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Showing posts from 2008

Sense of urgency - a critical asset in career and life

On the fateful day of 25 January 1990, Avianca Flight 52 crashed into Long Island, New York after ran out of fuel, killing 73 of the 158 people on board. The plane was put on hold from landing by Air Traffic Control several times on its way to New York due to bad weather. After on hold for more than one and a half hour, the crew asked for "priority" landing, which at their critical level of fuel shortage, they should have declared an emergency. The delays, a failed landing attempt at the about 10 minutes from the crash, and communication failure between the crew and air traffic controllers; all these caused the disaster where we all have so much to learn from.

The Avianca Flight 52 is a story of catastrophic result due to poor sense of urgency. There are several things we would find ourselves asking:

Why the crew failed to use the word "fuel emergency" to declare the extreme seriousness of their situation instead of asking for "priority landing"?


Human Crime Today

I watched a quite disturbing movie last week that left me pondering on a lot of things about life. The reason why the movie is disturbing is because it is based on a true story and it shockingly reveals how cruel and uncaring people can be. Unlike most of the true stories with inspiring theme, this one does not have a happy ending; and the good does not always triumph over the evil.

The movie is called “An American Crime”. It is about an innocent teenage girl, named Sylvia Likens, who was tortured violently to death by a group of abusers. The abuse, triggered by a struggling woman with health problem and huge stress of taking care of seven children with virtually no money, eventually joined by her children and a whole neighborhood of youngsters.

Though Ginia said in her very excellent review on the movie, that the victim had the bad luck to grow up in a time and a place where “ignorance was understood as its own brand of wisdom”; somehow I feel, ironically, that statement still applies …

Five effective actions for solving a corporate conflict

In a corporate world, there are bound to be conflicts and miscommunication between different parties or organizations. When problems occur, finger pointing is not the logical response of solving the problems itself.

However, most resort to such behavior, often overwhelmed by emotions such as anger, frustration, distrust, prideful, and so on. This results in bad feeling in the air for both parties and keep people away from solving the issues at hand which are the objectives.

Recently, I am able to witness a corporate conflict involving a vendor and a dealer. Jeffrey’s help was engaged to solve this conflict. Thus, I have a valuable chance to see and learn how to solve this problem in an efficient manner. Since this is a real incident for corporate environment, I would use fictitious names to preserve the anonymity of the parties involved.

Johnny, the dealer, gets a project to supply products and services, consisting of software and hardware, as well as training and support services to a c…

The hardest question to ask your spouse (and even yourself)

The question: If your mother (or father) and I fall into the sea and both of us cannot swim, who will you save first?

I always wonder if I am nuts to think of asking my spouse such a difficult question. I think I learnt this question from a movie. I wonder if any of you readers have the same question lingering in your mind that you want to ask your spouse. Or if it is just me. Or maybe you have similar question which I hope you would share.

One day, I got into this funny mood (which I cannot really remember why and how funny my mood was) and asked Jeffrey this question. His answer blew me out of the water. Of course, since I have toyed with the questions multiple times in my head, I have, very much, anticipated what kind of answers I would get. And I have also formulated my response to each possible answer and maybe another question to ask in addition to that.

If you have this question in your mind before, I recommend you to stop reading for now. Go and think about how you would answer i…

Growing up through the Quarter-Life Crisis

The other day while I was chatting with my best friend, we both conceded our lives had changed a lot during the past one year. Break-ups, new love relationships, re-prioritization between work and love life, relationships with family, moving places, new career, new directions in life - either already been through or under way.

We both heaved the sigh of relief that our worst may already passed. But at the same time, we know there are more for us to go through while recovering.

"Hey, you know what?" I exclaimed to her. "I read about this. It is called Quarter-Life Crisis. It means now we have really grown up." I did not get to see her expression, but I knew she concurred vehemently.

"After coming out from college and working, we thought we were grown-ups but we were still very much like teenagers, having no idea of our future and hardship that we need to endure." I added. "So now, we are officially a grown-up."

In fact, it is not just me and my fri…

Maybe what you need is a Paradigm Shift

Dr. Stephen R. Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, speaks of Paradigm shift. Here, I adapted his illustration to my version of what it means to shift our paradigm.

