Sunday, December 09, 2007

Paradise Island

Local food! Conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, etc.



















Kalik's Bahama's local beer. Beer... yuck!



















CONCH! It's so yummy~














Stingray















Thursday, November 29, 2007

Woohoo

Next week, we're going to the BAHAMAS! I'm so excited. We loved it when we went by cruise in May. This time, we're flying there, and we're staying at the famous Atlantis Resort. On top of that, we're staying at the 5 star Royal Tower.

I am dying for some sunshine and warmth.

Monday, October 22, 2007

花ざかりの君たちへ

A few weeks ago, Rob and I just finished the drama 花ざかりの君たちへ (Hanazakari no kimi tachi e). It was one of the most entertaining show. Go watch it! In a snapshot, it's about a girl who dresses up as a guy to go to an all-male school. The "cultural shock" is priceless. Why would a bunch of guys cheer to Avril Lavigne's song, "Girlfriend." Hey Hey you you; I want to be your girlfriend?!?! And, why would the beautiful ballroom dance be accompanied with the song, Amazing Grace?!?!

Maybe the music crew was high when they chose the songs.


With Japanese Dramas, there have been ups and downs. I have seen some bad ones like
喰いタン (Kuitan). Hopefully, the next drama, プロポーズ大作戦 (Proposal Daisakusen) won't be a disappointment.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jersey Shores '07

Keeping up with the tradition, Rob and I visited the Jersey Shores this year. This time, we were fortunate enough to find a good deal at the place we stay at every year. We visited Ocean City, Cape May, Seaside Heights, and Wildwood.

We also encountered the Seafood Festival. We ate a bunch of seafood and snacks on the boardwalk. Yummy! In addition, it was a beautiful long weekend. I definitely did not expect to go to the beach in October.

Fun, fun, fun~

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This Week in Food...

For the past 2 weekends, I made banana nut bread. It was a huge success. I have mastered every recipe that I have found online. Thereafter, Rob wanted a dish of his own. So, this weekend, he made marble cheesecake!















Look! ... if only he wore an apron.



















To complement the udon, we bought pre-made tempura. All we had to do was deep fry it. It was better than I thought it would be.



















At last, I made fried banana!! I always eat it whenever it is available in restaurants. Little did I know that it was so easy to make!


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Recruiters

On my second week of work, a guy walked in with a group of friends. He wanted me to open an account for him. Unfortunately, I am not finished with my trainings; so, I would be unable to do so. As a result, I gave him the personal bankers' business cards. However, he insisted that he wanted my number, and that he would wait for me to finish my trainings.

Perhaps, I was naive; I thought he really just wanted me to get the credit for it. However, the matter was not as simple as it appeared. On the next morning, I got a call from him. Apparently, he is a manager from Chase. He wanted to recruit me to his new branch that he will open in Manhattan. He figured that he can benefit from my Chinese language skill.

I told him that I am not a personal banker; instead, I am in the management program. He grew silent, and accepted my rejection.

I did not want to appear to be disloyal. Thereafter, when I told my co-workers, I told them that I wouldn't have considered it for a split second. On the other hand, they were giving me advice as to how to handle the situation. I was told that I should at least figure out how much he was to offer me. Obviously, when you're doing that, you're pulling people with a much higher offer. At the same time, another co-worker advised me that I should consider the location the next time.

Apparently, they were all too familiar with it. I guess, next time, I will ask how much they would offer me - just to cure my curosity. Then again, I am not going to become a personal banker when I'm in a training program to be an Assistant Manager.

Overall, everyone is surprised how quickly I was recruited. Now, I wonder, of all the customers, how many are there just to scout and shop?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My First Week of Work

My first week of work was rather interesting. My time at work is split into two halves. On one end, I am at the lobby helping out; on the other, I am doing independent study/training.

The highlight of my week was probably the video that I have watched on security/safety measures. It included a list of things I should do in case of robbery, health emergencies, natural disaster, etc. Since it is confidential, I don't think I will disclose the details.

New York is the center for everything. A few years ago, we had the 9/11 terrorist attack. In recent years, NYC has been notorious for blackouts. More recently, there was the steam pipe explosion last month. At last, I have heard 2 incidents last week that banks were robbed in the city. Not to mention that when it rains a little heavily, the subway stops running. So, as you can see, the video was definitely the most important thing I will ever learn for work.

Aside from that, I have gotten to know a bit about everyone at work. Right now, I just want to learn everything so I can start hitting my goals and get my bonuses/commissions.

On a lighter note, I got my name tag. Underneath my full name, it says "I can speak Cantonese" in Chinese. If only it was possible, my manager is probably dying to add "I can speak a little bit of Japanese/Mandarin, too." LOL. However, aside from Spanish, the only other non-English prospects I see are Koreans. Too bad I never tried to learn Korean seriously.

The best part of last week was probably my paycheck and my 3-day weekend. I'm so glad we have Labor Day off. We saw "Halloween," "A Battle of the Wits" (Chinese movie by Andy Lau), "28 Weeks Later," and Japanese drama. We also went to Dave and Buster (the adults' version of Chuck E Cheese) with a group of friends. Moreover, we went to the 3rd or 4th mall/outlet in the past 2 weeks to shop for work clothes/shoes.

At last, my biggest accomplishment yet- After our yummy slice of Banana Nut Bread at Starbucks, we made a whole loaf! It was so yummy and unhealthy. The ingredient included about a cup of sugar, a cup of butter, etc. I have never made something more successful.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Heh

22.55%

That is the percentage of total taxes withheld from my bi-weekly paycheck.

10.7% went to Federal Income Tax (FIT)
1.44% went to Medicare
6.2% went to Social Security
2.52% went to New York State Income Tax
1.68% went to Queens City Income Tax


What did my net pay equal to? Zero, practically.

This isn't even the end of it. I won't qualify for medical benefits until 2 months later. And, by then, I'll probably have my deductibles, too.

Aside from that, it was a pleasant surprise that my paycheck arrived in my mail exactly at the end of my first week of employment. =)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hospital -- Updated

My mom was discharged from the hospital this afternoon. We weren't notified until this morning. She's much better now.

So, what happened was... Her colon (large intestine) was infected. The most obvious symptom was her terrible abdominal pain. It has many factors - Diabetes, Old age, Lack of fiber, and lack of exercise. In general, she had bumps on her large intestine that popped. All of the puss leaked and caused an infection. They did a procedure where they had used a needle to take out the puss. Normally, if her part of her organs (ie. bladder) are not functioning properly, she would need a surgery. However, after the small procedure, some rest and antibiotics, she's better now.

My mom went to the ER last Friday, and she was diagnosed for Diverticulitis. After 11 hours at the ER with her, she was finally admitted to the hospital at 2 am.

Today, I visited her; she looks much better. On her first day at the ER, she was poked 9 times for blood sample and IV. Two nurses poked her about 6 times and missed. Finally, the doctor did the job in 1 shot. By now, 3 days later, she has probably been poked about 20 times.

Anyway, she had a small procedure two days ago, and she's fine now. She can finally eat. The case management team will review her status tomorrow to see if she can go home. There's a chance that she might need surgery.

