Thursday, September 27, 2012

Designer's Survival Kit Part II

Written by Muid Latif, Certified Malaysia's National Creative Expert and Ambassador to Behance Malaysia

According to Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia, Ministry of Human Resource, our employment rates had only decrease 0.1% percent compared to last year, 2011. As of 2012, our employment rates is 3.1%. However, we're not as critical compared to countries such as United States which is 8.9%, 7.2% from Philippines, 4.6% from Japan and highest so far is in Spain which is 21.7%, according to 2011 Unemployment Statistics from Eurostat

Throughout my encounters during conducting job interviews for creative job applications, most likely local interns, post-graduates, and jobless graduates are struggling to get hired for full time employment due to:
  1. Lack of Communication Skills
  2. Lack of Basic Soft skill
  3. Lack or no industrial experiences or internship background
  4. Demand high salary expectation even during internship
  5. Turn up late for job interviews
  6. Incapable to meet datelines and manage their roles and responsibilities
  7. Influenced by stereotype-minded parents who influenced their children on the way they see things with prejudice
  8. Ignorant to any form of industrial awareness (for example, did not attend or support any free-based events from art and design exhibitions in local galleries, refuse to attend workshops due to fear of budget constrains, did not appear in any conferences, talks or seminars in order to gain knowledge, and et cetera)
  9. Most important, obnoxiously stubborn and full of pride
  10. Have a narrow minded and emotionally defensive for any critics or feedback on their work
  11. Big potential talent equal to unwanted big prima-donna attitudes
  12. 'Character Suicidal' in their CV/Resume. You are intentionally inviting your future employers or interview to analyze and evaluate your character based on how you write your CV or Resume (format of writing resume is crucial). For example, redundant hobbies, fancy email addresses like 'babyrina_comel[at]' or 'penjejak-awan85[at]', inappropriate photo (profile) shots that doesn't look appealing or TOO obvious (Imagine, Bon Qui Qui, I'm not going to hire any 'out-of-the-hood-program'). I'm definitely not going to hire an employee or candidates that could potentially terrify my current or potential future clients and stake holders.

Their unwillingness to project a good mentality decreases and few major factor that contributes to jobless Malaysians are lack of self-dependent in knowledge development skills and expect to be spoon-feed by former or current lecturers or employers.

More disappointing, even I had encountered few under-graduates who express condescending attitude to project a good designers intelligence. Have absolutely zero marketing strategy to promote themselves. Even if we have an overall of talented creative individuals, what kills them with unemployment rates are because of these above factor. Their unwillingness to multi-task, unwillingness to become multidiscipline and always into their own comfort zone, expect to be treated like a superstar when their talent are not highly equally complement to their creative works. 

In the past, I had hired and call many designers for job interviews and in general, they lack of understanding:
  1. Employer's or client's nature of business
  2. Unorganized portfolio packaging & marketing
  3. No communication skills for jobs or internship applications
  4. Ignorant to utilize online platform to establish and market their talent such as putting their creative works via online through great free based portfolio website such as or have no account to begin with
  5. Their CV or resume does not convince any employer or interviewer due to lack of interest to polish themselves gracefully in professional manner. Imagine, I have to go through a CV that does not provide Referrals, Soft skills, Qualification in both education and experience or achievement to impress us.
  6. Unable to take direction or brief well through good understanding and misinterpret or assume things based on hypothesis or without solid research and development
  7. Appearance in job interviews must also take into account. I came accross those who came for interviews wearing inappropriate t-shirt and sandals. We're not a disco club or a gig, nor we are not a modeling agency. (Jangan overdress or wear some death metal black shirt and wear boots)
  8. Knowledge became an option to them and overshadowed by their defeatist attitude such as 'quarreling' or debate with job interviewers about their personal opinion and express dissatisfaction on the spot. Remember, this is not a forum, it's your job interview and key of impression is also being evaluated.
    (For example, "Encik, maaf saya tak reti cakap English. Kita ni Melayu, boleh tak kita cakap bahasa Melayu' or they start to question 'why are most people in this company have only one race, sir?'). Attitude people! I don't welcome racial profiling. I hire TALENT equal to your capability and ability to perform and contribute to a company or agency. That's why candidates should learn the nature of our business or our practice before attending job interviews.
So in the end, they start fiercely blaming our government and private sector that does not support the industry but apparently, it's their unwillingness to showcase a good creative persona and attitude, no determination and lack of understanding the nature of future clients or employers are the source to their career suicide. 

Both government and private sector offers grants, scholarships and opportunities to all of us. According to the Malaysia's Graduate Job Placement Statistics and Non Graduates Statistics in 2012, we offer 33,473 job placement and 105,535 job placement. 

So it makes me wonder, why do we have such unbelievable condescending mentality and negative attitude to empower ourselves creatively to become a better, creative professionals? 

Interested to read Part 1 of Designer's Survival Kit? Click here.

Notice: Kindly credit my name and my references for any of external publication or quote to your thesis, R&D, article in any online or offline media. Writer's point of view does not reflect current position in any company and it's based on past experiences and encounters. Thank you


Thursday, September 13, 2012

How does one measure success?

I came across a tweet by an American writer, Richard D. Walker (who had instantly became a good virtual friend). He tweeted: "Successful people solve more problems than they create. Unsuccessful people create more problems than they solve. Which one are you?"

It makes me curious. How does one define success? How does one measure success?  

My interpretation of success is very up front. Being successful does not measure by a 'stereotype' high standards of high economical status but being emotionally and physically contented. 

When one person is contented followed by great maturity through great leadership and wisdom, you are successful. Even if a children who can create a science project with good result without fully depend on their teachers or parents, they are most likely a successful person because they foresee vision of success. They are in control of their success because of their will and determination. In fact, what makes a person  successful is about taking responsibility and accountability to produce great result.

For example, if a fishermen who can support and manages a family, have a loving wife and capable of bringing up his children with proper education, would he already become a successful person? Yes.

If we are single, able to support our parents or family financially, have a stable career, perform charity or 'zakat' (alms), free from mountains of financial debts, have less drama in our lives, moreover surrounded by people who constantly shower us affections and encouragements, would we achieve success? Indeed, we are successful.

Furthermore, I second to what Richard had mention about 'unsuccessful people create more problems than they solve'. If one fail to comprehend being successful with the right attitude, great wisdom and a good persona, would they become unsuccessful? 

What happens if you have a big house, a great career yet discontented with no one at home, a wife nor children who aren't attentive to shower you affection, to listen to you when you feel down, thus leaving you in solitude and insecurity, do we define ourselves successful? 

If one person, for example, have an obnoxious attitude, threatening and demoralizing others by making their lives difficult, would that create more tension, stress and add more problems than becoming a person who can tolerate to provide a solution, would he or she define themselves as a successful person?

So which one are we? 

Richard D. Walker is the author of 'It's My Life! I Can Change If I Want To' and the book is available on Amazon: and follow his twitter at