CMT? CFA? CAIA?

Unless you are looking for a job in the banking and investment industry, the objective of finding out about the course or examination subjects’ curriculum is not really about obtaining these qualifications.

The objective is really about getting familiar with the curriculum that leads to the examinations to obtain these qualifications; to sieve out the useful knowledge from the useless and to learn how to apply that knowledge for your own benefit.

Recognise also these so called professional organization spin money for membership subscription, selling of publications, conducting examinations.

Engaging a person with these qualifications for financial advice or to manage your hard earned money is no guarantee that you are going to make a gain. More likely someone else is taking risks with your money while they use it to learn financial lessons for themselves.

What you want is to learn is how to trade; how to invest; how to manage your finance for the benefits of you and your family so that you can eventually use it for what you want.

References

https://www.caia.org/

https://www.cfainstitute.org/pages/index.aspx

https://www.mta.org/

On Trial

Introduction

Some new jobs carry a probation period in their contractual agreement. There is 2 ways that you can handle your probation period:

Option 1

Go all out to do your best for the company (and let nothing stand in your way) with the hope that you will be successful during your probationary period. Give your opinions, recommendations and suggestions. Look out for problems and act to solve them (fix the broken wheels). Work late if necessary to do your best.

Option 2

Just do your job. Watch the clock. Do not fix the broken wheel but make a note that it is broken, and keep that to yourself. Continue to send out your resume and go for other job interviews.

Which Option Would You Choose?

The probation is also for you to check if your new workplace is suitable for you for the long term. The most important is whoever you report to or send up your proposal to: how do they treat your colleagues and you.

The for profit corporate world use a hierarchical structure and the non-profit uses a committee structure. Both can be unfriendly structures.

Although there are a lot of top level managers, leaders are a rare breed. Managers got their jobs either they enter as young managers or they rose because their skills. Few managers have acquired the skills to handle people.

So treat working with your new employer like visiting your friend at his or her parents’ place, talk less and keep criticisms, comparisons and comments to yourself. Note them down if you think that they are going to be useful information for you later on. Use more of your observations.

Before you joined your new employer, you would have checked that your notice period would be short during the probation period should you decide to join another employer.

The Promotion That Went Bad

In my working life, I have a chance to work with bosses or colleagues that failed in their job. One common reason is that they took on a promotion when they do not meet the requirements of the job. These are job requirements that you do not see being mentioned on job advertisements or that you could tell from a job title.

It resembles the case of the star salesman that was promoted to an inept sales manager. Sometimes, the person was not even a star employee but a job opportunity led the person to the job that they held when you first know them.

Companies sell the idea of the corporate ladder on the misperception that it is a path to fame and fortune. Often job incumbent that do not succeed in their job is because they let their ego to control them. They became so full of themselves that they did not realize that the new position that they are in is going to be a deep learning curve for them. They really thought “they made it” (to the top) once hired for the job.

Because they lack or do not have enough experience and training, they are unable to understand and cope with challenges, limitations and problems, or what is required to carry their team through in daily operations. They manage by means of demands and intimidations.

Because we are not the ones that had hired them, we only come to know through glimpses in the way they make their decisions and the way they treat other people. In this manner, they pose a great threat to us in losing our jobs.

Here are 3 truths in corporate life:

  • Leaders are found. You cannot get one by putting him or her through a leadership course.
  • Except for office administration, general management skills are too general for any specialized area of work.
  • A person’s character becomes even important as one rises towards the top of the corporate ladder.

 

Job Hunting: Fooled Again

Introduction

If we are unemployed, our job hunting efforts can create false hopes in us; drag us through a long period of unemployment; and draw us closer to depression and a dwindling savings account.

The Lesson

When we keep our hopes high that we may land a job tomorrow, next week or 2 weeks after, we delay looking at and taking up other options that we either feel uncomfortable with; too afraid to spend the money on; not ready to pursue or is unfamiliar with.

The Job Market

What we see is a glimpse of the entire job market. We are never aware of:

  • How many jobs are going abroad?
  • Does job growth match skills availability?
  • Is job growth slowing down?
  • Are there more job applicants chasing lesser job vacancies.