After 11 hours in the ER, I have only noticed one thing - that no one knows anything. Maybe I'll explain next time when I'm not so sleepy.

My First Day

I need to write an entry to reflect on my work today.

At the banking center that I work at, there is a temporary Manager, Assistant Manager Associate (me), Small Business Specialist, 2 personal bankers, and about 4 tellers. The location is great. It's a 30 minute subway ride, and the station is right across the street. It's right at Grand Central Station.

Today, I worked a 9 to 5 schedule. The banking center only opens M-F from 8 am to 6 pm. So, my schedule will only have 3 variations - 8-4, 9-5, or 10-6. What sucks, however, is the lunch break. We only get a 30-minute lunch.

I saw the vault today. It was rather interesting.

Otherwise, it's extremely hectic. I was so tired from smiling.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Creme Brulee Secret

Here is an updated entry with the picture. As you can see, Rob just turned 5.















Google! I google everything. I found all of my yummy recipes online. I would even google a restaurant's recipe, and they usually have a copy-cat recipe of it. Please look at the link below for creme brulee.

http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/262/Easy_Creme_Brulee6793.shtml

Generally, I found this to be the easiest. Usually, they'll tell you to use the stove, and all kinds of stuff. For this, the oven does everything you need with the recipe. In addition, get the torch. It's fun. Rob and I have been burning all kinds of things, esp. marshmallow!

On a side note, I came across another recipe where it stated that the ingredient "Heavy Cream" is not called Heavy Cream in places outside of the United States. I think it's called Whipping Cream or something. Anyway, I got my Heavy Cream at the section where they store milk.

Oh, and, I had to bake it much longer than the directions given.

Good Luck, Hayley! It was easy and yummy. And, Honey... It was very very hard to make! And, only I was talented enough to make the yummy Creme Brulee for you. lol.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Next 5, 10 Years...

"Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10 years?" I get that question very often at job interviews. I generally just brush them off by saying that I believe in higher education, and I plan to enroll in MBA part time. More generally, I answer them by saying that I will be in a higher position. For example, for Citigroup's Business Analyst position, I told them that I see myself as a Senior Analyst or a General Manager. For Bank of America, I told them that I see myself at the cozy office that I was interviewed at.

Right now, my Assistant Manager Associate program is 12-24 months long. Hopefully, I will finish it in 12 months. As for Rob, he is still applying for Dental School for the entering class in Fall 2008. If time allows, I would like to make use of my tuition reimbursement and take classes. Perhaps, a master before I get my MBA? Realistically, that won't happen.

In the next 5 years, Rob will be busy as a student. Meanwhile, I will be busy getting my part-time MBA. If we're still in New York, I would attend NYU part-time. Otherwise, there isn't enough part-time programs available as of now; also, going to school full-time will not be feasible when I have to support my family. My dear uncle suggested that I should give my parents an obscene amount of money per month. He had such high expectations.

By Fall 2008, we will know what state we will be in. Subsequently, we will be living together. 5 years later, Rob will graduate from Dental School. He can then practice dentistry, or he will have to do residency to apply for specializations - ie. orthodontist, endodontist, periodontist, etc.

In the next 10 years? Who knows!

P.S. I am now convincing Rob to support my parents. LOL. I get to apply for Stanford's full time program, and we get to live in San Francisco! Woohoo!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Honey's Birthday

"Nobody likes you when you're 23." - What's My Age Again by Blink 182

Rob's 23rd Birthday was on Wednesday. We celebrated his 23rd birthday as if it was his 3rd. Majority of his presents were toys! On top of that, we went to the aquarium! -- but it was fun and the environment was pleasant. Originally, I planned to go snorkeling, shark dive, or the Linkin Park's concert. Unfortunately, my employer has been holding back 3 months' worth of my paychecks, and I'm $200 shy of being officially broke.

The both of us love to eat. For the past year, we have learned to make everything that we loved to eat in restaurants. One by one, we eliminated the choices of restaurants that we would go to. So far, we have eliminated Apple Bee's spinach dip, Ruby Tuesday's mini burgers, buffalo wings, fried calamari, Thai fried rice, Peter Luger's steak, Korean kalbi ribs, and many more! Soon, we will cook TGI Friday's fried macaroni, Red Lobster's stuffed mushrooms, and Houlihan's potato soup!

For Rob's Birthday Eve, we had - Seafood Fra Diavolo, Mussels, Shrimp Cocktail, and Creme Brulee! I'm so proud, esp. on the Creme Brulee~ They turned out to be perfect; it was my first time cooking these dishes, too! Oh, and Rob made me my favorite, new drink - Bahama Mama Rum!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Citigroup & Bank of America

I had the phone interview today with Citigroup. They have 5 openings, and they seem to be interested in me - more so, desperate.

The job pays around $60k US. I say, "around," because that's what I was told. However, this Business Analyst position, I would be expected to have 60-hour week. I can leave when I finish my tasks, but I can't if I don't. So, whereas, one day I may leave at 3 pm, the other I may have to stay until 8 or 9 pm.

Most Business Analyst within that department will be promoted after 2 years, or work at another department. The job description is interesting; I would be able to apply what I have learned from my Business Management degree.

Meanwhile, I am scheduled to start on Aug 27 at Bank of America. They don't open on weekends and there will probably be no overtime work needed. The lifestyle will be rather stable. My offer and benefits package is coming in the mail. Anyway, it looks like I will stay with Bank of America because the pay is similar when I include the bonuses.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dim Sum~

My father has 11 siblings, and my mother has 5. Over the Summer, my mom's oldest sister visited, and she will soon leave in September. As a result, we have planned a get-together this coming Saturday at a dim sum restaurant.

My boyfriend was invited. He will soon meet all of my relatives in the tri-state area. He already met 3 of them. Now, he will soon meet about 7 others -- assuming that my cousins won't show up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

About Interviews

LOL. It didn't fit in the comment box.

I have never had group interviews; I can imagine them to be intimidating. I tend to cure my curiosity by googling like crazy - so I'd know what I'm expecting. Generally, aside from the company's website, forums helped me a lot. I don't think I can give any advice besides the typical ones like be calm, confident, dress for success, etc. Instead, below are what I have done and questions I have been asked.

In general,
1. I have expressed great interests in the corporations with clear and objective reasons. I usually sound unusually optimistic. I'd remember a few stats about the company/industry that you can "show off". I tend to think that besides that I am suitable for the job, I'm usually just likable. For the Daiichi job interview, I made stupid jokes (they turned out to be very informal). For HSBC job, I spoke on a friend-level asking for advice as a Financial Advisor (he turned out to like my curiosity and interest about the job). Of course, however, speak professionally.
2. I have shown objective evidence that I have the experience in the position that I am applying for. If I didn't, I would tie in other experience that are closely related to it. I didn't have experience in sales, but I had experience in fundraising.
3. Ask questions; let your curiosity and interest show. Never ask questions that you can find out from the company's website.
4. Email the interviewers asap to thank them. Send a snail mail within a week to thank them.
5. Make sure you know what the position you are applying for entails! Make sure you know their job descriptions.
6. I'd review the qualifications for the job and make sure I address all of them when I am asked to describe myself. Like, if they're looking for a team player, I'd stress how I am a team player.


