Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Are Replaceable

I have been informed that I must complete at least 6 speeches before I can even consider taking part in any Toastmaster competitions… well, except for the Table Topic competitions. Having done only 3 todate – the race is on for me to finish another 3 speeches by February 2009. My HICT colleague and fellow Toastmaster Arul was kind enough to get me all the details of the speeches I need to prepare – Speech No. 4 is “How to Say It” (selecting the right words and sentence structure as well as using rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas); Speech No. 5 is “Your Body Speaks” (using stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message); and Speech No. 6 is “Vocal Variety” (using voice volume, pitch, rate and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message). I am likely to attempt to do these speeches in 3 different clubs this January 09 – and already the thought of doing 3 speeches is causing an adrenalin rush inside of me! It's gonna be an exciting month...

Even on Christmas Eve - there are many people still working. Good, because at HICT, there's much work to be done. For those who did not have the privilege of reading Dr. Paul Chan's "Replaceable" email dated December 18, I provide below an excerpt:

"The global economic crisis is worsening. More companies are bankrupt and the layoffs are increasing. There is mammoth unemployment. It is hitting Asia – S Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and definitely Malaysia.

New York has 165,000 highly qualified people who lost their jobs because of Wall Street. About 10,000 are highly educated Chinese who studied in some of the best B schools and were (repeat: were) holding well-paid jobs in some of the best known companies in the world. 10,000 of them (just from New York) are returning to China and Asia. These are PhDs, MBAs, engineers, financiers, bankers, IT experts who have some of the best exposures working in Fortune 500 companies. Their spouses are equally qualified - professors and senior staff of universities and research houses. Now they are coming home to Asia.

They can easily replace us. I cannot think of one position in HELP that they cannot take over. They are hard working, experienced, global-minded, and realistic with their remuneration. These are the people we want.

But wait a minute, there are also many brilliant Indians who are in a similar situation. They are also returning from the Silicon Valley and the investment banks. But they can't find jobs in India. So they, and others from India, are coming to Singapore and Malaysia and Asia. And they are also quality people, including Malaysians, who are leaving Singapore and Hong Kong to return to Malaysia.

We are nothing compared to these "gold collar workers." Companies are now replacing existing staff, who are average to mediocre or overpaid, with these returnees. I have never seen such massive movement of top quality people. No one is indispensable, and no one is not irreplaceable now.

Once upon a time we take things for granted, getting too complacent and getting even arrogant. They hold employers hostage. Not so now: this is a buyer's market. Caveat venditor."

Now, isn't this a sobering message? There are those who will even say that this is a scary proposition. When I say, work is becoming scarce, you'd better believe it!

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