Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Slight Edge Philosophy

This great article reminded me of what my mentor has been teaching me.

Hope this can be an enlightenment to those who are not taking actions in their life but choose to blame everything else except themselves.

Those who takes weeks to update their resume. Those who provide wrong advices to their friends thinking they have seen it all. Those who follow their friends advice but never think carefully themselves. Those who choose to mix with negative friends. Those who are unhappy in their work and life but they do not do anything about it. Those who choose to go out to friends' gathering instead of carrying a test that make one closer to understand what they want in life, which may potentially change their life.

I guess a lot of people have not been very wise and matured.

Enjoy this article from Jeff Olson and let's take actions NOW. NOT next year. It is NOW. It should have been YESTERDAY. Also, please do not put it in a New Year Resolution.

When you were a tiny, little child, you made your way around the world on your hands and knees crawling. Everyone around you was walking and one day you got it into your head to give that a try.

So, little by little, you worked on developing the skills you needed to walk. You grabbed on to something above you and pulled yourself upright. You stood up, holding on to a table or chair or big stuffed animal. Wobbly and unsure, you let go, fell down, and tried again and again, until you stood up all by yourself. Then, you took a step.

The older people you watched took one step after another: right foot, left foot, right foot, left ...but you managed only one step-and you crashed.

After days of side-stepping around the coffee table, awkwardly bringing one little foot out from behind the other while you held on to Mom's or Dad's fingers, you eventually took your first couple of steps... all alone...all by yourself...and (hopefully) to the cheers and applause of your family.

Baby steps. One at a time. And you were WALKING!

IN THE PROCESS OF LEARNING HOW TO WALK, you probably spent more time failing than you did succeeding. But did you ever have the thought of quitting? Did you ever tell yourself, "I'm not cut out for walking-guess I'll crawl for the rest of my life?" No, of course you didn't. So, why do you do that now?

What's different today with any goal you want and desire you have for accomplishing anything? When did you lose the ability to make a goal, go for it, and get it? How come you don't do what you did when you were one or two years old?

The answer is alarming, yet simple:

Somewhere along the way in your life, you became unwilling to take baby steps. You lost faith in the universal truth that the simple little disciplines done again and again over time would move the mightiest mountains.

Shakespeare said "to climb steep hills requires slow pace at first," but now you put your trust in achieving breakthroughs...making quantum leaps ...instant this, instant that...hitting the lottery.

You began a habit of settling for less, just because more was so far out of your reach. You forgot about the most proven, powerful success philosophy on Earth - "The Slight Edge."

WINNING IS ALWAYS A MATTER OF SLIGHT EDGE. Who can forget that moving moment of triumph in the '94 Olympics when American speed-skater Dan Jansen at last overcame years of discouragement, disappointment, and frustration to finally win the gold medal in the 1000 meters, setting a world record of one minute, 12.43 seconds?

Do you know by how much of a margin Jansen won? Do you know what the difference was between the winning world record gold medal and the virtual oblivion of second place?

Twenty-nine hundredths of a second! That's a very light Edge!

No matter where you look, no matter in what area of accomplishment, life, work, or play-the difference between winning and losing, between going down in the record books as first and best...or not at all-the gap that separates success and failure is always measured as ... THE SLIGHT EDGE.

And the best news of all is that it's not just the winning goal that's THE SLIGHT EDGE. The Slight Edge is the process itself that all winners use to achieve their goals.

A PENNY A DAY, DOUBLED FOR A MONTH... If you were offered $1,000,000 (one million dollars) right now, or a penny a day, doubled each day, for one month, which would you choose? Unless you've read this illustration before, like most people, you'll probably choose the right-now million. But you'd be making the wrong choice. One penny, doubled every day for a month adds up to $10,737,418...and 24cents. Compound interest. Leverage. Doubling. Geometric growth. It all adds up-and that's YOUR SLIGHT EDGE.

With THE SLIGHT EDGE, time is on your side. What if you gave yourself five years to become twice the person you are today: to earn twice the income, have twice the personal relationships and contacts, make twice the impact on the world, enjoy twice the quality of life? Could you do it? How would you do it?! Ask yourself honestly, "If I doubled my efforts... if I had twice as much time...if I became twice as smart. if I worked twice as hard as I do today ... could I really become twice as productive as I am right now? No, you couldn't, and you know it.

But wait! There is a way to become two, three, four, and more times as productive as you are today. THE SLIGHT EDGE.

IF YOU WERE TO IMPROVE just .003 each day - that's only 3/10 of one percent, a very Slight Edge-and you kept that up for the next five years, here's what would happen to you:

The first year, you would improve 100 percent (you would already be twice what you are today The second, you would improve 200 percent. The third year, 400 percent. And the fourth, 800 percent. And by the end of year five-by simply improving 3/10 of one percent each day-you will have magnified your value, your skills, and the results you accomplished 1,600 percent. That's
22 times more than you are today.

Just 3/10 of one percent per day-and that's NOT compounded. That's just adding on 3/10 of one percent each day. That's the awesome power of The Slight Edge. If all of this is so, then why isn't everybody using The Slight Edge? We are. All the time. Everyone. The Slight Edge is always operating. It never stops. It's either working FOR you or AGAINST you. And that's up to you. It's your choice.

THE SLIGHT EDGE IS EASY TO DO-and it is easy not to do. Now, I'm defining EASY here as simply "something you can do." The Slight Edge philosophy is based on doing things that are easy-little disciplines, which, done consistently over time, add up to the biggest accomplishments. The problem is that all those things that are easy to do are just as easy not to do. Why is something easy not to do? Because if you don't do it, it won't kill you today. But, that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgment, compounded over time, will kill you, destroy you, ruin your chances for success, and demolish your dreams. You can count on it.

Take, for example, the health issue of fat and cholesterol in your diet. Would you say that it's a good idea to eat at least a pound and a half of butter each day? How about drinking a quart
of saturated oil? "Hey, my cholesterol's way down to 200-got to get it up above 300." Crazy, right? Sure it is-but millions and millions of people are doing it every day. Why? We know what's good for us: fresh fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates like whole grains, unsaturated fats and oils, fish and chicken instead of beef. So why do we keep digging our graves with our teeth? It's easy to eat well-right? It's easy not to-right? And when you eat that hamburger, you won't die, will you?

No, of course not. But that simple error in judgment compounded over time will ruin the quality of your life and eventually take you out of your life forever!

