It’s been a long, hectic year.
It looks like the coming year will be just as hectic.
I’m kinda glad that 2011 is over though. It’s been a very insane year. Lots of self-doubt. Anger. Hurt. Laziness. Fear.
The negatives? I jumped jobs three times. I began working in January after trying my luck as a freelancer for a few months. I was bumming and lazing about. Tried to get a job in Japan, and failed horrendously. The only company that offered to do a phone interview never called back after that. I was unprepared and immature.
So I went back to corporate life. For good measure, I ended up working in a place that was a 30 minute commute from my house. Still managed to get to work on time, or perhaps just a few minutes late. Some days I was earlier than those who lived near the office. I have fond memories of the place, but I really panicked and jumped ship after being told that I was expected to work on SEO by the boss. It would seem that what the CEO had in mind for my duties and what my manager had in mind were completely different things. I remember being both cheesed off and panicky at that. So I jumped. It didn’t help the commute was rather long either, and I found I had more time to think than I really wanted.
The jump was to a large publishing company in Malaysia. It’s one of the few large companies that publishes revision books in Malaysia. I really liked this company. I liked my colleagues. I loved their support system. I loved that the parent company seemed to be really interested in their workers’ well-beings and made promises.
What didn’t I love? What did I loathe? Plenty.
I didn’t like the fact that I was hired to do something that I was completely unprepared for. I wasn’t too happy with the fact that I couldn’t do my job because I didn’t have the tools required (it took 3 months before I got a computer that could render and let me view videos without crapping out on me). I actually fell sick more times in those four months I was there than I had ever in the 3 years I worked for my old company, half due to the environment, I think, and the other half due to stress. My asthma wasn’t getting better.
I was on a tight deadline, and it wasn’t help by a bragging boss. One who was enamoured with the iPad and was determined to push things her way without considering the cost to her employees. In fact, she can happily brag that she drives her staff crazy.
Did I also mention that I loathe that she leaves early to escape the jam? She’s a Malaysian based in Singapore. When she comes to supervise us, she comes in at the same time we do, but she leaves a good half hour (or more) earlier. Those are pretty bad work ethics, I believe, especially coming from someone who says she’ll email people in the middle of the night when she has a brainstorm. I get the feeling that she’s using Malaysia as a test market for Singapore, but looking back, I believe they are two completely different markets.
Barring her, there were other external factors at play as well. I was not comfortable with the syllabus we were using; while our own books were politically correct in most cases (Pak Pandir and his rooster being one of the few exceptions) I grew to really hate the Malaysian science syllabus. There was also a lot of self-censoring; I was told to remove certain content because teachers may complain about the content… even though the content was mainly biological and dealt with the emotional effects of the biological process.
I honestly believed at this point that the education syllabus, at least viewed through the eyes of book companies in Malaysia, is mainly to create exam winners, rather than actually educating students. I will now homeschool my child, or not have kids at all. The language used in these books are toxic, to say the least, are reprehensible and in my opinion, completely useless.
I met up with my old colleagues when I attended the wedding of one of the heads of department. There was a light hearted joke about going back to work for them, and I didn’t take it seriously at first… then I made the jump. The pressure I felt working at the publishing company overwhelmed me, and I jumped back into familiar territory.
I’ve been back here for 4 months, and made some fantastic, stupid, ignorant mistakes that I shouldn’t have. At the same time though, it feels good to be back. There’s been quite a few changes, and something I’ve been learning over the past few months is to grow a thicker skin. To smile when I feel hurt. And to realise that I’ve been very lucky. I enjoy my work, even though parts of it scare me, but I’m facing my fear and taking up the gauntlet. Change is the only thing that is constant. So I need to evolve.
That’s not too say that 2011 was nothing but disaster. I had some fantastic times in 2011 with people unexpected. Time spent with people I care about. Drowning myself in work. Getting a new phone and enjoying him immensely (his name is Joel Iyokan, and he looks something like this. There was also plenty of good foods to be had.
Looking at my albums in the past few months, I realise that I do have a lot to be thankful for. I’m alive. I have friends and family who care for me. I’m fairly healthy. I’m finally going to Japan in March.
So my wishes this second day of the new year is simple. May this year be kinder to you than it was last year.