Salaries of the 2017 Graduates from SMU, NUS and NTU

Average graduate starting salaries increased again for 2017

The Ministry of Education recently revealed this year’s results of the Graduate Employment Survey conducted jointly by the universities. The survey reveals the starting salaries that the 2017 graduates from the main Singaporean universities attracted. For simplicity, this article will only discuss the mean or average salaries of those who secured permanent full-time jobs – of course, there were those who attracted higher salaries, particularly those who achieved distinctions in their degree, as well as those who received lower.

All of the universities reported an increase in average starting salaries from the previous year (2016).

Singapore Management University (SMU):

The average salaries that SMU graduates secured were: $3569 for accountancy, $3862 for business, $4013 for economics, $3922 for information systems, $3344 for social science, and $4778 for law. As in previous years, SMU law graduates received the highest average starting salaries for their year.

National University of Singapore (NUS)

The average salaries that NUS graduates secured were: $3005 for arts; $3365 for social science; $4124 for dentistry; $4958 for law; and $2298 for music.

The two multi-disciplinary programmes attracted $3297 for environmental studies and $4010 for computer engineering. The Yale-NUS programme graduates secured an average of $3812 for arts and $4362 for science.

The medical school graduates average starting salaries were $4367 for medicine/surgery; and $3165 for nursing.

Engineering graduates attracted an average salary of $3508, and the individual engineering disciplines starting salaries were $3215 for biomedical engineering; $3550 for chemical engineering; $3361 for civil engineering; $3529 for electrical engineering; $3783 for engineering science; $3425 for environmental engineering; $3905 for industrial and systems engineering; $3269 for materials science engineering; $3537 for mechanical engineering.

The school of science average starting salaries were $3053 for science; $3186 for applied science; and $3473 for pharmacy. The school of computing starting salaries were $4510 for computer science; $4061 for information systems; and $4114 for business analytics.

The business school average starting salaries were $3770 for business administration and $3396 for accountancy. Architecture attracted $4037; $3034 for industrial design; $3105 for project and facilities management; and $3090 for real estate.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

The average starting salaries for graduates of the business school were $3530 for business; $3121 for accountancy; $3830 for the double degree of accountancy and business; and $5036 for the double degree of business and computer science.

Engineering starting salaries were $3645 for aerospace engineering; $3326 for bioengineering; $3326 for chemical and biomolecular engineering; $3373 for civil engineering; $3667 for computer engineering; $4078 for computer science; $3532 for electrical and electronic engineering; $3538 for environmental engineering; $3685 for information engineering and media; $3279 for maritime studies; $3288 for materials engineering; and $3422 for mechanical engineering.

Humanities, arts and social science graduates salaries were $2862 for fine arts; $3119 for Chinese; $3134 for communication studies; $3286 for economics; $3042 for English; $3206 for history; $3042 for linguistics and multilingual studies; $3107 for psychology; $3353 for public policy and global studies; and $3263 for sociology.

Science degree graduate average starting salaries were $3177 for biological science; $3035 for chemistry and biological chemistry; $3517 for mathematical science; $3504 for mathematics and economics; $3367 for physics / applied physics; and $2722 for the double degree in biomedical science and Chinese medicine.

Sport science and management average starting salary was $3372; while the Bachelor of Arts in education was $3489 and the Bachelor of Science in education was $3610.

Set Career Goals for a Brighter Future

Create your future by setting career goals

The New Year is a time many people make resolutions and set goals for various parts of their life, but few people set or revisit goals for their career. Rather than having specific and clear goals, many people almost drift though their career – they have an idea that they want to be promoted or attain a higher salary, but they don’t actually have a clear goal of where they want to be in ten years’ time or what is the next step or milestone on getting there.

People who plan their career achieve more and are more successful. They tend to be the people that others are envious of and wonder what they are doing to get promoted faster than their peers. People who plan their career are usually more content, satisfied and fulfilled in their work. People who plan their career are more likely to get where they want to go because they have a ‘career roadmap’.