If you ate that hamburger and you had a heart attack-would you ever eat another one? No way! Eating a hamburger won't kill you today, but compound all those greasy, dead-animal patties over 10 or 20 years-as many as 5,000 of them!-and one day your clogged-up, stressed- out, overworked ol' heart just quits! It's not the one hamburger, it's the thousands! That one hamburger is just a simple, little error in judgment. But compounded over time, it can and will destroy you. It's easy to do! It's easy not to do! Either way, The Slight Edge is at work and at play. You've got to choose which way to go with The Slight Edge. And here is what makes doing the right thing such a hard choice for most people-


DID YOU KNOW that only five percent of people succeed and 95 percent of the people fail, no matter what realm of life or work you're looking at. It's true. Just one out of 20 people will ever
achieve their goals in life. That's how the numbers crunch out; it's just the way it is. Back in the early 1950s, the Hartford Insurance Company did a survey of 100 brand new college graduates-all approximately 25 years old. They asked them this question:

"Will you achieve your financial goals within your working lives-within 40 years?" Every single one of them answered, "Yes!" Forty years later, in the early 1990s, the Hartford went back and checked out what had happened to all those now-65-years-old people. Here's what they found:

One was wealthy, Four were financially secure, Six were still working, 35 were dead, and 54 were "dead broke," having $200 or less left to spend each month after paying off their bills.

Five out of 100 had become successful. That's only one out of 20. Why? What was missing for those 95 others? The answer has to do with GRAVITY-and the downward pull of life. REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE in the fourth grade? It was expected that you'd graduate
and go on to fifth grade, wasn't it? Your teachers, your parents, and all your classmates expected you to graduate. The whole system was geared to you moving from fourth, to fifth, to sixth grade and so on.

But what if nobody cared whether or not you graduated?
What if the entire educational system, our society, and culture had absolutely no interest or expectation that kids would ever graduate to fifth grade? Would you have done it? If the structure were not in place for children to learn all the fourth grade stuff and pass the test, graduating and moving up to the new challenges of fifth grade, only five percent of us would ever do it! Ask yourself this question: Where is the expectation and the structure to support me in being a success in my life and work? The alarming fact is that outside of our formal system of education, which most experts believe to be fatally flawed anyway, there is no expectation and no structure for your success-none. We get what we expect-and only five percent of us ever expects to win and keep on expecting that. Plus, we have no structure, no system to support us succeeding in life. Isn't that heavy? Well, life is heavy. And it's heavy because the predominant force in life is gravity and it's always pulling us DOWN. It pulls 19 out of 20 people DOWN.

The Slight Edge is a success system ANYONE can use to break free of the downward pull of life and become the best you can be. Here's how you can make it work for you- FIRST, DON'T GO "WHERE THE ACTION IS!" Here's a chart you've probably seen before:


Your ACTIONS create your RESULTS, which in turn create the QUALITY OF LIFE you live and enjoy. Simple, powerful, and true. The problem is, your actions are not the source of your problem. That's why diets don't work. You see, there's another side to the equation, and that's the place where your actions come from.

Take a look at this:

ATTITUDE > Actions > Results > Quality of Life

Your actions are created by your attitudes-but attitudes aren't the heart of the matter, either. There is one thing more fundamental and essential ...Your Philosophy. Your philosophy is your paradigm of the way life is, how life works (or doesn't), and what's the best way to live your life. Simply put, there's nothing more fundamental than your philosophy. Frank Lloyd Wright said this:

No stream rises higher than its source. Whatever man might build could never express or reflect more than he was... He could record neither more nor less than he had learned of life when the buildings were built...
His philosophy, true or false, is there.

Human beings are builders by nature. Your philosophy is the foundation upon which you build your life. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ spoke of The Two Foundations. The Master spoke of a wise man who built his house upon the rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.

And Christ told of another man-a "foolish man"-who built his house on sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and burst against that house; and it fell and great was its fall.

Your philosophy is the source of your failure or success. And the philosophy I recommend you adopt is The Slight Edge.

PHILOSOPHY > Attitude > Actions > Results > Quality of Life

WHAT DO YOU THINK is the key that unlocks The Slight Edge?

When I ask this question in seminars and training, here's the answer I get back most often: "The key is knowledge." To a point, that's correct. But there's more. Educating yourself is the critical ingredient in The Slight Edge philosophy. You must acquire the knowledge you need to master any subject, and pursuit that will contribute to your personal and professional growth and development.

There are three ways for you to get this knowledge:

1) Studied Knowledge
2) Activity Knowledge
3) Modeled Knowledge

STUDIED KNOWLEDGE. Books, tapes, seminars, training; read, listen, and attend everything you can; then, read, listen, and attend some READ 20 PAGES OF AN INSPIRING, INFORMATION - RICH BOOK EVERY DAY. Pick books that make a contribution to your goals. You're either building someone else's dream or building your own. When you read romance, mystery, or detective novels, whose dream are you building-yours, or the author's and publisher's? When you read Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich-a book that took 20 years to write, that interviews the richest and most successful men and women in the world and reveals their 13 success secrets-whose dream are you building? Read 20 pages per day of an empowering book. Is that easy to do?
Sure. And that simple discipline compounded over time, like a penny doubled daily for a month, will send you to the top! Is it easy not to do? SURE. And if you don't do it, will you destroy your life and work today? No way. But that simple error in judgment, compounded over time, will pull you down and take you out of your life!

Listen to a self-improvement cassette tape for 15 minutes every day. You can listen to music on the radio in your car, building Michael Jackson's dream or Barbara Streisand's. Why not choose instead to build your own dreams? Listen to Jim Rohn's tapes. He's a master-and he'll help you build YOUR dreams. Is listening to a tape for 15 minutes a day easy to do? Of course. Is it easy not to do?... And if you don't do it, will that ruin your life right now?...

Do a self-improvement seminar or training every few months.

Better yet, do one every month. Take a course. Take two. If you don't have the time to do that, because you're playing softball every Tuesday and Thursday night, you just don't get it! If your bowling average is over 180-you're losing your Edge, right now! Skip the bowling league. Take a class instead. Is that easy to do?... Is it easy not to do?...And if you don't do it, what will happen today?... But that simple error in judgment, compounded over time WILL kill you! You'll end up a willing participant in the "conspiracy of mediocrity" that 's destroying 95 percent of the people in this country!

ACTIVITY KNOWLEDGE. Life is not a spectator sport-fish or cut bait. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. And life is not a result, either. Life is not the goal-it's the PROCESS. The road to success is always under construction. Marx was wrong: Life is both the ends and the means. Emerson said, "Do the thing and you'll have the power." You can't just go get the power and then do the thing. The only way to have the power is to do it, just do it. People constantly ask me for the key to success. "What's the one thing I can do to guarantee my success?" My answer is always the same: Be here-actively immersed in the process-one year from now. That's the right answer-don't you agree? It's The Slight Edge answer. Commit to the process. The process is THE SLIGHT EDGE. Is it easy to do?... Is it easy not to do?

MODELED KNOWLEDGE. Did you know that your income will tend to be the average of your ten best friends' incomes? (If having more income is a goal of yours, either get new friends or raise the income of the friends you have now!) If you want to raise the quality of your life, hang out with people who have been there and done that. If you want to be a great public speaker, hang out with great speakers. If you want to be a success in business, hang around successful business people. If you want to be a terrific parent, spend lots of time with men and women who have mastered parenting. Do you know why birds of a feather flock together? Because they're all going in the same direction. They share a common vision. If you're after a goal-any goal-go find the people who have achieved that goal, or who are well along the path to attaining that goal, and be with them, hang out with them, camp on their doorstep. It's called the Law of Association. It's a Law because it always works. The first commandment of The Slight Edge:

Thou shalt educate thyself.

