Archives for the month of: September, 2010

It’s 8.28am. I’m sitting at starbucks and having my breakfast. The usual- a hot and comforting cup of chamomile tea and a spinach egg fritata .

I have about an hour more before my yoga class.

And so, I officially started on my first job yesterday? Though it really felt different as compared to the time I was interning at a fashion company. The gallery has yet to open so I went over to my boss’s place where he briefed me on my duties.

Basically, my current responsibility is to plan, arrange and oversee the renovation/setup of the gallery. We aim to be opened by end of November.

The interesting part of the job is that I get to critique and do the QC ( Quality Control) the artworks. The gallery specialises in reproduction artworks from the various grandmasters like Van Gogh, Klimt, Monet, Vermeer, etc.. As you know, all the works from these masters are not available to the public as mostly are in the museums in which…are scattered all over the world. The purpose of the gallery is to gather the best reproduction works of these masterpieces so that the public can get to finally view their favourite pieces personally, closest to the most original form(oil on canvas) but not only through books, internet or digital print.

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne ( Private Collection)

This is one of  Amedeo Modigliani‘s work which is not even displayed in the museums.

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne ( Oil Reproduction)

Pardon the plastic wrap over the reproduction work, those caused the tiny white streaks over the painting. The colors differ due to lighting and age.

Another long day ahead!

It always seems like..when one door closes another opens.

Though now it seems like the one of the doors is swinging from side to side, still uncertain if it will close or remain opened. However good news is that the other door is opened and I have made a choice to walk through it.

And so, I met up with the boss of the job I’ve decided to take up and got myself on board the team 🙂

It had been a tough decision choosing between the both startups and also to give up options with the MNCs.

But as the saying goes,

” If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

I’ll only be starting work officially next week, however will mostly be on my own for the first month. The job opportunity is a pretty unique one. Basically I am required to set up a multi-usage art gallery from scratch with the other team members. I will get my hands from planning the gallery layout, liaising with contractors, planning the marketing and branding strategies, preparing the marketing collateral, etc..

I will provide more details as I get on with the job. Meanwhile now, I have yet to turn down the other job offer. The other boss is a really pleasant person as well (have good rapport with too) and I knew how keen she was to have me on her team. She was willing to up the salary offer and also give in to my request of regular salary/incentive review based on performance. And this start-up is a F&B (food and beverages) venture and therefore it is extremely applicable to my family business.

The decision was tough as I weighed both pros and cons of each option. I chose the art gallery finally because it will expose me to setting up a business from scratch and also give me the experience of marketing to a niche market of clienteles. The contacts and network that I will meet during my course of job might also come valuable to me in the future.

However meanwhile, I also find that there’s a high growth opportunity in the f&b business and I am rather confident that I can market it very well to its target market. Perhaps I might suggest to do freelance marketing for the lady boss,  it would be an extremely interesting project.

Just when I was starting to feel demoralised, the course of things started to turn out well. I can’t deny that I’ve been blessed indeed! 🙂

And I love this…

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

Have you ever been at a point of your life when you feel like you are situated right in the middle of the crossroads?

It may be crossroads in your family life, career, relationship, personal life, etc…  You’re not too sure of which way to go, not certain which will be the best route to your destination. So afraid to make a choice, so afraid you’d get it wrong.

I am just like that. I know where I want to be at the end of the day but just not too sure how to get there. I am also afraid to make a wrong choice or take the wrong route. I always wished there’s a Dummies book for life. (I have a thing for self-help/motivational/diy books) Too bad there isn’t a manual for life and even if there is, it’s not going to be applicable.

The encouraging news is that besides you being not alone, and there’s no perfect route. Therefore it doesn’t matter which route you are currently on because it wouldn’t have been that great either on the other route. You know while driving, one may make a wrong turn sometimes; it may just require a fast U-turn to get back on track or sometimes it may become a longer en route. And during the en route, we may discover a new place, something interesting, etc..one never knows! However as long you have the destination of the place you want to be at clearly in your head, you will get there eventually. No matter which route we take to reach our destinations, we will learn something valuable from it.

And so I realised that instead of just lingering in one spot as time runs like sand in the hourglass, I need to just be brave and make the first move. I need to take the leap of faith.

After being stuck at the crossroads for so long, I’ve finally made up my mind.

Even after consulting with different people whom I trust for advice eg: mentors, friends, family, I was still feeling rather uncertain and insecure. However I decided it’s time to end all the wishywashy-ness, I just got to have faith (some will say trust your gut feelings) and made up my mind to take up the job offer from one of the start-ups.

When everything has been finalised, I shall blog about the new job and the experiences that come along with it.

