Archives Mark J Galea

Job of the Week

The Client
Our client, a leading global provider of regulatory compliance consulting, software, accounting and tax services to the asset management and securities industry, is looking to hire a Financial & Regulatory Accountant to join their team in Malta.
Key Responsibilities 
  • Monthly management accounts
  • VAT returns
  • Year-end audit files
  • Annual financial statements – drafted to comply with UK GAAP / IFRS

Requirements

  • Must be recently qualified, or close to completion of a recognised professional accounting qualification
  • The ideal candidate should have sound knowledge of: SAGE (Line 50), MS Excel, Accounting fundamentals & process
  • Looking to move into a growing, financial services-focused practice
  • Looking to develop expertise in regulatory accounting, in particular prudential capital planning, monitoring and reporting
  • Solid client relationship focus
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Attention to detail and constant desire to improve
Interested candidates are kindly requested to send their CV in MS Word format (your name in the file name) to David at [email protected].
Should you require further information, please, call on +356 2099 4444.

Millennial’s Guide to Finding a Job

Millennials have encountered a lot of criticism for their approach towards the current job market and expectations that, perhaps, are too high. A lot has been said about their demands for cool offices, flexible working hours and ping pong tables.

Being myself a 20-something-year-old I had to face the post-university disappointment and crushed with the reality, in which everyone has a degree, ambitions and wants to be a part of the bigger picture. Frankly, I’m tired of us constantly ranting how difficult life is and not being able to move away from that limbo.

So, what’s stopping us from finding the perfect job and landing the career we’ve been dreaming about since kindergarten?

Learning from my own mistakes and observing my peers has helped me to understand where we are failing. Why do we get stuck in jobs we’ve never wanted to do and why don’t we have enough courage to find our true passion.

I have just landed the job I have always wanted to do, even though it took me 3 years after graduating, moving a country and plenty of ups and downs (yes, there were tears).

How did I get a job I really wanted?

  1. Don’t send 50 application, but 10 passion and quality. You know how it goes, writing a general CV and Cover Letter, scrolling down different job boards and mass sending job applications. Then, you’re surprised nobody gets back to you. Well, I was too. Until I realised that if you spend a little bit more time on proper research and apply to companies that you would genuinely want to work for, they will feel it and they will appreciate it.

  2. Be a little bit more humble. So many of my friends, including myself, walked out of university thinking I have an amazing degree, finished one of the best universities, so I don’t have to apply for entry level, low-paid jobs’. So what? This is the question you have to keep on asking yourself. It’s great to have a list of accomplishments on your CV but the employer is more interested in the result of them and the value you will be able to bring as a consequence of what you’ve done in the past.

  3. Don’t be afraid to go an extra mile. You might have to travel for longer than 30mins and start at minimum wage. But think about the bigger picture. If this is the right company, the travel will stop bothering you and you will most likely get a regular pay rise. What is more important, getting to work quickly or doing something you actually believe in?

  4. Be yourself, but professional. There were so many times I felt like I had to pretend and force myself to say certain things in the interview room. It was probably the first warning sign, meaning that I wouldn’t fit within the company’s culture. I’m not saying you should reveal your deepest secrets, but at least try to feel more comfortable while interviewing and let it be a two-way conversation.

  5. Trust your recruiter. Wherever you’re based and whatever jobs you’re applying for, at some point, you will come across a recruitment agency. They are a middleman between you and the employer, so don’t ignore them. If you don’t impress them, they won’t recommend you and you can forget about getting an interview. Instead, you should listen to them. They know their client and it’s in their best interest for you to get THAT job, so you should take their advice seriously.

So, instead of complaining and reading endless articles on how broken our generations is, start doing something. Go out there and explore, make mistakes and dare to try. Prove them wrong!

With that in mind, I’m off to my new venture. Which I would have never been able to get if not for Quad’s Team. They are the most amazing bunch of people, who not only helped me with the meanders of career change but also supported me through the entire process 🙂

Thanks to everyone, who’s been reading my posts over the last few months, hope you enjoyed it. I will let you know how I am getting along in a few weeks 😉

Megan

Maltese election

Survival Guide to Malta’s Election

I presume you’ve heard about the early election in Malta due to be held on the 3rd of June. If not, then you must be living in a different country or you have some magical powers I don’t know of. In that case, please, share them with me.

Good for those, who are into politics, its scandals and never-ending promises. However, for Non-Maltese, it’s probably one of the weirdest times on the island. Mediterraneans are well-known for being laid back…. But not when it comes to the election time in Malta……it’s a completely different story. The Mediterranean passion comes out in full force!

All of a sudden, we find ourselves in the middle of a battle between two opposite camps and friends not talking to each other (they even stop being friends on Facebook). Not to mention, that it’s pretty much the only thing everyone is thinking about and buying your morning pastizzi is like walking into the political dungeon.

Luckily, this time we only have to go through 33 days of that madness. So, what can you do to survive it?