Is it easy to do? Is it easy not to do? And if you don't do it, will you fail today? But that simple error in judgment compounded over time, will ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, GUARANTEE YOUR FAILURE! LEARNING TO LEARN is committing to the process. The Slight Edge is the process.

"The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn." -Carl Rogers Freedom

To make The Slight Edge work for you, you must learn how to learn.

Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, wrote:

"Learning is an approach, both to knowledge and to life, that emphasizes human initiative. It encompasses the acquisition and practice of new methodologies, new skills, new attitudes, and new values necessary to live in a world of change. Learning is a process of preparing to deal with new situations."

Clearly, we live in a world of change. Constant change. Rapid change. Today, we accomplish in five years what our grandparents and parents took 50 years to do. And everything's getting faster! Learning to learn is a mandatory for success today-and especially for tomorrow. Learning to learn is committing to the process. The Slight Edge is the process. Learning to learn is a choice. You make that choice moment to moment-not just once and then you're done with it for the rest of your life. Each new moment will present you with a new choice. Choose to read 20 pages a day-and you'll have to make that choice every day. Choose to model and associate with winners-and you'll have to make that choice every day as well. You have to choose to make The Slight Edge work for you-moment to moment.




I'm one of those people who are connected to nice phrases or quotes in a sentimental way. Once that happened, it will be imprinted in my mind. But sometimes, I tend to forget because I always want the easy way to things. Not anymore, I promise myself.

Well, here is one I really like:

Work like you don't need the money,
dance like no one is watching,

sing like no one is listening,

love like you will never get hurt,
and live life every day as if it were your last.

It is great to be able to start this again. Let us do ALL of these.

For love, let us take the chance to love like we will never get hurt. Love without conditions and attachments. Love ourselves first. Have courage to take loving action.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Do not lie to yourself

This came to me today.

When we are thinking and acting positively, we do not need to remind ourselves to be positive.

When we are happy, we do not need to tell ourselves to be happy.

When we are confident, we do not need to tell ourselves to not to be afraid.

When we love someone, we do not need to be afraid to get hurt.

If you are doing any of that - telling yourself to do or feel something, maybe you are lying to yourself. Please do not lie to yourself. Be truthful to yourself.

For the first time in my life, I found myself back. I do not need to tell myself anything now. I just feel it. I feel everything around me. I am free and I am ready to take on the world.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Who moved my cheese

I recalled back the slide I had on "Who moved my Cheese?" . I used to share this with my team last time , I think around 1 year ago.

It is good to read back and try to remember what was being taught here.
  1. Change Happens
  2. Anticipate Change
  3. Monitor Change
  4. Adapt to Change Quickly
  5. Change
  6. Enjoy Change !
  7. Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy it Again.
I felt this past few months, there have been so much changes for me that it makes me feel scary of what is lying ahead of me. But, I learnt that there is one 5-letter word that is the most powerful word in life, that is, FAITH.

Have faith in yourself and others!


Points of Ponder:
  • We always have people in the organization that act like Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw . Who do you act like?
Sniff – Sniff out the situation and see the change early
Scurry – go into Action immediately
Hem – wanted to stay in familiar territory and do not want to change
Haw – laugh at oneself, change and do better.
  • Do not be afraid of Change
  • Change is happening everywhere and that we will do better when we can adjust to it quickly

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Funny Facts about Farewell Email

I noticed this in my blog statistic and I cannot help to feel a little bit funny.

  1. The top search keyword that lead to my blog is farewell email, which brought about 35 visits.
    Other keywords which also bring people to me site are farewell emails, farewell email to colleagues, best farewell email, farewell e-mail, funny farewell email, farewell e-mail to colleagues, simple farewell email, workplace farewell email, writing farewell email to colleagues.

  2. I tried to search farewell email in Google, and found my blog is in the ranking of 20, at page 2. I consider this to be quite a good achievement. Maybe I am helping a lot of people to write farewell email.

  3. The page with top pageviews is my farewell email and another funny farewell email I have gotten from the web.

Pages Pageviews % Pageviews
620 51.71%
79 6.59%
49 4.09%
47 3.92%
26 2.17%

This prompted me to believe in few things:
1. A lot of people are quitting their jobs.

2. Most people believe there are some standard farewell emails that they can use , much like the interview cover letter, thank you letter, etc.

3. Farewell email can be hard to write , especially, not all of us are doing that quite often. Also we want to leave a good image to the company or colleagues before we leave, so we want some quality in the farewell email. Thus, it is worth the time to do some search on the farewell email.

4. My farewell email is unique and nice. So, probably, Google Search Engine realize that. LOL.


Updated on 14 May 2008:
Hi readers,
I know you probably get to this post by searching for farewell emails. I hope you like what you are reading and continue to visit my blog, where I share my experience and knowledge.

Since you are looking for farewell emails, my "clever" guess is that you are moving to new jobs. Then you might need to read about Corporate Games aka Office Politics and 3 principles in doing everything in life.

21 Irrefutable Laws of Relationship With Your Spouse. Rule No. 4: Law of Bullying Each Other

All of us are definitely no saints, so I guess, there are times we want to be a little bit cruel and act like a spoiled King or Queen.

I supposed most of us cannot behave like King or Queen in the workplace. If not, we risk being fired by our bosses or receive complaints from our colleagues. So, the best person where we can vent our frustration and madness are usually at our other half. Poor thing. Who say love has to be beautiful all the time?

Anyway, as long as we have fun bullying each other, it will be something exciting that we share in the relationship. Caution is - it has to be two-ways. When it is only one-sided, the relationship will stand a chance of being miserable, at least for the person who always get bullied. It also means, if you always get bullied, try to pick up the game and retaliate.

Do note that physical harm or aggressive behaviors are strictly not what I am talking about here. If your partner ever lay a hand on you so much as to cause you pain or small bruises, dump him/her immediately. Tell your close friends and family so that they can protect you and look out for you. You may even report to the police.

In this case, I think girls have advantages over guy. It seems normal for girl to apply physical pain to the guys. I saw a lot of girls pinching their partners really hard, not me though. My boyfriend is so lucky. LOL. However, it would seem serious if guys apply the same amount of pain to girls. Maybe guys can use a little of tickling, soft poking or just some verbal bullying (red alert on this for some girls).

Here are some examples of the bullying scenario. Please take caution when you try this at home or at anywhere with your spouses. There is no guarantee there will be no adverse effect. Practice extra caution if your spouse is a sensitive person.

Ask your girl friend to pamper you a bit like giving you a ride on the bicycle or driving you to someplace. Who say guys, who are of the stronger sex, always need to do the hard labour or be drivers all the time? Girls can be very much physically strong and independant. When she does agree, do something naughty to give her a hard time. (But make sure she is smart enough to discover what you are doing, else there is not much fun. LOL)

When your boyfriend do something that provoke your nerve, give him some physical hints. But pretend you calm and not really mad at him.

