Singapore Expats Forum

My Strategy to Move and work in Singapore and possibly China

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

Thaiclan
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Postby Thaiclan » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 3:41 am

Hi Mattown,
Well you learned one lesson anyway about this forum. So many new posters ask one stream of questions and then get bombarded with negative responses by the "been there, seen that, done it all, know better" crowd! It doesnt matter whether the new posters ask about a school, an in home helper or a new trading platform! Maybe its the initiation process

You'll get to know them if you stay around :wink:

There is a distinct psychology to the "recession" situation at the moment. I tend to try and block out that which I don't know for sure. I work remotely here running several online businesses. My husband is CEO of an investment bank here. For me my income has increased, and for him he still continues to hire new senior and trainee people, still got a bonus and still sees positive action in the markets. Also I know only 1 of my expat friends whose contract hasn't been renewed and needs to return home.
That's not to say people aren't losing jobs, money, confidence, but you can only focus on what is "real" to the Life immediately around you.

I like PakJohns quote about the ship in the harbour - I'll be using that one again.

You are 25, not bogged down by one narrow stream in a profession, and more importantly you have a desire to travel, to learn, to ask strangers about your strategy. Even posting on a Singapore forum is a strategy!
Contact companies direct, do the leg work. Your strengths are your diverse skills but also (I know it sound base) you are cheap! With no wife and kids to support you can get a foothold with a much lower salary, so maybe local hire will be an option too.

Good Luck.x

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Postby OogieBoogie » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 10:04 am

mattown wrote: oh and I also have over 100s of thousands of stock options for when we go public...

usually when you leave a company you can't keep your stock option isn't it? Then it would be a smarter move stay with you company, wait for them to go public, get the money, and use it to start your search in Asia. Get a student visa and do a intensive Mandarin class would be a good start. There's very few chances you'll be fluent in Mandarin if you keep on learning it by yourself, specially in your home country where you don't have to use it for everyday life.

Like Pakjohn said: "A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for". Well actually that's a William Shedd quote. (I ran into this quote recently reading the excellent "Plum Island", and that's why i know who said it). Staying in your confort zone at home will make it pretty hard to find something in Asia. Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to take risk. I'm not telling you to sell your car, get rid of your flat and come in Singaoire, but taking a 3 months leave from your work to come and check the market here could help you a lot. You'll see by yourself what you can expect, make new connection,... Instead of relying of what people say on forum.

The 2 very best jobs I've secured so far was when I was about to be retrenched and in need of a new job very quickly! the last time it happened was december 2008 :)

About your remote work in Singapore for your USA firm: there's very little chance you can do that. You won't get a visa to do that, unless you create branch in Singapore i think (don't know if your CEO love you that much). Or create your own company and be a contractor for your firm, but you would probably have to give up your stock options.

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Postby jpatokal » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 11:35 am

mattown wrote:Well...I thought maybe my post came across as naive but I had no idea I'd get a response like this.

Your request was "Please be candid", not "Please blow sunshine up my ass".

Maybe I didn't make myself clear, I tried to summarize my skills in a broad sense, if you guys want to know what I've accomplished down to the specifics then that's fine, we can go there, but everything I have said is true and I'm not lying about my experiences, they are what they are, even if they sound silly to you.

I'm not accusing you of lying or even sounding silly. I'm telling you that you have absolutely no focus. I, as an employer, would go "WTF?" if I saw a resume with biotech, financial management, business strategy and GRE vocab websites in it -- you need to distill that down into a cohesive whole.

Also I do think I'm qualified for business strategy, I've helped my firm in San Francisco achieve a 300% increase in profits this year despite the worst economic slowdown in years and I've helped structure new products for the, hmm, the clients such as the US government (Pentagon) to name a few, oh and I also have over 100s of thousands of stock options for when we go public....I've ran businesses ever since I was a child (portable gatorade stand that employed my whole block when I was 9) and I've incorporated 3 so please don't judge me in that way...

Well, there's one possible slant to your resume then.

And oh -- one of the startups I do work for has achieved a 1000+ % increase in profits over the last year. Unfortunately those increased profits would barely cover the salary of an Indonesian rice farmer...

I'm a jack of all trades, it's who I am, maybe this puts me at a disadvantage but I know great companies have hired me in north America so I don't see why no one would be interested in Singapore, its a big world out there. Lots of managers and entrepreneurs are jack of all trades because that is a skill in of itself are you truly serious about this?

