Saturday, November 29, 2008

Coconut Fury

Yesterday afternoon, due to the on-going manpower problem, I had to replace my staff for an international trade mission meeting. This particular one is being organised by another government agency, so our role will be much lighter than usual.

I arrived too early, so I decided to hang out at the building's cafe. The first time I went there was with my ex-friend, Mr Designer's ex-boss. She brought my staff and me for a meeting with her husband. So, imagine the kind of recollection that I had. It was scary, her aura was everywhere. At times, I almost felt like she was watching me with disapproval.. Okay, I know, I know, she had a point when she wanted to break up Mr Designer and I. However, her main intention was not for my own good, it was out of her rage with him.

I have to admit that it ended a bit too harshly. The main reason, or rather the only reason, that we ever argued and stopped being friends was him. Nevertheless, she was someone that I'd do better without in the long run. I could see a lot of damage arising in the future. With her, everything was conditional... she must get something out of everything, even friendship. And she's ridiculously competitive. In order to succeed, she'll stop at nothing too, she'll exagerates, she bitches, she lies.

Man, when she matchmade her pet brother, Mr Coconut, with me, guess what she said. Her husband's posting means that they will be abroad for many years. If her pet brother marries someone she gets along well with, at least, her family and her can stay at his place whenever they are in town, Yeah, she had thought that far ahead. However, when she was angry at with me for defending Mr Designer, she claimed that her pet brother was actually not that keen in meeting me, she pushed him. Yeah right!

And when she harrased my staff for giving the business that she thought was hers to another supplier, she threathened to send her pet brother to talk to my boss, they are related. It was weeks after Raya. I called him to get down to the bottom of things, not realising it was almost Maghrib. It had been a long time, and he thought it was a personal call. He started asking a lot of personal stuff, he sounded cheerful. Man, he refused to pick up my calls for 3 whole days; what made him think that I would make a personal call after 2 months of zero communication? The moment I had a chance, I cut him off and went straight to the point. He assured me that his meeting with my boss would be on another matter, nothing to do with my ex-friend's company at all.

Strangely, when she wanted to handover her company matters to him before she left the country for good just after Raya, he 'disappeared'. It seemed that he was overseas. Only now did I realise what he was trying to do. He was trying to get himself out of the responsibilties of running her company, but he didn't have the guts to tell her off. Coward! Naturally, her business fell apart, rapidly too. A few weeks back, she even emailed Mr Designer's partner to ask him and her pet brother to 'inject' some money into her company. Wow, she gave a new meaning to the word 'dreamer'. Her pet brother asked her to come back and discuss how she intends to run the business from abroad. She is coming back soon, once her visa is approved.

Last but not least, around a month ago, Mr Designer's partner shared an interesting development with me. He is close with Mr Coconut and the man told him he is getting engaged next month. To whom? Hmm... his 27 year old secretary. She had been working for him for like 5 years. He said they only started to get close recently. And just how recent was that? My ex-friend only introduced us in August. Obviously she knew nothing of their relationship. I also think that he shouldn't let her matchmake him if he was already serious with someone else.

And what's more... he is already 47 years old. When she introduced us, my ex-friend was concerned about the age gap between us, especially when he always told her that she was young and hasty. She is already 3 years older than I. So, how come his secretary, who is 9 years younger than I am, is not too young for him? And I thought they were related... probably they were just from the same clan. My Designer's partner has the answer to all that. She is divorced with a child, so he is doing something good - taking care of her and her baby, etc. Hmm... that still does not change the fact that she is 20 years younger than him.

Gosh, I am dying to text the news to my ex-friend. There is a 99.99% posssibility that she didn't know about this, despite claiming that they had been close for 10 years, etc, etc. She will flip, especially with the crush she has on him, and the fact that she doesn't think much of his secretary...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Very Long Morning...

"I've never had a friend like you... who cares so much about me...I really appreciate it..." was among the combination of nice and nasty things that Mr Designer said to me this morning.

We met at the cafe near my office. Him looking so fresh and well-groom like that is a rare sight indeed. He was dressed in a pressed, short sleeve, lilac shirt and jeans. He said he slept straight from 1am onwards last night, which was really long and early for him. Normally he'd turn up in a t-shirt or wrinkled shirt, sometimes only semi-awake.

