Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just Closure

Hi there,
Wow! It has been a very long time. I didn't forget my password, but it took me more than 20 trials before I realised that I forgot my email address, LOL! Sadly, the Hope I talked about in my previous entry had also become another Closure.

Selamat Hari Raya to all Muslims out there. I am taking this oportunity to seek forgiveness if there is any wrong doing, if I hurt anybody's feelings, etc, etc.

Unfortunately, on this 9-11 day, I would like to announce the end of this blog. Blogging is no longer fun when you are not really anonymous. Having said that, I did meet many great people online and I would like to keep the friendship going. Do keep in touch.

On this note, many thanks for reading my 2 blogs for the last 3.5 years. My appreciation to those who had shared valuable advice, especially during the most difficult period of my life. I may start a new blog soon. If you would like to be updated, do drop me a note at

Till then, salam Syawal and farewell.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hope and Closure

Just a quick update, my first entry for 2010. I had a great week at the Lion City after Christmas. I even returned soon after during Chinese New Year.

Fate has reunited me with someone who was introduced to me in 2006. Wonder why I wasn't into him before. He's the best combination of the 2 worlds, a dreamer with a big dream who slaves to realise his dream. I feel honoured to be able to help him realise his wishes with the little that I could do.

I met him again when I returned during CNY, twice. The hours of sleep he went without just to meet me amazed me. We have been keeping in touch often since then, through email, FB, Twitter, sms, phone and whatever modern technology offers. I am taking my own sweet time this time. I am starting to realise that he is precious, just nice in many ways. Keeping this door wide open:D

Coincidentally, I was also reunited with someone else introduced to me on the same day as the one above by the same person. I was really into this guy then. He agreed to meet recently. I was quite shaken when he wanted to introduce his fiance, someone from foreign land that he had only known for 5 months. Their wedding will be held next weekend, just a small family and close friends' affair. It didn't really matter, he reminded me a lot of Mr Designer and I already knew the ending, though he wasn't as bad.

That's it. Soon, I may need to start a new blog, and keep it truly anonymous:)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Roar Again, and Again

Gosh! Have not updated my blog for 2.5 months, since I started my new job:)

I'm sure some would be wondering. Yeah, it started out well, very hectic and a lot of writing. But for the first time, I actually get a boss that I can get along well with. From day one, I observe her carefully, how she manages people especially. I think that is the only thing that puts her above me. In terms of expertise, we are quite at par. I have to say that managing subordinates in the private sector is not half as tough as in the government sector. I was really relieved not to be the head anymore though, to have nobody reporting to me.

She is soft spoken, but demanding in her own way. I was physically tired, but comfortable. There is an arrogant foreign colleague who gets on my nerve, but she is junior and powerless, so it's not a big deal. I thought she was the only unpleasant element. I stepped onto a senior person's toe on my third day at work. By that, I accidentally nailed down the key problem of the organisation. She was pissed off with me but there wasn't any long-term damaging effect. I was glad to stumble upon it early and not waste my time churning out the solutions to a problem that cannot be solved, because the people involved are reluctant and defensive for some reasons.

Deep down, I knew it was too easy. Never had it that easy before. After 6 months, I'll get a confirmation, no delay. I spoke too soon.

2 months later, there was a major change, politically-motivated, and a new department head came in. She changed the structure and put everybody at the same level, reporting directly to her. Pity my boss who had given her heart and soul to the company for years. Now, I have to prove myself. My job descriptions have the least change, as compared to the other members of the department. And to be fair, the new boss is still more tolerable than many bosses I've had in the past. Just that it angered me, because now I have to struggle just like everywhere else that I've been at during the last 10 years. No time out at all. I am exhausted.

The only consolation I get is that I get to learn some high-level politics by frequent interactions with a pro, yeah, this new boss is a master manipulator. I could see that already, after a month. And she has set her mind to tackle that specific problem that I had stumbled onto. She is more politically savvy, maybe she can do it. Anyway, I tell myself that I cannot get stuck in this post forever, though it pays well. There will come a time when I need to make a career advancement and head a department, or two, again. This is my chance to pick up a few tricks.

For now, I am going for a week-long unwinding vacation in the Lion City again. Yeah, city of memories, every time I go there, I'd be fighting a different demon. No exception this time. Merry Christmas and see you soon:)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Splashing Syawal

Back from a relaxing 2-week long Raya break and straight into a hectic first week at work, LOL!

I utilised my break fully to re-connect – menyambung 'Silatulrahim'. The imam's ceramah after Raya prayer was inspiring. After a quiet, low-key Raya celebration, my mother and I visited 3 of our Haj roommates. One in Nakka (near Thai border) – her daughter's wedding where we ate authentic kampung dishes under a tent facing the paddy field. The other was our oldest roommate at 75 and her daughter in law in Kodiang (near Perlis). My parents and I spent a weekend in Hatyai. I loved the nasi lemak ayam and unique teh tarik served by a Muslim couple at a roadside stall near our hotel.