So, as it is the New Year, now is a good time for you to plan your career, and below describes how you can go about doing it.

The starting point for career planning is a question: Where do you want to be career-wise in seven to ten years’ time?

Seven to ten years is considered long-term in career planning, but it is also useful to consider what job you want to retire from at the end of your career – depending on your age, this may be considerably longer-term than your seven to ten year career goal. However, an ‘end-of-career’ goal can provide overall direction to your career and how you think about it. Your ‘end-of-career’ goal may change over time as you gain experience and/or develop new interests, so it is not completely fixed or ‘set in stone’ – but it is an important beacon providing guidance to your career direction.

To develop your career plan, it is useful to identify both your ‘end-of-career’ goal and your seven to ten year career goal. Indeed, your seven to ten year career goal will be a major milestone on the way to your ‘end-of-career’ goal. Even if you are unsure or unclear about your ‘end-of-career’ goal, you can still develop a valuable and constructive long-term plan by focusing on a seven to ten year period. The process of determining both is the same, just that one is a longer duration than the other and will have more milestones. Here, for simplicity, we will focus on developing a seven to ten year career plan.

Having answered the question of where you want to be in your career in seven to ten years’ time, write that down at the top of a sheet of paper – this is your end point. Also write down at the bottom of the page where you are now – the job you are currently in – this is your starting point. This is the framework for your career ‘roadmap’.

Now you need to consider what milestones are in between your starting and end points. Let’s begin at your end point: What type of job do you need to be in to be considered eligible to get the long-term job that you want? What experience and skills are required for this job? This is the final milestone on the way to your career goal.

And for that job – the final milestone job – what job would you need to be in to be considered eligible to get promoted to this job? This is your second-last milestone. And so on until you are back at your current job and have identified milestones all the way to your end job.

Now you have a career roadmap that has identified your long-term career goal (the end point) and each type of job you need to get along the way as milestones. You can see a clear direction your career needs to take. When job opportunities present themselves, you now have guidance on whether such jobs will help you get where you want to be – are they in keeping with your career roadmap? Will such a job help you get the next job that is a milestone on your career roadmap or the one after that? If so, you should take it – if not, it is a distraction on your way to your end goal.

A following article will show you how to create a career development plan that will identify the skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience necessary to secure the jobs on your career roadmap.

How our values affect our work and choice of career

Values determine our happiness at work

What are ‘values’?

Values are what are important to us in a particular context. In the context of our career or work for example, values are what is important to us about that and may include such things as ‘challenge’, ‘teamwork’, ‘autonomy’, or ‘recognition’. Values are what we want in a particular context.

Money is a value

Money or salary is usually a work value as well, because we all need money to live and pay the bills. For some people, just having enough to live on, look after their dependents (children and/or parents), pay the bills and have a little holiday is sufficient. For others, they want lots and lots of money. The difference between the two is another value which is about what money can do for them – for the person wanting lots of money, money can buy material goods which shows other people how successful they are. The other value here may be a self-esteem related one such as wanting others to look up to them.

Values mean different things to different people

A person who has work values such as ‘autonomy’ and ‘recognition’ will only be happy in work if their boss allows them to ‘get on with it’ – that they are allowed decide how the work is done or the desired outcome reached without being micromanaged by the boss. They also need to be given recognition for the work they do. However, recognition means different things to different people. For some, recognition may have to be in the form of a financial bonus or a pay increment. For others, they may just want the boss to acknowledge that they did a good job or get a ‘thank you’ for doing it. Again, some people want public recognition – i.e. it is also important to them that others know that the boss has recognised their effort – while for others a private word of thanks is sufficient.

Core values transcend contexts

While many of our values are only valid in a particular context such as our work or in our relationships, we also have ‘core values’ which are valid across all or most contexts. Some examples of such core values are honesty, truthfulness, or integrity. These are values that might be important to a person in their work or career, but would be equally important to them in their relationships, or in their buying decisions (where a company would need to have an ethical reputation for them to buy from).

