There are some people who are against the trade of private hire for this reason: they think it kills an individual’s employability and retirement adequacy.
Devadas Krishnadas posted the following on a post on his LinkedIn page: “These jobs (referring to gigs such as private hire) have no professional value. Even plying the roads consumes vast amounts of energy…These drivers refer to themselves as their own bosses.’”
“In truth, the real beneficiaries are the ride hailing companies all gunning to IPO. Drivers are a free labour force for which they have no responsibility or liability.”
“While a number of drivers drive on a short term basis, for an increasing number it is becoming a long term proposition. As they drive their employability erodes.”
Devadas thinks that drivers are being made used of. That long-term exposure to gigs, such as driving, would reduce their employability and eventually see them being wiped out when technologies such as driverless cars replace them.
His comment drew the reply of Rio Hoe, a trainee solicitor in London and a regular contributor to Five Stars and a Moon.
“I don’t think any of these individuals are blind to these limitations – surely no Grab driver expects to become a manager at Grab by starting out as a driver,” says Rio.
“In fact, one could argue that the fact that young people still take up these jobs *despite* the lack of professional development demonstrates that they value aspects of the job such as autonomy and flexible hours to such an extent that it outweighs the repetitiveness and the career limitations of a private hire driver.
Rio makes a very good suggestion: “Therefore, perhaps the solution to retaining talent and avoiding “waste” is for companies to try to accommodate the changing demands of today’s generation of workers.“
I have made several trips on Grab in the past and perhaps out of influence of my job, I always ask them why they chose to be private hire drivers.
Yes, the reflex answer is flexibility and freedom. But you have to dig deeper. Many, many of them also double as real estate or insurance agents and driving provides them with a captive audience and an opportunity to network.
Several I met are pursuing their hobbies, trying to turn professional in them. I have met photographers, artists, designers, programmers who are working on their next killer project. All these people would not have had the time and freedom to do these had they engaged in full-time work.
Some are building a fledgling business that hasn’t become profitable yet. Driving helps to temporarily quench parched wallets.
If they were to take “normal” job, not only do you lose out on the opportunity to pursue a true love, you also get trapped in the same skills retardation problem. If you are XYZ executive, how many would become Chief XYZ?
Sure, you end your career with a CPF that is perhaps barely sufficient for retirement. But you lost out on building an empire. You lost out on living a life.
“So while I do believe that Uber does not provide an ideal working environment for its drivers, we cannot ignore the fact that these drivers, being free-acting economic agents who are fully aware of their limited employee rights and benefits, have chosen to be drivers nonetheless. Why? Because Uber provides a convenient and flexible source of supplemental income and unlike contracted work, they can stop being an Uber driver at any point once they find a new job,” says Rio.
Yaron Brook, is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, writer, and activist. He is an Objectivist and the current chairman of the board at the Ayn Rand Institute, where he was executive director from 2000 to 2017. In this video, he speaks with us about why inequality is a non-issue.
The Worker’s Party controlled town council reportedly wrote off one individual’s late fee of netizen “Raymond Wee”.
Raymond first posted this comment on another netizen’s Facebook page, a person named Kilmar Wong.
Raymond’s comment implies he is a Aljunied-Hougang resident. In his sharing, he said that his father “owes the Town Council 14 months’ arrears due to poor health.”
The post suggests that Raymond himself was abroad when his father started chalking up late payments “due to poor health”. Upon his return, Raymond said he assisted his father in ‘getting medical aid and handled the necessary documentation.” Which we can presume to be seeking government assistance for his father’s medical bills.
The post then said that he went to appeal against the interest levied.
“Within 15 minutes of waiting and 5 minutes of studying my appeal, my town council waived the interest charge of $700+ based on medical and compassionate grounds.”
If this story certainly was true, then perhaps the Worker’s Party is deserving of an applaud for their ability to make swift decisions concerning his appeal.
One can imagine a PAP town council to have several more steps; such as visiting the residence of the appellant, arranging for community assistance, roping in the Community Development Council for evaluation and checking hospital records to understand if the resident has the ability to help himself or if he needs further assistance. And certainly due diligence to prevent fraudulent claims.