After that we took off for Penang and I had coffee with an old acquaintance whom I have not met for 5 years. Shocking revelations which I would share in another entry. I also met blogger Rad for the first time. We had lunch at the airport while waiting for my flight. Too many topics to talk about and not enough time, obviously. LOL!

Mr Designer fetched me from the Subang airport. He called to say he would be 30 minutes late but ended up being only 10 minutes behind. Luckily, I hadn't ordered a cup of coffee at one of the cozy cafes yet. I was so excited about my new job and revived by the fact that I didn't have to go back and face my immediate superior aka the idiot anymore that Mr Designer became the last thing on my mind. Yeah, I'd stopped missing him.

I only texted him once to inform details of my arrival, not even a Raya wish or anything. He agreed to have coffee but suddenly his ex-wife called and asked if he could fetch the kids. Her car broke down that morning and could not be repaired on time. I took it as a 'reminder' from God to forget about him. During our last outing in Ramadan, I told him flat out that I won't be outsourcing my new company's design jobs to him. I'd need a stable, reliable and tip-top supplier.

Unfortunately, the job interview he attended just before Raya didn't come through. He was quite sure that they had offered him a job and was going to revert with formality and details. He waived another job interview after that.

It struck me then how he had wasted his unemployed period and not go all out to look for a job. I had forwarded him suitable vacancies on Jobstreet and he kept on delaying creating an account that would enable him to apply online. I had also written him a sizzling reference letter. All he needed to do was sit in front of the computer long enough. He didn't even have the initiative to edit his CV as per my suggestion. I know ever since he wakes up at noon daily, his time was filled with his mother and sister's family activities and visiting his kids but... he doesn't work and he doesn't have to do housework, so...???

On Saturday, I had a nice dim sum lunch with an ex-colleague from the hotel. Dropped by at the main kitchen and caught the men in white at the end of their Chef's table. And then, delicious lamb and chicken briani dinner at my uncle's spacious bungalow. The kids ended up in the swimming pool.

On Sunday morning, I had an unpleasant surprise. A friend was supposed to have breakfast with me at La Bodega and shared useful contacts for my new job. But I arrived 5 minutes late finding that she had bumped into a Chinese family that she knew and expected us to sit at the same table. Excuse me, I didn't sign up for breakfast with strangers and time is precious.

I excused myself saying I needed to go upstairs and use the plug point. I finished breakfast and was online for an hour before she finally came up bringing this Chinese guy with her. She saw my comment on FB and tried to cover up with a lame excuse that she was introducing him to me as a contact. Wrong person too, he was the designer and didn't have a clue what the PR team did. She insincerely & discreetly apologised after that, and I said I've got to go, my parents were leaving for the airport. I got a window into her core character, reminding me that my first impression is always correct. That would be our last outing, for me at least.

I did a lot of preparation for my new job, especially in terms of dressing. Went on a shopping spree just the week before going back to my hometown. Bought jubah, blouses, long skirts, tudung, handbag, eye shadow palette and 5 pairs of shoes (before that I've only bought like 3 pairs in the last 4 years). I went back to my hometown and ordered 4 pairs of dark trousers from an old Chinaman tailor. Bought another 3 tudung CT from Pekan Rabu.

And during the weekend in Hatyai, I found the ideal briefcase, a black blouse, hair bands and eye liners. Finished that off with final shopping spree upon return to KL – foundation, powder, mascara, more eye shadows and blushers. Having to tie up my hair neatly in a bun also means new fashionable hair accessories – hairnets, hair clips and glittering hair combs to push my fringe back. Okay, that is a lot for someone who does not occasionally enjoys shopping, LOL!

What triggered that? First of all, the dress code requires the female employees to wear head scarves (of any type – includes transparent ones and selendang ). That means I have to choose my outfits carefully to match. And then, the HR clerk at my former company suddenly lashed out a long advice to me on dressing well. It seemed that the employees there were bitching about my dressing.

Sure, I had gotten uninspired, but their (gomen) definition of well-dressed is something else - “Baju dia serupa dengan baju aku ja...” Yeah, they expect a manager to wear a material of superior quality to the others, probably with those glittering artificial stones as well:p. She also stressed to me about making a strong first impression at my new work place and dressing well (to counter off the negative things my former colleagues have been spreading about me).

