Learning to Say “NO”

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I have a colleague at work who we dubbed as “Mr. No”. Why? He would practically say “no” to all the incredulous demands even from our bosses. Knowing our company mantra of “making things possible”, saying “no” to our bosses really needs a lot of guts to do.

Declining a request however, does not necessarily mean a bad thing. Albeit, denying someone’s request or demand especially those in the upper level of the heirarchy in your organization or even your clients is very hard to do. In fact, it is an innate human nature to please and not create conflict or confrontation with others.

But learning to say “no” is one way of boosting your productivity. How? It allows you to screen out unnecessary things that may take you out of your focus from the important things that can add value to you and to your work. This is specifically handy when you feel that you are already loaded with work which in turn affects your performance and productivity.

But how do we say “no” without having the guilt feeling that you might have offended the other party? Here are three points that you might want to consider.

1. Have a solid reason of saying “no”. This is very important since you may need to do some explaining when you decline someone of their request or demand. Tell the other party why you honestly cannot accept the request or demand. This will help others understand why it is not possible for you to take on a certain task.

2. Propose a compromise. If the other party still negotiates with you to do the job even after you explain why you cannot do an extra load, suggest ways on how can he be able to pull through the task without compromising your own schedule. Either you help him find someone who can help him with his request or negotiate with him for you to do the task after you finish your priorities. If you choose the latter, be transparent on when can you actually accommodate him so he can weigh his options. In this way, it would lessen the hard feelings of being declined because (1) you are saying “no” while trying to be helpful and (2) the other party may come to his own realization (hopefully), that you really cannot do his request and may choose to find somebody else to do it.

3. Be wary of your tone. This is one of the keys to successfully turn down someone without sounding offensive. Oftentimes, even with our good reason and intention, people misunderstood our context just because of the way we deliver our message. If you sound to be argumentative or irritated to other party, he will dismiss your explanation as just just mere alibi to escape from the task even if you are telling the truth. On the other hand, people tend to accept your reason if you say it in a calm or even a little apologetic voice. Just don’t be too overly apologetic else they might see you as a scheming person.

If all else fail, you can always find someone to back you up to convince the other person to just let it go. ūüėä


Resume No-no for Entry Level Applicants

You just got out of college and you are determined to start a career of your own. But although you almost sent all your resumes to companies with available job openings, you still did not get any call so you start to doubt yourself. Have you tried to look for the culprit yet? Your resume might be the problem, not you.

There are many resume writing mistakes that go unnoticed especially for entry-level applicants. These boo-boos are the reasons why your application does not pass through the initial screening process. If you are a newbie and is already in agony of not getting a call even for a single interview, maybe you should need to review your resume and try to spot these common mistakes so you can correct them.

Unprofessional-looking email address

Your “cutegirl008@xxxxx.com” email address is not so cute anymore as you try to break into the professional world. In this digital era, your email address is one of your main contact points from would be employers. Thus, you need to have a professional looking emaill address to start with. A good professional email address must contain your name. In this way, headhunters will easily recognize you as the same person whose sending the CV.Besides, having a “cute” email address signals that you are not mature enough to step into the corporate workforce. 
Your CV is more than one page

Unless you have worked while studying and have relevant work experience, your resume must not be more than one page. Many entry level applicants commit mistakes by putting irrelevant and unneccesary information in their resume hoping that these info will help them land a job. In reality, irrelevant data does not help you at all. So avoid putting your high school clubs, hobbies, activities, achievements or too much personal information so HR personnel will be able to concentrate on those details that will make you a good candidate for the job.
Posting a selfie photo

Many people are so obsessed at taking selfies and posting them in social media but do not risk your chance of landing a job by posting a selfie photo in your resume. Instead, get a professional looking photo in a photo studio to attach to your CV. You can always ask for a soft copy of your ID pictures so you can have it reprinted just in case you need more.

Typo errors

Mosr resumes end up in the waste basket because of too many typo errors. You must bear in mind that your CV Is your tool to market yourself. Whatever you put in your resume says something about you. A resume full of typo errors and misspellings sends signals to your recruiter that you are not responsible enough for the job. Proofread and edit your resume before sending it out. If you are not sure if it will pass the HR reviewer, ask someone to proofread it for you.  

