Thursday, January 26, 2012

844. Character and Competence of interns and new employees

To: The young interns and employees

Please note that you may want to do everything in a project at once according to your "better" way and your timing with no limits. That is the mark of your internet generation. But that takes lots of times and in the end, you take so much time that "opportunity costs" (if this is the correct word) have passed you by.

What I usually suggest to my younger interns at Toa Payoh Vets is to produce results within 3 days by doing smaller segments of the project.

For example, in doing a stock inventory of drugs, I have this young man, Mr Lim who has taken 2 months and has not been able to produce the complete list of unit pricing etc. This is because he tries to do all categories at one time. I have asked him to do one category at a time e.g. "Prescription Diets", then "Eye Drops" and that should be the way to produce results to show to your boss that you have achieved some results for discussion and editing.

The google generation will always switch on their computer to do the writing. Sometimes, a piece of paper and pencil achieve faster results.

I hope you will be open to receiving instructions to adopt the existing processes and not try and do new things for the time being.

By "opportunity costs", I mean that the opportunity to make money has slipped by if a person takes a long time to produce results like trying to get every information about a big project in place.

In the commercial world, performance counts and time is money. For the youths, time is eternal and I note that many simply waste their time daily in not being productive, efficient and able to accept instructions from old fogies whom they think are outdated and close-minded.

Old fogies have learnt from the hard knocks of life and some processes and systems have been produced through trials and errors that are not explained to the interns instantly, due to lack of time, pressure of work and the need to assess of the intern's motivations and diligence.

It takes a lot of time to explain the rationale of why the processes and systems are being used and unless the intern or youth has shown character and competence, there is so much the old fogies have to perform such that there is little time to just talk about the history of why certain tasks need to be performed in the present situation.

If there are improvements and innovations, the youths can propose later. But first, the new intern or employee must learn to adopt existing processes first and become productive. Performance and prompt results count in the commercial world and this is not taught in the junior colleges and universities, in my observations of the interns and new employees.

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