One thing I learned from MBA

Reflecting what I had actually learned throughout my MBA courses… there’s one thing that strikes me quite hard, and that is… I may not be able to fit in the corporate world.

Everyday, you will see people “acting” as someone else, either pleasing their bosses to the max while neglecting their peers or direct reports, only work for self interest and not the company’s best interest, or finding ways to make themselves look better than the rest.

Sorry but I can’t do any of those, and I can’t force myself to work with people of such. At some point along the way I will get pissed and confront them. Some say I’m not mature, some say I should just follow the flow, some say I should be part of them. But I just can’t, I simply can’t go against my basic human principle.

Bureaucracy, ass kissing, politics. Hated them to the max, and yet that’s how most people got to climb to the top, and that culture will then spread and instil in the company just like cancer. But as people choose to embrace it, the whole company will become rotten and those who don’t play by their rules will eventually leave.

There are two ways for me to distill this situation. Either I remain as a nobody, don’t rise to the top in my career, just do my job and do it very well and don’t get me involve in any of those shits as I’m not interested in it; or I make it to the top and start to make a change? It will probably be hard as I never play by their rules.

Perhaps leaving the corporate world is the best solution for me? I wonder…

A little lost

Feeling a little lost lately. People around me has been asking me: “what are you going to do after graduating from your MBA?” It seems like everyone is expecting something from me… either a job change, a promotion, or perhaps starting my own business?

To be honest, I have no idea. There will not be any promotion happening any time soon. Will I be changing my job? Well, probably. Starting my own business? Not at the moment. I’m a little lost and can’t seems to figure out my next step. If I’m going to change my job, what role or industry do I wish to be in? I am yet to have the time to really sit down and think about it, and hence even me want to know the answer to it.

It brings back the memory of the old days when I felt lost about my future as well. Back when I was 17 years old, I was trying to decide whether to go for A level or local STPM; back when I was 20 years old, I was trying to decide which degree I should take; back when I was 24 years old, I was trying to decide which job I should apply for; and when I was 28 years old, I was pondering whether to continue to work in my home country or look for opportunities oversea.

Well, it happens, once in a while. Perhaps feeling lost is a good thing, at least i know that I’m trying to look for ways to better my life, to make a change, to keep moving. I’m glad that there are those who care about me, who wished me luck, who thanked me for what I had done so far in work. Hopefully I will manage to find my answer soon. Till then.

Isolating myself from the world

It’s been awhile where I felt everything around me seems to be noise. Noise of people talking loud, noise of people playing music and video on their phone in the public, noise from buses and trains I ride daily, noise from everywhere, anywhere…

“I had enough!”

That’s exactly my thought, and perhaps is time to look for ways to relief myself from all the noise. Wireless noise cancelling headphone seems to be the only choice to me as they offer great active noise cancellation, passive isolation with over-ear ear cup design, and long lasting battery life that can last me throughout the day.

Few months ago I had been searching high and low for a pair that fits my needs. Beats Studio Wireless 3 seems to be a no brainer choice due to its W1 chip that paired easily with any Apple devices that I owned. I know a lot of people complaint about its sound quality, but I’m actually okay with it. But the comfort and build quality seems really subpar.

Bose offers Quiet Comfort 35 II which is the most comfortable headphone I had ever tested, but it’s sound quality is just… not great, or should I say doesn’t suit my taste. Sony WH-1000XM2 is the closest rival to the Bose, although sound quality and noise cancellation does perform better than the Bose, but it’s not comfortable to wear, especially for people who wear spectacles like me. Other wireless earbud that offers noise cancellation simply has very short battery life for me to even begin to consider them. In the end, I stopped my search and declared that I shall live with the noise pollution… and then came the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Sony WH-1000XM3 was released awhile ago and soon demo unit came in the store. I quickly pay a visit to the nearest shop and gave it a test run. I was generally impressed with the improvement and hence pre-ordered one. Since then, I had been using it almost daily here in the hot and humid tropical country of Singapore, and here’s my humble impression on using this headphone together with my other gears such as iPhone, iPad Pro and iMac.

Disclaimer:

  • I am not audiophile. My daily driver prior to this was Apple’s AirPod.
  • I have not use headphone in long term before as I had never been able to find one that fits me.
  • I spend half of my time working in the office, while another half of my time visiting site and meeting customers.
  • I commute on daily basis via bus and train, walking on the streets and occasionally travelling overseas on plane.

With that aside, let’s dive into my experience of using it. Connectivity is key for wireless headphone, but this headphone only rocks Bluetooth 4.2. Despite that, the connection has been fairly stable and I had not experience much interference and zero drop off. Of course it would be good if Sony includes Bluetooth 5.0 here, oh well. One issue with the headphone is the lack of multi devices support, basically you will need to manually disconnect from one device before you can connect to another one. Hot swapping is not available, hence I am using this headphone on my iPhone only at the moment. A big step down from my AirPod but I think I can live with it for now.

Another important aspect for wireless headphone is battery life, and I can assure you that you need not to worry about it for this headphone. Solid battery life as advertised, perhaps the best in its class. Quick charge via USB C port is also available if you need emergency top up.

The overall build quality of the headphone is very solid and nice. It does look like it will last me for awhile, but the smooth plastic surface on the ear cup can attract quite some fingerprints from my sweaty palm, and I can foresee minor scratches will develop as time goes by. I would much prefer the older design with rough leather-like texture on the ear cup. Another concern is the faux leather headband, not sure how well will it hold up against abrasion in long run. Overall, there isn’t much of plasticky and “screeching” sound when you move it around, which gives an overall more premium and satisfying feel to it.