When I returned my office handphone on Friday last week, I found myself stepping into a pressure-cooker. The staffs were preparing for a politically-motivated outstation Raya event. My 2 former senior executives were roaming around like little Hitlers, power crazy and out of control. Apart from the mualaf, a senior clerk and an executive were brought in to replace me. Still no manager. Staff were being transfered without plan and customer service became short-handed again. The driver turned librarian was the main person in-charge. Several people wanted to talk to me 121 that I spent like 3 hours there. The best news of all - an external candidate was hired to fill in the post that the idiot had been eyeing all along, yeaaaa!!!!

Shall write about my first week at work in my next entry:)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rahmat Ramadan

It's the 20th day of Ramadan. My search is finally over. On Friday last week I got a phone call on a great job offer from a Middle Eastern company. And instead of 3 months, I'm getting out with less than 2 weeks' notice. My future employer is paying for 2 months of my notice period and I still have 10.5 days of annual leave left. Which means my last day at work is Thursday next week and I won't be coming back after Raya. I've dreamed of leaving by Ramadan for so long that I couldn't believe that it would actually happen, especially at this late stage. It is fate. Alhamdullilah!

And the best thing is that they are offering me the exact salary that I requested for, much higher than my present job. In my new job scope, I will only be in charge of a section of PR, reporting to the head of PR. Yeah, not even a department head post. They are really paying a lot there. I am kind of nervous too, considering that they are also buying my notice period. Expectation is going to be really high with them investing so much in me. In comparison, here I had to oversee 2 departments at monkey salary (before my transfer*). And I didn't even know I have to handle customer service on top of PR until I got my appointment letter.

On Monday morning, I took half-day emergency leave and rushed like mad from 9am onwards to settle my medical check-up. The clinic was packed, it was Monday morning made worse with the H1N1 scare. I nearly had a hick-up with my eye test of all things. The woman was so 'kelam kabut' and I misread the letters, hence she concluded that my left eyesight was very bad. Hello, I just had a thorough check up and bought new glasses 3 weeks ago. Luckily, the doctor got another person to test after that and she said it was normal. I then collected my appointment letter and arrived at my office at 11.58am.

Shortly after, I was in the HR Manager's office. He was a bit surprised, despite knowing I was all geared to get out for so long. He asked me to re-write & attention it to the MD instead. I might as well get the HR exec to review first considering the company's strange practices. And then, I had to wait for an hour to see the MD. He was stunned when I handed him the resignation letter. He opened it in record time asking, "Pasai apa nak berhenti pulak ni?" I decided to keep my gripe for my exit interview, I just wanted to clear it asap. So, I just said, "I got a really good job offer." He asked 'Where?' but didn't pursue after that. Apart from having people waiting to see him outside, I think he knew that my future employer is unbeatable, he was from the same industry. So, it was quick. He said he noted my request for early release. Well, I'm not like some people, the muaalaf in particular, who used resignation as a stunt to seek attention. I take it very seriously.

This has happened really fast. I only attended my second interview with the Acting CEO and Head of HR the Friday before. I was dressed in a black jubah with a bit of white, a black jacket & my mother's tailor-made black tudung with a bit of beads. Yeah, a real tudung which covers all my hair. And that was the first time I have gotten new clothes for an interview, LOL!

I had taken care to dress extra carefully based on the feedback that I received from my first interview 2 Fridays before. That was conducted by the GM, Head of PR (my future boss) and a HR rep. I was dressed in black top and trousers, jacket and short peach tudung. The first one was tougher as the questions were general. It was informal too, I couldn't tell when the GM was kidding and when he was serious. The second was very much focused on expertise. Thank God.

From my previous interviews, I have learned to be relaxed as normally they don't expect you to know much about their industry (for an outsider). And none has conducted an interview as tough as I do. LOL! I have interviewed like almost 100 candidates here & hired only 2. That gave me a really good insight into HR and the hiring manager psyche.

My exit interview form was 4 pages long. HR people said I could really write, LOL! Normally, when employees give negative feedback, they would ask to re-think and re-consider. But in my case, they didn't. Even they agreed with me. I've said it all, clearly, an advantage of being a writer. LOL!

*Note on my transfer: I was transfered to business development on 10 August - yeah, the exact post where the GM tried to move me before but the MD refused to sign the letter. The transfer order letter sounded like a termination letter. There is a major re-structuring going on and many have been moved, some to suit their academic qualifications. Come on, some of us decided on a career path away from our Degree a long time ago.

The worst thing was that I still have to report to the same GM. Neither of us have expertise in this sub-area, which was really stupid. A few days later, a request came in and I had to handle the development of the industry blueprint. That would have been challenging except that a blueprint was already developed by a consultant 4 years ago but was never implemented due to the frequent change of management. In fact, the current MD is finishing his contract this November. So, it's hopeless. The only positive thing I can say about this whole exercise is I have my own spacious office upstairs and lots of privacy, LOL!