Sunday, September 25, 2016

Job unready grads from our universities

Used to be employers do not expect fresh graduates to be even remotely job ready and plan to train them. I have often read how in other countries college students fought tooth and nail for the best internships and often they work for no pay as well to burnish their resume in order to land a job when they graduate. Looks like we are getting to that point ourselves.

The title says it all, the TNP story has a totally different slant from my perception. Perhaps the writer is too young to be know what it was like before and could not compare now and then. I don't know enough to tell.

I told my daughter before she started college that universities can be seen as selfish places of learning. Professors teach you not so much to get you job ready but to mold you in their own image as academics. The tiny best qualify but the rest would have to find their own way outside of university upon graduation. This is truest in schools like the Humanities. Degrees leading to professional practice and qualifications fare better and often have professors who had industry experience as well.

Excerpt from the story

The search for the perfect job has been tough for National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate Amelia Low, 23.
The NUS Merit scholar has sent out more than 50 applications since January, gone for 11 interviews, but to no avail.
"I got increasingly worried since graduating in May," said Miss Low, adding: "Some of my friends are in the same situation."
She said: "Applicants with experience are also competing with us fresh graduates for the same jobs, making it even more difficult for us."
The psychology major has taken up a temporary job as a research assistant at NUS.
"I took on this job even though research is something I have not done, but it is still a skill set that can help beef up my resume."
The move to take on a temporary job was suggested by her father, Mr Low Boon Leong, 54, a business development manager.
"The temporary job will keep her going and give her the flexibility to look out for other options," he said.
"As a parent, the only way I can help her is to be supportive and give her the confidence to continue applying for other jobs.
"I told her that if she gets a position she doesn't want, she should let it go because her interest in a job matters the most."

"perfect job" I don't know what Amelia Low meant by that but almost nobody has a perfect job. Also things change, it can get better or worse.

"NUS Merit scholar" Employers do not care for anything else other than you are fit and healthy and can contribute to their organization goals. They can't make use of the scholarship. That was why three years ago I told my daughter don't bother with the USP or any NUS scholarship. It is too academic to be useful. Just enjoy the experience.

"research is something I have not done" Well there will be many things you will be doing that you have never tried before. This is the norm now and tomorrow as well.

"I told her that if she gets a position she doesn't want, she should let it go because her interest in a job matters the most."

I felt her father had given her the wrong advice but it is also probably a little late as well. To be realistic you have to pick up something approximating what you want and then give it your personal touch. There are no repetitive factory jobs now and everyone should shape and enjoy their work. Learn to find meaning and like your job. Grow from it and keep changing jobs to keep growing.

To be practical, at the end of the day we are price takers. We cannot control when we were born or the environment that we have to operate in. Be patient about your dreams and hopefully you can find something that head in the general direction of where you hope to be. By making course adjustments along the way, sharpening your vision you are raising the chance of getting there every year.

PC Monitor: Phillips out; Samsung In

Bought this Samsung LED Monitor (F350 series 22 inch) at Harvey Norman today for a very good price of $128. This is cheaper than I could get from any online stall.

The previous Phillips 227QEPH has served us well for quite a few years. Pity I didn't have a blog post of its purchase and I am wondering has it been that long?

Imagine if I were an avid gamer (I have no time for that), the hardware would cost a bomb.

Terrorism: Our highest form of deterrence

The story opens with "Every Singaporean family will have at least one member trained in sporting suspicious behavior" I underlined that in red (see above)

Were it a different time, people would have thought we are turning into a repressive police state, but this only shows how deadly serious we are about the threat of terrorist attacks. It is an arms race between them and us. As they adapt their attack tactics we also respond by hardening ourselves. I don't think other societies, not even China but North Korea yes, can do what we are about to do against the threat of terrorism.

The outcome of all these measures is that the terrorists will choose softer targets elsewhere. Nevertheless I believe they will keep trying but also realistic about their chances. In other words if we ever let down our guard they will seize the opportunity to come in.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

All banks are iniquitous

I have waited to almost despairing to be proven right about banks. No bank is good and you just have to wait long enough to discover this is true. During the Great Financial Crisis a few banks stood virtuous e.g., Stanchart but that one has since been disgraced. Wells Fargo kept its reputation longer and even has Warren Buffett as a major investor. Then their shenanigans were uncovered and I saw Elizabeth Warren excoriated a sheepish looking Stumpf in the Senate hearing. Yes, some senior bankers ought to serve jail time, and you have to haul them within ten years of their felony. We are running out of time.

Link to story.

Years ago my ex boss said I was too cynical when I suggested this is exactly what banks are after I read it in the Economist.

Now if these banks aren't immoral it is only a matter of degree because regulators have been tough with the laws and watching them like hawks. Anytime regulators decide to be more commercial and develop the financial industry, they cannot but let the demons loose. Nearer home that is exactly what happened after LHL liberalized the banking sector. Afterward the stories of banks ripping clients off became serial, the latest is the sale unrated corporate bonds to mislabeled sophisticated investors.

I never let the bankers sell me anything. I do the shopping myself.

A fire extinguisher for the house

Just received this from Qoo10 this afternoon - fire extinguisher which I hope is never needed.

Only $12, a good "insurance policy" Just in case. This item is good for 3 years and then has to be replaced.

I happened to just make a check in case I remember the price wrongly. It has gone up to about $16.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

American Celebrities: Asking citizens to vote

Since when do they come out doing something like this? Since Donald Trump is a nominee and then they realize if that guy gets into the Oval Office, it is not a good thing putting it mildly whichever way you cut and slice it.

Of course being entertainers there will be an entertaining angle. There is no business like show business!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Self driving vehicles: The coming juggernaut

I am filled with a sense of inevitability reading this article from the NYT on self driving cars. This is going to become a juggernaut. This is both revolutionary and transformational. I better go and work out some of the implications. Don't forget transport is as basic as housing. Most people especially our folks are still underestimating the impact of what is coming.