  1. Slow down on Social Media
    I know, you’re not going to survive a day without Facebook and Twitter, I wouldn’t either. But… You can change your settings and unfollow any sources that will mention the election. Instead, like pictures of cute puppies and funny pandas, this way, you will be getting more posts like that
  2. Go to the beach
    One of the reasons why the majority of us moved to Malta is because of the sun and sea. So, why not make the best out of it? Grab a couple of beers, start a barbeque and just enjoy it. Can it get more Mediterranean than that?
  3. Netflix and chill
    Yep, this is NOT a typo. Can you imagine a better way of spending a weekend than hiding for two days, binge watching your favourite TV show, eating take-out and… Chilling with your other half? What did you think I meant by Netflix and chill? Huh?
  4. Go camping
    I’m not the biggest fan of the great outdoors. However, for those who don’t mind bugs and peeing in the bush, that’s probably the best way of disconnecting. Just make it a point to go with someone shares your same political beliefs, though.. Being locked up in a tent for two days with your current enemy might end up as a headline murder story…although probably no one will notice since everyone’s focused on the big event.
  5. Avoid the traditional extended family Sunday lunch
    There’s not much I can say here. Just don’t do it to yourself.

As much as you want to run away, it will still probably catch up with you… Sooner or later you will see the faces of political leaders, banners and manifestos. If you don’t want to get dragged into it, check our daily portion of infotainment to cheer up and get through the day.

Just remember, keep calm, and remember, it’s going to be over soon. Then it will be summer, and many people will be in village festa mood 😀

Megan

Outsource payroll

Payroll nightmare?

If you know at least one person who takes care of payroll, then you’re probably familiar with all the annoying stories of disgruntled people they have to deal with every day.

Going out for a Friday drink with a friend of mine, who’s a Finance professional, means one thing – listening to her frustrations over payroll, accounts and the constant backlog she has to deal with.

As much as I can imagine payroll being a routine job, to say the least, I still cannot understand why is it such a headache for most companies! At the end of the day, if you’re running a business, you also have to pay your employees and somebody has to deal with this crucial process. If you get the employees’ pay wrong, you’re most definitely asking for trouble.

Working at Quad Consultancy gave me an excellent opportunity to do a bit of research to see why they claim that by outsourcing payroll, people’s life can be made easier.

As it turned out, it’s not payroll itself that is a nightmare but rather the way the companies decide to go about it. If like my friend, you work for a small or medium-sized company, then most likely you don’t have a separate payroll department. It’s either HR or  Finance who ends up doing it, and…guess what? Because of deadlines and other urgent matters, payroll sometimes ends up being seen as a “side job”…and additional task…a nuisance!

They both seem to be thinking that accountants are there for numbers and HR to… well, deal with people. Unfortunately, payroll needs a bit of both and hiring a payroll administrator equals additional cost to your business.

I can imagine how the time to run the payroll function is a cost, but when you add the initial investment in the software, and the yearly costs of software updates, and maintenance agreements, plus the employee’s leave, sick leave, bonuses, NI and other costs, then the natural question is: “is it REALLY worth it?”

And let’s not talk about the headaches of payroll administrators needing to take sick leave at the end of the month. What about replacing them when they leave? Now THAT is a nightmare!

But it CAN get worse! Have you considered the issue of confidentiality? How many times have companies experienced leaks of information about salaries and – horror of horrors – those EVIL performance bonuses?

So, it seems like I got a pretty straightforward answer to my question about payroll being a company’s nightmare.

What’s the solution to your payroll problem?

OUTSOURCE!

I’m neither a business owner nor a frustrated employee dealing with payroll. However, I cannot understand why anyone would want to go through so much hassle and expense. It’s just easier to leave it to professionals who will take a headache away at a CHEAPER cost!

Why would you waste time and money on payroll when you can free up the time and boost the productivity by investing in skills they will actually want to learn and use at work? Outsourcing will definitely work out cheaper than hiring a payroll administrator, training them and then watching them leave because they got bored of doing the same thing month in month out…or because they were offered more by someone else. REMEMBER, a good, reliable Payroll Administrator comes at a cost. A huge one indeed!

Now I’m off to meet my friend, and guess what I’m going to be talking to her about! Yes, you’re right. I’m going to talk to her about payroll outsourcing… Maybe in a few weeks, we’ll be able to talk about boys, clothes, hangovers, gossip and other interesting stuff…

Stranger Tales in Malta

It’s a Friday afternoon and the sun has just started its way down, leaving behind the cold, grey sky of early spring days. I had no reason to rush, yet I almost ran with the suitcase by my side, just to join the horde of commuters and feel like I still belong to the crowd.

Except, this time, I am a visitor. I don’t have an office to leave, colleagues to go for a pint with, or a train to miss after an unexpected pub crawl. Having not much choice, I sit down in the nearest pub with a book on the table and cold lager in my hand. Ready to proceed with my all-time favourite past time, observing people and the passing time.

The couple in the far right corner is clearly on their first date, trying to impress each other and checking out how they look (who said phone cameras are not handy?) as soon as the other one goes to the bathroom. I am again reminded that I wasn’t in Malta by the guy sitting at the table next to me. Instead of starting a friendly conversation, he’s doing the same thing as me. Pretending to read and text every now and then… Because the city’s cacophony will never let you focus and just drift away into the fictional world of words.