Now, to all the guys, please be smart and take the hints when your girlfriends do this to you. If you do not do anything to win her back or pretend there is nothing wrong, I guarantee you the bullying will get more aggravated. At least, ask what is wrong with her. Or maybe you can start doing the same thing she is doing to you and make it becomes a competition to see who can win this. If you can make her forget what get her mads at the first place and let her win the competition, I think there are large chances that you can sleep soundly during that night.

This is the scenario:
Boyfriend does a cool sport (judo, football, badminton) . Girlfriend start looking at him with admiration until she smells his sweaty body and complain on the smell. This crush the Boyfriend's machoism and for pay back, he pokes his girlfriend a little. Girl complaint he is mean and maybe retaliate a bit. A mixture of verbal and physical bullying can be fun sometimes. But do remember to control the heat.

So, let's try the bullying game. Be naughty and be creative. But if you have any bad consequences after trying out this, please do not track me down to kill me.

Previous related posts:


Rule No. 1: Laws of True Self

Rule No. 2: Laws of Acceptance

Rule No. 3: Laws of Paying Attention

Friday, 30 November 2007

Making the Most of What We Have

An interesting article on keeping a positive outlook.

Sometimes, seeing the silver lining is all you need to keep your business burning bright.

These are the few things the author highlighted:
  • Stay positive because it helps you be creative during stressful times.

  • If the seafood is going to spoil anyway, you might as well enjoy a great meal while you can.

  • Keep a sense of humor at all times.

  • Vote with your wallet.
I always keep these few values in check. And I will continue to make sure of this.

Looking back at my previous company, I was always there at the most critical moments in the company. There were major cases of database corruption, critical performance problem with the application, screw-up of processes. The only critical moment that I was not involved physically involved urgent migration of application & DB to another machine due to server hacking. That night, I was unable to sleep well, not because I was worried (everyone should know I sleep like pig) but I received calls multiple times throughout the nights. That night also, due to stress, the 3 people involved ( 2 operation guys and 1 developer) started to come out with funny names for the machine, database, folders, etc.. For e.g. we found names like "the-return-of-application-x", "appxOK" and the name of the 3 persons are found everywhere.

It maybe the most stressful times, but, unbelievably, I think they enjoy it as I also enjoyed all those crazy moments. I am not joking about either the criticalities or the enjoyment. They were all heck of the problems. If the problems were not solved within 1 day, there would be serious implications and I might say, our customers could sue us or take away the business. And that may be the end of the company.

So, let me recalled some of the pressuring yet fun nights I have had:
  • In earlier day of deployment of a major application in the company (early because we only have few customers using the application back then), we stayed back really late. At one time, we stayed through the night and straight headed to eat dim-sum as breakfast at around 5 a.m. We spent long hours for deployment because we only have one machine, so we shut down the application, backup our database, deployed our changes, performed testing, and restored backup database before we started back the application. Believe me, all these are done in a production machine. When you do not have the resources, you will make do with whatever you have.

    Well, we did some mistakes back then because of this also, like during the testing, the application would sent out email alert. Well, at sometimes, we forgotten to reset the emails in our "test database" which caused the real customers to receive the testing email.

  • When the same application grew, of course, we started to have other dedicated machines for testing so we abandoned our old RISKY practice. Well, to be honest, not a lot of people could do that, switching live application to test and vice versa. Only the most careful and talented bunch of people could do that, ahem, which included me. Obviously.

    Well, as the application grew, we started to have more programmers working on the application. That was when another problem arose.
    One day, the application started to have serious performance problem. It was down every 1 hour or so. We were busy the whole day, while trying to find the root cause and solutions, we needed to actually "pressed the button" (actually, is click on the mouse to restart the Window Service) to restart the application every now and then.

    That night, the 3 person responsible to find the solutions (2 developers (included me) and 1 operation guy) got home early. Wait, we were not lazy people. Neither were we irresponsible. We just got home, took bath, packed our stuffs, met each other somewhere and had a very nice dinner of mixed korean and japanese cuisine. Then we headed to the data center and spent the night there troubleshooting what was wrong. One of my colleague then also had bought some vitagens drink and instance cup noodles. So we were like eating the whole night because it was a little too cold at the data center.

    We did some testing on the application, ate, ran through health check on the machine , drank some vitagens, ate again (this time asked one of the guy to buy some food outside), ran some profiling tools to detect the problems, ate again, then looked into the log. After sometimes, it seemed like there were some connection leakages in the application.

    Only at around 7:30 a.m., we were only able to find the root cause of the problem. We were already giving up and were ready to call our boss to give him the bad news. That was when I suddenly remembered we have done a deployment the day before. And when I ran a check on the changed code, alas, found the method that opened the DB connection but did not close it. The changes were done by a programmer who just joined the company back then.

    It was actually a no-brainer to find out the root cause if only we can put all the bits and parcels together but only managed to find out after the whole night. But, maybe it was the cold or the constant eating that keep us from thinking logically.
  • On another case, at around 10 p.m., I received a call from the operation guy that the live database was corrupted after he tried to extend the table space. Seeing the hours needed to spend in the office, I packed my clothes, my cuddly Winney-the-Pooh toy (need the moral support!), wore my spec and waited for the guy to come to my house to pick me up. He came and then we went to 7-11 the 24-hours shop to buy instant-cup-noodles , food and drinks like we were going to picnic. Well, to keep the story short, we tried to restore the database from tape, only to find that the restoration cannot be done. Thus, we dug up the database backup to disk 1 week ago, restored that and then started to import all the documents backed to the system to make it up-to-date. We were still doing this, when the people started arriving at work at the next day. I was still wearing my ugly spec. (I looked ugly and geeky in it). People also started wondering what had we been doing all night there. Then we had breakfast with our boss downstairs. Definitely, he was very thankful we made it (again) and because also we need to wait for sometimes to see whether the application was running fine . Only around slightly before noon, then we were able to go back. Well, I still can recall the feeling of collapsing to the bed like a dead person.

  • As I tried to recall more nights spent in the office and I think there were at least 4 more. But since I have written so long and my mind is a bit fuzzy right now, I just briefly talked about them. Some of the nights involved running stress testing on the test machine because the application is having some performance problem, some documents were missing and need to be recovered, very slow DB and SQL (somehow found that some of the tables were analyzed automatically. Why this cause the slowness? If you want to know, buzz me personally and I tell you) . And the most recent of the 2 occasions before I left my ex-company were the database migration and the live database could not be started after being shut down for a short maintenance.
So, looking back, I felt I had been there. The worst possible situation, maybe. And I have gone through them without feeling really panicky and stressed out. One ex-colleague asked me this, why I did not seem to feel the panic and actually looked quite relax. I told her, what problems does it solves when we feel panicky and stressed out. It will not help the situation at all , make us unable to think well to solve the problems and also affect those around us. We should not be afraid of our mistakes or problems, but embrace it with positive outlook that we are going to solve the problems no matter what.

