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I had this feeling and knew I needed to take a few days away from home to have me time – actually away from my husband and spent time elsewhere.

But it didn’t happen because of me feeling unwell from flu and added on the impending typhoon. Yes i was going to take a last minute trip to Hong Kong half for work and half for pleasure.

What conspired over the weekend was a massive load of unhappiness and snappy words from each other resulting into me feeling like marriage is pretty tough. I somehow had the feeling that I had to be away, and we really needed time apart. You know how they say absence makes the heart fonder? I felt like my husband really needed that to feel fonder towards me.

We tend to make excuses for the mistakes we make or blame the other person because you did or said this therefore i did or say that. But is there really any excuse for impatient, snappy words or bad behavior? No. It does not matter what it was because of, but it only reflects on the person.

And at times, behavior reflects things or feelings we do not know of but only becomes obvious when we think more deeply into it, there’s some deep seated reason to how we reacted.

We got married for nearly 4 years now, but things only got “serious” in my opinion, when we moved into our home. I cannot start to imagine how it feels like where couples have more then 1 thing to deal with – wedding, living together, new family (in laws), etc. So I thank God for staggering transition periods for us.

— to be continued

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I met a friend last week, because his sister is interested to do something related to online shopping and asked if i could chat with her abit. I said okay – although honestly, I really did not know how or what I can help or advice her with. I am not like.. very successful (in my opinion) and not like founder or lazada or zalora or bonito.. you get my drift?

So anyway, she asked questions, i shared with her my journey and also some technical things like setting up a site etc. I hope it was useful and like a 101 into setting up online shopping for her.  Most importantly, she was enthusiastic about finding out and researching herself as well, not just spoon fed.

More then that, I wanted to jot my thoughts down about the millennial generation and work.

She’s 25, in the 1990 onwards generation.. and she shared with me that companies (for her, she worked in a bank before, so I assume we are talking mostly about banking and finance industry) do not have permanently contracts. They are all like short term contract based of 6 months or 1 year etc and they renew it after. She said she’s okay with it and she likes it because she usually takes a break aft 6 months, to go for a month holiday and then go back to work again. She does not like the idea of a perm role because it feels like being “stuck” in the job and can do other jobs.

My friend eyes widened and doubled up asking her, “You mean your job is contract?” Yes, even my friend didn’t know his sister job is a contract job.

My first thought was, oh if it was me, i would just continue working because I rather get paid then take a long one month break. I think 1 week would be sufficient for me. But I did not say that because it is me and my preference, but not hers. I don’t need to impose my ideas on others.

It is an eye opener for my friend & I because we still come from that generation where we prefer permanently roles then contract roles. It gives us a sense of security, as my friend said. And his sister said it rightly too – That nothing is secured, she said it with a matter of fact.

I think it really opened my eyes and mind to our younger generation (just slightly a few years younger then us. We are late 1980s, and they are early 1990s. There’s not many years in between honestly). They live in this society today where they know that nothing is certain and for sure.. they grew and are still growing up in a place where everything is constantly changing and evolving and they are A OK with it. But for us, we are still slightly apprehensive and still need time to accept new changes, new technology, and how the world works differently every few years.

She’s not the only one who prefers contract jobs then permanent.. alvin’s niece also works contract/freelance job although there’s permanently job available for her sector. She’s early 20s, out of poly for just 1-3 years. Basically, she also likes to work as and when there is a job available and then rest when there isn’t, instead of going to work everyday with fixed hours.

They think that having a contract job allows them to do different things, change jobs more easily.. and feel like they are stuck and obliged to continue in the same job for long time.

I shared with alvin this later at night, and he said well they can always quit even if in a perm role, it makes no difference.. right?

I thought about what he said and offered another point of view. Perhaps being in a perm role, gives a resistance to people to leave. And perhaps it is also about, always being ready and not taking for granted that the job they are in, they will always be in and always available. It makes them really think, if is this what they want to continue doing? I personally think the good part is, they get trained and have to be more “on their toes” and constantly being ready of “whats next”. They have to really evaluate if what they do currently is what they really want to and not in it because they get comfortable and go on auto pilot. I do think that many of us, when in a perm role, we just get lazy and don’t really think of what’s next, until we get bored or we need a pay raise or something like that.

On the other hand, I guess it is also quite sad if they like the job but unable to continue in the job.

Alvin raised another point that it is not so good too because they don’t commit to a career, and can’t be good in a particular thing. I think, it is always freedom (or something like that) that they seek. I’m not sure? I agree to a certain extend that yes, it’s hard for them to be a specialist in an area if they keep changing jobs every year..