Daiichi Life:
1. Where do you see yourself in x years? - Getting my MBA; stressed on the importance of higher education to me.
2. Summarize your experience.
3. What do you think the difference is between Japanese and American? - Explained the difference between Asian's work ethics and Westerners' work ethics. (Racist comments, but they bought it and laughed)
4. What Chinese restaurant would you take the executive of Daiichi if he were to visit New York? - Peking Duck, Shanghai Food - soupy dumplings
5. What are some positive qualities you have? - Good work ethics, etc.
6. What are some negative traits you have? - I blanked out. I said I was a workaholic, and I have taken steps to balance my work and life. (The trick is to say something negative that isn't really negative)
7. Does that mean you are not as serious anymore? - No, blah blah blah.

HSBC (3 interviews)
1. Summarize your experience.
2. What do you know about Finance? - Nothing; I can never learn enough in classrooms.
3. What experience do you have with sales? - Fundraising; if I can convince alumni to donate $ to the school that they didn't even like, I can do anything with sales.
4. What are some positive qualities you have?
5. What are some negative traits you have? - I blanked out again. I said something about work and family again.

Bank of America (3 interviews, assessment, survey, phone interview)
1. Situational Q&A:
- If the customer disagree with your recommendation to open a certain account and s/he asked to speak with another personal banker, how would you handle this? - I would explain to them in detail why I have made the recommendation. If s/he insisted on speaking to another personal banker, I would allow it.
- How would you avoid similar problem in the future? - I would give detail explanation before suggesting a product/service. I would be less aggressive. I would present the recommendation as an only an option.
- How would you gather your information for a project that you have no experience in? - Internet, experienced peers
2. Phone Interview:
- What do you think the everyday life is for a personal banker? - Opening accounts, meeting sales goal
3. Interviews:
- Questions on language proficiency - situational question
- Role play for coaching an unmotivated subordinate who hasn't met their sales goal - (assistant manager & subordinate) - Ask open-ended questions, offer help, monitor what s/he did wrong, be sympathetic and asked if there were problems at home, etc.
- Role play for my experience at a fundraising environment (alumni & caller)
- Do you think tellers are important? - Extremely, because they deal with 90%+ of customers and they are essential for bring sales by referrals
- Why do you want to work for Bank of America? - Specific stats on its position in the industry; Growth / Sounded Optimistic (will soon be the benchmark in the industry and overall amoung all organizations)
- How did you hear about this position? - Were looking for management trainee position; it was the only one of its kind
- If you were the assistant manager tomorrow, how would you increase sales? - Since we can't pull customers in and tellers deal with most of the customer, I'd demand tellers to ask for referrals to see if the customer will open up accounts that they don't have based on our information of them. (They were impressed that I observed this as a customer.)
- What are some of the first things you would do if you were hired? - Make sure I know what the tellers are doing, because I wouldn't want to be managed by someone who doesn't know what I'm doing as well. I see that personal bankers and tellers may be segregated due to the duties/responsibilities. I can imagine that personal bankers who have worked for 1+ year and not know the tellers. Therefore, I would postpone getting to know peers who I work closely with and make sure I befriend the tellers first.
- Negative Traits - I blanked out yet again. (You'd think I would have a set answer by now) I made up something about how I treat my subordinates as merely subordinates, and I should listen to them on a level as a friend.

4. Survey:
- Behavioral questions on management - basic questions I already learned from my major
- ie. What's more important? - profit, employees, etc. - Employees

Staffing firms & others:
- Summarize your resume/experience.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I can always trust my supervisor (Doctor for occupational medicine) to be the cynical one when giving advices.

I have asked the career center for advice. They generally did not like the fact that I am going on another interview. On the other hand, the doctor put me back to reality. She said that employers can fire you without blinking an eye; so I should take on any opportunity as soon as I see one. It's true, especially when I have read heartfelt comments by former employees who were fired to cut cost by monstrous corporations like this.

Also, it makes me wonder. The positions have been subconsciously compared when speaking to others. I makes me realized how lowly people think of the Assistant Manager Associate job. I suppose so. In plain terms, I will start as a personal banker. Hmm...

Ah, when is she gonna call me to schedule the interview!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Business Analyst = Management Consultant!

I have never been so nervous about an interview before. All of my confidence is gone. Our whole idea that an interview is really yours to lose is gone. I applied with a cocky cover letter (because I had multiple job offers at hand). Now, my desire for the position is making me humble again.

After some research, I found out that the occupation Business Analyst is equivalent to Management Consultant. I favored the Bank of America's Assistant Manager Associate job earlier because it gives me the management experience I need to apply for top 10 MBA schools in the future. However, it just hits me now that the Business Analyst position is everything about management!

I am a nervous wreck! I still have to wait for the assistant/secretary to get back to me to confirm my interview appointment. I fit the qualifications perfectly, except for the preferred but not required consulting experience. Hopefully, my current title as a research analyst will help me win the job.

According to a the Association of Management Consulting Firms, typical earnings in 2004—including bonuses and profit sharing—averaged $52,482 for research associates in member firms; $65,066 for entry-level consultants; $89,116 for management consultants; $123,305 for senior consultants; $191,664 for junior partners; and $317,339 for senior partners. Only the most experienced workers in highly successful management consulting firms earn these top salaries.


Meanwhile, Bank of America has treated me well. Hey, I got a raise and a higher compensation before I started! I guess, I can never lose. The Bank of America's position is still more than I ever expected when I graduated.

Dilemma Again!

I accepted the Bank of America's Assistant Manager Associate position verbally. However, I was contacted by Citigroup today. The Bank of America is the perfect job. However, the position at Citigroup is "Business Analyst"! I always wanted to be a Financal Analyst or something at a cozy office without dealing with customers. The base pay is higher than that of the Bank of America. However, assuming that I get all of the bonus, it equals the same.

Ahh!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I'm Hired!

More importantly, I took the job!

AND, AND!-- T
hey increased my salary and compensation package! I was told how much I would make when I first applied - This way, they can screen out applicants. Now, they increased my salary by $6000 a year! Additionally, I was told that I wouldn't be able to receive the quarterly commissions until I become an Assistant Manager in 1.5-2 yrs. However, I qualify for that as well! I am qualify for at most $4000 per quarter - if I reach their sales goal. That's a possibility of $16,000 more!

Full benefits package - visions, dental, medical, 401k, and everything else!! More importantly, unlike other employers, I will be qualified for tuition reimbursements right away! And? Accounting classes!

Fortunately, there's a Bank of America wherever Rob and I decide to go in the near future.

P.S. I love interviews. I'm so good at them!

Friday, July 27, 2007

753

No, it's not my GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score. Boy, do I wish! (Note, the highest is 800.) The average score to get into Harvard Business is 720.

Instead, it is my credit score.

