Career

4 Supposedly Good Career Moves in Singapore That are Actually Awful

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Joanne Poh

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The most persistent piece of career advice every Singaporean receives is: studying hard is the only way you can get a good job.

Well, ask any of the tired office workers dragging themselves off the MRT at Raffles Place what they think of that.

Here are some other outdated and useless pieces of career advice floating around, destroying every employee in their wake.

 

Just shut up and work

In your younger days, the ideal son/daughter was viewed as that quiet kid who sat in the front of the classroom, never disrupted the class and scored As in every subject. He then went home and laboured over his homework so his parents would never have to worry about his grades.

Well, do that as a working adult and you will most certainly not get the credit you deserve.

At the workplace, it’s the ones who know how to claim credit and make themselves look good who get ahead. That’s why the most wayang, ball-carrying people are the first to be promoted.

Worst of all, due to the high turnover rate at many companies, bosses and employees come and go at alarming speeds. If you’re not eye-catching enough, you run a real risk of becoming invisible.

 

Never disagree with your boss

First, a caveat—if you disagree with your boss without an appropriate amount of ego-boosting and ball-carrying, and he is Singaporean, there is a high chance you will be hated.

At the same time, don’t let your boss’s mistakes go unnoticed and uncorrected, because guess who’ll be the one to take the blame?

The trick is to learn how to diplomatically point out mistakes or points of disagreement while still making your boss think you still respect, nay, worship him. Any good boss should respect a well thought out argument, especially if it’s in the interest of improving the business. So make sure you’ve done your homework and don’t be afraid to speak up.

 

The more work you do, the better

Just as the kid who completes the most assessment books isn’t necessarily the one who gets the best grades, being a total workaholic doesn’t mean you’ll get ahead.

Many employees think that taking on the work of ten people shows that you should be promoted ten times. But that’s not the case. If you can do your job BETTER than other people, you get promoted. If you simply do MORE work than others, be prepared to get saddled with a heavier workload.

Taking on as much work as you can humanly handle is a bad idea. The more work you have, the less thoroughly you’ll be able to complete all your tasks.

The trick is to have just enough work to enable you to display your talents, learn and grow, but not enough to drown yourself in a hellish sea of multitasking.

And there is almost never any point to doing worthless administrative tasks that can be delegated to your subordinates.

 

Don’t job hop

Your parents may have worked in the same company for 30 years, but anybody in this day, age and economy who does the same is just not that smart.

That’s because changing jobs strategically is one way you can win yourself a nice pay rise, get promoted faster and expand your skill set.

In fact, those who stay in the same job for too long are putting themselves at risk of suffering from stagnant wages.

So, while we’re not saying you should quit your job because the biscuits in the pantry aren’t up to your standards, be cognisant of the fact that every job has an expiry date and plan accordingly.

Have you ever been guilty of any of the above career mistakes? Share your stories in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.