Well, recently, I have been through a lot of things that make it difficult to stay positive. Uncertainties loom ahead of me, different environment, different people I see everyday, different sleep patterns ( it kills me to wake up so early these days), deteriorating health (I have been having diarrhea for past 1 month - on and off), etc. But, when I think of those critical moments where I had to stay up for the whole night to solve those problems before the sunrise the next day, when I still can remain positive and calm while still having some fun, I guess I can still take on more things currently and still be positive.

Maybe, like what my friend suggested, I should try to blog about more relaxing things like relationship thingy. Who want to continue to hear me rambling about mindsets and my job challenges anymore? LOL

Sometimes, we do not need to be too hard on ourselves. Forgive our own mistakes but look for ways to improve and change for the better.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Mindsets of young people today

This is my third consecutive posts on mindsets. And I believe this will be the best. But , unfortunately, this post is about mistakes that people make. I am sharing this with you so that you can learn from other people mistake instead of making your own.

I want to start off with my own mistake first.

I realized today I am too soft and lenient with the people I have managed so far. Terrible mistake. In a way, I am pampering the people and have not given them the chances to learn more, especially to learn from the hard way. Up until this point, I always think I am a good manager. I plan for people careers, I share things with them, I buy good books for them and I truly care about them as persons. This is also my another mistake. Because I care for them, I have already mixed my logics with my feelings and emotions until to the points I can no longer see their mistakes and hold them responsible for it. I cover for them, and I give them excuses to fail themselves and to fail me.

I become a pampering snob - pampering myself and people around me. I guess my ex-boss and other more matured people (please notice that I am not saying elder people because maturity does not always correlate with age.) were trying to tell me this before. Yes, most of the young people today is really too pampered. Honestly speaking, I choose to ignore that as I cannot quite get it at that point. That is until my mentor demonstrated this to me today. A demonstration that really make great impact on myself. He hit the right button. Real hard. What a great lesson.

So, I will tell you the mistakes that some people had made which are great deterrents for them in their career and life. In some cases, I have made the same mistakes. Because honest to God, I have quite an unpolished mindsets myself. And I am looking forward to change this. So, I hope everyone will.

1. Do not plan well and have their priorities wrong.

My friend made a terrible mistake today. He was supposed to have a casual appointment with a great businessman at 2:30 p.m. I am saying casual, because the setup is outside the company. He planned to go to blood donation before the appointment at 1:30 p.m. with his friends. His friends were late and ended up he went to the blood donation at 2 p.m. and was late for the meeting.

Unexpectedly (or should be it expected , anyway?) , the businessman refused to see him. He lost his chance because he had not planned well and have the wrong priorities. First of all, he need to realize this maybe a good opportunity for him and this opportunity maybe rare. He should never underestimate the values of a chance to meet and talk to great people.

And in the split seconds that he decided to go on with the blood donation even when it was already 2 p.m. and know that half an hour is probably not enough time to finish it and be on time, he had make a huge mistake even though it may seems like a normal things to do - to go on with the initial plan and do not adjust. Do not get me wrong, blood donation is as important as meeting a successful people to talk about career and life because blood donation may save someone life. But blood donation can be done after the appointments instead. Keeping to our words and showing up on time for the appointment is very important because time is always precious to everybody. Especially for people who are successful, their time is more precious.

2. Do not know what they want in life

I am always dissappointed when I come across people who told me they do not know what they want in life, in their career. Even when I try to tell them, "please think about what you really want in life and your career", it always end up the same. They come back to me and tell me they just do not know.

It is sad. Yes, maybe they are young. But, it is almost impossible for them to achieve anything if they do not know what they want in the first place. If they do not know what they want, they will not fight for it. Without fighting for it, they will not get it. Unless they get really lucky and manage to get to somewhere in life. But, how lucky they can be and for how long?

For me, I know even before completion of my college, I want to start my own business one day. I give myself 5 years to achieve that, which did not happen but at least I know what I want. I heard from a friend also what she wants is for the family to have a good life that in her late days , she does not need to worry financially. This is perfect for me too. Even though, she did not specify how to get there, but she has this picture and goal in mind. That is already enough.

One person told this , she thinks she wants her own career and do not want to be dependant on other people. She definitely wants a good life. But she is not very ambitious and are not willing to sacrifice. She wants to have her own life after work and should not be bothered with office issues whenever she is not in the office. And she said all these in a job interview. Surprised? Maybe she does not want the job at all, and fair enough, she is not going to get it. That comes to my next point also.

3. Do not want to sacrifice

I guess I am stressing on this in all my recent posts. Why do people believe good things come rolling without any efforts, I really have no idea.

There is an old story in China. One day, a farmer passed by the wood and saw a rabbit accidentally hit the tree and died. He took the rabbit home and cooked it. He had the most wonderful dinner in his life. That got him thinking. Life can be as good as this. Why he had to work hard for it? So, the next day, the day after next and days that follows, he sat nearby the tree each days and waited for another rabbit to hit the tree and die. In times, he completely ignored his farm and it became totally useless. So, do you think the farmer can survive? How many rabbit do you think will hit the tree again?

4. Do not have enough fighting spirit

If you hear success stories from successful people who have make it out on their owns, one thing you may notice is that these people may have some very terrible past, like maybe have been or have been on the verge of bankruptcy, cheated, and even suicidal attempts.

They are successful because once they are reborn after the trauma, they fight a lot better and with greater spirit.

5. Do not want to take risk or venture out of comfort zone but want a fast rewards

Think of this. A person that is given a good salary and have a good position in a company. But the company is struggling at times, makes some mistakes and the person feel lost sometimes in what she is doing. So, an opportunity come along that may have potential to change her life and give her what she really wants in life. But she ask , is it going to be the same in 2 years time, that she will back to where she is , doing what she is doing today, making the same mistakes?

There is absolutely no guarantee in everything, right? Opportunities are only opportunities if one grabs it and know how to turn it into rewards. Otherwise, it will just be the wind flowing by.

If we have a good opportunity and we do not live up to it or not scale up to do the job, we cannot blame anyone but ourselves. If we want to stick to what we are doing even without the clear direction and unwilling to take the risk, then maybe we should forget our the fast rewards and instead think of the progressive rewards we will be getting - promotions and salary increase. Both rewards for good depends on how one thinks.

6. Do not feel confident

When one say, I want to build something great, but I really do not know whether I can do it because I do not have much experiences and the past experiences I have is all but failures - they are giving themselves excuses to fail. So, if the next product really fails, they will say, 'See, I already said I have no experience and we do not know what is really the right thing to build. '

Be confident. Say and believe you can do it. Say 'I want to make a million in x years'. Do not say 'I want to make a million in x-y years provided the market is good and I am lucky.'

