I write about human-centric management on Human+Business, Product Designer @ Anywhr, Co-Founder @ Hubblic, CS @ Goldsmiths, UOL

I took these 5 steps to negotiate for more.

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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Three months ago, I was hired as a UI/UX Designer for a travel startup despite having no experience or formal training. Within a few weeks, I ran a design exercise to ideate with the team for a full feature. I was fortunate enough to be hired during this period, but the internship pay isn’t enough to feed me whilst juggling a computer science major.

Hence, after three months (give or take), I decide to ask the founder for a pay raise — specifically, a 20% increase.

The reality is, pay raises don’t just fall into your lap like that. It is natural for companies to not reward you for the good work you did, and fixed pay increments are usually minuscule to boot. You may be loyal to the company, and you might even dream of moving Trello cards to the “In Review” list when you sleep (I’m guilty of this), but the company doesn’t know that. …


I empowered myself by running a design workshop

Man pointing at whiteboard full of post-it notes during a meeting
Man pointing at whiteboard full of post-it notes during a meeting
Photo by Startaê Team on Unsplash

Two years ago, I was hired as a solo UI/UX Designer for a proptech startup. Today, I’m back in the startup world as a UI/UX Designer, this time for a travel startup, and I was hired while in the midst of a pandemic-stricken labour market. I was trusted despite my obvious lack of experience—an achievement to be proud of, but it has formed one of my biggest hurdles professionally.

Lacking formal education and armed with only one certificate in design thinking, I felt overpaid and underworked. Did I deserve to get hired during this period when there are so many others who are better? …


Five things I did to get hired during Covid-19.

A bird’s-eye view of a desk with an iMac, a MacBookPro, and papers scattered across the table.
A bird’s-eye view of a desk with an iMac, a MacBookPro, and papers scattered across the table.
Photo by UX Store on Unsplash

Two years back, I got hired as a solo UI/UX Designer for a proptech startup. It was a pre-seed startup where everything was so early; I might as well call myself a founder at that point. It began with general user research, then moving into designing the product to raise angel funding.

From wireframing to launching locally, it was a constant uphill battle as I struggled with not just my lack of experience, but a lingering imposter’s syndrome that incrementally bugged me after I left the company. I couldn’t stop thinking to myself: “do I know how to do UI/UX?” …


5 General Rules for Any Employer To follow

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Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Drew was supposed to wake up at 8 a.m., grab a coffee, and make toast just in time to munch on during the morning sprint meeting. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He grumbled: if only he went offline immediately after the “core hours” and ignored his manager, who sent him four texts each ten minutes apart. No toast makes a grumpy Drew, so he shuts off his camera for the morning meeting and thinks about smearing jam over the toast he’s going to make later. Nothing from the meeting went into his head.

Drew’s situation isn’t unique (no, not the toast one). Had Drew ignored the messages, he would not be part of the 56% of executives that check work-related communications “almost constantly” outside of the office. In the past, this used to be after-hour Whatsapp messages or calls: a new paradigm shift came when Slack and Teams entered the market as a work communication tool. …


Three Things That a Manager Should Never Do When Remote working

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Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

I’m not entirely sure what is my routine anymore. Since I don’t commute to work anymore, I find myself snoozing my alarms a little bit more often than usual. In the past, 5 minutes after waking up, I would’ve been slathering myself with soap under the shower. These days, I wake up just in time for the meeting in the morning (thank God we aren’t doing video calls) — sometimes I would opt not to show up and simply be “online” on Slack.

Around lunchtime, I’d either get on Foodpanda or whip something real quick (usually a sad excuse for nutrition). Sometimes this gets delayed because of a meeting that went longer than usual, or when I don’t feel like leaving my office chair. …


Productivity starts from being accountable, even when no one’s watching.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

In Singapore, the circuit breaker — a euphemism for a lockdown, began in April. It sent many office workers who are deemed non-essential back to their homes, with their work all conducted in their abodes. Like Singapore, countries all around the world pushed for national lockdowns to prevent further community spread, thus accelerating the remote work movement.

With most work decoupled from the physical office, remote workers have had a lot of time to form new habits and routines. Companies adopted different work policies (e.g. …


A toxic, ridiculous mentality is being dismantled one Zoom call at a time — or is it being reconstructed?

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Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

With the sunlight creeping into the bathroom through the glass, he sat on the toilet, hair unkempt and teeth unbrushed. A regular, usual routine that lasts no more than 15 minutes before getting ready for work is now involuntarily extended as he stares intently at his phone screen.

His thumb scrolls as his eyes darts left to right. There were hashtags, messages directed to him, and some long paragraphs across each channel that he had to look through. …


Working from home requires a different type of environment

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Setting your workplace environment at home is radically different than working from home.

Today’s office workers have been heavily decoupled from the workplace. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the remote work movement was accelerated; regulations and health concerns forced many businesses to conduct their daily operations at home if possible. The office is now on Slack, meetings are held on Zoom—you’ve heard of these analogies.

Unsurprisingly, there was an initial pushback when office workers had to adapt. There was no semblance of a structure since you’re now working in the comfort of your home. Employers were afraid of employees not being productive and struggled to relieve themselves of the presenteeism mindset. …


3 reasons why early-stage startups should do it

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The era of “no-code” developers is here

App and web developers will baulk when they hear “no-code developers”; an oxymoron in itself, it is bringing a new era for many entrepreneurs and agencies to design the websites of their dreams, without having insofar a single slick of coding knowledge.

The world has seen the rise of website builders during the heyday of Wix and Weebly, but it has its flaws — they own the website, and you lose everything you made if you cancel your subscription.

Enter the world of “no-code”, built based on the infinite potential of coding, for consumers who merely desire a way to build phenomenal sites without seeing thousands of lines of codes. At one point, it seemed to pose a threat to the many developer rice bowls out there: will they eventually replace developers in the long run? …


The Post-pandemic era has “disrupted” the world again with remote work possibilities, but are our jobs really in danger?

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Your competition is all over the world — at least, not yet.

The pandemic has cemented an inevitable future of distributed teams. The euphemism that has been circulating looks like this: Zoom calls will replace communications, Slack #channels will digitize office space, and no one will care about where you’re located as long as you get the job done.

Meanwhile, businesses are fattening their wallets with the possibilities of shaving off excess office space — some going as far as to proclaim that the “office is dead”. Gone are the days of heading to the pantry to make instant coffee: now I just get it done with food delivery or my pre-roasted beans. …

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