The session started off rather unpleasantly though. I wanted to continue my advice on the phone the day before on how he should support his partner who had done so much for him and given him a huge opportunity, that he should not ruin the guy's company's name. He was grateful then and even smsed me to thank me. However, just now he wasn't as receptive. I thought it was poor timing, their older partner had already 'grilled' him the afternoon before.

Only later did I realise it was the mention of their older partner & what a bad impression he was getting of Mr Designer that triggered his temper. He blasted out that he didn't need his partners & he didn't give a damn on what they thought, that he was a veteran in the industry and could do well without anybody's help. Fuh, his ego... he didn't like the idea of me being on anybody else's side other than his either.

His partner returned half way through our conversation but he caught my hand gesture and quickly turned back and left us alone. I had to 'pujuk' (sweet-talk) him for almost an hour. I had to switch angle and focus on prioritising his time for his own good. I had to convince him that it was part of 'my caring about him' efforts.

He should identify a main partner and concentrate on their set of clients. He should not try to please everybody by taking on more than he could chew and make people lose confidence in him. I stressed to him about working smart and go for the jobs with highest returns with minimum time spent. Hence, he would have space to take a breath, be with his kids, parents, etc.

I was relieved when I saw him softened and started to relax again. It was my repeated words of 'if you could just listen and consider...' that caught his attention, that made him let down his defense. He even apologised for his harsh words, saying that normally he was less patient and wouldn't calm down like today. He asked not to assume his lack of emotions or interest based on his expression-less demeanour. As for us, I wanted to keep an open mind and just let things roll naturally between us. He said that was what he was doing too. Okay, not the first time he said that but I believed that he meant it this time. Yeap, like his partner said, 6 months is too long for me to assess Mr Designer's intention. But 4 months is too short for me to get to know him.

Anyway, the presentation to my MD yesterday morning went amazingly well. Unfortunately, Mr Designer wasn't present. After he handed the design mock-up to his partner, he left. His partner said his eyes were ' kuyu' like he was high on ectasy or something. So, he prohibited him from sitting-in during the presentation, despite my earlier request. And he was an hour late, which already put them on edge. I wanted to update him on the good outcome but his reply irritated me - he cut me off and asked me to update his partner instead, he was afraid that he might miss something.

I asked him to back track and stress the main reason why I was giving their company a chance on that business (which has gone back up to be major budget thingy) - it was him! And he went off like... oh, man. I couldn't believe that he had forgotten that. Sure, their rates are the lowest and their older partner is knowledgable, but it was he who got that project in. I made it clear that I wanted him present in the next presentation to my MD, smartly dress and awake like just now. I wanted him to be part of the drivers, not a mere back-end supporter. He was used to operating at that level, and he shouldn't take a step backward.

Surprisingly, he had been meeting 2 super-quick deadlines for the last 2 days. Their older partner toughness on him must have worked. But I think he is vengeful with that guy. Whoa!

Last but not least, his partner had just submitted a bill for the work he did for my company. 90% of that will go to him alone, and he said he wanted to get a handbag for me once the cheque is cleared. He remembered that I was in the midst of buying a a new one. So, despite his macho couldn't care less attitude, enhanced by that deep scar at the side of his forehead, he was paying attention:). Oh, he didn't get the concept of 'little things that matter'. To him gifts and treats must be expensive, definitely he's not from 'it's the thoughts that count' school. He wouldn't even take me for a simple affair of Sup Tulang somewhere, even though I knew it was his favourite.

p/s: Anti climax, but his partner didn't give me any new updates about him from my previous entry. It is the same old thing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Very Long Night...

Last night from 8.30pm onwards, I sat across Mr Designer at Starbucks, Bangsar. His partner was seated at a sofa on my left and his right. Mr Designer was working on his laptop, he was more than 24 hours late on the designs to be presented to my MD on Monday morning.

As I watched him in action... casually dressed in a white t-shirt and blue jeans... eyes down in full concentration... his curvy eyebrows and the lines on his forehead became more prominent... his blue sneakers thumping lightly on the floor from time to time like a kid... a question kept coming to me.