Through this story, we can infer that the Worker’s Party has very efficient processes and is able to do all this within the time span of 5 minutes.
At this point, this magazine is unable to verify the source of Raymond Wee’s Facebook account.
In many parts of the world, call to raise wages (especially the minimum wage) is performed through adversarial and antagonistic events such as protests and sit-outs. This is attributed largely to the politics of these countries. Where governments are unable to mediate and seek consensus, parties have to take it on themselves to fight for these rights.
In Singapore, we’re better than that. Not only do we not have to resort to protests, we have a mechanism built into our system to negotiate, recommend and even influence wage increases. This is the role of the National Wages Council.
Each year, the National Wages Council convenes to give wage increase recommendations to employers. This year, the tripartite body considered the effects of a slower economy. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has forecast that Singapore’s economy will grow 1.5% to 2.5% this year, down from the 3.1% expansion achieved last year.
Because of this, NWC urged employers to maintain the same level of wage increments for their low-wage earners this year.
In summary, their recommendations include:
Giving low-wage workers earning up to S$1,400 a built-in wage increase of S$50 to S$70 this year (the same range it suggested last year). However, it raised the wage threshold. Last year, the recommendation was for such increments to be given to workers earning up to S$1,300.
A one-off payment of S$200 to S$360 for low-wage workers employed by companies which recorded productivity growth last year. This is the second time that the NWC has recommended such a payment, though the range has dropped from last year’s recommendation of S$300 to S$600.
For low-wage workers earning more than S$1,400, the NWC recommends employers grant a reasonable pay bump and/or a one-off lump-sum payment “based on (their) skills and productivity”.
The fundamental position that the NWC takes is this: wage increases must be justified by productivity growth. For this reason, the organisation puts forth that retraining and upskilling is the way for companies to protect themselves and their employees from uncertain economic conditions.
It asks for employers to:
Redesign jobs and train their employees to take on these roles
Offer structured training for their employees
Invest in training all employees in emerging skills to ensure those at risk of redundancy continue to be employable
Tap government schemes to fund their training programmes
One such important component of training is the Company Training Committees (CTC). The CTCs are an initiative of the Labour Movement. These are structured training programs driven by the NTUC to intensify training efforts.
Commenting on the guidelines, NTUC President Mary Liew said: “The NWC guidelines will support our workers in their transformation to take on current and future workplace challenges. To do so, employers must help their workforce skill up and move up. We encourage more companies to work with the Labour Movement to set up Company Training Committees (CTCs) that will identify the training and skills that workers in the company require and develop the necessary training programmes to help them keep up with industry transformation.”
These challenging times should be turned into an opportunity for companies to refocus on training. “When there is a slow-down, this is the best opportunity to retrain. In a very fast-moving economy, there is little time to do so… (as) resources are so tight,” said Dr Robert Yap, president of the Singapore National Employer’s Federation.
The work of the National Wages Council cannot be underestimated. It is our built in pressure release valve for matters regarding wages, it is the mechanism to reduce tension between employers and employees on a national level.
This article is a contribution from Yaron Brook. Yaron Brook is the chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit think tank that advocates for Objectivist thought. He will be coming to Singapore for a dialogue series on income inequality on 30 May and 1 June. The dialogue is organised by The Philosophy of Life, a philosophy interest group based in Singapore.
Capitalism (political and economic freedom) causes economic inequality. Indeed, in most pre-capitalist countries in the world today, there is less inequality than there is in the United States and Singapore, despite both of these countries ranking among the “most free” countries in terms of economic freedom. But all of these pre-capitalist countries are dirt-poor. There was equality—equality of poverty. One of capitalism’s great virtues is the fact that it has created inequality.
What does that mean? It means that capitalism has allowed the creators of wealth to keep it. Capitalism has rewarded individuals based on their level of productivity. The more productive you are, the more you make; the less productive you are, the less you make. This is supply and demand and market forces at work. Capitalism in its pure form, in a free market—setting cronyism aside—is a system of earned inequality.
Who Cares about Inequality?
