Name Card

I received my name card today — my very first name card! It’s certainly a personal milestone for me. I remember when I was still in primary school, taking a stack of my dad’s name cards and pretending they were mine; I’d go around and pretend I was a businessman, giving out these name cards like they were my own — oh how proud I was!

When I told the fiancée today, she seemed even more excited than me. I’ve saved the first for her.

Love what you do, and the money will follow. Or will it?

I recently read an article on how an author went around interviewing rich people in an attempt to find out their “secrets to success”. What he found was that these rich people tended not to seek money for its own sake. In essence, the author found that you should pursue what you love, for the money will follow. Those who seek money for its own sake are doomed to failure.

This recommendation made some sense. Doing what you love should lead you to want to do it more and doing it more should lead to an increased skill in doing it. As you get better at what you do, you have increasingly fewer competitors who can compete with your skills, allowing you to charge more for your services. But as much as I’d like to agree with this very romantic notion of do what you love and the money will follow, I find a few serious flaws with the author’s findings.

Firstly, you have to be able to monetise what you love to do. It is of no monetary use being able to balance a straw on your nose if you can’t figure out a way to make money out of it. It takes more than just love for a particular activity to make money from it.

Secondly, such findings cannot be verified unless a similar study was conducted on the less wealthy, and it was found that they were seeking money for its own sake and not loving what they did – in other words, the study lacked a control group. Many people could love what they did while still earning less than those who hated what they did.

Finally, I was reminded on how my enjoyment to any activity often depended on my success in it. For example, when I was pretty good at football, I found that my enjoyment of it rose; and when I was bad at it, I tended not to enjoy it as much. If I were a rich man who enjoyed his riches, I’d probably tend to think of what I did in a more positive light. It’s really difficult to tell which came first: the money or the enjoyment?

I’m all for the idea that you should do what you love and the money will follow. But I’m just not so confident that the logic works. Many people love what they do but the money doesn’t follow, while others hate what they do while watching the money roll in. It’s also too hard to tell when the enjoyment started – did you like your job before you started getting rich from it, or did you start liking your job after you started getting rich from it?

I’m Blessed

I’m currently undergoing one of the worst bouts of sickness I’d ever undergone in a long, long time. Fever, cough, a sorethroat so bad swollowing my own saliva feels like swollowing glass, a running nose, and to top it off, a body ache brought about by Sunday’s 10km trail run. I’m in ridiculous pain.

Thank goodness for a supportive family and our trusty Nissan Sunny. Thank you mom for the countless trips home from the MRT, which though were only 10 minutes walk away felt like a marathon in my condition. Thank you dad for the sudden inclination to go out to buy me cans of coconut juice and chrysanthmum tea; it helped me sleep much better at night.

And thank goodness for a wonderful fiancee who came down from Jurong the previous night armed with six bottles of “Three Arms Cooling Water”, a box of Strepsils, two cans of Coke and two cans of 100 Plus, and two blocks of some random Chinese medicinal sugar concotion.

I’m blessed, I know.

The Confirmation Appraisal

I think that I had neglected to tell you that I went for my confirmation appraisal just the other day (last Thursday). What that means is that I am now a confirmed permanent staff of my present company. Just like to express to my company my sincere thanks, and that I’m filled with gratitude that I was hired when I was, and thankful to fate or God that it was for this position.

I’d also like to congratulate my company for an excellent hire; you have made a great choice, and you cannot believe how lucky you are to have me.

Entrepreneurship and Full-time Work

A couple of days ago I had a talk with a good friend of mine, also an aspiring entrepreneur, regarding entrepreneurship. Though we shared many similar thoughts regarding this subject, it was when we differed that I learned the most. At one point of our conversation, the reasons why we were so driven toward becoming an entrepreneur came up.

“To get out of the corporate life,” he said, looking at me for evidence of agreement. But I didn’t (couldn’t) say anything; instead, I returned him a look that said, “Really? Well, I’d like to know why, please go on.”

He paused for a while before asking me, “don’t you dislike the corporate life?”

I smiled and replied, “no.”

“You mean you like your job?” he asked incredulously.

“Yes,” I said. “I pretty much like my job. I don’t know if I’ll like it a few years down the road, but right now I’m really enjoying it.”

“Still,” I added, “I’d like to start my own business.”

His remark on escaping corporate life surprised me; but perhaps even more so, was my reaction to it. In a way, the surprise may come from hearing how terrible “corporate life” was one too many times, that I just assumed that I hated my job when I didn’t.

I really do enjoy my (day) job, and it never occurred to me that starting my own business would be a way to get away from it. For me, it was never a case of “either/or”; there was never a question about my leaving my job — or at least not for the first few years.

What If I Actually Wrote Great Content?

I was just looking through my website statistics, and noticed that two webpages made up more than 80% of my website traffic: Moon Represents My Heart by Teresa Teng and What is Dry Humour?. Although these two posts are as different as night and day, they are similar in one important aspect: they are useful and informative. Just imagine if every post I wrote was like that, I think that’d be pretty neat!

Internal Talent Scouting

I went for an “interview” with a corporate HR person yesterday, from a department called Talent Management. Before you think how to yourself, “wow”, allow me to admit that I wasn’t exclusively chosen for it — I was one of the 200-or-so (probably more) marketing people who were. Though I must applaud the company for actually taking the pains of interviewing every single one of us (there were many, many of us), I have to say I didn’t quite understand what it was for.

For one thing, we weren’t briefed at all beforehand what this interview was about — the only information we were given were the time and place, and who we were going to be interviewed by; and so when most of us went in, we had no idea what to expect. And from the few accounts that I heard about, I could surmise that everyone’s interview had a different focus (I had “education”; another colleague seemed to have “culture”; and another appeared to have simply a “tell me about yourself”-type of focus),

Interviewing without letting the interviewee know what it was for? And then interviewing without a common theme (so the later ones would know what it was for)? What was this, a random fact-finding session?

Learn from this — don’t do it. If a group of blind-folded people are asked to walk, without being given any hints on where to go, you can be sure they’ll scatter. And what’s the point in that?