7. Do not ask enough (intelligent) questions

Always be prepared with questions to ask. Do not assume things. I am sure everybody does not know everything. There must be some questions to ask to explore more things and to get other people to share what we do not know.

Always ask questions . Intelligent one. Only when you ask, people can give you more. Nobody want to spoonfeed people.

If you meet successful people, ask how they do it. Maybe, most will not tell you exactly how they do it or you may not be able to digest the information and execute accordingly, but still ask anyway. One day, you may just get lucky and someone may just say 'Come, let me show it to you'.

Always have a mind that wonder why things are the way they are. Then, take action. Always take actions.

My mentor told me this interesting story of when he went to his first class of psychology. There was a woman standing in front of everyone and started to strip. Everyone wondered what was going on and whether they were in the right class. My mentor, he got out of the room, not because he did not want to continue looking at the naked woman..LOL, but just to check the classroom no. to ensure that was the correct class . Of course, the class was right and he got immediately right back in (u should know why..LOL) . After he got in, the professor asked his name and what he was doing. He have done the right thing that day, because while everyone was wondering on the same thing but very unfocused (because of the naked beautiful lady), he actually acted upon his wonder. Well, from there onwards, his professor like him very much and he became a very good mind and people reader.

So, such a long list of what I have learnt today. I hope this ring a bell to someone. And I hope people who are making these mistakes will acknowledge this and start to change.

Yes, we all make mistakes and our mindsets are programmed from childhood until now through what we have experienced. The key is to continue to grow our mindset to the correct one.

I shared this article last time with my ex-colleagues. I think it is still very applicable to all people.

Through more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.

What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she’s sought out wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to business management and personal development.

So, you may not really be an intelligent or very talented person. But all you need is hardwork, sacrifices and someone who may be able to guide you to the road of success. Everything else can be trained.

Also, that's why even if you are making mistakes today, please do not give up on yourself.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Mindsets of Higher Level

While I have quite a number of requirements for the mindsets of my dream team, my mentor had different requirements for me.

As I compared them with my lists , I find it will be another level for me to learn and master all these:
  • Practice self-control
    Keep in control of everything and anything, be it while we are walking, sleeping , talking, etc. These things will betray us if we are not in control.

  • Get in touch with logic.
    Logic should always win over feeling and emotion.

  • Never associate with negative people

  • Do not assume things
    When in doubts, always ask. Do not assume anything as wrong maybe right and right maybe wrong. Do our homework. Be prepared.

Mindsets of My Dream Team

  • Always deliver beyond expectation.
    Go all out in everything and never settle for less.
  • Result-oriented.
    Know what is the objectives and desired results, and do all the necessary things (untold things) to make it happen. Never give excuses to fail. Always get the necessary things done.

  • Creative and always think of better ways everyday . Always ready to change. Everywhere they go, they see opportunities and things to improve.

  • Passionate about everything in life
    Product, technology. Always show enthusiasm and full energy in everything they do. Encourage and energize other people around them.

  • Willing to sacrifice their comforts
    Success need a lot of sacrifices

  • Willing to take risk
    My mentor's favorite "Do not be wishy-washy". They have to trust and go with their guts feelings

  • Persistent .
    Will not give up easily. They can give up the approaches or methods along their way but they never give up their dreams.

  • Sharing
    Always share and help other people but still can perform very well individually. Challenge and argue about things together. Never be afraid to let other great people go ahead of them. View it as a good competitive pressure.

  • Appreciative
    Know what, how and when to be appreciative. Is thankful for small little things. Instead of complaining, they take action to rectify the situations. Always show appreciation for the team.
Right people in the team can make a hell of differences in the company and in any settings. From the book "From Good to Great" - Always get the right people on the bus , then only decide where to go.

Blogging during lunch again

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

When we have to make sacrifices

Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.

Everyone wants success. Everyone wants to get rich. But why not everyone is successful and rich?

More often than not, we hear people saying this. They want balance in life. They want to spend more time having fun. They want to keep their life simple and not demand too much. They want a job that only requires them to commit 8 hours a day on weekdays and nothing more. They are happy being who are they, even if they are struggling to make the ends meet.

At the same time, they want to be successful and rich.

That is almost impossible. Unless they get lucky and hit the jackpot, I do not see there is any other ways they can get rich.

A key criteria for people to be successful is to sacrifice their comforts first. Get out of the comfort zone. Take risk. Spend long hours working and learning. Make sacrifices. What's more, one have to sacrifice the time to be with her loved ones.

Only when we are successful, we are capable to help more people. I believe this and thus I am going to take the challenge to make myself a millionaire in 2 years time. In these 2 years, I probably need to make huge sacrifices especially on my time. I do hope my loved ones will be understanding enough and will support me all the way.

And I will help others along the way. And when I really achieve success, I will help more people, especially those who have fight along with me. In my whole career life, I never have any problems sharing my knowledges and experiences with others. Of course, at most of the time, I share more with those who deserve it more than others. Life is fair at most time. Only when we give more, we will be able to take more.

When I started my management role about a year plus ago, I wrote this - "My purpose is to use my creativity and enthusiasm to support and inspire others to freely express their talents in a harmonious and loving way. My purpose is to be happy and make others happy."

I still believe I am on the right track. And this still remains as my everyday purpose.

And, I considered myself very lucky to finally find a great mentor that is willing to teach me. People may start to wonder, why my mentor choose to teach me ? Why I am suddenly given a chance of a lifetime?

Maybe my mentor see there is potential in me to grow much more. Or maybe I just get lucky. Either way, isn't it is better to believe the good things when it happens , rather than doubting and being negative about it (good-things-never-come-to-me mentality)?

And my advice for all of us - we need to be positive and always improve ourselves, because some day, someone great may come to our life and offer to mentor us. I believe this because on the other side, I will do the same when I become someone great.

Hope to post more things for sharing soon despite the hectic schedule.

Saturday, 10 November 2007


As a manager, I always stress on result-orientation (as opposed to task-orientation) and seeing the big picture for all our teams.

When I see someone discouraging that, I always feel like my mind will explode.

These are what I heard before:

1. (for a product that failed to capture market share) What you need to focus on is to complete the product development as planned. You do not need to worry about how we market and whether our product can make it to the market. We can do marketing only if we have a complete product.

2. (in a project running a big risk of delay because of resource and time constraints) You do not need to worry about the lack of resources or the risk of delay, you just need to do your part and help as much as possible. I will be totally responsible for the whole thing.

3. (for raised concerns over other departments that are not performing well or not cooperative enough) You do not need to worry about other departments or other people. You just need to make sure you and your team are doing your jobs well. I know some people are not doing their jobs quite well. But we will always have these kind of people in any organization. If they are not doing their jobs, they will not be rewarded. So, you do not need to have any concerns about them. You only need to concern about yourself. Do your job well and you will get rewarded. Do not worry about other things.

If the product cannot capture the market share, if the project get delayed and if the other departments in the same company fail, all these will have implication on the profit of the company. And if company has less profit (or maybe worse), no matter how much your contribution is, you will definitely going to be rewarded lesser than what you deserve. So, why do people tell you not to worry about something that have almost direct impact on you?