When we look across the world both historically and geographically, countries that adopt capitalism and free markets are more likely to flourish economically and socially. The rich get fabulously rich, and the poor just get rich—rich relative to where they were before. Just ask any middle-class Chinese person or Indian person or Taiwanese person. They are rich, relative to the previous generation or relative to where they themselves were just a few years earlier. And given the speed at which this economic transformation is happening on a global scale, projections for continued wealth creation and accumulation continue to be positive. So, yes, capitalism creates inequality. But inequality is good. Members of society have different skills, roles, and outcomes, and that’s okay. The fact that there are people who are much smarter than I am, who have the ability to create beautiful things like the iPhone and sell them to billions of people, is wonderful. All of us benefit from that. And if these people make billions of dollars, that’s a good thing, because that’s part of the incentive to make and market the product.
Every time you buy a product like the iPhone, are you better or worse off? Consider J.K. Rowling. She is one of those individuals responsible for inequality in the last 20 years. Everytime you bought one of the Harry Potter books, you added to inequality. Scholastic took twenty-five dollars from you for the book, giving a fifth of your payment to J.K. Rowling. She became a billionaire. You became twenty-five dollars poorer.
But why is there any problem with this scenario? You are better off because you get the spiritual value of reading Harry Potter—at the very least you expect you will—and Rowling got monetary compensation. As a result, she became a billionaire, and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. After all, you are both better off. That is the beauty of markets. That is the beauty of capitalism. Yes, capitalism creates wealth inequality, but so what? If the transactions are win-win, as voluntary trade is, we are all better off.
The Real Problems
In the United States, there are real problems which, in my view, the whole inequality debate is hiding and trying to disguise. These problems include poverty, cronyism, and low economic growth. None of these problems has anything to do with the inequality gap between rich and poor. We have a justified sense of outrage and injustice when we see the difficulties in economic mobility for the poor. We see the injustice that arises from cronyism. We resent the fact that some rich people are rich because they are cronies; we rightfully feel that it is a problem. And we are legitimately concerned by the lack of economic growth over the last eight years—a cause of real frustration among many in the middle class. But the inequality gap, the number, the Gini coefficient—however you want to call it—is irrelevant to these legitimate issues. The inequality itself is not an issue; it is a bogus issue. There is no problem of inequality.
If we seriously consider the problem of the poor not being able to rise up from poverty, we see that this is often caused by policies in order to reduce inequality. Common examples include restrictions on credit, minimum wages, and licensing laws. If you really look at it, these policies all make poverty worse and more intractable—all in the name of reducing inequality. When you overregulate and overtax the economy, you get low growth. That shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The latest examples are the Senate Democrats’ effort to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, Maryland governor O’Malley’s raising it in his state, and just the other day the city of Seattle’s raising it to $15 — the highest in the country. The economic case against the minimum wage is easy to grasp.
When the government artificially raises the price of something, the demand for it goes down. Raising the minimum wage decreases the demand for unskilled labour (usually the young). It raises the unemployment among this group and accelerates the adoption of technology replacing even more low-skilled workers. (For an excellent, but not exhaustive, economic analysis, see John Cochrane’s writings here.)
Minimum wage advocates know that the minimum wage has no favourable impact, but they don’t care since they can sell it as “good” and “noble” by lying and evading its economic consequences.
The Ideal of Equality
We think of inequality as a problem because we have set up a Platonic ideal that economic equality is a good thing when it is not. There is nothing good about equality. Few actually explicitly advocate for total equality of outcome because they know how unacceptable that view is. We have tried it (multiple variants of communism and socialism), and the outcomes are horrible.
So whenever I debate somebody who wants more economic equality, I ask, “How much is just right? What Gini coefficient and what redistribution is just right?” There are no rational answers to these questions, because there is no right level of inequality. The ideal that we have all implicitly accepted is that equality is good but it’s just not practical. I reject that. Economicequality is more than just impractical; it is an evil ideal. And equality of opportunity is just another form of equality of outcome and just as impossible and bring into reality.
The only legitimate concept of equality is equality of individual rights—the fact that the founders of America recognized (inconsistently, unfortunately) that each individual has an unalienable right to act to achieve the values necessary for his own life, for his own happiness, free of coercion. This entails equality of liberties and equality before the law. Every attempt to create equality of outcome or equality of opportunity violates the idea of equality of rights and equality of liberty. Somebody’s liberties are restricted in order to supposedly increase the opportunities and the outcome of somebody else. This is immoral and wrong.
