It’s a rich man’s world.

“Money, money, money. It’s so funny, it’s a rich man’s world,”sang Abba.

Indeed, it even made someone president. However, at this stage of my career (i.e. poor and limited resources), what’s more relevant to me is to be able to maintain my finances well so that I can one day become rich. Having found that this is a common problem among entry level professionals, I thought that it might be useful to share with you how I manage my money.

Before we proceed though, there are definitely competing views about saving. Choosing whether to save and how much to save is very personal to each individual. Some people want to save for a better life in the future whilst some people don’t save at all because they want to live better in the present. I know some of my colleagues who don’t save because they believe that there’s no point saving now. It’s better and easier to save once you rise to a certain grade. My personal view is that while I recognise the importance of living in the present, I believe that when I do the little things well when I have little, I will be able to do more when I have more. It’s a similar work ethic I have when it comes to me being given small mundane tasks as a junior (see here for more). Hence, without further ado, let me open my bag of tips and tricks…

1a. Using Excel to track your expenditure

Generally, a good target to start with is to save 5% then 10% and eventually 20% of your net monthly salary. I save around 15%-20% each month and I think that’s an appropriate amount given that post tax, I have almost nothing left with rent and expenses 😦

Excel is actually easy to use if you know how to do the basic “=SUM()” and that’s pretty much all you need. All you need to know is how much you’re spending and how much you’re saving. You don’t need to manually key in all the items you’ve spent your money on if you use card, because most UK banks can give your bank statement in .csv format, which is essentially Excel and thus, you can just copy and paste into your own spreadsheet.

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i. A simple table to note down all my expenditures
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ii. Summarised table to understand how much you’re spending each month

However, because I have quite a few bank accounts, I have to reconcile them. I also do a “Snapshot” spent to see what I have in the bank vs what I have supposedly saved. This is very useful especially in cases where you are setting aside money for something. For example, I send money back home every few months because it just makes sense to do so for exchange rate purposes, instead of once every month.

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iii. A simple real time Snapshot table that show how much I actually have in my banks

I have been tracking my expenses for the past 4 years but the level of commitment to do this every week has increased because now it’s my money that I have to manage.

Sorry mum!

1b. Making use of existing market tools to help you

Apps such as Wally can help you track and plan your budget. It has a colourful and user-friendly interface and breaks down your expenditure into different categories so you can identify what you are spending most on. However, I think the common problem is that you have to manually key in all your costs immediately or possibly forgetting to add some items at the end of the day.

If you use credit card to pay for most of your purchases, some cards like American Express will automatically track your expenditure and even produce a pie chart which analyses your spend. If you’re even more advanced and you want on the spot analysis, there’s Monzo bank. Once you use it to pay, it’ll automatically appear on the app. It also has a feature that predicts your next spend. Amazing what technology can do.

2. Regular Monthly Saver

How do you start saving? In my opinion, the easiest method is to open a Regular Monthly Saver because it forces you to put aside money every month. Fortunately, UK banks have really good current account interest rates. I have three bank accounts, Halifax (£5 monthly reward), Lloyds (£7 monthly) and TSB (£14 monthly). It’s a little bit of a hassle though because you need to make sure each account has sufficient funds to do the direct debits and transfers. If you’re generally not a person who is very diligent with checking your bank accounts, I would suggest that you should have a maximum of 2 bank accounts. Three is bit too much.

For Singaporean readers, don’t let low interest rates deter you though, hunt around for good bank accounts where you can put your money in. I heard that OCBC 360 account and Bank of China have pretty good deals.

3. Other useful apps

For every awkward conversation you avoid with those same few friends who owe you money, fear no more!

Introducing…
Spilttable!

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It’s an app that keeps track and calculates how much you owe each other. I currently use this with my housemates. The only catch I have with this app is that it doesn’t separate month by month, which makes it challenging for me to do my expenses – it merely squares out how much you owe each other when someone has paid for the rest. Splittable can even do payments in-app to your housemates now, and also has a built in Bizzby (app that allows you to hire cleaners, plumbers etc) tab!

4. Other investment products

Invest in Blue chip company stocks if you’re risk averse. Personally, I don’t have enough money to think about those. But honestly, when Brexit happened, I know of a few people who hedged the pound using USD and didn’t suffer as much a loss as I did. Opening a trading account is not difficult – you just need to take the first step to do so.

“All the things I can do if I have a little money. It’s a rich man’s world.”

I don’t agree that one must be rich in order to start doing things but unfortunately, there are more things that you can do if money is not constantly at the back of your mind. Living in London has completely convinced me of that – there’s only so much I can do without spending too much money. But I guess the point is to first start looking to do things in order to gain a little money. There’s a lot of inertia to start doing something about your financials. However, if you don’t start doing things to improve your financials, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to handle it when you get a lot of money… because it’ll just disappear anyway.

Unless you get to the point to pay people to manage the money for you. Then I guess why not!

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email. You don’t need to have a registered wordpress account. 

You can also connect by following my instagram @twentyandfabulous and liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/twentyandfabulous/

Stay fabulous & financially savvy everyone! 

Athena

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To have and to hold from this day forward

… an extra qualification.

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It is difficult to work, but it’s even harder to work and study at the same time.

Some of you may wonder why I stopped blogging so regularly. Yes, there were the usual episodes of laziness and a lack of inspiration, however I did have a legitimate reason – I was studying for my CIMA qualification. And it took forever for me to take my first exam because it was just so hard. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that the content was particularly challenging (though it wasn’t that easy either), it was hard because I had to work at the same time.

I should have made better use of my free time in University by doing the qualification instead. In fact, I had an acquaintance who did the CIMA foundation and level 1 during university, because he needed a diploma or a degree certificate in order to take his CFA. He then went on to finish his CFA before we even started working. We all thought he was crazy and intense. On hindsight, given how slack it sometimes was in year 1 and 2 of University, I regret not doing the same. At present, he has an awesome job, which most people can’t have given our limited level of experience and lack of qualification. His LinkedIn profile is always ranked one of the most viewed. Of course, there are also some of us who have landed great jobs and would never need those qualifications.

But sometimes I wonder if I did the same, would I be as successful as him? That’s a rhetorical question – probably not even close but I would think I would be better positioned during the job hunting season. I guess I just have to settle with the fact that I now have to work and study at the same time.