Why is it so difficult to pull the plug?
What was stopping me from ending this hopeless relationship there and then? I looked at his innocent face and pictured telling him that... I imagine what it'd feel like with him no longer in my life... and my eyes started to water.

While the answer is staring at me in the face, I am still not making any decision right now. Things are just too unsettled with him. He seems to have lost his direction again. I want to see him when he is stable, without a hurricane throwing him around. And then, I shall decide for good.

Last night too, his partner finally admitted what he really thought of us. He told me that he agreed with everything my ex-roommate had said, that Mr Designer was not good enough for me. Last week, he already mentioned to me about the lack of 'give and take' with this guy. Their older partner had advised him not to interfere but since I asked him directly, he decided to be frank. He didn't tell the man about us but the man guessed, he said it was obvious that we had something going between us.

Mr Designer has always been a bit late with his work and in terms of punctuality, but his designs had always been up to the standard, if not excellent. Unfortunately, lately, his performance has suddenly dropped rapidly. His partner has broken down a few times with all the trouble that they are in with their clients. They are very late with everything. It is so bad that their older partner is pushing his partner to take back his Mac Plus and terminate whatever agreement he has with the guy.

He was 3 hours late for their meeting that afternoon and he had not even started working on my designs yet when he arrived. He said he fell asleep after they called him, he'd been up working all night. Their older partner was so pissed that he walked out there and then. He's not going into his military regime to shape up the guy as planned. He said Mr Designer is a real hopeless case and he didn't want to get himself entangled.

And what's this thing about not sleeping during normal hours everyday (he likes to sleep from 7pm to 2.00am, or less hours)? He's a designer, not a newspaper sub-editor who works night shift. If something is due during office hours, why can't he go to bed by midnight and wake up by 7am and continue work?

His partner and I came up with several possibilities on what is actually going on with Mr Designer. With this guy, everything is possible. Could it be...
1) He's having 2nd thoughts about living in the real world and is considering returning to his ex-fiance and their cushy life or...
2) He found another partner, one of his oldest friends, but didn't have the heart to tell his partner because the guy has been so nice to him or...
3) He owe so much money and is in deep trouble with a loan shark or...
4) He is having an affair with a client and is wasting time going to that client's office unnecessarily (not me, okay) or...
5) He had picked up drinking again and often konked out till morning because of that or...
6) Beats us, like I said, with this guy everything is possible.

At midnight last night, we were thrown out of Starbucks and had to adjourn to Devi's Corner. When I had dinner with him at Chawan earlier that night, he told me that he had to leave by 9 or 9.30pm, he had another client's job to attend to. That was after not noticing that I had asked for the bill. Sad, but that was the only weekend that we'd spent together, and I was trying to chill and enjoy being with him before we start work again. The Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng had never tasted that good, and he enjoyed his Mee Rebus Tulang too.

I was really pissed when I saw his designs, they were far from my brief. I lost my temper and told them both off. I ordered him to make amendments on the spot and made it clear that nobody was leaving the place until I was satisfied.
For some reason too, he always takes very long to make amendments on his designs. And we had to baby-coach him through the minor changes, he seemed fixed on doing things the way he was used to. He wasn't open to different ways and new ideas, he thought he knew better. He didn't, I had done that with a former client before and I knew it was do-able, despite his excuses. I even showed him samples weeks earlier. Did he have a memory relapse or something?

I could not feel any more foolish than I did when we left Devi's at 2.30am. That was after closing my eyes several times, it was hot and I was damn sleepy.
Then too, the designs were only 90% done. 6 whole hours just to make amendments? That wasn't how I intend to spend my Saturday night either. His partner and I are going to learn how to use the software so we know whether he is conning us with the speed or that is just normal. His partner agreed to try to 'dig' and get to the bottom of things when Mr Designer sent him home after dropping me off. I can't wait for the updates...

p/s: His partner had just smsed me that he managed to talk to Mr Designer. He will update me later. Of all the possibilities, I know No 1 would hurt me the most. Though that would make things a lot easier as I won't have to make any decision, especially one that could ruin my future.