We must get rid of the moral ideal of equality of outcome. It contradicts our very nature as distinct, unique individuals who, when free, produce unequal results. Inequality is a feature of freedom. The ideal of equality is the negation of human nature and of the value of political freedom. Economic equality, therefore, is a wrong ideal, and it distorts our politicsand our policy thoroughly.
Restraint of trade clauses are clauses in your contract that seek to prevent you from working for another employer in a competing business. But there is no need to freak out if you’ve only just realised that you agreed to such a clause in your employment.
Generally speaking, the courts have decided that such clauses are generally not enforceable.
The commercial interests of the employer are weighed against the livelihood of the employee. Where the law is concerned, it is against the principals of fairness if they were to be forced to give up their livelihood, something that they’ve trained their whole lives in just because a prospective employer compelled them to.
The only times where a restraint of trade clause is upheld, is when the employee has an upper hand. For example, he has access to trade secrets, understanding, access to clients or any such proprietary information that would make it unfair for the employer. Or if he was the face of the company for example, or if it was against some sort of public interest that this employee cannot work for a competing trade.
Even in these cases, the duration of restraint (which means, how long he/she cannot work for a competing firm) must be limited, however we shall not go into that detail in this article.
Kubaren Algasamy, the Industrial Relations Officer representing the Union of Security Employees, had this to say about the case: “I expected the case to be thrown out on the basis that it was unenforceable”
He is absolutely right. So to his surprise, the judge upheld an injunction for the workers to stop working for the new employer and for the workers to pay damages to their ex-employer.
At this point, some explanation is needed: what the judge upheld was a consent order. Which means, the security officers themselves had agreed to the damages. However, one may question whether or not the courts should have stepped in to scrutinise the case?
Security officers are rank and file workers. The skills and licences they possess, though important and difficult to acquire, do not warrant them to be bound to the clause. Their working for someone else does not cripple or disable their former employer in anyway. Unless there were facts that the Vulcan Post article did not cover, there should be little reason why the security officers be imposed damages.
The only small clue afforded by the Vulcan article is that it was “clear that the ex-employer was unhappy with losing its contract”, which we can only assume to be a security business contract.
“But to take it out on low wage workers and for the workers to come out bearing the brunt of this is unfair”, said Kubaren, who further added that the union is providing support to the workers whilst they were redeployed to another worksite by their new employer.
To what we understand, the company is blaming the employees for the loss of a contract. But I just cannot fathom how a few security officers can bring an unfair advantage to the new hiring company. If these security officers can do that, wouldn’t it mean that there are structural problems at the company? Customers switch vendors because they don’t see value, shouldn’t they be fixing the issue of value rather than suing for damages amongst a few of their ex-employees?
For the rest of us, these clauses should generally be little cause for concern. Unless of course your involvement with the company fundamentally affects their reputation, profit and loss. No one should be denied of their ability to make a living for their families, the law has made itself quite clear on that.
Sales executives of Borneo Motors, who have chosen to remain anonymous reported that the company was planning to cut commissions by $100 to $350 per car from last month. According to the sales executives, their monthly income could have fallen by $2,000.
Union Intervened To Help
However, their trade union, the Singapore Manual & Mercantile Workers’ Union (SMMWU) would have none of it.
SMMWU submitted a request to Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to request for conciliation involving its sales consultant members and Borneo Motors (Singapore) Pte Ltd over the proposed cut in commission and an increase in sales quota.
MOM spokesman said that “the conciliation process is ongoing. Both Union and Borneo Motors’ management are engaging actively in the conciliation process. Progress has been made on someissues but more work needs to be done on remaining issues where parties’ positions differ.”
Jasmmine Wong, managing director of Borneo Motors was reported to have said, “We are in the midst of discussions which we have every two years. We have up to the end of the year to reach a conclusion. Nothing has been decided.” Several veterans have been laid off two years ago and a new management team has taken over, which Ms Wong is part of.
