Lawrence Walters Seminar – My Learning and Reflections

It has been a busy period at work with budget planning for 2017, 2016 year end close, latest forecast, Finance team day, etc. The good thing about these is the days passed by so, so fast.

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Photo credit to Johann Ng

We are now at Grand Lexis, Port Dickson for our company team building, with Lawrence Walters Seminar delivered by Master Brandon Chua.

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Garden Villa with private pool.

The first thing that caught my eyes about Brandon Chua was the pant that he was wearing. Very unique and unusual. Once Brandon started speaking, his level of energy and passion was so powerful that he diverted my attention to his words.

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At the end of the day, we were given reflections assignment to do which will earn us more team rewards. For me, it is not about rewards, but I don’t want to spend 3 days away from home for another ordinary seminar, which when I go back to office, the training materials will be in my office cabinets, adding on to those other seminars that I’ve attended..

Talking about passion, I’m doing my passion to write now. At this hour, I should be sleeping but I just want to pen down my takeaway from today’s 1st day of Lawrence Walter Seminars while they are still fresh in my mind. Will KISS. Keep it Short and Sweet as I miss the bed too.

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It is not a problem but a Challenge to push ourselves to the next level. I remember Brandon’s advice of when faced with challenge, go to toilet, put the strong leg in front, move the body to the front, use the right hand and say to yourself “Challenge. Challenge. Challenge”. Then, you will be ready to face the challenge. You can do better and Challenge is an opportunity for us to move to the next level.

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95% of our life is controlled by our Pattern, an automatic robotic behavious. It is either a lousy one or extraordinary. The good news is we can create a new pattern and it just take 7 days to form a pattern. Don’t just do enough. Do it with Passion and aim for Extraordinary (XO) that you will receive “Wow” from those surroundings you. We watched The Death Crawl scene from Facing the Giants, an inspirational scene when we pushed ourselves to be extraordinary.

We win as a team. When it’s positive, say “I support you”. When the results is not good, remember to encourage the person and say “You can do it better”. We are a TEAM and Together Everyone Achieve More. No CBEG aka Complain, Blame, Excuses and Gossip. Take action.

JUICE. Do Join Us In Creating Expansion

Do a check on yourself and your colleagues. How’s your Energy today?

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Check out our Energy

4 arrows of Power Communication – SHIT ie Strategy, High Energy, Intensity of Eye-Contact and Transfer of Feelings. In order to transfer feeling, punch the key words when we say it. We need to listen and stay silent to listen.

We watched Pretty Woman of Richard Gere and Julia Robert quarreled scene, how they got angry, walked away and at the end made up, when there’s appropriate power of communication.

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The parting words from Brandon today “Sawleng, your team needs you”. Simple words and yet it stuck in my mind.

 

To lead people, we have to stop being an achiever, start being a teamleader.

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The other reflections assignment is to contact 6 persons to show appreciation for their support. When we were back to hotel room, I thanked K Nuch for all her support to GSM reportings over late nights and public holiday. We may have communication problem  but we are progressing well. We ended it with a HUG.

When K Nuch had her shower, I called Hubby. Throughout our 15.5 years of relationship, we have been through lots of ups and down. And we live in a busy lives with 2 rascal boys at home, commitments, obligations, expectation, etc. So much so, we take each other for granted. I called him to say “Thank you for your support. Because of you, I pushed myself to be better, to do my best. I want you to be proud of me. And I want our boys to be proud of me too”. Hubby acknowledged what I said. Guess he was wondering what happened, what’s wrong, why the sudden.

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I’ll be there.

And Yes, I created another Instagram account today and the setting is Public. I’ve shared some XO photos there. Good things are meant to be shared.

Take action now!

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Photo credit to Johann Ng

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With my team at gala dinner at the end of teambuilding

Contribute to ACCA Community

And so that’s how it started …. an email to Head of ACCA Media on 24 Aug 2015 with the subject “Contribute to ACCA Community”.