How is that different in Malta? Well, here you’re never a stranger and the person you sit next to will most likely be the person you randomly bump into at work or a night out. Not to mention, sitting by yourself and just staring at people will probably gain you certain looks and a status of a weirdo. Especially, if like me, you tend to hang out at the same place and, ideally, sit in the usual spot.

Nonetheless, in some odd way, there is something satisfactory and comforting in seeing the repeating faces. Constantly bumping into people you know or having seen before could get annoying, and it certainly tops up the list of the most surprising things I encountered in Malta. However, it creates a reassuring safety-net and unspoken agreement of looking out for each other.     

As you can imagine, more often than not, these situations can be naturally awkward. Love it or hate it, it’s still going to happen. But if there is one thing I learned after three months in Malta, it is that everything can be dealt with humour and the magical ability to move on. Ran into your ex or worst enemy? Not a problem, grab a drink and joke about it, and share the story with everyone you know…adding some of your own spice every time you share it.

So long London. Now, it’s time to figure out how can I perform my favourite activity in Malta hoping that I don’t end up with my picture splashed all over the Social Media with a warning to watch out for this weird stalker.

Megan

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Stranger Tales na Malcie

Jest piątkowe popołudnie, słońce zaczęło zachodzić, zostawiajac za soba szare i zimne niebo pierwszych dni wiosny. Nigdzie nie musialam sie spieszyc, a jednak zaczęłam niemalze biec z walizka u mego boku, tylko po to, żeby dołączyć do tłumu podróżujących po pracy i znowu poczuć się jak część tej specyficznej grupy.

Z jednym wyjątkiem, tym razem jestem tutaj turystka. Nie mam biura, z którego mogłabym wyjść punktualnie o 17, znajomych, z ktorymi moglabym pojsc na piwo, czy pociągu, który mogłabym przegapić z powodu niespodziewanej wycieczki po pubach. Nie mając nic lepszego do roboty, usiadłam w najbliższym pubie z książką na stole i zimnym piwem w ręce. Gotowa na rozpoczęcie mojej ulubionej od zawsze czynności, obserwowaniem ludzi i mijającego czasu.

Para w dalekim, prawym kącie na pewno jest na pierwszej randce i próbuje wywrzeć nieskazitelne wrażenie na sobie, sprawdzając w telefonicznym aparacie wygląd, kiedy tylko druga połowa uda się do łazienki. Facet przy sąsiednim stole robi to samo co ja, udaje, ze czyta i co chwile sprawdza telefon… Poniewaz miejska kakofonia nigdy nie pozwoli Ci się skupić i tak po prostu odpłynąć do fikcyjnego świata slow.

Czym sie to rozni na Malcie? Hmm… Tutaj nigdy nie jest się po prostu ‘obcym’. Najprawdopodobniej wpadniesz na osobę, obok której siedzisz, następnego dnia na ulicy, albo podczas nocnej eskapady w barze. Nie wspominając o tym, że siedzenie samemu i obserwowanie ludzi, zaowocuje przydomkiem dziwaka. W szczegolnosci, jezeli, jak ja, masz w zwyczaju siedziec w tej samej kawiarnii kazdego dnia, najlepiej w tym samym, ulubionym miejscu.

Nie mniej jednak, w jakiś dziwny sposób, jest pewna satysfakcja i komfort w widywaniu powtarzających się twarzy. Częste wpadanie na te same osoby, które znasz, z czasem moze sie stac nieznośne. Zdecydowanie tez, moze dojsc na liste rzeczy, ktore mnie najbardziej zaskoczyły na Malcie. Jednak, stwarza to jakaś dziwna sieć bezpieczeństwa i niespodziewana głośno umowę, która zobowiązuje do pilnowania siebie nawzajem.

Pewnie sobie wyobrażasz, że często te sytuacje są po prostu niezręczne. Możesz je lubić, czy też nie, ale one i tak się wydarza. Aczkolwiek, jeśli jest jedna rzecz, której się nauczyłam po trzech miesiącach na Malcie, to że ze wszystkim mozna sobie poradzic z odrobina humoru i magiczna możliwością do zapominania. Wpadniecie na byłego tudzież największego wroga? Nie ma problemu, pojdz na drinka i zapomnij.

To na tyle, Londynie. Teraz, czas żebym wykombinowała jak tu oddać się mojej ulubionej czynności w świetle dziennym na Malcie. I nie skończyć z plakietka prześladowcy na Facebooku.

Megan

Familija Maltija (Maltese Family)

Imagine a beautiful limestone house with charming red doors and shutters about to be open to let in the morning sun and the smell of freshly baked bread.

As you’re walking in, there are loud noises coming from the kitchen and you cannot wait to taste the coffee and enjoy this blissful moment.

Stop! What you are going to embark on is not a Hollywood adaptation of a Tuscan lifestyle but a reality. Move away from that picture and join me in the kitchen with a family the size of a football team and voices trying to overpower each other.

