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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Overcoming peer pressure

If you’re currently studying in a college or university, there may be times where you find yourself doing something you won’t normally do, in order to fit into a social circle. This experience is commonly described as peer pressure.

Peer pressure is a form of influence coming from your peers that leads you to conform to their standards by changing your behaviour, attitude, or values.

It can be direct (you’re told to do something by your friends), indirect (you notice most of your friends doing certain activities that you will less likely do) or self-motivated (you put pressure on yourself to be part of a group of friends).

Experiencing peer pressure can happen at any time in our lives, but we are more vulnerable to it during our college years.

This is especially true when we’re surrounded by peers from many different backgrounds, and we’re more likely to try new activities as part of the process of understanding our relationship with others and ourselves as individuals.

To handle peer pressure well and navigate through college life better, here are some tips that could help.

Know when to say “no”

Whenever you feel pressured by someone telling you to do something you’d rather not do, say “no” politely and reasonably, even if the person tries to persuade you by saying things like, “Everyone’s doing it” or “You’re no fun.”

Responding in that manner consistently allows you to stand your ground and boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Differentiate between good and bad

Not all forms of peer pressure are negative.

Positive peer pressure helps you confront your insecurities and improve yourself as a person, be it staying healthy, volunteering, or being good to others.

Giving in to positive peer pressure excessively, however, can be detrimental to your wellbeing, so it’s important to do it in moderation.

Choose your friends wisely

Anyone who forces you to do something you dislike is not a true friend, so pick peers from your classes or college activities who hold similar interests, beliefs, or values and allow you to be yourself.

It’s worth noting that you and your friends don’t need to have the same opinion on everything; this enables you to learn different perspectives other than your own.

Be yourself

Always remember that the decision to act (or not to act) upon peer pressure is your choice and responsibility, so always think things through before making the decision and reflect on how your actions will eventually define you.

Also remember that whatever it is that you want to be, don’t do it just for the sake of pleasing others.

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/2DqHWMo

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When the career path chooses you

For some of you fresh graduates, there is a high chance that you may not be able to land a job that’s related to what you studied in college or university.

It’s actually not uncommon to have a fulfilling career that you didn’t plan for when you were completing your diploma or degree, so don’t stress out if your first job is not what you envisioned.

While some may be lucky enough to land a job that fits perfectly within their field of expertise, others may end up getting hired for a role that is completely different from their expectations.

If you fall into the latter category, here are some of our thoughts on the matter.

Accept the change

First of all, be grateful for the job opportunity offered to you and realise that your employers acknowledge your capabilities enough to trust you to fill a position that is not related to your field of study.

You may not realise it at first, but if you give it your best shot, you may find that the job could suit you better than you imagined.

And even if your field of study is different from the job scope at hand, always remember that having good work ethics, being creative and innovative, and able to be a team player will always be appreciated in any work environment.

Willing to work your way up

As you may have a lot to learn in an industry that you are not familiar with, upon joining you will have to start from the lower rungs of the organisation.

Always keep in mind that you have a lot to learn and also need to gather as much experience as possible to be more competent at your job.

It may take a few years, but if you have the determination and are willing to work hard, your efforts will not go unnoticed by your supervisors.

Leverage on transferable skills

As mentioned above, in any industry you join, if you have good work ethics and can be a team player, you would have an upper hand in most organisations.

Apart from those attributes, in order to make you stand out in an industry that is unrelated to your field of study, you should focus on your transferable skills.

These could include leadership skills, written and verbal communication skills, organisational and time management skills, and also research and analytical skills.

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/2QwRNmh

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Imagine…

What do soft skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking have in common? They all require you to have a strong imagination.

The term ‘imagination’ tends to be associated with childhood development, but it isn’t limited to only children re-enacting their fantasies or favourite fairy tales through pretend play.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines imagination as “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.”

This is applicable when we try to imagine a physical sensation, feeling, emotion, smell or taste; when we visualise based upon a story we read or heard; or when we picture a product or service that can positively benefit people in the future.

As a distinctively human ability, imagination lets us discover new ideas, images or sensations beyond the limitation of reality through a combination of our experiences and knowledge.

It is especially relevant to creativity and innovation, in which imagination of the artistic or scientific kind is put into action through creativity and turns into an innovation.

Simply put, without imagination, we may not be able to enjoy our favourite films, literature and any other art forms, or experience the likes of mobile devices, the Internet or technological advancements that have made life easier for us.

If you’re running a business, having a strong imagination is essential to ensure long-term success as it also helps in creating a vision for your company.

Imagination also allows business owners to generate ideas for daily operations, come up with multiple solutions to a business problem, and even foresee potential new ventures that can be incorporated into their business strategy.

Most importantly, while we may become more rational as we get older, we can enhance our professional and personal growth through continuous development of our imagination.

The advantages are endless; for one, being imaginative lets us improve skills that we use in school, at work or our daily life, be it the aforementioned problem-solving and critical thinking or emotional intelligence and communication.

Our power of imagination also enriches ourselves as individuals, as it boosts our perceptiveness, self-esteem, self-confidence and overall mental health by providing us a more positive outlook in life.

Fundamentally, imagination reminds us of our passion and purpose in life amidst our daily routine and responsibilities.

And when we don’t restrain ourselves and make the effort to turn it into reality, imagination allows us to envision a future that would challenge current limitations and norms, subsequently creating positive change within ourselves and the society at large.

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, August 25, 2018.

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