In the email, of course, I introduced myself and gave my ACCA background ie studying ACCA on part time basis while pursuing my career with Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers). I have the passion to write and share my knowledge, just as in my blog here. The purpose I approached ACCA was to offer my service, be it contribute articles or as speaker to young accountants or ACCA members who inspire to be accountant, sharing my journey and challenges to be a qualified accountant today. Or any other suggestions to collaborate and work together as I just wished to make the best use of my time and contribute to the society while in between jobs then.

A week later, I received a reply from him introducing me to the editor of Student Accountant magazine.

After 3.5 weeks, there was still no news from the editor and I was thinking if I should pursue it further. Probably, ACCA didn’t think it was a good idea or my suggestions were not good enough. Then I remembered my first boss, Chris Wong, told me this “You don’t ask, you don’t get”. And so I wrote a follow up email to ACCA.

After almost 3 weeks later, the reply finally came! The editor of ACCA Student Accountant Magazine was thinking about the best way to use my expertise. With few emails exchanged, we agreed on series of articles by me, sharing my experience, challenges and learning on “My Life as an Accountant” starting from ACCA students life to Head of Finance of MNC. I proposed the titles of my articles in line with my journey and experience from ACCA students to finance professional with the aim to guide, prepare and inspire our ACCA students.Capture

After 5 months of working together and planning, the first article Why Accountancy was published on 28 January. I wrote about my ambition of being Accountant since I was 6 years old. ACCA editor has done some editing to my articles to make it short and sweet. I was so thrilled and read it again and again.

The 2nd article, My ACCA Journey was published on 5 Feb, just a week after the 1st article was published. I wrote about why I chose ACCA and the struggles that I had in studying ACCA on part time basis. I was feeling a little shy after reading this 2nd article. However, ACCA editor told me that they were very happy and thank me for being honest about all the required motivation and sacrifices while getting through the ACCA qualification. They added that having an honest profile is a great way for other students to identify with especially having to juggle between work, study and life. It will be a real boost to students reading about my story and eventual transfer to ACCA membership. I was so motivated by them.

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As of today, I’ve submitted 4 articles to ACCA of which 3 articles have been published. In the 3rd article, An Eagerness to Learn, I wrote about my worries of not doing and learning enough at the start of my career and how I see an opportunity in every problem.

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ACCA requested for photos to go along with my articles. I gave photos of myself taken about the same time as the stage of my series of articles. Unfortunately, some of the photos quality were not good enough for its sharpness.

Some asked me if I get paid for writing these series of articles for ACCA. No, I don’t and I never expected it. As I mentioned from the very beginning, I offered my service to contribute to ACCA community. I just wish to make the best use of my time and contribute to the society while I was in between jobs. My hope is to learn from this experience and be a better mentor/coach for upcoming accountants.

My learning from this is “be humble” and yet have a strong determination to achieve your dreams. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Sometimes, we are just not at the right place, the right time. In fact, I’ve tried this with ACCA back in September 2012. After a few emails exchange, it stopped and I was too shy to enquire further, thinking my work probably wasn’t good enough.

I’m glad that I finally found the right place, the right time. Thanks ACCA for the opportunity and most importantly, for believing in me!

When the Cat’s Away

My colleague asked me “When is your next post?” By that, he meant my post here in LinkedIn. It’s nice to know there is someone looking forward to read my post and it motivates me to write.

The year-end holiday season started and office colleagues are going away for holiday for the next 2 weeks. This reminds me of when I first started my career with professional accounting firm, most of the seniors and colleagues went on long annual, study and exam leaves at year end too to prepare for their professional accounting exams.

I started my career in auditing and I was lucky to join one of the Big 8 audit firm then. Alfred and I were the most junior staff in the department in terms of age and working experience. Obviously, we had the lowest time cost and charge out rate. Our seniors used to ask us to get them audit files from filing room which was located a floor below our office, to get documents photocopied, filing of documents and to return files to filing room, to name a few of them. All these activities required sign in and sign out of file cards or forms. Not something that I enjoyed doing.

In terms of work, I was asked to analyse petty cash on A3 columnar papers. Computer was not popular back then. All the work was done on manual basis, including writing and casting. When the total for all the columns do not tie to the rows, we had challenging time in figuring out the errors. This experience built up a strong determination in me and have eyes for details.

