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I grew up in an Asian family, where one believes in fate.  Born at a certain time, day, month, year, preferably “Year of the dragon” – you’ll sail towards the golden sea, without hard work.  I was not born under such lucky stars – and hence embraced American style motivational thinking with open arms.  You can be what you put your heart too.  Is this true?

As a Myers Briggs Type Indicator facilitator and career coach, I am now inclined that nature, nurture and “will” or adaptation through self awareness can help us modify our behaviors.

In “Quiet, the power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking” (Ch 5),  author Susan Cain, interviewed Dr Carl Schwartz, Director of the Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Research Lab, using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines if introverts and extroverts behave differently.  Specifically, through measuring the activity of the amygdala – in shaping the personalities of introverts and extroverts.

In an experiment using a slideshow projecting a crowded room of strangers or some familiar faces, Schwartz found that the amydalae of high reactives (introverts) reacted more to the photos of strangers than low reactives (extroverts). Using a longitudinal study, found that the footprint of a high or low reactive temperament never disappeared in adulthood (what Carl Jung assumed all these while).  Susan Cain calls this the “rubber band theory” of personality.  “We are like rubber bands at rest.  We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.”  Nature and nurture. Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton.

What’s being processed in the Introvert’s brain in a cocktail party?

A lot.

1. When we greet a stranger in a party, the amygdala (the ancient part of the brain), goes into overdrive.

2. For those relatively skilled in social situations, the neofrontal cortex kicks in to tell you to calm down, and what to do next – shake hands, smile. But conditioning and learning only suppresses the activity of the amygdala, not erase the fear.

3. During times of stress, unwarranted fears came go haywire,  – “when the cortex has other things to do than soothe an excitable amygdala”.  => Solitude and time for meditation works for both introverts and extroverts as you don’t want your amygdala to spin out of control on you.

What should we do:

To conquer fear of public speaking, small talk with strangers etc.

1. Desensitise yourself (and your amygdala) in small doses, over and over again – in a safe environment.

Reassuring. Something I’ve known intuitively.  Don’t just jump into the deep end. Bad advice.  As Japanese say, “Kaizen” or small improvements daily is better. A case in point was when I learnt to ride a bicycle “in one hour” in my forties at the harassment of my husband.  Instead of buying a beautifully crafted bicycle meant for racers as my first bike, so that it can still be used 3 years later and not out-grow it, as he put it, I bought a safe one which I would put my feet on the ground “safely”, to minimise my fear of falling.  Also, I took to “Youtube” and watched many, many bicycle training videos to desensitise myself.

A “one hour miracle”, was actually hours of practice soothing my amygdala which cannot tell the difference between real practice and what the eye sees.

2.  Find your sweet spot.

Once you discover your preferences, organise your life around “optimal levels of arousal“, what Susan Cain calls “sweet spots”.   If you’re happily reading your book in a quiet place, and after 30 mins find yourself re-reading a sentence 5 times, you’re understimulated.  Call a friend, go out for tea.  Now you’re back into your sweet-spot.  But if your extroverted friend who needs a higher level of stimulation, persuades you to follow her to a party after this tea, you may find yourself having to make small talk with strangers, and soon, find yourself “overstimulated“.

What next?  Pair off with someone for in-depth conversation, or go back to your book. Understanding your sweet spot, can increase satisfaction in every area of your life and more.

Ask: How much time does your work require you to behave out of your sweet spot? Too much time in a research lab, and not enough time interacting with people? Or too much time socialising and schmoozing and not enough time to research in your cubicle.

3. Find out what’s meaningful for you

Can we act out of character? How then do famous strong introverts speak in public effectively?  Susan Cain introduces us to the Free Traits theory, created by Professor Brian Little, former Havard University psychology lecturer. “According to the Free Traits theory, we are able to act out of character in the service of core personal projects. ” Introverts can behave like extroverts to accomplish work/causes they regard as important, people/ projects they value highly.

To thine own self be true. – Shakespeare

How to identify core personal projects?

4. Pay attention to your actions

Can you fake it till you make it? Yes, to a certain extent according to studies by research psychologist, Richard Lippa comparing introverts who pretend and act like extroverts, with actual extroverts. Some psuedo-extroverts are surprisingly convincing.

Pay attention to how your face and body arrange themselves when you’re feeling confident and adopt the same position when it comes time to fake it. Studies have shown that behavior can lead to emotions. Smiling makes you feel stronger and happier and frowning makes you feel angry.

