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Via Silicon Republic : How taking a risk can be the best career decision of your life

Whether you know what you want to do in life or not, taking risks and grabbing seemingly random opportunities could be the key to your success.

Opportunity often comes knocking in the strangest of forms. When you’re thinking about your dream job and the arduous journey that will take you there, you’re rarely expecting said job to fall into your lap.

In theory, we all know we have to be brave, work hard, put ourselves out there, and chase opportunities and experiences that create stepping stones towards that perfect career.

As we said, in theory, we all know this. But putting it into practice can be a very different challenge. Which risks are the right risks? What will help you progress? How do you know which career decision is the right one for you?

The truth is, you often don’t. But being brave and taking those risks is half the battle to finding out. Darrin Brege is the vice-president and creative director at HelloWorld, a marketing platform for some of the world’s top brands.

“I’ve been here for about 14 years and it’s a wonderful place,” he said. It would be easy to assume Brege was always interested in marketing and worked his way up the career ladder. However, you’d be wrong.

Taking the scenic route

“It’s a pretty crazy story,” said Brege, who started in college in pre-med before jumping into economics and management. However, that wasn’t where his passion lay. “As soon as I graduated college, I went off to California because I always wanted to be an animator.”

Brege went to Hollywood to attend animation school. After enduring the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which devastated lives, Brege decided it was time to go. “By chance, there was a company back in Michigan that was doing Disney animated storybooks.”

He moved back to Michigan for a job with the company but, as it wouldn’t start for months, he bounced around different jobs to keep his head above water, one of which was working at a bar.

“I’d get on the microphone and do voices, saying we’re going to close the place and when we’d close, I’d just mess around doing different celebrity impressions,” he said. “There was a person there that worked at one of Detroit’s biggest comedy clubs and he said there was an improv troop that’s going to have auditions; ‘You should audition.’

“That decision changed my life,” he said. “It was from there that I ended up meeting my wife.” With a marriage that spans more than 20 years and 11 children’s books, which Brege and his wife released together, it’s safe to say joining that improv troop was the best risk he ever took.

So, comedy brought him to his now wife, how did it bring him to HelloWorld? Again, chance opportunity came knocking.

Comedy is an open door

The comedy club led Brege to a radio gig and this is where someone who worked at HelloWorld, known at the time as ePrize, heard of him. “He said: ‘Hey, you’re an artist, we’re looking for artists to come and do some promotions and animations, maybe you can bring your skills to where I work?’”

Brege said one of the great things about HelloWorld was that it was a place where creativity was encouraged. “There was no limits. If you had an idea, we talked about it.”

With technology moving at a phenomenal pace and animation becoming more and more ambitious, I asked Brege how hard it was from a creative point of view to work with the technology side of things.

He said understanding where the software developers are coming from is key. Knowing when to let creative ideas be at the mercy of the technology in front of them is important, too.

“We have to be on the same page together,” he said. “We could come up with the craziest idea but will it make the experience less because we’re waiting for things that haven’t happened?”

Brege said throughout his career, his biggest challenge was overcoming his own fear of incorporating his background in animation and comedy into his job. “It’s risk-taking. Do I have something to offer that’s not the norm? I didn’t come from a design background.”

He said he was very fortunate in following the risks that brought him to a place where he could do what he loves. “When you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t even feel like you’re at work.”

Asking someone what they like to do is at the heart of any career advice he gives to people. “Give it a shot, take a risk, try it out, talk to people.

“Whatever drives you, take a chance and put it out there because you don’t know what doors will open.”

Brege also advises leaders to stay out of their teams’ way in order to get the most out of them. “Let them do their thing,” he said. “Stay out of their way and let them work when they want to work.”

via Work Place InsightMillennials’ Career Choices Give Them The Best Chance Of Adapting To Automation

As alarm grows in some circles over the impact of technology on future job prospects, a new survey suggests that Millennial’s jobs are likely to be at lower risk of automation. Research into how different generations choose jobs by jobs site Indeed compared the online search patterns of millions of UK jobseekers over the six months to March and found that younger people are substantially more likely to choose roles deemed to be at lower risk of automation. Nearly half of younger jobseekers were drawn to automation-resistant jobs, compared to fewer than four in 10 over-50s. These baby boomers are two thirds more likely than millennials to seek the manual jobs at highest risk of automation. While nearly half of millennials (48 percent) were searching for what economists term ‘non-routine’ roles, 61.1 percent of baby boomers were looking for ‘routine’ jobs. Routine jobs – which include sales, admin, transport and construction roles – are seen as being at higher risk of automation than non-routine work, which includes management, professional and service roles.

