Category Archives: Work

One Thing For Your Daily MUST DO List: Get Out of the Pile!

Activate This Amazing Attitude At Work or School and Watch the Results Roll In

Now this is a commitment you ought to make at the start, middle and end of every year: to get out of the pile! According to the Oxford dictionary, A pile is “a heap of things laid or lying one on top of another.” As you read, think about the definition.

At work, at school, in your relationships - are you just another pumpkin in the pile? Or are you out of the pile, and distinct because of your work and attitude? Photo by smee.bruce
At work, at school, in your relationships – are you just another pumpkin in the pile? Or are you out of the pile, and distinct because of your work and attitude? Photo by smee.bruce

I found this excellent tidbit entitled ‘Get Out of the Pile’ while reading a book entitled Thinking for A Change by John Maxwell.

The piece describes an attitude that, thankfully, I have tried to adopt for many years prior to my reading this book (my original influence was a simple verse). It really works. I have found in my own life that employers greatly respect and value this type of attitude .

Continue reading One Thing For Your Daily MUST DO List: Get Out of the Pile!

It’s Not Who You Know, But What You Know After All

Study Proves Intelligence More Important for Success than Your Socioeconomic Background

 Here is some refreshing news for every brilliant (and diligent) worker or student from a poor socioeconomic background. You may not have all the connections (“links”) to get the top jobs immediately, however, it is now demonstrably clear that if you keep doing your best at whatever job you do get – your time will come.

In the long run, it seems that it really is more about WHAT you know and what you can do as opposed to WHO you know, that will determine how successful you can become. | Photo by Lost in Transit [Keep St Joe Weird]

Intelligence Vs. Socioeconomic Background (SEB)

According to a 25 year long study by researchers at the Tel Aviv University, “When intelligence and socio-economic background (SEB) are pitted directly against one another, intelligence is a more accurate predictor of future career success.”

Professor Yoav Ganzach of TAU’s Recanati School of Management believes that his study, which has been published in the journal Intelligence, should encourage “those who can’t rely on nepotism for their first job placements.”

For the privileged ones who can rely on the friends of mommy and daddy to get jobs, the writing on the wall is clear – links can only take you so far.

“Your family can help you launch your career and you do get an advantage, but it doesn’t help you progress. And once you start working, you can go wherever your abilities take you,” Professor Ganzach said.

How IQ Impacts Wages

The study involved survey data of 12,868 Americans from 1979 through 2004. Participants were interviewed twice each year. Some were eliminated for various reasons to ensure intelligence and SEB were the two main variables.

Intelligence: The results of each participant’s Armed Forces Qualifying Test were used to measure intelligence.

SEB: A participant’s parental education, family income, and the occupational status of the parents was used to measure SEB.

According to Professor Ganzach, by examining the participants over an extended period (25) “from the beginning to the middle stages of their careers, it was possible to obtain an accurate picture of the influence of each factor on their economic success.”

“Taking into account each participant’s rate of advancement throughout the career arc, the data confirmed that while both intelligence and SEB impacted entry-level wages, only intelligence had an influence on the pace of pay increases throughout the years. When looking at rates of advancement, intelligence won out over SEB in terms of career advancement.”

The Takeaway

Nepotism will only get you so far. Once you have gotten the job, your success is up to you. | Photo by DrJohnBullas

1. Networking is Still Very Important

Go ahead and network as connections can impact where you start out. Prof Ganzach did find that “those from a wealthy family tended to start higher on the office totem pole with better entry-level wages.”

2. Networking and Nepotism is Not Final

Once you get your foot in the door – where you end up is your decision. “Prof. Ganzach’s research discovered a direct correlation between intelligence and an upward wage trajectory, defined as the rate at which an employee was rewarded with salary raises.”

3. Don’t Discount Other Factors

You should note that this study only focused on intelligence versus SEB. It did not take into account other factors that affect career success like “personality, social skills, and the ability to work well in a group — all factors that influence advancement.”

Well what do you think? Please share.