If you found one or more of these mistakes with your current resume, better start re-writng it. 

The Accidental Project Manager

Imagine this scenario: You have been part of a project team for a long time and your group is successfully delivering the project and your client has nothing to complain about. Then of all a sudden, your project manager just resigned and since you are the only person who knows the project well, you have been picked by your boss to lead the team. Should you accept or not?

Oftentimes, most companies opt to get the successor of the PM within the project team so as the transition of project management will not disrupt the project delivery. Rather than hiring a new guy who still needs to be oriented and be trained, the boss selects one of the team members who is knowledgeable and capable enough to run the project for them. This saves the company time and of course, money.

However, the “chosen one”, albeit the management deemed to be suited to takeover the rein of leadership experience a great deal of coping with the transition of being a team member and being the manager. For one, the responsibility has become enormous. When you have been used to delivering a particular scope of the project before, it is not easy to adjust to be the man responsible for delivering the project as a whole, i.e., the responsibility has now become end-to-end. You are now become responsible for the welfare of your team, to address the issues and directly answers to your boss and your client. You will be the person to deliver the final decision on critical concerns. In short, you manage everything- the project, the expectation, the manpower, the budget, the delivery of the revenue, etc.

The enormity of the responsibility has become the prevalent issues of the “accidental” project managers. This is primarily the cause why they succumb to the stress of the work and lost their focus and drive to work. Here are some pointers if ever you find yourself in this situation:

1. Be honest with yourself. Being nominated to manage a team is certainly a form of recognition in itself. In a way, your boss acknowledges your potential as an employee and is giving you a break to grow your career. However, you still need to weigh the consequences before you grab this opportunity. If after your self-assessment you feel that you are not ready yet to replace somebody else’s big shoes, tell your boss directly and be specific with your reasons why you cannot take it. You can also recommend someone else whom you think can do the job and offer to assist in the transition.

2. Set your goals and expectations. If you are up for the challenge of expanding your career horizon, set a meeting with your boss to discuss both of your expectations and goals. In this way, you will know what is expected of you in terms of your new job. Conversely, do not shy away from discussing your expectations with your boss before accepting the job offer. Let’s face it. Oftentimes we are avoiding discussions of compensations, benefits and salaries with your boss. If you are going to accept a bigger job, this is a good time to inquire about compensation adjustments.

3. Work with the team. Being the person-in-charge involves a lot of pressures and most of the times decisions need to be done fast. Admittedly, there are things which you are not yet expert of and you may find yourself at the dead end of decision-making. This is where your team comes in. When you involve the team in every process, chances are, they may share valuable expertise to you which cuts the difficulty of your work into half. Be enthusiastic and open-minded with team suggestions and encourage each team member to contribute ideas. Leadership is not about commanding the team but steering them to the direction which may bring the best of every members.

4. Find a mentor. Being an accidental project manager is not an easy task so you need to find someone who can guide you to the process of getting into the flow of the job. This is where mentorship comes in. Choose a person whom you share leadership ideas and learn from them. Discuss with them your difficulties and ask for valuable advice. Work with you mentor to develop several strategies that you may use in your project. Int this way, you may lessen difficulties in adjusting to your new role.

5. Cultivate your network. Working on a project gives you the opportunity to develop your own network which may help you in your project delivery. Develop a strong relationship with your clients and your colleagues and grow your professional network. These will be the people who can also help you grow your career in the future.

It takes a lot of guts to accept challenging roles. However, knowing the right tool and cultivating the right attitude are the best way to start to grow your career. So do not be afraid to expand your horizons. In this way, you gain more experience, more expertise and more wisdom which will help you achieve your professional goals.

The Search for Work- Life Balance

Work- life balance is a phenomenon that is yet hard to achieve. There are many written how-to’s all over the internet and self-help books, but for many professionals, this seems to be as elusive as finding a pirate’s treasures. Everyone who works their asses off would know how toxic is the working environment nowadays and the demand to keep up with competition produces a lot of stress. It is a comic irony that I am writing about it since I myself has difficulties in converging work and personal life into a yin- yang of co-existence.