Risk of Automation

Economists regard routine jobs as the most prone to automation because they tend to involve high levels of repetition – which machines can master more easily than roles which focus on human interaction and behaviour.

The generational split is even more acute when you compare roles at the two ends of the automation risk spectrum. More than a third (34 percent) of searches by baby boomers were for routine manual jobs – the type facing the highest threat of automation – compared to barely a fifth of millennials, who were 67 percent less likely to be searching for such jobs.

By contrast, 30 percent of millennials were found to be searching for non-routine, cognitive work such as management and professional roles – the least likely to be automated – compared to just 22 percent of baby boomers.

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at Indeed, comments: “Automation in the workplace is understandably a sensitive subject for many people. Technology continues to reshape not just the way we work but also the number and type of jobs that are available.

“Of course, no generation of jobseekers is completely doomed. Automation is a process, not a single event, and technological progress is going to impact different occupations at different times.

“Disappearing jobs can be a frightening concept and it’s impossible to know exactly which jobs are ‘safe’ — but everyone can prepare for the future by building up transferable, non-routine skills that can be applied across a wide array of occupations.”

via BDaily : Plan for promotion or risk career suicide

All ambitious professionals will have their eye on advancement, but being too hasty to walk into a promotion can cause serious harm to a career.

Securing a step up the corporate ladder without the risk of falling off is like any major business project. It requires asking the right questions, meticulous planning and clear communication to all stakeholders if it is going to succeed.

Dean Williams, an award-winning executive coach and member of the highly prestigious Forbes Coaches Council, has conducted nearly 2,000 coaching sessions with high-flying executives over the last decade. He has helped many professionals achieve that coveted senior-level promotion and is now helping them thrive in their new role.

In his new book, Thrive: How To Achieve And Sustain High-level Career Success, Dean outlines a tried-and-tested roadmap to sustainable promotion that features a formula and science (his patented ‘Career Annulus’) for achieving optimum performance at a senior level.

Here he introduces some core areas of his Career Annulus, shares his experience and insight of what makes a professional thrive in a new role and, equally, highlights the pitfalls to avoid when advancing your career.


Firstly, a little bit of honesty is required. If you’re ambitious, that’s great, but what makes you feel you are ready for a more senior role? It is likely that the new role will come with increased demands and expectations so you need to be already achieving excellence in your current role before thinking about going to the next level. You need to demonstrate consistent excellence in terms of nailing your objectives and smashing your key performance indicators.

If you are not, what makes you think you are ready for the step up right now? Ambition alone is not enough if you are to sustain and thrive in the more senior position. Being purely CV hungry and mistiming your next move could, in fact, be career suicide!

When you move into a more senior role you are being watched more than ever from day one. People are also listening to your every word. It’s like being in a goldfish bowl and having a megaphone amplify your voice. You’ve got to genuinely be ready to step up, both in capability and mindset.


Having assessed your readiness, it’s time to tell others about your aspiration.

Clearly, this is about communicating with senior stakeholders but be warned: communicating your ambition with a key stakeholder carries an explicit expectation from them that you will demonstrate competencies and behaviours above those of your current role.

You will likely be offered more senior-level exposure (perhaps a senior project); you will probably hear developmental feedback from seniors (which definitely carries an expectation you will change); your results will be scrutinised and objectives added to. Not reasons to dampen your ambition, but definitely reasons to be ready. Don’t make the mistake of falling at the first hurdle!


In the eyes of senior stakeholders, and those making decisions on your future, the final call can be largely about assessing the risk of your promotion. Are you an obvious choice? Can you enter into the role seamlessly and make a positive impact quickly? In terms of your leadership, will others follow you? And fundamentally, assuming you are delivering excellence in your current role, who replaces you? If you’re that good, some would say ‘why lose you from that role?’.

