berthahenson

Stressed out kids

In News Reports, Society on December 21, 2012 at 12:32 am

I don’t know about you but I got pretty angry reading the page 1 of Today on what poly students said at the Singapore Conversation. They wanted a stress-free environment with a four-day work week. Which mean, they want their weekends plus a mid-week break. That’s because, said one, people will get tired over the week and would have to drag themselves to work on Fridays if they didn’t rest in between. And this is from someone who hasn’t yet entered the workforce full-time…Sheesh. Is this the sort of values we’re passing on to our next generation? What rubbish is this? Not even in the workforce and already talking about stress?

Are the students reading about what’s happening in Singapore today? About the tight labour crunch? Read BT’s page 1 today for a taste of what’s it like in the F&B industry where restaurants have to trim hours of operation because they can’t get foreign workers to work the kitchen or the tables. Go look at how the SMEs are doing – some are moving out because they can’t get staff. Are these jobs which the poly grads will do? The thing is, the underlying assumption in their request for stress-free work week is that they WILL definitely get a job when they graduate. The wish-list would be quite different if Singapore wasn’t so successful in providing jobs for the people.

You know, if our next generation can’t take the stress, then they might want to work part-time. It’s a popular offering among companies which offer flexi-work arrangements according to media reports today. But I suppose working part-time wouldn’t entitle you to same full-time benefits – and you can bet that people will howl at that. It’s a no-win situation. Our next generation wants no stress, all perks. It’s enough to make a Singaporean cry.

On flexi-work, I have no clue what ST was trying to do with the mass of numbers it was given. I think it believes it’s making reading easier but it doesn’t, especially since someone decided that some percentages should be converted to ratios of 10 and other fractions – but not others. You end up wondering what is less than one in 10 employers – half a body? And it just makes it tough to compare numbers when the base is different.
Take a look:

THE push to improve work-life balance through flexible arrangements is making slow progress. Just over four in 10 employers say they provide them, up from 38 per cent last year. But this mostly entails staff doing part-time work. Other options such as flexi-time or telecommuting were offered by less than one in 10 employers, according to a survey released yesterday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
The poll of 3,500 private- and public-sector firms looked at employment conditions including working arrangements, leave entitlements and sick days taken. It found that 41 per cent of employers offer at least one form of work-life arrangement…
However, part-time work was by far the most common option, offered by a third of firms. All the other options were provided by fewer than one in 10 companies.
Flexi-time, the second most common, was offered by 8 per cent of firms. And just 4 per cent gave staff the option of telecommuting, which means using information technology to work from outside the office.

Take a look at this one par in Today. Isn’t it so much easier to read?

Forty-one per cent of establishments offered at least one form of work-life arrangement to their employees this year, up from 38 per cent last year. Working part-time was the most common work-life arrangement offered by 33 per cent of establishments. At a distant second was flexi-time (8.2 per cent), followed by staggered hours (7.5 per cent) and tele-working (4 per cent).

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  1. On #1 – Chill, once they actually have to foot the bill for life in general, they’ll be working pretty hard soon enough.

    On #2 – Someone decided that it’s nicer to have variety in a paragraph, like how you try to avoid having the same word twice in a paragraph (see?). But it makes for horrible analysis. Classic case of not knowing WHY you are writing what you are writing.

  2. Why has Singapore never created anything of particular value to the world? It starts with building a conducive environment to work and to innovate. For the O Levels, our students are made to parrot out things like “in Singapore, our people are our greatest natural resource”, which everybody knows is nonsense because employers don’t treat workers that way.

    Benefits are an investment on your human resources. Everyone says they would rather have $500 extra salary than $500 of “frivolous” benefits like a chilled drinks bar / massage room / daycare centre / chef-cooked meals, which is common in Silicon Valley startups. But in practice most people choose the benefits, and greatly appreciate things like additional independence, provision of which costs the employer nothing.

    We’ve got smart, creative people. But you gotta invest in them to achieve great things. Give them real benefits, a good working environment, genuine independence, and more free time. Invest in them as human beings, not as workers who need “continual retraining”.

    The government is all about “retraining”, a concept which makes just about every civil servant out there roll their eyeballs. Is there a need to send teachers on 100 hours of course time a year, in addition to their daily working hours? You really think our teachers, most of whom are university graduates, are so damn obtuse that they couldn’t figure out for themselves how a mindmap works?

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