Having been through a little of what it’s like, I thought to give those of you who are thinking of doing a qualifications some tips on what to look out.

1. Find something relevant to what you do or what you might be interested to do

This might seem straightforward, but sometimes people take qualifications for the sake of taking them or because people around them are doing so. Personally, I was dissuaded from taking CIMA by some people. They advised me that I should have taken CFA instead because it was more recognised. However, the definition of “more recognised” depends on what industry you work in. If I were in banking – yes absolutely, but I found that CIMA was more relevant to my work.

Pursuing a qualification is also a great move to switch out of a job / industry. A good example is how some people have decided to take do Masters with the hope that that’ll open another window of opportunity to them. That works too, but there’s always a level of uncertainty with that, which leads to me to my next point.

2. Speak to as many people as possible

If you’re really serious about taking a qualification, speak to a good mix of people, specifically:

  • those who are senior and qualified to understand how the qualification has or hasn’t benefitted them
  • those who are in the industry / job that you hope your qualification will open doors to, in order to understand whether the qualification is actually relevant and necessary for their job
  • those who are taking the qualification to learn about their experience and assess if you can really take the extra challenge and stress. They may also give you a tip or two about financing options

3. Start small – if you can, take one exam and see whether you find it relevant

It doesn’t have to be like a 12 month gym membership, you can actually take 1 exam first, then schedule the other exams after that. Don’t overcommit and buy all the books at one, only to find that you hate it and find it extremely boring. You could even buy the book first and see whether you find the exam worth taking. There’s definitely a high cost to pursuing qualifications. Sometimes you might have to self fund your studies, so you need to be wise about how you spend your money. Even if your company sponsors you, you need to make sure that failing the exam will not affect your promotion and bonus opportunities, or even worst whether you keep your job.

And this reminds me – I really need to cancel my monthly gym membership.

4. Once you commit, you will experience pain and constant FOMO, but don’t give up.

FOMO 
ˈfəʊməʊ/
noun informal
  1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
    “I realized I was a lifelong sufferer of FOMO”
early 21st century: abbreviation of fear of missing out.

 

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Know that you will definitely lose some weekends and weekday nights. It’s very common in the UK that people will ask you “how was your weekend”. My response for my Easter holiday weekend was particularly depressing because I was studying throughout. When asked this question, we figured that it is usually polite to ask the person back. Cue a slight cringe inside when they tell me about their fabulous weekend, riding horses and chasing unicorns. I guess at least they didn’t mock me for having a lack of life.

Or maybe you could rethink FOMO, when everyone has qualification and you have none. #FOMO

Concluding Thoughts

As one of my friends pointed out to me, those who are the most successful are often those who are always working and studying at the same time. They are constantly improving their personal and professional self. It doesn’t have to be by pursuing professional qualification – there’s only so many you can do that is relevant but self-improvement is always great.

At least you won’t feel that your “study” brain is degenerating. Looking back, i can confidently say that my math has definitely improved. The qualification has also helped me understand a lot more things in work. There was an initial inertia to study after work, but it really helps once I get into a rhythm of work-study-life. I still feel that I miss out sometimes, especially on sunny weekends and I’m stuck indoors. But even if I’m not studying, the truth is that I would probably be stuck indoors watching drama anyway.

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An accurate portrayal by theAwkwardYeti

On the bright side, for the rest of us who are single and have few commitments, we just need to worry about working and studying. I have no idea how those who are married with kids, work and study survive.

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email. You don’t need to have a registered wordpress account. 

You can also connect by following my instagram @twentyandfabulous and liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/twentyandfabulous/

Stay fabulous & ambitious everyone! 

Athena

 

The Car Park Problem: Learning to Say No

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I was back in Singapore for Lunar New Year last month and encountered a peculiar problem in the car park. My best friend was driving and we were looking for a parking space in a multi-storey car park. However, when she drove to the third storey, everything came to a standstill. We didn’t move for twenty minutes.

By some miracle, we eventually found a parking lot and got out as quickly as we could. I asked my best friend about this and she said this was a common situation faced in this car park. The car park had a major problem. It had only one lane. Cars that came up to find parking lots were blocked by cars which were trying to get out of the carpark. Then the honking starts. All that was needed to solve the problem was for someone to say no to the situation, get out of the car and direct the traffic, but everyone preferred to sit in their air-conditioned vehicle… and honk. Nobody wanted to get out into the heat and roll up their sleeves to get the traffic moving.

The car park problem reflects a similar problem I face in work: my inability to say no, because it is uncomfortable.

As a junior, it is normal that we would want to please our bosses. It could be ambition that drives us to constantly want to impress our superiors. Sometimes its nervousness that we may be left behind our peers if we don’t make them happy. Sometimes it could be just purely of fear that we will not progress in our careers if we don’t. I have the same fear. During one of my projects, I received the feedback that in my eagerness to please, I didn’t actually know what I signed up for. Given the tight deadline of one month, I didn’t actually have the capacity to perform the task, but I said yes to the partner because I didn’t like the idea of rejecting a partner. I mean, it’s a partner.

Since it’s so uncomfortable to say no, why should I do it then?

It affects your ability to deliver on other tasks.

For every task that you accept, you need to consider the consequences on the other outstanding work that you have. Does it affect the quality and the timeliness of other work? How does it change the order of priority of each piece of work? This will also put your reputation at stake if you fail to deliver.

A good piece of advice I was given by someone was to “under-promise and over-deliver” for every piece of work that you receive. As you’ve managed expectations when the task was initially handed out to you, any extra mile you go will enable you to exceed expectations upon completion of your task. However, I’ll put a twist on this principle – before you can even under-promise anything, how about think of what you can even promise in the first place. Because if you’re overworked, you can under-promise, but you’ll probably under-deliver as well.

It increases chance of burnout from work.

One of the main points that I didn’t mention in my post on the difficulties of transitioning from University to work, which eventually leads graduates to want to quit very quickly, is actually due to our inability to say no. Having more responsibilities and being challenged is a good thing, but when it starts making you sacrifice your weekends and prolong your weekdays, you will burn out soon.

As some of us aren’t willing to have this conversation about being overworked with our boss, we choose to quit instead because we can’t actually live like that. We live with the stigma that saying no and refusing a task means that we are lazy and not willing to be challenged, but there is a line. Sometimes people give you so much because they have become accustomed to you taking on so much that they don’t even realise. However, nobody is going to tell them except for you. The onus is on you.

