GOD – I have sinned. Please forgive me. Please help me to cover up this lie :) My fault. I was being defensive. I pointed out everything on Leonardo. I will no more say another word (whether good or bad) about Leonardo anymore. Case closed for good. This is my vow. I say that I will play the gentlemen’s game, but I did not and to make it worst, I made the same mistakes again. What a bitch I am…have I turned evil too?!
Today, I kena perli from Ursula. We met up with 2 of my paper suppliers. Firstly, one of the supplier’s punctuality was very bad. Secondly, the supplier may be the big king makers in the market but they were not well-versed in terms of the market share and our competitors market share. Typical china man. Thirdly – it was my bad…how can I forget the vendor code and the trading term particulars. Sigh. Hopeless and useless. I am so lembap. And then, Ursula also commented that I was so tension and serious during the supplier’s negotiation meeting. Ursula pointed out that I was not good in asking suppliers questions and digging for additional information that can help to make the business better. Ursula's negotiation style is very different from Leonardo's. As a matter of fact, it was refreshing. Business, growth, dollar value, strategies. Will do better next time. Sigh… I don’t know when Ursula is real, when Ursula is fake. I don’t know when Ursula is genuine & sincere, when Ursula has bad intentions. I don’t know when Ursula wants me alive, when Ursula wants me to be dead. Banyak susah.
This morning – I had a tiny rift with Ursula – via email. Of course, at the end of it, I make the first move and went to see her in her room. Ursula looks ok. But I know that deep inside, I have cross the line. Ursula is probably thinking – that right now, this brat, all of the sudden already have the balls to argue with her, to counter re-act her, do not agree with her, being impolite & impatient in the email…want to rebel and over write is it :) Ursula is going to kenakan me after this. I am going to get slaughtered.
I am very fed-up with The General. The General wants me to bring in books. But you got to give me some time to do it. I will not be getting any additional bays in the first place. I will have to compact and shrink my existing stationery bays to give way to the books. And this exercise is certainly not easy. Ursula have also reminded me that if I do not bring in the books any time soon, it is consider that The General view me as not doing my job. Do roadshow…fine, but where is the space. The stores are already damn jammed with the BTS & Christmas stocks that are coming in gradually. Both from the local & indent suppliers. It’s going to be a massive explosive stock value and stock days for this month, next month November and the following month December. The General wants me to do things but don’t want to help me to kautim the stores for me. Celtic said it’s good that I voice up to Ursula, at least to show that I have my own stand point and Celtic also advise me to use jalan belakang to get the store support. Fine…like Celtic says – the show must go on. Work with the right mind and attitude. Impress them. Follow the direction of the wind blows. Die also die lah. Anyway, it’s also a do or die situation right now.
Liverpool 2 - 2 Newcastle :(
Wasted. Could have grab all of the available three points. Thank the lucky stars that the first few matches was very kind where The Reds were pitted against the bottom league clubs. Otherwise, we are so screwed. Like Manchester United :)
But on the upside is that our Captain Steven Gerrard has reached his 100 Premier League goals for Liverpool. Woo Hoo! :)
Thank You GOD, Praise To The Lord, Bless You GOD :)
I didn’t count my blessings for the month of September. And October has not ended yet. But, somehow, I just want to count my blessings today. GOD, thank you for everything. You are such an Amazing, Awesome & Good GOD. You have provided for my family & myself every day. You have blessed us unconditionally every day. You have made my cup full. You are a real joy giver!
Shelter 101 Project >> no leads and no progress thus far…but I no longer in a rush or in desperation mode anymore. I just somehow trust GOD and I firmly believe that my Lord Father will provide when the right time comes.
Work Tales >> I so wanted to get out from G13. Initially, I wanted to help out Leonardo with the BTS 2013, Christmas & CNY 2014, then submit my love letter, go for a break, freshen myself up a little, probably ask Stewart for help…then GOD added in a new twist into the plot…Ursula appeared in the picture. I don’t know where this is all leading to. I only know that human beings work better when there’s someone there telling them that they can get to where they want to be. People think that you only need a coach when you have a problem but that’s not true. I read an article somewhere that when you are twenty-five, it is also a great time to start counseling, if you haven’t already had one, and it might be a good round two of counseling if it’s been a while. You might have just enough space from your parents to start digging around your childhood a little bit. I think everybody needs a coach or mentor in their life. If you want to better your life, you need somebody to hold you accountable, to get you motivated and to push you in the right direction.
