Archive for September, 2010

The Commuter Story Collection – September 30

I was asked by a friend if I miss driving, or bringing a car for that matter. That simple question made me pause for a while and think. The answer I gave was, ‘it depends.’

It depends on what time you ask me!

Ask me during the day and I’d say NO. However, when the clock strikes 12 and the cabs charge an additional 50% premium on the fare and you don’t have any choice due to scarcity of public transport, I’d seriously blurt out a strong “I miss having a car!” statement even before you think about asking me.

One thing I don’t miss about owning a car, aside from cruisin’ Manila traffic on rush hour, is the maintenance. Car repair is definitely not for me. Maybe I was traumatized when I had been assigned a rusty old car that gave up in the middle of SLEX! Cause of death: old age.

[I had a friend who encountered the same middle-of-the-road production recently. She was driving a Ford Escort.]

The engine had to be overhauled; timing belt and water pump had to be replaced, etc. I returned the car right then and there and resorted to bringing a personal car– until the company assigned me a ‘newer’ model.

But that was all in the past. Now I am simply enjoying the comforts of commuting (though I am already inclined to apply for an SG Driver’s License real soon).

September 30, 2010 at 8:09 AM Leave a comment

Sleepy at work?

This is a re-post from:

http://www.dotsis.com/mobile_phone/wallpapers/146432-exercises-avoid-sleepiness-office.html

———————

Office Exercises to avoid Sleepiness

 

Office exercises to avoid sleepiness As a warm up, let’s do some…Tai Chi


Follow like this to ease your Neck and Shoulder Pain

Wa..wa.. aaa

Move to the right and then to the Left

After that, Move to the left and then to the right

Just follow. Don’t force yourself to do 360 degrees, 180 degreeswill do. Bend down a bit like you gonna faint. Repeat a few times till you’re bored

Grab anything on your desk and smash your head hard. If you are still sleepy smash harder

After that move your feet and swing your body a bit like this. Do it like it’s nobody’s business and remember to smile

Move your feet and body just a bit like this….
Do it like there’s no problem at all…

And now more aggressive! Don’t bother about what others say

Let go off all your stress….

If your boss ask what you are doing, move your head slowly like this and tell them you’re dying in the office

When your boss walked off, get your colleague to join you and move your body like this. The more the merrier …

Still Sleepy??

Go Home.

September 30, 2010 at 7:53 AM Leave a comment

Finding work in Singapore

So, you have finally decided to go out of your comfort zone and join the multitude of pinoys making a career mark abroad. If you’re one of the “lucky” ones who have been hired while you’re still in the Philippines or you’ve been offered an expat status, you may stop reading now. Otherwise, for those who are equally lucky but haven’t been found by companies based here, let me share with you some insights and guidelines based on our collective experience:

 

1. Why?

The first question you may want to ask is “WHY?” and I sternly hope that it’s not just about the money. Singapore is not the land flowing with milk and honey for everyone. It could be for most, but I repeat, NOT for everyone. Contemplate on your core motivation and see whether the move is for you or not. Evaluate your key strengths and check your willingness to compromise “some” comforts to fulfil your dream. There are a lot of trade-offs and you must really prepare yourself for them.

[For those with extra cash, I recommend a short visit and try to immerse yourself in the local culture and lifestyle: Take the bus, go to the suburbs, stay with a local/resident, talk to people.. Try not to act like a tourist on this trip. But NEVER engage in any form of work without a valid pass!!! It’s illegal.]

 

2. Apply for EPEC – Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate

This certificate, when approved, will allow you to stay in Singapore for a year to look for a job. You may register for an EPEC via: https://epec.mom.gov.sg/epec/index.do

The EPEC application is FREE but you will be asked to submit the following but not limited to:

  • Passport
  • Education certificates
  • Passport-size photo

The EPEC is NOT a guarantee that you will be able to land a job. It is different from a work pass. [The work pass will be secured by the company upon acceptance of the job offer].

