Beyond Design: Over And Above Your Job Description

By

Karen Neoh

07-02-2015

8 min read

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What is Your Dream Job?

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We hear from some that they truly love their jobs – and we may think ‘that can’t really be true!’.

Rather than something conjured from imagination, it does exist! I have been fortunate to have jobs I loved, and I realise how much difference it makes when you believe in what your organisation is trying to achieve.

Whether you do it deliberately, you start to immerse yourself in the organisational goals and find innovative ways to improve processes, reach out to the target demographic – anything that increases efficiency and effectiveness of the team in working towards the mission.

Our team took the opportunity to track down people we have worked with or interacted with in some way, people who have inspired us that finding that ‘dream job’ is not just a dream!

Leadership traits

Development programmes at Leaderonomics are grounded in 49 character traits and values that form the building blocks of great leadership. Instilled in youth during their formative years, these traits and values guide us well into working life and beyond.

Of the 49 traits, I see a common thread in the individuals that we feature today. While chosen for their passion and perseverance for their work, and willingness to go against the grain, they also appear to be characterised by:

  • Boldness: Having the confidence to choose the right path for themselves
  • Decisiveness: Knowing their strengths and recognising when it is time to take the road less travelled
  • Determination: Staying true to their goals regardless of obstacles
  • Endurance: The inward strength to persevere on the chosen path
  • Enthusiasm: Clearly deriving joy from what they do, infectious joy that permeates their people
  • Sincerity: Staying true to their values and objectives

Chen Pei Sze

Director of Centre, Bricks4Kidz
Petaling Jaya, Puchong and Desa Park City

Chen

Although Facebook can be a great way of keeping track of faraway family and old friends, nothing really beats meeting face to face.

After years of not seeing my university buddy Chen Pei Sze, we met recently and I discovered she has accomplished much since. And that she is still quite effervescent!

Chen says:

“My passion for teaching started more than 25 years ago, during boarding school. When I started to choose a subject for my tertiary education however, I was lost and misinformed. Finally, I went into Accounting and Finance. Immediately after completion, I realised that I needed to equip myself more and so pursued a postgraduate course in information systems.”

Blocked in?

She started her career in an auditing firm, and then worked in various industries, all the while furthering her studies through distance learning to obtain her MBA and qualifications as a Chartered Arbitrator.

But Chen confides:

“After many years of venturing into different fields, I still looked forward to educating and developing the younger generation.”

She found Bricks4Kidz which focuses on helping children develop skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and that was the start in education for her.

Smiles, etc

Talking to Chen, you can sense her strong desire to educate, and the great joy she derives from it.

“I get to meet children from various family backgrounds, different cultures and with different abilities and characteristics. Once I get to know the children, we begin our development journey together. Each time we meet, we learn more about each other,” says Chen.

Gradually, she says the children – especially those who require special attention – will open up.

“Every child I meet allows me to learn something new. When I see children as young as two acquire skills and knowledge from the lessons and time I spend exposing them to different areas, I feel a milestone has been achieved and we are another step closer to helping the child in his/her development.”

Chen asserts that every child’s development journey is unique and that her role is to assist and guide them, hence each child she works with gives her a different sense of satisfaction.

“I enjoy each and every journey and look forward to even more. Knowing that children are enjoying themselves while learning keeps me going and encourages me to look for more educational and developmental programmes to assist their growth”.

Message to the youth of today

“I was misinformed about different university courses and programmes. However, my interest and passion in teaching and educating never left me.”

Chen recalls giving English lessons to her factory supervisors while she was working in a glove manufacturing plant. “Although it was not educating children, there was a sense of achievement when the supervisors improved tremendously in their spoken English during meetings.”

Chen’s advice:

  1. If you have an interest or passion which may not be practical now, do not let it go.
  2. Work on developing yourself in other fields or subjects.
  3. When the time is right or when you have the opportunity and resources in future, and when you are able to freely choose what you like to do most, you can still achieve it.

“A job can only be a ‘dream job’ if you make it to be. I did not stop learning in all my previous positions and I treasure my experiences from all the different fields. Each area has helped me to develop who I am today.”


Chin Keat Chyuan

Country Director, Hospital Group
Johnson & Johnson Sdn Bhd

Chin

I met up with Chin Keat Chyuan, a gregarious gentleman I used to work with on improving patient access to healthcare. For the entire time we worked together, it was apparent that Chin’s personal mission was to improve the lives of patients, making him both a compassionate and effective leader.

