Alive Again!

March 20, 2007

Yay! I’m going to start posting on this blog again, and I’m feeling very happy about it 😀

 I didn’t realize how much I missed the blog, and how guilty the blog stats made me feel, when I saw that people were coming here. I’ve tried to move the blog elsewhere, but that didn’t really work out. So I’m going to start a few new blogs on topics that don’t seem to fit into this blog. In the meantime, I’m going to get this blog back on its feet again 😀

 Thanks for reading…


Coffee and Hot Chocolate…

December 17, 2006

coffee and hot chocolate

I love hot chocolate. It started when I read a weight-loss-related article which mentioned that hot chocolate is chocolate in a liquid form, and it lasts much longer. True, I thought. Of course, nothing substitutes for real, dark chocolate, but hot chocolate is an excellent chocolatey drink.

When I make hot chocolate at home, the best way to make it taste better, I’ve found, is to add a tiny bit of coffee.

 

And I love coffee. Especially the extra-strong type, “bitter like poison and sweet like love”. Not surprisingly, it tastes better when I add some hot chocolate to it… And the funny thing is, though I use coffee-mate, I need to add a little bit of real milk just to make it extra creamy.

 

Thinking back the other day (since I do spend a lot of my time thinking about food), I realized that both these drinks taste better when I “cheat”, i.e. do something non-conventional. This is too easy to twist into an analogy about life, but I won’t do that.

I’ll just go and have some coffee 🙂


Joining a new job, Part 1: 4 ways to work hard

December 10, 2006

What do you need to do, to succeed at a new job? There are many routes to job success, but the core activity must be something quite unglamorous: working hard.

By working hard, I mean working hard at everything, and staying longer at your job in order to complete all that.

There are four basic aspects of working hard.

1. Conduct detailed background research of your area of work

When you first join, spend as much time as possible going through as many work-related documents as possible. Go through things even if they don’t seem directly related to your particular designation: visit competitors’ websites, read articles and news related to your niche, and go through reports that are lying round on your network. Make sure you understand your industry thoroughly. Try to read as many important company documents that you have access to.

A lot of this background work might seem superfluous at first. But it has quite a few benefits. First, you’ll feel at home in your new industry, or you’ll gain a different perspective of it. You’ll understand your new company better. When your boss or colleague talks about something, you won’t feel like much of an outsider; you’ll be able to instantly place acronyms and events. When you start working on something, you’ll have a feel of what information lies where. You won’t wind up duplicating work, or reinventing the wheel. And you’ll get a feel of how data is presented within your company, and how external events have historically influenced your company/industry.

2. Get to know your new co-workers

Always network like crazy. Don’t deride it as being fake, phony, pretentious, or any other such synonym. A network is like an investment in the future.

In any job, you’ll need a whole village of people to help you get ahead. Your co-worker is busy, lazy and selfish, and he/she is more likely to help you if you’re someone who they like better than the other ten people asking for their help. If you’re concerned about being phony, remember that people are always desperate to be liked, and considered interesting. Having said that, avoid someone if you can’t stand them: spend your time more wisely with people who don’t make you feel sick.

Start with your co-workers, the people you’ll see regularly, and who often sit near you. Try to spend some time with them during lunch, or coffee breaks. In some offices, it’s acceptable practice to visit another cubicle to “chat”; just make sure you don’t overstay your welcome.

Try to thank the people who helped you to get your job, from the HR guy, to the lady who took your interview. It’s a nice gesture, if you can pull it off.

Try to meet people from other departments. Take advantage of inter-department or corporate activities.

3. Work hard at your own work

Initially, you’ll be given boring, menial work. Unfortunately, the only way to prove that you can handle more difficult tasks, is to do the menial work very well.

You might try to work on the process, as well as the work, e.g. create a better format, or system for doing the work.

Create something that you can show off to your boss, and ask for more work in terms of quantity, as well as more challenging work.

4. Help others

Ask a few people if they’d like any help with anything, no matter how menial (but don’t offer to get them lunch). Not only will people start seeing you as someone who tries to help, and remember your help when you ask for something, but you can always mention to your boss that you helped so-and-so with such-and-such.

If you consistently work hard, you’ll be given more work, and more important work. And that’s when you’ll seek different types of advice: how to not burn yourself out by working too hard, how to get a raise, and how to get a promotion 🙂

Good luck!


18 non-monetary things you can do to be happy

December 8, 2006

“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like a violin” — John Lubbock

These days, studies are published on ways to become happier. However, it’s important to remember that happiness is a journey, not a destination. And while I might list 18 non-monetary ways to be happy, I’m sure there are a lot, lot more.

