Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Who can I afford to hire if I incorporate?

 My classes have become more fun thanks to two reasons. 

This first is that it is longer - We have 4 days of webinars where students get to digest my material at a more reasonable pace. This frees up the one day face to face session for pure practical exercises and student engagement. 

The second is that my course is going through a mini-recession - my classes are smaller, so I get to have better conversations with my students. 

Consequently, I can be more candid during my lessons and I get to share some of the challenges I see in the future. For this class, I have at least one HR professional, so the topic of incorporating a start-up and who to hire was discussed. Also, thanks to Delane Lim's online tirade against younger workers, readers may be interested to know how to think about hiring.

Initially, my thoughts were to hire a designer or UX expert to complement my lack of design aesthetic, or even do up the CSS that I really hate doing for my website. According to the HR professional, that's actually not a very good idea because the market for UX and design folks is quite hot and I'd end up paying top dollar for perhaps mediocre design skills. No employer's market there. 

So I ask her a point-blank question - who do employers skip in this job market? This is a reasonable question because right now, I can design a job for my employee provided that this person exercises initiative and would be willing to learn.

She said that odds improve greatly if I am willing to take on students who do Fine Arts.  So basically the "non-essential" types. I don't understand why bosses discriminate in the industry because I'm pretty sure a painter or artist can be taught to use Canva and a Theatre performer can be given a sales role. 

I think an intern from a Fine Arts institution would be a good fit for a business I am about to create. I won't outsource finance and I practically can do everything else, I just hate doing all the stuff to beautify my slides. Also, a big perk is that my intern gets to attend my course for free - makes a big difference if someone picks up the DIY investing skills when they are young. 

At the end of the day, the key debate is about the nature of employee hunger.

I've done some work in the public sector. The hungriest folks in Singapore are businessmen. There is nothing more pathetic than an SME boss who tails public servants to keep pandering for "collaborative opportunities". If you have a viable product, the most productive thing is to keep marketing it rather than to spend all that time in agencies.  It is not fair to ask employees to be hungry when the real hunger is for SGUNited income support and cheaper interns.

I think hunger is a low-class way to ask for someone who is conscientious. Someone who can delay gratification, show up on time, and deliver what was promised. The FIRE community folks are punctilious in the way they handle their personal lives, but they would hardly qualify as hungry people. 

Dr Wealth staff is super-conscientious, I wonder how Alvin Chow does it. I know, because I got paid this week. 

So I probably won't penalise a Fine Arts candidate who shows up with a Starbucks for an interview, but I would probably prefer a candidate from Bukit Timah because it is more consistent with my target market - my students are upper-middle class.

The problem arises where bosses do have a reason to discriminate - that is if Fine Arts majors really lack conscientiousness. I find that unlikely because, from what I know,  dance requires a ridiculous amount of personal discipline to master. I pay a lot of money for my daughter's art classes and what she can do takes time and amazes me. 

For that reason, I will risk getting flamed for sharing the second part of my conversation. 

The HR professional told me that if I can't get any design intern, there are plenty of "part-time RMIT" types looking for opportunities in the market. 

...just kidding.... 

I this age of cancel culture, I will not risk getting flamed for sharing this second part of my conversation!

Better luck next time !


  1. Basically lots of SGUnited interns. Not much risk to you, as you'll be paying $360 for a poly grad or $500 for uni grad. The only risk is if they are corporate spys lol!

  2. I doubt as a new business I have so much IP to steal. Also, investment training is very personality driven and it's hard to just take someone's material and monetize it.