The Prize Isn’t Always in the Bottom of the Box© Tony Masiello 2006 

 How many of you can remember when you were a kid and looked for that proverbial prize in the box of cereal? I can remember when I was about 8 years old, I asked my mom to buy me a certain cereal because it sponsored Flash Gordon. It’s possible that many of you younger readers don’t have a clue who Flash Gordon was. Flash Gordon was an invincible super-hero who crusaded for good deeds in outer space. 

At any rate, my mom bought the cereal for me mainly because I wanted the prize that came with it. The prize was a Flash Gordon Super Vision Shield. It was an amber colored pair of goggles.  

However, in order to get to the prize I had to pour the entire box of cereal out because it was at the bottom. I didn’t dare think of eating my way to the prize because I was too impatient. Yes, I wanted to be like Flash Gordon! Once that shield came pouring out from the bottom I put it on and I felt invincible like my favorite super hero. I wore it everywhere my mom and I went. I even tried to wear it to school but the teachers didn’t want a super-hero flying around the playground. 

Over the years there were other neat prizes from many different brands of cereal, but I was never really interested in the cereal, only the prize. In my defense, I could say, “But I was only a kid and didn’t know any better.” 

When you think about it; life itself can be like a box of cereal. Even as adults we keep looking for that proverbial prize which we’ll go to all costs to obtain. Just think about what we do at times. We get greedy and pushy just to obtain what we think is the prize.  

If you happen to have a box of cereal that has a prize in it, what would you do? Would you throw it away just to get to the prize? Unfortunately there are times we don’t consider our friendships or other people’s feelings. 

Try to look at it from a different perspective. Wouldn’t it be better to enjoy the journey along the way? In other words, don’t be impatient and pour the cereal out of the box. That will only spoil the real meaning of the prize. Savor what you have and be grateful. I guarantee your prize will appear, without having to push others out of the way to get it.

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Penstrukturan Semula Akaun Ahli KWSP Untuk Meningkatkan Simpanan Persaraan

Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) akan menstrukturkan semula akaun ahlinya berkuat kuasa 2 Januari 2007 dalam usaha meningkatkan jumlah simpanan persaraan mereka.

Dengan penstrukturan semula akaun ini, bilangan akaun ahli akan digabungkan kepada dua daripada tiga akaun sekarang, iaitu Akaun 1 (70 peratus daripada simpanan ahli) dan Akaun 2 (30 peratus daripada simpanan ahli). Buat masa ini, ahli mempunyai tiga akaun iaitu Akaun 1 (60 peratus daripada simpanan ahli), Akaun 2 (30 peratus) dan Akaun 3 (10 peratus).

Buat permulaan, simpanan yang kini terdapat dalam Akaun 3, yang digunakan untuk pengeluaran berkaitan penyakit -penyakit kritikal akan diserapkan ke dalam Akaun 2. Caruman yang dibuat selepas 2 Januari 2007 akan disalurkan ke dalam Akaun 1 dan Akaun 2 masing-masing dengan pembahagian sebanyak 70 peratus dan 30 peratus. Langkah ini membolehkan ahli memperoleh jumlah simpanan yang lebih besar untuk pengeluaran perumahan, pendidikan, 50 tahun dan kesihatan.

“Dengan perubahan ini, ahli perlu merancang keutamaan pengeluaran pra-persaraannya dengan lebih berhati -hati. Ini kerana semua pengeluaran ini dibuat daripada akaun yang sama iaitu Akaun 2.

“Penstrukturan semula akaun ahli daripada tiga kepada dua akaun ini memberikan banyak manfaat kepada ahli dalam jangkamasa panjang. Ia akan meningkatkan jumlah simpanan persaraan dan ahli mempunyai lebih kawalan terhadap simpanan mereka untuk kegunaan semasa,” kata Encik Nik Affendi Jaafar, Pengurus Kanan Perhubungan Awam KWSP.

Sebagai rekod, simpanan di Akaun 1 tidak boleh dikeluarkan sebelum ahli berumur 55 tahun. Bagaimanapun, ahli boleh melaburkan sebahagian daripada simpanan dalam Akaun 1 dalam pelaburan yang diuruskan oleh pengurus dana luaran yang diluluskan.