She mentioned that the sales staff wanted “higher commissions and lower targets”, however she cited “impracticalities” especially in a market that is expected to decline over the next two years due to the decrease in certificate of entitlement (COE) quotas.
Tan Chong Motors, the agents of Nissan, was reported to have closed its Bukit Timah showroom. This was attributed to a dip in number of walk-in customers on May 6th.
Ms Wong commented that her priority is to keep jobs. She further explained that the company is operating on a system to generate leads for its sales staff, and a car delivery division has been added to relieve sales staff from non-sales duties.
A sales veteran, told the press that he thought the cut in commissions would only be acceptable if the company was losing money. However, this was not the case. It is odd that only sales staff were the only ones being targeted and this could be unjust. Borneo is ranked as one of the top profit generators under the UK-listed Inchcape. It has also earned Toyota’s Triple Crown award for industry-leading sales in passenger vehicle, commercial vehicle and taxi sales.
This is the first time in the company’s history that Borneo introduced a sales commission cut.
With union intervention, the company will not be able to implement any cuts in commission before the year ends. There is hope that the Union would be able to fight and negotiate successfully for a smaller commission cut, as well as prevent possible job losses in a weakening car market.
First, I have to state the obvious – this article is in no way implying whether this boy should, or should not be given a chance.
What I’m trying to do, is step away from the “justice must be done” crowd and consider the societal context and hopefully, understand something that can help steer our boys away from deviant behaviour in the future.
Sexual voyeurism is not new.
The low-tech (and fairly common) method was to tie a mirror on his shoes to look up someone’s skirt. Today, in an age of iPhones, it won’t take long for a hormonally charged teenage boy to figure out what he can do with a camera readily at his disposal.
But this boy isn’t ill. He isn’t sick. He isn’t bad. But he does need to chose between two things: the unearthly curiosity about the female anatomy and the choice to obey and respect the women around him.
“Testosterone affects many domains: males tend to be more aggressive than females and tend to engage in risky behavior, they tend to have lowered sensitivity to pain, their right-hemisphere is more active resulting in the higher spatial aptitude compared to females, lower levels of empathy and verbal skill”, quotes Cordone in the report linked above.
However, these qualities that turn a person into a criminal are also these same qualities that make fearless leaders and fighters. Men have the ability to shutoff the world around them and focus their energies on their objective. How a person turns out depends a lot on how their parents and society manage and correct deviant behaviour.
Simply put, boys are naughty and need a lot of guidance, discipline and training. If parents skimp on discipline, or worse, are afraid to upset their little emperors, you end up with a camera in the toilet.
Universities are places where adolescents, at peak hormone, gather. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that things can go wrong. But why does it appear that schools are not taking steps to prevent misconduct from happening?
My take is that we believe our own fiction too much.
Fiction number one: We think that when someone reaches age 18 or 21, this person suddenly becomes an adult fully capable of responsible choice. When the clock strikes 12 on this person’s birthday, he’s suddenly capable of holding weapons, viewing breasts in movies and smoking.
However, people mature at different ages. Men are known to mature very, very slowly. At the age of 18, some boys shouldn’t even be allowed near breakable utensils, let alone handle a smartphone independently. Military camps know this, why not schools?
Fiction number two: My boy is studious/ book loving/ has a girlfriend and won’t get into sexual deviancy.
Rubbish. Ever heard of the Japanese term “Otaku”? This is a young person who is obsessed with computers or popular culture (such as anime) to the detriment of their social skills. In fact the more nerdy and intelligent a person is, the more he is willing to put that intelligence to the test. The market is full of spy cams readily available to anyone with some money and the guts to try it out. Furthermore, there is a community of pervs on the internet encouraging little ah boy to capture those images as a mark of manhood.
And the chief fiction is this: It’s just a phase and my boy will grow out of it.
No he won’t. When these spots don’t get removed, well, you know what they say about a leopard and his spots. Deviance happens when we don’t talk about them. If junior doesn’t know to what degree a particular act is detested in society, chances are he’s going to keep at it because in his point of view, its ok. “If the video is not leaked, it’s not hurting anyone right”? No, these things need to be talked about, warned about and acted on to prevent it from ever happening at all.
