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Archive for June, 2011

Unless you are an habitual job-hobber, if you have had changed jobs more than 2 or 3 times within a decade, you might have been at the receiving end of some repetitive, or sometimes bother-line annoying,  questionings from either prospective employers or headhunters.  ” Are you not a loyal employee? ”  “Does it reflect concerns on stamina?”  Sometimes the question is sugar-coated as “I am seeing that you have a promising career path in your previous (or present) company, what makes you want to move so soon?

As implied in my first sentence, the key to tackling these questions is to really ask yourselves whether you have indeed put in the necessary amount of time in a post to deserve the accomplishments and experience you brag about on your resume.  You are not likely to be able to make a convincing argument for a 6-month posting, but if you can provide evidence that you have indeed added value during the limited time period, be prepared to articulate it with concrete examples.  Yes, when I mean concrete, I mean specific projects and accomplishments rather than “providing support to the team“.

What I really want to bring up here is that if you are indeed not a job-hobber and if there are legitimate reasons of every one of your job moves, don’t get carried away by the questioner’s argument or logic.  Yes you understand where the interviewer is coming from, and you appreciate that they are being frank and honest with you by expressing their concerns out loud.  Though is it that easy to find the right opportunity, pass all the stringent interview process, background and reference checks and get hired in the first place?  How incredibly difficult is it to constantly adapt to new working environments with new bosses, colleagues, internal stakeholders and working culture?  It is surely not cut out for the faint of heart.

You can even go further to imagine that it takes a lot more adaptiveness, stamina, and energy to keep diving in new and unfamiliar waters every few years.  If you can pull that off plus churning out a few recognizable accomplishments during your tenure, it should be no way underestimated.

So when you find yourself demotivated being a new kid on the block, give yourself a break when you are trying to compare with colleagues who have been in their posts for 4 or 5 years.

You may not be able to change other people’s perceptions or opinions, but at least don’t give up without trying to fight for your case.

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Dealing with suppliers that are not in any way smaller than your employers is one of the trickiest negotiation scenarios to master.  I cannot believe I still come across senior procurement executives who continue to believe that they are given almighty powers just because they are in the seats of making multi million deals.   More often than not, they are the ones who constantly get themselves hit with never-ending surprises.  I pay no sympathy for them, not even a tiny bit.

I wrote about reciprocal trading last year and that existence is plentiful with large multinational suppliers.  What I encountered recently is the classic example of negotiation leverages – the battle between the lawyers.

A big technology supplier is insisting to use a brand new contract template on a renewal deal, while we believe that it is just going to be a tremendous time drain to review all the terms and conditions again from scratch.  Lawyers of mutual parties refuse to give in, and as in every negotiation, essentially it’s the deal itself that is going to matter.  As long as I gather the bottom line position of my stakeholders (i.e. users), it is now up to me to lay it out on the table by keeping it simple.  Do we need this deal or not?

The answer is always yes, or we won’t get ourselves into this situation in the first place.  If this is a deal not worth remembering, no one would have been bothered by it this much.  As long as the intention is mutual, there is ought to be some common ground that we can all work with.  I usually don’t dwell on matters that are already handled by the lawyers to avoid redundancy.  I focus on the logic portion and point out the inconsistencies I see of the other party’s arguments.  Why is a new template needed?  What’s changed?  What does it have to do with our other similar agreements in other markets?  Why wasn’t this mentioned during bid phase?  Why are we discovering this only now?

In short, don’t take us for a ride.  Our company’s time is worth much more.  I reserve no time for last-minute rip-offs.  Even if we really rely on you, we deserve some professionalism instead of some third grade sleeky salesmanship.

Obviously, I sugar-coat such messages.    Though every seasoned salesperson, or in many cases the Managing Directors, would have gotten my messages.  When I make it a point as to question someone’s professional credibility or even integrity, coupled with logical reasoning and facts, there is no way the other party won’t budge.

Does it work on people on the same side as I do?  You bet.  Did they inspect all the fine prints when they received the quote?  Did they sound way too eager when they approached the supplier?  Did they not make it clear as to what’s important to the company aside from the service only?

I have to say again and again that none of this is rocket science, and those of you reading this must also agree that this is just common sense.  However, you may be surprised just how much time and effort continues to be wasted on such power play.

Perhaps, that equates to job security to many.

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It was a perfect finish to a 5-month long hiatus.  The best part of it is that nothing is planned which is so against my decades of personal belief, and I’m loving every minute of it.  Aside from blogging, juicing, reading, gyming, shopping and partying, I was in Taipei, Bangkok (x 2), Paris and Barcelona.  I could have been in Taipei (yes, again) and Tokyo as well if not for the last-minute changes and the horrendous earthquake, but there is absolutely nothing worth complaining about.

So when I got the call where I could offer my service once again, I jumped on the chance feeling recharged and totally fired up.  Despite what happens next, it’s always our EQ, passion and attitude that matters.  My latest trip reminds me once again how beautiful the world is, and how often we might have overlooked the fortune and pleasures around us.  I have every intention to internalize all that I have experienced during my last week and a half, and if that succeeds in any small way, I have the two most beautiful cities to be thankful for.

Come to think of it, was there really some truth to what the supposedly scam-artist told me last month?

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