Your score is very high. As a result credit will likely be readily available to you, often at attractive rates. It is unlikely that your credit application would be denied based on this score alone. The fact that you have received such a high score implies that you scored the maximum (or very near the maximum) possible points for many of the aspects that are evaluated by the FICO score.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Baby Doctor

Who would have known that the guy who wears, "Trust me, I am a doctor" t-shirt would be operating alongside with an endodontist. For the past weeks, Rob has been shadowing an endodontist, stitching up patients and doing root canals. I still remember the horrifying moment when he came back the first day telling me that he operated on patients.

I haven't written about my boyfriend for a while. He took his Dental Admission Test in June. Now, I await for him to apply for dental schools. This will all determine our residency in the years to come.

Meanwhile, Bank of America is reassigning me to another town. In other words, I won't be working full-time for the next month. I will continue to go on interviews. On the other hand, I found out that my part-time position is Research Analyst! Woohoo!

After I graduated, I had to redo paperworks to continue to be employed by my part-time employer. When I was in school, I was an intern. Then, I thought we agreed to the title, "Project Aide." However, I just checked my employee/student account, and it shows "Research Analyst."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Last Interview?

Today, I had a final interview with the Bank of America's Banking Center Manager and Assistant Manager. After my final meeting with HSBC, I have grown to prefer the position at Bank of America. The branch is new; it is less than an year old. Although the branch is small, it is comfortable.

Generally, banking centers have very spacious cubicles. This one, on the other hand, has very small rooms. Hey, a room is a room. Then again, even with the door closed, I'll have no privacy with the glass door and window.

The branch's structure is as follow: In management, listing from the top, there is the Manager, the Assistant Manager (what I would ultimately become in approx. 1.5 years), and the Supervisor who trains/manages tellers. In the sales area, there are the bankers and the tellers, totaling about 10 other people. Once again, I'll start out as a personal banker. Then, I'd move on to become the second in command for the branch in 1-2 yrs.

I had the hardest interview today. I had to speak Mandarin! Mandarin-skill is extremely important at this branch that consists of 90% Mandarin-speaking customers. Let's say, I got by. The manager took out a credit card pamphlet and asked me to guide him to fill it out and to explain its benefits. In the end, I think they were convinced that my minimal mandarin can get by.

Anyway, I'd hear from them within the next week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Closer and Closer

The process is coming to an end - for both companies!

HSBC wants me to go to their branch in Chinatown again. They will extend me an offer and I will be there to fill out applications. In other words, I'm hired! Of course, I won't accept the offer on the spot.

On the other hand, the executive from Bank of America liked me. Thereafter, I will be going in next Monday to meet with the bank manager who will work with me. Ironically, for Bank of America, I will be going to Flushing - the Mandarin speaking community. Flushing is also the place that I was originally supposed to work at in HSBC - until they found out that I don't speak Mandarin fluently.

In the end, it's inevitable that I will be working at a Chinese community.

Bank of America
  • =) Location: Rob and I go there everyday to eat anyway. It's a 20 minute commute by bus. It's convenient and close.
  • =) Learning Opportunity: I will be forced to speak Mandarin. I will be able to practice it and use it to my advantage later on.
  • =) Position: I'll be an Assistant Manager in 1-2 years. I love to manage
  • =) Experience: Management and sales; it will be beneficial when I apply for my MBA degree or other positions in the future.
  • =( Low Pay.
  • =( Learning Opportunity: No sponsorship for licenses. I will be an unlicensed personal banker like everyone else
HSBC
  • =) Learning Opportunity: Paid sponsorship for my licenses to sell stock, insurance, etc.
  • =) Experience: I will be working under Financial Advisors and find out how they make the insane amount of money that they don't deserve.
  • =) Employer: HSBC is much better than Bank of America in the industry.
  • =) Industry: I will be with Securities, not Banking.
  • =( Location: It's a 1.5 hour commute with crazy rush hour.
  • =( OT: I am expected to go to non-mandatory night meetings every week.
  • =( Experience: On my resume, I'm pretty much the same as a licensed administrative assistant/secretary. (On the other hand, they told me that I will be doing more sales than clerical duties.)
  • =( Direct Supervisors: I don't see myself learning anything from them.
  • =) Direct Supervisors: They are so incapable that I see myself surpassing them in no time. That means faster promotion.
  • =) Pay: I can't imagine their offer to be lower than Bank of America.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Updates!

Camping pictures, Cruise pictures, & parasailing video~

Camping

So last week, we went to upstate New York with our friends and a group of auxiliary. Having only lived in Hong Kong and New York City, it was no surprise that it was my first time camping. It was more leisure than I thought. Rob, who claims that he is from Ohio (despite the many years he has lived in NY), called it city-people camping. Personally, it was nothing like what I had imagined.

Unlike Jessica Simpson, who had to eat canned tuna, we had a feast. We had barbecues - burgers, steak, hot dogs, chicken, etc. We didn't hike. The only time we were more than 50 steps away from our assigned camping area for the group, we drove. *sigh*

As you can see, we were on the hammock for most of the time.
















Yeah... we know who does the work. LOL.

































On our camping trip, we also had the luxury of a paddle boat and a canoe.















Cruise

Norweigian Cruise Line (NCL)
Spirit Cruise
Itinerary: New York, NY // Port Canaveral, FL // Nassau, Bahamas // Great Stirrup Cay // New York, NY

Behind us is the New York City skyline.














This is the back of the cruise. Behind me was the kiddie pool area. It looked so fun. They had slides and everything.

































Our room was much better than we imagined. We had a window view room, and the window was huge. They cleaned our room 2x a day; it was sort of annoying. By the end of our 6-day vacation, we were sea sick for a few days on land! It was unheard of.

The cruise used to be a casino cruise. Therefore, the interior of the cruise has an oriental touch. There are signs in Chinese. On top of a casino, there is a mahjong room. However, people play cards there. Heh.




















I wish I could have uploaded more pictures, but all of the beautiful outdoor pictures were of me in bikinis. So, oh well. Anyway, for our shore excursions, we went to 1. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon (water park), 2. Parasailing, 3. Snorkeling, 4. Pearl Hunting Island.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon: We actually decided to go after we stumbled on a show on the Disney's channel. They had a man-made beach with artificial waves.

Parasailing: It was beautiful. We even had someone capture it on video. Towards the middle, there is a section where the cruise is right behind us. =)
video




















Snorkeling
: There were so many different schools of fish. The highlight was definitely the Summer Flounder. It camouflage itself with the sand. (You can find it in the beginning of Finding Nemo, too)

Pearl Hunting Island: I wasted a lot of time trying to get use to the waves with my snorkeling equipment. Doh! So, we didn't find any pearl. Instead, we found a beautiful Bahamian conch shell. We learned a local phrase, "Ya, Man." It was strange, but we definitely heard it over a dozen time on one day. Additionally, they prepared the Bahamian conch shell's meat - sashimi/salad style. A couple of guys, including Rob, was tricked into eating a part of the conch shell that equaled to 4 blue pills. Haha. Additionally, we even got to pet and fed a couple of stingrays.