The advent of globalization is one of the reasons of the rise into the demands to increase productivity of all industries. To keep up with the global competition and to stay into the business, companies opt to ramp up the KPIs of their employees, setting up high targets and devicing new strategies in achieving them. One of these strategies is to maximize the current employees capacity in delivering maximized outputs. Oftentimes, this entails long hours of work, sometimes eating up part of employees rest days and holidays.

Another contributor is the modern technologies that supposedly keep our lives easier. Communication devices such as mobile phones and emails which aim to keep us connected to the people important to us are sometimes overused to the point that it is choking you up. The fact that you can open your mails everywhere, or you can receive calls whenever and wherever you are, makes it easier for you to fall victim to work overload. These things that  supposed to make us more productive can cause life imbalance in the long run making it even harder to achieve the elusive work-life utopia.

Although most companies have included to there human resource programs of providing perks to address issues of having a well-balanced life of the employees , many still fall to the pit of work exhaustion because of the economic necessity. In these days where unemployment is high, the security of tenure is low and inflation is growing, the pressure of maintaining one’s work drive many of the employees into workaholic individuals, sacrificing personal living in exchange of economic gain. The aggressive competition within the workforce, the allure of promotions or higher pay contribute to the pressure and a threatens to¬†take a toll to one’s well- being.

In the end,¬†having a ¬†balanced life is as exhausting as working into achieving one’s KPI. Understanding one’s capacity as against one’s needs is important into finding ways to a more holistic approach of living life to the fullest. Setting up realistic goals is also necessary to lessen the stress and take off unnecessary burdens of the workplace.¬†We work to make a living and not living just to work. Having a happy personal life, connected to the people who matters to you is just as important into keeping one’s paycheck.

The So- called Telecom Life

I must say, working in a telecommunications industry is not the career path that I have dreamt of. But luckily for six years I find it a rewarding and challenging journey that I have enjoyed so far. The growing demand to keep up with the fast paced technological evolution in terms of telecommunication has diversified this industry for so many years that in terms of longevity, the continuous advancement in modern communication will keep us very busy for years to come.

People would automatically assume that if you’re working in this industry either you are an engineer or an IT professional. So most of the time people that I know of are astonished (and perhaps wonder) on how a non-engineering/ IT graduate like me has find a fulfilling path in this industry. In fact, you don’t need to be an engineer to develop a solid career in telecom. Here are some of the job positions that you can consider in this industry:

1. Site Acquisition Officer

If you are people- oriented, has a good communication and negotiation skills and is organized, you can work as a site acquisition officer (SAQ). The basic job function is to acquire feasible location for the construction and installation of the telecommunication facilities. SAQ staff are considered the front-liners in the industry and are involved in site selection, negotiation of lease and facilitate the needed build permits.

2. Paralegal Officer

Professionals who have legal studies/ backgrounds can consider the job of a paralegal officer in the telecom industry. Paralegal officers are the dedicated staff who review and determine authenticity of the legal documents submitted, prepare, review and finalize lease agreements. Overall, paralegals are involve in contract management.

3. Autocad Operators

If you have a knowledge in translating engineering data into a cohesive installation plan and knows how to operate the autocad software, then this job is for you. The autocad operators handles the day-to-day production of detailed drawing and the as-built plans as basis of the project implementation.

4. Documentation Assistant

Documentation Assistant or DA’s provide administrative support to different departments in a telecom company. The job ranges from the usual administrative works to documentation, updating project database and generation of project related reports when needed.

5. NOC Support

More likely of a technical help desk support staff, the NOC (network operations center) support is the lifeline of the site engineers whenever there is a live network activity at site like network integration and alarms troubleshooting. Most telecom companies provide training for the NOC support staff to ensure that network protocol is being met.

The telecommunications industry is dynamic. It is never stagnant and it keeps on evolving. Same thing as the jobs that it can offer to the growing job market. The career opportunity in this industry is vast. It also offers an attractive compensation package and rewarding career advancement to those who wished to explore its job offering. And everyday, there is always a new knowledge and experience to take in. Who knows, you can also find your dream job in this industry. =)