Hard advice and mentorship

This is the second part of my thoughts on surviving the seismic changes in the economy and staying relevant at any age. The first part is “Skills and the fight against irrelevancy“. But I have learned that even wielding the most updated skills is not enough if you do not get good advice on a constant basis.

Recently, my children asked me over dinner why I have a blog and why do I write all these articles (690 posts since 2005!)

I said : “Firstly, this is a record of my thoughts and ideas for you. Kind of like the fancy ‘memory crystal’ that Jor-El hands down to Ka-El in the Superman movie. So if I die tomorrow, you cannot complain your father did not tell you anything.”

“Second, this blog is a repository of my experiences and ideas, so my friends and readers can read what I would otherwise spend a long time telling them. ”

The kids shrugged and went back to eating their dinner and quarreling with each other.

Oh well.

Channelnewsasia recently ran a very sobering chapter of Talking Point, on how many PMETs in their 30s and 40s are hardest hit by job losses. It’s a long 23-min episode that is worth your time to watch (I didn’t embed it here because the video uses the obsolete Silverlight plug-in, so just click the link).

In both the video and my previous post, there is a lot of discussion about changing mindsets, obsolete skills and skills upgrading. The usual shebang of dealing with being 40+ and jobless.

But people make the mistake of thinking it is just about skills.

I’ve seen that the root of the problem (of becoming irrelevant) goes deeper than that, and starts at the beginning of one’s working life (or perhaps even during the schooling years).

To stay ahead of the curve, to fight irrelevancy and to survive, we need to seek out hard advice and mentorship. This is a practice from the beginning of time, but many people reject because they find it too hard to do (when it isn’t).

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Skills and the fight against irrelevancy

This blog post was written about four months ago but it took me a long time to think through it and observe more about what was happening to my generation of people hitting their 40s. Retrenchment, job dissatisfaction, disruption and so much uncertainty. This first part deals with some observations of modern work and skills, and the next part will cover my reflections on all the advice I have received on these matters. This is a long rambling article, somewhat reflective of the constant churn of thoughts and emotions in my head.

I recently came across an online story of an SAF army regular who said he was changing jobs to become an Uber driver so that he could spend more time with his family. I did not read the story in detail, but the story angle stuck in my mind. (Sorry, I lost the URL link)

In Singapore, Uber and GrabTaxi have vastly improved the taxi network by matching users with drivers in an efficient manner. Many people have also found Uber to be a good fallback when they lose their jobs, or an opportunity to make better use of the inactive family car. Some young folks are using Uber as a way to possess a car for driving when their own finances won’t allow it.

Putting food on the table is critical. However, what happens to your personal development when you become a crowd-sourced driver?

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Biker Bites : Thoughts on the tragic motorcycle accident

First off, this post could be disagreeable to both car drivers and motorcyclists alike, so please hear me out first. I have spent a lot of time writing about motorcycles and how to stay alive as a biker, but I know many bikers won’t bother until they get into situations where they truly understand the risk.. or maybe it might be too late by then.

Capture
Screenshot from ST website about the 21st Sep motorcycle accident.

This week, apart from the awful haze from Indonesia, a lot of Singaporeans were stunned by the news of a young 25-year-old Ducati rider who was killed by a big truck on the Pan Island Expressway at the Kallang area. The accident was grisly and bikers pleaded with others on Facebook not to distribute graphic photos of the accident.

The 50-year-old driver of the truck was arrested and many keyboard warriors assumed it was his reckless driving that killed the biker.

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Lifehacks to spend less in Singapore

There is this adage that it’s not how much you earn, but how much you can save that matters. As I get older, I get more focused on saving where possible because the cost of living only goes up over time. My current philosophy on “wiping the material life” has also helped sharpen that focus a little bit more.

Unlike most articles on the web, I’m not here to write about which bank savings rate you should invest in, or how to calculate your retirement earnings. You may not live long enough to retire anyway, who knows right?

I’m more concerned about staying alive each day and ensuring I am healthy so I can use my hands and brains to work. I’m not going to dwell on property or car choices either, since those are highly debatable on needs versus wants.

So on a daily basis, there are simple small practices (or lifehacks, as is the current lingo) that many people already practice, and that you might find useful for your lifestyle. Our expenditures are often a case of death by many small cuts, so where can we avoid getting hurt?

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It’s ok to be bald, people

I was shaving my head in the bathroom today when I realized that it has been 18 years since my hair started to thin out. It really feels like a lifetime ago when I first became terribly distraught about becoming a balding man at the tender age of 21.

My university days was the period which I had to grapple with this issue head-on (ok, bad pun) and I decided not to take any medication as it was both expensive and not permanent in restoring my hair. I also had the support of my girlfriend, and now my wife Goy, who liked my lame jokes better than my departing hair.

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