I am pretty much excited to start work, anticipating both challenges and the vast learning opportunities. I have no concrete idea how the new working life will be for me. After all, this is going to be my first full-time job. However I am all ready for the run and hurdles that’s going to come. I am ready to emerge stronger and better than ever.

Meanwhile in other aspects of my life, I guess it’s time for me to truly let go of the past as well. Of course it can’t be done within a single day, but I know I’ll eventually arrive there. One just have to continue having faith, hope and the courage because there’s no other way to move on.

“Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go.”

It’s another long day.

Funny how I am feeling relieved just to be on my bed these days…to be finally alone.

Am I becoming weaker? Or am I just afraid?Afraid of people…Afraid that the world might really be not so pretty as most people paint it, afraid that I might just become just another jaded person amidst the crowd?

It’s also funny how one can feel lonely while being surrounded by so many people.

If only there’s someone else who understands..who knows and also believes in the same things…

Some people told me that I shouldn’t be too nice, too trusting, too blablablabla…or I’ll be taken advantage of. I always brush them away, believing so firmly that being genuine and kind will melt all walls and barriers that people build. Why am I feeling so miserable then? So miserable just trying to be myself now? So difficult to retain being true and not wavered by the surrounding..or rather, not feel demoralised.

It gets quite discouraging sometimes.

Try to be the most(my best) supportive and independent daughter = taken for granted by parents.

Try to be the most(my best) faithful and forgiving girlfriend = taken for granted by the ex

Try to be the most(my best) understanding and kind person = taken for granted by people

okayy at least I have a bunch of friends who really cherish me and are always so supportive of me. I should be counting my blessing. But I guess it’s human’s nature to feel discouraged when one is being unappreciated or when not receiving enough care and concern?

So can I really blame people for being jaded? It’s so tempting to love less, care less, involve ourselves less and so that it will hurt less.

It is so difficult to love people without the slightest expectation. I am no saint. I don’t expect rewards or gifts or favours. But perhaps a smile, a hug or even a thank-you is good enough? An acknowledgment to one’s existence and doings is so important?

Is it another of life’s lesson to me?

“To love means loving the unlovable.

To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.

Faith means believing the unbelievable.

Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

It’s 10.26pm and I finally get to grab my first meal of the day (unless you considered the packet of cocoa and 2 chinese siew mais I had in the afternoon as a meal). And so, I sitting at the edge of my bed with my cat, GMAT book, journal sprawled around me..typing and occasionally trying to scoop the noodles into my mouth. Alright I shan’t get into too much details.

My cat with his usual odd pose 🙂

My day started at 7.30am this morning which I spend collecting data for an interview in the afternoon. Then went to teach after my interview and proceeded to yoga class at 8.15pm.

I won’t bore you anymore with my ranting. Overall I am in a pleasant mood because I got a job offer from both today’s and yesterday’s interview :))

Okay lets’s get into the topic.

Starting a Career with a Start-up or MNC?

Let me share with you my career goals. My ultimate plan is to take over and expand my family’s f&b ( food&beverages) business, and also to start my own business. I will be totally honest here. The reason to why I am neither going into my family business or setting up my own business now is simply the lack of substantial hands-on experience and therefore leading to the lack of credible confidence.

After graduation, I came to realisation that being confident based on no concrete experience is like filling sand(hope) into a glass bottle. Possible but extremely fragile. Therefore I decided to take an en route, work for a couple of years and gain the skills and experience that I’ll need for my future.

However now boils down to what is the best type of job for me and people like me with the same ultimate career goal?

Time is short. Youth is something we all only possess once, therefore my aim is to learn as much as I can within these few years. (For your information, I am looking into a job in Marketing and Communications. )

Both of the job offers I received are from start-up companies (I haven’t applied to any MNC yet). Almost everyone I spoke to (aware of my goals), recommended working for startups or SMEs ( Small/Medium Enterprises) as one will get hand-ons experience on almost everything. The blogs I’ve been referencing online encourages people who wants to be entrepreneurs to work for start-ups as well, because that’s the place where one will gain the exposure. I also understand that one got to work much harder for much lesser pay/benefits for start ups as compared to bigger companies. I was extremely receptive to the idea and was taken aback when my current boyfriend,who is working for a MNC , disapproved strongly against it. From his personal experience and opinion, he thinks that one actually learn much from small firms but rather bigger established ones. He mentioned that you have more opportunities to prove yourself in a larger firm. It got me pretty wavered for a while.

Because I do personally feel that a start-up is going to equip me with the relevant skills to set up my own business in the future. It will expose me all the way down to the nitty gritty details which I doubt I will get exposed to in larger firms which already have everything up and running.

I have to agree though..working for a established firm will look better on the resume for one who is aiming to climb the corporate ladder.

