Elephants At Work

by Alfred Wong

More often than not, especially when we are still adapting to a new workplace, we have yet to find our pace of how much we are capable of covering. In the end, we tend to try doing everything but end up achieving nothing, much to the disappointment of others.

This happens most often with big, complex tasks which we call ‘elephants’ – large, messy problems that take up huge amounts of space in our everyday work.

In his book “Green Beret Time Management Secrets”, Michael Martel explores why we should know how much we can bite, but more importantly, how we can chew and swallow these elephants.

  • Elephants stink
    When you don’t finish eating an elephant on time, the awful smell starts to fill up the office. Similarly in team projects, if you can’t fulfill your quota on time even when you assured your colleagues you would, it will annoy them and hinder the progress of the team. To resolve this, be honest about your own capabilities when tackling huge projects or tasks. It’s okay to say no to a huge elephant if it avoids trouble for the team later down the line.
  • Elephants can get tiring and bland
    Even if it is the most delicious dish, eating an elephant every day can lose its appeal. The same applies to repetitive work as they become more tedious and boring the more you repeat them. Be aware of these ‘hidden elephants’ formed from many repeated tasks into a huge, endless wave of work. If not intervened early, a string of repetitive work can cause you to lose interest and motivation, and become less productive. 
  • Elephants are great for dinner parties
    When faced with elephant problems, divide and conquer. Cut the large elephant into smaller parts, pass it around, and finish the elephant with some help. Employees often get stuck at huge, complex tasks not just because they don’t know where to start but also because they insist on taking on the elephant by themselves. Smart, proactive workers know when it’s essential to defer their judgements, and delegate tasks to others to lighten the load. The resulting work becomes faster, easier, and of a higher quality. 

Positive X is a people development firm that equips talents with design, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking and skills. You can know more about is at http://www.positivex.asia.

This article was written by Alfred Wong, our resident 2018 Intern for Positive X.

Want to know more about internship opportunities at Positive X? Send us your resume now at info@positivex.asia to find out more!

Edited by Ben Chong.

 

5 Secrets To a Successful Internship

by Alfred Wong

Here is the truth. Entering the office as a fresh intern carries certain expectations to be upheld, even if they aren’t told to you face-to-face. Interns tend to fall into two categories in these situations:

Fast learners who pick up on these expectations and work on them, and late bloomers who fail to keep up and eventually get overwhelmed by their first foray into the working world.

In my case, I was the latter. I was a slow learner so I constantly frustrated my colleagues at my first job because I was unprepared for situations I would have never expected on the job. This led to huge negative impacts in my work but I was lucky enough to have mentors who helped me pick myself back up.

So for those of you entering the workforce hoping to leave a glowing referral on your resume, here are 5 unspoken rules I learned to live by for a successful internship

  • Pay attention to your surroundings
    Pay attention to who or what is more important, such as tending to your superior first while your assignment can wait. Respond clearly and directly to what the other person just said, as being responsive shows that you are paying attention. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have reprogrammed yourself to automatically respond and give a prompt answer.
  • Stay hungry to learn more
    You only live once, so don’t be satisfied with just passing or not failing and learn all you can. Shadow how your senior negotiates a deal and be observant of your surrounding work culture. Ask your superior for regular feedback on how to improve and reflect on it during your journey home. Enrich yourself with the hands-on experience and resources that you can’t obtain in part time jobs. By doing so, you show your initiative and you will be regarded as someone dependable. Whatever you learn could prove invaluable in your future careers.
  • Always be honest
    Honesty is a rare quality in the modern competitive corporate or startup ecosystems, and well worth their weight in gold. Giving honest compliments in interactions and earnest effort at work subconsciously builds trust. In time, trust feeds into credibility, respect and eventually faith that you won’t let others down.
  • Adopt a “Can-Do” Attitude
    Be as reliable as a secretary. There is nothing a superior likes more than an employee who is always thinking ahead and takes the initiative. It could be small acts such as preparing the meeting room and equipment without being instructed to do so. That way, you will come off as a reliable and flexible employee that people want to hire.
  • Manage your appearance and conduct
    Take care of your appearance, adopt a suitable attire and choice of words that align with your workplace. As an intern, you present a visual image of the organization you work for. By donning a formal attire, your appearance speaks an unspoken message that you are being professional, and taking your client seriously.

All ready and set!
These 5 secrets will help you in your first steps into the working world but it ultimately boils down to your attitude of taking it seriously. You should treat your internships as valuable opportunities that serve as a crucial foundation of your future careers. Good luck!

Positive X is a people development firm that equips talents with design, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking and skills. You can know more about is at http://www.positivex.asia.

This article was written by Alfred Wong, our resident 2018 Intern for Positive X.

Want to know more about internship opportunities at Positive X? Send us your resume now at info@positivex.asia to find out more!

Edited by Ben Chong.