So Many Job Postings

We see so many job postings on job boards and social media. We are never aware of:

  • The different job postings are about the same job.
  • The same job is posted repeatedly because the employer never seems to find the perfect person.
  • The same job is posted repeatedly because job incumbents kept quitting from the job.

You Kept Getting Calls for Interviews

Because you have good work experience, you kept getting calls for interviews. However, the employer has 1001 reasons not to hire you, including reasons that has nothing to do with your ability to perform the job.

The Headhunter Wants to Meet Up with You

In every interview with the headhunter, you are told that your resume would be surfaced to a prospective employer.

Promising Second Interview

This is about both the promising second interview and the illusive phone interview

  • You were told that you have been shortlisted for a second interview but it never came.
  • You always made it to the second interview but you were never hired.

We Will Let You Know in 2 Weeks’ Time

You dressed up in office attire, travelled 1.5 hours, sometimes you got yourself lost trying to find the place of interview; arrived early but had to wait for the interviewer; was interviewed for 2 hours and then was told that you are the job applicants that they saw or the headhunter had scheduled another few candidates that they need to see, and that they will let you know in 2 weeks’ time.

You got hold of the interviewer’s business card; wrote them a thank you note but 2 weeks came and went, you did not hear from them but they already hire someone else.

“You Are Unsuccessful”

In the old days, the interviewer was on time; they introduce themselves; they brief you on the structure and duration of the interview; and they kept you informed even if you are unsuccessful. However, those old days are gone.

The Truth

Let us face the truth: There are bad employers out there or there are employers out there that are trying very hard to keep afloat.

Why You Are Not Hired

You are wasting valuable time guessing the reasons why you were never hired.

How to Avoid Neglecting Other Options

As you send out your resume to hundreds of job postings, gone for lots of interview, the time just drift by quickly. If you had been prudent to put aside an emergency fund of 6 months of your salary, you would have slowly depreciated the fund over time.

If that job you wanted never came by the sixth month, you will be in trouble. It is time look for an alternative. Be prepared to change your mind set:

  • The size of income from the alternative source may never replace your former employment income.
  • The income may be erratic or irregular.
  • The income is likely to sustain only for a short term.

To avoid neglecting these alternatives, you have to schedule to work on them rather spending all of your time in job hunting for your replacement job. The earlier that you started, the better it would be.

Be Quick

Be quick so that you can seize the possibility of turning a negative situation into a positive one.

Let us say that $10 goes out of your pocket each day starting from the first day of the month. If you are able to put in $10 each day into the same pocket from second week, you would suffer an outflow of only $10 per day for 7 days.

 

 

5 Basic Truths about Employment

The 5 basic truths are:

When you work for an employer, you have only one customer. When you lose that customer, you lose perhaps your only stream of income.

When you work for an employer, you are working to build or maintain his business.

When you are in employment, you are exchanging your time for money. Sometimes you land up giving more time that you are paid for.

You are really your longest employer. You are your greatest asset. That is why you should always pay yourself first.

Between you and his business, the business owner care only about his business. Between you and his job, your boss care only about his job.

Dear Diary: The Thief Within

Introduction

This is a write up about a real situation at work. It illustrates how little control we have over our own work life.

It has nothing to do with our own work performance. In fact we may even get into trouble if we did a good job. The situation leaves us cold, either out of a job or looking for a new one. When that happens, we cannot meet our family responsibilities or financial commitments.

There is no solution offered in this written situation. This article is just food for thoughts. A lot of us have been sold this idea of working at a job and building a career. It could be much better road if we had started our work life creating and building our own work.

Background

It is your new job. It is a express courier service, where a big team of employees send documents by motorcycles within half a day or the next day around the island of Singapore. The company is a subsidiary of a logistics company that is in the cash management, supply chain management and mail room management business.

You have been hired as a Credit Control Supervisor. Your job is to follow up on payments due from customers. You report to the Finance Director. Both the previous Credit Control Supervisor and Finance Director left their job because they were not able to collect the large amount of receivables that is outstanding.