Once you get an email approval, your certificate will be sent to the address indicated in your application. THE CERTIFICATE IS NOT YET YOUR LONG TERM SOCIAL VISIT PASS. You still have to apply for its ‘activation’ via https://ltpass.ica.gov.sg/eltsvp/newAppPreLogin.do

The processing for the long term pass would cost you 30SGD and approval would take five to six weeks. It would be best to activate it AT LEAST a month before you leave for Singapore. At this stage, your application for long term pass may still be rejected. But if approved, you will be asked to go for a medical check-up and pay 90SGD for the card.

Some people opted to fly to Singapore while they were having their long term pass processed. This option is possible since you are given 15 to 30 day-social visit pass. You may use this time to apply for work (pending the long term pass approval). Most of the time, people already found jobs even before their long term pass got approved, hence, there was no need to pay 90SGD.

 

3. Get yourself a Singapore SIM card

Companies are more inclined to call a local number. Your passport will be needed when you purchase a SIM card.

 

4. Build a strong CV, then customize accordingly

The internet has a wealth of information available that will help you in crafting your CV. And yes, customization is VERY important. In most cases, the companies prioritize employees who meet at least 80% of the criteria posted. Recruitment managers receive hundreds of applications per day and what better way to get yours noticed is to tailor-fit your CV based on the position and qualifications required. Ensure readability and be as clear and concise as possible.

Remember, never EVER lie on your resume! Also, never EVER use text or chat lingo (and jejemon for goodness’ sake!). Maintain formality and professionalism.

 

5. Visit job portals, meet head hunters, and participate in job fairs

Job fairs are mostly organized by job portals such as:

http://jobscentral.com.sg/

http://www.jobsdb.com.sg/Singapore

http://www.jobstreet.com.sg 

http://www.monster.com.sg/ 

http://jobs.st701.com/

For professionals and executive positions, head hunters are the way to go. Executive positions are hardly advertised and most of the time, outsourced. Headhunters have tried and tested strategies to make you stand out from the pack. Not to mention the vast expanse of their industry contacts.

Headhunters do not charge the jobseekers, they are commissioned by companies looking for candidates to fill a vacancy. Recruitment companies, on the other hand, charge the jobseeker fees to set them up for interviews and/or help them throughout the job hunting process.

[I’ve heard from friends that paid recruiters also help speed up the process, but I cannot vouch for them since I haven’t tried getting their services. Will do my research and keep you guys posted.]

 

6. Networking

Referrals are the quickest, and probably the best way to find work. Go around and meet people. Some people may just opt to stay home and do online applications for the whole day to avoid unnecessary expense. There’s nothing wrong with that but trust me, getting people to refer you to job openings is a few steps closer to getting hired.

 

7. Be 101% prepared for interviews

Do your homework, research on the company before even attempting to set foot on it. Internet is probably the best resource to look up information about the company (whether they have their own website or not). Likewise, ALWAYS research on the exact location and the amount of time needed to get there, especially if you will be taking the public transport. Download maps, if you must and always allot an allowance despite Singapore’s transport efficiency.

 

8. Negotiate

Some people may advise you to just accept a lower level position than what you previously held in Manila. Again, this is up to you. Based on my experience, most companies prefer the “local experience” however, do not be disheartened. Especially for the first timers, I have always believed that you have already reached the face-to-face interview stage because they know you have something to offer them. They have seen an element in your application that has tickled their interest. Find out what they are after, and then build your case. Before accepting any offer, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

a. Is this job aligned with my long term career goal?

b. How will this company support my career development?

c. How do I feel about the office environment? Culture? Boss? Workplace distance?

d. Is the work schedule acceptable? (Some companies have 6-days workweek and/or require weekend shifts)

e. Of course, compensation package (with full consideration on the living expense. The amount may seem large when converted in Peso, but Singapore is way expensive compared to Manila). This should give you a basic idea of the salary:

http://www.robertwalters.com/resources/salarysurvey2010/Singapore_Salary_Survey_2010.pdf

 

9. Relax and be confident

People choose to work in Singapore for different reasons—and it is not always about money. Landing a job may take you a day or a month or sometimes, even a year. You may hear people tell you “if you do this, you’ll be this or if you do that, you’ll get that.” It depends. THERE IS NO PATTERN.