Because, one thing I didn’t tell you last time was that both my partner and I were staying at his family home, and yes, the family came with it as an extra. Now, we need to zoom the camera away from Tuscany, and onto Malta!

I met my partner’s family on few occasions and had already stayed at their house previously, so it didn’t look like a big deal to live with them for a couple of weeks. Five weeks down the line and I seem to be changing my opinion.

To put you into the picture, I come from a small family, where you only get to see your relatives at Christmas….and funerals. On top of that, you have to make sure you give them long enough notice so they’re prepared to see you and can bring out on display out all the crappy presents you gave them.

Before moving to Malta, I had prepared myself mentally for loud dinners, a lot of hand gestures while talking and facial expressions that can mean more than words. Yet, there were things about happen that would still take me by surprise. All of a sudden, I jumped into the turmoil of Mediterranean family affairs, people knocking on your doors unexpectedly and… after-dinner conversations about bowel movements, to put in the most polite way!

So, what else was waiting for me?

What struck me the most were the unexpected visits, especially on weekend mornings. Being a lazy 20-something (millennial!), I do not like getting up from my warm bed before 10 am on Saturdays.

So you can imagine my consternation when one morning I opened the door for a cousin of a cousin who casually popped for a cuppa. I was a hangover hot mess, trying to do a small talk with a stranger who greeted me with two kisses. Lesson learned: now I just pretend I’m asleep or not at home.

Another thing was Fenkata, a traditional Maltese dinner, where a rabbit is consumed in large quantities. Being an introvert, I try to avoid large gatherings like a plague, but I’m also too polite to decline the invitation. So, I went along.

Large dinners are already quite a feat to organise, however, try doing it with 20 Maltese friends who haven’t seen each other for years and you would be amazed. You will not be able to say a word without shouting and trying to have a conversation will seriously exercise your hearing. Nevertheless, a bottle of wine later, I had nothing to lose, I joined the buzz and for the first time, I actually enjoyed a large dinner.

Am I coming across as a nagging outsider who’s complaining about this new experience? If so, I must be giving the wrong impression! As much as it’s all new and terrifying to me, the Maltese surely know how to break the barriers and have fun (at the end of the day, every excuse is a good excuse to share a drink with friends).

Till the next time,
Megan

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Familija Maltija (Rodzina Maltańska)

Wyobraź sobie czarujący dom, zbudowany z kamienia wapiennego, z małymi, czerwonymi, drzwiami i okiennicami, ktore tylko czekaja na to, żeby je otworzyć i wpuścić poranne słońce, otulone zapachem świeżo upieczonego chleba.

Podczas, kiedy wchodzisz do domu, słyszysz głosy dochodzące z kuchni i nie możesz się doczekać, żeby skosztować porannej kawy i cieszyc sie tym spokojnym i ujmującym porankiem.

Stop! To co Cie za chwile spotka, to nie Hollywoodzka adaptacja Pod Sloncem Toskanii, ale rzeczywistosc. Zapomnij o tym i dołącz do mnie w kuchnii, z rodzina o rozmiarze drużyny piłkarskiej i przekrzykujących sie głosach.

Jedna z rzeczy, o której nie wspomniałam poprzednim razem, to że oboje z moim partnerem postanowiliśmy na początku zamieszkać w jego rodzinnym domu. Niestety, rodzina została dołączona gratis. OK, czas zmienić ujęcie z Toskanii, na Maltę!

Rodzinę mojego partnera spotkałam wielokrotnie, więc wydawało się, że zamieszkiwanie z nimi przez pewien okres nie bedzie problem. Pięć tygodni później, i zmieniłam zdanie.

Żebyście mogli lepiej zrozumiec moja sytuacje i punkt widzenia, pochodze z malej rodziny, w której widuje sie swoja rodzine tylko podczas Świąt i pogrzebów, malo tego, nalezy sie zapowiedziec na długo wczesnie, zeby byli na to psychicznie przygotowani, i mieli czas na wyciągnięcie wszystkich bezużytecznych prezentów, które im wręczono.

Przed przeprowadzka na Malte, bylam przygotowana na glosne kolacje, dzika gestykulacje rekoma i mimikę, która potrafi wyrazić więcej niż słowa. Mimo wszystko, nadal czekały na mnie wydarzenia pełne niespodzianek. Nagle, wpadłam w chaos Śródziemnomorskiego trybu życia, ludzi pukających do drzwi bez zapowiedzenia i…. Rozmów o wydalaniu i ruchach jelit, mówiąc taktownie.

Co jeszcze na mnie czekało?

To, co zdziwiło mnie najbardziej, to niezapowiedziane wizyty o poranku. Będąc typowa, leniwa 20-latka (Pokolenie Millennial!), nie lubię wstawać z mojego wygodne łóżka przed 10 rano w soboty.

