Sunday, April 29, 2007

change is the only evidence of life

This week is my last week in M13 :( I was tearing and was holding back my tears. I don't want to cry and make a scene even though it was acceptable :) My desk is cleared, my belongings are in the boxes, say my goodbye to everyone, thank you’s and hugs went all around and had my Exit Interview done. Everyone is curious of where I’m off to. Everyone is speculating :) I remain mum and keep the whole thing as low profile as possible. Now, I felt relieved, like the excess baggage has lifted off from my shoulder. I am excited of joining Haakon yet at the same time – I got cold feet :) There are a lot of Ifs. What if I didn’t have a good boss? What if the new environment sucks? What if the people there bully me? :) The next few days I really need to rest myself and do my homework. I need to be mentally, emotionally and physically ready for the coming challenges and shouldering heavier and more responsibilities. The coming weeks – it might be a lovely moment, it might not be. Frightening. Beautiful. Bitter. Sweet. And most definitely sappy :) I can’t remember where I read this – No Matter Where You Go or End Up At, If You’re A Good Seed, You Will Grow, Blossom and Bear Fruits Of Blessings For Others. I hope I’m made of a good seed.

On Wednesday night – Seth & Celtic bought me seafood dinner at 'LaLa Chong' near the Subang Old Airport. To my surprise, they together with Trix, Thor and Lucius bought me a farewell gift – an ESPRIT Watch. I didn’t expect to receive such a pricey present. I keep telling myself that I have crashed through the barrier. I have to stop worrying and start relaxing. I am up to the plateau where I just need to do whatever there is needed doing.

Thursday afternoon – manage to catch up with Ping for lunch. We had nice conversations and it prompts me to take up that first step :)

On Friday night, Juan, Nikolai, Tommy, Pierre Andre and Amadeo celebrated with me at Telawi Street Bistro. Kakak also came back from Vietnam. We had sirloin steaks, italian pizzas, spring chicken and the yummy dessert: chocolate volcano. The chocolate was great. Hard and solid, then melty and smooth, creamy and velvety in your mouth :) I enjoyed the night with well-spaced drinks, lots of water, food, sitting at the verandah accompany by the cool night breeze and not standing directly in front of the loud speakers :)

This afternoon – hang out at Joachim’s place for Joachim’s belated birthday. The usual suspects: Juan, Nikolai and Pierre Andre. The dark brown IKEA table was laden with KFC variety bucket, 2 Dominos pizza, chicken and potato salads and the birthday cake. We swap stories and gossip about our week and a bit later, find ourselves discussing the Integration & Harmonization – from the concept, the structure, the people, the system & procedures, the front & back administration, the air-condition, the smoking zone, the layout…every single details :) The coming weeks will be very interesting to see how The British move its human capital around to fit into their structure. Too bad, I will not be there to witness the grand event.

I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality -Frida Kahlo-

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"The Heavens Hear My Soul"

On Monday morning – I have this weird happyness feeling in me. I don’t know how to describe it…I was just very happy for no apparent reasons. I looked up at the sky; it was a pale blue, I feel the cool morning breeze on my skin, the trees seem greener and the air seems fresher…somehow. Maybe I’m just more aware that I’m alive :)

The Others organized my farewell lunch on Wednesday :( I am going to missed them so much. My work here is done. I have learned and experience the Integration & Harmonization Process. The conditions here just aren’t conducive to me staying anymore. I will never be given the opportunity by Seth. Seth & Celtic are partners. It’s a duo partnership, never a trio. They are inseparable and they complement each other. I will just never fit in. The last 25 months have been hard work where the pay is crap. But it’s heaps of fun, full of laughter, satisfaction and inspiration :)

Cassius drop by on Friday morning at M13 to collect some documents :) That moment was grand. Cassius makes me smile :) But I know that I was too late :( I should have allowed the affiliation to grow but since the both of us are in the same barracks – I just don’t feel right with such arrangement. Well, I’m really enjoying my singlehood now and I don’t think I’m that ready for exclusive commitments in the near future.

The British invited us for their ‘Celebrating Success’ party at PJ Hilton with a 'Friday Night Blues' theme. It started very late but the alcohol was flowing, there was dancing & light-hearted cruising, DJ Basil from FlyFM was the night’s Emcee, pretty boys & girls packed from corner to corner – all dressed in shiny blue tops, elegant strapless blue dresses, in blue tank tops, in blue fitted tops, in blue revealing tops, in blue backless tops, in blue fairies frocks – and there was a group of women from the British Apparel Regiment who dress up in blue secondary pinafore…trying very hard to act cute & young. They don't look the part. Lucky Draw prizes were very good – branded electrical stuffs which I was not lucky to win. I only got a souvenir bag and a goody bag because there was a blue card that was stick underneath my chair. I was on a table with excellent company – Torres, Sverre Magnus, Trix, Seth, Juan, Tommy, Nikolai, Pierre Andre – full of chatting, baby stories and crazy antics. I have lots of happy conversations with the people I knew :) This is my last event with them :(

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Last of the Independents

Just have a little patience.