In fact, I would think that employers would prefer you to work hard, be consistent about the quality of work, rather than work extremely hard all the time and quit after less than 2 years of working for them. As quoted by a friend who has his own company, “we prefer a consistent employee than a one who slacks one day, hotshot the next. When you’re running a company, you want reduce all the unknowns as much as possible. There’s enough of them as it is.”

An obvious question now comes to mind, how do you say no exactly?

An effective method that I’ve tried so far was to ask questions to clarify and increase my understanding of the task. Sometimes people aren’t really sure what task they are handing out to you to do, sometimes they don’t even know the purpose of the task. Hence, by asking questions and challenging them slightly, the task may actually have been redundant. You could try listing the competing priorities you have at hand to see whether you can fit the new task in, or if the person will get the message that it’s not possible. In fact, even if you didn’t successfully manage to say no, the person can at least give you a hand at prioritising the different tasks you’re juggling with.

I haven’t been able to investigate the different methods, but one thing not to do is to say no immediately when the request is given. It’s so easy to come off as rude and arrogant when you say no immediately, especially to your superior.

Concluding Thoughts

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There’s always a rainbow if you just step out.

With that said, it’s important to not reject challenges to increase your capacity and ability at work. You need to judge correctly for yourself what is too much for you and what you’re rejecting because you aren’t willing to be challenged.

Nobody knows whether you’re just being lazy or you’re really overloaded with work, except you. We are sometimes so good at putting a professional and calm front that we forget to prioritise our own well-being. We sit there stuck in our cars honking all day, frustrated and angry with the situation. We forget that the quality of our other work decreases when we take on more than we can handle. We forget that we could actually do something about the car park problem.

If you face the carpark problem in your workplace, why don’t you stop honking and do something about it today?

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email. You don’t need to have a registered wordpress account. 

You can also connect by following my instagram @twentyandfabulous and liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/twentyandfabulous/

Stay fabulous & strong everyone! 

Athena

Perks of being a Social Butterfly

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Back when we were in school, the most popular and well-liked person never received A+ for possessing excellent social skills. We were only graded based on the exams we took, the essays we wrote, the coursework we did – it was all down to the technical tangible stuff. Even project work didn’t really require you to get along with your team members, because you could do everything yourself if you wanted to and just write the scripts for everyone for presentation day. You could get away with working alone, as long as you were willing to put in a few more hours. However, it changes entirely once you enter the workforce.

At work, most of us operate in a team, report to our supervisors, speak with clients and interact with colleagues. When I first started, I was uncomfortable, because I knew that being good at my job was no longer just about producing the deliverable, but also about how well my colleagues liked working with me and how much rapport I could build with the team and client. I became more aware of the increasing importance of building relationships with people around me.

However, to my surprise, I slowly realised that building strong relationships was actually sometimes more important than having strong subject knowledge. I shared this discovery with my mentor who agreed with me. She found that in her years of experience, in an extreme case between a person who possesses high technical expertise but poor social skills and a person who gets along well with many people but has little technical expertise, the latter will usually do better.

Let me justify myself with the following observations:

1. People won’t make work harder for themselves by working with difficult (but capable) people

Recently, my project team did a personality type test – some of you might have heard of Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), to understand each other’s working style more. When explaining one of the personality types, we were given a scenario by the expert,

“You are leading a client project with 8 other members working under you. Initially, all 8 of them were meant to go to Miami for a client presentation. However, the company later informed you that there’s only budget for you and one other person. Assuming that everyone is equally well-positioned to give the presentation, who will you choose?”

Now I won’t delve into all the answers that were given, but one particular answer really caught my attention. One of the more senior leads said,

“I will bring whoever I can get along the best with and have a pint with.” 

His reason was that since everyone was equally prepared and qualified to give the presentation, why not bring someone that you can get along with and have some fun?

Initially, I was slightly annoyed. After all, you’re in Miami for work, so fun should be separate from his consideration. However, thinking more about it afterwards, I realised that it was so true. For many of us, dream job or not, work sometimes feel like an obligation. Since it’s already such a chore, why surround yourself and work with people that you can’t speak to casually and joke around with. Why make your life tougher by being so serious and “professional” all the time?

I’ve experienced working in a team that I could have a laugh with but did moderately challenging and sometimes administrative work versus a team that was really strict and had very exciting and interesting work. When comparing which experience was more enjoyable, the former project wins hands down.

Honestly, your job becomes so much harder when you work with someone that you can’t communicate well socially with, even if they are very capable.

(On the note of work being a chore, my colleague on the same project as me who obviously could afford not to work told me today that, “when you find the job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Wise words?)

2. Life’s like that – sometimes you pick your friends even if they are less competent.

At the start of one of my projects, I had 2 colleagues. I sat in a room with them and observed how they worked to figure out the best approach for the project. I could be wrong but I felt that one was definitely technically better in his approach. He was very sharp, but kept cutting in mid sentence. While the other colleague was not as strong, he was such a nice and easygoing person who cared and listened to everyone’s views attentively (even mine, when I knew nothing).

The budget for resources decreased and then one colleague had to roll off. Guess who left? It’s definitely possible that I didn’t see the strength in the colleague that my director saw. It could be due to other reasons that the easygoing colleague was chosen (i.e. he was maybe more experienced in that particular scope of work). Maybe my impression was wrong.

He did get along extremely well with my director though.

On my part, I was very happy that he was chosen because I had a really good time working with him. To date, we are still chatting and have a good professional relationship. If it were me, I would have picked him too.

3. In the long run, it’s all about your ability to build relationships.

Aa a junior, sometimes you find that in order to prove your worth, you need to focus on building your technical skills. However, as you climb up the career ladder, the importance of forming strong professional relationships increases at an unbelievable pace. Depending on the line of work, you supervise and leave most of the technical bits to your team. Mostly, you leverage your network to increase sales.

Think of your Partner or Managing Director pitching for projects, it’s all about who they know, not what they know. They will definitely have a fundamental level of technical knowledge. But if they don’t, they can always hire people who do that.

Concluding Thoughts

All of these revelations have changed how I act professionally. Previously at school, you could always get away with being not very sociable or even anti-social as long as you had good grades; you could be “successful” (i.e. get into the best universities). However, you need to recognise that it will change once you step into the working world.