And yikes, despite getting an ideal spot upstairs for breakfast, the waiter had just spilled lot of water on my table. I have to wipe my mini-laptop and cable dry.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beneath the Surface

I had looked forward to a relaxing evening with Mr Designer after work today. I'd even packed a change of clothes. But instead, I found myself being sent home by his business partner with both of us being extremely pissed with him this time. Even the iceberg couldn't get any colder than the treatment we gave him just now.

On Tuesday, the 3 of us and their older business partner discussed the upcoming presentation to my boss. We waited 2 hours for Mr Designer, that was after speeding up the meeting time to him only by 1 hour, if not he'd be 3 hours late. I went through a lot of trouble getting that Monday morning presentation slot for them and a radio station. I had already briefed them weeks earlier. We agreed to pre-screen the Powerpoint slides and advertorial designs this afternoon.

Imagine my shock when Mr Designer called me at 2.30pm to inform me that he won't be coming. Another urgent client job had just turned up. Excuse me, the presentation to the head of my company is due in 0 working days' time. I don't see what else could be more urgent than that. And that wasn't the 1st time my job was bounced off by another client's, come on, I gave enough time. He has to sit Client Servicing 101 course, he fails even in the basic 'Dos and Don'ts'. I happened to know for a fact that he didn't do anything productive on Wednesday.

He asked whether we can meet tomorrow (Saturday) at Coffee Bean or something and do the designs and changes simultaneously. The conclusion was that he hadn't done anything and was trying to take advantage of my fondness of him to get himself out of trouble. It didn't work this time. I told him I would talk to his partner. I had to keep my temper in check and not yell at the poor guy, it wasn't his fault that his partner/designer was missing deadlines again. That was my 2nd warning to their company.

I also complained to their older partner over the phone. He is strict and like a headmaster, he said he would take it tomorrow once he arrived from outstation. He has his own old-fashion methods. During our meeting on Tuesday, I stressed that Mr Designer wasn't looking at the big picture and was still thinking like a technician, rather than a manager. Their older partner's point was much simpler. Lateness indicates a lack of discipline which is unacceptable. An unrealiable designer can make their whole business colapse. Both partners assured me that they would meet Mr Designer to screen his designs first tomorrow morning. They will only call me tomorrow afternoon to view once they are satisfied.

Man, on the ride home, his partner and I realised one thing. The women in his life... they had been very tolerance of him and they'd let him get away with everything, even murder. His ex-wife supports their 2 kids on her own and has been paying his stock-market debt for the last 8 years, his ex-fiance used to support him for 1.5 years and won't let him work, his ex-boss considered him her blue-eye boy, his ex-clients let him get away with an open affair with their engaged colleague and another single colleague while he was still married and... his petrol station-owner sister gave him a coupon book for unlimited free supply of petrol. Wow! Well, I guess that this woman would tackle it a little bit differently.

It seems to me that he works unnecessarily during weekends, it was as if he was trying to prove that he works hard. When he's late on a client's work, he gives another client's job as an excuse. For somebody who's trying secure a formal partnership, he is doing really poorly. He also gives have-to-work excuse to escape the happenings in his personal life, which doesn't benefit me at all. Talking to his partner helps . I'll do whatever I can until I'm satisfied that I've exhausted all avenues. I don't want to have any regrets in the future, that I should have done this or I should have done that. Right now, he is going through a major transition phase in his life and it's not even a good time for me to decide whether we should pursue a relationship together.

Actually, when they treated me to lunch at TGIF 2 weeks ago, I did the Keirsey personality test on them. As expected, his partner core and sub personalities match mine ie he is an Idealist-Healer, we represent 1% of the world's population. Shockingly, Mr Designer wasn't solely an Artisan like what I thought. In fact, his personality falls under 2 core-groups and 4 sub groups ie Artisan-Performer, Artisan-Crafter, Rational-Inventor and Rational-Architect. Imagine the complexity of his character - Elizabeth Taylor, Woody Allen, Albert Einsten and Thomas Edison, all rolled into one. It answered a lot of my questions but brought out another set of concerns altogether.

All in all, he is damn lucky to have 2 Idealists taking a strong interest in him and wanting him to succeed. His partner is a real angel, he is sincere and committed about helping the guy progress and trying to change his bad habits. That is different from me, I like him a bit more than just friends, hence the interest in his well-beings. I am also certain that I can fix whatever is wrong with him. At this stage, I think there is something else going on with him, something neither of us knew about. And I'm determined to get to the bottom of it...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Busy Bee

Wow! It has been a week since I posted my last entry. And yes, it had been a super busy week.