One and only

Another thing that distinguishes Chin from many is the fact that he has stayed with the same organisation since the time he graduated.

Chin started his professional career with Johnson & Johnson as a product specialist in 1997 right after earning a Bachelor in Biochemistry, and subsequently an MBA.

Steadfast with the organisation for more than 17 years, Chin has risen through the years to the role of country director today. An inspirational and progressive leader, Chin nurtures and empowers his teams to deliver on their goals.

Energy in harmony

Recalling his boundless energy on developing and executing strategies, I asked Chin what keeps him motivated.

“Knowing that I am part of the value chain in contributing towards healthcare in society, partnering with professionals to constantly strive for better surgical and treatment outcomes, gives me the maximum satisfaction from work.”

On alignment with the organisational goals, Chin shared that:

“Being able to provide access and reach to a wider group of underserved patients has always been my personal and organisational goals, and where these two core values meet, that’s my greatest source of motivation.”

Finding that ‘dream job’

“Young people nowadays are much more exposed and talented due to advancement in telecommunication and availability of information,” says Chin sharing some practical tips:

  1. With all the insights gathered, you should process and filter out the noise and understand your inner strengths and wants.
  2. Focus on the industry and role that will make you grow along the journey.
  3. Look for an organisation which is not only interested in attracting the best talent, but has a structured system to retain, develop and grow candidates, so that it can have a solid talent pipeline who understands the culture of the organisation and be able to provide consistent leadership to continue growing the organisation.

Norfazilah Zakaria

Sweet Nothings Baking Co.

Fazi
Photo (above): Norfazilah (left) with daughter

When asked how it all started, Norfazilah recollects that baking started out as a hobby for her.

“I loved eating pastries (especially tarts) and the less common flavoured cakes, so I started making them and uploading photos on Instagram and Facebook. Some close friends wanted to order, I obliged and that’s how it started”, she says.

Around the same time, Norfazilah was planning to leave her job with a publishing company as she was restless and wanted to spend more time with her children.

When her company announced that they were letting go of employees, she saw it as an opportunity and decided to pursue her favourite pastime, full time.

Sweet moments

“It’s great when you get positive feedback from customers but I think I love the flexibility most – not having to worry about the commute to work (I stayed quite far from my previous workplace), not having to report to anyone and being able to work at my own pace.

“Of course, the best part is that I get to spend more time with my children so I think my motivation is to have something to generate income while being able to maintain this lifestyle and focus on my family”.

On charting your career

Norfazilah’s words of wisdom:

“Do something that fulfills your soul and makes you happy because at the end of the day only that truly matters.”


Melyza Pakianatham

Educator at SK Taman Bukit Indah, Ampang

Melyza

After taking her SPM examinations 18 years ago, Melyza chose to be a part-time teacher. A year after completing her first degree, she found her calling in this vocation, and has been an educator in a government school in Malaysia for nine years teaching English and Music for the upper primary level.

“In school, I am officially in charge of the welfare of students but besides looking into their basic needs, I would pounce on the opportunity to empower children to be leaders.”

To build character and their potential, Melyza encourages her students to brainstorm with their peers and also to carry out their plans with confidence.

“It also creates a dynamic environment of teamwork and inter-dependence which are characteristics that help build harmonious relationships among them,” shares Melyza.

On her source of motivation

“I truly believe that I will reap my benefits in 10 or 20 years when I see my students become successful people; when they stand for good values, become beacons of light and when they pass on the wisdom of respecting humanity as a whole.”

“I am motivated by simply knowing that in years to come, the knowledge and wisdom that I have provided will be passed on through the generations and in the end, I hope to be simply, warmly remembered as Cikgu.”

Finding your dream job

Melyza is certainly an advocate of following your dreams:

  1. Dare to take the road less travelled, do not be afraid of failure, keep trying and give your best in everything.
  2. It might be the road less travelled but it defines who you really are.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be who you want to be and never let disappointments bring you down.

“Always remember… each path is a stepping stone to something greater and always thank God for everything and everyone in your life,” says Melyza with that can-do vigour that all great teachers have when cheering their students on.

Karen hopes fervently that more people can find the job that fits them and brings them joy and satisfaction. Drop us a line or two in the comment box below or email us at editor@leaderonomics.com. For more design related articles, click here.

Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 7 February 2015

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