7 August 2017

The beginning of a post from 2 August 2017:

I’m sitting in an air-conditioned café, sipping an over-heated americano. 

It’s been a long morning. 

I woke up at six. Got ready. Had muesli for breakfast, then left the house around seven.

Oh how things change.

On the morning of the 2nd, I was waiting for my subtitles translation interview and testing session at iflix, where a former manager at Wall Street English is now working.

I had the interview, did the test, got the job. My future in the subtitles translation world was looking rosy.

Then my universe was turned upside down when, a few days ago, I was approached by the former National Service Manager of Wall Street English regarding a job opening.

As you may or may not know, I am not currently looking for a full-time job. I’m happy with my part-time and freelance work. 

But – and you’re going to think me shallow for this – it pays so well. So, so very well. Well actually if you take into account all the revenue I get from my freelance work I’m currently earning higher than the base amount. But salaries can be negotiated and the high base salary is an indicator of the significance of the position.

And that attracts me.

So I expressed my interest, sent off my CV and cover letter, completed the online personality questionnaire, and this morning finished my 10,000-word long interview answers. (Overboard? That’s me.)

The more I prepared for this interview and though about it, the more I want it (which is probably a good sign). The job is a coordinator position in a large multinational. It will be challenging. It will utilise all my skills. It will expand my business horizons and grow my potential. And hopefully I’ll be working with competent, passionate people if the HR department have been doing their job properly.

I think I can do it. I really do. I think my skills set is a good match for the position. I think it is about time I had a challenging job. I’ve been coasting along for the past few years, time to buckle down and do some serious work.

The interview is tomorrow, at 8:30am. I’ve arranged to meet my grandfather – a corporate veteran – in the morning to ask for his advice.

The rest of today will be me reviewing my answers and trying not to think about the interview. I’m on my way to three appointments: coffee with a dear, dear friend, an interview with a PhD student/university lecturer who’s doing research on subtitles translation for her dissertation, then dinner with my group of friends from school. Which I think is perfect. 

I wonder if I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I’m glad it’s happening sooner rather than later though. 

Phew.

*Deep breaths*

Here goes…

28 April 2017

Yesterday was a momentous day.

Something happened which made me extremely upset. Angry upset, not sad upset.

I didn’t write about it yesterday. I didn’t think of it. I’m glad I didn’t. I was too emotional and would have written something extremely accusatory. That’s not cool. Not even when you’re angry upset.

I learnt yesterday that I had been excluded from discussions concerning the future of my soon-to-be-vacant position at work.

A little background: I decided to go part-time starting in May, which means one of two things – either someone takes my position or it is scrapped entirely.

When I had talked briefly to the big boss after making my decision known, he had mentioned that my immediate supervisors would discuss what to do with the position.

I hadn’t brought up the topic with either of my two immediate bosses, because it’s the end of the month and there’s pressure to reach service and sales targets. I thought better to wait until the beginning of May to sit down and plan what to do together.

Until I learnt yesterday that all had pretty much been decided, without my knowledge nor involvement in any form. I heard it mention in passing from a few other staff that someone is going to take my role, so I went to one of my immediate supervisors and asked her. She confirmed the news.

My reaction at the beginning was muted. The news made me feel down, but I didn’t quite know how I felt about it. After a short while though I realised I was really upset about it, and while chatting to a friend I figured out why I was so upset: I felt that by not seeking my input, I was being unceremoniously cast aside.

Not asking the person who piloted the role and worked at it for five months what she thought should happen to it after she left? Uncool. It shows how little I am valued by the team. And I am – as my friends and even parents agree I should be – extremely hurt.

So I asked to leave work early yesterday. I started crying a little bit in my supervisor’s office. She was concerned, but I didn’t tell her anything. I didn’t feel the time was right.

Cried with two of my friends at work in the supermarket after while waiting for my dad. They were supportive of my rage.

Then having got to a different mall (I couldn’t leave the mall I was working at fast enough. I wanted to get away so badly I went to sit and wait for my dad in the parking lot), I decided I wanted a day off work. So I called my supervisor and asked if it would impact the sales team too much if I didn’t come in the next day. Her answer made me even angrier than I already was.

She mentioned that they had meant to have the colleague who’s replacing me start calling the next day anyways. So I calmly told her what list to call, expressed my relief (genuine relief) that someone was helping finish my work, and thanked her for letting me take the day off (bless her she never asked me why – she probably knew).

The reason I got angrier was that her answer showed the decision to keep the position and replace me was pretty solid. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t have made plans for my colleague to start calling. And when were they going to tell me? On the day? Not at all?