This morning also wasn't like my other Saturday mornings that I spent unwinding and relaxing. It was information-pack but very useful though. You see, at 9.30am, I met an old friend for breakfast in Bangsar. She suggested it, she wanted to bitch about her new boss who used to be my client, among others.

Coincidentally, she held a senior post in the financial industry and I'm meeting a headhunter on Monday on a job in the same industry. It is for a foreign company and sounds very challenging. After talking to her, listening on the strategies she adopted and things she had done, I realised one thing. It is really, really time for me to go. Christmas will mark my 1-year employment with my present company. Right now, I felt as if I was walking in a dark cave with no exit. It is hopeless.

As for what else kept me busy this week: on Thursday, I sat down with Mr Designer, his business partner and another of their partner to discuss a new business pitch to a ministry. At first, Mr Designer roped me in as their copywriter but I ended up contributing much more than that. His partner even printed a business card for me - it says 'PR Consultant'. My initial intention was to merely support Mr Designer, speed up his success in running his own business. Before long, I realised that helping him would prevent my brain from becoming rusty due to the pasive work environment in my company. Then, I got excited in the business and started seeing the potential of making money. Another partner will join them soon and yeah, looks like I'll be the only woman.

On Tuesday, Mr Designer's partner took us to see the brother of his high-profile client. He was wondering if I could translate his book series into English. I went through one of the collection. Man, it would take more than translation. The Malay version has to be edited and hyped-up first. The language was so unfriendly and the books are meant for children. I don't think it's worth it, but I'll do it for rapport sake. After discussion, we adjourned to the mamak downstairs. We were stuck there for more than an hour when the guy launched a religious-related debate, Mr Designer's favourite topic. He wasn't happy with the guy overriding his thoughts on the Prophet's miracles though.

These additional activities, a few meetings with the ministry and a mini-reunion with the girls from my boarding school last night took up the balance of my time this week.

Oh, despite all that, I managed to have some bonding time with Mr Designer too. I'll share that in my next entry:)

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's All Coming Back to Me

'hi hazia,
found your blog today from someone's link. read bits of ur story on Ad. i hv a similar tale lol. only i think this guy, T, is real. for some unknown reasons, he simply disappeared after writing me his last email saying he wldnt be contacting me again but didnt offer any explanation. like u, i hv never met him. he never called me either. tho i hv his mobile #, we only txted, or talked on ym and exchanged emails.

and oh, i knew this guy for slightly over 6 months, and he left me 6 days ago. i am still not over him, apparently. dont know if i ever will. i have no work today, and the whole day i have been reading ppl's blog (that was how i found urs) and crying my eyes out. it didnt seem this bad the past few days, probably because i was busy and didnt hv much time to think abt it. sorry if this email is intrusive, and i wasnt supposed to write u.' - A

The above email came in my inbox last night. It is from a total stranger, I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this here. In between running around all day, somehow I managed to reply immediately.

'Hi A,
Wow! Not intrusive at all, I'm glad that you wrote. After 1.5 years, I can talk about him with a clear head. Though I have to admit that I cried every single night for 12 months after he 'fell into a coma'. I fell in love with perfection, he was the epitome of the perfect man. The 7 months that I knew him was wonderful, but the 2 weeks that followed were the worst I've experienced.

And I did meet him once as his best friend.

The guy I've just started seeing more than 2 months ago is far from perfect.

All I can say is hang on in there... it'll take a while to heal. It changed me a lot, I became doubtful of men, even the one I'm with now. But I learned a lot from Ad too, and I really mean a lot. Do continue to read every entry if it doesn't bore you - there are more than 200 entries on Ad alone, my record.

I believe that time heals all pain, paths cross for a reason, no encounter goes to waste.

Do write and share some more, if you wish. I'm willing to listen and share. If it helps, call him from a public phone and find out his real name. Anything that helps you move on.


After signing off and browsing through 'Season of Green' on my old blog, memories came gushing back to me. The trauma of receiving those 2 deadly phone calls - 1 to inform me that Ad had just become semi-paralysed from stroke and 1 more a few hours later to say that he had fallen into a coma.