Let's say you need to go to a town called, “Growing Journey” to receive a very important award at a place called “Success” in the fine Sunday evening. Since you never been to the town, you ask the organizer to send you a map for directions to “Success”. Happy to oblige, the organizer photocopy a map and send it to you, along with some directions. The only problem is it gets mixed up and the map of another town is sent to you instead. Unfortunately also, the map’s title gets cut off during the copy and you don’t realize it is the wrong map.

On Sunday morning, you get on you car and head to the town. Once arriving in the town, you follow the directions as in your map. Soon you are hopelessly lost. You give the organizer a call.

"I got your directions," you say, "but I can't fi…

It is not just what you do; it is how you do it

Imagine that you are a superhero who can fly, deflect bullets and sharp objects, does what a superhero generally can do and save lives. Don’t you think you will have millions of fans, clamoring for your attention, trusting and dependant on you to save them when major crises hit them?

But that did not happen to John Hancock in the movie Hancock (2008), the non-typical superhero whom everybody disdained. Why this particular superhero suffers bad public image although he is actually saving people lives?

That comes to the moral of the story: It is not just what you do; it is how you do it.

What did Hancock try to do?
He saved lives and fought crimes with his superpower.

How did he do it?
He had no regards for damaging anything that gets in his way of getting the job done.
He caused damaged to public property, costing the city millions of dollars. He was rude to everyone who gets near him. He was depressed, drunk and looked filthy like a homeless person.

The result ?
He was universally despised am…

Do you want to become a Hero or a Zero?

I am not going to compare between Batman and The Joker (the villain, in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight). I would not say heroes as just those people who are noted for courageous and noble purpose, especially those who risked and sacrificed their lives. And I would not say a zero is a nonentity, one having no influence or importance. I think everyone would have some sort of influences or importance.

I mean the heroes and zeroes whom we meet daily, even the hero and zero entities that are both inside us depending on how and when we want to use it.

In life, I do not think hero and zero are easily identified as Batman and The Joker. That is why my most unforgettable hero and zero from the movies are not the conventional iconic figures. To me, a hero or zero emerges when one is in danger. A hero will rise to the occasion and do the right things regardless of how afraid he is in the painful situation. A zero will flunk or run away when there are pressures and crisis.

In the popular S…

I’m a home-based consultant

After reading Milena Thomas post “I’m Staying Home From Now On. Will you Still Respect Me Tomorrow?”, I am tempted to write about my own stay-at-home experience.

I have “stayed at home” for almost 4 months now since I left my last company. I feel I really deserve this break since I have been working non-stop for almost 9 years except for some small vacations each year, which are usually shorter than 5 days. I am grateful to Jeffrey for making this experience possible for me.

You might imagine me lazing around. I hate to break your imagination but I have to tell you I am not. It is just like Dogbert’s saying: “I’m not unemployed, I’m a consultant.” So you see, I am training myself to be a consultant!

Why? First of all, being a consultant requires one to be organized and have great time management skills. It requires me to plan my day and do the things I need to do for the day. Here, I am practicing these skills to perfection each day. Practice does make perfect and after four months, I t…

Being responsive is critical for better communication

Imagine you speak passionately to a group of audiences on a topic, “How to double your income in a year”. You exuberate such an excitement that your eyes glow and you feel like your spirit is almost going to spring out from your body as you feverishly share what it takes you almost a lifetime to learn and months to prepare. At the end of your speech, to your amazement, no one have any questions to ask. This is the tenth speech you have delivered and in all the previous speeches, you received a lot of questions and even heated arguments. Now, the reaction of your audiences is not even a subtle acknowledgement of the effort you have put in the speech. It cannot be any worse than having this non-responsiveness to what you have just earnestly and sincerely shared. You begin to wonder whether you have delivered to the wrong audiences. Maybe they do not like or need money at all, you think. But all people need and like more money, the more the better. You feel the sudden impulse of hitting…

The other side of Grandma

My grandma passed away peacefully last Friday, 13 June 2008.

Few days earlier, she was already bedridden and doctor had warned us her "time" was approaching. Jeffrey (my darling) and I were on the way back to my hometown, hoping to be able to see her while she was still around. We did not anticipate that we would be attending a funeral. (Made me recall the two things that we should do without hesitation because there might not be second chance - 1) Visit those who are sick and 2) Attend funeral (or wake))

I was sad when I heard of the bad news. I started to think about Grandma, her presence and influences in my life. I hate myself for saying this, it was not a lot. The memory about her is frail. You see, I was not really close with Grandma since I was young. This included the rest of my family. Somehow, we just were not her favourites.