I’m still hurting from a love I lost,
I’m feeling your frustration,
Any minute all the pain will stop,
Just hold me close inside your arms tonight,
Don’t be too hard on my emotions.

Cause I need time,
My heart is numb, has no feeling,
So while I’m still healing,
Just try and have a little patience.

I really wanna start over again,
I know you wanna be my salvation,
The one that I can always depend.

I’ll try to be strong. Believe me,
I’m trying to move on,
It’s complicated but understand me.

Cause I need time,
My heart is numb, has no feeling,
So while I’m still healing,
Just try and have a little patience.

Yeah, have a little patience, Yeah.

Cause these scars run so deep,
It’s been hard,
But I have to believe.

Have a little patience,
Have a little patience.

Woah, cause I, I just need time,
My heart is numb has no feeling,
So while I’m still healing,
Just try, and have a little patience.

Have a little patience,
My heart is numb has no feeling,
So while I’m still healing,
Just try and have a little…Patience.

-Take That: Patience-

*my current favorite playlist :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Misguided Roses

I have finally finished reading Jack Reacher’s adventures in ‘Killing Floor’. Tommy has been complaining that I am such a slow reader :) ‘Killing Floor’ is the best book ever – compare to ‘The Enemy’, ‘One Shot’ and ‘Without Fail’. I love the money counterfeiting plot – the system, the plates, the print, the ink, the paper, the distribution network, the Treasury Department – the story just draws you in. And it has Reacher going on a rampage to find out who murder his brother Joe and how he takes his revenge. He kills, he shoots and he drowns his enemies. Very action and macho packed :) Now Tommy has got me to read ‘The Traveller’ by John Twelve Hawks. Reviews say that it is the new Da Vinci Code – I am at page 76 now and the story is about The Harlequins who protects The Travellers & Pathfinders from the The Tabula. The Travellers are people who have been living off the grid – that is, invisible to the intrusive surveillance networks that monitor our modern lives. Why? I haven’t reached that part yet :)

This morning I accompany a friend of mine for her interview at this public-listed company in Jalan Kuching. Hope that she gets it. Working for an MNC is good for the resume and the package is deliciously attractive :) The first round of the interview was with the HR Manager and she have to sit for a test – maths; lots of calculation – for a Marketing position. If she passes this level, she may need to see the Executive Director. The HR Manager told her that those who are going to receive that amount will need to go that high up to be confirmed for that position. Wow, I told her it will be a good experience. She may be going to report directly to that Executive Director. Then we head for lunch at GIANT Taman Connaught in Cheras. Once the harmonization period is over, it will be very interesting to watch the Retail Industry. I am going to see who will shake and who will be shaken :) So far the feedbacks that we received were that M13 have the best team compare to The British. We emphasize on quality and not quantity. We are more knowledgeable in terms of product specifications and are more expose to various strategies and mechanics. We are aware of industry needs, we dare to experiment. They need to play catch-up :)

Wednesday morning went down to Oakland Park to take a closer look of the finished schematic. Almost done, need a bit of fine-tuning here and there. I have to respect all the Spaceman who did this layout. It takes so much of patient. You need to determine which racking to use, get the product dimension correct, how many shelves to put in, how many hooks, how to arrange the merchandise, left to right, small to big, arrange by range, cheap to expensive, how will the customers select and eventually pick up that product etc. It’s exhausting, it’s crappy and it’s soul-destroying. And I hate that SpaceWoman. We know our customers better. We know what is practical and that SpaceWoman will disagree and will lecture us on the ISO Standard. The scariest thing is this: it’s not the biggies who are making the decisions; it’s the smallies who think that they are biggies. We have been debating very hotly for the past week.

The Others receive their feedbacks on Thursday afternoon. The terms & conditions that are given to them are not in their favor. It should be a step upward not downward. Celtic was demoted. I truly felt for Celtic. We may not see each other eye-to-eye but in circumstances such as this…I have to say that Celtic was being treated unfairly. I may not like Celtic personal attributes; but that aside, I have always admired Celtic professional and working ethics. Juan was not matched and Nikolai has the same fate as Celtic :( I feel humble. I am thankful that my talent is being recognized and acknowledge. I am counting my blessings that I do not share the same fate as them. They got a demotion while I was given a promotion; albeit technically :)

David Ogilvy who believes that’s the only way to build a company of giants.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Life Uncommon

I had seafood lunch yesterday at Dataran Prima – recommendation from Juan with Tommy & Nikolai. We had a marvelous session with the crabs and the prawns :)
Then the 4 of us hang out at SS2 Coffee Bean for our second session. It was nice to have an exquisite late afternoon coffee – drowning in the sounds of coffee machines, clinking tea cups and the gentle mummer of people.

