When there is nothing to do at work…

Every now and then, you’ll experience a slowdown in your workplace, and it is at this time where some of you might wonder, “What to do when there is nothing to do at work?”

Many spend their free time surfing the Internet, such as checking their social media, going online shopping and watching YouTube videos for recreation.

However, if you’re working towards a successful career growth, you’ll need to take advantage of your slow workdays by doing things that are useful and productive to you.

Here are some beneficial activities that you can occupy yourself with during your free time at work:

Volunteer yourself

If you find that once you’ve completed your tasks and are quite free until the next project lands in your lap, one of the best ways to make yourself stand out in the eyes of your superiors is to volunteer
to help out on other ongoing projects.

In some situations, there may not be that many opportunities for you to join ongoing projects but if the opportunity does arise, look at it as a way to improve your skills and add to your experience rather than as an additional burden on your work day.

Improve your capability

Whether you’re enhancing your current knowledge/skills or learning some new ones, improving your capability not only makes you a better employee, but also
increases your value in the job market.

There are many ways to go about this.

For example, you can read articles, watch educational videos or take up free online courses related to your field of work or to a new area of interest.

Build online presence

More job recruiters are searching for job candidates on the Internet, which is why it is very important for you to ensure that you can stand out amidst a highly competitive job
market through your online presence.

A solid online presence showcases skills, experience and passion, thereby giving credibility for potential employers to see and boosting your network as more people connect with you.

If you’ve yet to build a professional one, you can start off by developing your own personal website/portfolio, opening a professional social media account or creating your own content.

Review your job performance

Your slowdown at work can also be spent on reflecting on how you have performed at your current employment so far.

Ask yourself questions like “What kind of assignments have I been undertaking so far?”, “Have I done well in them?”, “Do I feel that I need to take on more challenging ones?” and many others.

Make sure that you follow through with actions that should be taken based on your work review.

Plan your next move

Since your mind isn’t preoccupied with work, you’ll have some time to plan what you intend to do in the next few years of your career and life.

If you find that you’re about to go through a slowdown for several days, list down tasks that you can do throughout these days to keep yourself from being idle.

Always keep in mind though that not having much work to do in the office could signal that your company may be going through a business slump and in the worst case scenario if could mean a restructuring may also be in the cards.

So always make sure that you bring value to your company even in the slow days and more importantly be prepared for uncertainties especially when the overall economy is not doing so well.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2G7gGUx

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

School leavers – things to keep in mind

After spending years on completing a formal education, you’ve finally left school.

So now you may be thinking, what’s next?

Moving on to the next step seems like the hardest thing to do as most of you might still be clueless as to what to do in the future.

Here are some things you should consider now that you’re a fresh school leaver.

Explore new environments

Education goes beyond the four walls of a classroom. Among the skills that students do not get to learn in the classroom includes social skills in different environments.

So, it is important for you to make your own discoveries and develop these skills in new environments such as in part-time jobs, internships, and if possible touring universities.

Venturing into new environments outside your comfort zone can be intimidating.

However, experiencing new environments will be rewarding in the long-run.

Make new friends

After graduating from school, naturally you and your friends will go your separate ways.

Some might pursue higher education, while some might choose to take a year off before deciding on what to do next and others may enter the workforce.

Whatever your plan is, it’s always good to meet new people and make new friends outside
of your network of school friends.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep in touch with your school friends because it’s too easy to drift apart.

Your school friends may be some of the most meaningful relationships you could have, and could also last the longest.

Talk to more people

It is normal to not know what you want to do after graduation and that is okay since you have a long way to figure it out.

For this, try to talk to more people from different professions and fields.

Their experience might provide you with some insight on what you might want to do as a career.

Learn to save money

Saving money may not be high on your list of priorities right now, especially since you’re probably not earning anything at the moment.

However, it’s crucial that you start to make saving a habit as it will definitely help you throughout your life; whether in college, at your first job and beyond.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2PeD5i0Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

School holidays ‘to-do’ list

For the students among you, after months of classes and exams, the year-end break has finally arrived.

Many of us tend to spend the school holidays catching up on TV shows and movies, play games, hang out with friends or simply laze around at home.

However, there are actually productive things to do during those weeks.

In fact, with so much free time at hand, you can pick up a new hobby or skill, or even prepare yourself for further studies by visiting education fairs.

Here are a few of the many other ways to spend your school holidays:

Gain new knowledge

There are things in this world that you may not even be aware of because you’ve been concentrating so much on your studies, and therefore the school holidays is a great time to expand your horizon.

You can go to your old school to read books and magazines, as well as talking to people who are knowledgeable in your subject of interest.

