Monday, November 02, 2015

The Office Stakeholders

I have been in the corporate line for more than 3 years. I worked for a public-listed company that has strong historical links with the local government.

The categories of stakeholders in the company are all too evident. I have broken it down into 7 categories, all taking a share of the revenue pie the company generates. I have omitted others such as the authorities and the utility generators simply because I rarely see them in the office.

I also would like to put a rating of time spent in office vs. salary on a scale of 1-9.

The big bosses 
Our white collar bosses that wears a suit in the office. They are usually identified by their chauffeur-driven-imported-premium-car, their access to the private lift and the amount of people wanting to shake their hands.

You bump into them when you walk into or out of the main building or when they happen to use the common elevator. The good golfers get an occasional game with the elite.

The real workers
The off few that you see spending long hours at their desk, in meeting rooms and running between floors. The real workers I call them do the majority of the leg work and operation for the organization.

They spend minimal time out for lunch and you see them coming in and leaving later than most. They are not the best paid, but the best resource for the company and also has enormous knowledge. Companies risk losing them if compensation and expectations of work is not matched.

The cafe idlers
Any time of the day, you have a high chance of seeing them in the cafe. They are the social butterflies, and often not seen at their desk. They know everyone, from the new hire to the big bosses and call them by their first name.

They may generate the least profit for the company but can be a go-to guy when auditors or authorities visit.

The swanky consultants
Clean look, well-pressed suits, man bags, and shiny shoes. These are the over-paid intelligent consultants taking on strategy initiatives for the organization. Rarely you see them except when trying to book appointments with your big bosses.

No swanky cars but cabs on delivery. They usually work in pairs and it is also quite impossible to see them at the cafeteria. I wonder where they have lunch with their salary package.

The eager vendors
The ones who want a buy-in to the company. The ones who already service the company. They come up with all the good stuff to sell what they do - including the occasional golf game they play with the big bosses to win over the contract. Often times, when they do not deliver, they get a bail-out card through 'the connection'.

The overtime auditors
Hardworking, secluded, long hours, looks like they could use another cup of coffee, young. These auditors never leave their laptops and huge files. They often harass the accountants and any operation man to audit the files. They move in herds, you see one you see all. One leaves work, the rest go.

The cleaners
The minimum wage janitor that ensures the well-being of the facility. They are either cleaning the restrooms, or wiping down the next stain in sight. They operate in herds too and often times scramble for whatever cheap food they can get from the canteen. Female middle age foreign workers mainly or local.

What are your office settings? Who do you think is most "valuable" or can be dispensed to reduce the operating cost of a company? 

Friday, July 03, 2015

Transportation Malaysia : 2nd class lower forever

I've lived in 3 cities in the past 6 years of my life. One was where I grew up in and it is also where transportation is the worst.

It is sad that after many years, Malaysia still have a terrible transportation system. Yes, the train networks are expanding but the bus services and city road plannings are terrible. It is natural to assume there will be traffic in any major city during peak hours. The government or the transport ministry puts planning into improving conditions: better rail network, more frequent bus services, accessible public bicycles, heavy occupancy vehicle lanes etc. Malaysia, however, has done poorly in all sections.

My experience 2 years ago is similar to the one 2 days ago. I commute via LRT from Kelana Jaya to Damai on a daily basis. My dad has to give me a ride to the station and back from the station. I only wished that they would improve the bus services back home. There are 5 buses going from Kelana Jaya (2 rapids, 3 free shuttle buses) and between 5pm to 7pm, you will be at most 2 buses that manage to get to Kelana Jaya, if you are lucky. I have seen people waiting for 1.5 hours for a bus, when the bus network says a bus is due to come every 15-20minutes. That is 6x later than expected.

This only contributes to higher stress level. Waiting out in the hot for a bus that will never show up, one can read the paper and use the phone. However, you really want to get home or somewhere and every single second wasted is money, plus it gives us unpleasant experiences.

