Thursday, July 29, 2010

no turning back?

So I've finally done it. This wasn't exactly my first time per se, but definitely my maiden attempt at doing it out of my own will.

I've been thinking for some time; not very long given that I shouldn't drag the issue but still want to be able to decide without being pressured.

Some people I've spoken to (actually just one) didn't think it was a big deal, and even called me virgin for my lack of experience. So I tried not to think too much about it and just get down to writing that email.

As I tried to google for some guidance, I thought some people must've done it so often they don't let emotions get in the way. For me, I wanted to do it right, and yet be diplomatic about it.

Within minutes I managed to find some samples that I could use. I know, I should be more original, but like I said I've never done this before. So like what any other graduate would have done before, I copied the bits that seemed right and modified to suit the purpose.

It wasn't very long, because things like these should be kept short and simple. No misunderstanding, no miscommunication - just straight to the point.

I looked at it a few times even though there wasn't much to look. Left it while I went away to make some tea. Came back, it still looked the same. Decided to just send off the email, still wondering if it was the right thing to do. Quickly logged off in case he decided to read it and reply immediately.

I will only check my email tomorrow. But at least it's Friday, and I hope if it turns to something unexpected, I will have the weekend to gather my thoughts and think of the next step!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a year after paris

I've been listening to nothing but French oldies since last week. There's just something about songs in a language so foreign that you don't need to understand what the lyrics mean but which emotions that transport you to another era where life was much simpler.

I particularly like this which goes on a loop with other similar songs from Marlene Dietrich and Yves Montand. Youtube's new play loop function is just so nifty - you can pick almost any song and listen to the mix just like in a radio. Don't know why but having foreign songs in the background works for me especially when I'm buried at work!

Then it occurred to me that it's been 1 year since my Euro trip, and Paris was our last stop. The nostalgic in me was reminding me that I still haven't really posted up pictures of the romantic city!

So thus began our last train ride from the countryside town of Mâcon to our northernmost destination of the French capital. It was quite calming watching fields of golden rapeseed flowers (colza en français*) spread out in glorious hues and dried grass all rolled up in neat cylinders.

We made a brief stop at Dijon to switch trains. Seeing the word Dijon reminded me of the yummy mustard sauce which I grew to love and eat in Japan. I've never been a big fan of mustard, but I started craving for it cause I can't seem to find the same brand here. >.<

David was sweet enough to arrange his meeting in Paris to coincide with our arrival. Even though he's been there for work, this was his first time being as tourist as us, but he was knowledgeable enough to be the tour guide! After greeting us at the Paris Gare De Lyon station, he brought us around for a walk.

For a Belgian to be able to show us the landmarks of Paris was pretty remarkable, and it made a difference between us trying to figure things on a map ourselves and being able to appreciate a city without having to worry about where to go next.

One of the stops we made was the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. Seeing the animated version on TV is a whole lot different than seeing the real thing in person. I remember texting home about some of the things I'd seen, and thinking to myself, "So this is how it feels like being in Europe surrounded by so much history!" 

I would have loved to bring something like this back, but too bad I was not in a pretty summer dress to pose for a proper picture, and my backpacker mode did not allow for such extravagant purchase >.<

It took us all afternoon of walking around the city to finally end at the Eiffel Tower. Weather was cool despite it being the middle of summer, and exactly the reason why long walks all day is possible.

It still didn't strike me how surreal it was to be there until I saw all around me people from all over the world marvelling at the structure.

We laid on the grass looking up at Eiffel, glancing occasionally at the queues waiting to go up to see the view from the top, and at the many other people who in similar fashion decided to enjoy the sparkling light show that go on every hour just like us.

It certainly felt like a magical moment there; and to think that I've always thought Paris was overrated! :)

* Found the name from MyKugelHopf

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

allergic to slytherin

It was also during June that the biggest bunch of new joiners came to the centre, making Butterfly and her team real proud that their hard work months before were slowly coming to fruition. One of them was a Slytherin, whose reputation they've heard long before he came.

Slytherin went around as if he owned the whole place even though he's just one of the Big Bosses. Rubbing people the wrong way, he soon became the most unpopular figure around. The Bigger Boss didn't seem to do anything about the situation even though he was aware of what was happening.

Although her team do not report to him, Slytherin still managed to get Butterfly's team to do his work for him all in the name of "improvement initiative". Since they were guised as such, Butterfly had to comply. Somewhat.

Being the kind soul that she is, Butterfly have no problems helping out in areas out of her original job scope, but she has issues with people who :
1) micromanage
2) micromanage and put people down
3) micromanage and put people down and insisting their way is right
4) micromanage and put people down and insisting their way is right and not allowing people to defend themselves
5) micromanage and put people down and insisting their way is right and not allowing people to defend themselves and putting a different stance in front of other managers

To top it off, Slytherin managed to influence the Bigger Boss to the point that poor Butterfly got herself an email that sounded as if she did not do her job properly. So ironic, it was Bigger Boss who asked Butterfly to step up who's now being soooo supportive.