Job satisfaction comes from our values being met

Most of the time we are not aware of our values – they operate in the back of our minds. If a person has work values of ‘teamwork’, ‘collaboration’, ‘challenge’ and ‘autonomy’, they will be happy in work as long as these values are being met. This would require a work environment where people worked together (on projects for example), but where each individual had their own part to play and, once they know what that is, are allowed to decide the best way to achieve their work goal. The work would also need to be challenging in some way – this might be that there is something new to learn or a new kind of problem to be solved. When these values are being met in work, the individual will feel contentment, job satisfaction, fulfilment, and be happy in work.

When our values are violated

But then a new boss takes over the team! This boss is very ‘hands on’ and likes to micromanage his subordinates. He decides the best way the job is to be done and tells people they just need to follow his instructions and do what they are told – no need to work with others. This would also take the challenge out of the job as the boss was deciding how everything is to be done. The person who has work values of ‘teamwork’, ‘collaboration’, ‘challenge’ and ‘autonomy’ will no longer be happy in work – they won’t have job satisfaction or a sense of fulfilment. They will feel that there is something wrong in their life, especially at work, but they probably won’t be able to articulate what or why. It’s simply that their values have been violated. They probably feel a lack of ‘fit’ with their job or the company, and start looking for a new job or even a new career. When our values are violated, we feel disrespected, and know ‘deep down’ that we need to take action.

Using values in career direction finding

When people are looking to find career direction for themselves – whether starting out in their working life or looking to change career – values play an important part. We have already seen the positive and negative impact our values can have in work, so determining whether our values will be met or not in the careers or jobs we are considering, and to what extent, is important if we are to find a career or job we will be happy and content in. Our work values can be our evaluation criteria.

People sometimes take a job that offers them a good salary or makes them look good in some way – it meets these values which can be important to some younger people. Their other values, such as challenge, meaning, or recognition, may not be met in that job, but because their more important value is being met, they work on, sometimes for years. But eventually the allure of the money and ‘looking good’ to others wears off and they feel that they just can’t go on in that type of job – they need ‘something’ more, they just don’t know what it is exactly – they need their values to be met.

Get to know your values for a more fulfilling life

So values are important in all areas of our life, and as this is a career advisory site, we emphasise their importance in work. Get to know your values – have a competent person elicit them for you – and ensure they are being met in your job. If some values are not being met, talk to your boss about it so a way to include them in your work can be found. Doing so has enormous benefits for you, your boss and the company.

A Strengths-Based Approach to Career Direction Finding

Your ‘strengths’ are those skills you are good at and enjoy doing

Finding Career Direction

When trying to determine career direction, it is best to use multiple perspectives including psychometric inventories (such as the Myer Briggs Type Inventory better known as the MBTI, and the Strong Interests Inventory) and a values-based one. Another approach that augments the output of the other perspectives is a strengths-based one. Essentially this is a full identification of your skills – your work skills and other skills developed through your involvement in hobbies, leisure pursuits or sports – and these skills are then categorised.

Skills that you are good at

Everybody has skills, some of which you are good at and others not so good. It makes sense when looking at possible future careers or jobs to focus on those skills you are good at – if your work involves skills you are good at, you are going to do well in that job and progress. However, for those skills that you are good at or strong in, there are always some that you don’t particularly like doing. A job centred on skills that you don’t like doing is one that will eventually cause you stress and unhappiness.

Skills that you enjoy doing

Then there are skills that you are both good at or strong in and enjoy doing – these we call your ‘strengths’. A career or job that utilises your strengths is one that you will do well in because you are working to your strengths – those areas that you are good at. Obviously doing things that you are mostly good at will get you noticed in work, will lead to increased responsibilities, quicker promotion, and continual salary increases. Furthermore, when your work involves doing things that you enjoy doing – whether that is working with people either as colleagues or as customers, uncovering facts and figures through detailed research, using your hands to help make something, etc – your work will bring you contentment, gratification, and joy. Working to your strengths brings fulfilment, job satisfaction and happiness.