I urged the government to improve the bus services. With more MRT/LRT sprouting in the Klang Valley area, there is no use if the bus network is not solved for getting passengers from their housing area to the station.

The reason I mentioned this is because London and Boston have the most extensive bus network I've seen, nevermind NYC. Boston was hit by the worst snow ever in 50 years, but buses continue to run. Similarly, buses do not stop in London. Malaysia has tried the bus lane and failed, all because the bus lane was never filled !! Hopefully the country will improve in the transportation sector, bringing more patience and happiness to its citizens.  

Saturday, September 06, 2014

When fun is both ways

Summer in Boston has been a great adventure for me. As it comes to an end, it is always good to reflect on the good and the bad - more so on the learning's.

One thing that has been most enjoyable is to have someone appreciate and cherish the joy you share. Nothing beats dancing with someone who enjoy it as much as you do! I always have a saying too but it is more on relationship, "the ability and joy of a man to buy flowers for someone who will treasure it as much the process of flower selection is wonderful".

Put it simply, you want that someone to enjoy it as much as you enjoy putting it together. It can be singing a song, getting a present.... anything.

It was also my first time I am doing a dance tryouts ! Talk about being a confidence booster, I am taking this in a few strides, on one hand, I really want to achieve something in dancing and it brings the other side of confidence out of me.

More challenges in Fall to come.  

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The First Class Scramble

Back to another new class, the typical first class scramble.

I have been part of 2 classes now - one that had someone organized a LinkenIn group, another which had the professor set up the group based on credentials.

So today, I witnessed a typical scramble and I always categorize them into a few stereotypes:

The high flyer
The person who knows he will be approached as he made one or two really interesting remark in the class discussion. These are people who typically know what they are doing

The nosy one
The person who comments a bit too much or tries to be ahead of the lecturer knowing what topic is next. These people generally break the momentum of the class and can be annoying

The rest - silence 
These mass market surveys who are their potential team members or will just ask the person next to them. Some have specific preference to skin color (racism), gender (sexism) and looks (stereotyping).

There must be a better way derived to do this. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dilemma: Network or Passion

Have you ever been in the position that you had an option, a choice, or a decision that you know would influence your way of thinking ? Were you in a networking event that you just wanted to get the business card of an influential individual rather than approaching a company that you know you have very strong interest in?

I was in a similar situation just 2 months ago. Here I was, being a budding student again with my fellow summer students and aspiring part-time school-goers. I was spoil for choice.

Option 1: Work with a very knowledgeable Individual that I was trying to build network with, BUT in a topic that I am relatively familiar with - Marketing.

Option 2: Taking the risk and taking a completely new field to me - Finance & Banking with a group of unproven individuals.

I took option 2. In hindsight, zero regrets. Mind you, option 1 was working in a particularly intellectual man, who has an MBA from Stanford, and has worked with Apple. Ideally, it would be nice if he were to lead the Option 2 topic.

To make the most out of it, which I did, my teammates were not especially sure of how and where to start. Using the basic concept of ironing out core principles, and as an engineer, we created a workflow that was so fitting to the theme of the night. With structure now in place, we were able to navigate through the topic swiftly.

The structure was to evaluate who ultimately manages the risk in the financial world. We spoke about evolution of banks, roles of central banks, credit agencies, legislation in place and finally shadow banking. Our approach was tending towards repealing the financial world altogether: radically discoursing central banks and eliminating shadow banks for the better good.

My learnings were three-fold at the end of the day.
1) Stepping into unfamiliar territory but forcing yourself to learn with a passion helps expedite learning
2) Leveraging on my network with a former banker in a investment bank helped understood the process better
3) To repeat is to master - I used my knowledge from my previous class in operational skills and presentation skills to create what I would call a 90% near-flawless presentation.

Moral of the story: To take risk with a passion is to enjoy a higher return and self-satisfaction.