Berkuat kuasa 2 Januari 2007, pengeluaran 55 tahun yang dibuat sebelum dividen 2006 diisytiharkan, KWSP akan membayar dividen minimum sebanyak 2.5 peratus dahulu ke atas simpanan yang dikeluarkan. Bakinya akan dibayar selepas kadar dividen sebenar diisytiharkan. Langkah ini dibuat untuk kepentingan ahli kerana mereka akan menerima bayaran dividen berdasarkan kadar dividen sebenar. Sebelum ini bayaran dividen adalah berdasarkan kadar dividen terakhir yang diumumkan.

Bayaran dividen tambahan akan dimasukkan ke dalam akaun bank ahli secara automatik tidak lewat dari seminggu selepas dividen diisytiharkan. Oleh itu, ahli diminta memastikan akaun bank mereka terus aktif.

Dalam mencadangkan perubahan ini, KWSP mengambil kira bahawa simpanan persaraan ahli akan berkurangan dalam tempoh purata 1 hingga 10 tahun selepas pengeluaran penuh dibuat pada umur 55 tahun.

Bagi melaksanakan perubahan penting ini, KWSP perlu menggantikan sistem teknologi maklumat yang sedia ada dengan sistem teknologi maklumat baru. Berikutan itu, terdapat sedikit kelewatan dalam memproses permohonan pengeluaran simpanan yang diterima dalam bulan Disember 2006.

Bagaimanapun, keadaan ini hanya sementara dan permohonan berkenaan dijangka dapat diselesaikan sebelum akhir Januari 2007.

“KWSP memohon ahli bersabar dan memahami keadaan semasa tempoh peralihan sistem teknologi maklumat ini kerana ia dibuat untuk kepentingan masa depan ahli,” kata Nik Affendi.

Mengenai Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP)

Kumpulan wang simpanan pekerja (KWSP) adalah skim simpanan nasional yang menyediakan jaminan asas kewangan bagi persaraan. KWSP sentiasa komited dalam menjamin dan meningkatkan simpanan ahlinya melalui amalan terbaik pelaburan dan tadbir urus korporat. Langkah berhemah sentiasa menjadi panduan dalam setiap keputusan pelaburannya.

Sebagai sebuah organisasi yang berfokuskan pelanggan, KWSP memberikan perkhidmatanyang cekap dan berkesan untuk keselesaan ahli dan majikan berdaftar.

KWSP akan terus memainkan peranannya sebagai pemangkin kepada pembangunan sosio -ekonomi negara, selaras dengan kedudukannya sebagai institusi simpanan terkemuka di Malaysia.

Tarikh: 29 Disember 2006

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Making it real

What will you make real in your world today? There are so many possibilities.

Will you focus so heavily on your fears that you create and empower the very things you fear? Or will you fill yourself with positive visions that your awareness and actions can then bring to life?

The expectations you have carry a great amount of power. So choose today to expect the best you can imagine in every situation.

Your thoughts attract people, objects and circumstances that closely match those thoughts. Be sure to make them peaceful, positive and empowering thoughts, and they’ll be faithfully reflected in your world.

The way you see things determines what you see, and what you see determines the substance that your life creates. Make it a meaningful, fulfilling substance.

The reality of this day will come largely from the way you think, feel, learn, respond, observe and act. Choose to make it the best one yet.

— Ralph Marston

We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves. -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.

Anthony Burgess (1917 – 1993)

This article was originally posted in Proz on the French Forum –in French– and, following requests from several members, I decided to translate it and submit it as an article to make it more accessible. However, understand this was an informal chat, and it remains pretty informal throughout.

I would like, first of all, to congratulate Jean Marie, who, first in Proz.com’s history (to my knowlegde at least) brings up the question “Is there a limit to prices”?

Usually, we mostly discuss “how terrible” the rates are, and I am quite happy to take on a more positive viewpoint. A few thoughts:

Of course, the price must be on par with the service provided. However, I must admit that if my customers were inclined to pay 2 euros a word, I would probably be ready to accept. And if they insisted, I would even be ready to accept more.