I went to work every day with a wish. A wish that I would have a new assignment to do, something that I could learn and develop, something which was far more interesting than analysing petty cash. I used to envy other new staff, who were graduates and exposed to audit assignment and could follow their seniors to customers’ premises for projects and assignment.

It was during the professional accounting exams period at year end, when almost all of the seniors went on leaves to prepare for their exams that things changed. When the cat’s away, the mice didn’t get to play but worked hard, learned and was much happier too. When my senior went on leave, her manager came to me directly to follow up on outstanding audit matters and get work done among the few of us left in the office.

I was eager to learn, I put in a lot of effort and extra hours to deliver task assigned to me ahead of time. Inside me, there was a fire to learn, to perform and most importantly, not to disappoint my manager who gave this golden opportunity to me. It was the busiest time and yet the most satisfying few weeks.

Guessed the manager was pleased with my work. When my senior returned to work after her exam, her manager told her to expose me to new task. Life was busy thereafter. I looked forward to go to work and there was a rush in me to make up for the wasted few months of my first job. It was the start of an amazing career for me.

After a few audit assignments, I started to lead audit assignments. On a few occasions, I was called back from existing assignment to move on to a larger and tight deadline job. My manager had confident and believe in me in handling the higher profile job.

Now that I’ve been in rat race for more than 20 years, where I’ve been an individual contributor, a manager, function head and in senior leadership team, I believe it is extremely important to have a manager who recognises your strength, work with you on your weaknesses and believe in you more than you believe in yourself.

See opportunity in every problem, not problem in every opportunity.

It feels good to be recognised

Few weekends ago, I read article on 7 Things You Can Do on Friday to Make Monday Awesome. I’ve been doing some of them, not on weekly basis but now and then. I like to organize the week, get one thing off my desk before weekend kicks in and reflect on the week. My colleague guessed my favourite is #5 as I always put on music when work gets tougher.Occasionally, I end the week on a high by planning to show someone my appreciation.

On the next Monday, I did just that. I shared the article with my colleagues whom I worked closely with on company’s FY15 Planning and invite them to try the coffee butter cake that I baked and brought to office. I sent The Little Things Count to my manager for her support and for being such a great manager to us. I responded to performance review feedback requests from colleagues as part of end of year check in to help them to develop further.

Before I joined my current employer, I used to admire my Auntie and friends who received awards and recognition from their employers for job well done. Not that I’ve never done a good job throughout my career, it’s the way the recognition been given to staff which is usually just a thank you note or emails. Somehow, US companies have a more structure and formal way of giving award and recognition to staff. There are Kudos, The Little Things Count, APAC CFO Award and many other awards given out by Subsidiary and Corporation.

Finally on 5 Jun 14, I experienced the feeling of receiving such award. In APAC Finance All Hands today, I received FY14 H2 APAC CFO award, under the category “Giving to Others”. I received as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for subsidiary on our new forecasting tool, shared best practices and provide Helpdesk to colleagues in the office and peers in APAC region to support them in using the tool.

After the announcement from our APAC CFO, several instant messages popped out on my notebook screen. I received congratulatory messages from colleagues all over APAC … “Congratulations”, “Well done”, “Very much deserved”, “Great stuff”.

I was so, so happy and truly enjoy the moment. It was a pleasant surprise, it was a great feeling and it surely motivated me further to help others and to do great job. Of course, I did not forget to thank my manager for her recognition too.

Today, my boss shared the announcement with the local Subsidiary leadership team and also with my key stakeholders. In a few hours, I received more than 30 “feel good” congratulatory emails from the team. I was overjoyed, simple thing like this made me feel over the moon. It was really a GREAT feeling and something that I truly treasure the memory!

My New Life in KL City … Welcome!

I’ve been into my new job for 4 weeks now. I tell you … the KL traffic is crazy!

For my first few days of work, I spent almost 3 hours on the road each day. I felt tired and it affected my mood too. How can I spent 3 hours on the road and wasted all the valuable time?

I started to record each and every journey to and from work … the time I left home, the time I reached office, the time I left office, the time I reached home, the route that I took each day and their distance and duration. I used different route to work too. By now, I’ve figured out the fastest and nearest route from home to office and back home.