Using strengths in career direction finding

There are two ways your strengths can be used in the career direction finding process. Firstly, when you look at your strengths as a group, ask yourself do these suggest a career or job – or what career or job would facilitate you in using most of these strengths? You may have to do some research for this. Talk to family and friends about it. Discuss your strengths with a trusted mentor or teacher. Look at an occupational database such as www.onetonline.org which will allow you search jobs with various keywords. The effort involved is well worth the outcome – finding a career or job that will bring fulfilment and job satisfaction.

The other way you can use your strengths in the career direction finding process is using them as criteria to evaluate whether various jobs will be suitable for you. If you have a shortlist of jobs, ask yourself which of them will facilitate you in using your strengths? And which of them will allow you use your strengths most? If such a job has already being judged suitable to your personality type and core interests, wouldn’t that be your dream job?

When your work lacks meaning and you feel there has to be something better than this

When work just doesn’t feel right

You wake up one morning and the thought of going to work fills you with dread! You ask yourself “why am I doing this?” “I don’t love my job – I don’t even like it!” You realise that you never had passion for your work. You do it to pay the bills – that flashy new car – “do I even need it?” And the mortgage – “do I really need to keep working at this meaningless job for another twenty-something years just to pay that?” “Maybe I better keep at it. No, wait! I don’t want to feel trapped either!” “Oh God – what am I going to do?

If you’ve ever had thoughts like these or the feeling that your work-life is empty, it is likely that you are in the wrong job. It happens to many people. They get a job after school or college, start enjoying the independence that comes with having a steady income, the holidays abroad, a car – then a new car, and eventually a home of their own – with a big mortgage of course. This is also the period that many people get married and start a family. Life has been busy – time flies! Without seemingly thinking about it, we work, get promoted, work more, accumulate more earnings and material things. And now it just doesn’t seem to matter – what was it all for? Your life lacks something – meaning, happiness, contentment, fulfillment?

Most people start their working lives to meet the expectations of their parents, their teachers, society in general. Because they were good at maths or science, they were steered into studying engineering. Because their parents wanted them to be a lawyer or a doctor or a dentist, they became one. Because everybody kept telling them that banking or financial services was the best place to work, they got a job there. They have met the expectations of others who at the time were important to them. They still are probably, but meeting their expectations is no longer that important. And now? That “great” job is boring, meaningless and devoid of happiness.

This is the moment that a person feels that they really need to do something about this. But what? Look for a new job? A new career? Start their own business? What?

This is the time to seek the services of a career coach – someone to help you make sense of what you are feeling – someone to help you find a new direction for your life – whether that new direction is a career change, or starting your own business, or doing that which you always knew inside that you should be doing.

I wrote previously about the process involved in finding career direction (you can read that article here), and such a holistic and multi-faceted approach will give you much to think about. The process will bring you to a new awareness of yourself, your personality, your interests, your strengths, and your values. From these insights, a growing consciousness of what direction your career and life should take dawns. You feel at last a sense of excitement about the future as a fuzzy pathway increasingly transforms into a clearer and richer picture of where you want to be. Once you find that, your present reality becomes unacceptable – you have found the way forward and know you must take it. Meaning, happiness, contentment and fulfillment awaits! Go get it!

Using Psychometric Assessments for Career Direction Finding

Personality inventories can help find career direction

People use various methods to help them find direction for their career such as a strengths-based approach, values-based approach, etc. I previous wrote about focusing on your strengths when identifying your skills (you can read that article here) and doing so greatly helps if you are going to use a strengths-based approach. Another popular approach is to use psychometric assessments.