It’s Explanation Week – I know that they are not going to let me off the hook that easily. They want me to explain…everything…the whole details. And I gave them – partially :) Honesty is not the best policy in such a situation. Especially with these mature adults. They cannot cope with truth. They can’t manage the facts. They cannot admit that they are wrong…mistakes can and do happen.
The First Triangle – in my first meeting with my would-be manager, I have been informed that I will get a promotion but NO upgrade. I have asked but there were no given answers. I waited. A week has passed. I know that people who are at Seth & Celtic’s position are secure. Based on inside information, only people who are at my level will be compromised. So in order to minimize my risk further, the situation has forced me to look for outside alternatives. And when I was looking for alternatives, they revert back and decide to upgrade me a little. It was very insignificant. I firmly say no :)
The Second Triangle – a better upgrade than the first triangle but the job scope was not attractive. Again, I say no :)
The Third Triangle – which I accepted. I’m taking the risk to join Haakon. I will still continue to enhance and add value to my current work. And I have identified 3 new areas that I hope that I will be able to learn much from Haakon. At least, the next time I leave, I have 4 options to move around instead of being stuck in 1. I can be a generalist and a specialist at the same time :)
Seth & Celtic are please to see me go – less competition for them :)
But there were some nasty people around. These people knew of my first & second triangle and start to talk behind my back, sharing with other nosy people and words was spread around very quickly – they say that I was demanding, my asking price was unreasonable, that I don’t worth that much, my refusal to accept the first or the second triangle indicate my cockiness, that I blew away good chances, that I didn’t know how to secure good opportunities, that I didn’t know how to be grateful, that I was greedy, that I throw my career away…very very hurtful :( – if you all only knew.
If The British didn’t buy over M13 last year, I will be leaving end of this year anyway. I need to move out from my comfort zone. It’s time for me to close one chapter and open another chapter. And if I was working like what Eloise is doing – than yes, I admit that what I’m currently receiving is a lot and can be consider as the highest paid at that level. But I gave MORE than that. At the beginning stage I didn’t mind because I thought I was a freshie and ragging like this is necessary. Then it reaches a point where it just didn’t add up. The 'MORE' that has become immeasurable. I just want something back to justify my effort and hard work. There was only 1 increment after I graduated from the Management Trainee program and then there was no increment after my 6 months probation, there is no OT and the bonus scheme was just discriminating, it took care of the people at the top but not at the bottom. All this time it was all about giving but no receiving. Is it too much to ask? To reward your employees for their effort and extra incentives to retain their talents?
At the end of the day, I’m just looking for a package that justifies my previous effort and extra incentives to drive me through. I am going to work my ass off and prove to them that I’m worth that value.

Flatter Me, And I May Not Believe You. Critisize Me, And I May Not Like You. Ignore Me, And I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, And I Will Not Forget You. - William A. Ward

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Giving My Best For The Long Haul

Joachim & Stavros have been transferred to the British’s Base in Mutiara. The next chosen one is Tommy :( Once all the necessary paper documentation has been finalized, Tommy’s migration will take place. We organized a Good Luck lunch for Tommy at Nyonya’s Kitchen. I can see that, slowly, the whole group will be dissolve – we will move on, meet new people and remember the good old days :(
Friday was Lucius last day as our caretaker as well because Boss will be reporting for duty tomorrow morning :) We will miss Lucius very much; Lucius will be taken care off and is given an assignment to manage the operations side of the business.
We also had dinner at Marche (pronounced Mar-Shay) at The Curve – courtesy of The British. Definitely a good strategy to buy our hearts. There has been too many loyal hard core M13’s around, and to convert these loyalists – it ain’t that easy :) but I can see that The British are working extra hard to adjust the loyalist’s outlook on certain matters.
2 of our colleagues Mervin & James from Penang came down for training – it was dinner at HALO and a movie thereafter: Mr. Bean’s Holiday. The movie is not funny. It’s supposed to be funny but it’s not funny because the jokes and the antics have been recycled and been used plenty of times. It’s so predictable – you just know what Mr. Bean will do next. BORING!

This week, we have been putting in long hours into our work schedule – work until 9pm; almost everyday – to get the planogram and mock-up visualization done before the sign-off. The Integration process is torturing at times – but it has been a very good learning experience as well. You just gain more when you learn from different people who use different methods.
I went for facial to relax myself as my face muscles was quite tense this week and I had my eyebrows treaded :)

I drop da’bomb this week :) Seriously, I have been struggling with this decision for weeks now. I hell still can’t get the perspective right. Until now, I am still not sure whether I make the right decision or not. Is it the right move? Is this the right path? Is this the accurate picture? Will I regret it later? What will they say? These questions have been playing in my mind for weeks and I still don’t have the damn answers! I based my final judgment on logical thinking and lots of gut feeling on the Triangle Offers. I am thankful for the offers – my pa said that it is GOD’s blessing. It’s better to have options than no options. I have a different opinion though – I think I am a cheap labor and that is why they can slot me around easily. Why don’t they offer Juan, Nikolai, Tommy, Celtic or anybody else?! Because they were damn expensive that’s what! After the assessment, the Triangle Offers have its own set of risk, its goods and bads. The frustrating part is that I can’t see the outcome of each of this decision.
There’s only one way to go, and that’s forward. I’m glad I take the chance to join Haakon but I know I have to work my ass off to justify that amount. I need to find my heart. I don’t know if it means that I’ve really reached the point of really letting it go, but I think what’s more important is to not be bitter about it. I hope this understanding makes me a better person :)