Everyone is hired to handle some parts of the work in the company to make the whole company running. Although certain people are only responsible for only certain functions, why not let them think of a company as a whole and help each others to make the company successful as one single team?

Encourage people to be result-oriented. Let them know the bigger picture so that they know what they are fighting for.

Encourage boundaryless behavior (made popular by Jack Welch). Let people perform outside their scope if they are able to .

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Things aren't always what they seem

My mentor asked me this "Do you know what you are asking for?" (He is referring to what I want him to teach me and what I want to get in my life)

Suddenly, I think of this story I read long ago. This story is about something that we may miss out if we only see from the surface of things.

So, it makes me wonder what I am really asking for ? On the surface, it may be money, or great career, power or freedom. But I think I want more than that. In fact, these are secondary. I guess what I really want is to find meaning in life, and helping others as well . Not in a spiritual or religion-related sense though.

And how do I know if I get what I ask for? I guess, like this story, I need to constantly observe and evaluate so that I can see what I have gotten beneath the surface. Because things are not always what they seem. Bad things can turn out to be great things. And I should not take things for granted. I should appreciate things in life.

Here is the story. Enjoy.

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel "How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him," she accused. "The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die."

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem." Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every out come is always to your advantage. You might not know it until some time later...

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Fakin' It

Stanley Bing wrote in his latest column in Fortune - Look, all of us who enter a work location everyday pretend, to one degree or another, to be something that we are not. We act as if we are cheerful when we are down in the dumps. We make financial projections we do not believe. If we are in banking, we profess confidence even when we are soiling our shorts.

For me, there are times when I portray to have more confidence than I actually have.
To be brave even though I am cowering inside.
To be hardworking and aggresive, even though all I want is some lazy and sluggish days.

Is this considered lying to the outside world? Pretending to be great?

How about those who actually believe they are someone they pretend to be? For example of a person who wonders "I am warmth, kind and caring to people, why people still not like me?", the answer is he is not. Maybe he believes that, but the truth is, he is just pretending to be warmth, kind and caring. People may be able to sense that and might not be comfortable around him.

I guess, no matter what we pretend to be, sometimes, we just need to tell the truth. I did tell my boss recently that I am a bit stressed out and lost in the current project that I am helping out. There is a huge risk for delay of the project. In doing that, I am telling him indirectly to look out for me in case I really fail to deliver. From a manager point of view, it is always good to warn your bosses what is coming rather the common "I am OK" or "Everything's fine" when things can always go wrong! Too many bosses had complained about their subordinates who tell them everything is fine, but "suddenly" some problems just appear from nowhere after a short period of time.

I found out that my boss did notice this (my predicament) even without me telling him. However, I think both of us feel better after I admitted it openly to him. At least, I am being honest to myself and to him.

So, maybe it is ok not to pretend to be the cool or the great person that you think you need to be? Maybe, it is just ok to smile and laugh at your own mistakes ? This made me remember my blunder yesterday. During an introduction in a meeting, I asked a person his name when I was already introduced to him on last Friday and I just spoken to him through the phone minutes ago to ask him where the meeting would be held. Because of the person's funny reaction, everyone was laughing, including myself. It felt great also to be able to laugh at my own self at this.

(Ok, that almost end my rambling).......

If you want to read Stanley Bing's column in Fortune, monitor the following link. I always read his column first when I receive my latest copy of Fortune. It is entertaining at most of the time. The article which I am saying here will be available soon in the site. Take note of this latest article in the website aslo - Of human brandage . Funny story, yet there is a lot of truth in it.

(Sorry, I continue to ramble).................

I am very busy in this period of times. So, I will be posting less frequently and also will have shorter post. But do not worry, I will try to keep up with blogging no matter how busy I am .

Only today, Paul Young , author of Product Beautiful blog (do note his latest interesting posting on Product Management at Google) had made my day by dropping me an email and also linking to my blog. It is a huge encouragement for me to have a great blogger connecting to me in that way. Looking back, I realized that my blog had made me closer to a lot of great people that I have the priviledge to know and some of whom I have managed.

Thanks , guys. I will continue to share my experiences and knowledge with you. Have a nice week!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Google Search

Google amazed me again with the tracking of their search. I can see the search text and the position.

From here also, I found that if someone is searching using my name - "susan lim", I will appear at position 148. Hmm, not easy to find, but is fine for me.

I think it will be quite a time consuming process to insert all these tracking data for all the search result, but this does not seems to affect the speed of the Google search at all. And that is what so great about good product and usabillity design.

Think, Believe, Dream, Speak

My friend asked me to share this with others. This is told by his pastor to him when he asked for some advices. I guess he was at some uncertain point in life and he need some motivations.

Think - change your thinking , more positive , you can do everything you want if you think you can

Believe - believe in yourself, believe in your skill

Dream - have a vision , you can dream, then only you can get

Speak - speak , action , speak out , no point just dream and do not go for it

I could not help by adding another value - Endure . There will be difficulties along the way and we need to endure and stay within the 4 values and do not give up easily.

To my friend, gambate!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

My farewell email

Updated on 14 May 2008:
Hi readers,
I know you probably get to this post by searching for farewell emails. I hope you like what you are reading and continue to visit my blog, where I share my experience and knowledge.

Since you are looking for farewell emails, my "clever" guess is that you are moving to new jobs. Then you might need to read about Corporate Games aka Office Politics and 3 principles in doing everything in life.


Here is my farewell email to the company which I have worked for 6 years. I have another version of what I do not miss, but I won't be posting that here. :).

Hi Fantastic People,

Just want to bid you all a simple farewell. It has been a great experience working with all of you. Bye bye , see you !

Here are what I will miss very much:
1. All the friendly, helpful and energetic colleagues
2. Great team spirit.
3. Freedom to perform and argue.
4. Flexible working hours.
5. Agile meetings and planning with the point estimation using UNO cards (I leave the UNO cards for you guys)
6. The free but delicious birthday cakes, moon cakes, “tong sui”, and food (from trips) in front of CSD room.
7. Cute souvenirs from colleagues after their trips.
8. The agile room full of writings on mahjong papers.
9. The one-on-one talks with all people.
10. My boss's endurance of me and my bad habits
11. My spacious but messy desk.
All to best to you guys! Do keep in touch.

Best Regards,

Here are some photos:
My messy desk

Find out the poster here.

Our Agile Room full of writings of our tasks on all the walls

So many wonderful memories.......................

Friday, 26 October 2007

Farewell Email

I stumbled upon this funny farewell email. Of course, I have sent a more professional farewell email to the company. I did not know actually how to write one. I think I have never written one as well, if not mistaken. In my last job, I was retrenched together with 80% of people in the company. In my previous job, which is also my first job, I could not remember I have written a farewell email. I was either too junior to know or it was not a norm in the company.