Alright check these sites below. I was referencing them while doing my research on working for start-ups. I found them pretty useful and motivational.

1. Top 10 reasons to join a startup (as the title mentions…)

http://www.instigatorblog.com/top-10-reasons-to-join-a-startup/2007/05/23/

2. Advantages of working for a startup

http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/careers-career-path/11129-1.html

3. So you really want to work for a startup. Really? ( Discuss about character traits one needs to work in a startup)

http://vijaysblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/so-you-want-to-work-for-a-startup-really/

4. Are you thinking of working at a startup? (yes I am..That’s why I’m reading..haaa)

http://weblog.raganwald.com/2005/03/are-you-thinking-of-working-for-start.html

5. Who should you hire at start-ups ( what type of people is suitable for the job)

http://www.cloudave.com/1317/who-should-you-hire-at-a-startup/

Alright so what’s your take on this? 🙂

Lugging a huge gym bag with the heaviest laptop ever..3kg?! (a MacBook pro), one hand with the new GMAT book I just purchased, another with 2.5kg of cat litter, I clumsily swaggered up the bus. Found myself a seat by the window and as I settled myself down comfortably, I’d never knew I’ll find such contentment in a bus seat.

Just me. All alone. There’s no one to attend to or to entertain. No need to think of conversations, logic or reasoning to another, no need to put on a coerced smile or pretend to be interested. It’s just me..being with me.

Find myself really exhausted recently though I am not really sure where my energy is most drained. Am I exhausted from the stress of meeting expectations of the people I care about and myself, or more exhausted from packing my days full of activities from morning to night, trying to feign busy and ended up being really busy. Not really sure though.

In this world where most people are going at 180mph, one gets afraid that one might end up being the minority who goes 60mph.

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Run, run, run.Running all our life.

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Always trying to achieve, to prove, to meet expectations. Always trying to keep that “balance” in our life. It all started from the food pyramid..alright just joking..

And sometimes that “balance” we thought we’ve achieved might not be that balanced after all. It might even belong in the same randomness as me carrying a laptop on one shoulder, cat litter on the right hand and a GMAT guide on the left.  On the surface, it does appear that I have a pretty balanced lifestyle. On a typical day( since I returned from my graduation vacation), it looks like this:

8.30am       Rise And Shine

10am-11.30am       Yoga

1.00pm-2.00pm       Lunch

2.00pm-4.00pm       Catch-up with friends

4.00pm-7.00pm        Teach

7.oopm-9.00pm         Dinner

9.00pm-11.00pm       Do some work at Starbucks

Seems rather fulfilling right? A combination of fitness activity + social + job .. however something is missing..

Guess the reason of my exhaustion is due to the lack of personal time to get in touch with my inner self and also to organise my thoughts/feelings about everything that is going on.

The importance of personal space has been underestimated by the current society. After all the society emphasizes on everyone being a social creature or otherwise you are considered as “socially-inept”. So perhaps that is why people are always trying to be in a form of a contact with another human being. MSN messenger, Google talk, Facebook, Twitter, Forums, etc..even if one is not physically near anyone, one is still “near” somehow.

Tonight I arrived home, placed my handphone at one far corner, turned up the music and just spend some time doing household chores despite I was tired. It felt great though. And then turned on my laptop and surf about and read random articles…until now that I continue typing the entry I started when I was on the bus just now.

I am feeling so much better now. After a casual date with myself (although without the wine), I feel so much more rejuvenated and contented. My day feels so much more complete.

Everyday when you step out of the house and join the other earthling in another day’s of bustle and hustle, it’s so easy to get into the race. We just keep walking faster and faster, just to match up with the others around us and it becomes what we deem as a normal tempo. We get tired. We get drained. Come on, how is it possible not to be tired sprinting for days, and even months or years?

Stop when that happens. One will not lose out by stopping for a little while. Take a breather. Spend some quality time with yourself. To think, to ponder, to reconnect with yourself, your beliefs and values. Many take life as a race, but I think life is more like a marathon. There is still so much to go, we do not want to lead and then collapse before we reach the finish line. Do you not agree?

And now I am ready to call it a day, make a trip to LaLaLand and be energised for another brand new day!

What have we taken for granted?

The skies that are blue? Or the birds swirling around the fluffy white clouds. The trees that sway as the leaves sashay to the rhythm of the wind? The morning sun that filters through the gaps of the leaves, and then enters through the clear window, onto one’s cheek that it gently caresses?

What have we taken for granted?

The people walking at different pace; some in quick short steps and others in long steady strides? People laughing as their eyes twinkle with fine lines bordering the temple and people frowning with their eyebrows in a deep burrow.

What have we taken for granted?