Możecie sobie wyobrazić moje zdziwienie, kiedy pewnego poranka otworzyłam drzwi, i przede mna stal ktoś na rodzaj kuzyna wujka, który tak po prostu wpadl na herbate. Będąc w kompletnym bałaganie, na kacu, musialam sie zaangazowac w nudna konwersacje z kimś, kto przywitał mnie dwoma buziakami w policzek. Teraz juz wiem, ze lepiej udawac, ze sie śpi, albo ze sie jest nieobecnym w domu.

Kolejna rzecza, ktora mnie zaskoczyła, była Fenkata, tradycyjna Maltańska kolacja, podczas której konsumuje się duże ilości królika. Będąc introwertykiem, staram się unikać dużych, w szczególności rodzinnych, spotkań jak ognia, ale jestem też za uprzejma, żeby odmówić. W takim wypadku, zdecydowalam sie, zeby pojsc.

Duże spotkania są dość trudne do zorganizowania, wiec mozesz sobie wyobrazic, jak to wygląda, kiedy 20 Maltańskich przyjaciół spotyka się pierwszy raz po kilku latach. Gwarantuje Ci, że niemożliwym będzie powiedzenie chociażby jednego słowa bez krzyku, a próba prowadzenia rozmowy kończy się poważnym wysiłkiem dla Twoich uszu. Nie mniej jednak, butelkę wina później, nie mając nic do stracenia, dołączyłam do tego gwaru i po raz pierwszy duże spotkanie sprawiło mi przyjemność.

Czy wydaje Ci się, że zachowuje się jak cyniczny outsider, który tylko narzeka na nowe doświadczenia? Jeżeli tak, to muszę sprawiać złe wrażenie! O ile to wszystko jest dla mnie nieznane i przerażające, Maltańczycy z pewnoscia wiedza, jak przełamać bariery i dobrze się bawić (w koncu, kazda okazja jest dobra okazja do wypicia kilku drinków ze znajomymi).

Do następnego razu,
Megan

What Are You Waiting For?

by Mark J Galea

Many employers are outsourcing their payroll service to third parties, and here are some of the reasons why:

Free up time – Payroll computation is a time-consuming process. Outsourcing payroll can free up staff time to pursue more important value-added and revenue-generating activities, thus boosting productivity.

Reduce costs and boost productivity – In addition to the Payroll Administrator’s salary, as an employer you need to pay NI contributions; statutory bonuses and other entitlements; leave and sick leave (over 1 month of unproductive hours paid to an employee). The direct costs of processing payroll can be greatly reduced by outsourcing this function. In addition to enjoying great savings on the cost of employment, you will save the opportunity cost (not to mention once again the lack of productivity) spent on time dedicated to hiring any possible replacements for long absences and backfills. When, you also factor in other expenses related to the investment and maintenance of hardware and software (yearly updates, license renewals, maintenance agreements etc), you will realise that the saving you make by outsourcing payroll is actually much bigger.

Ensure confidentiality – By outsourcing this function, you are reducing the number of people within your company who are privy to information related to pay packages, pay rises, and other information that can easily be leaked to other parties within the company.

Ensure continuity – If your Payroll Administrator falls ill, or needs to take leave around the end of the month, the timely issuance of employee’s pays and salaries will disrupt other operations (it’s usually Finance that takes the hit). Pays and salaries need to go out on time in order not to demoralise your employees. When outsourcing your payroll function, you are protecting your business from these risks.

Alleviate the pain – In-house payroll is a headache at best and a nightmare at worst. By outsourcing this function, you will eliminate a tiresome source of regular pain.

Avoid technology headaches – A constant question is whether they have the latest version of their payroll software and the most recent tax and NI bands installed on their computer. Using the wrong tax computations will result in penalties and big employee dissatisfaction.

Leverage outside payroll expertise – Most business professionals tend to be so focussed on meeting targets set by ambitious budgets, that they tend to overlook constantly changing regulations (both statutory and those issued by the EU), yearly changes in NI categories, and frequent changes in tax bands.

Losing the Payroll Administrator – If your Payroll Administrator gets a new job, you will have to spend considerable time and money looking for a resource that is getting scarcer due to a number of different reasons. Consequently, salaries for Payroll Administrators are shooting up. Using an outside service eliminates that business risk.

Hello sunny Malta!

Hi, everyone!

My name is Iris van Els and I come from Eindhoven, a city in the south of Netherlands. I’m studying Human Resource Management at the Fontys Hogescholen, also placed in Eindhoven and I’m the new intern at Quad Consultancy. During this internship, I will mainly focus on recruitment and HR tasks. The next 5 months I will blog about my experiences in Malta and several other topics!

But why Malta?

Well, I’ve always dreamed of an internship or study abroad. A few months ago, I got a chance to go and I definitely didn’t want to loose it! I think Malta is a good place for international students because of its 300 days of sun, almost everyone speaks English and the island is beautiful! So, I got in touch with Niels, the previous intern via LinkedIn, and now I’m here! I think being abroad for a while will be an experience for a lifetime. But it was also a bit scary to miss my family and boyfriend and the fact that I was going on my own and didn’t know anybody in Malta. However, now I’m here and there are so many ways to communicate with them, thanks to Skype! Also, a ticket from Eindhoven to Malta is really cheap with Ryanair, so they can visit me. There are so many students on the island and many events are being organised, for example, parties, dinners and hiking trips. When you join those events, you will definitely meet many new people and you will never be lonely on this island.

