Thursday, March 13, 2014

Random thoughts: interviews

I just went for an interview for a opening of a new appointment. My prospective supervisor spent quite a bit of time preparing me, to the extend that I fell like I am doing 10 years series. I really appreciate her efforts while I doubt her approach.

Interview came, I reminded myself to frame my conversation according to the pointers my supervisor gave me, so that I will not disappoint her, but I mentally told myself not to say anything that I believe is untrue, or I dun believe in.

So well, the interview went well initially, all questions were spot on, all except the last. I have actually thought through that particular question in my work, so I gave my honest view. Apparently, my future big bosses does not agree with me. She suggest something else, which I felt is beautiful in theory but doesn't work on the ground. I did mention every environment is different, but given the circumstances I was in, I did a right call. So then she ask me to read up. Roll eyes in my heart. Another scholar...

I am not sure I understand her correctly, but to me, using investment terms, I believe in buying term
Insurance and investing the rest, keeping the two separated. She believe in integration, so ILP is a great product. Well, doesn't really matter I I fail the interview, opportunities will come my way again.

Come back to the point what is the purpose of the Interview. I went for 3 interviews in my life, one for my job, one for a scholarship, another was this. When I go for my job Interview, I wasn't sure if that is the job for me, so I decided to give my most honest answers, and I think if my honest answers don't land me the job, I might not be suitable anyway.

I did the same for the scholarship interview and fail quite badly. I realized you only speak your mind when u have many options, I consider myself very lucky that I do not have to pander to people's standard answers just to pass interviews. I rather prepare well but speak my honest view.

For people who are desperate for a job, I realized honesty could be a luxury too.

Anyway, how can one gauge my capabilities through one interview? Why do they not want to see more concrete proof? How accurate is a statement anyway?

Rat race. A reminder of one of the many reasons why I strive for financial freedom.


  1. sillyinvestor,

    " I realized you only speak your mind when u have many options"

    Ain't this the truth!

    I wore a mask when options were limited to me in the early days.

    When boss say jump! I don't ask why? I answer how high?

    Score points like nobody business! LOL!

    I'm a man-whore, snake-oil salesman, showman...

    Then somehow it got to a point where I can choose my bosses (job offers come to me and not the other way round).

    And now that my wings have fully grown; I went solo :)

    I think you have the wisdom to know what we really want when we do job interviews:

    In the words of Godfather 3, "our ships must sail in the same direction".

    (Would you recruit someone who differs from you in your team?)

  2. Hey SMOL,

    In my industry,I dun get job offers, hahaha. But the satisfaction is high, and the pay fairly decent.

    But can I go solo? Well, I think I could, but not without the support of my family since my time of leisure will be direct opposite to them, although I am confident i can feed myself and family, not sure if going solo actually result in higher pay.

    Hmm... When someone ask me to jump, I always ask why lei... What is the value of jumping, how high to jump to get maximum impact. I will jump nonetheless, but not without questions. If it is a wayang jump, I will jut tiptoe and said I have jump, if it is to pluck low-lying food, I will jump using milk strength to get the better fruits.

    Guess I have been irritating worker all along. Muhahaha :)

    Just got news the interview went fine. Ok. I think I have enough to eat for the next few years.

  3. Hi sillyinvestor,

    So proud of you!

    My salary comes from a accumulation of tuition jobs, but it's the same principle that I adopted. Every year, my salary would start from near zero as graduating students left. I know what my monthly expenses are, so when I'm still earning less than my monthly expenses, I'll be the money-whore that SMOL talks about. Everything is OK, lower rates OK, need to go to their place OK! But when my pay exceeds my monthly expenses, it's the other way. I start to negotiate harder and tougher. Up until the point where I started rejecting offers. And the cycle repeats.

    Why? Because I already covered my base and anything in excess of it is bonus. I can afford to not to have the extra money if the job makes me unhappy. And that's what matters at the end of the day.

  4. Hmm.. LP

    I did habour the thoughts of becoming your competitor, but no sure if I can sustain myself over the longer term.

    I even wanted to join the financial line. I almost took those what module exams.

    In the end, I stay put, and I have no regrets. My industry is super sheltered, although some become too full of themselves. In this industry, I can choose to be honest more than not. There is very few occasions that I need to be outright dishonest. I appreciate that, and is one of the reason why I didn't go.