Under Leonardo’s charge – I know that I should not have been given up so easily. I should not have quit on myself. By right, with my inner strength, I should have able to overcome it. I also don’t know what happen; what happen to me to be precise. I do not have the answers on why I just collapse. I am still not strong enough now to have that run of victory, victory, victory. I will; for sure but not now. It’s all about work, work, work. This mental stability is hard to get. Actually, I truly deserve it. Padan muka me. If I preserve enough, I don’t have to endure all of this.
In Christ alone, my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all-in-all
Here in the love of Christ I stand
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand
Sakae Sushi, Sunway Pyramid – Ursula & I had lunch together after a supplier’s roadshow – we also had some personal talk. I found out why Ursula didn’t want Pietro in the first place. Ursula is doing the job of both of the CM and SCM. Ahh, now it makes sense to me. Leonardo always does the importation work for Pietro. I always find that Leonardo sayang Pietro very much. More than me :) Always does things for him. Rupa-rupanya, Pietro memang ada masalah sedikit. Pietro also admit that Leonardo have also sounded him before, Leonardo must push Pietro, then only Pietro will move 2, 3 steps. Then Pietro will stop again and Leonardo has to push Pietro again.
Then this Ursula also has the guts to tell me that she told The General that I am a softie, a soft negotiator :( This happen when The General asks Ursula to give some input about me. Ursula also commented that it is still too early stage to tell, she doesn’t know me that well yet, I am only hardworking and that I lack of guidance. I also admit that I do not receive the necessary guidance from Leonardo. Ursula is such a smart bitch. By looking at how Leonardo replied the email to the store, Ursula already knows the source of the problem. In one of the email to rectify a store problem – Leonardo only put – J____, please reply store on the action plan. Ursula also informs this to The General. It so make sense now. Pietro failed in the range review first attempt is because Pietro also weren’t sure on how to go about it. There was neither direction nor leadership from Leonardo. Until The General gave poor Pietro such a hard time; commenting that either Pietro is stupid, lazy or refuse to change. Back to the email, Ursula actually asks the store team, how many bays are there in the stationery department; getting the additional info to help me out here.
Ursula also commented on Gerrard, Sean & Christy – their characters, their strengths, their weaknesses & their background. Most importantly, Ursula emphasizes how she gets things done. She influences the suppliers to influence the buyers. As a conclusion – Ursula is also the good cop and the bad cop here. I have a mountain to climb after this :(
Work Tales - Blue Eye Prima Saujana – aiyo, kena peril again from Ursula. These paper stocks are non-returnable. It has been stuck in the stores for almost 3 years. One store has been making up their complaint all over to the top management. Ursula says (again) that I am not a strong negotiator; to request the supplier for return also takes 2 days; ding-dong here and ding-dong there. But I am still damn proud of myself, because I have make something unreturnable to returnable, even though it have taken me two days to follow-up with the suppliers. At least, I have settled the problem. Ursula doesn’t praise me, so I praised myself :) At least, I know that I am back on track, I’m gaining back a bit of my confidence, I am returning to my form gradually.
Work Tales - Double A – I am really such a dong – dong. Let Ursula catch me again. If there is anymore trade display in the future, must put in the sales improvement performance at the store level. Not only to reward the stores for their best creativity display but also for sales results as well. Ursula indeed is a very smart businesswoman. Really talking about sales, dollars and solutions. The stores keep on buying stocks, but must also push them to do the sales for us. They are not like a warehouse for the supplier to hold stocks. I am such an idiot :( Nevermind, I will try to build on it, improve on it, learn from it. Let’s talk business from now on.
Being under Leonardo’s charge – my motivation goes down, the pressure goes down, my physical condition and my sharpness also goes down too. I don’t want to blame Leonardo. It’s partly my fault too. I should have been in the right frame of mind and working attitude. Not tidak apa. Not being sien. I should be able to overcome it. I accept that it has not been a great start and I also accept that I have made many mistakes, overlook many things and never give a deeper thought into everything.
Now that I am with top-notch Ursula – I need a bit of time to find back my sharpness. The past few weeks, I have been moving around, bouncing ideas, being trigger at – I hope that I can get back my old form and an understanding of where I am. I have to adapt myself and the game in order to keep being part of the highest level. Buyers transform themselves with years. They get stronger in some aspects of their work portfolio but lose other strengths. I have to adapt to my age, my potential and my condition.
Work Tales – Asia File – Ursula starts to do the department first clean-up. Cut down the number of sku. Ursula came out with a genius plan. To clear the stocks and to push for the sales. West Malaysia supermarket to have flat price @ RM7. East Malaysia stores to have flat price @ RM5. Damn it, I really need an outsider with a fresh pair of eyes to throw new ideas at me, play around with some strategies and to give a new perspective or a breath of fresh air to the department. Even though, I feel so inadequate deep inside, I should have been the brain behind all of these; not Ursula. But, salutations must be given to Ursula for such courage. I know that Leonardo and myself will never have the guts to do that.