Psychometric assessments are frequently referred to as ‘personality tests’, but the use of the words ‘test’ or ‘tests’ conjure up associations with an examination of some kind. Even the word ‘assessments’ can conjure up such associations. But associations such as these are inaccurate and incorrect because there is no element of examination involved – they are not ‘tests’ as there are no right or wrong answers to the questions. The ‘correct’ answer to each question is the one you feel is right – the answer to provide is the one your “gut reaction” tells you. After all, the questions are asking you about your preferences and interests, so your answers are about you and how you are – there can be no right or wrong answer therefore.

So these instruments are more correctly called psychometric inventories or personality inventories – they compile the preferences, traits and interests that you report in your answers to the various questions. This leads us to another point – the output of these inventories is only as good as the input. In other words, you need to be completely honest in answering the questions. The instruments are ‘self-reporting’, which means that the final ‘assessment’ is based on the answers you provide. Any attempt to control, sway, skew or distort your answers may well affect the outcome and the final report – it could lead to you being given a false assessment of your preferences or interests. As only you and your career coach will see the final report, it doesn’t make sense to interfere with it by attempting to portray yourself as you would like to be or the way you would want others to see you. So truthful answers will lead to a final report that will be genuinely useful in assisting you in finding your career direction.

One of the better known and most popular personality inventories is the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI for short. The MBTI is the most robust and most researched of all the personality inventories with more than three and a half million reports completed per year. The research confirms its validity and reliability. The MBTI determines your personality type based on four sets of preferences: where you prefer to focus your attention and get energised – whether you are introverted or extraverted – I or E; the way you take in or perceive information and the kind of information you trust – sensing or intuition – S or N; the way you prefer to make decisions – thinking or feeling – T or F; and how you prefer to deal with the outer world around you – judging or perceiving – J or P. These provide a four letter reference to one of sixteen personality types – e.g. ISTJ or ENFP.

That may sound a little complicated, but your career coach will explain your report to you in a simple manner!

So what are the benefits of using a psychometric inventory such as the MBTI? Firstly, it provides greater understanding of yourself and others. In relation to your career and career direction finding in particular, it helps you to see how your personality type affects your career – is your personality type in keeping with the work you do? If not, you are likely to feel stressed and unhappy in work. It explains how your MBTI preferences affect what you like about a given career, and identifies the tasks and jobs that give you satisfaction. It also explores your preferred work tasks and work environments. Most importantly, it suggests careers that people with your personality type find fulfilling and rewarding, and that they are successful at.

Another popular and useful instrument is the Strong Interest Inventory which explores your interests and what you like to do. The completed report links your interests to possible careers, generates a list of careers suitable to your interests, and indicates what you need to consider when evaluating career options. Because it connects possible careers to your interests, the careers it suggests are sure to be satisfying and fulfilling for you.

Finding Career Direction

Use multiple approaches to finding career direction

There are various approaches to finding career direction and each have their proponents and adversaries. Many career coaches favour a more holistic approach where a number of different approaches are used to provide a wider perspective for the client. Here are three approaches.

Personality inventories are popular and used to good effect in career finding. Better known examples are the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (usually known as the MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Personality inventories are assessment tools that help people identify their personality type and they also highlight various traits that people have in social and work situations. They can also be used to identify people’s interests, motivations and their strengths and weaknesses.

Whichever inventories a person uses, they will learn a lot about themselves. However, they are not error-proof as they are self-reporting (you answer the questions as truthfully as you decide) and are therefore best used as indicators rather than as definitive. The various factors identified by the personality inventories are used to assist a person in choosing a career that they will find personally satisfying and fulfilling, and they have much success in doing this.

Another approach to finding career direction is using a strengths-based approach. Firstly let us define a strength as a skill that you are both good at and enjoy doing. Merely focusing on skills you are good at could lead you into a job or role where you use skills you are good at but don’t actually enjoy doing – that’s a recipe for unhappiness and a short lived career. Focusing on strengths, on the other hand, attempts to find a match between the skills you enjoy doing and are good at, and a career or role that utilises all or most of your strengths. Obviously being in such a role would lead to happiness, contentment and fulfilment at work.