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The Big Exam Question: Do I Do Past Papers?

The Values and Pitfalls of Using Past Papers in Your Exam Preparation.

[dropcap style=”1″ size=”3″]O[/dropcap]pinions at exam time are like onions in a crowded Jamaican market – almost every other person has a pile at their feet. Everybody is shouting at you from a mile away about how great their onions are and why you should buy from them.

Yikes! What do I do now?! Cue cards? Past papers? Group study? Revision classes? Do I read my notes alone or the text book? Do I write essays? So many things to do, so little time!! | Photo by Joybot

It’s coming down to the wire now, and as you ought to know by now, your exam preparation time is as precious as your market money.  Just like you cannot spend all your market money buying the loudest person’s stinking onions (and forget to buy everything else to go with the meal), so you cannot afford to spend all your time doing whatever the loudest person tells you. You need to ensure that whatever you do, is effective.

So, Should You Do Past Papers?

Probably – based on what I have learned from watching the first 4 videos in Professor Stephen Chew’s series: How to Study Long and Hard and Still Fail or How to Get the Most Out of Studying.

Photo by CHRISSPdotCOM

The key is found in Chew’s explanation of the difference between what he calls, shallow processing and deep processing of information.

Shallow Processing:  Take this approach and you probably won’t remember the information very well or be able to apply it with any skill during your exam.  Reading non-stop, highlighting chunks of passages and cramming 1000 memory cards of isolated facts is the pinnacle of shallow processing. You may pass, but you won’t do your best.

Deep processing:  This approach doesn’t promote isolated memorization. It promotes learning. It will ensure you remember and are apply to apply information in the exam. Asking yourself questions after reading, applying the information to your personal experience, testing yourself with the information in the way the teacher will test you – all of these promote deep processing.

From this information, based on Professor Chew’s series, it is clear to see that using past papers in your exam preparation is definitely a smart thing.

Warning About Past Papers

Photo by ptufts

As I said to a friend one day :

“The thing about past papers are that, well, they are in the past!”

Note well, the point of doing past papers is not to build your expectations of the future exam but to strengthen your knowledge of the examinable material. There is a very big difference. The exam may not come in the same way or with the same emphases. There are, therefore, several things to remember about past papers:

1.     You should do multiple years and topics.

I am often tempted to do one year’s paper per course and then feel pretty satisfied – horrible idea. If there are 15 examinable topics and only 5 questions per paper, if you only check one paper, you will miss 10 topics.

2.     You should contrast the past issues tested with the topics your own teacher emphasized.

The general topic may be the same but the emphasis may be completely different in your year. One year may be more procedure based, another more concept based another more fact based.

(“Now Andrew, time to take your own advice.”)

Are you a fan of using past papers? Do they usually help or harm you?

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How to Study Long and Hard and Still Fail Miserably

[dropcap style=”1″]T[/dropcap]hrowing darts at a tiny bulls-eye from about 30 feet across the room with a sprained wrist is how I would describe my past exam preparation and exam taking experiences.  Who knows what to do? Just give it your hardest shot. Hit or miss at least you gave it your best, right?

Photo by ktpupp

Wrong. If you genuinely care about learning, about your development and about your future then you, like me, must come to a point where you crave insight into how you can do better at school. Same goes for work by the way – understanding those new models to improve your output. Continue reading How to Study Long and Hard and Still Fail Miserably

Why You Should Probably Skip the All-Nighters This Exam Period

Every student knows the feeling.  It’s like the desire to succeed in school, though quiet all year, gains herculean strength every November – December or April – June as we anxiously begin to prepare for final exams. Suddenly it seems like the only way to avoid the F of your life, is to spend almost every waking (and non-waking) hour cramming your brain.

STOP – step away from that can of Red Bull. Before you down yet another 5 Hour Energy with a cocktail of caffeine capsules, you really should pause and consider whether studying all-night will truly give you the results you expect. Continue reading Why You Should Probably Skip the All-Nighters This Exam Period