Date
19 September 2017
Alex Malley, author of the best-selling professional guide book 'The Naked CEO', says the young need to be flexible and willing to learn from their superiors. Photo: CPA Australia
Alex Malley, author of the best-selling professional guide book 'The Naked CEO', says the young need to be flexible and willing to learn from their superiors. Photo: CPA Australia

Alex Malley and his naked truths about life and work

How long should I stay in a job that I don’t like? 

What is it like to be a CEO? What do they do every day?

I want to be an astronaut. What should I do?

If you are grappling with questions such as these and other career-related issues, you may want to have a little chat with Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia, on his ‘Naked CEO’ website.

The website (www.thenakedceo.com) has an “Ask Alex” section in which the accounting professional offers advice to students on career development and opportunities and nurturing the skills required for a successful future.

The author of the bestselling guide to professional development “The Naked CEO”, which claims to offer “the truth you need to build a big life”, Malley takes on the role of a mentor and advisor to young students and graduates as well as those already in the corporate world.

Naked CEO website was established two years ago, attracting millions of visitors. People of various ages, from teens to those into their 60s — and from all walks of life — have asked Malley questions on work, life and other matters.

“The young are just curious… what inspires me is the innocence of the questions,” Malley told EJ Insight in an interview.

“The most inspiring question is ‘how long should I stay in a job that I don’t like’. I answered it through a video clip without any preparation: you stay in a job as long as you respect the people you don’t like,” he said.

Talking about the rebellious young who complain about difficult bosses, and who may not like to obey orders, Malley said: “Every generation is the same. When I was in 17, I didn’t listen… I disagreed with the boss. Even when there was no social media, it was still the same issue…”

It’s important for youngsters not to keep their expectations too high, Malley said. “Expect less and you won’t be disappointed… and when you are junior, you have to expect you’re the one who needs to be more flexible.”

At the same time, the boss is not always correct, he said.

On what the bosses need to keep in mind, Malley said: “Leadership is about story-telling… Leaders have to speak in a language that young people understand.”

“I have 50,000 followers on Twitter, 20,000 on Linkedin. I talk to them in their language through many channels… Everyone has to make an effort.”

Malley, who is the host of a popular television series “The Bottom Line” that is broadcast on Australia’s Nine Network, says he receives queries from even older people who find themselves at a crossroads.

He cites the case of a 64-year-old lady who put forward the following question about six months ago:

“I am working in one particular industry but I am interested in another one. What do you think I should do to be able to get a job in another sector, at my age?” 

Malley said he took the question in the same vein as he would field a query from a 21-year-old girl who was about to leave university and look for a job.

And what was his advice to the older woman? Build relationships with people in the industry by attending meetings and activities of clubs and associations.

“Age is an advantage. You have wisdom, knowledge, experience, maybe you have to start part time… be more flexible, you offer the knowledge, experience that you have,” he added in his reply to the lady.

Malley has spent a lot of time and effort in answering questions from all over the world, in addition to his duties as CEO of the professional accounting body CPA Australia.

One of his key objectives is to help students make the transition to work environment from a protected study life.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]

RC

Ayishah Ma is a financial reporter on Greater China issues.

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