And thanks to the World Wide Web, you can explore articles, documentaries and numerous other educational materials online.

Although it can be tricky navigating through countless online information, it would help if you focus on a few topics that you’re most interested in learning more about.

Travel

When it comes to travel, you should seriously consider your ‘backyard’ as your next destination, especially when it’s a road less travelled.

If flying overseas is out of the question, Malaysia alone has so many to offer in terms of things to see and do, which, lest we forget, other people fly halfway around the world to experience.

The same goes for travelling within our home Sarawak, which is internationally known for its culture, adventure and nature tourism.

As we’ve mentioned before, you can gain invaluable experience by travelling regardless of the destination; from improving creativity and communication to broadening life values and perspectives.

Work part-time

The school holidays can be an opportune time for you to learn financial independence and gain work experience, which will be beneficial when you apply for a full-time position in the future.

Having a part time job also tests your ability to manage time, in terms of adapting and adhering to a work schedule.

Additionally, you’ll be able to build your network through colleagues you’ll encounter at your workplace.

Improve your health

If you haven’t been taking good care of yourself throughout your studies, the school holidays would be the best time to start practising a healthier lifestyle.

Eat healthily, exercise regularly and make sure you get enough sleep; then ensure that you carry on this lifestyle by the time you go back to school or enter into college.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2BywagdFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Some DON’Ts to remember before exams

The exam weeks are finally here!

Students around the country may either feel anxious to get it over with or embrace it with anticipation because you have been preparing for it for months.

During this tough time, each student may develop their own study techniques and strategies.

However, we felt that we should also remind students of the things they should definitely avoid at this point in time.

DON’T use social media

Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are fun but they can also be distracting, especially when you are trying to focus.

During exam weeks, do avoid them at all cost because, as you know all too well, once you stray there, it’s like entering the social media ‘black hole’.

DON’T follow other people’s study methods

When it comes to studying, everyone is wired differently.

For instance, your friend might prefer to study in a group while you prefer to be alone with your headphones. So, don’t feel pressured to follow others.

It is important that you feel comfortable while studying so that you can be more focused and ready to take on the tests.

DON’T stay up late

If you think studying all night without getting a good night’s sleep will get you high marks, you better think again.

Pulling an all-nighter before taking an exam is not a good idea because the chances of you recalling what you have learned are low.

So, do get a proper night’s sleep because your brain needs a rest too.

DON’T eat junk food

For most, it is easy to turn to food as a way to unwind and destress. However, you might want to keep the stress eating under control by not taking too much junk food while studying.

Instead, opt for healthier options such as fruits and nuts.

And while we are in the subject of food, do try to avoid consuming too much caffeine and energy drinks.

DON’T panic

Last, but definitely not least, do not panic because the more you panic, the more mistakes you will end up making.

If you stumble upon a question that totally stumps you, just move on to the next one and stay confident in your preparations.

So, good luck and all the best!

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2OQ1ydaFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Learning from your mistakes

At SarawakYES! we always emphasise the need to learn from mistakes, whether it’s for our career, education or personal growth.

Yet we live in a world where not everyone can tolerate mistakes, and many parents have been teaching their children not to slip-up, supposedly so that they don’t grow up to become incompetent or troublesome.

The truth, however, is that whether intentionally or not we all make mistakes. But it’s the way you interpret and confront yours that will eventually define you as a person.

If you read stories of accomplished individuals, you’ll find their achievements are due to their willingness and determination to learn from and overcome their mistakes.

The question then is how can you grow from your mistakes?

DO:

Acknowledge and take responsibility – This is your first step towards learning from mistakes. It can be uncomfortable at times, but your readiness to admit and be accountable can quicken the process of identifying and resolving your errors.

Perceive your mistakes as learning opportunities – This enables you to boost your self-confidence, which helps in taking more risks in the future.

Reflect on your mistakes – Whether on your own or with someone you can trust, ask honest questions about these mistakes and then find ways to ensure that you don’t repeat them.

Apologise for your mistakes if they end up affecting others – Assure the people who’ve been affected that you won’t do it again. Your apology needs to be genuine and sincere so people can recognise you for your strength, honesty and accountability.

DON’T:

Dwell on your mistakes, as it can be unproductive and stressful – Self-reflect on your mistakes, move forward and remind yourself that as long as they aren’t deliberate, there’s no harm in making mistakes.

Blame others or justify your mistakes – This won’t provide any closure to yourself or others affected. It also shows your reluctance to learn from your mistakes, which can lead to the greater possibility of repeating them in the future.