For the present case, I think it is as much about discipline, as it is about respect. Where respect fails, a would be perpetrator must at least know that there is a gun aimed squarely at his future and his career, ready to fire off if he doesn’t comply.
And this is precisely what is happening to Nicholas Lim, and all the other juvenile offenders before him. Whether you have stolen panties, molested, harassed or threatened someone with revenge porn, you face the next 50 or 60 years living with the consequences of an action that provided thrill and satisfaction for all of 5 minutes.
It is not easy to decide how to punish the offender.
A young person being devoid of a future, is more than likely to continue getting deeper and deeper into criminal behaviour. There is nothing to lose anymore. He is more than likely to re-offend, creating more and more victims.
It is impossible to compensate the victim. Her modesty cannot be returned. Even the harshest punishment is cold comfort to her; she will constantly live under threat and shame, not knowing whether or not her video will be released. For some victims, each time a new case goes public, her name will be re-circulated again and again. Her horrors refreshed each time a similar crime catches the attention of the media.
But what society can do, is to met sufficient punishment to deliver justice and to ensure the offender does not re-offend. Society should not believe these fictions we lie to ourselves with and to protect our schools from deviants from the ground-up. Remember this is a place surging with hormones and the compounds need to have as much security as a military camp.
It is easy to say “let’s hang the victim”, but in this hanging will you spawn a vindictive ghost that will seek out new victims in increasingly serious crimes?
The texture of employment is fast changing and I think there is no need to explain too much about what this is, or why it’s happening. It’s happening. That’s all you need to know.
As businesses change in their needs, so do your skills. And the skill that every employee needs to go out and acquire right now, is in tech. But what on earth does this mean? What IS a “tech skill”?
We’ve broken it down into 10 segments so that you can get an easier grasp of what this is and what it entails and why you should get deep into learning it as soon as you can.
Ever wondered why you should are being tested on esoteric topics such as algebra, triangulation and graphs back in school? Well, numerical literacy is the building block of tech. It is not merely being fluent with numbers, but also the skills that numbers bring about: logic, organisation and order.
It needs one to understand how to be critically evaluate information. Quantitative literacy allows us analyse and apply arithmetic operations to tackle real world problems.
It doesn’t matter if you were never “good in maths”, it is just as important to understand the role mathematics play in the world. We are never too old to go back to basics. Even if it means picking up a Primary school textbook on algebra and fractions. These things form the foundation, a basic understanding of how tech works.
Even if your work doesn’t involve actual coding, it is important to understand how coding works. It will give you a highly efficient problem solving perspective of a situation. Similar to numerical literacy, coding will teach you about logic, organisation and order.
Part of the package of coding includes skills such as: programming languages, infrastructure, network architecture, systems analysis, usability, testing and troubleshooting. These are skills that have applicability no matter what the nature of your work is.
Almost every industry today relies on data. Whether it is data from clients, products or tracking human behaviour, we need to understand data, how it is collected, how it is processed and how to make sense of it all. Employess who know how to collect, organise and interpret data have a strong business edge.
Skills in data include: understanding algorithms, analytical skills, calculating, statistics, data mining, database design, quantitative research and reporting.
Project management trains one to order priorities, keep a tab on resources and driving projects to a good finish. It also requires one to be an effective leader, to learn how to delegate tasks and how to measure the success of each project.
The skills involved are largely “soft” skills and includes an understanding of skills such as benchmarking, budget planning, performance review, project planning, quality assurance, quality control, scheduling, task delegation and management.
Social media fluency
If you’re in the field of marketing or business development, it is important to be well versed in this field. And no, it doesn’t mean knowing how to use Facebook and Instagram. Teenagers use both those apps but it doesn’t make them fluent in social media.
One needs to understand script writing, content production, lead generation, search engine optimisation, analytics and yes, a strong knowledge of society and culture and how those behave on a non-verbal digital platform.
In a world of scams and cunning security breaches, almost everyone needs to be versed in operational security and at least a working knowledge of how common hacks and attacks are being carried out. If you’re working for a multi-national company, it would be a travesty of employment not to know how to protect trade secrets of your employer. If you’re working for non-profit organisations, you have to know that your organisation is a potential target of mischief and vandalism at all times.