Obviously, still being strong in your technical ability will help set you apart from the rest. You cannot expect to cruise through your job just by being friends with everyone, but don’t neglect building relationships. It’s not too late to realise that your performance scorecard has changed. Time for you to change and enjoy some perks of being a social butterfly too!

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email. You don’t need to have a registered wordpress account. 

You can also connect by following my instagram @twentyandfabulous and liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/twentyandfabulous/

Stay fabulous & sociable everyone! 

Athena

 

 

 

The Bare Minimum for Work (Makeup Edition)

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This post is dedicated to all my fabulous female readers!

Many of us ladies starting work have a rough idea of how much makeup to put for work, but exactly how much is too much and how much is too little?

In this post, I hope that I can shed a little light on this. I’ll also be sharing some makeup hacks on how to get ready quickly for work.

Disclaimer: Having worked for only 1.5 years, I am obviously no expert at putting on makeup (you need beauty bloggers for that) or gauging how much makeup to wear at work, therefore I’ve tried to interview quite a number of people to write this article.

How much makeup should you wear exactly, especially for your first day of work?

Someone close to me who is the boss of her own company gave me a pretty good answer. On a scale of 100, where o% is no makeup and 100% is full party makeup, put around 60% and focus on your eyes and lips. 60% will be sufficient to look presentable enough, but that also depends on your skin condition. My friend, E, wears a #nomakeup look literally, but her complexion is really good. It varies from person to person.

Paying attention on your eyes and lips can go a long way in giving you a brighter and more awake look. Invest in some good quality lipsticks with versatile colours. I use mainly two Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) ones, #52 and #17 for work. Depending on my mood, I alternate between the dark red #52 and paler pinkish #17. Why not more buy more? Well, I’m always conscious of hoarding makeup and of their expiry dates, so I’m more than contented with these two. Of course, I have another 2 for going out, but these 2 are the most suitable for work. Throughout the day, I use the Dior Addict Lip Glow, because it does a really good lip balm job (i.e. very moisturising) with some colour in it. It’s also comforting that I don’t have to be constantly checking whether I’ve got lipstick stains on my teeth when I use this.

Personally, I don’t use eyeliner or mascara (gasp! – I told you I’m no makeup expert), but I haven’t had problems with that. The thing is that when I apply my eyeliner on my eyelids, it becomes obvious that they are uneven and then I will have to put on eyelid tape, which is an absolute fuss and I would much rather spend a few more minutes in bed. Some of my friends do, but choose not to put mascara, because when they rub their eyes after looking at the computer screen for too long, there’s a fear that the mascara might smudge. My personal preference is to put eyeshadow, light coloured ones to brighten up my eye area. It’s so easy because it’s a brush and the margin of error is much wider compared to applying eyeliner.

As we discuss about eye makeup, you’ll realise that there are different ways to enhance your eye area. It’s up to your personal preference and how much time you have in the morning. Just make sure to stay away from dark coloured smoky eyeshadows and thick eyeliners. You don’t want to send out the message that you were out last night partying and forgot to take off your make up.

Now on to the section that I’m more excited about!

7 Makeup hacks for the working girl who prefers her sleep over makeup

(Some of them can be really basic and I’m risking that everyone knows all of this already, but being a complete makeup beginner, I learnt all of these after starting work).

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1. After toning and moisturising, put your lip balm on while waiting.

It’s important to let your moisturiser set in for a minute, so that it will be more effective in keeping your skin moist. I didn’t used to do that and my skin got dry and flaky even though I was using Clinque moisturiser which is apparently very good and rich. I don’t want to start nagging about using toner but if you want less blackheads, please close your pores. Putting on lip balm will moisturise your lips and get them ready for the lipstick. This will reduce the number of trips to the loo to touch up your lipstick. Spray some perfume while waiting.

2. Use a make up brush for foundation

A few months back, I was washing my hands in the loo and chatting to my colleague, L who was getting ready to go out that night. She had her whole bag of makeup with her and I was telling her that I’m really bad at makeup. She replied saying she was too and in fact only recently did she found out that she should use a makeup brush for foundation.

I laughed and replied, “I didn’t even know that until now!” Ah, the many revelations you have in the loo!

Thus, I started my quest to research for the best makeup brush that met my criteria of good, affordable and easy for beginners. The winning brush was the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush! Honestly, I’ve never regretted buying this, which I often do for other cosmetic products, because I usually stop using them after a while when I get lazy. The brush is the winning makeup tool for lazy people. I use liquid foundation from Benefit, and it’s very easy for me to apply it well and evenly using my makeup brush, compared to using my fingers and taking quite a bit of time. After that, I use the brush for some powder foundation to set the makeup and I’m done! Voilà!

It’s more hygienic as well, because once a week, I spray some of my Instant Makeup Cleaner from Make Up Forever (sold in Sephora) into a cotton pad, which cleans the brush really well. This is in line with my strong belief that you use make up to enhance your features and sometimes, cover some of your flaws. But you need to make sure that it doesn’t cause your skin to break out in pimples or worst acne (gasp!) and makes you rely on it even more to cover up. One way to prevent ruining your skin is by washing your brushes and practising good hygiene (i.e. clean fingers when you apply makeup).

3. Use your fourth finger for eye area

The magic fourth finger is apparently the one that has the lightest touch out of all your fingers or something to that effect. Hence, when applying concealer or blending eyeshadow, use your fourth finger because the skin around your eye area is the thinest. I know I just said to use a brush for applying foundation, but for concealer, the warmth of your finger ‘melts’ the concealer, making it easier to apply around your eye area and blend it in. There’s more research to justify this but just do it!

4. Introducing the Tangle Teezer, the game changer for your hair

Previously, I used to cut my hair regularly, because I couldn’t maintain long hair properly and there were just too many knots. On the other hand, my fashion blogger friend, A had this amazing product on hand every time we went out with her.

Introducing the Tangle Teezer for people who can’t be bothered to condition their hair or have too many knots.

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This is an amazing product and now I comb my hair super fast in the morning.

5. Try different hairstyles and look gorgeous

After you’ve worked for a while, your hairstyle tends to stay the same and it gets boring. Recently, I saw this video from Naomi Neo and I thought this hairstyle was perfect for work and takes like 2 minutes maximum?