There is a limit to the control of self-presentation – beware of behavioral leakage. When you act out of character for a project you don’t care about, your discomfort can come across strongly and detected by the other party, sometimes as “freudian slips”.

5. Restore

Professor Little advises, find as many restorative niches as possible in your daily life, recommended by “The Introvert Advantage” – a quick read, practical guide. Surprisingly for a sedentary person like myself, going for a walk in the park, or jogging in the gym is a restorative process. After a day of lecturing, I recharge with a 20 min treadmill time, then off to a dinner with my husband’s colleagues and then supper with his friends.

While some of the recommendations are not new, it has given credibility that I am not abnormal, and allowed me to negotiate with my husband, an extrovert, who wants me to go everywhere. Professor Little calls it “Free Trait Agreement”,

Read more about this inspiring book, Quiet by Susan Cain.

There are more nuggets in this book not covered by my blog. Watch Susan Cain’s TED introduction, but she’s too modest in promoting her book.

(Continued from Part 1)

3. Aspirations

Developing a positive outlook and curiosity about the world are two attitudes that would benefit young people to cultivate. This would shape the way they perceive and respond to challenges. Are they willing to struggle through, learn to problem-solve and find options or alternatives or view them as setbacks and roadblocks? 

Experts estimate that 70% of our skills come from solving challenges, 20% from watching others, and 10% from classes/reading. Start building these attitudes in young people through asking thought-provoking questions:

“If you can change something about the world, what would it be?”;

“What’s a challenge you faced, which you can help others going through something similar? 

Get them thinking about how they can make a difference in the lives of others, as 1 Peter 4:10 said, we are called to use our gifts to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace. 

4. Reality Check

Professor Damon suggests that it’s important to give young people a sense of agency to take responsibility for their actions. For instance, helping them think through the trade-offs between job satisfaction (people you respect, work you enjoy), lifestyle (hours worked) and income (pay off student loan). 

Ian Ang, Co-founder of Secretlab, and youngest winner of EY Entrepreneur of The Year, reflected how his mother’s insistence that he fill out an excel sheet with projected expenses before he could claim his school allowance helped him become pragmatic about business expenditure. Interestingly, Ian’s long hours playing in eSports competition not only helped him find his tribe, but also gave him the idea to develop an ergonomic chair for eSport tournaments. This proved even more successful during the Covid-19 work-from-home season, where he found an unexpected fanbase in armchair Zoom warriors. 

Finally, James Citrinnoted expert on leadership and professional success, suggests that parents resist the urge to relate “everything back to your experience which can come across as this is the road you should take”. Instead, encourage them to learn how to take ownership and read the map for themselves, despite the winding path their careers will take.  

Even though these might sound like a lot to support our young people through finding their careers, it comes down to building a good relationship with them and being able to have meaningful, and at times difficult, conversations. 

#mentor #career #pathway #SOAR #strength #aspiration #Citrin #Damon #purpose #opportunities #reality

In this changing world, how can we help young people find their career futures?

Is the response you get when asking a young person what they want to do after graduation, “I’m not sure…”? This seems to be the norm, with research showing that 70% of young people today do not have a clear vision of their career future. 

Today’s young people face several dilemmas—an increase in options due to a global economy, increased pace of change, as well as alternate realities on social media. Largely accorded to the advances in technology, the scope of jobs are uncertain with 85 million jobs to go in the next 5 years but 97 million more to come, according to a 2020 report released by the World Economic Forum

As a youth worker or parent guiding a youth, you might be thinking: how do I help? 

The following SOAR framework* might be helpful in guiding our young people clarify their Strengths, Options, Aspirations and Reality check.

1. Strengths

One of the best pieces of advice I received, was to pray and ask God for insights into a child’s strengths. While interest inventories have a place (e.g. MOE Skillsportal Site), chance events as simple as diving deeper into conversation t could provide young people the best opportunities for self-discovery. As adults or mentors in their lives, you can pose honest, open questions, rather than directive statements, to help them discover inner truth, skills, gifts and values and “make meaning” of their experiences.

Through observing young adults who found their paths, educators found two key ingredients for thriving in life—a compelling purpose and supportive relationships. “A purpose” is defined by Stanford University Professor William Damon as a “deeper reason for the immediate goals and motives that drive most daily behaviour”. 