Currently there isn’t any waterproof feature on this headphone, it would be good to at least have splash proof design as often I will commute in the rain, it’s good to have a peace of mind that my headphone will survive some drizzle. The overall weight of the headphone is okay, of course if Sony can shave another few grams off would be even better.

The fit and comfort is miles ahead of the previous generation. I managed to get a pretty good fit and it doesn’t clamp on my face, ears and spectacles too much until discomfort arise, although I do need to make sure it is put on at the exact sweet spot to avoid adjustment later on. However, in the humid climate of Singapore, I still sweat around the ear-cup area when I’m not using it in air-conditioned environment. I believe Bose has better overall comfort, but this headphone is very closely match indeed. The inner ear cup does heat up a little after long period of use, but it’s not causing discomfort to me. The touch control also work as advertised, and I do not have much problem with it at all.

This headphone is certainly not as portable as the AirPod, but it does allow me to rest it over my neck at times, where AirPod will require me to put them back into the case to avoid dropping them. Being a headphone, it has the bulk that I need to get used to. For instance, I need to be more aware of my surroundings before turning my head around to avoid bumping into something. Also, compared to AirPod, this headphone does not have the feature of auto pause music when you are not wearing it, which I kinda miss.

In terms of audio quality, my first impression was: “Gosh… I finally managed to hear all the notes and rhythm from my song collections!”. Out of the box the audio quality was okay, but after tweaking the equalizer a little, you will get pretty much an amazing sounding headphone for most genres of music. However, that’s not the case for video. There’s latency when watching video, voice will came across a tiny fraction of second delayed from your video. Argh… this is where the AirPod really shine with it’s W1 chip. This headphone support LDAC codec, which is Sony’s high quality music file transfer protocol via bluetooth. But as Apple user, this is meaningless as we can only transmit AAC codec via bluetooth.

And last but not least, the noise cancellation performed superbly. I managed to listen clearly to my music at volume of around 15-20% as opposed to 50-60% when I’m using my AirPod. Thanks to the noise cancellation, most of the noise pollution has been blocked off from my ears. Impressive, or perhaps magical. But just to be clear, it doesn’t completely silent the world around you like you would have imagined, it’s more like suppressing them in order for you to listen to your music. So once noise cancellation is on and music playing… you will hardly hear noise from the outside world. There are a lot of customizations that you can do on the noise cancellation, but I just leave it at maximum cancellation most of the time.

All in all, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is a great pair of wireless noise cancelling headphone that really worth the price. Hopefully I can get used to or work around some of the quirks of this headphone and make full use of it. But honestly, deep in my heart I’m still waiting for technology advancement on noise cancelling earbud. If the day of long battery life, true wireless noise cancelling earbud arrive, I will probably go with that instead of a headphone. Till then.

Time management?

I can still recall when we wanted to do a group project, some of the members said they were not free because they need to complete other tasks first. And then you will see all sort of other reasons given when we were planning for a meeting. This happened all the time, and perhaps on you and me as well. We always complaint that we are busy, we do not have time to do this and that, but when you take a step back and see, where have you spent all your time on?

I used to play a lot of games on my phone when I’m commuting. In the end, I ended up having “no time” to read news or to do other things at night after work, no time to exercise, no time to read, no time to social with friends and so on. In the end, I decided to stop playing games on my phone all together, and suddenly I realized that I have spare time now to read books and news while I’m commuting.

I’m not saying you should stop playing mobile games just like me. My point is, everyone has the same 24 hours a day in our life, it’s up to us to decide what to do with it and stop making excuse for not doing it. For me, I chosen to drop mobile game because I realized that it brings no value to me other than entertainment, and I can easily get entertained while reading too. Furthermore, reading books will add more values to me by giving me different perspectives, learning new things and so on.

Back to the case of group project, so why others can manage their time better and make the commitment to spare time for the group work while some can’t do it? I wonder. But when things like this happened, it breaks the harmony and rhythm, which I found very disturbing. You need to be responsible for your action, especially those that will affect others.

I’m not a guru in time management, and I’m still working very hard and learning everyday. Hopefully one day I will stop saying “I’m too busy for this or that”.

A simple mind

Life is complicated. That’s the common quote that people tend to use. But sometimes I wonder… is life being complicated… or ourselves?

That day, I was sitting in a small and simple coffee shop down the street of Hanoi. There’s no branding, no air-conditioning, no customer service, no music playing in the air. As I sat there sipping a cup of Vietnamese coffee, I look out on the street like all other local did. I saw people carrying stuffs on their shoulder and start selling them as they walk across the street. I saw people riding bicycle and carrying their goods around and selling them. I saw people just sat beside the road, placing a pot of soup and boiling water next to them and started selling noodles.

It struck me on various ways seeing how the locals were doing businesses. It’s pretty amazing how simple it can be, with limited budget, zero marketing, not even a store front, one can start their business and earn a living out of it. Of course such business model may not scale, but the point is, they wanted a simple life, and hence they do things the simple way.

A lot of times, we will complain about our difficulties and dissatisfactions, but perhaps those were due to our “complicated” expectation and desire, making us felt we have failed, we are loser. I may sound like I’m against setting expectation and desire high, but that’s not my intent. My take on this is, life is not complicated, but we are. If we are to make our life complicated, thus it will become complicated. It’s always about choices we made. We are the one who decides whether our life will be a simple one or a complicated one.

Am I having a complicated life? Well, at this point of time, not really. Although I do challenge myself constantly to do more, but I treat them as a form of growth for myself. There were times when things got out of control, but that’s okay. I view them as part of the learning journey, the experience of life. Hence, things got less complicated. You have the choice to define your life, why not take it easier and less complicated instead? 🙂