But on the other side of things, so many jobs are being displace and replaced by NEW types of jobs that were not heard of before…

So is it really necessary to commit to 1 career solely?

Driven by the economy and availability of jobs, I’m sure that some of them want to have permanent jobs but in their generation (means today) “perm jobs” is hard to come by, it seems like many of them only can find contract jobs simply because the companies are not giving perm jobs, and only contract jobs.

A friend and my sister (both 1990s) also are on contract jobs – 1-2 years, because the companies don’t offer a perm role. That saying, I am sure that because both like the industry they are in, they would rather have a perm role then contract.

Why do the companies do this? Maybe they are scared that people stay very very very long and do nothing in the company, and they cannot lay off or fire them. (I think this is more prevalent in the public sector then private.) They want to only keep or re-contract them if the company has business, and say bye bye easily without paying compensation if the company is not doing well.

So this 1990 onwards generation just make do with what they can and have, and ride with it.

Even though we are only a few years apart (we are late 1980s) the 1990s generation thinking and motivation feels like totally different.. I think we were “luckier” then them because jobs were not that hard to come by, and things were less dynamic when we graduated. We grew up in both No Internet and Internet age, where we tethered between both, we had a more “balanced” and “stable” life in terms of career, society, dating, etc.

We still believed in true love and found love in school/person (not so much on Tinder and apps) and dated in real life, talked on phone and not only texting and virtually. These days, I hear that nobody likes to talk on the phone. They reject calls and say please text instead. We experienced stable jobs and get permanently roles where we think we are guaranteed this job for life. We didn’t have internet growing up so we played outside, read story books…etc.

Understanding the 1990s, their pov and what they go through that makes them what they are and their outlook in career, life and love is something quite new for me.. All my good friends younger sibling don’t seem to be very interested in things that were important to us.

They are all about “as long as i enjoy”. It’s not much about practicality, not much about stability.. not much about other things, then wanting to enjoy what they do.

I think I understand a lot more and it also help me to see that perhaps we also need to adopt a little of their mindset to survive and thrive in today’s society.

Like, don’t get complacent or comfortable thinking your job will last forever. A perm job is a false sense of security that we all got sucked into believing that we were set for life, actually in our parents times, yes maybe some people work 30-40 years in the same company, but even my dad got retrenched during the economy crisis many many years back.

And keep evolving with the world because nothing is constant (I know this is super overused, but maybe just a simple term is to just keep up with times.)

And it is also important to know their motivations or how to incentivize or motivate them at work if they are your colleagues or your subordinates.

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Starting over

For a few days now, i been wondering how to find a way to break out of what i have been in, what i look at, what i been reading, what i have been doing.

how do i do that?

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Many people go around saying take risks, take risks. I was only able to understand what it really means when people say ” take risks” because it just sounds very daunting. Until Shu Ling shared with me this talk by Brene Brown.

To take risks, first we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is actually being willing to invest or do something where there are no guarantees. Putting yourself out there, making the first move to allow yourself to be rejected (or not), invest your time to do something that may or may not work out in the end (like a relationship, or a hobby turn into a business). It is only then i realized that first I must let myself be vulnerable again, to allow myself to be able to take risks. No one told me that after starting a business and running a business, and possibly closing the business or bring the business into a new level – that I have to do this again and again and again. Well, here I am, learning how to be vulnerable again.

I reached out to couple of people over last week via email, via LinkedIn, and I felt quite nervous if they would reply or not, or if they thought i was annoying or irritating or even desperate. After watching this talk, I realized that it does not matter if they reply or not, and it does not matter what they think of me. It only matters that I put myself out there again, and it gave me confidence to reach out to more people now.

This is hard, and I think it is essential for me to grow and go into the next level.

 

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A lot of people ask us if we are planning to have a kid, and if we want we should have children soon/early. I think there’s less people asking us now, and i always don’t know what to answer people on “why”. It is like an obligation to “explain” to people why you don’t want to have kids now.

The usual answer that people will say is “not ready”. And then there is the saying that, you will never be ready to be parents anyway.

I don’t say that we are “not ready” but there’s other things we would like to do first. Our focus and desire of our hearts will not enable us to put aside time first for something or rather someone else at this moment. Commitment is often a scary word and have a negative connotation but it is not. It allows us to pursue what we really want. Right now, we are committed to grow our own career and explore ourselves (like growing as an adult). So we want to be committed to be good parents by only having a kid when we can.

