Why business analysis?

When I was growing up I had a few ideas of what I wanted to become in the future but none of them were about business analysis. In the early nineties, not everyone had a computer. I remember our family first got a computer in 1996.

From what I can remember, these are a few of things I wanted to be when older:
An ironman triathlete
A writer
A politician (prime minister of Australia to be completely truthful)

As a teenager, I had to revisit what I would become as it was becoming more urgent. By then, I at least knew I had to attend University to get ahead – I thank my parents for instilling this thought into my head. The things I realised by year nine (ninth grade) was that I liked solving problems and I could figure out how to use a computer relatively quickly. Little did I know that this would be influential in my decision to become a business analyst later on. Back then, I didn’t know what business analysis was but I was confident that the IT industry would provide a career that would utilise my interest in computers and pay well – the late 90s was a great time for IT professionals. Continue reading

Completos – Chilean style hotdogs

Anyone who has been to Chile should know what a completo is. If they don’t then I’m sorry, but you have missed out.

It’s a Chilean way to enjoy hotdogs. As the word completo suggests, it’s a hotdog that is complete with toppings.

Here’s what the final product looks like.

To make a completo you just need a handful of ingredients. Start with large-sized hot dog buns. Due to the number of ingredients that go into a completo, it wont work if you get the smaller-sized traditional hot dog buns. So go to your bakery or the specialty bread section of your supermarket. You will need to slightly warm the buns in the oven before creating the completo. Continue reading

Getting a job and knowing when to move on

One thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to landing a new job is that the organisation you work for will welcome you aboard the ship (so to speak). However, it’s up to you to realise when to get off. Unfortunately, you won’t receive help in that part. You’ve got to get onto your next ship on your own.

It’s been a bit tricky for me. I constantly receive contrasting advice. Recruiters tell me that I don’t have enough time built up in my current job to move on. Mentors tell me to move onto something bigger and not settle at a non-ideal place for too long.

In the end, you are in the best position to assess what to do. If you are no longer learning new skills, if there are no more challenges, if there is no space to explore your leadership qualities, if you cannot go on the training courses that you need…then perhaps you’ve given your part and done all you can in that position.

My view is that if it’s no longer fun, no longer exciting, then it would make sense to start looking elsewhere to find new challenges.

For me, the realisation came the moment I decided that I am ready to go out there and risk it. Risk failing, risk not getting the job, risk making mistakes. If you no longer feel scared about putting your reputation on the line then it’s time to pursue the career you really want.

Reflection is important

When I look back on all the jobs I’ve held since first entering the workforce at the ripe age of 14, there’s one observation that remains true. That the level of enjoyment, satisfaction and motivation are mostly influenced by one thing, your interactions with others.

The people you work with have a big impact on how you perceive and enjoy your job. That’s what I’ve learned. I’ve been lucky to have met many different yet all interesting people. From long term retail employees, to IT specialists, to construction workers. These interactions have taught me how to deal with people, how to solve problems in different ways and how to adjust to expectations.

I often cherish the workplace relations I’ve had with other colleagues in previous jobs. There have been less fond experiences also. Each experience has given me something to think about and learn from. If my attitude had not evolved since when I was 14, I certainly wouldn’t be good at my current job. So I’m glad to have had both positive and negative experiences.

To share a lesson with you, I’d say that tolerance is the greatest concept I’ve learned in the last decade of working. Understanding that every individual has the capacity to think and act differently to you is important. Guessing or assuming people will respond a¬†particular¬†way to something isn’t very clever. It’s important to accept people and to always respect them, even in times of irresponsibility. We are all at different stages of our lives and careers. We are unaware of different aspects that could be affecting one’s personal life. Often we perceive others inaccurately, we perceive them according to our standards, not according to a general standard. People who we think might be critical of us are probably just new to your way of thinking and approaching things.

Meeting difficult people is a two way lesson. We can learn how to deal with uncomfortable situations better but we should also be assessing whether we contributed to the difficulty in the first place. We often say to ourselves “Gee, that person has a negative attitude, they don’t contribute to team morale do they?”. What we should be thinking is “how have my actions helped in bringing about the best outcome in these circumstances?”

If we place the focus on ourselves and what we can do, then our preoccupation with others tends to have less importance. If we are being constructive in order to solve problems and contribute to our organisation, then there would be less time to judge and point the finger at others.

Whether we like it or not, for most tasks we need to rely on others to accomplish them. If we can ignore minor distinctions in peoples’ personalities then the focus is placed on your actions and the work at hand. As long as you are seen as constructive, there will be people that envy or distrust you but it’s much better to sit back and reflect on what you accomplished than to focus on the flaws (or pettiness) of your colleagues. We all have flaws. It’s better to recognise and work with peoples’ strengths.

New year, same blog purpose

So after a break, I thought I’d get back into Blogging. This time I’m writing from my iPad. It’s not the fastest way to type but I can’t be bothered booting up my desktop just to write this. In all honesty, this is one task that my blackberry bold can handle better than an iPad (or any touchscreen device for that matter).

I’ve read some blogging tips over the break and once again it seems that personal blogging is doomed. Apparently one must blog about a specific niche topic and offer readers material that’s important to them. One can’t use a blog like a journal anymore. While it’s not necessary for non-professional bloggers to follow a rule book, sticking to one theme makes sense.

This year I plan to write more about my professional interests and development. It might not attract as many readers but at least it creates a log of my career at different stages.

As for New Year resolutions, I’d be content with moving into a business analysis role by the end of the year. I’m going to invest in my knowledge and skills and I look forward to reporting on my progress soon.