You've got a point here, but you're missing my point. Yes, there are jobs where it's useful to be a jack of all trades: entrepreneurs, working for a small company, establishing a branch office... but can you find me a job ad in Singapore, just one, that's actually looking for one? I doubt it, because people for these positions are almost always found in-house or informally through contacts, and I'd even wager a guess that this is how you found your previous jobs in the US, no? But you can't put Jack Oatmon on a CV nor can you really trust people who try it, so without these contacts in Asia, you'll have a hard time breaking in.

Maybe I should ask you this JP, what should I focus on in the next 5 years so that when I'm 30 I have a better shot at applying for overseas positions? I don't see how I have zero strategy, please elaborate?

The best way, bar none, to come to Asia is as a transferred expat for an existing company. They'll provide the training wheels you need and give you a fat salary until you learn the ropes and get your PR, and from there on it's easy to continue elsewhere.
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Postby mattown » Sat, 06 Jun 2009 4:29 am

I'm not accusing you of lying or even sounding silly. I'm telling you that you have absolutely no focus. I, as an employer, would go "WTF?" if I saw a resume with biotech, financial management, business strategy and GRE vocab websites in it -- you need to distill that down into a cohesive whole.


Well I don't know what to say about this one, my focus has just been going from one opportunity to the next because I feel like I'm taking a risk putting my eggs into one basket so to speak. I hope I'm not too late on this one as you make it seem like I'm directionless, maybe I am, but is that even expected at my age?

But you can't put Jack Oatmon on a CV nor can you really trust people who try it, so without these contacts in Asia, you'll have a hard time breaking in.


I'd like to think that this isn't how everyone views it, because I feel like I would have wasted 25 years by now...

The best way, bar none, to come to Asia is as a transferred expat for an existing company. They'll provide the training wheels you need and give you a fat salary until you learn the ropes and get your PR, and from there on it's easy to continue elsewhere.


At what point in a persons career with a company do people generally take this route?

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Postby jpatokal » Sat, 06 Jun 2009 1:13 pm

mattown wrote:Well I don't know what to say about this one, my focus has just been going from one opportunity to the next because I feel like I'm taking a risk putting my eggs into one basket so to speak. I hope I'm not too late on this one as you make it seem like I'm directionless, maybe I am, but is that even expected at my age?

Employers don't give a shit about you, your risks, your focus, your opportunities, whatever. They care about what you can do for them. If they can't figure out how you're going help them or how your skills can solve their current problems, your CV goes into the bin.

The best way, bar none, to come to Asia is as a transferred expat for an existing company. They'll provide the training wheels you need and give you a fat salary until you learn the ropes and get your PR, and from there on it's easy to continue elsewhere.


At what point in a persons career with a company do people generally take this route?

That's a question you'll need to decide on your own, but if you're serious about going to "Asia" soon, then the answer is "right about now".
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby irvine » Sun, 07 Jun 2009 12:51 am

I guess it depends who would look at your type of resume. Go where you will be appreciated, and where you can contribute your diverse skills and talents. People like you are talented in ways that 'focused field' people aren't. And they simply can't pay to learn to have skills like yours.

I personally had a US education, and I really appreciate the diverse courses I took... ranging from business, to arts, to social sciences, to music, sciences, sports, and even agriculture. It taught me to be a well-rounded person and can adapt to environments well.

A friend of mine has a BA in Communication, MBA, and a Phd in Education couldn't get a job in most UK based college or company. Their reason - he's not 'focused'. BUT, he was snapped up by those who appreciate his diverse knowledge and experience. And I myself have similar experience too. Not many ppl appreciate my experience in business, arts, and education. But heck, when the companies do appreciate diversity, they are sure glad to get the contribution.

This is not junk I can say to you jpatokal. To you, it may be. But to companies who need this type of employee, it is gold or even diamond. Some young graduates are not polished yet, but given good guidance, mentoring, and intrinsic motivation, s/he will SHINE.

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Postby ksl » Sun, 07 Jun 2009 1:31 am

it's saturday night and I succumbed to a few bevvies, after watching my daughter at the ballet....but now I would like to make my point seen from an ability side, rather than an educated approach.