My experiences until now

I’ve already been here for two weeks AND they were two of the best weeks of my life! From now on, the weather will get only better, so I’m really curious about what the next 18 weeks will bring me. From the very first day, the island has already felt like home for me. Currently, I’m living in Msida, which is a very central place in Malta. Every morning I walk to Quad Consultancy, for the first week I used to get lost everyday. Well, I found out that Google Maps is not always correct. At the end of the day, getting lost wasn’t so bad, because every day I saw new things!
When I need some groceries then I go to Lidl, but previous week it was not so easy to get there, because it’s been raining for few days and all the streets were flooded and full of water! I’ve never seen anything like that before. Luckily, I was together with my roommate, and he told me that it’s a normal thing in Malta when it rains a lot. We bought so many things but I forgot the cooking cream. So, the next day I wanted to cook and went to the mini market to get some. And I asked: ‘Do you have cooking cream?’. A normal question but the men thought that I asked: ‘Do you have some cocaine?’. He looked at me and told me that he didn’t sell cocaine. Well, I’m from the Netherlands but I was definitely not looking for cocaine!
I’ve already went to many events and met a lot of people from different countries. I visited Mdina, which is a really nice place to go! And I really want to explore more from the island, but hey… I have time! Still, 18 weeks to go!

Iris

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Hoi allemaal!

In deze blog wil ik me graag voorstellen als de nieuwe stagiaire van Quad Consultancy. Mijn naam is Iris van Els en ik kom van Eindhoven wat in het zuiden van Nederlands ligt. Ik studeer human resource management aan de Fontys Hogescholen in Eindhoven, deze opleiding past dus precies bij de stage! Gedurende deze stage zal ik me ook vooral gaan richten op recruitment werkzaamheden maarook andere HR gerelateerde taken. De komende vijf maanden zal ik gaan bloggen over mijn ervaringen in Malta en nog meer!

Waarom Malta?

Ik heb altijd gedroomd over een stage of studie in het buitenland en een paar maanden geleden kreeg ik de kans om te gaan en ik wist zeker dat ik wilde gaan! Ik denk dat Malta een goede bestemming is voor studenten door, natuurlijk, de 300 zonnige dagen, de voertaal is Engels en het is een prachtig eiland! Zo kwam ik een paar maanden geleden in contact met de vorige stagiair Niels via Linkedin en nu ben ik hier! Ik denk dat een periode tijdens je studie naar het buitenland gaan een ervaring is wat je heel je leven meeneemt. Aan de andere kant vond ik het ook wel een beetje eng om naar Malta te gaan zonder iemand te kennen. En om mijn familie en vriend te moeten missen voor een tijdje. Maar nu ik hier ben kan ik ze nog steeds veel spreken: bedankt Skype! En een ticketje van Eindhoven naar Malta met Ryanair is ontzettend goedkoop dus ze kunnen me komen opzoeken! En over het leren kennen van mensen, er zijn zo veel studenten op dit eiland en er worden veel evenementen georganiseerd zoals bijvoorbeeld: feestjes, diners en hiking trips. Wanneer je naar deze evenementen toe gaat, zul je zeker nieuwe mensen leren kennen en nooit alleen zijn op dit eiland!

Mijn ervaringen tot nu toe

En inmiddels ben ik hier al voor mijn tweede week en het waren zeker een van de beste weken van mijn leven! En vanaf nu wordt het weer alleen maar beter! Ik ben erg benieuwd wat de komende 18 weken gaan brengen. Vanaf het eerste moment op het eiland voelde ik me hier al meteen thuis. Ik woon nu in Msida, wat een erg centrale plek is in Malta. Elke morgen loop ik naar Quad Consultancy, in mijn eerste week raakte ik geregeld verdwaald. En ik kwam er achter dat Google Maps niet altijd even betrouwbaar is in Malta. Maar aan de andere kant is dat ook helemaal niet erg want ik zie erg elke dag weer nieuwe mooie dingen! Wanneer ik boodschappen nodig heb dan ga ik naar de Lidl, maar vorige week was het niet zo makkelijk om daar te komen. Door de regen van de dagen er voor waren alle straten overgelopen met water en het afvoersysteem werkt hier niet altijd even goed. Dit had ik echt nog nooit gezien. Mijn huisgenoot vertelde dat het wel vaker gebeurde. Dus we liepen omhoog, staken over en liepen weer omlaag en we arriveerden bij de Lidl. Ik had veel gekocht maar het bleek dat ik toch iets was vergeten, namelijk de kookroom. Toen ik de volgende dag wilde gaan koken, ging ik naar een winkeltje om het alsnog te halen. Ik vroeg: ‘Hebben jullie misschien kookroom (Cookingcream)?’. Een normale vraag zou je zeggen maar de man dacht ik vroeg: ‘Hebben jullie misschien cocaïne?’. Hij jkeek me aan en vertelde me dat hij geen cocaïne verkocht. Ik kom dan misschien wel van Nederland, maar ik was zeker niet op zoek naar cocaïne! Ik heb al veel evenementen bijgewoond en veel mensen leren kennen met verschillende nationaliteiten. Ik heb Mdina bezocht wat een erg mooi plek is om heen te gaan! De komende tijd wil ik nog veel meer van het eiland gaan ontdekken.