The process of discovering your strengths is one of reflection and self-assessment – various exercises are used to identify skills you like using, achievements you are proud of, roles you enjoy, and the type of people you like working with. To get a more objective view of your strengths, you can also ask your family, friends and colleagues what they see as your strengths. The exercise, Your Reflected Best Self, is one way of accomplishing this.

Another approach is to identify our values and relate them to possible careers and roles. Our values determine whether we are happy and content with our work and working life. They influence our behaviour and our attitude to various situations. If our work conflicts with our values, we will feel unhappy and stressed at work, so it is important to know what our values in relation to work are.

Examples of values are fairness, justice, compassion for others, integrity, attention to detail, neatness, etc. If you have to work long hours, but you value family or work-life balance, your job conflicts with your values and you will feel stressed and unhappy at work. If you value working with people and helping others, and your job involves this, you will feel happy and motivated in work. So it is important to find a career or role that is in keeping with your values.

The process of identifying your values is normally led by a career coach or counsellor, but using a long list of values and ticking off the ones that mean something to you also works.

As stated above, it is best to use more than one approach. While it is possible to do a lot of this self-assessment and self-discovery on your own, it is far more productive to seek the assistance of a career coach or specialist.

Focus on your Strengths

Compile your skills, but focus on your strengths
Compile your skills, but focus on your strengths

One of the larger and more arduous tasks involved in managing your career – whether when looking for a new job or preparing for promotion – is systematically compiling a list of your skills. In doing so, you need to focus not only on current work skills, but on skills you may have developed in school and university, in your sports or leisure pursuits, in voluntary or community work – in fact, from every and all aspects of your life to-date. A skill is a skill and it matters little where you gained it – it may well turn out to be a valuable transferable skill that you might need in a new position or role. So don’t confine yourself to only compiling work skills.

A skill is the ability to carry out a particular task. Some skills we are very good at and others we don’t do so well. In our working life, we tend to have to use a mix of skills some of which we are very good at, others ok with, and again others that are still a challenge for us – but we still manage to get the job done.

Then there are skills that we enjoy doing and others that we don’t enjoy. Again, our jobs tend to involve some of both. When we are using skills that we enjoy doing, we feel happy and motivated in our job. Conversely, when we have to use a skill we don’t enjoy, our job is challenging, boring and discouraging.

Our strengths are those skills that we are both good at and enjoy doing. Imagine a job where you only had to utilise your strengths! Think how fulfilling and motivating that would be – a job that would make you very happy indeed!

So when you are thinking about your career direction or looking for a new position, don’t just identify your skills but rather focus on your strengths. When you have identified and written down your strengths, ask yourself (and others) “what job or role would involve using these strengths?” See if you can group or theme some of your strengths – do these suggest a job or role? Research these strengths in as much depth as you can – what you are trying to identify are all those jobs, roles or positions that use your strengths. You may not find a job or role that uses all of your strengths, but if you find one that utilises many of them, wouldn’t that be a job worth pursuing?

Our work takes up a large portion of our life, so shouldn’t we try as much as possible to ensure that we are happy at work – that our work is fulfilling and motivating. The way to do this is find a job or role that utilises our strengths.

What should we do when our job only uses some of our strengths (besides looking for one that requires more of our strengths!)? It is important for our inner happiness and contentment that we find the opportunity to use as many of our strengths as possible. So for those strengths that are unused in our work, look for other avenues to use them. Does a local charity or voluntary organisation need help that involves using some of your strengths? Would taking a committee position in your sports or leisure club facilitate using some of those unused strengths?

Career Planning – Developing a Career Roadmap

Most people do not have a written career plan that states their ideal end-job and the career milestones to be achieved along the way. Such a career plan (sometimes called a career roadmap) should have two long-term goals: firstly, the career component of your life plan which is usually expressed as the ideal job or role you would like to be in as you finish your career and retire. This is set as a lighthouse beacon to provide general direction to your career.