The company is managed by a General Manager. He is friend of the business owner of the logistics company. The General Manager is directly in charge of the sales team and he brought in the key salesmen into the company.

The Situation

As the Credit Control Supervisor, you have a team of 2 Credit Control Assistants. You got hold of the report on the 30, 60 and 90 days receivables and the list of phone numbers for the customers and start following up with them on the outstanding payments.

Some customers said that they had already made payments while others mentioned that they had never received specific invoices. You followed up with Finance Department on these feedback and resend invoices with a follow up call.

Money started coming in and the team is motivated. This has gone on for 3 months. Then suddenly you are called to the office and questioned by both the General Manager and the Finance Director and your services are terminated.

After the Situation

By chance you met one of your credit control assistant while you are waiting at a bus stop. You told you what had happened after you had left.

Your termination got the curiosity and suspicion of the business owner. This particular credit control assistant being vocal voiced to him “Why fire the Credit Control Supervisor when our team is doing a better than before job in collection?”

Eventually, the business owner took the General Manager to task and his friend confessed that he was running a similar express courier service behind the business owner’s back and was siphoning some of the sales takings into his own company. Of course, the business owner fired his friend in the end.

Musical Chair

In an organization, you can lose your seat (job) for 2 reasons. The first is the impact of the external environment on the business. The second is the musical chair played every now and then within the organization.

Here is what happens inside the organization.

The business changes:

  • People on the inside get mixed with new people from another company because of an acquisition or a merger
  • Business expands
  • Business shrinks
  • Business closes

People around you changes

  • Organizational structure changes.
  • Bosses, colleagues and subordinates come and go.

Your job changes

  • Your position becomes redundant.
  • Your regular job becomes a term job.
  • Your job is downsized and given to someone else.

How your boss treats you. This is probably the most important work relationship you have in the organization.

How well your subordinates work with and for or against you.

Dear Diary: Sandwiched

Introduction

This is a write up about a real situation at work. It illustrates how it not only could be a waste of time and efforts but endurance of emotional hurts suffered in working for someone else. It has nothing to do with our own work performance but the situation leaves us cold, either out of a job or looking for a new one. When that happens, we cannot meet our family responsibilities or financial commitments.

There is no solution offered in this written situation. This article is just food for thoughts. A lot of us have been sold this idea of working at a job and building a career. It could be much better road if we had started our work life creating and building our own work.

Background

It is your new job. It is a small country club with 150 people. You report to the General Manager (GM) but there is a Deputy General Manager (DGM) that the General Manager works closely with and you rank in the organization just below her as a department head. The DGM has been with the firm for a long time and was promoted from her post as a departmental head.

The Sandwiched Situation

The situation you are in may be the same, except the job titles and gender may change. On the surface, both the General Manager and the Deputy General Manager seems to get along but the Deputy General Manager will ask for things to be done even if you do not report to her and have her own disagreements with how the General Manager approach or deal with business operations matter but she is selective about what to bring up directly to him.

The GM just wanted to get by in his job and all he cared is to be able to hold on to his job. If anything is broken but is still working, he is not going to do anything about it.

The GM would offload tasks that he finds difficult or troublesome to deal with to the DGM. The DGM would accept them and complain bitterly behind the GM’s back. When the DGM disagrees with what the GM plans to do or doing, she would either bring it up to him behind closed doors or at the spur of the moment, while there are other people around.

These do not make things tough for you.

What Cause the Situation to be Difficult

The problems that you face is that the Deputy General Manager use you as an instrument to put forward her agenda to the General Manager when she does not want to do so. It would seem to the General Manager that you are the culprit.

In addition, should you do that in order to pacify her and see that it is a valid matter, she can turn around and stay on the same side with the General Manager when he disagrees strongly with you.

The third point is that when she is unhappy with how you deal with a situation, that it does not fit I with how she would like things to be or her agenda, she would call for a meeting with her and the GM to go over the matter.

Should You Decide to Resign

If you resign, your tenure is going to look bad in your employment history. So what do you do?

 

 

Living in a Conforming World

This is a lesson for those who just enter the job market and generally want to be the star employee so that they can climb the corporate ladder.