So I didn’t go in to work today. I went and watched a movie, a very fun movie (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) with my dad. Had a generally good day. Inevitably thought about the situation at work from time to time. OK, fine – a lot of times. But I’ve cooled down.

Still upset. Still angry. But no longer emotional.

I hope I can find half an hour, fifteen minutes even, tomorrow to sit down with one of the bosses who were in the decision-making process. I want to officially let him know how pissed off I am. Calmly, politely, firmly.

I don’t know how that talk will go, but I really hope I can have it tomorrow. He knows something’s up. He said this morning that he was worried about me. Maybe he has an idea why I’ve asked to take the day off, what I’m upset about.

Anyways, I’m not feeling any surge of emotion (positive or negative) writing this, which is a good sign that I’ve overcome my feelings. If anything I feel determination to make my stance known.

All is good. All is good.

Hope this doesn’t happen to you guys, because in the event it does make one feel like shit.

Love,

Val

UPDATE: As it turns out, today is also a momentous day. I finished revising my short story about a dragon and a boy, “Cara”, just now. MY VERY FIRST SHORT STORY. Yey. Now it’s time to get feedback from my immediate circle. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping they like it…

8 April 2016

Guess where I am right now.

Answer: hospital.

That seems to be the only place where I get some writing done these days. Which is not a bad thing.

I didn’t come to the hospital last month because the time clashed with training for my new job. Yes… new job! *applause*

But here I am, over two months after my last visit. And apart from the new blood pressure measuring machines everything is pretty much the same – the stale air, the smell of unwashed clothes and sweat, the interminable wait.

Good news is my doctor is coming on time these days. So in approximately thirty minutes I should be seeing my doctor. Note to self: ask doctor if I can drink decaf coffee (oh may the answer be yes…)

So about this new job, I am now working as a Coach (Educational Service Coach to be precise) at Wall Street English. It’s an English language school and it just opened a branch near where I live. And that’s why I applied. Happily I got the job and I’ve been working at the centre for almost a month now – that’s half the time I spent at my old job already.

So far so good. A lot of things to learn. A lot of students to meet and get to know. It’s nice going around and having students saying hi to you. The centre is in the mall so we bump into them everywhere.

The centre being in a mall is one thing I like about the job: coming to work feels like going shopping. Not that I particularly like shopping but you get the idea. It’s full of happy people, and being around happy people is uplifting.

Another thing I like is the working hours. We start at noon (finish at 9pm) which gives me a whole morning to enjoy/slave away doing translation work for an extra bit (big bit) of cash.

So yes, new job. New opportunities. Life seems to be looking up at last. We’ll see how this one goes!

Love, as always,

Val

30 September 2015

I got the job. Almost.

I was all set to start tomorrow. But then salary negotiations happened, and we could not agree on the value of me.

It’s all for the better, I guess. I don’t think I was ready yet to re-enter full-time employment, especially after the painful experience of the last one.

Plus, the more I think about it, the more I think I’m not cut out to be an office worker. I like being the boss of me too much to cede control to a third party.

So we (read: my mom and me) are going to explore a new venture. I’m going to try to sell my services for a living.

I had always sidelined as a proofreader. It paid well, but never became my full-time occupation. I’m going to try and focus on that more. I’m also going to see if I can give English and French lessons in my neighbourhood. This is a new thing. I’ve given lessons here and there, but I’ve never actively marketed myself as an English (and French) teacher before.

The French economist Say said (confusing, I know) in the 1800s,

Supply creates its own demand.

Though said law (I’m enjoying the wordplay) has long been refuted in economic theory, I am hoping against hope that it will now apply to my case. I’m going to put out flyers next week and see where that leads.

Again, fingers crossed.

Wish me luck!

Mucho love, as always,

Val

27 September 2015 (Part 2)

When it rains, it pours.

Wasn’t it only this morning that I described to you the nothingness of my existence? Well, that is no longer the case.

For the past two hours, I have been busy. Yes, busy. Unbelievable after 6 months of lazing around doing nothing of particular significance. Yes, I have been writing my novel, but that’s a task I set myself, not something that concerns a third party. So it doesn’t count in my definition of ‘busy’.

I was busy updating my CV and studying it. In two hours, I have scribbled two pages of A4 that explained the who, what, when, where, why of each entry in my CV. No wonder my finger hurts.

You may remember (from Part 1) that I was contemplating applying for a part-time waitressing job. Why must I work so hard on my CV to become a waitress, you rightly ask. The answer is simple. The CV is for a different job.

What job, you ask, surprised. Well, I am no less surprised than you are. Ten hours ago, I had no knowledge of the job whatsoever, and now I have spent a little over two hours preparing to interview for it.

The interview is tomorrow.