Both of us agreed that it is ok to have kids a little later and we will be more financially apt too (not later like 50 years old la). Looking after children is no easy task, and not everyone have the energy to handle a kid themselves or have their parents help with their kids. Although stay home mom look like they have lots of time but it is also not easy for them to handle – having the baby stuck to them all day and all night, having to wake up to feed a few times in the middle of the night unless your baby sleeps through.

Husband may be too tired and need 100% energy at work especially if it involves heavy machinery or human lives, for them to do night watch or night feeds.

Being a little slower then our peers at having kids also enable me to look at other people and adapt from their difficulties. One of alvin’s friends have his mother take care of their kid while wife works from home – it is a common misconception that working from home mum can handle a kid too, no. Because kids constantly need attention and there is no way you can work with them crying or climbing over your leg etc. Put in the time needed to feed them, prepare their food, bath them, wash their dirty clothes or change their soiled diapers.

At night he and his wife takes over the kid so his parents can rest, but then when do they themselves rest? They worked all day and then have to take care of the kid all night. Giving their parents a rest at night also shows that basically anyone who cares for a kid needs rest. Then what about them? That also goes for weekends.

I think being parents require some kind of sacrifice but it is also essential to take care of ourselves first, you know like cover some bases. Having kids and having a family is not a sprint but a marathon, it is going as far as we can without burning out. We all know burning out ends up in arguments and in some extreme cases, separation. Arguing about household chores are so yesterday by the time kids arrive.

I have been forming my own thoughts on having kids, and many buy car first and helper (not as many) have. But I think it may be essential to have a helper first. We agreed that it is highly likely that we need a helper, even now sometimes we are too tired to do laundry hahah but of course we do la, we still have discipline.

Yesterday, I came to this strange conclusion that we should hire a helper when I get pregnant and not after giving birth. I told alvin and he’s like ok. I am grateful that he shares the same sentiments after watching friends having kids. We are like people sitting on the side benches watching the football game but not getting involved. We will cheer for them, we will encourage them but we are not getting into the game, yet.

I see how friends who have helper seem less stressed and more relaxed compared to those without. Also, they take care of cleaning your house too.

Many people say aiyah give your parents to take care la. Alvin’s parents are already quite well in age, they are already grandparents – alvin’s eldest nephew is already early 20s. My parents, i think they want their own freedom and enjoy their golden years – finally my sister and I are more or less grown up and earning our own keep. They probably already paid off the house they live in, and what they earn they finally can use for themselves to eat and play, and whatever else. I think 30 years of bringing up 2 kids is pretty much enough.

That saying, it is also likely that our parents and us have different styles of upbringing our kids. (Btw, we still do not have a TV in our house hahaha.)

I don’t know why i am writing this, but I wanted to just pen down some thoughts after I told alvin about getting a helper when I get pregnant. If you are wondering, no its not so soon.

On what we both still have to do right now? Alvin’s currently still doing his masters, and me, I feel that my business isn’t that “stable” enough for me to be able to go on auto mode yet. So yes, till the time comes, i will update again.

 

 

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Yesterday, we went to alvin’s friend’s place to have dinner with couple of his other friends.

There was one of them i never met before but after, i found out that he’s a writer. He reminded me of mel, they both decided that they just want to purely pursue their love of something- mel, art. and him, writing.

After going through his introduction and profiles on writing platforms, i realized that he IS making writing his full time job –

https://steemit.com/@aldentan

www.alden-tan.com

& his introduction : https://www.patreon.com/aldentan

I was intrigued because i always say i want to start writing, but i think the love is not as big as this. I only want it to be a hobby and also hope to publish a book someday but it is not my goal to make it my full time job – i realized only how different the level is when i see how much work and energy he puts into his writing.

He writes on several platforms like thought catalog, etc, he has email subscribers that he sends an article / something like that everyday. He is active on sites like quora, actively replying and essentially writing. This, a whole new ballgame i never even thought of.. in what i would call the “pipeline” of what one would build their portfolio and practice on.

It only make me realized how much i liked writing, which is actually not as much as he likes writing, and mel likes art.

Both of them set aside their main source of income (previously) to pursue the life of throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the area of interest they want, and they need some income so they take up “side jobs” to supplement their daily needs like food & travel.

I know it’s weird but it made me see so clearly what i like a lot, and what i just like. I always thought i like to write but never thought of giving up so many things just to write, because… i like something else better.

I would like to, but it is not a MUST. For these 2, it is a MUST.

They would spend hours everyday doing this thing. It made me realized that what i really like, is something i would do everyday, like them. Mel spends 2-4 hours painting everyday, Alden writes at least 2k words everyday. Well, i think i know what i do everyday – hahaha. Not telling you but it may be obvious to some.

