Inna!

A very nice colleague from the UK visited KL recently (actually, she is an ex-colleague: she resigned about 1/2 year ago and decided to backpack around the world) and I had the chance to take her around KL. Since both Inna and her boyfriend are backpackers, they are on an extremely tight budget and thus, driving them around to see some spots were the least I could do.

Obligatory visit to the Twin Towers:

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Let’s see: we covered Dataran Merdeka and the flagpole, Lake Gardens, National Monument, KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers. Not too bad since we started off only around 3pm.

My boss Jeffery took them around again the next day to places like Royal Selangor, Batu Caves and some other places which I could not remember.

Of course, we also fed them with lots of good Malaysian food.

Inna and Steve at the office with another colleague, Su May:

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They will be going around for a month or so, and thus, I really hope they’d enjoy themselves here. There was a slight mishap where Inna’s bag was snatched the second day she was here. Come to think of it, the first warning I had for her was to be careful with her sling bag when we met up.

Thankfully, she was ok, just some bruises and her passport was safe in the hostel.

It was quite an embarrassment, too, when they exclaimed that they have travelled to countries and small towns in China, Cambodia, India and Nepal and yet when they thought that KL is most civilised and safe, this happened.

Sorry Inna, I have to apologise on behalf of Malaysia.

We are really nice people actually!

Yes, am alive! Am I?!

Aaarrgghh… these few weeks had been ultra busy!

I can’t believe that I have been flying every weekend for the past 3 weeks! Let’s see, it all started with KL-Singapore, then KL-Kuching, then KL-KK, then KL-Jakarta, then Jakarta-Medan then KL-KK again… Gosh.. AirAsia should probably give me an award for as the most frequent traveller of the month!

Ok, maybe this will settle down soon but it’s pretty tiring, if you ask me. A friend asked just recently – do you love this and are you ok with all these? My answer would be, yes, I LIKE but not love, and I am fine and ok with all these. At least I get to see places and meet new people, right? And the most importantly, I get to learn new stuff, right?

Gosh, I hope this is worthwhile.

 

Dedication and passion

I have heard from people so often and so many times that they wouldn’t want to be doing what they are currently doing for the rest of their lives. True, I thought about that sometimes, too. Especially when it comes to talking to students, explaining courses and entry requirements over and over again.

But then again, in an office of just three employees, we have to do everything – from packing to brochure designing to calling students, chasing agents, following up on documents and results and to closing the sales. Of course, there are the ‘bigger’ responsibilities, travelling, exhibitions, networking with agents and partners, etc.

Really one leg kick. So, no hierarchy or clear separation of duties. Whoever is free does the work needed to be done. Which I am comfortable with all these while. I never really ‘delegated’ anything if I could do it myself.

But this is not what my tajuk today. Heh.

I salute (or respect) those who will do absolutely everything to help a student. From convincing to counselling to guiding the students, although these things are meant to be done by the students themselves. It may be just because of work, but if we do it just for work, we’d not care about anyone’s welfare.

It all boils down to one’s dedication and passion to the work he or she does. Or shall I say responsibility towards the job he or she is entrusted with. However menial the job may be, one has to do the best he or she can. It’s about finding the interesting bit in your job and making it interesting. If you can’t even do a small job, how can you be entrusted with bigger responsibilities?

Farewell

I never thought that I would bid farewell to my ‘new’ colleagues so soon. It had just been barely over a year and of course, like all employees, you feel sad leaving because you have built such good relationships with your colleagues and not because you love the company so much.

My colleagues are a great bunch of people to work with. Yes, there are those occasions where we do not agree with each other, but there are also those times that we bitch enthusiastically about stupid people.

I must admit that it was MUSC that had given me the much needed push. If I have stayed in BC, I wouldn’t have probably moved at all. I do agree that I shouldn’t have moved too soon – one year does not look good on your CV. It seems as if BC was the only longest job I have held. But then again, I am a believer of grabbing the opportunity when it’s there. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I hadn’t tried.

Farewells are never easy. But I also believe that life goes on for each and everyone. Call me unemotional, but perhaps it was experience that taught me not to hold on to someone for too long if something good beckons for that someone. I hope everyone else thinks that way.

And now, fingers crossed, I would perform just as well in the new challenge.

Chinese New Year

It’s exactly a week before Chinese New Year and of all places, I am in Bangladesh. And I am feeling a bit melancholic and homesick. I don’t usually feel this way when I travel cos its my job anyway to travel here and there but the fact that I have to do it just before CNY is depressing.

Sigh.

I usually look forward to the week before CNY simply because it is the most festive period. Songs playing everywhere, spring cleaning, shopping, etc. Small things leading up to the big event is usually where the excitement is.