Secondly, you need to set a long-term career goal which is usually set at seven to ten years in the future (seven to ten years is considered quite long-term in career and life planning). This should be a job or role that would firmly establish you in your career and is usually set at a few positions higher than the one you are in currently.

At this stage, the seven to ten year goal is aspirational – it needs stepping stones to turn it into an actual plan. The way to do this is to work backwards and ask yourself: “To achieve that role in seven to ten years’ time, what job or role do I need to be in in five years’ time?” And then: “To achieve that role in five years’ time, what job or role do I need to be in in three years’ time?” And again: “To achieve that role in three years’ time, what job or role do I need to be in in one or two years’ time?

The answers to these questions provide the milestones that form a planned career progression leading to your ideal long-term career. However, this is only part of the career roadmap. For each position or role in this plan, you need to identify (and record) the qualifications, experience and skills required to get that job. If you don’t have all of these, you won’t be eligible for that position.

You also need to do this for your current job – “what qualifications, experience and skills are ideally needed to perform excellently in my current role?” To get the next promotion or the next role in your career plan, you must be seen to be doing a great job in your current role.

So, starting with your current role, you match yourself against the qualifications, experience and skills that are ideally needed to perform excellently. Any gaps you identify are your immediate career development needs and you should discuss with your manager how you can obtain the missing parts.

Similarly, for the next job milestone (e.g. the role you need to be in in one or two years’ time), you match yourself against the qualifications, experience and skills that are required to do that job. The gaps you identify are added to your personal career development plan and are also a crucial part of your career roadmap – you need to obtain these to move on in your career.

You need to do this for each role that is a milestone in your career plan.

A career roadmap that contains your long-term career goal and the milestones necessary to get there provides you with career direction, serves to guide career-related decisions, and increases job motivation. It ensures a higher chance of career success. The gap-analysis between your present qualifications, skills and experience, and those required for each job or role in career roadmap, form your career development plan.

My Big Career Change From The Corporate World To Online Freelancing

I always believed in the notion of succeeding most at your career when doing something that you are really passionate about which is why, a few years back, I decided to make the shift from the corporate world into online freelancing.

I can’t say that it was an easy ride, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Below are a few reasons why:

I Earn More Money On Average

When I first started online freelancing, to be quite honest, I was earning peanuts but my salary was doubling in the first few months, something that would never happen in the corporate world.

Until now, my income is not doubling each month, but it sure is increasing at a rate that would never happen had I still been an employee doing something that I was not passionate about.

I Am My Own Boss

Being your own boss means working at your convenience including choosing when and where you work.

For me, this has always translated into more independence and piece of mind, which allows me to appreciate my work more.

I am a big travel junkie, so the ability to travel the world while working is something that I find to be a big advantage of being an online freelancer.

Online Freelancing Perfectly Fits My Personality

It’s been said that people should choose their jobs based on their personalities.

I am personally introverted which makes working online and not having to communicate much with other people (not face to face or over the phone much, at least) a big advantage.

It’s not that I don’t like other people, but rather I work better by myself and do not like to make a social effort during my working hours.

If you want to make a big career change in your life but are unsure of how to do it, consider talking to someone with similar experience, do a bit of research or find a life coach to help you mitigate the career transition.

If you want to be an entrepreneur for instance, talking to someone with similar experience – or who has made it into a successful entrepreneur can help you. Likewise, if you want to become an online freelancer, for instance, you can do some research on freelancing and the best online freelancing platforms to have an idea about the concept and how to go along doing it.

Finally, hiring a career coach is very popular nowadays. A career/life coach can help you navigate the obstacles that you will face when attempting to attain your career goals.

Common Triggers For Quitting Your Job

Chances are pretty high that once you’ve settled into a secure job, you have no intention of leaving it any time soon.