The voice of a loved one in a dial; the ability to leave messages in every form. The friends who always pick up their phones and reply one’s messages; the friends who are always missing in action but turns up at the very critical moment when one needs him/her.

What have we taken for granted?

Parents who are always supportive and think too highly of their children; parents who are critical and always nagging but meant well. Parents who threaten to take everything away but still pay for everything in the end.

What have we taken for granted?

The ability to speak one’s mind, to see, to feel, to listen to the crickets which sing at night. The ability to chase for the bus, and type random tweets and updates. To wake up next to a significant other and be able to watch and hear his or her gentle breathing as his or her chest rises up and down.

What have we taken for granted?

The tears that sting one’s eyes, to feel the heart aching and in pain. The joy that overwhelms one’s heart and overrides all previous hurt. The ability to feel emotions and be human.

We who have eyes too often complain that the world is ugly.

We who have been hurt, find it hard to open up and love again. We people find plenty of masquerades for ourselves. We call it different things; we say we are just protecting ourselves, we say we are just wiser, we say we are more careful, we say we are more experienced. However the truth is that we are just masking our cowardice. Not being able to love again or be nice or be kind again because one is afraid to get hurt again, does not make us stronger, wiser or more mature.

And then we take the things around us for granted unknowingly. We take for granted the people who were genuinely kind to us, people who had potential to be our best friends or even lovers, people who accept us for who we are.

Have we taken communication for granted? How convenient it is to just ask someone how was his/her day, or to say thank you, to apologise, to say you miss them or to say you love them..but how often do we really do that?

What have we taken for granted?

” Good-byes make you think, they make you realize what you’ve had, what you’ve lost, and what you’ve taken for granted.”

I thought that by now nothing much can faze me.

Guess not.

This morning my overweight head roused me up from my pathetic amount of sleep. Seriously I don’t know which is heavier. My heart or my head. Well we all know that our emotions work inside the head but why is it that I feel an unexplainable discomfort in my chest?

Now being at the crossroads of my life, many circumstances challenge what I believe and value indeed. Most of you have been there or maybe also going through it now. Different people trying to influence you into their way of thinking. And sometimes people really close to you try to enforce their values onto you and you wish you could agree with but no you can’t.

Along my course of life, I have been fortunate to meet a very diverse group of people. People who are artistic, people who are very academically inclined, people who are very kind, people who are extremely selfish, people who are positive, people who are very forgiving. People from different parts of Asia, people from Europe and the US. People who are ambitious, people who have no goals.

Ha ha alright you get the picture. The reason why I think I was fortunate to have encounter all these people is that from everyone of them, there’s always something to learn.

Through these people, it reinforces what I want or value in life and at the same time, allows me to know what I don’t want. Don’t want to have, don’t want to be or become.

As the years pass, I see people or friends around me becoming more and more skeptical, more jaded, more emotionless. Well, one will always classify that with age or maturity. Is it really so?

I really beg to differ. At one period of my life, I became like that; skeptical, less warmth to people,and so on. I had always been a very trusting person since a child and because of that I was really hurt by some who misused it while growing up. So basically like one’s body would form antibodies to fight the virus, my heart heartened and bricks formed around it to fight those hurt. I was skeptical, cynical and the world seemed like a cold dark dungeon where things might creep out and pull you down anytime.

I don’t know if you believe this or not, but human gives out a form of..well some call it energy/aura, for me I don’t really know how to describe but then what I’m trying to say is that when one is positive, genuine, kind towards another, the other person will subconsciously pick it up. He/she may or may not return it and if he/she is a skeptical person, might even doubt or not think well of your genuinity or kindness, but actually his/her subconsciousness will know that you are someone good and it will actualise into physical conscious if the person let the guard down.

Alright so basically I went through the same stage so I understand totally why people now behaves that way. However I was blessed to meet people along the way who melted all these walls down and I was back to my trusting nature again. And I am now so much happier.

Does that mean that I wasn’t hurt again afterwards? Of course i have been! It is inevitable to meet people who might hurt you.

And that’s when the age and maturity that one might lack when one is younger comes in. One trust, care and love others with as little expectations as possible. Disappointment or hurt can’t be avoided but one will also gain other extremely valueable bonds with sone people.

At a certain point, one will understand that while there are people who are kind and good to you, there are also a fair share of people who are not too good for you. Do not be afraid to be nice or loving just because you are afraid that this fifty percent of humankind will hurt you and miss out the other fifty that love you.

I won’t say I have become all strong and tough that nothing unfazes me. This will never happen. I still have my days when I get disheartened or upset and even days when I cried like there’s no tomorrow.

But well at the end of the day, I know I am not totally alone and that there’s people who are genuinely good and care about me.