For the last 4 weeks, I’ve spent a total of 42 hours 58 minutes on the road for the journey to and from work. That gives an average of 2 hours 16 minutes per day, for the last 19 working days. When I was working in PJ, it took me only half the time.

I’ve also out from home for work, on average, 13 hours 19 minutes each day over the last 19 working days.

On last Tues, 6 Nov 12, I had a BAD day. On the way to work, through the massive traffic, a car hit me while trying to squeeze into my lane. Initially, he pretended ignorance. I wound down my window and told him that he hit my car. We pulled our cars to a nearby petrol station. He and his wife got down from their Honda car and walked to the front to check out their car. Then, they walked towards my car. He blamed it on the heavy traffic. He asked me to go to Campbell where his business was as he had to rush to the market. I told him that’s not convenient for me. Then, he suggested for me to go in the afternoon. I told him “Uncle, I work in an office. It’s not convenient for me to go to Campbell in the afternoon”. Then, he suggested for me to go to Cheras. Hello … it’s enough inconvenience for me as it is, don’t ask me to go here and there. As though I have not spent enough time on the road!

There were several car workshops at the vicinity of the accident place, I suggested to get the car fix there but he told me he just moved into the area and do not know any of the workshop. But, neither do I! The best thing was he suggested that we should share the repair cost equally. This uncle was really testing my patient. I told him “Uncle, you hit my car and why should I share the repair cost?”.

After the whole debate of going here and there, this and that, I was really late for work. Then, I realised my car petrol was running low. I drove to petrol station and stop at one of the kiosk. I got down from the car and walked towards the credit card terminal. Then, I realised that particular kiosk was down. Ok … I got into my car and drove to the kiosk in front. I put in my Amex card and the card was rejected. The station does not accept Amex card!

By the time I reached the open space car park of my office, the car park was full. I told the car park attendant, my car is very tiny, I’m sure you can squeeze me in. He didn’t buy in to my suggestion. He asked me “You want your car to get scratch?”. No, No …  I drove down the road and found another open space car park. The car park was full too. I had no choice but to drive in to shopping complex. I parked and as I got down from my car, all the coins from my wallet came rolling out. Tell me, how worse can a morning be? For that day, I paid the most expensive car park … RM30!

Now, I really cherish the reserved car park provided by my previous employer. Not that I did not cherish it previously but I appreciated the facility and convenient it provided to enable me to concentrate on my work.

My new employer encourages us to have a work life balance. It also allows flexible working hours, inclusive of working from home. As I am still new to the company, there are lots of things for me to learn from my colleagues. I’m hoping to work from home once a week after I’ve settled in.

So, I’m still figuring how to work this out. My aim is to spend lesser time on the road and to be out from home for work for 12 hours maximum. Guess, I have to leave for work earlier, start the work earlier and finish the work earlier too … except for those days that I have work to rush and dateline to meet. 

Today, my sister in-law from US dropped me an email. She asked me how my new job coming along. I haven’t told her the story above. Guess by the time this post is up, she’ll know. 

She told me that she browsed through my blog and see that I am an aspiring writer. She also mentioned that she always admire how I carve out time for everything I want to do in my life despite my busy life.

Actually, what she said is so true. I always carve out time for everything that I wanted to do in my life despite my busy life … I sacrifice on my sleep! Just like what I’m doing know … typing this post rather than going to sleep.  I know sleep is very important to us but it is really challenging for me to find time to sit in front of my computer and type this post.

But, why didn’t she leaves comment on my blog instead? And she’s not the only one. Most of my friends who read my blog prefer to drop me emails than leaving comments on my blog.

I was at my company’s New Employee Orientation the last 2 days and I received this book as welcome gift from the company. 

Yes … I really hope to have the power to change anything. The first thing that I’ll change is to divert all the traffic from KL to PJ! hahaha.

On a more serious note, I hope to go through this new employee probation and journey smoothly. I know this new employer of mine is a good company to work with and I really hope it will work out well … I want it to work out well!

Try if you Fail, but never Fail to Try! 

End of One, the Begining of Another

The day came and gone.

FY and I were in meetings for almost the entire day of our last working day. We could not have our farewell lunch with our colleagues. Instead, we had working lunch in the office.