I prayed I won't have to go through something like that again. Somehow, in the midst of a heaty work-related argument with Mr Designer just now, I suddenly had a worry-attack. I told him I was concerned with his health, given his hectic schedule. 1 thing in particular scared me, and he guessed immediately what it was, yeah, STROKE!

This guy smokes a lot, does not sleep regularly and works round the clock, very high risk actually. I repeated the story of Ad to him, he knew, just not in detail. He told me not to believe in all those nonsense. He assured me repeatedly that he was okay and he knew himself; he goes to the gym regularly and he started exercising from a young age.

For all the doubts that I had about continuing this relationship... I know one thing for sure. Right now, I can't bear to lose him. Yeah, even with all his imperfections...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Juggling Ego

'Idealist women tend to be very romantic. They love to give and receive tokens of affection, such as an original poem, a hand carved box, or an item which reminds them of some shared experience. Men often appreciate their compassion and empathy along with their belief in others. When dating, they hope they’ll get to know each other through deep conversation...'

Like most Idealists, I used to define a great date as 'having coffee and a long intimate conversation'. I get a lot of that with Mr Designer, in fact that's all we ever do. What puzzles me more is that he is a party-lover, one who loves glittery social activities, clubbing, etc... the whole works. He used to do a lot of those, especially with his ex-fiance. In fact, sometimes I felt like what he misses most are the group they hang out with and the activities, rather than being with her. That was the key temptation for him to go back, if he had not been firm on his decision.

So, why is it that he could change totally and do something different with me? Though interestingly, during my last dinner with him 2 days ago... while staring at the raindrops through the glass wall... I found I myself wishing for something else. Yeah, we were into one of our slow, long talks after hitting the buffet... and I asked him when could we catch a movie together. He tactfully answered that we could try doing it ad-hoc, if his schedule permits. The truth is I really feel like spending some time with him without having to talk. I'm not bored, just a bit strained, I guess. I've never met a man who could sit still and listen to me for hours like that, especially one with such a hectic schedule. However, I do sense that he still has a 'barrier' in opening up, perhaps many things are just too personal, and he's not ready to let me into his world.

And sometimes, I feel like he is keeping me separate from everything and everyone else that he knows. We never hang out during decent hours at public places. He did mention the awkwardness of bumping into his ex-fiance's friends, they often hang out nearby my place. He didn't want to take me to his brother's open house. He said there would be too many people asking questions and he would have a lot to answer. His ex-wife would be present too, though I failed to see how that is relevant to me. I've never met his 2 kids either. Actually, the only person who knows both of us is his business partner. I'm not counting in a few suppliers whom he recommended to me, that is merely business.

Anyway, as a continuation from my last entry, his partner had an open talk with him after he returned from his family weekend trip in PD. He looked very re-charged; had a good time with his parents, siblings and kids swimming and barbecuing. His partner highlighted all my pointers and conveyed my dissatisfactions as a client. His partner even stressed to him that I wanted him to be successful, not just their company in general, but him specifically. I was glad that I asked his partner to talk to him, me doing it would really bruise his ego. His partner asked him to convince me on the 3 points that I had brought up before I'd even consider their company for future jobs.

So, he did during our last dinner, though very subtly at first. Fuh, his ego... I realised how hard it was for him to admit his shortcomings and apologise to me. But he did, amazingly. I assured him that I'd support him in any way that I could but reciprocally, he should support me too. He should add value and strengthen my position, not cause me my job. It went so well that he even let me help him manage his whole schedule. This includes the projects that he did with other clients and other ad-hoc partners. It might sound foolish to become his unpaid PA, but believe me, it takes a lot of stress off me, and off his partner too. Yeah, he didn't know his partner and I collaborated behind his back. He cluelessly boasted to his partner yesterday that he'd just got a new PA, a good one. LOL!

I'm surprised but how focused he is after the trip, not a single delay in delivery. And I have to say wow, his schedule... it is really pack which explains him running around like mad. Even he was shock to see it on paper. But it is do-able, and he cannot afford to slack at all. An indirect advantage is knowing his whereabouts sort of strengthen my trust. I hate to say this but right now, I trust his partner even more than I trust him. I feel like he's keeping some things away from me.

