This article is a guest post contributed by JWong
TL;DR – Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.
You know, not everyone is socially inclined and fancy the idea of having to go out and build their network on a whim.
So for the introverts (me!) who are like that, perhaps one of the best ways to meet new people is to attend classes and workshops.
When an opportunity to attend the Alibaba Masterclass by NTUC LearningHub came along, I knew I had to sign myself up for it. Other than picking up new knowledge on Global E-commerce Insights and the Future of E-Commerce, I had another hidden agenda, that is to observe people.
If you don’t already know, introverts are observant by nature. We prefer to sit on the sidelines and observe people, especially if it’s a super diverse mix of people who don’t pop up organically in the natural course of our daily lives.
And so, here are the five types of people I met at the Alibaba Masterclass that just happened over three days in early August.
1. The one who reaches out for help
We all need help now and then. Asking for help shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness, rather, it shows strength and determination to get something done or solved.
During one of our tea-breaks, a lady in my learning group shared she is a hiring manager. For the longest time, she has been facing difficulties in finding the right candidates with the right skills for certain positions in her company. It is also not helping when job-hopping is more common among millennials than any generations before.
Since the Alibaba MasterClass was held at NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), it was not surprising to see that some e2i staff had also signed up. One of these e2i staff happened to be in our group and in response to what the hiring manager said, she shed some light on what e2i does. (Hurhur, in case you’re wondering, introverted me was just sitting there, listening to everything.)
Now, did you know that e2i provides one-stop, personalised services to help employers with manpower and training needs? I didn’t know this before, but now I do.
The e2i staff encouraged the hiring manager to approach e2i for help. An industry specialist will be assigned by e2i, and this specialist will work with the employer to identify its manpower and training needs. Thereafter, e2i will help the employer to screen potential recruits, before connecting them with the shortlisted candidates.
In some cases, an industry may be facing manpower shortage, so e2i will work with government agencies and partners to develop programmes to help companies hire interested candidates without the skills to go through on-the-job training.
The Career Support Programme (CSP) is a salary support programme offered by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and e2i to encourage employers to hire eligible Singapore Citizen Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs). The salary support can be as high as 50% for PMETs aged 40 and above, so employers are more motivated to give mature PMETs a chance. Because – never try, never know, right? Also, it’s never too late, as long as one is willing to learn. It’s all about the attitude.
Back to this hiring-manager-Alibaba-coursemate of mine, she has been facing problem recruiting the right staff for a long time, but she is willing to reach out for help. In this case, she had immediately asked the e2i staff to link her up with the right e2i department to help with her company’s recruitment needs.
Fun fact: Since its inception in 2008 (Wow, that’s 10 years!), e2i has assisted over 600,000 individuals through their career guidance, professional development and job matching services.
2. The one who doesn’t stop learning new things
If you still think only the younger folks shop online, then you cannot be more wrong.
Today, our online shopping community includes not only the young ones but also the elderly people too. Hey, even PM Lee shops online! (Oooops, did I just call him an elderly man…?!)
Indeed, one should not self-limit ourselves and our possibilities. That was the very thought that popped into my head when I learnt that there was a 70-year-old retiree uncle in our Alibaba Masterclass.
You’d wonder: What is a retiree uncle doing at an e-commerce course? But well, our brain has an astonishing ability to learn and master many new skills, whatever our age is. And older people can learn new things, and quickly too, just like the young people. Who are we to judge someone purely by their age?
Apparently, this uncle has been shopping online for the last couple of years and enjoying it a lot. Then he got more and more curious about all this online selling, digital marketing and also the logistics part of e-commerce. So he had taken the first step and signed up for both parts of this Alibaba E-commerce Masterclass series to learn more.
Who knows, come one day, this uncle may even set up his own online store as a second career. It’s never too late and everything is possible as long as you have the will and the right positive attitude. It’s all in the mind!
Fun fact: Trump became POTUS when he was 70 and Mahathir was 92 when he was sworn in as the Prime Minister (again)!
3. The diary of a shopaholic’s mom
Another person who caught my attention from the Alibaba Masterclass was this Stay-At-Home Mom. I mean, why was she even here? Shouldn’t she be attending some cooking class? Baking class? Or sewing class? Why an e-commerce course? Me judgey much?
Well, apparently she’s attending the class because she has a daughter who shops online A LOT.
Guilty as charged, I must admit I am like that too, hurhur. Although my wardrobe is already bursting with hundreds of clothes, yet I often feel as though I have nothing to wear.
My mother, on the other hand, nags that I’m just wasting money when I shop for new clothes, because they’ll soon end up forgotten and hidden at the back of my wardrobe.
Again, don’t underestimate what an Auntie can do. Maybe one day, she can set up her own e-commerce store too and sell the long-forgotten clothes that her daughter does not need! That’s a good way to declutter and to earn some extra moolah, don’t you think so?
Fun fact: A third of Singaporeans have thrown away clothing after wearing them for just once!
4. The millennials
Digital disruption is everywhere and it should be obvious to everyone by now that digitalization has impacted just about every industry. Many startups and giant corporations out there are investing in e-commerce and the omnichannel approach has been buzzwords for a while now.
There is just no denying that e-commerce is only going to continue to grow. At an increasingly high speed too.
Yes, I spotted many millennials, like myself, at the course too. While not everyone can be an e-commerce mogul like Jack Ma, it is still beneficial to gain new knowledge and insights about the e-commerce market. We’re learning from one of the best in the world too – Alibaba.
Heard of the saying, “Know yourself, know your enemy, and you shall win a hundred battles without loss”?
If I master a thing or two about e-commerce, perhaps I can find a solution to “cure” my habit of online shopping. Or at worst, I can try developing some hacks to shop for the best and pay with the least.
Fun fact: There’re about 1.2 million millennials in Singapore and that’s about 20% of our workforce. And oh, 67% of Singaporean millennials still live with their parents.
5. The one who “ponteng” class
Go to any class, there’s bound to have at least one person who skips class. Yes, it happened in our Alibaba Masterclass too.
I am not sure whether his employer paid for his course fee, or if he had forked out the money from his own pocket. All I know is that dude might have just missed his calling by not turning up for the class. He could have been the next Jack Ma for all you know!
Oh well, one man’s loss is another man’s gain.
You can be the next Jack Ma then!
Fun fact: Jack Ma once applied to work at KFC and he was rejected. And oh, his wife thinks he’s ugly.
Want to check out the Alibaba Masterclass too?
If you are keen to attend the Alibaba Masterclass Series, don’t beat yourself up for missing the first one!
They have another one coming up later this month and you can sign up for a-la-carte masterclasses and still receive the Certificate of Attendance for that masterclass, which is jointly awarded by Alibaba Business School and NTUC LearningHub.
Singaporeans attending these Masterclasses can enjoy attractive subsidies. Union members can also claim UTAP funding of up to $250 per year and on top of that, the course is eligible for SkillsFuture Credit too!
Come on, it’s not that expensive after the funding lah.
And if it can help you to become a billionaire like Jack Ma, it’s worth it.
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