JP is right in what he say's as an employer, and the networking contacts, the resume is really not worth jack rabbit without back up from reputable business people. Although I know myself what i can do and what i cannot do, it's clear cut, I would have a very hard time to convince anyone that i was a graphic designer, if i couldn't use the software or understand all the print terminology.

We do learn as we grow, and this is where my question of calling oneself an expert crops up, I have met people with significant high qualifications, that do absolutely nothing, to contribute to any form of business enterprise, they are academics, with their titles, that impress only the Academics.
They have no practical skills whatsoever in most cases, and what give's them the claim, to superiority, based on what, pure academic writings, within the establishment. Total bullshit in most cases, just like most political governments are run and most Countries are built on, with a purpose of only one thing and it is not democracy, in my opinion, they would turncoat to the ones offering the most benefits, to hold their positions.

Experts, i wouldn't piss on the most of them if they was on fire, it's all a bureaucratic part of the instrumental rule, that changes to suit the times, and if they go against the grain, they are also soon put out to pasture. I have friends that are professors that have institutions named after them and i studied with them, so I ask myself where did all this wisdom come from, do they believe everything they read and everything they write?

When a professor has been busy writing several hundred papers and books or thousands, where does he get the time for practical experience? is he advised?

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Postby jpatokal » Mon, 08 Jun 2009 3:45 pm

irvine wrote:A friend of mine has a BA in Communication, MBA, and a Phd in Education couldn't get a job in most UK based college or company. Their reason - he's not 'focused'. BUT, he was snapped up by those who appreciate his diverse knowledge and experience. And I myself have similar experience too. Not many ppl appreciate my experience in business, arts, and education. But heck, when the companies do appreciate diversity, they are sure glad to get the contribution.

Sure. Now, can you please suggest just how mattown should go about getting "snapped up" in Singapore, since his contacts are "limited if not non-exsistant"?
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ksl
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Postby ksl » Tue, 09 Jun 2009 1:06 am

jpatokal wrote:
irvine wrote:A friend of mine has a BA in Communication, MBA, and a Phd in Education couldn't get a job in most UK based college or company. Their reason - he's not 'focused'. BUT, he was snapped up by those who appreciate his diverse knowledge and experience. And I myself have similar experience too. Not many ppl appreciate my experience in business, arts, and education. But heck, when the companies do appreciate diversity, they are sure glad to get the contribution.

Sure. Now, can you please suggest just how mattown should go about getting "snapped up" in Singapore, since his contacts are "limited if not non-exsistant"?
He could walk naked in holland village one day, and get lots of publicity for his campaign for a job, lets see, we could call it eco friendly advertising for solar panel chips, for aircons, providing he covers his dingalingling with the elephants trunk and big ears, he will not get fined, or will he?

He could, at the same time have a placard to say give me a job, around his neck, I'd call that inspirational, and may even give him a job in marketing and sales

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Postby mattown » Wed, 10 Jun 2009 12:04 pm

He could walk naked in holland village one day, and get lots of publicity for his campaign for a job, lets see, we could call it eco friendly advertising for solar panel chips, for aircons, providing he covers his dingalingling with the elephants trunk and big ears, he will not get fined, or will he?

He could, at the same time have a placard to say give me a job, around his neck, I'd call that inspirational, and may even give him a job in marketing and sales


Now that's thinking outside the box

Who knows I may even be a celebrity by the time I get to Singapore...of course that is if they let me in..?

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Postby winger7 » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 12:11 pm

mattown, what i suggest is to make up ur own mind. people on forums are here to give you advice, as i have learnt down the years especially with this forum, theyre not here to spoonfeed you.

im 23 and i have dual citizenship as well (Canada, HK), and I was born to be able to speak english and cantonese, and ive lived in beijing and shanghai as well so i can speak fluent mandarin as well. What im trying to say is that you're not the only one thats able to speak foreign languages, sure its helpful but ive figured out that moving to singapore can make u a small fish in a big pond. Im still planning on moving to Singapore myself, I've been wanting to for years now but what I would say is to get a job in hand, instead of landing there with something like an EPEC pass, even tho it allows u to stay there for a year to find a job, u might be booking ur return ticket home after a few months once u run out of money.

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Postby globalguillaume » Wed, 24 Jun 2009 3:40 pm

Interesting topic.

(EDITED)


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