My old office, no more office in new company

YF came over to our office to take photos with us. He reminded us that he’ll be the only staff from pre-GSSC left. 

My team post GSSC

My team post GSSC. Though we did not have the quantity, we have the quality. Love them much …

The guy who bought us the farewell cake

Since we did not have farewell lunch with our colleagues, after meetings, Wendy suggested and Edmund went down to get us a Tiramisu cake. They were so sweet and thoughtful.

Bye Bye … till we meet again!

Did not expect GSSC staff to come over to our office and asked to take photos with us. There were lots of hugs and best wishes. After work, we had Japanese dinner with our boss.

Today, I report to work for my new job. It’s a new day with a new beginning and a new hope. I wore my brand new Zara dress, which I pampered myself cause the dress cost me RM359. Before I left home for work, Hubby told me “Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it”.

It was raining, I left house at 7.29am to drive to KL and it took me 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach carpark that cost me RM10 per entry. Gosh … how can KL welcome me this way?

The only consolidation is to have Richard and Sarah from LiteFM to accompany me throughout the long drive. They were discussing about work life balance with lots of callers calling in. With total duration of 3 hours to commute in and out of work, I wonder how can I have work life balance.

In the evening, my brother called me to ask me about my new job. He told me “You are very capable and I’m proud of you. You always give more than what others expected of you”. Yes … I must remember that!

No matter what, I will give myself an opportunity to adjust into this new work life and I’ll strive to do my best.

Oh ya …  I miss Kakak’s coffee at my old office.

 

Farewell

 

Tomorrow will be my last day with my employer after a wonderful 99 months. It is with mixed emotions that I’m writing this post.

My boss sent a short and sweet announcement on my resignation. Those kind words mean a lot to me of my contribution and achievement in Electrolux.

Teambuilding during Controllers’ Conference in Bintan – Nov 2007

I was surprise when my colleague, KF came and say goodbye to me on Wednesday. He was about to leave for Ipoh and he knew he wont see me on my last day on Friday. It was such a sweet thought.

Another colleague from other office sent me a well wishes mail and mentioned “It has been … professionally stimulating to work with you, and I have for sure learned one or two things”. Professionally stimulating … hmmm, how interesting!

Launch of Passion for Clothes – Oct 2008

My 8 years tenure with the company has been a memorable one.

My boss and I have a very similar name … KSH and KSL and we both have the same surname. We both joined the company about the same time, both in July 2004. The colleagues then thought we are related.

I remembered an incidence where my boss and I were attending budget meeting in Bangkok. When we checked in to the hotel …

  • The hotel staff asked “One room or two?”
  •  I replied “He is my boss”.
  • My boss asked “Why? You think she’s my wife?”
  • The hotel staff answered “No, I thought she’s your daughter”.

The not so good memory was my car got scratched in office car park. It was a brand new car then. Unfortunately, the building CCTV was not functioning and it was then, I felt so unsafe to work in that office building. When my boss asked me to take a look at new office building Jaya 33, I knew our company has to relocate there for branding and staff security purpose.

CEO Mr Hans Straberg visit to Singapore – Sep 2010

No, I didn’t take FY along with me. She resigned a month earlier than me and is now extending her service till this Friday. She’s brave and have the courage to start up her own business which has a good business model. I have good faith in her and I know she will succeed.

My team before the move to GSSC – May 2011

Oh no … I’m gonna miss all these cooking and baking activities by the company. 

An Evening with Anna Olson – Nov 2010

Culinary Experience at Cilantro – Oct 2012

My advice to staff is to see opportunity in every problem and not problem in every opportunity. Do appreciate every opportunity that your superior presented to you and try your best.

Try if you Fail, but never Fail to Try

Try if you fail but never fail to try. This little reminder has been following me for almost 20 years, since my first job with Coopers & Lybrand (now known as Pricewaterhousecoopers). Every time, when the path is difficult with obstacles, I will look at it and take a deep breath.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to those who have provided support and helping hands in time of needy. It has been a great pleasure working with you all.

I apologize if I have offended anyone during my tenure with the Company. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

Forget me not!