I know a lot of people are not sure what they really like, this or that, or just THE IDEA of something. i think what you like, would be something you are willing to give up comfort for, and spend most of your time WANTING to do it naturally and not forced.

Well then, this was a really good realization. What i “like a lot” and what i just “like”.

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I have friends who ask how to get started on starting your own business/company. Many many many people i know now have a side business as a hobby or for side income or because they are passionate about a product or service. Either way, this will be very helpful if you have no idea how to start and where to go.

What i am sharing, is what i used personally and also recommended friends who ask me. I originally wrote this for a friend but realized I actually shared this info more then once to more then 1 person. So here goes, a list of very basic things that get you started!

  1. Register your company / Name of your company

Check these things before you decide on the company name

Decide if you want to be Sole proprietor, LLP, or Pte Ltd. Small / Home businesses usually go for SP as it’s cheapest. But if you are taking up a loan from the bank or having investors etc, please go for Pte Ltd so that your personal assets are protected against anything that goes wrong – law suit, or delay / unable to pay for loan/debt/payments to others they will not be able to go after your personal assets like your house, savings etc.

  • Domain website is available for you to purchase (.com, .com.sg and .sg)
    http://bit.ly/VodienSite
  • Social media platforms that you intend to use – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. The handles of the name of your company is still available
  • Use all these links above to register for your company, and domain (your company site.com) I use vodien because it’s a Singapore company and it has a 24 hours hotline, you will be able to get through if you have any issues with your website, compared to US sites like godaddy dot com.
  • When register for social media sites, preferably that all the handle names are the same, I had an issue with Instagram handle that was taken before, so no choice I could not have the same handle as facebook!

 

  1. Service or Product? Do you need a Shopping Cart or just a Website with information?

If your company is giving a service to others, you probably only need a website. There are sites that allow you to build a professional website –

https://wordpress.com/
https://wix.com/

If you are selling a product, there are a few choices. Personally I used shopify because i felt it was more straight forward then others. WordPress also has a “add to cart” function as well but i have not used it before so i cannot comment.

https://www.shopify.com.sg/
https://www.bigcommerce.com/

  1. Payments – Set up company bank account & paypal account

It is important to separate your company finances from your personal bank account, so do open a new bank account – it could be another savings or business account.

I opened a new bank account to separate my business finances from own personal savings. In the beginning, I did not do it and things got really messy. If you don’t need a business account, go to DBS/POSB and open another normal savings. Most people in Singapore have a DBS/POSB so it is more convenient for your clients/customers to pay you.

Tip for opening a business account – Go for something with a low minimum deposit, with cheque book (if you need) and ibanking online. I looked through a few banks and these seem quite reasonable.

  • Open a Bank account


https://www.dbs.com.sg/sme/dbs-forms/accounts/account-opening.page

https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/accounts-and-services/business-growth-account.html

https://www.uob.com.sg/business/transact/ebusiness-account.page

https://www.cimbbank.com.sg/en/business/products/deposits/current-accounts/business-plus-current-account-i.html

  • Open a Paypal account

Open a payment gateway account like paypal to accept credit card payments. People can send you directly or not via paypal : https://www.paypal.com

I think stripe also does this, so you can consider as well. Stripe also has more functions like ability to do subscription etc. : https://stripe.com/sg

 

  1. How will you market your service/product?

If you are selling a service, giving people information and content is a good way to market your service – this can be through your website/blog.

For consumer products, Facebook and Instagram are great ways to start. One of my friend offers wedding stationary and she posts her works on Instagram. Another friend offers mum and baby products, besides Instagram, I suggested to her that she can use a micro blogging app – Dayre is a great place as there is a community of mothers sharing their experience and buys. To get visibility, use hashtags.

  1. Customer base / Email List

It is always good to get your customer emails / contact information to keep them updated on your lastest blog post, new products or promotions. Consider to integrate with your website with apps that can help you store email addresses. Most or all of the apps are compatible with many websites like Shopify and WordPress. They give you an option to directly plug in and connect to your website, so when someone signs up in your site, it automatically gets stored in mailchimp (like a data server for emails). You also send emails from there to your email list.

https://mailchimp.com

https://apps.shopify.com/mailchimp

https://wordpress.org/plugins/mailchimp-for-wp/

Another good option : https://www.activecampaign.com/

 

I hope these helps you guys get started with anything you want to do. This year one of my goals is to write more, and because i stopped writing fiction for SO LONG, i figured i start writing non fiction and articles first. I always wanted to start a website or blog on helping people find their passion / start a business/ whatever. I have not figured it out yet, but here’s to a start.

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