So what if it takes time for you to find work. I always tell people to enjoy their experience here. Do not fear rejection. It is natural that we can’t always get what we want when we want it. Not making the cut doesn’t always mean you are under qualified.

 

10. Pray – Need I say more?

My experience so far has been rewarding. Occasionally I still miss the comforts of having help to do my laundry, cook my food, and do the basic house chores. But ask me if the move is worth all the sacrifices, I’d give you a definite and resounding YES.

September 29, 2010 at 11:56 AM 2 comments

LOVE: The relentless pursuit of perfection

(No.. not that emo-inducing, spine-tingling feeling whenever that someone special walks by..)

 Love.. Everyone’s favorite subject matter. Love is our ultimate reason for being.

 In the bible, Christ teaches us how to love perfectly despite our imperfect state.. to love beyond our human capacity—To give love that transcends our predetermined boundaries. Jesus gave us His greatest commandment, that is, to love God above all and to love one another.

To love God with all our being is to completely surrender to His will. He doesn’t want an empty worship nor a lip service, He wants all of us. He doesn’t want just an hour of prayer, He wants to be present in our workplace, our commute, lunch break, when we do our laundry, when we’re out with friends–all our activities. There is no such thing as compartmentalized life when we decide to fully love God. To give ourselves to God is to allow Him to work in us and through us. Likewise, to radiate this love wherever we go and whatever we do.

To love one another is easier said than done. How can we possibly love our boss who torments us day and night (even in our dreams)? Our nosy colleague who constantly seeks our failure? How can we love a friend who betrayed us? A disrespectful cab driver?

I’ve read somewhere that Christian love is not a feeling, but a lifestyle. I guess this means that we must do all things out of love. Demanding, don’t you think? But imagine this: if we can love those who make us miserable, then we can love anyone. If we can understand someone with opposite belief as ours, then we can understand anyone. If we can show compassion no matter how inconvenient it may seem, then compassion becomes natural.

To love like Jesus is to let Him to love on our behalf. This only becomes possible when we give our entirety to Him. When we surrender, we accept His love. His love is then planted in our hearts to be carried out to one another. And in loving one another, we express our love to God.

Indeed when perfected, God’s LOVE goes around, comes around.

September 27, 2010 at 4:26 PM Leave a comment

Investing Early

The end of the month usually equates to bills payment. However, instead of moping on the high cost of living in this lifetime, I decided to focus on the positive side of bills payment which included my investment policies.

I started investing on a forced-savings plan nine years ago, right after college graduation. Using 80% of the graduation money I received from my family and the educational insurance company, I signed my first endowment policy. Around that time, my monthly payments were measly Php 1,000/mo. Just enough deduction from my then, Php 10,000/mo. salary.

As my income increased over the years, so did my penchant for looking up higher yield investment. It’s a paradox since I am not really a finance person. I fall asleep reading my FinMan books when I was taking my MBA. In fact, I really don’t like talking about money and most people are actually surprised when they learn how religious I am when it comes to saving. But having trusted friends and family giving free consultations make investing easy.

The rules of thumb are, as your earnings increase, your investment should follow. Likewise, be sure to ask questions and get all the necessary details before you entrust your hard-earned moolah. Be on-guard against selling spiels, if they sound too-good-to-be-true, they definitely are. Read books. Lastly, the amount you invest should hurt a bit, you’ll get used to it anyway. Several times it may ask you to pass up that gorgeous pair of shoes but you’ll be surprised on the value of the returns in due time. Remember, eyes on the prize.

I still have a long way to go but I am really thankful that my parents taught me the value of investing early. The last contract I signed was two years ago, it’s time for a new one.

September 25, 2010 at 3:39 PM Leave a comment

F1 After-Party

September 25, 2010 at 3:36 AM Leave a comment

2010 Singapore Formula1

Parade: SEPTEMBER 26, 630PM

Race: SEPTEMBER 26, 8PM

September 24, 2010 at 2:12 PM Leave a comment

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