Work Tales - oh oh, I’m in serious trouble. Whenever I call Ursula over the phone, she will have a very friendly tone. On Monday morning, it was flat. Very serious. Not friendly at all. I can feel the evilness is starting to purge out bit by bit. Ursula’s horns & tails is starting to become more visible. Giving me the cold shoulder now. The honeymoon is over for sure. Real work begins now :( I will be scrutinized even further. I will always be the anak tiri. She terpaksa angkat & pungut me. Maybe Leonardo is right about me after all…
Work Tales – this Ursula is so drop dead evil. She is trying to create frictions between me with Alice & Celtic. Ursula commented that Alice is so clever in getting space at the store level. All of Alice's stocks is all over the place. Even taking over one of my gondola end. Alice’s assortments are so bright, so inviting, so outstanding and cheerful, making the stationery department so dull looking. Of course, Alice is selling Toys, of course the whole category have to look alive, colorful and lively. Then, Ursula commented that Celtic's household stocks also conquer the whole store's walkway. So, we should also pump in the stocks, block it up and book the space. Genius plan. But, indirectly; Ursula is also hinting me that I am not doing my job good enough, my buy-in stocks for my Top 5 sku is very poor, my forecast stocks planning is not that strategic enough, I didn’t have a strong network support with the store team, overall I sucks very badly :(
Whether Ursula is aiming for pure entertainment value, controversy or as a motivation booster - Ursula seems to do it with a very natural and unique style, a very Ursula style.
Work Tales - this Ursula is so nasty. Perli me kaw-kaw this week :(
Perli 001 – Ursula perli me that ‘no one guide you is it’? Yeah, Leonardo has given me lots of freedom on how to run the business. Leonardo doesn’t care how I do it; I just have to deliver the results at the end of the day. Even when I was drowning myself with paper work, Leonardo just say - don’t make things so complicated, make it fast, don’t be so slow and prioritize the work. It was Ursula who reminds me that me (as a buyer) I should have spend more of my time on negotiating with the suppliers, instead of doing these paper work. I should have delegate more of my work to Isla then. But I guess, when Leonardo ask me to do it, I just take it upon myself to do it all by myself. I was not working smart then :( And now that I am under Ursula's charge, I am still doing the same thing because it’s habitual. I have been in the box for the past 14 months now, running in the box for the past 14 months…thus, everything just becomes habitual and is tough to break the chains off. Argh. It’s so tragic, but it’s so true. Well, I certainly hope that I can do a whole lot more after this.
Perli 002 – Ursula called me via the phone. I pick it up on the first ring. Do you know what this Ursula says to me?
Ursula: Are you very free now, not doing anything?
Me: No, I am actually very busy. Why?
Ursula: You pick up the phone very fast. You must be very free then.
Me: The phone is just next to me.
Ursula: My phone is also next to me.
This is crazy or scary or what. Picking up the phone fast is also wrong. What if I was late in picking up the call, will she label me as being inefficient or slow then? Ursula commented that The General always sees me facing the computer whenever The General passes by my room. Hello, I am working. Of course my eyes are fixated on to the computer screen. You want me to be flipping through the newspapers or gossip magazines is it? Or playing games on my mobile? Rupa-rupanya, The General wants to see me more often on the phone. If I am on the phone more often, that means I am negotiating with the suppliers. Ursula also cunningly said that I should raise my voice when talking to the suppliers; indicating that I am working. Negotiating very hard to get the best price for the company. Aiyo, is people like these that makes my life very complicated. Because I will then start to be mindful and will be thinking of each step and its subsequent consequences. It will slow down my job, slow down my pace, slow down my decision making process. There is no spontaneity in it anymore. Come on people…Simplify, Simplify, Simplify…
Work Tales – funny, when I was not around, if Ursula have any enquiries at all, Ursula (by right) should have approach Leonardo personally and ask Leonardo about it. Leonardo has all the information that Ursula needs. Instead of asking Isla or waiting for me to come back. Isla also notices that. It’s like Ursula & Leonardo not ngam like that. OK, both of them are indeed not that ngam, but I don’t think Leonardo is also that kecil hati either. Leonardo will be gracious enough to help in any way possible. There are 2 issues that Ursula is really concern right now. First, is the overstock issue. Why the department never had a clearance exercise before? Luckily Isla answered that we indeed came out with a Clearance List. It was Leonardo who puts it on hold. Claiming that we have to wait for our turn to do the massive clearance excercise. We cannot do it at once, in case we disrupt the whole department's margin performance. Then the clearance issue was forgotten. Secondly, the incoming container stocks for BTS and Christmas. Ursula did question me; who did the selection? Who makes the commitment? I answered – both Leonardo and myself. Leonardo feels the department needs some refreshing assortment, need additional stocks to push up the sales. I (on the other hand) have told Leonardo and believe very strongly that indent stocks should support the flat price project on the quarterly basis and also during the Mini BTS and Year End BTS. I also apologized that I didn’t do a good job in appointing a local supplier to re-look into doing the flat price project locally with better margin. And since I was so sien under Leonardo, whatever Leonardo wanted to do, I couldn’t be bothered at all. This, Ursula did call Leonardo personally. Ursula ask Leonardo why the stocks was not assigned to East Malaysia stores to ease the heavy stock load of the West Malaysia stores – Leonardo answered that the stocks was minimal and it was insufficient even for the West Malaysia stores to sell. Sending the stocks to East Malaysia...yeah, how come I didn't thought about this?