 

1 more week …

One more week, 5 working days … This will be my last working week with my current employer.

After my resignation and announcement of resignation went out, all I wish for is a smooth transition from my current employer to new one.

The last working day with the company had been discussed and finalised. I do feel guilty for leaving the team but I was offered an opportunity that I do not want to pass up. I try not to think too much but rather, concentrate on making the final weeks pleasant and professional.

My replacement has been found and reported to work a week ago. FY and I are doing our handover now. At the same time, I’m trying to complete those projects that I’m currently working on.

The last time that I resigned from my job was 9 years ago. I almost forget how to resign from a job, except how my staff resigned on me. I used to advice my staff not to burn bridges and there is just no sense in making enemies.

Important rules when resigning from any job:

  1. Do not leave on bad terms. We should never burn any bridges but to act professionally and make a graceful departure from our employer. The World is so small and we never know when we’ll meet our former boss and colleagues again or a former employer through a merger or acquisition.
  2. Help current employer to find replacement and work with our replacement / successor for a smooth transition and handover.
  3. Do not disappears during the last weeks on the job. As long as we are still drawing salary from current employer, we still have to discharge our duties and responsibilities as a staff of the company. As such, stay as an active member of the team.
  4. Do not spend time bragging to colleagues about our great new opportunity … just in case you dont make it at the new place.
  5. Do our best to complete all open assignments and leave detailed notes for your colleagues.
  6. Do a thorough Housekeeping of office, notebook, etc. Do not under estimate the time required to perform these task.
    • Clear personal files, remove personal software and information from computer.
    • Remove belongings from office ie Photo frames, cards, etc
    • Copy photos from office albums for memories keepsake
    • Organise workspace.
  7. Complete resignation checklist and return company’s properties ie Office access cards and keys, notebook, medical card,etc
  8. Some nice, thoughtful colleagues will invite you for farewell meals. Those farewell meals will be more than expected (unless you’ve burnt the bridges during notice period) and would take up the time that you thought you could stay back to finish off work. I would recommend to combine some of the farewell meals, else the waistline will get bigger.

This last week at work will see more meetings and discussions and farewell lunches and dinners. This week is also Jared’s final term exam.

I’ve seen doctors twice over the last 2 weekends. First visit was for bone inflamation and the 2nd visit was for inner nose swelling. Guess my body is feeling the anxiety too.

Lastly, today I received a pre-boarding email from my future employer.

3 more weeks …

Exactly 3 more weeks to go …

In contrary to most belief, I really hope these 3 weeks will pass by slowly, really, really slowly for me to enjoy every bit of it. I know I’m going to miss this place. I’ve been with the company for more than 8 years and if I could, I would like to bring them along with me.

Ever since the announcement of my resignation sent out by my company, I have received lots of emails, phone calls and colleagues telling me they were sorry to hear about the resignation and how surprise they were about my career move. But I still have shy colleagues who did not approach me directly but instead asking other colleagues. Do talk to me while I’m still in the office, I will not get offended or upset about it. Work as usual and I am no less committed as before.

Oct 10 – Mobile Kitchen Launch. “We Love Food” cards made by me.

Never thought it’s so hard to resign from the company. I am still so passionate about the brand, the products, the work, the company and the people. No wonder with more than 23 years of working experience, this is only my 4th job. I do not like the scene and feeling of separation. Thinking about it makes me feel so emotional.

My Career Personalities

I received an email from The Star Online Team. There was a 3-minute career test that gives us insight on our personality and the career options that would suit our unique characteristics best.

Map out your climb to success with Jobgraphy

Based on the test results, The Star Online will provide job listings with careers that matches our preferences AND our personality type!

Out of curiousity, I did the test and the following is the test results: 

The test result for my career personalities is pretty accurate, especially for the “Systematic” and “Artistic” parts. For the “Charmer” … well, I’m not sure. I am not comfortable in doing sales but in meetings and discussions, I always talk with facts and human lies but numbers dont. For that, probably, that’s when the “Charmer” personality kick in … I hope.

My colleague agrees with me too. She thinks “Systematic” described so accurately about my career personality.

Try it and discover your career personality with Jobgraphy!