved also remains to be seen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Five Lies About Work You Believed Before Entering the Working World

Most, if not, all of us are currently in the workforce, be it as a fresh graduate or an experienced employee in the industry of our choice. No matter where we are at this juncture in our careers, I’m sure there were certain notions about work that we believed as a final year student or a fresh graduate that turned out to be a misconception or a downright lie. Here are five lies about work that I believed in as a result of my observations and opinions before entering the workforce.

Office Politics


Credits to All Things Talent for the image

The number one lie would be a harmonious working environment. As a student, I used to believe that all of the colleagues would collaborate together to achieve a common goal or complete a project while keeping the office alive and running. Outside of the working hours, the entire office would catch a round of drinks together and wind down together. As an employee, it didn’t take me long to realize that it was all a facade. Since each and every staff is a unique individual, there’d be a combination of characters working together, which could then lead to personality clashes and mutual dislikes. It could even give rise to office politics, creating a toxic working environment and unnecessary gossip. With that being said, I’m sure that we all had our incidents where we’ve heard unpleasant things about other colleagues and vice versa.

Colleagues Becoming Friends

While we’re on the subject of colleagues, another lie that I believed in was that colleagues are your friends. Funnily enough, I even believed that colleagues are somewhat close to a person’s second family, given that I’m working with them for at least eight hours a day, five days a week. There’s bound to be some socialization occurring one way or another, like employees heading off for lunch together. I’m not saying that colleagues will become acquaintances whom you’ll keep in touch with if either party resigns because there are rare exceptions to it. What I’m saying is that due to the nature of the work environment and workplace envy, it’s not common to see colleagues keeping in touch when someone leaves the company. Also, not all colleagues would want to be friends with each other when they are out of the office.

Existence of Work-Life Balance


Credits to General & Medical for the image

One of the lies that I vehemently believed is the existence of work-life balance. I know that a lot of companies and employees would vouch that they practice work-life balance and so on, but it’s always easier said than done. I myself was made to believe that the working hours are strictly reserved for work with the after hours and weekends being your downtime. And boy, was I wrong on this. I learnt the truth the minute I entered the workforce. A great significance of the work-life balance stems from how flexible the nature of your job is. Even my personal experiences have illustrated that there will be an overlap of your working hours and rest time. In addition to the dictated hours of 9 am to 6 pm at work, I’ve caught myself bringing the unfinished work home to complete at night and on the weekends, robbing myself of my well-deserved rest and time away from office work. I guess it took me being in the workforce to comprehend that the idea of a work-life balance is a shaky one.

Full Dedication to One’s Job

There’s no denying that everyone wants to be the best at their job, so when someone says that you have to spend every waking moment on work, you tend to believe it. I acknowledged it so much that I was incorporating it in the beginning stages of my working life, though it didn’t take long for me to realize something. The full dedication to one’s job didn’t have to require cutting back on my sleep or even staying back in the office late. Yes, my dedication was important, but it didn’t have to be at the forefront of my health. I was allowed to have some time out for myself and knock off work sharp.

Scope of Work


Credits to Inc for the image

Another lie that I believed was that you’re only required to complete the scope of work that’s laid down in the terms and conditions of your employment contract. I only realized that this wasn’t true after working for some time now. To be honest, I’d have much appreciated it if someone had forewarned me that this was a downright lie. At least I’ll know what to look out for. It’s not true that you’re only paid to do what you’ve signed up for or the hours that you’ve agreed to, if you’re a part-time employee or working in a casual position. There would be days when you’d be expected to do ad-hoc duties on top of the ones that you’re responsible for.

I hope the ones mentioned would be of great assistance to you when you’re about to enter the workforce as a fresh graduate. The lies that I have shared above are the ones that I believed during my days as a student and are by no means exhaustive. It might be different from the ones that you’re aware of, so please don’t fret as it differs from people to people.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

11/15/2020

I dreamt of an office on the first floor. There was physical distancing being practiced - with only a handful of employees around. The remainder was working remotely. The office was not decorated much, but what stood out the most was the wooden furniture: there were long benches and swivel chairs, as if to encourage the said employees to wait at the workstation instead of their office cubicles.

The person who attended to me was a female manager. As it was close towards lunch time, she approached me and asked whether I was coping well so far before inviting me to join her and another two colleagues out for a meal. One thing led to another and we started to talk a bit about our personal lives while waiting for the said two individuals to complete their urgent errands. She revealed that she “had three kids at home and my boyfriend has been helpful to keep an eye out on them whenever I need to work overtime.”

She then brought me to lunch but thanks to the pandemic and CMCO, most of the eateries nearby were closed. After circling the area and seeking the assistance of Google, we eventually found our way to a restaurant operating within a block of flats. Located on the first floor, the exterior was decorated with Chinese items, giving off the aura to strangers that this was a cafe that specialized in Chinese cuisine.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Four Negotiation Skills Everyone Should Master

Negotiation skills are important to us, be it in our working environment or everyday life. We need to put these skills to use in our day-to-day activities, like returning a defective item that we have bought from a business owner, or formal dealings such as the drafting of legal contracts. To ensure that we have better relations around us and improve people’s first impressions of ourselves, we should master four negotiation skills consisting of communication, persuasion, planning, and cooperation. I’ll list down the importance of each one and how beneficial it is for us in our daily lives.


