Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If he were a woman...

Last night, anxiety attack kept me awake till around 3am. I was crying my eyes out prior to that. And I woke up a few times afterwards too. I think the last time I had it was when Ad supposedly fell into a coma 1.5 years ago. It is rare, it normally comes when I foresee bad news in the near future, something I'd really dread. In this case, it would be the email from Mr Designer.

I know it's cowardly but I decided to take the easy way out. My head is telling me that I desperately need a break from him, but my heart wouldn't allow it. So, rather than detaching myself from him, I opted on pressuring him to do it for me instead. He cracks easily under certain kind of pressure, so that could be done easily. When he sent me home from work last night, he said he would not waste a single more of his brain cells thinking about questions/ possibilities that I'd been throwing at him all evening. He would only send an email to reply my first question, the biggest one: "If I just disappear one day, would it make any difference to you?" He insisted on replying within 2 days and via email too.

Gosh, what I'm about to write here would sound really brutal, I hope Mr Designer himself is not reading this entry (he'd kill me). If he is, then he picks the wrong time to do so. He hardly visit, he finds reading my blog entries exhausting and unsettling. Well, I'd say this: Dear, I'm trying to talk myself into letting you go, of course I have to list down all your minus points to make me see how foolish I've been. But that does not mean you don't have many plus points, okay!

While waiting for my breakfast at the Kopitiam near my office this morning, I had another long talk over the phone with his business partner. The statement I made surprised myself. I told him that if Mr Designer were a woman, he would be a dumb blonde. Beautiful on the facade, but empty underneath - that goes for intellectually as well as emotionally. His partner cackled, he said I couldn't have chosen a more accurate description. Since inteligent men don't go for dumb blondes, should the same be for the reversed? I deserved a knock on the head, don't I?

Okay, on a more serious note, his partner and I are getting really concerned. Despite Mr Designer's unrealiable, inconsistent and arrogant ways, we both genuinely care about him. Never mind that he makes our blood boils and increase our chance of getting a heart attack; we are beginning to suspect that his problem lies beyond attitude and expertise. It's not that he's not equipped, overworked or just lazy, we are now beginning to wonder whether he has some sort of impairment, a learning disability even.

He is lucky that his father was in the international education sector and not ignorant as fathers of that generation had been. Mr Designer was sent to do a Degree in Arts and Design in a low-cost part of the UK, but the university's standard was high though. He didn't get a scholarship, his parents supported him. It was an unusual choice at a time when young people (especially boys) were were being pushed into Medicine, Law, Engineering, Accountancy, etc. It showed how advanced his father was. But what trigger such an uncommon decision in the first place?

Let me share several causes of our worry. This is beyond Mr Designer's blur-blur and poker-face appearance. You have to work very closely with him to notice. He has a problem working with text. He treats text like pictures/objects that can be moved around on a design without understanding what it means. He could not even arrange the text that I've clearly typed out and explained - he couldn't differenciate between basic info and supporting info to promote a seminar for instance; he lumped everything together. Bear in mind that I didn't brief him quickly like I did other suppliers. I would personally sort the materials/papers, slowly run through in detail and ensure he follows and give him the exact text to place. Sometimes, he would produce advertisement that does not make sense to readers, obviously he himself didn't read to understand it first. He was following intructions blindly like a parrot.

He's really slow in working on amendments, even minor ones. Remember the Saturday night we stayed late working on the presentation? That was when his partner and I realised that what we were looking at was his actual productivity level, he was not fooling around. He seemed to be moving the text boxes round and round in a circle, instead of amending them straight. For someone who's a veteran in the industry, it doesn't look like he has mastered the design software. Minor changes in text took him around 2 hours.

Recently, I was looking forward to the flow charts that he was doing for us. He showed me these 3D shapes that he could use so they won't look flat and boring. When he shared the initial stage with me (he was behind deadline as usual), I was shocked to learn that he doesn't know how to do a flow chart eg when do one use diamond, rectangular, etc. He simply 'belasah'. I'm not sure if this is common among designers though. Nevertheless, there were times when he missed my points altogether and I couldn't help thinking whether he was making fun of me on purpose. His partner assured me that he was trying his best. He also couldn't spell quite a number of common words in Malay and English too. Yeah, we are very concerned. It would be cruel for us to push him to deliver more if he has an unknown handicap.

Anyway, discipline and commitment wise, his partner and I finally decided that we have tolerated enough. Both of us need to stop pampering him and let him get away with everything. It is time to enforce plan B, part of it includes us both learning to use the design software, minimising my work-related interaction with Mr Designer (I assured his partner that I don't mind working with another designer if need be), etc, etc.


lenzaidi said...

You are just way too smart for him.Sorry to say this.Thought this is the ultimatum to the relationship and professionalism. Unless both can work out something fruitful.But first Mr.D has to change bits and there.Kinda lost?

Uncle Lee said...

Hello Hazia, you have to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad, love what you've got, remember what you've had, learn from your mistakes.
But never regret.
People change, things go wrong, but remember, life goes on.

life can be like an onion...We peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes we cry.

You just stay easy Hazia, be cool....stay rational, you'll be fine. Keep well, Lee.

ps, drop in later....

Hazia said...

Not too sure if you're a 1st time visitor, or just a silent one. Welcome anyway:)
Man, you just happened to say d right words at d right time,... Somewhere in d midst of reading your comment, searching for 'moving on' quotations and listening repeatedly to Barry Manilow's "Ready to take a chance again', everything just clicked.

Do see my next entry tomorrow for updates, okay?:)

Hazia said...

Your wise words are much cherished, as always. Yeah, life goes on. I like d 'onion' saying best.
Will drop by your blog later:)

lenzaidi said...

Same gender as you.A bloghopper and an avid reader of Hazia's reflection 2.I like your stories and all.I would recommend this blog to friends at any time.Your writing is very liberating amidst the choas of work and relationship.
Mr D is perhaps a phenomenon of big time 40s something.Take or leave him sort.(if only i can read him well)

Hazia said...

That's flattering... thank you:)
I think you are right. Seems like you and my ex-roommate are much more experienced with men than I am;)

lenzaidi said...

Gawd Hazia,
ive been with this kinda guy before during my uni days - a guy who seems to be all dependant on you, lost and almost a 'parasite'. But today hes someone in the Malaysian/local art industry.That didnt change much of him hes still d' accentric bloke.

Always late, always with excuses, unkempt looking, unreliable .Today hes with you, next hes gone although hes with you.I found im always the caretaker hahah.THis kinda man need to be mothered!

Cheers ya.