Anyway, can’t really do much and all I look forward to now is to get home for CNY.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, everyone!

Creativity

I have moved on to the electives part in my MBA programme and thinking of taking the road less travelled, opted for a module called ‘Knowledge Management’. Yes, I should have chosen something more familiar like International Marketing but the whole rationale of taking this MBA was for me to learn something different.

So, Knowledge Management (KM) that is.

KM is nothing new to me, although immersing myself in its theories are something different altogether. Yes, it has been widely acknowledged that KM within a company can be harnessed as a source of competitive advantage and it is a huge, huge waste if an employee with tons of knowledge leaves the company.

Like me. Heh.

Anyway, was reading this journal on knowledge within a company and it touches on the role of creativity in organisations. Which I find interesting.

I moved from an open-minded organisation to a very much closed-minded one. Although it is an ‘international’ organisation, unfortunately, we are being led by someone who is rather ‘traditional’.

You would really expect a hive of learning experience within such a big organisation but the sad part is (like what the journal article says) our creativity and learning experience had been hampered by myopic management. The definition of a good manager and a good leader differs apparently but I am not going into this.

We are not encouraged to question or even take our own initiative. Due to pressures from above to perform and meet targets all departments were merely operating on a ‘finish our job ASAP’ basis. No time to think outside the box, no time to sit and brainstorm on ideas. Its work within the budget, line up some activities, advertise and put these in all our reports so they look good. Why are we using money to participate in this event which will not generate much returns? Don’t ask, just go.

I believe that they key to keeping yourself updated is doing a lot of reading on trends. And if you do not do so, you are going to look stupid in front of every one. I dread becoming one such manager myself and hope that I would be a leader instead of a manager.

Creativity, it seems, comes from the intrinsic satisfaction of an employee. No doubt, money is a strong motivator, but if one is not passionate about what he does, creativity wouldn’t kick in naturally. How true. The carrot may be dangling in front of you – a huge, fat bonus at the end of the year – if you achieve your sales target. People will be so consumed with achieving the target and not thinking of how the organisation could do better in the long run by injecting some creative or innovative marketing strategies.

I have always believed in the visions at the top. If those at the top advocates innovation and creativity, the whole organisation would. Otherwise, it is just a matter of going along with the daily grind.

The root of the problem? Me thinks it’s the trend where Senior Management are expected to go on rotation to different countries/regions. There would be less sense of belonging and no concern on what’s long term in an organisation. No?

Old staff, new staff

Having been an old staff and then being a new staff is an overwhelming experience. Of course, not to mention the culture shock that came from the new place after being so accustomed with the BC culture. Initial feelings of being out-of-place and being an outcast is no fun.

I could understand what my existing colleagues are going through now – although they may think that this new colleague of theirs would just comply with the management’s unreasonable ‘edicts’. Restructuring and cost-cutting are nothing new to me – its just that I have moved from being the disgruntled ‘old’ employee to the complying ‘new’ one.

One thing I have learnt  – there is nothing anyone could do if the management wants change. No matter how unfair the rules are, how they are shoved down our throats, its a take it or leave it thing. Old staff may grumble and protest, but even if you don’t like it, you still have to comply until you found a new job and move on.

Then, you become the newcomer, who follow rules and accept whatever that is pre-existing in the company. On the way, you meet some demotivated and disgruntled ‘old’ employees who fight endlessly for their rights which were taken away from them.

If you are lucky, you still get accepted by them. If not, you’d be branded as the one who doesn’t stand together with them. Being a newcomer made me understand how a newcomer in BC felt. Being an old staff in BC made me understand how my existing colleagues felt.

And, being in two situations made me understand how reality in the corporate world is.

Companies, I have learnt, live on forever. At least when they don’t go bankrupt. They are expected, in the eyes of law, to exist perpetually. But companies are run by humans and humans don’t live forever. People come and go; toiling to build the business of these companies. It’s surprising to see that companies still would go on even if an employee leaves. He/she could easily be replaced by another who will ensure the smooth running of the business. Of course, this does not apply if one corporate figure actually brings the company down with actions like the misuse of funds or bad investments.

All one company would do is just ‘replace’ their staff to rid of HR problems.

This is, I realise, is a sad, sad, cycle. Not sure if there are any companies out there which are exceptional, but even if there are, many would be scrambling to get a job there.

You arrive at a new place wide-eyed with high expectations, only to be disappointed with the whole structure years later. Become a ‘old-timer’ who is demotivated, resign and then starts a new with another company.

I know its just a matter of time when I get demotivated. As for now, I am still the wide-eyed employee with high expectations and a burning desire to learn. But when I look at my existing colleagues, they reflect me when I was in BC.

I just wonder if this will ever end.