I won’t tell you what the job is. That might jinx it.

But please don’t be offended. And do rejoice in my opportunity to re-enter employment.

I will be back to let you know how it goes. Well actually no. I will be back if I have good news. I won’t let my misery tarnish your day.

Fingers crossed,

Val

 

 

27 September 2015 (Part 1)

Dear reader,

It has been almost a year (well, ten months) since we last met. I am deeply sorry for my absence. I hope you have been leading pleasant lives, full of pleasant encounters and pleasanty things.

A lot, and nothing, has been happening on my end. Let me give you a summary:

  • First real job ended two months after it began. For a variety of reasons. You could say we were incompatible. I did not find meaning in the ups and downs of marketing, and the company did not find a suitable employee in me. I simply could not make myself passionate about the work I was doing, and this proved fatal to our match. In any case, I retain pleasant memories from my short tenure; and valuable lessons in sociology and psychology were learnt.
  • I went crazy. Literally. I don’t remember if I ever told you about my depressive episodes, which occurred recurrently in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. (2012 was an entirely happy year, thanks to the wonderful offerings of Paris where I was spending my Erasmus exchange.) Anyways, I swung to the other end in late 2014, around the time I was leaving my job as Internet Marketing Analyst. By mid-January I was entirely out of it. I was deluded and I believe at one point hallucinating. My brain had gone haywire.
  • So, I was hospitalised. This was late January. To say ‘hospitalised’ is a bit misleading; I was forced to enter a mental hospital, where I was confined to the company of other crazy people for a month and a half. It was entirely traumatising, though the food was excellent. I gained weight and a disease: officially becoming a sufferer of bipolar disorder.
  • Reeling from the myriad effects of my medication (drugs that made my brain not go crazy), I was released from hospital in mid-March, from which time I have been home (hence the ‘nothing happening’ on my end). The drugs’ side effects wore off one by one. Apparently, for weeks after leaving the hospital I walked like C-3PO. Then the neck ache (never understood what that was about; my head was fine, it was the neck that hurt) disappeared. Gradually, the morning naps became shorter until, very recently, I was finally able to go the whole day without feeling sleep deprived. So yes, many months went by without nothing much happening. I watched Korean TV, Korean series (this one was my favourite), and Korean singers. I became something of an afficionado. (Like my mom, I must add. One of these days I shall surpass her knowledge of South Korea’s entertainment industry!) Apart from that I ate and walked. My father had kindly bought me a treadmill which I used daily to hill-walk in the (ever desperate yet futile) attempt to lose my hospital weight (the stress of being confined behind locked doors having been thoroughly relieved through overeating).

Recently, however, I have been writing. And that is why I am now here updating my precious baby. For many months I had planned on picking up a novel I had begun to write when I was seventeen. And finally, at the gentle yet firm urging of my doctor (whom I like very much) to find something more substantial than Korean entertainment to occupy my time, I opened the eight-year-old file and started writing. It’s a fantasy novel, a cross between Star Wars and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire (ah yes, I forgot to tell you I have also been spending my time digging up old novels to read), with just a hint of Pop Economics and International Relations. It’s tentatively named The Gems of Azora and takes place on, you guessed it, the planet of Azora.

I’ve been writing everyday, but the book is advancing at a snail’s pace; I swear time disapparates (random reference) when I’m writing. I had left the book at 114 pages when I stopped writing eight years ago, and now I’m at 14. Wait… what? Yes. Sadly, I’m having to rewrite most, if not all, of what I’ve written. It turns out one’s command of English and general writing skills do improve over time. I shudder thinking back to my first reading of the sloppy, grammatically-inaccurate, and overly-complicated 114 pages I had produced as a teenager. Anyways, I’m rewriting it, and if I may I have to say the book is looking much better than it did before. I read and put the finishing touches on the first chapter yesterday, and I must say it is good fun. Fingers crossed, when the time comes, publishers will agree. I won’t tell you anymore just now, but I’ll surely be back to report on my progress.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this entry entertaining.

Much love,

Val

p.s. I’m thinking of taking up a part-time job as a waitress. There’s this trendy little restaurant near my house. I really like the atmosphere and the waiting staff is polite and efficient. I think I could have a good time working there while I finish my novel. Yes, maybe I should. We shall see…

 

 

 

23 October 2014

I’ve missed you.

I’ve missed us.

I’ve missed this.

Work has exceeded all areas of expectation so far.

Course still going swell.

I’ve been so busy though.

And now I have to get back to it.

Just wanted to come by to tell you how much I miss my baby.

And casually insert some in-site links for SEO purposes. (There – that’s my work talking.)

I will be back with a longer, juicier post.

Soon.

Promise.