Actually, I think Ursula is very cunning. Ursula has her sources; both internally and externally. Ursula is just cross-checking whether I am telling the truth or not. Whether I am still hiding anything from her. In a nutshell, Ursula also wants me to say something bad about Leonardo. I don’t have to lie. The figures are all there for all to see. Ursula can run the report and make the conclusion herself. Leonardo has already wash hand and doesn’t care about the Stationery Department anymore. We don’t even talk to each other these days. No point in finger pointing at all. I will be the gentleman here and take the fall. I don’t want to trouble Leonardo and I cannot upset Ursula.
Work Tales – oh my gosh – I actually told Ursula that I think that we are on the same wave length :( If we are not on the same wave length, at least we are at the same page. Oh my gosh, I actually blurted that out loud. How can this be possible at this stage?! What actually happen was, while I was away, one of the stores requested to sell magazines. At least, this Ursula knows how to ask back the store – where is the location? Is the store going to use the store assets or the supplier assets? I say that unlike Leonardo – Leonardo will just ask me to bring in the stocks first, let the store find the space. Don't worry too much about it. Leonardo is too diplomatic with the store team. Always pleasing them. On the other hand, Ursula likes to discipline the store team and ensure that the store team follows her tempo. I totally disagree with Leonardo's method of managing things. I always felt that both the buyers and the store need to select the right space. For example, even the store downstairs of our office; I think that the magazine location is totally wrong. If the customers do not pass by the last few check-out counters, they don’t even know that we sell magazines. It’s ok for the smaller stores; like the supermarket format as the magazines bay will be more visible, but not for the hypermarket format. Then the magazines are place after the check-out counter. If the customers indeed want to buy the magazines, the customers have to walk back to pay for the goods, it’s a hindrance for them to walk back and queue up again. Thus, it’s very important to have the magazines to be park back in the stationery department. Customers can take and pay at 1 go. I certainly hope that Ursula can fight for standardization for the magazines, newspapers and the gift wrappers.
Yeah, I also feel a little bit bad inside – I indirectly kutuk and cucuk Leonardo :(
Work Tales – space constraint is one of the major problems that my portfolio is facing. Under the old management, all kinds of standee are allow on the selling floor – from books, magazines, greeting cards, wall charts, gift wrappers, stickers to key chains. However, under the new management – these Mat Sallehs claim that they are visual polluters. I agree to a certain extent, if the standees are not standardize and are in a very messy arrangement. However, if they are neatly arranged, it can really create the visual display and the branding impact. Because of the standees removal, many of this service items have to go or they are park back into the home bay which takes up the current existing outright space. The sales of these service items may not be that big, they are service items; as they are being called because there are still customers looking for them. Then the new Operations Director is a champion for bulk display. I agree. Sometimes, in order to have the sales, we need to have the volume to go hand-in-hand too. But this Operations Director changes all of the small offer bins of 2x3m to 4x4m. Those black bins are huge. My items are small. If they are to fit into the bins, my department will be overstock. Even if there are dummy display. All of the offer bins in my department have been remove. I have highlighted this issue to Leonardo on several ocassion. The only solution that Leonardo gave me was – to continue to email to the store team and to ask them to find the space.