Stingrays Encounter: Stingrays have definitely gained its popularity after Steve Irwin's death. Rob's faith was similar. He was "bitten" (not stung) but a stingray when he fed it with squid.















Daytime














Night Time














First Day Emergency Preparation Briefing



















Free Bahama Mama Rum, my new favorite fruity drink on the beach.



















Chilling on the hammock at NCL's private island. It was beautiful. It was the first time I swam at night under the starry sky. (And, jumping in with clothes does not count). The water was so clear. We also had a beach party, and we did the macrarena, the chicken dance, etc. Haha.














When we were in the cruise, we took tons of pictures. We probably took 3 dozens of professional photography. In the end, we only bought one.














At deck














At other times, we took dancing lessons - Swing Dance, Salsa, & Merengue.














More random pictures



















It was full of little lives every where. Not to mention, we found a hermit crab and a snail as well. You don't want to know what we did to them.















Private Island

































Aside from the things mentioned, the cruise also had jacuzzi, basketball hoops, a very small golf practice area/driving range, table tennis, spas, gym, night club, Bar, Pub, Lounge, duty free shop, etc. One of the most popular event was Bingo! Haha. We didn't go though.

One of the best things about NCL was their "freestyle cruising." Everything was inclusive. We dined whenever we wanted, however often we wanted. What does this mean? 2 straight 6-course dinners! We tried all of their cuisine - French, Italian, Asian Fusion, Buffet, Steakhouse, Room Service, Breakfast, Cafe, 5-course restaurants, etc. We ate non-stop whenever we were in the cruise.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Degree Cleared!

Degree: Bachelor of Science
Confer Date: 2007-05-18
Degree Honor: Cum Laude
Plan: Business Management
Plan: Economics Major
Plan: International Studies Minor


Last week, Bank of America had to do an extensive background on me - residential history, past employment, and education background. When they checked my education, my degree was non-existence. Then, I found out that both of the departments for my majors failed to
clear my degree. For my Business Management major, they simply failed to process my record. For my Economics major, they lost my documents. (This happened to Rob, too. His department lost his essay the day before the ceremony! Luckily, he kept receipt for submitting the essay.)

Anyway, on the day of the deadline, my degree finally cleared. This is 1.5 month after I graduated! Even now, I still haven't received my diploma yet.

In other news, I had a final interview with an executive today for Bank of America. HSBC is still interviewing other candidates for my position. So, I have to wait for phone calls again. The process is endless.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Help

After coming back from the cruise (will post pictures later), it has been so hard to get back to work. It is especially hard when my work is not required... when I work on my own hours... and when they can't fire me or replace me. So, the work that needs to be completed has idled for 2 weeks now.

On the other hand, I have continued with my crazy job process with Bank of America and HSBC. Let's see. For HSBC, the process was as follow: (1) Career Fair; (2) Interview with Financial Advisor in Queens; (3) Interview with Regional Manager; (4) Interview with Financial Advisor in Manhattan. Step 4 was today. I have been nailing interviews. Everyone was so recessive and timid that it seemed as if I was the one hiring for the position. Now, I wait for phone call from the regional manager - a guy who made 6-figures when he was 24. Soon, I will FINALLY find out how much my salary is.

As for Bank of America, the process was as follow: (1) Applied online; (2) Questionnaire; (3) Brief Phone Conversation; (4) Assessment; (5) Survey Questions; (6) Phone Interview. Step 6 was today also. I did horribly. I mean, I nailed the interview, but it sounded terribly. What happened was that I scheduled the interview with HSBC and Bank of America too closely with one another. As a result, I failed to find a quiet place in Manhattan (after my interview with HSBC) to take the phone call with Bank of America. So, I had a half-hour phone interview with a tremendous amount of background noise. The recruiter kept asking if everything was okay, because it sounded as if I was in the middle of some major construction. Now, I have to wait for a background check. I am scheduled to call her next Wednesday to see if I make it to the final interview.

Now, the dilemma. If given both offers, which job should I take? Both jobs are so different.

HSBC is a sales assistant to a Financial Advisor job. I will not be in the Banking side of HSBC; instead, I will be in the Securities side. I will have a set salary (which is unknown at this time). They will sponsor for my licenses. I will be doing clerical/sales things in assistance to 2 Financial Advisors in Chinatown, Manhattan. (I was chosen to be placed there because of my language skill... duh.) After a few years of experience, I would be promoted as a Financial Advisor. As a FA, it is the fastest way to make 6-digit. However, either you're good at it or you're not. It usually takes 2 years to differentiate. The BIGGEST problem is... there is no salary (apparently). My income would be entirely based on commission. As you can see, it is an extremely unstable job. Although I strongly believe in succeeding in the profession, the economy plays an important role on your income as well.

In the so-called "Asian Market" of HSBC in NYC, all of the FA makes a range of $60k (for FA starters) and $500k. They make an average of $100k, with most of the FAs making above that mark. Generally, it is extremely rewarding.

Commuting to Chinatown is definitely unpleasant. Originally, they were to place me at a branch that was only 15 minutes away from home. However, because of my inability to speak Mandarin fluently and my fluency in Cantonese, they are placing me at Chinatown (a 50 minute commute). If you know NYC Chinatown, it's dirty, loud, and croweded. My plan is to never walk more than 2 minutes in Chinatown. The subway station is right in front of the HSBC branch (literally within 5 steps). So, jump in, jump out.


Bank of America's position is a Assistant Manager Associate position. I will start as a unlicensed personal banker. In 1-2 yrs, I will be promoted as an Assistant Manager. It is a stable position with a set salary. However, promotion after Assistant Manager is extremely difficult in the competitive banking industry. The salary is average for entry-level, but it is extremely low in my standard. Even when I am promoted as an Assistant Manager, the salary remains the same. So, raise and promotion is nearly non-existence.





At last, I think I am pretty set that I would take the HSBC job instead of the BOA job... if given the opportunity. The problem is... do I take the offer? Or, do I wait and continue to apply to other jobs? I think the salary (if I EVER find out) for HSBC will make the decision easier.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

=)

Bahamas, parasailing, pearl-looking, sun-tanning, artificial wave surfing, eating, gambling... here I come!

Friday, June 08, 2007

When will I ever get a job?

I'm going back and forth between job opportunities. HSBC didn't call me. "Yet," I say! *sigh* I could have sworn that I was promised a second interview. I called the recruiter/Financial Advisor yesterday; in the end, I only left a phone message because no one was there to pick up. Let's just hope I'm neglected because they are busy, and my resume wasn't tossed out.

In case I don't get this position, I have taken the necessary steps to secure other positions. So, I finally contacted the recruiter for Bank of America's Assistant Manager Associate. I was suppose to set up a phone interview a few weeks ago, but I was forgotten. I spoke to the recruiter on the phone, and she was extremely informative. I found out about the salary, bonuses, work schedule, advancement opportunities, etc.

If I get the job, I will start out as a personal banker. I will be getting licenses (I think, or take classes) to sell CDs, credit cards, etc. If successful, the next step will be Assistant Manager within an average of 12-24 months. Strangely, both positions pay the same. The only difference is the bonuses. I spoke to the recruiter about my career path. It will definitely still be able to become a Financial Advisor. I will get the necessary experience, and the inernal "connection." The good thing about this position is that I don't need the years of experience to become a personal banker as required by other banks.