Take advantage of opportunities such as holiday gatherings to open a dialogue with your young people. “Why does this matter to you? Why are you doing it?” Practice the art of asking good questions and listening for their answers with an open mind. You may want to adopt a 10-2-2 rule, e.g. 10 minutes, 2 questions, 2 affirmations. 

Convey your own sense of purpose and the meaning you derive from your work. In my case, conversations around current affairs at the dinner table with my Dad helped prepare me, an Economics graduate, for my first job interview with the Foreign Service. 

2. Options/Opportunities

In the last twenty years, a field of social learning “Planned Happenstance” has emerged in career counselling to help clients reframe career indecisiveness. To shift from “what if nothing interests me?” to being open to possibilities and picking up skills to seize those opportunities. 

Instead of assuming a pre-planned job pathway of being a doctor/lawyer/accountant, parents could start introducing your children to potential mentoring conversations among friends, relatives and church or cell group about the work they do.

+How did those opportunities happen?

+What skills do I need to develop to get there?

+Brainstorm on opportunities in church or community to develop skills and meet people.

+What are some careers in the Bible or at a different point in history? How different are they from the ones today?

+If they are playing a computer game, “Would it be nice for you if you had a career in this field?”

<h6> Source: Microsoft 365 Stock Images <h6>

(Continued in next post)

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In November 2019, I was invited to facilitate a CRU workshop for March 2020, on helping youths find their purpose. Unfortunately, Covid 19 hit, and we pivoted to transferring the workshop via Zoom. In November 2020, the CRU communications executive who attended the session, invited me to write a thoughtleadership article for the 2020 Thanksgiving report.

The article above was first printed in the CRU 2020 Thanksgiving report.

Deloitte

  • Internships of 8 to 12 weeks in the following periods:
    Mid-year Internships: May to August
    Year-end internships: December to February
  • Applications for Summer Internship 2020 are open from 6 to 31 January 2020.
  • Applications for SURF/Winter Internship 2019 around 12-30 Aug
    Shortlist: 2-22 Sep
    Interview: 23 Sep – 11 Oct
    Interview Outcome: Nov
    Commencement of Internship: 2nd week Dec

PWC

  • Mid year internship (Application period Jan)
  • Year end internship (Application period Aug)
  • Off cycle internship (Application period Jan & Aug)
  • Graduates start in June/July every year. Apply in Aug (for local universities) and Jan (for overseas universities). PWC generally recruit about a year in advance. Employment contracts are signed a year in advance.

EY (LEAP) EY LEAP Internship Program (10 weeks):

  • Summer Internships:10 weeks from 11 May 2020 to 18 July 2020. Application period: 6 January 2020 to 31 January 2020
  • Winter internships: mid December to mid February
  • Graduate programs: Singapore Universities Recruitment Fair (SURF)

KPMG

  • Apply in January – March
    Applications open for all graduating students (including professional qualifications and overseas universities).
  • Apply in August- September
    Through the Singapore Universities Recruitment Fair (SURF) for final year undergraduates who will graduate in the following year.
  • Look out for an email from your university’s career services office.
  • The graduate associates program will commence in two batches – (i) Tax and Advisory graduate associates commence work in July, while (ii) Audit graduate associates commence work in September.

Information above taken from the respective firms.

#accounting #accountancy #internship #deloitte #PWC #EY #kpmg

The future of work will be the sum of our individual life choices.

“The Interconnected Individual: Seizing Opportunity in the Era of AI, Platforms, Apps, and Global Exchanges” by Hunter Hastings and Jeff Saperstein

image

Job Posting sites in Singapore

https://www.mycareersfuture.sg/

https://www.careers.gov.sg/

https://www.careerbuilder.com.sg/

https://sg.gradconnection.com/

https://www.efinancialcareers.sg/

https://jobscentral.com.sg/

https://sg.jobsdb.com/

https://www.monster.com.sg/

https://www.jobstreet.com.sg/

http://www.stjobs.sg/

https://www.hays.com.sg/

https://www.fastjobs.sg/

Wantedly

Tech jobs: Dice

 

Internships

https://gradsingapore.com/search-jobs

https://www.internsg.com/

https://sg.gradconnection.com/

https://glints.com/sg

Linkedin

https://sg.jobsdb.com/

https://www.indeed.com.sg/Internship-jobs

https://absoluteinternship.com/programs/singapore-internships/

Some students may feel short changed by the “slave labor” of internships. However it not only help you make connections inside the firm but may lead to full time jobs. ST cited the example of film-maker Steven Spielberg who started his career as an unpaid intern for the editing department at Universal Studios, according to Forbes. As did Oprah Winfrey in CBS.

