Writer Linda Lee isn't too desperate to strike the lottery or have a wailing baby (uncles and aunties, please don't even start, thank you very much) this Chinese New Year. Nonetheless, she hopes for better career prospects, in view of tough times ahead. So she pens an open letter to Santa Claus (the oriental version, only this one is reputed to grant money instead of gifts), in a bid to do well at work.

Dear Cai Shen,

By the time you read this, I would have been stripped bare and naked. Don't get funny ideas. It's not what you think. I would have been robbed of the little wealth that I have left in my pockets after squandering my notes in the form of angpows to 'teens' (who no longer qualify to join a Contiki tour) and children (whose parents and I have as much in common as Madonna and Guy Ritchie.)

Talking about angpows - I wonder why you even introduced it. Why, it's nothing but an overrated scam designed to make paupers out of married folks faster than one can place a one-big-one-small 4D bet. Now, I'm not usually presumptuous, but something tells me those angpows have a part to play in the Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy.

Okay, so you say I'm sprouting nonsense and should be counting my blessings instead of behaving like a spoilt fusspot. Well, yes; I really should be thankful for good health, a roof over my head, always having (more than) enough to eat, cordial relationships with loved ones et al.

But as tis' the season to be greedy, I certainly don't want to miss out on the chance to wish for a thing or two.

After assessing my needs, I decided to check out a fengshui (geomancy: namely wind and water elements) source for some inspiration on how to improve my career. But instead of being enlightened, all I got were forecasts for the day's weather (windy and occasional showers, by the way).

Undaunted, I persevered and succeeded in uncovering eight golden tips. Now, I'm not asking a lot from you, but I'd be eternally grateful if you could take some time off your busy money-dispensing schedule to take a look at them and let me know if these pointers work - while I seek refuge from those angpow-grabbing rascals:

Tips on advancing one's career:

* Being serious and focused at work can help to reinforce your professional image. Aiming to be meticulous and mindful can help to minimise distraction, and bring about efficiency and consistency.

* Be hardworking, humble; and unafraid to ask questions (and make a fool of yourself). There's no shortcut to success and the only way to prove yourself is to put in effort and be willing to learn from mistakes. Yes, you may learn how to work smart, but a good boss will know better to reward a deserving employee than credit an empty vessel who has no real results to show.

* Strive to position yourself as a valuable asset and market your unique selling point consistently so that you appear to have a competitive advantage over your peers. If you know you're weak in certain areas, compensate by trying to amplify your strong points while working on the former. You could also demonstrate initiative to show that you're dependable and willing to go an extra mile to complete a job.

* Everyone loves a nice guy so look at ways to bring up your EQ (emotional quotient) and refrain from letting the grouch in you surface at work. Always be polite and learn to manage your anger instead of allowing your emotions to run wild. A pleasant worker demonstrates professional decorum and this will definitely make him more outstanding that another who doesn't.

* Be responsible, keen and pro-active at work. Be dedicated to and take ownership of your given task, and strive to complete it well, even if it's not the most interesting thing in the world to do. Take pride in what you do and let your enthusiasm shine through. Infecting others, including your supervisor, with your positive vibes is one sure way of leaving a good impression. Just remember not to overdo it.

* Be reliable. Show your boss you can be trusted and is a sure-footed, independent-yet-dependable employee. This will help to raise your profile at work.

* Being organised lends an appearance of someone who's steady and capable of keeping things under control. This is an important trait as it implies you have thought through certain processes and are therefore apt at handling arising matters in times of change or crisis; so work on this aspect if you want to give your career a boost.

* Lastly, be observant and keep an open and flexible mind so that you can adapt to changes easily.

That's it! Let me know what you think soon. In case you can't locate me, just drop me an SMS. I'll get back to you once I'm done shoving those angpow-hungry tykes down the garbage chute.

Yours greedily,

Linda Lee