Maar gelukkig heb ik nog 18 weken te gaan!

Iris

Nearly the end!

It is official, next Saturday I am going back to my Swiss mountains. It’s hard to believe that 4 weeks ago it was my first day at Quad Consultancy. I was scared and shy. Obviously, the time has been running away but I have learned a lot. It was my second foreign professional experience but each one was different.

In Malta, almost every day, I could enjoy my delicious sandwich and amazing sunshine. I met some smart people who supported me in my different tasks. Everyone was really welcoming during all this internship. A big focus for me was to improve my English. However, it was an enriching personal experience as well. I came across people from different countries, various towns, each one of them with different cultural background and values. Although we live all together on the same planet, our lifestyles, our believes are so different. I think this is why I like travelling a lot to come across new cuisine. Being open minded is very important in our current times. One of my favourite moments during my stay was, without any doubt, walking along the beach or just reading a book and feeling the breeze. It is often the simple moment which are the best ones. Usually, in my country, I like walking on a Sunday afternoon with my family; this is why I enjoy the natural aspect of each country when I travel.

I would like to thank all the staff for supporting me during these 4 weeks and obviously you, faithful readers. I hope that you are going to enjoy the next colleague’s blogs.

Cheers.

Au Revoir!

Baptiste

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Presque la fin!

C’est officiel, samedi prochain, je vais retourner dans mes montagnes suisses. Je n’arrive pas à réaliser qu’il a 4 semaines, c’etait mon premier jour à Quad Consultancy. J’étais encore craintif, timide et naïf. Evidemment, le temps s’est rapidement écoulé cependant j’ai beaucoup appris. C’était ma seconde expérience professionnelle à l’ étranger mais chacunes étaient differentes.

A Malte, presque tous les jours, je pouvais déguster mon savoureux sandwich avec un superbe soleil. J’ai rencontré des personnes brillantes qui m’ont aidé dans les différentes tâches à réaliser. J’ai eu le droit à un personnel très accueillant tout au long de mon stage. Un aspect important était accordé pour l’amélioration de mon anglais. Cependant, ce fut une expérience enrichissante sur différents points. J’ai rencontré des personnes de différentes nationalités, provenant de différentes villes avec un baggage culturel important et des valeurs significatives. Bien que nous vivons sur la même planète, nos styles de vie, nos croyances sont différentes. Je pense que c’est pour l’une de ces raisons que j’apprécie voyager et en particulier pour découvrir de nouvelles cuisines. Rester ouvert d’esprit est très important dans notre société actuelle. Un des mes moments préférés durant mon voyage étant, sans aucun doute, marcher le long de la plage ou simplement lire un livre en sentant l’air frais de la mer. Ce sont souvent les moments les plus simples qui sont les meilleurs. Habituellement, dans mon pays, j’apprécie marcher le dimanche après-midi avec ma famille c’est pourquoi j’aime découvrir les espaces naturels de chaque pays lorsque je voyage.

Je souhaite remercier toute l’équipe pour son soutien durant ces quatre semaines et évidement vous, fidèles lecteurs. J’espère que vous apprécierez les articles de mes prochains collègues.  

Cheers,

Au Revoir!

Baptiste

Stress at work

How to manage the stress at work?

I hope that you have enjoyed my previous blog. This new article will deal with stress at work. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2015, 440,000 people in the UK reported stress at work at a level they believed was making them ill. This is worrying. I have used several websites to write this article. I hope you will find it interesting and helpful.  

Main causes of stress at work.

Communication Problems between colleagues. This is one of the main problems in many companies.  We can find different factors that create lack of communication. First, your manager may be so busy that you won’t have enough information to do your work. This may make you feel frustrated and you don’t know how to manage your assignment without this information. You may also be worried about your boss’ reaction should you disturb him again. Most of the time, this kind of problem is associated with bad management. Another stress factor may come from your colleagues. This may create a bad atmosphere within the team and has bad influence on your work productivity.

Job security

With the current economic crisis, our jobs become less safe.  Obviously, it depends on our activity, our post and our carrier. However, it can become an important factor of stress if it is not controlled.

A task is too demanding

Sometimes, some tasks seem just unattainable for us, because we don’t have the suitable skills or the deadline is too short to manage this assignment. In this situation, lots of pressure is created because you don’t want to disappoint your manager and or are scared of his reaction if we fail. Moreover, if there is a problem of understaffing, naturally, we are going to have more tasks resulting in more pressure.