(Be careful that some of these sites are “paid holiday programs”, ie you pay the company for an experience overseas. Some internship positions do not pay you a salary.)

 

Creative Industry:

Festival interns, social media intern
https://www.cultjobs.com/

https://vulcanpost.com/

UN Jobs in SGhttps://unjobs.org/duty_stations/singapore

 

Tech/ Startup

https://e27.co/

https://www.tech.gov.sg/Sub/Careers/Students-and-Graduates/Internship

http://sg.startupjobs.asia/sg/

https://angel.co/singapore/jobs

https://www.techinasia.com/tech-startup-job-list-in-asia

(Be aware that some of the internship assignments are not paid. Find out at the interview.}

 

Volunteer

https://aiesec.org.sg/opportunity/

https://www.nvpc.org.sg/

https://www.sg/singaporecares

http://sgvolunteer.com/

http://thesmartlocal.com/read/volunteering-2018

 

Foreigners interested in working in Singapore:

EU-ASEAN

http://www.eucentre.sg/

Enterprise Europe

https://www.contactsingapore.sg/

http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits

http://www.singapore-incorporation.net/immigration/singapore-working-holiday-visa/

Work Holiday Pass 

http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-pass-exemption-for-foreign-students

Starting salaries for graduates

Payscale

https://www.overseassingaporean.sg/en/resources/student/coming-home

https://www.aesc.org/members

 

Recently some of my international MBA Students asked me about recommendations for recruiting in India. This set me about researching for dome resources to start them off.

How do you choose a consultant?
1. Start with a reputable firm in your market segment.

2. Like all services, it depends on your chemistry with the person, and a match between the firm’s skills, your skills and interest. The only way to find out, is to call and try.

Here are some recommendations, albeit not comprehensive.

ABC Consultants: Top Recruitment Services Company in India
https://www.abcconsultants.in/

Career Net

Randstad

Accord Group

Talent Mappers

Software:
3leads

Job Portals
https://www.naukri.com/

Other international firms like Adecco, Kelly Services, Manpower, Michael Page will also have offices in India.

Companies in India

Comments
How were your interactions with consultants in these firms?

Are there any, you can recommend to help me update this list?

Thank you for your feedback.

Mid-Career to Senior Mgt

  1. Bo Le:

http://www.bo-le.com/home

Mobile Recruiting (end to end)

2. Ajinga is in English for MNEs companies looking for Chinese undergraduates. It was founded by Foreigners with years of consulting experience in US and Asia. The technology boasts AI powered, cloud based recruitment tools, and works seamlessly with WeChat, Facebook, Linkedin. Many MNEs in China, including Apple, Nielsen and Henkel are its clients.

https://www.ajinga.com/

3. Zhaopin

Zhaopin which means recruitment in mandarin is a job posting site started by executive recruitment firm Alliance Consulting. Today, it posts jobs for Chinese companies as well as those targeting campus recruitment for undergrads in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

4. 51 Job

51job is a leading human resource solutions provider in China, offering a broad array of services in campus recruitment, training and assessment, and HR outsourcing.

5. Campus China

CAMPUS CHINA was founded by Forum China to assist European companies in industries such as automobile, electronics, machine engineering in the Chinese market. (from website)

6. ChinaHR

ChinaHR was founded in 1997 and is one of the first online recruitment websites in China, including a site for Campus Recruitment. In Feb. 2013, ChinaHR was acquired by global online recruitment network of Saongroup, with HQ in Ireland. (Linkedin profile)

World Bank Young Professionals Programme, Deadline 30 June

World Bank Summer Winter Internship Program for Graduate Students

World Trade Organisation

World Trade Organization Internship Programme

WEF

United Nations Volunteers Programme for All Nationalities

ASEF – Deadline, Aug 12

OIST Internship in Japan 2020 for All (Fully funded)

Korea

Korean Government Scholarship (GKS) for International Students

ASEAN Career Fair with Japan
8 Jan 2020, Singapore Expo

UN

https://careers.un.org/lbw/Home.aspx