Photo by Unsplash

Communicating What You Want

It is a common knowledge that we require a high level of communication skills to secure a satisfactory job in a good office, but what hasn’t been emphasized is its presence in resolving disputes. This may even be a misunderstanding between yourself as a customer and the business owner. Let’s say that you are a dissatisfied customer who purchased a faulty product from a retailer and your attempts to settle the issue have been to no avail due to a wide array of reasons. By clearly expressing your ideas, it’ll prevent further unnecessary problems from distracting you from the outcome you desire.

A concise communication, in that sense, permits you and the business owner to pick up on each other’s nonverbal cues or vocal tones while being succinct on the problem. Yes, I understand that there would be barriers that may prevent this, such as language barriers and differing communication styles. In their article on negotiation, Indeed.com has suggested the use of translators and the adoption of a verbal or written confident tone as a way to circumvent the hurdles.

Persuading the Other Side

You won’t be wrong to believe that you are expected to enter into a roundtable negotiation with a fixed mindset about what you want at the end. You would also want an outcome that benefits yourself and vice versa for the other party, but this is not to say that a compromise can’t be reached. A great negotiator would emphasize on the value of persuading the parties to reach a mutually beneficial compromise instead. This art is one of the most important negotiation skills as it allows everyone to communicate their ideas and encourages those at the roundtable to support your points.



Photo by Unsplash

It is easier to comprehend this once you have an idea of how it works and chances are that you already do. You know how you are interested in purchasing something from a shop and the sales assistant would use various methods to persuade you that a particular item is better than the other, right? While persuasion in that sense is inapplicable to negotiation, it gives you a better idea on how it applies in our lives. It also gives way to the next skill, which is planning an outcome.

Planning an Outcome

No matter what the final decision of the negotiation is, it’d affect the parties involved, including yourself, with different effects. It may even have a ripple effect across the board as well. In their article, LinkedIn opines that “by explaining clearly to your stakeholders how you intend to reach the objectives set, you will gain their trust in letting you dictate the pace and schedule of the negotiations.” Someone who is great at negotiation would understand that planning for an outcome is just as important as communicating one’s ideas at a roundtable. What this means is that communication and planning would have to complement each other.

Planning for an outcome also includes considering the repercussions of the compromise on those in the negotiation while factoring any unforeseen circumstances that might occur as a result of someone’s failure to fully adhere to the terms. What this means is that you need to also formulate something that works well for everyone as a compromise instead of solely insisting for your outcome.

Cooperation Between Parties

The fourth and final negotiation skill is cooperation. As human beings, there would always be something encouraging us to desire for a certain favorable outcome from the get-go. It can range from anything from financial interests to something simple as returning a faulty product. To ensure that this is realized, all parties involved would have to work together with each other. And this is where the art of cooperation enters the picture.

As Beyond Intractability writes, when people cooperate with each other to arrive at a reciprocal deal, it creates an element of trust and understanding that both parties would want to maintain even when the negotiations end. In essence, the desire to increase, if not maintain, the level playing field between the parties involved while maintaining their objectives will serve as a stimulus to arrive at a similar outcome. Mastering this is also powerful due to its ability to recognize and ensure everyone’s individual interests in the final outcome.


Photo from Discover Magazine

It doesn’t necessarily matter whether you are a professional negotiator or someone who wants to learn the basic negotiation skills as a method of dispute resolution. The key is always to maintain the long-standing trust and relationship while ensuring that everyone leaves the negotiation, feeling like they contributed to the outcome. As long as you’re able to incorporate these four aforementioned negotiation skills, you should be able to handle disputes that may occur in your everyday life.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

10/03/2020

With work taking a backseat for a tad bit, it should’ve been a beneficial thing for me - since I’d been able to catch up on whatever that’s been left behind without the fear of bursting out into tears. Life in the pressure cooker is not fun at all, as what the fidgety child in me would whine about - even though she’s grown used to the hustle and bustle of it (inasmuch as she dislikes it). I understand that it’ll be worthwhile to pen an article about working in that sector, but those who’re about to make their entrance would definitely receive countless and valuable advice from their seniors active in that trade. Furthermore, I’m not sure whether I can even comment or draw lessons learned from my time, considering how much angst my brain has. 

There’s a fear of biased opinion spilled, you could say.

Like everyone else, I’ve my reasons for wanting to remain busy at all times. Put it this way: the busier I am, the better for me. At least my tendency to overthink is quashed and I’m off to sleep the moment my head hits the comfortable cotton pillow.

And now, my hands are itching to do something while my hesitant brain is pressured by the gaping hole in my wallet to cooperate with my limbs, if it makes any sense to you. I’m drafting this in the wee hours of the morning and being accompanied by classical covers of rock songs on top of rain, so me not being clear is understandable. I could only describe it as me wanting to fulfill a thousand and one dreams of this and that when I’m financially stable.

Oh well, maybe it’s an indication that I should force myself to return to that unfinished rom-com of mine.

I’ll have more of an update into my life - once my brain’s stable enough to write a proper post.
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