Repeat the same mistakes too many times – This may suggest you’ve yet to fully grasp lessons learnt from your mistakes or you’re not committed and disciplined enough to change for the better.

Fear making mistakes – In fact, not encountering any mistake at all can be your biggest mistake. The more you experience and overcome mistakes, the more capable you become in navigating through life, giving yourself more room for personal development.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2JVJSw5Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Things to consider when updating your resume

If you’re thinking of breaking into a new career or changing jobs, updating your resume should be one of the first things to do.

The resume you prepared when you graduated might have been useful the first time around but now is definitely the time to update it.

In updating your resume, here are a few things to consider:

Update your resume frequently

Regardless if you’re content at your current job or are currently looking for new opportunities, updating your resume frequently (perhaps once a year) is always a good idea.

Throughout your career, your responsibilities may have changed and so your resume should reflect these changes as well.

Remove information that’s outdated

When applying for a position at a new company, make sure to remove any irrelevant information.

You may have previously included things such as a list of part time jobs during university just to pad your resume but now this list might be irrelevant for your potential employers.

So, if you think that some of the skills listed in your resume does not relate to the new job you’re applying for, maybe you should leave it out. However, you should retain the items in your list if those experiences and skills  are useful for the position you’re looking at.

Highlight the skills you’ve acquired

After a few years of working, no doubt you would have acquired more experience and skills.

So, apart from removing outdated information contained in your earlier resume, your priority now would be to make these new experiences and skills stand out.

This would probably require you to think about all the projects you’ve worked on and how the experience has helped you to grow professionally in your job.

For some of you, this exercise may not be as easy as you think as you really have to consider how your work has translated into useful experience and training.

Give your resume a makeover

Although substance will always be more important than style, it doesn’t hurt to make your resume more attractive or at the very least make it easier for potential employers to read.

Your resume should not be messy, rather it should stay simple and clean.

An easy tip is to choose an appropriate font. The “best” fonts will look good both on paper and on the screen, so make sure to try out several fonts and print out before actually sending your resume.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

How to deal with a new job task?

If you’re a graduate who just joined the workforce, you’ll find that some job tasks are nearly akin to some experience during your internship or activities in your university.

But what if you’re given a task that you’ve never handled before?

Understandably, you’ll get anxious, confused and frustrated at first from receiving a job you’re not familiar with.

However, no matter how daunting this new task might be, at the end of the day you’re given the responsibility by your employer to complete it.

So, instead of looking at it as a problem you can think of handling a new task as a good opportunity to gain new knowledge, skills and experience, especially when it gets you out of your comfort zone.

Here are some ways to deal with a new job task:

Ask around                                
Perhaps the most straightforward thing you can do is to ask.

Go up to your superior for details of the task or to an experienced colleague for suggestions.

You can also ask your family or friends who may have tackled similar work before.

In any case, asking around gives you an idea on how to accomplish the job.

At the very least, it could help you build rapport with your colleagues and superiors.

Do some research
The moment you receive your new task, begin your research immediately.

If your workplace has an archive of past works or manuals that are related to your task, you can study these materials to find out how it is usually done.

Additionally, with access to the World Wide Web, you can search online for relevant tips, tutorials or information to get your task done.

Start small
Once you have a general idea about your task, you can start off with the easy part.

Consider this a warmup to a work process you’re about to put yourself through.

It’s best not to dive into a new task with the difficult part first; otherwise you will stress yourself out and you won’t be able to meet your deadline.

Have faith in yourself
Most importantly, you need to believe in your own capability to do this new task.

As long as you put in a lot of effort and you make yourself open to constructive criticism, handling a new task builds the confidence you need to be better at your work.

And when all’s said and done, look back at the entire process and discover your strengths and weaknesses so that you can perform better the next time you’re given a comparable task.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, October 27, 2018.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Other Side of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure has a bad reputation as it has been largely used in the negative context.

Among the youths, peer pressure is a well discussed topic where it receives mostly negative perceptions due to negative social pressure and habits among the youths.

Previously, SarawakYES! has discussed the negative impact of peer pressure and what the youths can do to handle it.

However, peer pressure is not all bad as there is a good side to it too. And depending on how you look at it, peer pressure can have positive influence on the youths. Here are some ways peer pressure can be beneficial for you:

Letting go of bad habits

Peer pressure is all about following the crowd and if steered the right way, it can help you adopt good habits.

Try to think of a time when a friend pressured you into doing something good for yourself or avoid something bad.

For instance, if your close friends are adopting healthy habits such as exercising regularly or following a healthy diet, you will also be encouraged to pick up the same habit.