  1. Be with loved ones.
    Research shows that happy people spend very little time alone. Instead, they surround themselves with friends and family, and find joy in sharing their lives with others.
  2. Marry someone you love and respect
    Advice from Socrates: “By all means marry: if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher”.
  3. Smile a lot
    Acting the part often leads to feeling the part. Besides, it’ll make you look a lot better, and might even make someone else happy.
  4. Laugh a lot
    Not only is it good for your heart, but also for you and the people near you.
  5. Be honest — except for a few white lies
    Honesty is the best policy, and saves a lot of heartache down the road. Of course, the road to honesty is to become a person of exceptional integrity, which while difficult, is possible. But remember to tell your next-door neighbor that she looks like she lost some weight…
  6. Spend less than you earn, and plan for your retirement
    No matter how little you’re earning, and how badly you want to buy those expensive shoes (apply whatever seems to pull you the most) don’t splurge on them if your bank manager isn’t too pleased with you.
  7. Give as much as you can
    Children in orphanages often write to Santa: “I don’t really want anything, but my sister needs a coat because it’s so cold”. Give to those with less than you, both in terms of time and money. Few other actions are as rewarding.
  8. Lead a sensual life
    Surround yourself with pleasant smells: nice perfume, beautiful flowers, baking cookies. Keep a nice painting or photo on your wall. Buy flowers. Eat spicy food.
  9. Get rid of clutter
    Clean your wardrobe, your desk, your kitchen. Don’t let things that don’t help pile up.
  10. Donate things that you don’t use
    Whether they’re books that you don’t read, clothes that you don’t wear, or gifts that you’ll never use: give them to someone who’ll appreciate them.
  11. Be healthy
    Eat healthy, avoid junk food and excess alcohol, exercise regularly, and make sure you go for your yearly check-ups.
  12. Remember that you’re healthy
    An interesting study shows that happiness is not directly correlated to being healthy. Many healthy people take their health for granted. Whereas some sickly people appreciate the few healthy days that they enjoy. Hypochondriacs are the most miserable.
  13. Be grateful
    Gratitude is essential to happiness. Psychiatrists have found that talking and writing about what they’re grateful for amplifies adults’ happiness. Learning to savor the small pleasures has the same effect.
  14. Spend some time reflecting on life
    Meditate, keep a journal, or do both. They will give you perspective and structure to your life.
  15. Set your own standards
    Forget the Jones. Establish goals for yourself, based on what you think is reasonable. You’ll be happier when you achieve those, than what the Jones’ have.
  16. Find activities that you love
    Try to spend most of your time doing work or activities which make time flow faster. The happiest people are usually busy with things that they love to do, whether it’s cooking, starting a new business, or being with a child.
  17. Construct routines, but remember that surprises often lead to greater happiness
    Life is too full of uncertainties to be controlled. Yet those experiences which we don’t plan for, often lead to greater growth and fulfillment.
  18. Stretch yourself mentally.
    Learning leads to a satisfaction much greater than any impulse purchase.

And finally, for ways to buy yourself some happiness, check out this post


Useless Office Tip

December 6, 2006

I think i’m in a bit of a blogging block.

 So here’s a useless office tip instead, honed from my extensive reading of Dilbert comics 😉

Tip: When walking from one place to another in your office, always carry a piece of paper, aka A Document, with you.

Employees walking around aimlessly are lazy and unproductive. Employees with A Document, or even An Important Document, in their hands are busy and efficient.

So next time you get up for water or coffee, don’t leave your Document behind.


Return to the blog

November 22, 2006

If I had regular readers, I apologize to you for not writing.

But now I’m back, and refocused…
I won’t be able to post every single day, but I’ll try to do so at least twice a week, and I hope to come up with a weekly newsletter soon.

Previously, I had hoped to cover a very wide range of topics on my blog, but I think I’ll narrow that down to what I seem to know best: life in the corporate world. This blog (and newsletter) will probably be more useful for those who are struggling or trying to make it in the ruthless corporate world.


Slowing Down

September 25, 2006

I love the fact that people seem to like what I’m writing, and I hope that in the future I’ll be able to churn out more useful pieces. But for now, I’m being forced to slow down a bit.

I’m a bit sad to have to start spending less time on my blog, so soon in its life. But a variety of factors have led to this.

First off, personal reasons: I’m planning to move to a different country early next year, and pursue Postgrad studies in finance, a subject in which I am truly terrible. So, I’m having to go through all the processes, and I think I’ll try to brush up on what I know, just a bit.

More importantly, I’ll have to switch over to a wordpress.org blog soon. This blog has a lot of limitations, including the inability to use javascript, which means that I can’t put up bookmarking icons and so forth. So, I’m being a bit worried about how the switch will go, etc. And I’ll be waiting till next year, before I switch.

Of course, I’m not going to stop blogging. And I’m hoping that my blog doesn’t turn into a perpetual linkdump.

But I guess the future will be a little bit different.