Almost all organizations, whether for profits, not for profits and non-profits adopt a hierarchical organizational structure.

What this means is that anytime there are layers of people above you that hold increasing powerful positions as we look upwards.

Unlike school, the workplace is not a place for finding friends, although you should always appear to be professionally friendly.

This means you are expected to conform to some extent and some people may have unhealthy egos.

There are some basic rules that you have to keep in mind:

  • Always know in a workplace where people come and go, you would have a chance to encounter the good, bad and ugly.
  • Watch what you say.
  • Never go against the boss that you are reporting to.
  • If appropriate, ask “What are your instructions on this matter?”
  • Ask yourself “Will my efforts be appreciated if I take up things myself and do more?”
  • At the end of the day it is just a job even if we hope that it is an opportunity to serve our community or country. We may want to serve the larger purpose but others that we work with may not care and may not agree.

I Studied an MBA for This?

They Stirred the Mixing Bowl Again

Here, in the workplace, it is where all the bullies, slow-minded, extremes, poor performers, temperamental people, weirds and others that were sieved or distributed out by the education system got thrown back again.

If you have been a good performer and well behaved at school, the work-place will be a shock for you. Because you encounter only some of them during your later school days, you may not have acquired the coping skills to deal with these people.

The Corporate Ladder That You Dreamt

When we started out in our work life we were told that when we get an education, we can find a job and work up the corporate ladder; that the best pay and prestige is in management job.

Then we discovered that every time we look for a job, the prospective employer would negotiate down on the offer salary. Either the job scope got bigger or there is less helper.

If we are in a small company, there is no promotional prospect. If we are in a big firm, none of our bosses vacate their posts, there is no promotional prospect either. In another words, it is a dead end job.

If we are in a big company, there is competition not only for the pay increase and bonus but for our jobs.

Changing Job for a Better Pay

The pay is great for a new job, but little that you know:

You found yourself in a job where your boss is afraid that he may lose his position. He shift the difficult tasks to you so you that you do the hard work and get the blame when things goes wrong. Then you discovered that your boss is also an incompetent.

Your workplace is “competitive” meant back stabbing; blame shifting; work shifting and so on.

You have decides or is forced to find another job and find yourself receiving a worse off compensation package than two jobs before.

Project Manager and Contract Job

When your boss names you as the project manager or you took up a contract job, it is the end of your permanent job.

Welcome to the Real World: Education is a Factory System

You would wonder why you incurred both the costs and time required to obtain your post graduate degree when you do not get any mileage of your job in terms of promotion or better rewards and compensation.

The education system is still a factory system that produces people to work at jobs for business.

We have to depend on ourselves for survival

When something happens to our employer or our job, the only thing we know how to do is look for another Job. If we cannot find another job, we will starve.

The Employer Has the Pick

The advantage of a factory like education system is that it produces many people competing over each other for a job. The ones that did not get a job just starve.

For a business, it is a different story, other than exceptions; businesses have more than one customer. Most businesses will survive if they keep things simple and headcounts small.

The Employer Can Move His Jobs

If the employer finds that it is to his costs advantage, he could chose to set up his factories in another country or outsource the jobs completely.

Culture is Important Too

Every work place culture is so differently. It is a consistent impression that the culture in Japanese companies is such:

  • They want your complete conformity.
  • They want you to do everything.
  • They want you to work long hours.
  • They want to pay you cheap.

 

Non-profit organizations have committee that can give instructions to job holders despite having no or have outdated experience in one’s functional area.

Life Has Its Surprises

Businesses start and close. Businesses change hands. Good bosses are replaced with bad ones. Good colleagues are replaced with bad ones. Business processes that once ran well is now in a depleted condition.

Losing Your Job Close to Retirement

One of the worst thing that can happen is when you lose your job when you are older. People do not want to hire not because you are old but because you are more experienced and because you performed better.

The Bottom Line

Maybe someone out there has a rosy job, but it is not true for us. There is no perfect job. If it is not too bad, we have to learn to take the good with the bad.

If we are not looking for this, do something other than a job. The secret to life is to find and do what you are naturally good at.