Your succession planning is KEY to managing the potential risk of your own career advancement. Start to identify the quality within your team and nurture it alongside their level of ambition. Don’t not have a solution for your replacement!

In summary, Setting and readying yourself for success is of critical importance if you are to enjoy and sustain a thriving career. There are no real short-cuts to sustainable advancement.

Via The Rakyat Post : Online jobsite Monster has confirmed what many Malaysians fear is already taking place within the country – job offers are down sharply amid the global economic turmoil.

According Monster Employment Index Malaysia, the online hiring activity in Malaysia has stagnated with a 23% decrease year-on-year for May 2015 – a trend that was seen a month earlier, in April – indicating an inactive local job market.

This bleak picture comes on the back of over 8,000 jobs lost in the first half of this year in three separate major lay-offs – at Malaysia Airlines, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and JVCKENWOOD Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Malaysia Airlines issued pinks slips to around 6,000 employees in its restructuring exercise, CIMB Group’s mutual separation scheme saw another 1,800 plus leaving and around 500 at JVCKENWOOD Malaysia – which has reportedly moved its Shah Alam factory to Thailand.

In a statement, Monster said the advertising, market research, public relations, media and entertainment industry sector has experienced the steepest decline of 23% for third months straight.

While there has been no overall improvement in online hiring activities this month, the banking, financial services and insurance industry leads in online recruitment activities for the second consecutive month at 16% year-on-year, up from 12% in April 2015, Monster added.

Managing director Sanjay Modi said:

“As per the latest news in Malaysia, companies are planning to lay off employees due to declining performances and high operational costs in some sectors. However, approximately 1.5 million jobs are projected to be created under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

“Although Malaysian businesses are positive about future economic growth, they are continuing to experience a mismatch in their demand for talent and the market supply.

“This inability to find the right talent is a big challenge. However, if companies are willing to provide the required training and development opportunities, they will find themselves in a positive position.”

This prognosis ties in with an earlier analysis done by LinkedIn, which noted that at least one out of three Malaysians are constantly looking for new job opportunities.

It says that talent in Malaysia is more active in seeking for new job opportunities to grow their payroll and experience compared to other talents globally which are more content with their current job-scope.

Also, Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report 2015 highlighted that most youths in the job market now are more demanding of flexible working time and places but these demands have not been met by employers which could indicate a mismatch between talent and employers.

Via Business Insider : The process of finding a new job is intimidating.

From meticulously reading over your resume, to expertly crafting a cover letter, to worrying about whether or not you’ll make the right first impression, it’s a stressful situation to be in. That process can become even more overwhelming if you’re switching career paths.

But changing your career may not be as hard as you think, says Allen Blue, the co-founder and vice president of product management at LinkedIn.

Blue made a significant career switch himself — long before co-founding LinkedIn, he designed scenery and lighting for stage productions.

Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation.

  • Other people can be the key to success when changing career paths. “In the end you never make that career switch alone,” Blue told us.“People will help you make that transition. And the people you know right now will help you find those people. That’s the main resource that matters.” People will help you learn new things, explore new positions, and give you your first job in the new space, according to Blue.
  • It’s okay if your previous experience doesn’t line up with your new career choice. Blue said he had no idea what he was doing when he transitioned into the tech and business space. In fact, many early LinkedIn employees didn’t. Social web apps weren’t nearly as big as they are today back in 2002, so the LinkedIn team had some room to experiment and figure out what worked.”There was lots of room for failing and starting all over again,” Blue said. That may not be the case in sectors that are already well-established, but don’t let the fact that you may not have experience on paper discourage you.
  • Companies may even benefit from hiring someone with a different background. People with different experience may be able to attack problems in new ways, Blue explained. He recalled a human resources survey from Google he came across last year. The survey found that standards such as GPA scores didn’t matter much when it came to success — it was more about personality traits like determination. But what was interesting, however, was the fact that engineers within Google took the survey to learn more about the company’s HR practices. And the method they used produced some compelling results, even though they approached it in a different way than someone in human resources might. “Having people come in and think about problems differently is actually super valuable,” Blue said.