Saturday, January 06, 2007

Are kids and their parents paying attention to employment trends in S'pore these days? There are no "conventional" jobs any more. The reality of our situation is that regardless of our line of study, there is no reason to assume that our career will fall neatly in line with it.

According to this Star article, there is no lack of employment opportunities here, as long as job-seekers are flexible. Our education does not determine our career destiny. Whichever path our parents have set us on -- doctor, engineer, lawyer -- the world is too unpredictable to allow us to be as deterministic about our own futures.

So why study all the way up to the U then? Obviously, because the qualification is often nice to wave around. But if that's all you're after, you're a very sad person. If all you're gonna do is study, then that's all you're training to do. And the career prospects of grads specialized in sitting at a desk pretending to read difficult books are quite limited these days.

Whatever your faculty, studying at the U is a chance to mix around with the best and the brightest people on the planet, including one or two of your professors. You can discuss, argue and debate your theories and ideas with like-minded people and thereby shape an intelligent view of the world; and network with the people you are likely to be working with, or for, in the near future.

And it's not just in the classrooms or lecture halls, either. The pubs, the clubs and the socials present lots of opportunities to talk to people who will become decision-makers in time. So it's best to go make nice with them before they become unapproachable. You'll never know if the dweeb you picked up off the floor after the jocks have stampeded through might become the next Bill Gates, or if your scruffy buddy on the football pitch might become the next PotUS.

Just don't get locked into the "degree = good job" idea. The degree itself is only a piece of paper after all (at the most it'll grant you a job interview) but if that's all you're interested in, that's all you're gonna get. It's the experience and the process of how you obtained it that's more likely to determine what your next step is going to be. Enjoying a varied lifestyle on campus means more flexibility of career options for when Mom starts her "Get A Job" whine six months after your graduation.

Friday, January 05, 2007

First 3 days back at work and already as of right now I haven't slept in more than 24 hours. Partially that's my own fault, but running a newspaper means holding off deadlines until the most current and relevant articles are ready. I'm paying the price for that, I suppose, with last night's all-nighter. Hope it's not an indication of things yet to come.

Need sleep....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Funny that ST should be featuring a front-page article on various career people being unable to take leave because of work commitments. The article is clear that their companies are not forcing them to forfeit their leave, these busy executives just don't feel comfortable or secure enough to take their entitled time off.

It isn't just a local phenomenon, it occurs in other countries like Japan, UK and Oz as well, with staff who would rather trade their leave entitlement for cash or some other benefit, or in some cases are prepared to have it forfeited altogether.

I'm personally ambivalent about the whole thing. I'm just fresh out from my Christmas vacation and I've had a great time in HK, and it's wonderful to have time to just chill, no responsibilities and all. But there have also been empty times during which I thought wistfully about the hustle and excitement of campus life, and the good company I keep in the staffroom.

People who define themselves by the work they do are going to find those days of white leave space so much more dull and lonely than anything I've ever experienced. No wonder leave taking can be so daunting for them.

Also, I wonder if it could be due to a misplaced sense of self-importance. Many of the respondents cited reasons of being so needed at work that they can't take leave. Right. Given our last round of corporate retrenchments not so very long ago, we should have learned by now: no one is irreplaceable.
"Night at the Museum" reminds me that it's time to get off my fat, lazy ass, and get back to work. There'll be so much bedlam on the first day on the job, and just when you think it's all under control, all hell breaks loose again and makes you wonder if you really do have what it takes to make it through another year. But hey, courage, mon ami, we'll turn chaos back to order, we'll eradicate our differences by working towards our common good, and we'll do it all, together! Ya got that, Dumdum?

Apart from the movie, we did lunch at Azabu Sabo, Marina Bay. I would never have expected to enjoy a cold seafood ramen at all. Cold soba already turns my stomach, but here the served-straight-from-the-fridge cold ramen is creamy, fresh and slightly sweet: surprisingly edible. But it's also quite rich and there's plenty of it, so it's a dish to share. Don't be a hero.

And check out dessert! Macha ice cream, red bean paste and tangyuan (glutinous rice balls). It's fun to play with the different textures in your mouth, that is if you can bear to ruin the design it comes in. Refreshing.

Oh, and finally Momo deigns to pose nicely for a portrait. Thought I'd put this up here to mark the historic occasion!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The IKEA cafe's Swedish meatballs ran out on us while we were standing in line. Salmon and chix wings were next to go. We realized that today was an early-closing day, the kitchen being open only up till 1730, and we wound up with empty trays and rumbling tummies.

Next best thing was to run downstairs and grab 1kg of frozen meatballs for a nice, home-cooked New Year's eve dinner for 2. And yes, the meal is quite simple to put together. There are about 50 meatballs in a pack, and gravy powder to which you need to add some whipping cream to thicken. With boiled potatoes, a teaspoon of cranberry sauce and a glass of pineapple juice June bought in the Philippines, we're all set.

Spent the rest of the evening makin' nice with a vacuum cleaner hose, getting our floor spotless again before Old Man 2006 exits, stage left. But in less than an hour's time, it'll be a very "Happy New Year" to everyone!

Count down with me... 3... 2... 1...!