Doing the bare minimum
You prefer to fly under the radar at work, avoiding the scrutiny of your boss as much as you can. You think you’re doing okay at work, in the sense that you’ve never really screwed up big time. If anything that smells remotely like extra work comes your way, you’re always quick to point out that it doesn’t fall within your job scope.
If that sounds like you, you might be guilty of trying to get away with doing the bare minimum. While that will work if you’re happy to stay in the exact same job and at the exact same salary bracket for life (provided you don’t get retrenched), then continue doing your thang.
Otherwise, you should be trying to expand your range of responsibilities so you can progress in your career—or leave for another company if the thought of doing more makes you feel ill.
Not changing jobs when you should
Unlike your parents’ generation, nobody these days can afford to stay in the same company for life. Because unless your employer is very generous with their pay increments, at some point you’ll be shortchanging yourself financially as your salary stagnates.
Strategically changing jobs every few years is necessary for most Singaporeans. A job switch not only raises your salary, but also helps you to find a position in a company that offers you more room to grow and progress in your career. If you’ve been getting the niggling feeling that it’s time to leave your company, dedicate 2018 to looking for a new job.
Not upgrading your skills
Becoming obsolete is a very real threat in a society as fast-paced as ours, as the many middle-aged PMETs who got retrenched in 2016 and 2017 found out.
Not making sure you’re continually learning and keeping your skills sharp is a surefire way to get replaced by a cheaper, younger and possibly foreign hire.
So ask your boss to send you on courses, request new responsibilities, stay up-to-date on the skills needed in your line of work and use those SkillsFuture credits if you haven’t already.
Not being productive during office hours
It’s no secret that Singaporeans work very long hours by global standards. Some of this is because of heavy workloads and unfair expectations from higher-ups. But a lot of it is because of an unhealthy fear of leaving before the boss, which leads to people working inefficiently during the day.
It’s not uncommon to see office workers surfing the Internet compulsively at work and chit-chatting for hours in the pantry. If you’re constantly staring at the clock waiting for time to pass because you’re not concentrating on your work, make 2018 the year you put a stop to this bad habit.
Commit to streamlining the number of hours you spend at work in 2018 by being as efficient as you can, and reviewing your work processes to see how you can work even smarter and faster.
You think earning more equates to more happiness
“The more money I earn, the more successful I am” adage is no longer that relevant today. In fact, the more money some people make, the more debt they have.
Don’t allow your thinking to become trapped. A worker with trapped thinking will just do the very minimum because he thinks that no matter how hardworking he is, he will only get the same salary every month.
Instead of adopting a mindset that focuses on thriving, he decided to settle for less because in his world, it is all about survival and keeping his job so that he will have the income to service his debt. There is no bandwidth to think about growth. In short, there is no predictability in a psychological sense (i.e. one’s survival instinct takes over).
This should not be the case. We have to work for money, but we should live for meaning. If we can manage our money well, we will invest a lot more time to create meaning and growth in our work by building relationships with people and making a difference. This is how one should work towards a promotion.
By just watching their financial baseline, happy people will then have the mental bandwidth to adopt a thriving mindset, and the financial resources to attend courses and investing in themselves because they have the resources to do so.
These people will also be more confident and upbeat amid uncertainties because they have created a psychological safety net for themselves.
Consequently, they consciously avoid the surviving mentality. In short, money is not the issue, but the psychological safety net we create for ourselves, so that we can thrive.
Text: Ryan Ong/Moneysmart and Straits Times