So yes, the workplace which Butterfly thought was the best she's ever landed herself had just turned upside down merely with the presence of this creature. As much as Butterfly wished it didn't, it looks like she's stayed long enough to experience politics rear its ugly head in the form of the Slytherin,

No wonder Butterfly has been sick all month. She's allergic to sly creatures. 

*Any resemblance to real-life characters is purely coincidental. Excerpts from this story may be reproduced by acknowledging the writer.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

june for juggling

Remember Butterfly from Bokyo? She had flown to her hometown, the Muddy Estuary, having landed herself a seemingly good job.

June has been quite a month at work for Butterfly. The A1* consultant in her team had been rolled off to another client, and the A1 project manager was seconded to an internal project based in Africa. Butterfly was the only consultant left within the A1 team, until they brought in an A1 analyst to take over some of the roles her colleagues had left.

Together with 2 other recruiters and 1 HR admin support, they were the motley bunch taking care of the transition before the setup could be finally realised. Technically, they were due to roll off in March, having put in place plans and processes for the shared service centre. I guess they liked the team so much they decided to extend their stay till August.

Tired of anything routine, by end May Butterfly was bored out of her wits since the learning curve was no longer there, and the adrenaline rush associated with the initial challenges had already died down. She kept wondering what her next project was and what it would be like to work with another set of people.

Butterfly was not complaining though, since she enjoyed working with this team and they were more of less peers even though the PM was not there anymore. Butterfly even got more air time since the other 2 more experienced consultants had left, which could be a good or bad thing depends on how you look at it!

One day while trying to balance the workload of the 2 junior team members, Butterfly was asked if she could lead this team. The Centre Head thought it was the most logical thing to do, since Butterfly was the most senior consultant left in the team.

It's really quite a strange arrangement since to her, Butterfly was technically not from A1, but in the absence of the A1 PM, was asked to step up to manage the team, in addition to also overseeing recruitment activities.

Butterfly had to stop herself from showing what an incredulous idea that was - not only were the recruiters more senior than her in this area, but any incoming A1 team members were to look up to her as their line manager from then on. Butterfly did try to protest at first, and said that she would think about it. But before Butterfly knew it, the Centre Head had already talked to the PM, following up with an email to all concerned to clarify roles & responsibilities within the team. @.@

Now how does Butterfly ask for an increment from her own company A in light of her dual role in an A1 project + being manager to these people whose work she's trying to familiarise with?!

* For background story on A1

*Any resemblance to real-life characters is purely coincidental. Excerpts from this story may be reproduced by acknowledging the writer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

gifts from the gay bff

I managed to catch up with a dear friend who's residing in NZ but longing to find more excitement than what the Land of the Long White Cloud offers. I call him my gay bff because he's like that.

He left these at the back of the car, and as we were busy catching up I didn't manage to open them then. Was pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of dessert wine which came highly recommended; the Selaks which also produces Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Must find an occasion to savour this.

There was another bigger package included, and I was really curious because it was quite large and heavy. When I found out what it was, I couldn't believe it. It took me weeks to finally open the wrapping because honestly, I felt horribly obliged at receiving it in the first place.

Apparently, his friend had owed him a sum of $, and since he was moving house he told my friend he could have anything in the house which was the equivalent to the amount of the debt owed. One of it was this toy, and since he already owned one, and knowing that I was thinking of getting one decided to give it to me instead.

I know, you must be wishing you had such a friend too! I don't think I'll ever be able to repay his generosity. @.@ I tried to tell myself that it was a 2nd-hand gadget just to make myself feel better, but I really couldn't. It seriously was a big deal, and I'm deeply grateful for being the recipient of such goodness.

So what I can do is learn how to play with this toy, try to see things through a different lens and share the results with you all :)

Excuse me while I search for a proper bag to carry it...

Friday, July 09, 2010

pearl of the orient

I'm almost all packed up and ready to board my first domestic flight in almost 20 years! If I remember correctly, I've only taken one domestic all my life, and that was while we were living in Kelantan.

Together with my undergrad grrlfriends, we will be flying off to Penang island up north. Though my principle has been never to visit a place twice, whatmore since I was just there last year, I don't really mind since this is my first actual break since I started working back home.

So naturally I'm looking forward to this weekend trip, especially since Sookie has come up with an ambitious itinerary which includes all day eating and sightseeing. We hope to be able to receive good news about Siowlan's delivery anytime soon. I did suggest that Anthony put up webcam so that we can witness the big day together long distance, but Laiying said the grrls would be put off from giving birth!

I hope to come back with a tan and pictures to share, now that I have a new toy ;)