However, with her death, I let myself wonder why this could have happened instead of just accepting that it was Grandma's fault. My grandma …

The child in us

When we were growing as a child…

I used to hug and kiss my dad whenever he came back from work. At around 3 to 4 years old, I was daddy’s sweet little girl. Time passed very fast and I grew up. Somehow I have forgotten when I stopped hugging and kissing my dad. I guess it was a gradual process, like I did it lesser and lesser until one day I just stopped doing that altogether. Or maybe, he scolded me real bad and I got mad and just stopped being close to him.

Now, whenever I have the chance, I would open the door for him and greet him at the doorstep when he came back from work. It was not often because I no longer lived with my parents. However, at those moments, deep inside me, I would remember how it feels to hug and kiss him like his little girl again.

I realized these.

Sometimes, no matter how we grow up, there is still this little child inside us that never want to grow up. And, that child guides and affects us in a lot of ways more than we can understand.

When we were growing as an …

What you don’t know will make the difference

"It is not what you know. It is what you don’t know that will make the difference."
That phrase hanged on my mind for a very long time when I heard it from my mentor last Saturday.That is exactly what made me dare to change in about half year ago.

Being a manager in a small software company at the age of 26, I thought I could do well in my life by slowly moving up the career ladder. But life and work were constantly a struggle and firefighting against one problem after another. There were always not enough time for everything. I had to do some of the things that I did not know how to do. So were the people in the company, even my boss at that time.I learnt from books and website and implemented many of my newly learnt skills. I learnt from my mistakes. I learnt things from my subordinates and colleagues as well. But somehow, things were not improving significantly and pressure was mounting. I knew 2 problems:I was not doing some of the things right.I was not doing th…

Starbucks, please control yourself

I am writing again in response to Bert Hart, The Genuis of Starbucks' New Wi-Fi Strategy. I also would like to announce that I am officially a member of Brazen Careerist (look right). Clap clap clap! Although it is not a-million-dollar deal or something, but I guess big things happen one step at a time.

Bert said:
Starbucks has announced that it will be providing 2 free hours of consecutive wireless internet use per day to customers who use their Starbucks cards at least once a month. Translation: if you have a Starbucks card, which is free, and you drink at least one cup of coffee per month, you can go into any Starbucks in the world (by the end of 2008) and use the internet for 2 straight hours without being hassled by baristas or blocked out of the network.

I always go to Starbucks because I like to write and do works on my laptop outside. I would easily drink a cup of coffee per month and can afford the Starbucks card (anyway, it is free..LOL) But I really hate it when they want …

Getting Things Done Using iGoogle

Erik Folgate from Brazen Careerist shared a useful tip on Getting Things Done Using iGoogle. I found it to be really useful after trying it for more than a week. You have to believe me as I have used all sort of tools to keep track of my task lists ever since I read the Getting Things Done book but to no avail. So here am I again, giving another shot to keep things organized and tracked properly.
Here is a funny product tour for iGoogle. I really love Google products!!!!!

I manage to improvise a little bit on Erik's suggestion. Here are my suggestion.
1. For the "Get Things Done" tab, include also "Gmail" widget, "Yahoo Mail" widget or whatever mail you are using. Email usually serves as the inbox for tasks also, so it is right to put them in that tab.
2. You can also add "Quotes of the Day" widget also. This can cheer you up a little while you are gazing at the task lists each day and wondering how can you complete all of those. Hakuna Matata!�…

My Profile

I recently came across this wonderful site, Brazen Careerist , a network for young and vibrant bloggers who have the following tag line:

A Brazen Careerist knows that defining your own career, finding the right field, and pursuing it are key ingredients to a fulfilling life. Like the tag line suggests, when you define your career on your own terms first, you control your life.

Great and sound like what I am doing, I thought to myself. After reading through some postings and enjoying them, I decided to join the Brazen Careerist Network (***I am really getting more serious in writing***).

In no less than a week, Ryan Paugh, a community relations coordinator for Brazen Careerist and also a co-founder wrote to me. He said he recently checked out my blog and is very impressed. He thinks I would make an excellent addition to the community. ( Clap Clap Clap!!!)

Then, came the part where he inquired about my age. He explained that the community consists of twentysomethingprofessionals. Because …