It is such a long process. At this rate, I'll never get a job. 1. I applied; 2. got a call for a phone interview; 3. completed questionnaires and I'm still being considered; 4. now, I have to take assessment tests online... then, 5. I'll have to wait to get a call back to see if I did well on the assessment; 6. I'll be referred to a hiring manager..... THEN, I'll get a formal interview. *sigh*

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Become a Financial Advisor?

I am beginning to question this career path as an Financial Advisor. What I am sure is that I want to get sponsored for my licenses and my MBA. Apparently, you can't even take the Series 6 exam without a company sponsoring you.

Originally, I thought "Financial Analyst" was a glamarous title. Their job description is so technical. However, after some research, it seems like "Financial Advisor" is the better job that has the same compensation. Apparently, it is one of the top rated careers. It was ranked first a few years ago, and in 2006, it fell to 3rd place. In general, the job outlook is excellent. Job openings are increasing above average. Additionally, with the baby boomers and longer life expectancy, the need for financial advisors is increasing.

4 out of 10 financial advisors are self employed. Think of them as law consultants, but finance. Many Financial Advisors teach adult classes at night. This is their way to gain customer base. On the other hand, Financial Advisor retirees become professors as well.

To become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), there is an approximate of $500 exam fee, a 10-hour exam, and 3 years of experience as a Financial Planner or Financial Advisor. To become a Financial Advisor, I'll need my 2-3 years of experience as a sales assistant.

Financial Advisor works 9-5 pm. Unlike Investment Analysts (who work 60-70 hours a week), Financial Analysts (who work overtime at night for research), etc.

The only down side is the "stress" that comes with any sales position. You'd need to sell products, services, and convince others to give you their 6-figure salary to manage. According to one of the advices I read, you shouldn't seek for a Financial Advisor unless you make a 6-digit salary.

As Rob puts it, as a Financial Advisor, you make the rich get richer. Heh. At least, I will be able to make me richer, too~

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Ladder

I'm anxious to get my phone call to schedule the second interview. The path up the ladder seems clearer to me. The position that is offered requires 4 years of private client service sales, support, or equivialent. It also requires 3 licenses that I have not yet obtained. In other words, I already have a 4 year head start! I have been researching on the salary for the industry and my position. I know what I'm worth, and I wonder if I can negotiate my salary. I wonder how flexible they can be. Obviously, they're not "dying" to accept me. Everything happened so quickly. Depending on performance, an average of 2-3 years down the road, I will be opened to more options. At the time, I thought the financial advisor was referring to the possible advancement to become a financial advisor. Now that I think about it, it's very probable he was referring to that. The difference between an financial advisor and a sales assistant are 2 more licenses and 4 years of experience (according to their website). I suppose, the "4 yr of experience" is flexible when you are already a HSBC employee.

I love all of these licensing things. Originally, I wanted to go into the industry of actuary. Although I hate taking tests, passing each test increase their income in the actuary industry... as opposed to experience. I guess, obtaining these licenses, you are not as easily dispensable or replaceable.

On the other hand, I'm still confused in terms of structure. He is hiring a junior financial advisor. He does have a secretary. So, I know for a fact that I'm neither, but I definitely will learn to do his 6-figure job.

I have looked up the average salary for various positions in HSBC. HSBC's compensation is generally higher than average. In terms of "performance," I always thought it's really about whether or not your supervisor likes you. At least, I don't need to go out to get customers; they come to me. In the end, this seems to be the best opportunity that is out there for me now. I skipped my 4 years, and I didn't have to become a teller.

I like the Japanese's idea of "lifetime employment". Now that I found my way inside HSBC, I don't ever want to leave! (Of course, unless I'm offered a higher salary. lol)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Job Soon?

Last week, I went to a career fair that Rob's mom has coordinated in Flushing, NY, a Chinese community town. I didn't think much of career fairs. I didn't think dropping your resume and selling yourself to the representative would do anything. In a college career fair, there weren't many good employers, and I was only a fish in the sea. This time, however, was different. It was evident that she coordinated this career fair solely for my benefit. It's like having your own personal career fair.

Weeks before the day of the career fair, Rob and I joked about how she shouldn't invite anyone. This way, they'd have no one to choose but me. What happened was not far from what we wished. The day started out with me volunteering and running around to assist Rob's mom. Our goal was to get me recognized by giving them free lunch coupons, etc. Rob, on the other hand, was at the receptionist desk greeting the remaining employers that were late. When I returned, I learned that he was offered 2 jobs, sitting there in his jeans! Well, that's just not where his career is going. Too bad for them.

Sweats were literally dropped on my face, one by one. I was frustrated at first. So, I spent half an hour sitting, idling. Originally, I planned to visit Aflac's representative for their management trainee position. I am especially attracted to a management trainee program. After all, aside from Economics, I'm a business management major hoping to obtain my MBA degree. Unfortunately, they didn't show up that day. I also learned that John Hancock Financial was to attend the event; however, they, too, did not show.

The career fair was flooded with big corporations, government agencies, retail companies, and many companies with office in Flushing, NY, a town run by the Chinese community. In other words, MetLife, New York Life, and all of the insurance agencies blended in together. They all obviously wanted an insurance agent that can speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin. I was half delirious when I dropped my first resume with New York Life. I received a call from them, but I'm definitely not interested. After all, working in a Chinese community isn't really the most glamarous job.

Rob's mom had previously pointed out the branch manager for HSBC. Instead of waiting for her to introduce me to them, I visited their table. I spoke with a Vice President, Sales Manager of the branch in Flushing, NY. At that time, I thought he was the branch manager. He was somewhat informative. In the end, he just told me to give him my resume, and apply for a job he suggested on their website. If all fails, he told me to apply as a bank teller. Like every other applicants, I got a goodie bag. He included "A Brief History (of HSBC)" in my bag. He told me to study it, and I was the only person who received it. Minutes later, I asked Rob and my friend if he had received the same book. He said, everyone got it. Doh!

I rolled my eyes, and cursed the career fair. It was so pointless. All of the banking representatives adviced me to become a bank teller. I know what I am worth through other job offers and interviews. I definitely do not need to become a bank teller, especially when I'm getting an interview to become an assistant manager associate.

I forgot to mention that the career fair was filled with non-English speakers, Chinese elders asking me to translate what positions are offered, teeny boppers, and those who weren't even dressed appropriately. The only candidates that qualified was truly me, our friend, and his brother.

After 3 hours of chaos, the career fair ended. We ate our late lunch, and we went home. On our way back, HSBC called. A subordinate to the HSBC representative called to schedule an interview. So, today, I met him, a financial advisor for Securities, for an interview. The interview was half an hour long. I read that history book that I got, too! Apparently, as you probably can guess, HSBC stands for Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation. I always wondered if it was Hongkong Shanghai Bank of China or Heng Seng Bank of China. I guess I was wrong. Anyway, that book didn't help my interview.