I have never seen translation prices carved in stone by the Almighty, and obviously, there are all kind of prices on the market, from 0.01 euro to 0.6 euro a word (or even more). So, apparently, the sky isn’t a limit – and neither is the floor.

Il all comes down to what you are able to negotiate. The price you can charge depends 100% on what you are able to negotiate. There is no other parameter in that equation. If you are able to negotiate 2 euros per word, you have 2 euros per word.

We can therefore reformulate the question as:”How to negotiate more?”

On a more pratical level, as it’s up to the translator to make a quote, the price is limited by what the translator has the courage/audacity/temerity/decency* to ask for in the first place.

(*Pick one – it’s a matter of viewpoint)

The first limit to what a translator can ask for, is what he asks for. The guy who systematically replies “0.08 Euros” doesn’t stand a chance on Earth to ever reach 0.10 Euros.

Can you imagine the customer say “That’s not enough. I want to pay more”? Corrupt politicians aside, the odds are long indeed.

Of course, the guy is gonna say “Yeah, but if I ask 0.10 euros, the customer is gonna say it’s too expensive, and he is going to find somebody else”…

And that’s the first barrier in charging more. To charge more, he is gonna have to start asking more. He will have to start by changing his attitude.

(This is *only* the first barrier)

Now, the guy who typically asks for 0.08 Euros feels comfortable with that rate. He knows he has reasonable chances to get it, and he doesn’t want to work cheaper either, so he doesn’t really mind to “waste” the customers who pay less.

I would call this his havingness zone. The quantity of havingness he feels confortable with. If he asked for a lot more, he would say to himself “Dammit! This is off the rails.” And if someone offered him much less, he would laugh at him.

This comfort zone, is his ability to have.

There is a principle by which before one can have, he must be able to waste. It can seem strange to start with, but if you think about it…

Take for instance the guy who has a Ferrari, but in fact, that Ferrari is well beyond his havingness. What if he made a scratch? The guy terrified by the thought of an accident.

This guy is clearly unable to have this car, even if his name is on the registration papers. He can’t waste this car, and he is therefore unable to have it, really.

He doesn’t really own this car, you know. This car owns him. He couldn’t tell himself “This car is a pain, I am gonna trash it” or “Bah, if I break it, it doesn’t matter, I’ll just buy a new one”.

Can you picture yourself stepping aboard a car that’s worth 50 years of your salary? That’s enough to freak you out. Make a scratch on the seat and you be in debts for the next 2 years!

Before you can have, you must be able to waste. Getting back to our 0.08 euros a word translator, he is quite able to waste offers at 0.04 euro (and even laugh at them), but not at 0.08 euros. At 0.08 euros,… “Yes Sir. For tomorrow? Certainly, Sir. …”

To increase his prices, he will have to be comfortable enough to risk wasting “0.08 euros a word” offers.

In other word, he must be able to think “Oh Well, if I don’t get it, I don’t care”.

One of the ways to get there could be to get such an abundance of work at 0.08 that he doesn’t care if he miss out on one. (It’s just one of the ways). The idea consists of getting in a position where one can waste.

Once he reaches that stage, he can start asking 0.10 euros to his new customers, for instance. Since he already has enough work at 0.08 euros, he can afford to take a chance and miss out on that new customer. He is now at a stage where he can start having 0.10 euros. And by asking 0.10 euros to his new customers, he will start making a small list of customers who will pay 0.10 euros.

If he is capable of providing a service on that level, this small list will grow to the point where he will be able to raise his prices with his old 0.08 euros customers.

He is now in a position where he is confortable with 0.10 euros, and the cycle can start over, as long as he can provide the service on par with what is expected at that rate and that he is able to get an abundance of potential customers.

To sum up my opinion on the subject, there are three factors able to determine the price, by order of importance:

1. The havingness (ability to have)
2. The ability to get potential customers (Marketing)
3. The capacity to deliver the service (Quality/turnaround/CRM,…)

I hope you will find these thoughts useful. They apply not only to the translator but also to the agencies dealing with direct customers, and thinking about it, to any independant commercial activity.

I wish you a lot of success.

Source: Mr Sylver, Proz.com