There are, however, certain situations that can put the idea of seeking a new job front and center in your mind.

According to research by CEB, people have a higher tendency to change jobs after certain events and milestones.


1. Significant social gatherings with your peer group.

Attending a social gathering where you’ll be among peers who are close in age and life experience can inspire a desire for change. For instance, you decide to attend your high school or college reunion.

The reason you go is to catch up with old friends you knew back in the day, and you enjoy sharing a few laughs and some fond memories. As you share life stories, you can’t help but hear about career choices and successes others have had along the way.

Naturally, you’ll compare your job with others and silently measure your career success against that of your friends and associates. Perhaps it’s time to rethink your career goals, start working on increasing your chances of promotion or seek a job that more closely aligns with your values. Attending peer group events can trigger all of these thoughts.

2. Job anniversaries.

As the anniversary of your current job rolls around, you may reflect upon your reasons for taking the job in the first place.

Job anniversaries bring to the forefront everything you like or dislike about your job, as you ponder the years you’ve spent in one place.

3. Promotion anniversaries.

The anniversary of your promotion into a certain job position can lead to positive or negative feelings, depending on how well your job is going.

If the promotion isn’t living up to your expectations, you may decide it’s time to start looking into positions that offer more career fulfillment.


Make sure your career decisions are strategic.

So it could be the case that your dissatisfaction or restlessness with your current job, is less about the company or job, and more due to the fact that you just turned 40.

While it’s never a bad idea to take stock of your career and plan for the future, do make sure that any changes you are thinking about, actually make sense.

Career Choices – What If Money Was Not An Obstacle?

We all have that dream. The dream to have enough money so that we could live out our lives in the manner of our choosing.

Money is always the obstacle.

We either don’t make enough, or we spend too much trying to make ourselves happy, or at least happy enough to continue on wishing we had more.

No matter the circumstance, there has always been a time (usually when sitting in traffic on the way to work) when we’ve wanted to chuck it all and quit our drudge of a desk job.  It’s a nice daydream isn’t it?  Just imagine: Wouldn’t it be nice to do what you really want to do instead of what you’re supposed to do, or what you have to dFo?

These questions are the topic of a video narrated by the late author Alan Watts.  Watts, a native of London, became fascinated with Far Eastern life at a young age.  After a short stint as an Episcopal priest in Chicago, he left the church to focus on Asian studies.  His studies led him to Zen Buddhism, which he wrote and spoke extensively about.

Watts’ worldview changed radically with his immersion in Zen philosophy.  The video “What If Money Was No Object” is one in a series of audio lectures he recorded before his passing in 1973.

One of the main points of this talk is the futility of earning a college degree simply as a way to earn money, just like you would get some personal $10000 loans 24/7 application processing or some long term installment loans approved.  Watts speaks of a situation involving graduating students who come to him for career advice, during a time when he worked as a vocational counselor.

Watts’ first question to the students is, “What would you like to do if money were no object?”  The reply was usually, “Well, I’d like to be an artist/painter/writer/….”  Watts then turns the conversation back to the point, “You can’t earn any money that way.”  What Watts is looking for is an admission from the student that they are only looking for a way to earn money.

The most important point of Watts’ talk is to “do what you really want to do, and money be damned.”  His scathing indictment of “working solely for money” is that the chase for riches will cause one to end up working in a job that they don’t like, for their entire life.  In his words, “It’s stupid!”

Ultimately, Watts does come back around to earning money.  But his advice for earning a living is a much more creative, and satisfying way of doing it.  The basic premise is, “Do something you love doing, become extremely good at doing it, then charge a fee for doing it.”  Earn money while you do something you love to do.

The importance of Watts interpretation of Zen philosophy, as it relates to our goal-oriented, get ahead world, is refreshing.  Yes, money is an object and we all need to take practicalities and realities into account. However, it is worth thinking about and exploring if there may be ways to earn a living that won’t destroy your soul, or your spirit.