So, the title for the Full Time position is Sales Assistant. The title definitely underrepresents the position. In general, my main responsibility is to assist the Financial Advisor. Apparently, an average financial advisor at that branch makes $120,000. That's a lot of dough! In terms of career path, ultimately, it prepares me to that 6-figure position.

Unlike the requirements below, mine was slightly different. I will be sponsored to take the courses and tests for a serie of licenses. I will have 3 months to obtain them, or else! 2-3 years down the path, depending on performance, more options will be available to me - one of which, of course, is to be a financial advisor. This branch at the Chinese community is much more prestigious than I imagined. Apparently, they have the top sales and revenue in the ENTIRE world! The financial advisor is one of the top sales in the whole world as well. His awards covered half of his desk. His subordinates have all turned out well. Keep in mind, he looked like he is in his 30s. One of his subordinate is "very pregnant," so despite the fact that she could have become a financial advisor already, she has chosen to become his secretary. Another subordinate of his has chosen the banking side; he became a premier banker - a top banker that handles high-end customers.

The position is very promising. It looks like I can learn a lot from the branch and the financial advisor. Most importantly, it's like the perfect job. I've always wanted a job in the glamarous investment banking industry. Then again, I didn't want to work 60-70 hours a week like them. With this, I'll be working in bank's business hours~

In terms of requirements, I am to manage assets professionally. i.e. Handle customers who are unhappy despite the fact that you made money for them. I am to speak Cantonese and (try to speak) Mandarin. Fortunately, Cantonese makes up around 60% of their customer base.

I was promised a second and final interview with his boss in Manhattan. It SEEMS like it's just a formality. Like, you really have to screw up to be rejected. I told them that my official availability date is not until the end of July. They are actually going to make arrangements to suit me. If I don't work at the Flushing Branch, they will send me to Manhattan. I guess, I'm fine with both. In the end, I think I will most definitely take the position as soon as it's offered.

Oh, I love large corporations! I can't wait until my MBA tuition gets reimbursed. I'm glad I went to the career fair. I definitely did NOT get any calls back by submitting my resume to their website! On the other hand, my salary has not been discussed yet. I suspect that it will be low... but I'm crossing my fingers.

And, hun, it looks like I'm closer to that 6-figure job! I'll let you be my secretary. *wink*

*****************************************************************
Job Description

Must have your Series 7 and 63 to apply for this position. This sales assistant position directly supports 1 or 2 Financial Advisors.

The incumbent provides sales support to Personal Investment Advisors to contribute to development and expansion of investment-related Private Client Services (PCS) relationships. Coordinates activities to contribute to achievement of volume, quality and profit objectives.

The principal accountabilities will be to serve as primary liaison with Financial Advisors (FA), Personal Investment Advisors (PIA), branches, customers and internal departments via in-person meetings or phone for marketing-related support, quality control monitoring and other performance-related disciplines required to expand, retain and attract further PCS sales-related activities. Assist in acquisition and maintenance of qualified clients; assist in the delivery of sales and investments. Work independently and in conjunction with the FA and PIA in identifying and acquiring new clients as well as maintaining existing accounts.

Coordinate the application process by ensuring collection and organization of all necessary application information for trade processing and/or higher management. Work with FA/PIA and customer to obtain information needed on a regular basis to audit, certify and update client files. Ensure policy exceptions are routed to the appropriate channels to ensure timely action. Generate and analyze specialized reports on sales activities as well as analytical and administrative support for the budgeting, forecasting and commission payment processes.

Adhere strictly to compliance and operational risk controls in accordance with Company and regulatory standards, policies and practices; report control weaknesses, compliance breaches and operational loss events. Complete other related duties as assigned, including coordinating relationships with external vendors supporting Private Client Services. Support the Company’s Diversity programs.

Requirements :

•Minimum of an Associate's Degree in Business, related field or equivalent experience
•Minimum of four years proven private client services sales and/or support experience or equivalent
•Series 7, 63 and Life and Health Insurance licenses
•Proven analytical, decision-making, interpersonal, communications, customer service, sales, problem-solving, multi-tasking and organizational skills
•Knowledge of brokerage products and services, operations supporting them and pertinent regulations affecting their delivery
•Proficiency with personal computers as well as pertinent mainframe systems and software packages

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Etymology


In high school, I had to look up the meaning of my name. In short, the name Stephanie means crown.

Now that I am home, I have been digging through things, cleaning, and organizing things that have been long neglected. I found telephone bills from 2002. I also came across the above greeting card from Uncle Paul and Auntie Patricia. Although the card is as old as I am, I am actually quite familiar with it. Anyway, I thought it was interesting so I took a picture.

This is the greeting card on how I received my English name. Long story short... my cousins in the US decided on a name for me; subsequently, my aunt decided to include it on their card. And bam, I was named Stephanie by my cousins who have probably never even met my parents. Luckily, they didn't name me Madonna or something. In fact, I'm pretty satisfied with their decision.

The origin of my Chinese name is not any different. I got my Chinese name from family friends~

Monday, May 21, 2007

Graduation

We graduated last Friday! It was cold and raining. Not to mention, the commencement was held at the outside stadium. Our parents met for the first time. Also, Rob has been seeing more and more of my relatives. He is even invited to family gatherings now~

Now that we have graduated, Rob has to study for his Dental Admission Test (and possibly Optometry Admission Test). I will be working part-time at home. Meanwhile, I should be working out to lose weight before the Bahamas. My family and I all got supersized over the winter.

My favorite picture and guy:














Behind is the apartment that we lived in. I'm going to miss cooking together everyday~














Our self-decorated caps

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Final Days on Campus

On our final days on campus, we used our cameras and camcorder to capture our college memories.

Below is part of a water fountain that our campus spent $3 million on. (Or, something like that). There is a silver tower to the left. Even today, I still don't know what it is. This is what you can do when you're rich - build something useless. (A man, by the name of Charles B. Wang, donated it.)














Here is one of the libraries that you go to socialize and not study.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Job Search (Continued)

My dream job is crushed. Originally, I REALLY wanted this position at HSBC to be an Accelerated Management Trainee. After 1 year, the person would manage a branch in Home Financing Corp. Unfortunately, I just found out that I have to be willing to relocate any where from Maryland to Maine. *sigh* There goes my dream.

I'm getting a phone interview with the Bank of America this week. The position is Assistant Manager Associate. I would start off as a personal banker and work my way (approx. 1-2 yrs) to become an Assistant Manager at a branch. I was really happy, until I read forums that Bank of America's salary is extremely low. It is almost half of what I was offered at Dai-Ichi Life.

Third, I received a staffing firm email for an accounting position at a large telecommunication firm. She asked me what my target salary is. Because I wasn't that interested to begin with, so I said $50k. (Just in case the high salary may change my mind about this undisclosed firm.) She said she would get back to me, because the employer wants someone to start in a week, and I won't be available until the end of June. Now, I am questioning if I should have aimed lower.