Main Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Stomach-ache
  • Concentration disorder
  • Irritated

Tips for Managing Stress at Work

Communicate

Several studies advise you to solve your problems through communication. Indeed, it is very important to share your difficulties at work with someone who can give you some advice or at least, listen to you. Most of time, it is through communication that we can reduce our stress.

Sleep

Often, when we are stressed out, it is quite difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Effectively, we tend to think about our problems more at night, and it gets impossible to fall asleep. However, some chamomile tea may help you relax and encourage sleep.  With a good nights’ sleep will be in a better condition to manager stress at work.

Keep a social life – entertainment  

It is important to find a good work-life balance. If you keep working without any borders between your professional life and your private life, you will eventually burn out. You must plan proper breaks and make sure you spend time with your family and friends. Social life and entertainment help recharge your batteries and deal with work pressures as well. Practising a sport or hobbies will allow you to reduce stress.  

Try to be optimistic

The way you think may have an important role as well.  If you have always been a negative person, you will not find a solution easily. However, if you believe that a solution exists, this period is just temporary; you will manage the situation and your difficulties better. The more optimistic you are, the more the problem will resolve easily.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and got some new knowledge about this topic.

Cheers.

Baptiste

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Comment gérer son stress au travail?

J’espère que vous avez appréciez mon précèdent article. Venons nous intéressez  à present sur un nouveau sujet: le stress au travail. Selon le journal “Health and Safety Executive”, en 2015, 440 000 personnes en Angleterre souffrent de pression au travail jusqu’à sans rendre malade. C’est un sujet préoccuppant. Je me suis inspiré de différents sites web pour rédiger cette article. J’espère que vous le trouverez intéressant et utile.

Principales raisons de stress au travail

Problèmes de communication avec ces collègues de travail. En effet, cela constitue un des problèmes majeurs dans plusieurs entreprises. On peut trouver différents facteurs qui influent sur la communication. Premièrement, votre manager est très occuppé et vous n’avez pas assez d’informations pour réaliser votre travail. Vous vous sentez frustré et vous ne savez pas comment atteindre vos objectifs sans des informations indispensables. Cette situation vous effraye à l’idée de redéranger encore une fois votre manager et d’imaginer sa réaction. La plus part du temps, ces problèmes sont liés à un mauvais management. Un autre facteur peut provenir de ces collègues, et spécialement des tensions que l’ont peut rencontrer avec eux. Cette situation créer alors une mauvaise ambiance au sein de votre équipe de travail et influe directement sur votre productivité.

Sécurite de l’emploi

Avec la crise économique actuelle, nos emplois deviennent moins sûr. Evidemment, cela dépend de notre activité, de notre poste ou encore de notre carrière, cependant, cela peut devenir un facteur important de stress s’il n’est pas sous-contrôle. Je pense notamment au poste à haute responsabilité dont le turnover est important.  

Des tâches au-delà de nos compétences

Parfois, certaines tâches nous paraissent juste inateignable parce que nous avons pas les compétences nécessaires ou le délai de réalisation nous parait juste inenvisageable. Dans ce genre situation, une source de stress peut-être crée car la peur de la réaction de notre supérieur peut se faire ressentir en cas d’échec. De plus, si le personnel est en sous effectif, des tâches supplémentaires vont s’additionner donc la stress aussi.

Principaux symptoms

  • Maux de tête
  • Trouble du sommeil
  • Maux de ventre
  • Trouble de la concentration
  • Irritation

Quelques conseils pour gérer son stress

Communication

Plusieurs scientifiques conseillent de résoudre ces problèmes par la communication. En effet, c’est important de partager ses difficultés avec ces proches car ils peuvent nous conseiller ou au moins nous écouter. De plus, bien souvent, nous pouvons prendre conscience des solutions en s’exprimant.

Le sommeil

Souvent, lorsque l’on est stressé, il devient difficile de bien dormir. En effet, nos problèmes reviennnent continuellement dans notre pensée et c’est impossible de les évacuer. Cependant, d’autres solutions existent, par exemple, prendre une bonne camomile peut être une alternative intéressante. Ce dernier va vous encourager à vous relaxer et à dormir. Vous serez alors dans de meilleurs conditions pour contrôler votre stress.

Maintenir une vie sociale

Il est important de trouver le bon équilibre entre travail et vie privée. Si vous continuez à travailler sans vous fixer de limites, vous pourrez être atteint de burn out assez rapidement. Il est donc important de s’imposer un temps de pause et de passer du temps avec sa famille et ses amis, se changer les idées et conserver une vie sociale permet de recharger ses batteries, pratiquer une activité physique régulière et accorder du temps pour ses hobbies permettent de réduire son stress.

Rester optimiste

La manière dont on pense joue un rôle également important. Si l’on porte un aspect négatif sur la situation, trouver des solutions sera plus difficile. Cependant, si l’on croit que d’autres solutions existent, que la période est juste temporaire, vous réussirez plus facilement à trouver des solutions à vos difficultés.

Plus vous serez optimiste, plus vous aurez des faciltés à régler vos problèmes facilement.

J’espère que vous avez appréciez cet article et qu’il vous aura apporté des nouvelles connaissances.

Baptiste