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I know it says “Hairdo for a casual date”, but if you shift the pony tail to the middle, it actually looks quite professional looking and this look will make your normal pony tail a little less boring. You don’t need the ribbons and the hair straightener . Link below at the end of the post!

6. Magically de-oil your hair with dry shampoo

You’re not meant to wash your hair every single day, but when you come from Singapore, the climate turns your hair disgustingly oily. Hence, when I arrived in the UK, I tried to wash my hair less, but I think because my hair is so used to being washed everyday that it just became really oily all the time. However, after watching a Tried and Tested on clicknetwork video, I discovered the magic of dry shampoo!

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All you do is shake the can, spray it on your hair, brush it and it looks washed! This is especially useful for those who worked too late the previous night and don’t want to go through the whole fuss of washing and blowdrying your hair. Yes, because that sacrifices that extra 15-20 minutes of your sleep. If you want to try getting a dry shampoo, I would recommend that you do more research on the brand of dry shampoo, because I don’t think this brand is really that good unfortunately. 

7. Invest in good make up removers

(On a quick side note, I know this doesn’t really fit in with getting ready for work, but it’s too important to be left out!!!)

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Not only do you prevent having breakouts from leftover makeup, you also clean your face much faster when you have good makeup removers. I find it much harder to remove eye makeup sometimes when the makeup remover isn’t very good. Take the Bioderma makeup remover for instance, it is one of the best rated makeup removers and it easily takes off most make up with one cotton pad, but I prefer the Hada Labo one, because it’s extremely good at removing both eye and face make up. (Thank you S for introducing it to me!) Both of them don’t leave the face feeling dry either, which is nice.

And yes to all those who use BB cream, you need to use makeup remover as well, even if it’s just BB cream.

Concluding Thoughts

If it’s your first day of work, just go with 60% makeup for the bare minimum, then observe your female colleagues to gauge how much you can actually get away with.

In my opinion, it’s more important to be consistent about how much makeup you put. For example, you will have down days, so if you do 95% all the time, you will look quite different if you decide to go with 20% makeup another day. Not that different is necessarily bad, just make sure that you always look presentable and awake. While I say that, I go from 60% to 0% when I have an exhausting week at the client. And then around midday, I regret not bringing my makeup bag along because now I want to look pretty. Yes, make that tip #8, bring a small makeup bag along to work in case of emergencies.

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email. You don’t need to have a registered wordpress account. 

You can also connect by following my instagram @twentyandfabulous and liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/twentyandfabulous/

Stay fabulous & gorgeous everyone! 

Athena

Videos mentioned in this post:

Naomi Neo’s hairdo

Dry Shampoo video by Shu An

N is for Networking

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How many of you have felt like this before?

“I don’t enjoy networking because I don’t like to speak to strangers with an ulterior motive of getting something from them.”

“I hate networking. I always feel so pressured to sound ‘intelligent’ so that I can leave a good impression.” 

“In my mind, the whole time I was there, I was thinking what’s the point of me being there? What difference does it make anyway?”

“Let’s leave after this session, I don’t want to network and socialise over drinks.” 

I can identify with all four statements. While people argue that it’s much easier for me to network with people because of my extroverted personality, I’m deep inside, a really lazy person. Therefore, choosing to make the effort to network is a choice that I have to actively convince my inner lazy self to make. Initially, I also found it quite insincere to approach someone with a specific purpose (i.e. get a job/project).

However, as a management consultant working on a different project every 3 months, I will suffer if I don’t network around the firm to find out about upcoming or interesting projects. If there are projects that I really want to get on, there’s a whole process of approaching and meeting with the team lead and members to understand more about the project, then selling my strengths to try to get a role. Unless I want to be allocated to a project that I know nothing of and could potentially be something that nobody wants, I meet as many people on exciting projects as possible.

Networking does not happen in a specific way. It can be over drinks, over coffee during work, over meals. I would interpret it as expanding you network. There’s a fine line between socialising and networking, but I would think that if this conversation you’re having affects your professional life, it would be deemed as networking.

Over the last year of working, I’ve picked up some basic tips and tricks to do effective networking (i.e. you achieve what you set out to do via networking). To some, it may be a “no-brainer”, but I guess a quick refresher never hurts.

And you’ll never know what opportunities may arise when you network, so you need to be always prepared.

1. Check LinkedIn

If you’re meeting a person that you really want to impress, you should look at their LinkedIn profile. This may sound slightly stalker-ish or even creepy, but it is always good to have an understanding of who you’re talking to and their profile. Of course, you should be careful not to be blatant that you’re checking their LinkedIn. Instead, weave it slowly into the context or you could ask questions that may direct him/her to start speaking about what you’re interested in.

This helps for interview preparation as well. For my final interview with my firm, I managed to obtain the name of my interviewer from the receptionist and I immediately checked him on LinkedIn. Of course, my heart sank when I found out he had a strong background in Financial Services (see my previous post on my experience interviewing for a Japanese bank, Nomura). However, I was much more prepared when he asked me questions about what I thought how Scottish independence will affect the UK economy and what I thought of the financial crisis.

Fine, I just quickly went to the Financial Times website and scanned through the key news. I was as prepared as I could possibly be in 10 minutes, but that still helps!

2. Learn to be comfortable talking about yourself, your experience and strengths

You’ll never know when the networking session may turn into an impromptu interview. The person you’re speaking with may want to know more about you after talking a lot about themselves.

“So how about you? What’s your background?” “Tell me about yourself.” are some of common questions that are often asked. I’m not sure whether it’s because of my culture or how I was brought up, but at the start I found it awkward to talk about my strengths. I can always say my experience in the most objective manner, but talking about my good points felt like self praise.

Now, I’ve come to realise that it’s necessary to know how to sell yourself, and it’s important not to sell yourself short, especially if it’s regarding something you really want. You don’t have to twist the story line and make yourself sound like a hero, but you can always state what feedback you’ve received and results you’ve achieved previously in a factual manner.

Everyone has unique experiences so you should think ahead of time about the experiences that will differentiate you and make you more memorable. It also helps if you have prior knowledge about the person (cue point 1), because you can cater a little bit of your experience to their background or interest.

3. Prepare questions

To avoid wasting people’s time, it is wise to prepare questions around topics you want to understand. Say that you’re interested in the role that the person you’re networking has, start by doing basic research about the job. Then broaden and start thinking more widely about questions that you want to ask. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, you need to try your best to adhere to the guidelines around asking questions. Think about things that you won’t usually be able to Google and that someone working in the industry may be able to answer because they have firsthand experience.