At last, another staffing firm has a 3-month temp position for Merrill Lynch. Ultimately, that's what I'm aiming for. It pays $24/hr or $29/hr bill rate. According to them, 8 out of 10 temps will acquire full time position at the investment banking department at Merrill Lynch. Then again, they told me to get back to them when it is closer to my official available date.

Anyhow, I have learned to negotiate with these staffing firms. I'm just worried that my carelessness in these negotiating process will take away everything. Heh~ On a positive note, my current supervisor likes me so much that she is allowing me to work "for as long as I like" at home. So, I will be working on my own schedule, and watching TV while I "work". Additionally, she's giving me a raise! =)

In the meantime, Rob and I are going on a cruise to the Bahamas for 7 days! We will be going on June 1oth. Pictures to come~

Monday, April 30, 2007

Eek!

I emailed the recruiter to tell them that I am not interested in the Dai-ichi Life position. The pay is extremely good. (I'm still debating if I will get a pay offer that high for entry-level.) Well, the main reason is that there's no advancement opportunity.

Today, the recruiter called me and told me that Dai-ichi Life had contacted them before they were able to reject the offer. They were extremely interested and wanted a second interview. Unfortunately, I won't be taking the job.

On a positive note, the recruiter said she has a lot of confident in finding me another interview (based on the feedback of this employer). So, as long as she's confident in me, she'll hopefully give me good finance positions. I told her that my minimum salary requirement is what they offered me for Dai-ichi Life. HaHa. Let's hope she finds one in the finance field. *Cross Fingers*

.... If only I can bargain with Dai-Ichi Life and tell them to pay me $5-10k more. I'll probably give in after that. I guess I shouldn't be so greedy~

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Interview & Broadway

I was every where in Manhattan yesterday! While I was running to one interview after another, Rob went to TKTS to buy tickets for Rent.

First, I had the interview with 第一生命. Despite the fact that I went on the wrong elevator, came down, and went back up to the 28th floor, I was early for 15 minutes. I rang the bell, and I was escorted by a Japanese receptionist. If I hadn't know, I would have thought she was a mute. Before I told her that I have an interview with Mr. Yamashita, she just waved me to the conference room. Anyway, they gave me a test on accounting and math. The math was all 3 digits/2 digits addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. LOL. I refused to use the worksheet that they gave me. So, I did it in my head.

Anyway, they asked me the following questions:

What are your strengths? - I couldn't shut up here.
What are your weaknesses? - It took me a long time before I could answer that one.
What are the differences between Japanese and Americans? You don't want to know what racist comment I made.
If the Japanese executive were to come to NY, which Chinese restaurant would you take him? As stereotypical as this sounds, I said the soupy Shanghai dumplings (as Mei had presented in class) or Peking Duck. Haha.
What is your salary requirement?

Etc. Overall, I did well. I made them laugh a few times. It's hard to explain. The environment is very different. Dai-ichi Life in New York only has an accounting and research department. As for accounting, it's run by a small group of people. I met with 2 vice presidents - 1 for human resource, and the other for accounting. Anyway, I don't think I will take the job if I were given the opportunity. There's something Japanese that I don't like about the company. In short, the place seemed to be runned by men. Also, there is little to no growth/advancement opportunity.

Secondy, I had an interview with a second Japanese recruiting firm. I had my excel test there, and scored a 83%. Like the other recruiter, she wanted to test my Japanese. Everyone has to keep stop asking me why I took on Japanese! Because there isn't a more specific answer, I keep telling them it's because I used to read Doraemon. Either way, Japanese people seem to like that answer. Anyway, the Japanese conversation went well. It was flawless besides the fact that I forgot the counter for books - satsu.

After 2 interviews, I met up with Rob. A cop driving a limousine and a white van crashed literally 20 feet away. To the point, the both of us and everyone else saw the collision approaching us and stopped. Anyway, we survived. Stupid cop. Then, we went to Simply Pasta for dinner. The restaurant was BEAUTIFUL. At 8 pm, we went to see Rent.

Now, like everyone who had seen Rent, Seasons of Love is stuck in my head. At least, I remember how many minutes are in a year now~

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure a year in a life?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

2nd Interview

Another Japanese recruiting company contacted me. They asked if I was interested in working for a Japanese insurance company in midtown. My responsibilities would be clerical, administrative assistance, and accounting assistance. It's 9 am - 5 pm, and 5 days a week. Pay is on the higher end of the "average range" for my position and experience; full benefits. The company is as follow: http://www.dai-ichi-life.co.jp/

As for this one, I wouldn't need to speak Japanese. And, they didn't test my Japanese like the previous recruiter. Anyway, they forwarded my resume to the company, and now, they want to meet me next Friday.

As for my past interview, it went well. They will match me with Japanese companies in the finance/marketing industry. I don't think they are capable of offering me anything better than what I am offered from the other recruiting company.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Do you mind if I test your Japanese skill?"

Two days ago, I posted up my resume on a few career websites. It has only been 2 days, and I have gotten more than 2 dozens employers' inquiries without applying for their jobs. At the same time, I have also applied to a few jobs in the financial industry that pays well or companies that are on the Fortune 500 list related to my industry.

It believe I am getting hits on my resume because of my language skill - I put "fluent" for Cantonese, "knowledgable" for Mandarin, and I indicated the number of years I have studied for Japanese. I didn't apply to any of the phone messages or emails, until I came across the name - Fujisaki. Never have I imagined having to speak Japanese for work - until now.

I missed the company's phone call in the morning. In the afternoon, I found the email from Ms. Fujisaki. After I googled the company, I replied to the email. The company that she represents is a recruiting company for bilingual and non-bilingual jobs in various industries such as sales, marketing, etc. By "bilingual," they really just mean Japanese and English. Of course, I did not want them to think that I am fluent. As a result, I clearly stated that in my email.

Within the next hour, Ms. Fujisaki called me. She had the typical Japanese speaking fluent English accent. When I continually clarified that my Japanese conversational skill is minimal, she was in disbelief because of the number of years I have studied Japanese. She asked me if I can use my Japanese at work / to deal with clients over the phone. I said, NO! She then asked, "How about with some practice?" I shrugged, and said, "I guess..." Then, SHE WANTED TO TEST MY JAPANESE!

First of all, I haven't spoken in Japanese for ages. The last phone conversation I had with Eun-Jung was chaos. I woke up from my nap, my mouth opened wide and nothing came out. So, Ms. Fujisaki asked me some basic questions. I feel like I was having my oral proficiency exam in one of the classes in Japan. She asked, "How did you like the lifestyle in Japan?" / "What did you study in Japan?" / "In what ways did you study for Japanese in the classes at Chiba University?" / "Are you fluent in Cantonese/Mandarin?"

Despite the fact that my words were so colloquial, she kept applauding my language skills. I understood everything she said. However, I did not respond with the most polite form.

In the end, she wants to interview me. Therefore, I am meeting with her at her company on Park Ave on Friday. She asked me what industry I would like to work in (since she has a long list to choose from). I said no to her suggestion for Sales, and settled to her next suggestion for Marketing. According to their website, they have many employers from the Fortune 500 list. Now that I know what I am doing, I will probably see if she can put me in a Fortune 500 company for finance.