Even if you are not a programmer yourself, or you do not build websites, it is important to know the basics of how websites operate, the PHP language and a working knowledge of common Content Management Systems. You need to know these to exploit the full business potential of your online footprint. Websites are not just brochures and to see them as such would be severely under utilising the presence of your site.
You need to know analytics, tracking, HTML, PHP and a knowledge of how servers and networks operate.
Many businesses work with data regularly. This could mean email marketing systems, customer relations management systems, or even merely just dealing with simple comma separated values (such as those that Facebook analytics commonly generate), you have to know how to work with all this data and not make a mess of it.
App and software knowledge
At the very least, one needs to have an awareness and understanding of how the popular apps out there can help with businesses. There is everything from productivity to polls, from file management to FinTech tools. Being well versed in these tools allows an employee to get plugged in and work in their must productive, efficient manner.
And no, merely knowing Word, Excel and Powerpoint will not cut it. Every single person in the workforce is presumed to know how to use these products already.
Tech developments: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Machine learning and robotics
On a longer time horizon, these technologies will play a greater and greater role in the business field. These are complex tech skills that are able to bring closer the gulf between man and machine. Although not immediately applicable to most fields today, it is hard to say when and how these technologies could suddenly disrupt and revolutionise our world (again).
We live, after all, in a world of autonomous machines, flying cars, predictive technologies and robots capable of comprehending human speech. We are, what we call the “Worker version 4”.
We are not merely competing with humans now, we are competing with machines for our jobs. But with technical, adaptive and technology skills, think of yourself as collaborating with the machines, rather than competing against them.
If you are interested more about being the worker of the 21st century, the Worker 4.0, have a look at the following links:
Don’t tolerate bad service, it makes both your day and the service provider’s more miserable.
This is what I call, the circle of misery.
Example: You buy your food from the most convenient, cheapest shop available for you and you think you’re putting up with bad service because that’s part of the price.
The proprietor gives you bad service because he thinks he’s charging you too little. He doesn’t earn enough and it makes his day miserable.
Both you and him are contributing to a cycle of misery.
And then you drive to work wondering why you have to deal with this. And then your mind drifts to all the unfinished business at home. “Oh crap, I forgot to pay the property taxes! There’s a late fee imposed now!”
“Oh good grief, what else did I forget to pay? Oh yes, the shitty library books that I borrowed and never even put aside time to read!”
“Argh…what else did I… and I didn’t go to the gym again. That’s just like the books…why don’t I ever have the time?!”
And then it goes on… the negativity piles and piles. And you find yourself driving faster…and faster…and goops, you’ve triggered a speeding camera!
All this, just because you tolerated miserable service.
You see, we live in a very small country with too many people.
I once had the opportunity of keeping some hamsters before. We started with just two. Before long, these horny little critters became a colony of 20 (before I get attacked by animal activists, no that’s not the actual number.. it’s just for illustration. And no, I won’t tell you the actual number).
Do you know what happens when you put too many hamsters in too small a cage? They kill each other. They will fight over the treadmill. They will fight over the food. They will go to war over water. They will conflict over residency rights to their little corner of their cage.
I can imagine what would happen if they were to be allowed to breed to an even larger number. They would split themselves up into political parties. There would be a Blue Hamster Party and a White Hamster Party.
The Blue Hamsters would say they want equal rights to the entire cage for all the colony. The White Hamsters would argue that not all hamsters are born equal and premium spots near the food, water and treadmill ought to be priced higher and the dividends distributed to the entire colony.
Then one day, the White Hamsters would publish statistics that show that the colony is aging and there are not enough new hamsters to support everyone. The idea would then be to allow foreign hamsters to come in and work.
The Blue Hamsters would get enraged. “Are you kidding?! Is this colony not packed enough? We are now at peak hamster caniblism! We’re eating each other at unprecedented rates! How can we get it into your furry little heads that we cannot have more?!”
“Well yes! Spot on observation that we’re killing each other but that’s because we don’t have enough fellow hamsters to give each other care! The problem with you dimwit Blue Hamsters is because you’re not using your furry little eyes to see the problem!”
Yes. Put too many hamsters in a cage and they’ll end up killing one another.