You can definitely ask for advice related to softer side of work. Since I’ve started working, I’ve managed to make some work mentors whom I am able to speak openly and frankly with. Before meeting them, I would have a mental list of observations I made during work (i.e. about how I felt about different ways of working, how I felt my career was going etc). Then during our monthly coffee catch ups, I would share them and ask for their thoughts. Thus, there are hardly any awkward silences or times when there was nothing more to say.

Don’t forget, the other party who you’re speaking to has a schedule as well, so if there’s nothing to say, it’s better to take a rain check.

4. Take note of the little things

I always bring my notebook, just in case I need to note any points or insightful comments. In addition, when you are referred to someone else, a notebook will come in handy to record the names.

Be punctual and check your appearance, regardless of whether it’s one-to-one meetings or large scale recruitment events. You’ll never know who has a pet peeve about being late.

Or imagine how awkward it will be if you realised you were speaking with leftover spinach from that quiche you had during lunch in between your teeth the whole time.

5. Listen and be open to new ideas and thoughts

Many people know that the key to effective networking is to leave a good impression, but what does it really mean to leave a good impression? Well, basically, you should properly engage with the person you’re networking with by listening actively and asking intelligent questions based on what you’ve heard. By being able to ask good questions that demonstrate that you can think widely and quickly, this will set you apart from the rest.

It’s crucial to have the flexibility to deviate from your list of prepared questions. You should focus on what they are saying and ask follow up questions from there, as sticking to a mental list of prepared questions may make the other party think that you’re just asking for the sake of asking and not actually engaging.

To be honest, I’m still trying to master this step, but I know that I really don’t do this well in groups (i.e. large-scale recruitment events with a lot of other people trying to ask the same person questions). I am often left behind trying to understand what they meant and before I can even clarify, the group has already moved on. I guess that’s why I prefer having one-to-one conversations with people. It’s easier to absorb what has been said and go on your own pace.

6. Follow up post networking

This is essentially one of the most important steps but also one that people always forget/neglect.

You attend a recruitment event, network well with the employees over drinks and manage to leave a really good impression on this really senior guy, Joe Bloggs. You submit your CV and your cover letter, stating that you have met Joe Bloggs over the networking session, who promised you that he would vouch for you.

And then you get rejected.

Why?

Why did Joe Bloggs not vouch for you like he said he would?

It could be that other aspects of your application fell short and even Joe Bloggs vouching for you didn’t help. But most likely, the reason is that Joe Bloggs didn’t even remember your name.

Lesson to learn? You need to remember to ask for their name cards or contact details (usually, their email) during the session. Drop them a simple email to thank them for the session and ask any left over questions that you didn’t manage to cover.

A friend of mine working in a top investment bank mentioned that they do get asked by HR after networking sessions for names of outstanding candidates. While this may not guarantee you the job, giving your name to HR via the person you spoke to will allow you to speed past the CV round, which is where most candidates are eliminated.

Concluding Thoughts

Overtime, I’ve come to terms with networking and learnt to appreciate how my perspective has been broadened because of the different people I’ve spoken with. I’ve been able to gain a lot of insight into the minds of successful women working in a male-dominated business, entrepreneurs I’ve also managed to understand the driving motivation behind both senior and junior people, which has been really inspiring. Behind the serious facade of some, networking has also opened up another relaxed and humorous side of them.

All of that I would never have known if I just stayed home and watched dramas all day.

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email. You don’t need to have a registered wordpress account. 

You can also connect by following my instagram @twentyandfabulous and liking my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/twentyandfabulous/

Stay fabulous & well-connected everyone! 

Athena

 

The first 90 days of working

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Let’s talk about the first 90 days from the time you started work.

Maybe you’ve worked for much longer than that, but this post is dedicated to all of you who have worked for less than a year. (90 days just has a nice ring to it, heehee).

I had initially planned to write about networking and dressing up for work, but I realised that I had too many friends who had just started work and were discouraged and slightly disillusioned. Work was different from what they had expected. Some of them had landed their dream jobs, some of them hadn’t, but the recurring theme was that work wasn’t that great.

I had my 1 year work anniversary in September and yes, it feels like a long time. So to those who have just started working, I hope to share with you some realisations I had from my first year of working, while it’s still fresh in my mind. And in my own little way, also encourage you to press on. 

1. The transition from University to Work is difficult, sometimes, really difficult, especially with the ‘longer’ hours.

Day 0: I still remember the feeling I had on the first day of work (actually it was induction), I was fresh, excited and ready to change the world. However, at the same time, I felt apprehensive and uncertain about my future. Would I do well in my job? Would my boss and colleagues like me?

Day 7: Post-training – I had a brilliant time and now I felt I was even ready to conquer the world.

Day 60: Entering the business was completely different from my expectations. It was difficult, so difficult to transition from University where I knew almost everything and knew how to behave and deal with situations to Work where I spent my 9am to 6pm, doing tasks that nobody wanted to do because I was assumed to know nothing. I could hardly stay awake in the morning and I couldn’t stay focused after lunch because I had food coma.

Many of us would understand the feeling of having morning lectures in University then going back home to take a nap or some place to chill before going for afternoon lectures. But now, you have to work straight from early morning to night, with a short lunch break in the morning.

But fear not, because things will get better once you find your coping mechanism.

For example, some of us rely on coffee. Personally, I don’t really like coffee, but I do have one cup every morning to keep me through the day. Too much coffee is unhealthy though, so I do limit the number of cups I take to prevent that though getting addicted. I wouldn’t want to be one of those who can’t function without coffee.

To cope with working late into the night, I had a small packet of crisps. I know this explains why I put weight after working, but at least it got me going for the first few months. Think of it as Freshers 15, but for work. After that, I became used to working longer and also replaced with crisps with fruits.

See things do get better.

2. Not knowing what to do or how to act is normal

The second realisation occurred to me much later when I overheard 2 senior members of the team speak about this. They were saying that they felt that this new graduate was rather arrogant because he acted like he knew everything, when he’s just a graduate. This was revelation to me because I often felt the discomfort of not knowing what is appropriate to do or say, and in terms of my work, I didn’t know what was the best approach. But then I realised, it’s normal.

As someone new entering the workforce, no one really expects you to know anything. Instead, they expect you to ask questions and be curious about things. Learn to clarify and understand what is the best way to approach situations.

However, I would like to think that there are certain guidelines on how questions should be asked:

Address the question to the right person

I will strongly advise against asking stupid questions openly. While senior people can be quite friendly during dialogue sessions and will say things like, “feel free to ask any questions, even stupid ones”. They actually expect you to think through it and make sure it’s relatively appropriate. Asking the CEO how to use the office printer or very basic questions will not help advance your career at all.

Ask at the right time

Sometimes, it’s also about asking questions at the right time. While you can be very enthusiastic and proactive, you need to take into account your environment. Let me give you a scenario: On the day before the deadline of your client’s deliverable, you are given the task of formatting some slides, for example, make sure that objects on your slide are aligned on the slide. You decide to read the content of those slides and realised that you have some questions about the content that you want to ask your manager. Under any other circumstances, you are learning and doing the right thing (see point 4 later). However, try asking your manager now, maybe he might entertain you, but it will put him in a relatively snappy mood. Your team is rushing a deliverable deadline! Choose to ask the question at the right time.

Ask questions that you cannot Google about

I think this is quite self explanatory. Otherwise you can Google what I mean. Yes, I get the old age argument that we all want to save time and ask the person who can give us the answer immediately, but you remember better when you find out the answer yourself. Save yourself the opportunity to ask other more challenging questions.

Don’t keep asking the same question 

People will know that you’re not listening.

3. Expect to do shit work whether you’re in the job of your dreams or not

Regardless of where you start work, you will be given the most mundane and boring tasks because you are the most junior person. Why? It’s just because someone needs to get them done. If you don’t do it, no one else will do it. Then why should you stick it out then? I thought about this a lot. As we joined the workforce at our prime, we should be given more exciting tasks that would allow us to fully utilise our brain power. So why should we do that? Why?

It’s because no one trusts you. We all know there are flaws in the recruitment system and even the most qualified person in terms of education, may not be very good at their job. Having a job requires almost a different skill set altogether. How many of us start working and realise that it is completely different from what you learnt in University?

The little mundane tasks you do will overtime allow people to trust you more with the bigger tasks. Put yourself in the shoes of your superior. If you whine and complain all about the small tasks that you have to do, think about how much more whining and complaining your team will have to endure when you are allocated a difficult task.

I often hear that juniors sometimes enter the business expecting to be given tasks similar to Managing Directors / Partners. They complain that they don’t learn during stupid tasks.

This brings us to my next point

4. Who says you can’t learn doing the small tasks?

Someone successful from my parents’ generation once told me that as the most junior person on the team, his only job was photocopying documents for a very long time. But he read every single piece of information on the paper that he was photocopying.

You see, friends, it’s all about the attitude.

5. Have a life outside of work

It’s very easy to be consumed by work when you start, especially when you have challenging hours. Sometimes when you go back home, you feel like you still have outstanding work, so you continue.

It’s really easy to burn out this way. Partly because I work in the UK where there is an emphasis on work life balance, but partly because I see others around me wanting to quit or feeling lost after working for a few months – You really need to find your work life balance. Everyone works and enjoys in different ways, so you need to find something that lets you switch off from work and look forward to. Personally, I do that by deliberately turning off my work phone on the weekends. I also play badminton every Wednesday, because at least I know mid week I have something to look forward to.

Don’t make your life all about work, because you will begin to hate it, then you will start entertaining thoughts of quitting.

Concluding Thoughts

Some of us were so happy when we finally got a job after multiple rejections that it didn’t really matter whether the job suited us. Some of us were lucky enough to get our “dream” job. Gradually, we all realised that the dream we were promised was a nightmare. Many of us, including myself, became disheartened along the way, because the job wasn’t what we expected. However, I think if we decide to look at work with a different perspective and attitude, it will get better over time. People will trust you more and delegate more difficult tasks for you to do. And even when you become senior, you will still have to deal with some administrative and mundane tasks. But it’s your attitude and what you decide to do about your situation that makes the difference.

If everything still doesn’t work out, you can always look for another job. But make sure that you’ve learnt and gained all that you want from your current job before moving. Make sure it’s not a whim that you change jobs but that you’ve given your job a proper chance. For example, by committing to your job for longer than just a few months and giving your best attitude. At least then you can said that you’ve tried your best but your relationship with this job just didn’t work out.

How about we try to switch the theme from work wasn’t that great to I’m learning everything I can from this job. 

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

If you would like to stay tune to the next post, please click the “Follow” button on the bottom right of the page and just provide your email!

Stay fabulous & optimistic everyone! 

Athena

The Daunting Job Hunt

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At 23, one of the most daunting things most people will face is the uncertainty of their future.

You’ve just gotten out of University, bright faced, inexperienced, but filled with the goodness of academic knowledge. You’ve studied for most of your life – you are the smooth player, you know which lectures to skip and which ones are important for exam hints, you know that answering ‘C’ in multiple choice questions increases your probability of getting the question right (but know that professors know that too), you know how to differentiate the equation using product rule and chain rule. You are the expert at studying, master of the universe.

Until the moment of realisation dawns upon you that… you don’t have a job. You have no idea where you will be in the next five years.

Rewind back to first year of University when your friends were out there getting spring weeks, then internships in year 2 then graduate roles in final year, while you were having fun and partying. Or like me, you didn’t party hard or go crazy, you just didn’t think about life after school. Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world when you don’t have something. We all start somewhere.

“Welcome to world of job hunting, but there will always be presents for you to grab if you learn how to approach it.”

Let’s see if I can provide some help in any way. As I’m not a UK citizen, cue visa issues, I often get questions of a similar nature to “How did you find a graduate job in the UK?”. Well, let’s just say I was blessed by God, but also that I did some things right.

1. Start your research early! 

When I went to university, because everyone in Economics wanted to go into the banking industry, I jumped onto the bandwagon immediately without doing much research. Hence, when I was posed the question “What do you like about Equity sales” during my Nomura Women’s Spring week interview for an equity sales position, I said everything I knew and enjoyed about sales, cutting out the equity bit because I had absolutely no idea about what equity even meant. That interview then went on to traumatised me for the next 3 years of interview drought.

I wished I researched on what equity meant.