Positive peer pressure can help you reflect on your actions and amend your ways by letting go of bad habits and pick up good ones.

A great motivator

Sometimes, you just need a good push to encourage yourself to do something that you are not brave enough to do. And this is where peer pressure will come in handy as it can also be a powerful motivator.

When you observe your classmates studying hard in class, you will naturally feel pressured to do the same so that you can perform better in your studies.

Whether it is the classroom or working space, peer pressure can actually motivate you to perform at peak level.

In a team or group environment, everyone is expected to perform their best and this will naturally make the poorer performers step up or risk falling behind others.

Shaping good personality

The youths are more susceptible to the influence from their peers or the crowd as they want to fit in or feel a sense of belonging.

For the youths, your peers play an important role in shaping your personality as well as influencing your way of looking at life and how you make choices.

Peer pressure can help you analyse and contemplate your ways of thinking. And if you are fortunate to get a good peer group, they may actually persuade you whether directly or indirectly to bring a constructive change in your personality to be a better person.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2EysM8z

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels. Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Should you join your alumni association?

Your days in school and college may be some of the most memorable moments in your life but now that you’ve been working for a few years, have you ever thought about reconnecting to your alma mater?

One of the ways for you to reconnect could be to catch up with long-lost friends, who you’ve probably rediscovered through social media networks like Facebook or messaging services like WhatsApp, but another way could be by joining the alumni association of your school or college.

Apart from reliving the nostalgic moments of your life as a student though, alumni associations could offer you a lot more benefits that you may not have thought of.

Widen your network

As the members of your alumni association would be made up of a diverse group of people, your network will definitely be much wider by joining. This could be especially useful if your work forces you to be based in a new town or city. It’s not just great for your social life; the benefits could extend to your professional life as well, as your fellow members would be able to offer you guidance and advice for your career, especially those in the same industry as you’re in.

Boost your career

Apart from offering invaluable guidance and advice for your career, some of your fellow alumni association members may actually be able to provide you with opportunities that you would probably not have even known about. This is especially true when some of your fellow members could be in a position to assist in improving your career prospects, either through the help of their own extensive network or as decision-makers in their respective organisations.

Give back to your alma mater

Joining an alumni association should not just be about how it could help you progress personally; it should also be about giving you the opportunity to give back to your school or university. Contributing to your alma mater could be in many forms and could include becoming more active in alumni activities or providing moral or financial support to the alumni in its efforts to help the school or university.

Contribute to your community

Some of the activities organised by your alumni could even extend beyond just helping your alma mater. These endeavours could be in the field of sports, education or health and this will give you an opportunity to contribute towards improving lives in your community.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2yhTzQGFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Making time for self-reflection

In a world where we’re always on the go and where we tend to get distracted by so many things (especially our mobile devices), we should pause from time to time to reflect on decisions that we’ve taken so far.

Self-reflection is our ability to analyse ourselves, especially in learning more about our own attributes, disposition, principles and purpose from our experiences, whether in school, at work or throughout life.

It involves questioning our past and present actions and habits sensibly, in terms of whether they are bringing us any closer to our overall goals and dreams.

Yet, for an ability that is essential for self-improvement, self-reflection is often ignored.

Some might find it embarrassing or a waste of time; others don’t know how it’s done or fear the results out of reflecting on themselves.

However, we can gain a lot from slowing down to take a look at ourselves. Self-reflection allows us to build self-awareness, empathy and integrity, as well as challenging our preconceptions.

And when we happen to stumble upon a problem, it lets us generate new ideas to overcome it; some of which can even lead to a change in our routine.

Most important, self-reflection gives you the worthwhile opportunity to learn, understand and accept who you are as a person and how much more you can accomplish to be better.

Always remember that in your process of self-reflection, you need to acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures without being overly critical with yourself.

That way, you’ll be able to determine your way forward – whether you’re capable of achieving your goals or you’re required to change your motivation towards a better path to success.

Self-reflection can be done in many ways at any time, more effectively when you do it voluntarily. Journal writing and meditation are among the most common suggestions.

You can also reflect on yourself during your daily routine, such as showering, commuting to school or office, or eating your meals without your smartphone next to you.

Talking to people like friends, family members, colleagues or counsellors would help give you a better idea about yourself too. Those who are especially honest with you can point out thoughts or issues that you might have missed in your own self-reflection.

Whichever way you decide to take, make it a point to self-reflect on a regular basis, for it takes practice and commitment to turn self-reflection into a habit.

As long as you understand the importance and long-term benefits of self-reflection, you can realise your goals and grow better without forgetting the experiences that made you who you are today.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Photo by Andre Mouton from Pexels.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather