Archive for May 2009

Planning a big day

May 30, 2009

Recently, wedding planning seems to dominate my life. Apart from planning my own simple do involving only family, wedding bells too will soon be ringing for for my maid-of-honour M, after her fiance J popped the question during their recent holiday to the UK. And after that, CMM and Bubble will be next.

Even though my own ceremony is brief and simple, there are still so many things to plan, and sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. The flowers, the venue, the outfits, the food, the girls, the boys, the traditional rites, the photography etc.

I’ve really been very disciplined not to get too carried away with things, and kept reminding myself to keep things simple and on budget. But it’s just so tempting when you see pretty ideas to want to splash out on them.

I love weddings and I enjoy them regardless if I am the bride or the bridesmaid. I just love putting together colours, designs, ideas and little touches to make the day beautiful and special. And I love the idea of looking pretty in a stunning dress!

With 3 weddings to plan over the next 3 years, I am sure I will be kept occupied, poring over bridal magazines, doing something I like to do. As R puts it, “I honestly think researching and planning weddings is your hobby.”

Boss on wheels

May 30, 2009

cougar couriers

This is why I love the place I work at. This is my CEO. Carrying our heavy photography equipment on his bike to a youth centre for our workshop. Zero pretence. No airs. Proof that you don’t need to drive a Merz to gain respect. If we have issues, we trash it out and move on. That’s the way I like to work.

Trip delayed…

May 28, 2009

I had originally planned to stay for a brief visit but ended up extending my trip for another 5 days.

After the operation to remove her gangrous toe, my grandmother’s wound is still not healing properly. In fact it had gotten worse days before I returned and is really affecting her sleep.

Looking at how she has to sit in a chair at night to sleep, we thought it may be better for her to be hospitalised and get 24-hour care.

I orginally had an impulsive thought to take a month’s no-pay leave just to see how I can help out with the situation at home.

When I spoke to R, he said although my being here would not help alleviate her physical discomfort or improve her condition, if it makes me feel better to be at home, then I should do it. He also said we should be able to manage on his income and he can transfer money to me if need be.

In the end, because my grandmother need not be hospitalised, I decided against taking such a long time off work. My boss was kind enough to grant me another few days, which is good since it means I can spend enough time at home to oversee her use of the circulation boosting foot machine which we had shipped from the UK, and also run around planning my ROM.

It is not easy coping with an ill-stricken relative, but I think I am stronger this time round. It’s taking a day at a time and also constantly reminding myself that I have done my bit and my best.

I can only pray she persists with her treatment and recovers in time to see me as a bride.

Butts on sale

May 21, 2009

DSCF2976

Good price for enormous arses, don’t you think?

Cat got my tongue II

May 20, 2009

She wanted to talk about “our dealings” with each other so we sat in the meeting room for two hours talking about what happened on Monday.

She started out by saying she didn’t understand why I had to be so angry or upset about her not being able to make the trip. Afterall, it wasn’t personal or intentional. I should have answered my phone when she kept ringing me because she wanted to provide me with information I needed for the presentation.

She also asked me the following questions:

  1. Was I exploiting her mistake?
  2. Was I after her job?
  3. Was I trying to be a martyr?
  4. Was I trying to claim credit?
  5. Why wasn’t I more knowledgeable about the project?

She also said my tone and attitude was very bad when I spoke to her on the phone when she couldn’t make it for the train. I basically told her very angrily, “It’s the second time you’ve missed something important.” She said it wasn’t in my place to say that to her. I am not her line manager, not her boss. I had no right to tell her off.

I told her I had no interest in climbing the corporate ladder, hell, I just want to do my job right. I always offer to help because I don’t want us to miss deadlines and the team ends up looking bad. I do it for the team, not so that I can look shiny. And the comment about she didn’t understand why there’s a need for me to be so angry, just stumped me. It’s not brain surgery, but wasn’t it quite obvious why?

We managed to resolve the issues at the end of our meeting where she promised to be more reliable so I can trust her, she also said she needed time to see if she could trust me (?).

I don’t know. Sometimes I get really disturbed when I discover people think like this and I left for home speechless once again.

Cat got my tongue

May 18, 2009

I’ve never really verbalised the word tu lan before, but today I’m afraid only this Hokkien vulgarity which literally means “poke dick” can sum up how I feel. Actually, I think it also needs “fucking”, “tok gong” and “boh way gong” in front of it to really put things into perspective.

I had arranged to go to North Wales for a business meeting with my senior colleague. We had to catch the 0720 train so we agreed to meet at the station at 0710. Given the fact she had missed one important meeting earlier in the year due to her haphazard nature, I rang her at 0620 to make sure she was awake.

At 0713, she was still nowhere in sight. I rang her and she told me she was still at home waiting for the taxi. What’s worse, she hadn’t got any cash so she needed to go to the cash point to draw money to pay the driver.

Looking at the time, I told her there was no way she could make it to the station in 6 minutes, use the ATM, pay her cab fare and still be able to catch the train. But she kept insisting she was just round the corner. With two minutes left to go, I had to make the decision- to go to this presentation alone, or we both miss it together.

It’s amazing how much can go through your mind in a matter of seconds when you are under stress. I even had time to consider all these: If we both didn’t go, the company would have wasted £40 on our travel expenses.  If I went alone, I wouldn’t know what to say because I wasn’t prepared to give the main presentation. Could I not do this? But the people in North Wales were expecting us and it would just looked very bad on us if we cancelled.

So I made a dash for the train. The conductor had actually locked the train doors and blew the whistle, but he heard and saw me running clumsily in my high heels along the platform, shouting, “Wait!” and very kindly let me on board. As the train pulled away and I tried to catch my breath, she phoned to say she’d just arrived at the station. I told her it was too late, we’d left.

And then I lost it. I said I was very disappointed, very angry and I had reminded her days ago about the timing of the train. I even called her in the morning to make sure she wasn’t still asleep. She is someone more senior and I feel almost embarrassed doing such things. She said she’d try to catch another train or make other travel arrangements and I told her to forget it, it took 3 hours to get up to the North and the trains were by no way frequent.

She kept dishing up reasons or excuses on why she couldn’t make it, and offered ways to make amends, but I really wasn’t interested. The bottomline was that she didn’t deliver and that couldn’t be changed no matter how valid the reason was. Then I told her I didn’t want to talk to her anymore and hung up.

So there I was, breathless in my seat, armed with a heavy projector which was going to be absolutely useless since the person who was supposed to bring the laptop didn’t show up. I had no laptop, no powerpoint, I wasn’t expected to present the concept of the youth website to people from the town council, let alone all on my freaking own. God knows why I went on the train and why I thought I’d be able to pull this off.

The only good thing was I had 3 hours to think of a solution. So I looked through my notes from a previous presentation I attended with my CEO and studied the information booklets I brought along. I convinced myself that I actually did know all the stuff, I just hadn’t done it before all on my own, without amnunition or support, or sufficient prepping.

In the end, I was lucky to have gotten away with a very friendly and easy-going audience. There were only two of them instead of the usual large group who sat around the boardroom table in an airless meeting room, tapping their pens on thick notebooks.

I talked them through the project at their office desks in an informal setting, sharing cups of tea and biscuits. I managed to convince them and myself I knew what I was doing, and the meeting, given the horrible circumstances, actually went very well.

I remained traumatised and affected on the journey back. She kept phoning me but her actions had really left me so speechless I told her to back off and let me have some space. I just needed to calm down and I wasn’t ready to talk.

My bosses phoned and I frankly admitted to them that she was making it very difficult for me to do my job right and I couldn’t continue working like this. One of them said if he were me, he would have gotten off the train halfway and headed back.

I don’t expect anyone to give me a pat on my back telling me how well I’ve handled the situation. All I want is somebody to wake this lady up and make her get her act together!

This evening when I got home, I got an email from her asking to meet up to iron things out. I was thinking if I should say yes but not show up. You see, sometimes when my vindictive side takes control, I just want to serve them their own dish, behave the way they behave, tell the lies they do, not care the way they don’t.

But then call me stupid or overly-righteous, no matter how fucking tok gong boh way gong tu lan (poke dick angry in a super speechless way) I get, I always manage to stop myself in time and say: No, I won’t stoop down to that level.

The key is delivery

May 17, 2009

Sometimes I don’t know which is worse, slackers or over-promisers. Recently, I’ve met a lot of the latter. People who bite off more than they can chew. People who are over-ambitious and think they can complete multiple tasks within a short deadline but fail to deliver.

I can’t really work effectively because I rely on others to be up to date with their tasks before I can move ahead with mine. I mean, there’s only so much prodding and reminding you can do, we are afterall colleagues and I shouldn’t really be anyone’s nagging Mum.

My CEO asked me why I didn’t voice out my frustrations during our recent appraisal. He said, “You should tell me when you are unhappy!”. I said I was new and rather than to complain about things around me which I didn’t like, I decided to give it a few months to suss things out.

He said some people have had difficulties getting used to the working culture and style of the organisation. Many of us are based in different places and only get together when there’s a meeting. Because everyone is always on the go, younger and newer staff would find they need to rely on their own resources and initiatives to get their tasks completed.

I don’t have a problem with little hand-holding at work, but I said I need clearer objectives and expectations. I also said I am quite happy to lead projects and help people out when they have overwhelming amount of work, because at the end of the day it’s not about who has done the work, it’s about the team being able to deliver.

He said people need to be more self-aware and know their limits. He delegates work but if someone doesn’t tell him they already have too much to do, then he’d assume they can complete the work as requested. If someone can’t do the job, he appreciates them saying no so that he can get somebody else to do it.

I was pretty affected by this habit of empty promises but one day I just thought, “Well, there’s no point being upset, I can’t change the others so I have to learn adapt.” And from that day onwards I started to be happier at work.

I still get very frustrated by these over-promisers and under-achievers but I am trying to work around it. To me, slackers and people who don’t deliver are the same. At the end of the day. both get nothing done but one just looks busier than the other.