    In my job, if u do not want to climb, and dun mind a low performance bonus, no one can touch u as long as u have some baseline competencies, and is thick-skinned enough for suaning.

    I am thick-skinned but I have some stupid ego, that's why I keep pushing until I get myself so tired. But at least I know at the end of the day, more than 50% of my efforts are for my core business, and I usually do tip-toe jump for some non-core business. U ask me to jump, I will jump, but dun expect me to jump over the wall if u can't make my buy in.

    The benefits of my industry. Not so competitive like a commission based on sale system

  5. Btw, u only teach graduating pupils? Why not those lower in the value chain so there is some customers' stickiness over 2 or more years, as least it won't be starting near zero. Quite scary if u ask me, to start the year at near zero

  6. Hi sillyinvestor,

    I'm sure you know your own situation better :)

    I teach a range of students from lower sec to JC2. The mix depends year to year so some years I might have more graduating students, some years lesser. Last year to this year is really near zero, but usually it's not. Maybe I'll retain about 30% of my income from previous year.

    Not scary anymore..been in this for 10 yrs so I've always been saying that I'm always getting retrenched every year LOL! Builds resilience in me, I must say. Makes me confident that if I've to start again, I can do it. Also makes saving for rainy days really meaningful and impt for me.

  7. 1) LP,


    This former CEO Felix Ong of Seksun were like us when he shared how he turned this loss making company around before listing: Small jobs others turn down I do! Difficult jobs others avoid I do!

    2) sillyinvestor,

    I am guessing you are not an engineer ;) You can afford to as you are "untouchable". But if you can be replaced by cheaper and hungrier options, I think you'll feel more angst than ego...

    A very gentle poke - ego with Taoism and Buddhism?

  8. Haha SMOL,

    Understood! I strive to rid myself of arrogance and pride, but alas I am human.

    Thus, I strive the next best manner, utilizing ego to work hard and my best in my work. My philosophy also influence by 苏式, who is well versed in concept of Taoism and Buddhism. He did very well in courts, but was exiled to qingdao, even his political opponent ( those that were upright) tried to save him from being executed when his straight talking offended the emperor.

    Although he was exiled, he was always at peace, he even made the best at the super not developed qingdao, saying he could eat lychee here as and when he pleased, although the weather is horrible there.

    Hence, I always push myself to do my best, but stay positive regardless of results. Of course, my achievements is nothing compared to him, since can't rid it, why not use it hahaha

    No worry about the poke, I am not defensive, just exchanging pointers. I enjoy doing this actually. One of the high point of having a blog.

    Continue to poke please. Hahah

  9. sillyinvestor,

    Ah! Su Dong Po :)

    I am more attracted to Li Bai and Du Fu.

    So envious of Li Bai's abandonment and wandering lifestyle. Still having jolly good fun while being exiled to Yelang? This son of a .... Now he's the man!

    Du Fu is more about respect and a reminder to myself to be less a bleeding heart. So much talent yet can fail the Imperial civil service exam twice!? What a tortured career he had. Didn't know or perhaps refusing to play the game of politics...

    醉生梦死 - The problem here is I don't drink...

  10. SMOL,

    I personally have lesser admiration for Li Bai. Granted he is cool and Xiao sa, but we do not about his political thoughts or if he does do anything, is it effective for people.

    I don't study history as closely as i study their literature work, while I believe the imperial exam system
    Is corrupt, I am not sure if Li Bai or Du Fu will make excellent leaders, but at least they will not be the worst since they are upright.

    In Buddhism there is 入世,and出世kind of cultivation, although I know too little about Buddhism to know if I understand their concept correctly, I think my temperaments is more suited for the 入世type, do my best, change myself, and hopefully rub off to my surroundings. Whatever happen in the end, I will learn to let it go, but must try to 修身,齐家。

    As u point out, I am already rather bad at stage 1, but guess I have to keep trying, especially my temper, lust and arrogance are bigger weaknesses. As for greed, I think I am not obsessed with power or money.

    That's why 醉生梦死,has a different meaning to me. Haha.. Poke back at u... Haha .. Gently