What’s in a Career?
Hello World! I’ve moved into business and I’m starting my rotation with investments. It’s been 3 weeks since I started my new job (and possibly my new career)! Actually, my officemate asked me why I changed my career and I told him I feel I do not see this as a career change but rather an accumulation of work experience, knowledge and skills. I think I’m too young in the world of work (perhaps?) to start chasing a career. I think for now, I will concentrate on growth. The term “career” is probably for people who have resigned to the fact that they are doing what they want to do for the rest of their life. I think I prefer to float around and test waters indefinitely.
Business: It’s a Man’s World
I can’t and will not discuss much about this but for now it is safe to say that I am learning a lot and time is just not enough to complete the tasks I want to complete + study the material I need to study. The worst part about my first week was that I was sick. Even if salary is better, I am not as senior as a used to be (for now). My 3 months rotation is a time for me to be humble and learn just a little bit about most aspects of the group I work for. I do not have a post title yet so there’s still a big question mark on what exactly I will be doing in the long term but for now, I am in no rush to find out. I am still learning the ropes around here and I still need to figure the group out. So far, I realize with many companies we have investments with, both the board and employees are men! Goodbye to the development world where provisions have been made to ensure women are part of the decision-making. I guess I definitely have something to prove. In our office, the second in command is a woman but she’s the big boss’ step daughter. Most people in this office have been hired through “connections”. Most senior positions in this group seem to be through staff connections. I guess trust is a major issue here.
Recovering from the Cold
I share an office with a guy who unfortunately had to put up with my coughing fits on the first week. He’s got a good sense of humour and he really takes the time to teach me stuff. I am grateful. He is out of the country this week but has left me some work + I am also going to be working with two other companies starting tomorrow.
Thoughts about Personal Savings and Investment
My officemate and I have been having many interesting discussions about investments (of course) and our personal experiences with this. I told him that I didn’t have any significant savings but nor do I have debt. He told me that not having debt is a very good thing and a privilege not many people have in this world.
His advice to me (after about 10 years in the field of investment management) is that I should save 3 months salary as a fixed savings (3- 6 months… the decision on this would highly depend on your monthly income and necessary expenditures of course). After I have this in my account, I can start saving for specific things… a house (or downpayment), a car, a holiday etc.
The discussion made me sit down on Sunday with an excel sheet and draft my 5-year savings strategy. Contrary to what his advice was, I think instead, a % into fixed savings per month might be better. I say this because I don’t have kids. I don’t have anything… and at this point in time, perhaps savings is the only way my wealth can accumulate. It wouldn’t take me too long to save up for stuff I want… just not something as big as house. I have a car I am driving but technically, this is for my brother. He took the loan and because he is overseas, he transferred it to me. I would have to give him a % of the cost of the car or probably just give him back the car… I don’t know.
The Job and Boss I left
My former office staff have been calling me and texting me to help them with some work- pro bono. Some multilaterals have also been guilty of this. When they can’t reach my former colleagues/ boss, they reach out to me. I do feel sorry for my former colleagues. I have to boldly admit that when they lost me, they lost some mentorship as well. My former boss was a good boss in some areas but they each come with their cons: Pro 1: He understands the mandate of the department but Con1: He doesn’t use any power to impose this when he knows he needs to, he assumes everyone else understands it too. Pro 2: Even in his 60s, he liked technology and innovation and is always quick to adapt in this area. Con 2: Sadly, this area is also one that is expensive and requires training… training of staff and stakeholders that might not even have the prerequisites to choose the faster and potentially more difficult route (for some). The downfall here is that he never champions change… he will seek funding (or have someone like me do it), he will procure what needs to be procured and then when we’ve “tested” the innovation… he drops it like it’s hot. This speaks of his approach to many other things… plans we create… No commitment. Pro 3: He understands that staff should be allowed time to run a few personal errands during working hours. Con 3: Some staff run personal errands all day, everyday and even use department’s vehicles.
Key Lesson from Government
Government has taught me one very important lesson, applicable to many aspects of my life: If you want change at work, you have to make it. If you can’t make it after exploring all the avenues you know how… leaving is the last resort for some and the first resort for others. For me, it was my last resort but one that was a long time coming. My former office now has 2 main types of staff that want to leave but grin and bear it: 1. Those who are under-qualified but paid well so they stay 2. Those who are qualified but content because their boss gives them so much freedom, they can spend an entire month (or year) not working and they still get paid. There are also incentives like travel (and DSA) that keeps someone in there. I don’t think there is anyone in there who is there because they truly care about making change… that’s something NGOs do, not government. I really believe this applies in this country. Those who truly care about a cause, work for NGOs or start them. I would like to create one, but maybe a little later this year.