Frankly, it didn't take me long to master the online calendar and insert his tasks. The set up only took me 45 minutes. After that, it's just quick updates and juggling around here and there, calling him up daily to remind him and monitor changes in his appointments. Another advantage is it got me on track with my own schedule as I have to also slot in our company's job involving him. Gosh, the things I'd do for this guy, the length I'd go to. It surprises me!

Well, it's not much work actually, perhaps I'm over qualified for this job. LOL! Hence, imagine how insulting it was when he asked me to charge my service to their company just now. No point in showing that I care about him, hmm... his pride, I guess.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Putting a Foot Down

Yesterday, Mr Designer's business partner received a big blow, from me. He had to meet me alone as Mr Designer suddenly told us that he was spending the weekend with his parents in PD. The poor guy wasn't prepared for the bad news that I was about to deliver.

As talented and resourceful as Mr Designer may be, he has a serious time management problem. There was this one tiny old project that I'd been working with him on, way before his partner came into the picture. He had been cruising on the amendments for far too long. I managed to extend the deadline by 2 weeks. Unfortunately, it looks like he's still going to miss it. I understand his frustration from having lost the files as he had to change laptop frequently until he got a new MacPro. He had to re-construct each design and do 1 new one - he seemed to have a major hick-up with this one.

So, finally, on Thursday morning, I asked his partner to take charge, that was the 2nd time I asked him to oversee this project, even he thought it was already settled. He assured me I would get everything by that evening. However, I didn't get the last one until Friday morning, and the problematic design still didn't meet my brief. In fact, it was so 'off' that I couldn't help thinking that he was making fun of me. It was as if he was testing my limit. He also didn't take me seriously at all, he was putting other client's job before mine, even the one-off small ones. This time, he was pushing his luck too far.

Hence, I told his partner this clearly and bluntly. I didn't think he could manage Mr Designer and I didn't believe that they are the best choice anymore. No doubt the end result will be high in quality and the cost is low, but my stress level will hit the roof. As the first warning, I'm recommending another supplier for a new job (though Mr Designer's company did offer us the lowest price). I had even delegated the new job to my staff to ensure that I won't be able to change my mind later. I'd look fluffy if I go back on my decision. Following that, they don't stand an equal chance to other suppliers for future jobs. They are at a disadvantage, no more in a neutral position. I've also retained their cheque for a previous job until they get that last design right.

This was no way to treat a potential retainer account. I even told him that I was very close to recommending another supplier for the biggest chunk of the pie. All I needed to do was wait for my staff to negotiate a better deal with them. Their quality of designs is at par with Mr Designer, but the cost is much higher. That is reasonable, considering their seamless service. No stress for me at all. He realised I was damn serious. That really threw him off. Messing up on 1 tiny job would cause them a future major 6-figure deal.

Yeah, I'm finally putting my foot down. People say that lady bosses are emotional. Well, this one surely is a professional decision. I felt so relief after making it. Regardless of how much I care about Mr Designer, if I don't be firm with him, I'm not going to be proud of myself when I look back 5 years from now. If he is not sincere, his true motive will emerge after this new development. I am prepared to lose everything

I pity his partner though, he was like a magnet to disaster. The guy is an amazing listener. He said this kind of things always happen to him. 10 years in business, whenever a partner screws up, he would be the one picking up the pieces, even during school days. Once, he had to make amend with his friend's girlfriend for him. Nevertheless, he got the message. Mr Designer has to fix 3 things: 1) Convince me that he could do the job, 2) Convince me that he is serious about working with me, and not making a fool out of me and 3) Convince me that he is sincere and has no hidden motive. Later last night, he said he had given the jist of our conversation to Mr Designer but the bulk of it had to wait until he returns to KL tomorrow. He said it was too important to convey over the phone.

Mr Designer's partner also assured me that he has met the guy's family - his parents and siblings. They are decent people. So, he had a good feeling that he is good person too. Oh, he delivered a bad news - Mr Designer's father is very sick and a few days ago,the doctor predicted that he would not make it longer than 2 years. That's why they decided to have the family retreat in PD this weekend.