But, alas, I have written one farewell message in around an hour (in facts, two - one for the whole company and another one just for our team). And it was in point form. I guessed it is quite a unique farewell letter. :)

Well, below is the funny and sarcastic email that I find enjoying. Here is the site too. Enjoy!!

Dear Co-Workers,

As many of you probably know, today is my last day. But before I leave, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what a great and distinct pleasure it has been to type “Today is my last day.”

For nearly as long as I’ve worked here, I’ve hoped that I might one day leave this company. And now that this dream has become a reality, please know that I could not have reached this goal without your unending lack of support. Words cannot express my gratitude for the words of gratitude you did not express.

I would especially like to thank all of my managers: in an age where miscommunication is all too common, you consistently impressed and inspired me with the sheer magnitude of your misinformation. It takes a strong man to admit his mistake - it takes a stronger man to attribute his mistake to me.

Over the past three years, you have taught me more than I could ever ask for and, in most cases, ever did ask for. I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely interchangeable supervisors on a wide variety of seemingly identical projects - an invaluable lesson in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium in overcoming daily tedium.

Your demands were high and your patience short, but I take great solace knowing that my work was, as stated on my annual review, "mostly satisfactory." That is the type of praise that sends a man home happy after even a 10 hour day, smiling his way through half a bottle of mostly satisfactory scotch.

And to most of my peers: even though we barely acknowledged each other within these office walls, I hope that in the future, should we pass on the street, you will regard me the same way as I regard you: sans eye contact.

But to those few souls with whom I’ve actually interacted, here are my personalized notes of farewell:

To Rudy: I will always remember sharing lunch with you, despite having clearly labeled it with my name.

To Steven: I will miss detecting your flatulence as much as you will clearly miss walking past my cubicle to deliver it.

To Eileen: Best wishes on your ongoing campaign to popularize these “email forwards.” I sincerely hope you receive that weekend full of good luck, that hug from an old friend, and that baby for your dusty womb.

To Felix: I left a new wristwatch on your desk. It is so that you might be able to still tell time even without your hourly phone call to let me know the copier is jammed. (Call Steven – he’ll come by.)

And finally, to Kat: you were right - I tested positive. We’ll talk later.

So, in parting, if I could pass on any word of advice to the individual who will soon be filling my position, it would be to cherish this experience like a sponge and soak it up like a good woman, because a job opportunity like this comes along only once in a lifetime.

Meaning: if I had to work here again in this lifetime, I would sooner kill myself.

Very truly yours,
Chris Kula
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Thursday, 25 October 2007

The first hundred days

I am reading the book "You're in Charge - Now What?" now in preparation for my new job. This book is a gift from my boss which I consider to be valuable.

Although the author has used the CEO job as examples, there are many things that we all can learn. For one thing, we need to realize that the first hundred days in our new job are the most important. It was the time when we are in the temporary state of incompetence, faced with being the person who know least about the company. But it is also the most important period for one to lay the groundwork for a long-term momentum and great performance.

I think this should be the first thing we hear when we start a new job. "Congratulations, you got the job, now you have to earn it."

Below is a memo sent by the managing partner of McKinsey Company to the new recruits when they started. He sent a very strong message that day. Coincidentally, I was born in that same month. :)

To: New Associates
From: Ron Daniel
Date: April 1979

On Becoming An Associate

It has been traditional for the firm's managing director to write to all new associates. It is difficult to personalize such a communication, but through this memorandum I would like to add
my welcome to you as you join the firm. My purpose is to convey a few ideas that I think are important. These ideas are largely personal, no matters of firm policy, and are offered for whatever value they may have for you.

The first concept has to do with a basic attitude that I believe can significantly affect the satisfaction and fulfillment you will derive from your work. I urge you to think of yourself from this day on as a member of our firm, not as an employee of it. This is your firm, and you should
assume a proprietary state of mind toward it. In many ways, the kind of firm McKinsey & Company is five years from now will be the result of your interests, your convictions, and your energies.

Secondly, recognize the necessity of getting off to a good start in the firm. Your first few engagements are critical. During these studies, you can establish an internal clientele for yourself - that is, by performing in an outstanding way, your reputation will be quickly established in your office and even the firm. If you are successful, you will be sought out by your colleagues when new engagement opportunities come along. New responsibilities will flow to you. You can overcome a poor start, of course, but it takes considerable time and effort - and obviously it is better not to have to rebuild professional standing, but, rather, to continuously add to it.

Our firm has a
long history that, among other things, has left us with a well-established value system. The professional approach, the one-firm concept, and a commitment to quality are all essential values of the firm that I hope you will soon understand and support. There are written materials about these topics in your office. I hope you will read them and discuss them with your office manager, your teammates, or any member of the management group. Another part of our value system is the expectation - indeed, the responsibility - for even the newest associate to speak up , to come forward, to contribute from the very beginning, to understand his or her role in an engagement team, to be clear on and supportive of our arrangements and commitments to a particular client, to bring to bear facts and evidence that challenge the thinking of the engagement director and engagement manager, and to be convinced that we have placed our clients' interest first. While this kind of behaviour implies a strength of character and the courage of one's convictions, and while the firm expects this from even our newest associates, we don't expect you to be all-knowing and able to prove your superiority in every situation.

Men and women who join this firm are invariably achievement motivated and ambitious people. Most have egos of generous size. But another key aspect of the firm's value system is the concept of collaboration. Reach out for help. Establish the habit of teamwork early. When you don't know, ask. When you're uncertain, ask. It's ironic that it is our strongest performers, out most effective consultants, who most often reach out for help from their colleagues. In the process, the strong get even stronger.

Finally, I urge you to regularly establish some perspective on your firm, on your work, and on yourself. Step back once in a while and take stock of things - not every day , not every week, but perhaps every six months. Are you still learning and being challenged? Are you getting personal satisfaction from a life that essentially involves serving others? Are you growing personally? Is the word
professional coming to have any special, personal meanings for you? Have you experienced the benefits of our one-firm concept? Have you enjoyed the stimulation, the congeniality, the support of your colleagues? Can you - like the Nobel biologist Albert Szent-Györgyi - run to work most of the time out of enthusiasm for what you are doing? Have you exercised the control that only you can exercise to maintain a reasonable balance between your professional work and your personal life? For over the twenty years I've been able to answer yes to most of these questions, most of the time. During this time, I've believed it to be a genuine privilege to be part of this group of high-talent people of diverse talents, varied backgrounds, and wide-ranging interests who comprise our firm.

I wish you good luck as you begin, and hope that you come to feel the same measure of excitement , stimulation, support , warmth, and fun that I've enjoyed.

I hope this memo make an influential point for everyone who are going to start a new job or even a new role in the same company (as you get promoted). It has for me.

I have the whole book to finish before I am going to start my new job on 1 Nov. Busy busy. And tomorrow is my last day in my company of 6 years tenure. It is time to leave a bunch of wonderful and talented people. I am so gonna miss them. And also farewell to my messy desk at the corner!

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