In my final year applying for graduate roles, I learnt my lesson and researched on every firm and every role as much as I could. There are always a few similar questions that can be prepared. Use Glassdoor and Google!!!

  • Why do you want to join firm x?
  • What do you think makes you a good fit for firm x?
  • What do you know about the role?
  • Tell me about a time when you demonstrated one of firm x’s values.

Taking on internships is also a form of research, because while you do rubbish things during an internship like photocopy or in my case, Anti-Money Laundering checks, you do get a glimpse of the industry that you are looking at. In addition, you can speak to me around you in the industry to understand to some extent what they do. I say to some extent, because job descriptions and what people say sometimes sound much better than the actual career. However, if it’s difficult to find out enough, you can only rely your network.

2. Know what you don’t want and narrow your search

It’s hard to figure out what you want sometimes, especially when you don’t have any real experience of all the jobs in the world. Yes, you do have job descriptions, but like I said earlier, they don’t actually reflect the reality sometimes.

For me, it was clear after my disastrous internship at the bank that I was not at all interested in a career in banking. So that was out of the way and I had a better focus on what I wanted to do. I find that sometimes when you force yourself to do something, not only do you not enjoy it, you won’t be able to give 100% because you’ll be always wishing that you’re somewhere else. You need to also think about whether you will be able to compete effectively with those who give their 100% and actually enjoy that job.

In addition, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to Singapore, so I applied to as many UK jobs as I could. Of course, because we shouldn’t put all the eggs in the same basket, I submitted a few applications for jobs in Singapore. However, my focus was clear and I knew where my priorities were.

3. Apply early with quality and quantity

I know sometimes we are in a rush to meet application deadlines. That’s inevitable because we are not sure of all the opportunities available. However, if you’re actually interested in the company and the job, be prepared to stay up late to submit a proper application after revising it a few times. In addition, don’t be afraid to cast your net wide and far because rejection is the norm. To try to guarantee that you get something, make sure you apply to as many firms as you can. Sometimes people think so hard before they apply because they are choosey and picky, but the thing is getting a job is not easy in the first place. For most people like myself without an amazing CV, you don’t get accepted at every firm you apply to. Reality is harsh, but I’m giving you a reality check before you end up dejected.

4. Check your CV, cover letter, essay submissions

Check check check! Ask your friends to help check! Yes, for essay submissions, think of it as tick box exercise. Within each question, the recruiter will skim through and want to see you demonstrate leadership quality (tick) and exhibit the values of the organisation (tick). For example, a past question from Unilever:

“Describe an occasion when you have had a big issue to solve and you needed help.” 

against Standards of Leadership in Unilever:

  1. Growth Mindset
  2. Consumer and Customer Focus
  3. Bias for Action
  4. Accountability and Responsibility
  5. Building Talent and Teams

I won’t give you any answers, but think about that big issue and try to relate to the most relevant standard(s) of leadership. There are usually more than 1 question within the application form, so just make sure you’ve covered all the values across the questions. Use the STAR technique, provide the Situation, Task, Action and Result.

Then ask your friend to check so that your answer is actually structured in a coherent way and require little explaining.

5. Update your Linkedin / Social profile

I never realised this, but when I went to my firm’s career services recently, the lady told me that Linkedin is the number 1 way companies recruit. And then it occured to me, if you look at it from the perspective of a recruiter, you would want to know as much information as you can about the candidate, so that you can have a better judgement of whether he/she is fit for the job. Where do you go?

1. Linkedin

  • Companies have special subscription and privilege rights with Linkedin, so they can search for candidates using special key words. So if you want to work in a particular industry, make sure you put that in the summary of your profile (i.e. I am strongly interested in the FMCG industry).
  • Join groups that show off your interest in certain companies and/or industries
  • Be careful on what you follow – don’t follow KPMG on Linkedin only when you are applying for PwC

2. Google

  • Make sure you have nothing strange when I google your name.

6. Ask and it shall be given

How much do you really want a job? What are you willing to do to get the job? I’ve witnessed some people refusing to ask other people for help during application cycle, because they are embarrassed or because they are not close enough. People are usually more than willing to help as long as you don’t overdo the asking.

My friend had the phone interview before I did for my current job. As I was preparing for it, I asked him whether he could share with me the questions that the interviewers asked. He told me all he could but assured me that it was relatively easy. When I finally had the interview, it was so much more difficult than I had expected, but thank God, I passed it. I told my friend all about it and he said he actually failed the interview but didn’t want to affect my morale.

2 lessons I learnt: Firstly, a question that is easy to some people can be the most challenging and difficult question that you’ve ever had. Be always prepared and don’t let your guard down. Secondly, you need to make some good friends in life.

If you’re so guilty about asking or embarrassed for pestering them, just make sure you buy them a drink/meal after that.

Yes, don’t be afraid to ask other, but make sure you pay it forward.

Enjoyed this article? Feel free to share any ideas or additional tips in the comments section!

Stay tuned for the next post which will be about “Revelations I had in my first year of working”, dedicated to all who started working less than 1 year ago.

Stay fabulous & determined!

Athena N

I have so many ideas in my head.

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I’ve been wanting to start this blog for ages, especially after reading this article about this girl who turned 23 and how it was a complete change for her. (I keep trying to google the article now to show you guys, but I get such strange results.)

I completely agreed with her!!!

It was such a large transition from being so competent in school for the past 15 years, knowing exactly what to do and what to expect… to becoming an inexperienced, clumsy amateur at work who didn’t know what to say or do at all. In fact, I spent the last year of university trying so hard to get a job in the UK that I ignored all other questions about whether what I wanted to do was my “ideal” job. Then I spent the whole of last year struggling with understanding my work, my identity at work, drawing lines between professional and personal life.

And then I thought, I wished that someone could tell me how it was going to be like. I know it wouldn’t be exactly the same, but it’ll be good or at least comforting that other people also share the same thoughts as I do.

I wished that someone told me that the job hunting will end and that there were actually tips and tricks that I could use to try to get the job.

Just to qualify myself, I’m not exactly an expert at working one year on, but I have had many conversations with people who have so much more years of experience than me and I have at least worked. So this is merely a forum for me to share my ideas and thoughts… oh yes I will give advice about love as well. Basically, anything that runs through my mind.

We all have to start somewhere, so my next proper entry… it’ll be about job hunting tips.

Oh yes, I forgot to say before I go on… I’m not 20!