I have email the store team several reminders. On the last email, I even make a cc copy to Ursula. So to my surprise and delight, before I left for my Taiwan trip…the Shah Alam Stadium store suddenly have 2 offer bins back in my department. I check with my Department Head, he was instructed to open out the 2 offer bins by the Area Manager. So, when I came back from my holidays – I thank Ursula for it; plus a thank you gesture too. I wanted to see Ursula reaction. Surprisingly, Ursula didn’t take the credit. She just smiles away and says maybe Leonardo also helps out to disseminate the email. Strange…Ursula always likes being in the spotlight, taking the credits and having her air muka in tip-top condition. But I think I scored a brownie point here – I make Ursula thinks that I think very highly of her. I am indebted to her for helping me out. It’s funny. Hahaha…
Work Tales – it’s a Saturday night. Its 21:47:13pm. Ursula texted me; regarding work. Woah…Pietro did mention that Ursula is very hardworking. Always working on a Saturday. Always sending out emails at night or early in the morning. In our first meeting, Ursula has also mention this habit of hers. Somemore the message started out so politely: Good evening J____. Sorry to disturb u last night. Xmas from Eastern Max can i clear? This year xmas orders GP Office is it still under Mr. Oon? Wah...like asking for my permission like that...well, today I have no choice.
Work Tales - yesterday, I have already plan that I will come in to work today. This is my second time working on a Saturday since I arrived in G13. I make the decision of doing so during the early morning. Half an hour before our schedule lunch time which is @ 1pm, Ursula called. We were having a discussion and then Ursula mention that she too will be coming in to work today as she needs to finish up some pending work. I say OK. I was also wondering if Ursula was subtly telling me that I should come in too. I was also concern, if I indeed do come in to work this morning, Ursula will think that she can influence me easily or I was polishing her shoes, trying to impress her (what were the odds?!); but in actual fact, I have already make up my mind earlier with the intention to finish off some pending work.
Well, in the end, I did came in this morning. So does Ursula but she kept her room door close. And then…her whole team was also there as well – Gerrard, Shawn and Christy. All out in full force. Gulp…the four of them indeed have the habits of working on a Saturday. This is unacceptable!!! :) There is a thing that called LIFE :)
I’m back from my Taiwan holidays. I will blog on my Taiwan adventures later on. There are just so many tales to tell and share :)
Well, after being out from the office for almost 1 week – I’m a bit dreading of going in to work this week. I don’t know what Ursula is up to. I am sure Ursula has already dug out a lot of skeletons in the Stationery Department. Ursula will probably find that the whole department is in a big mess, dis-organized, inefficient and what a lousy buyer I am :) Well, let’s see what Ursula have to say about this then. I have gone through some very frustrating period under Leonardo, some days the frustration is worse than others – it comes in waves. A buyer, an employee needs help in different levels, he/she needs the confidence and to have this, his/her needs the necessary support. Not just on the ‘field’ but also off it. Even if confidence is not one of my strong point, I wish Leonardo have taught me this confidence. It would have help had Leonardo shown the confidence, concern or even communicate with me. Even though, every down moment still hurts, but it puts everything into perspective.
Well, I just have to keep working hard and keep pushing for my chance. I know that my personality have to be bigger in order to mount Ursula’s future challenges & tactics. I am not sure whether I will be able to return to my previous elite level. It’s normal if I have no more the confidence in myself, I came from a; not-an-easy situation, a tough one. It’s part of the game, part of the psychological war of this environment. Ursula has not showed her tanduk and ekor yet. This is only my third week with Ursula. And when she does…it will be like a hurricane, a tsunami, a typhoon, a big storm that will be hard to navigate. I guarantee that by next month; November onwards, Ursula will be able to grasp on how to run the Stationery Business. I cannot bullshit or hentam my answers after that :) There are 2 major problems in the department – duplication of lines, lack of space and standardization. If Ursula can standardize the Cold Storage and Supermarket Bays – allowing us to select one supplier to monopolize everything plus 2 branded suppliers – problems are solved. Then, I will not have the need to hold on to many master files. If we are firm and cruel enough, we just keep the fast moving lines for the Hypermarket format – problems are solved too. If Ursula can fight for the offer bins space – it will make the job so much easier. Clearly, everyone, even Ursula can see that I am not good enough. Ursula will have to take it from here. Ursula has to lead this project.
Cis…recently, the team went for a team building session. Before the event starts, I silently prayed that I did not want to be in the same team as Ursula. Let me be in the same team as Leonardo, Marcus, Barry, The General or even Paige. Then, mana tahu…when I saw the list, I was in the same team with Ursula! And Alice! Really damn it! What a joke man! Luckily, I was also in the same team with Pietro. Adagang. Or not…it will surely spoil my Friday & Saturday. We were in the Red Team. We called ourselves The Reds…hahaha…after Liverpool! :)