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Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

alive and kicking… feebly

hmm, i’ve skipped one month’s update. sorry about that.

right now i’m at a low point of my job because i got in trouble for a bad day’s work, which triggered a ridiculously overblown domino effect in my department. my mistake was mine, i claim responsibility for it, but the way the management has chosen to handle the situation was pretty appalling, to say the least. at one point, i was harassed. while some of the measures taken by the management did not directly affect some of the colleagues, nonetheless they were upset enough by the turn of events that they made rather drastic proclaimations and decisions.

if they go through with what rumours said they said, there could be an exodus. as it is, i’ve approached the idea of a transfer with the management. at this point, i don’t intend to leave the department for good, but i do want a change of scene. not so much because of the ugly stuff that’s going on at the office but because it’s the only time i’ll ever get myself to make a change. i’m a big follower of the ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ mentality. and as it stands right now, the department feels quite broken and demoralised.

that’s the ongoing drama i hope will have a happy ending for me soon. in between the ensuing drama, i went on a vacation to one of malaysia’s best islands with some colleagues. i really enjoyed myself, though the 5-hour car trip each way was quite terrible. still, it was worth sitting on my butt for that long to feel sand in between my toes at the many beaches we visited around the island. it was also worth it when i walked up several hundred steps for a dip in a river. okay, maybe not that worth it when my legs ached for the next three days and the fact that the place did not have any decent changing rooms – i guess that’s all part of the experience of holidaying.

i want to write more but i’m getting sleepy. it’s almost 3am and i’m still at the office. i really should get my own laptop. today’s update is just about me trying to get past the bad episodes at the office. lots of people screwed up, including me, and i wish we could all start on a clean slate right now. but first, i have to complete the sentence given by the management. a pointless and unfair one, if you ask me, but nope, my opinion really doesn’t matter in the department. i’m just a desktop labourer, churning out the work given, so i don’t have much of a say in anything. so gotta complete the undesirable task before i can move on.

i’m tired but alive and kicking, if rather feebly. (but then again, the days of lively activity on this blog have long been gone so really it’s been quite feeble here for a while, hasn’t it?)

working off some steam

if there’s one thing i hate about my job, it’s you. my heart sinks when i see on the roster that you are working on the same days as i am. i hate it when you ignore me, pass me over for the others whom you trust better not to screw up. even if they have not been working here as long as i have. nobody knows, but when possible i would change my roster so that i would not be working when you are. i just hate sitting at my desk, doing nothing, because you refuse to give me any. you are not the kind of person one could sit and talk it out with, so i don’t know how to let you know that i’m wondering what do i have to do in order for you to get over your bias against me? you make me feel stupid, incompetent and inconsequential, all without you having to say a word. your actions insinuate that enough. the others never make me feel like this, just you. i wish you could let go of the past and give me some credit. i can’t promise i won’t ever screw up while on your watch, but how will i ever learn if you won’t give me shit to do?

must be funny, in a rich man’s world.

this month, money is tight for me. so tight that i did not pay my student loan and only paid part of my flight ticket to bali to my friend while i will pay the rest next month. i find that i spend a lot on food, so i’ve started writing down what i spend for dinner at work so that i would ‘guilt’ myself into choosing a cheaper option the next time. it’s not really working so far ‘cos food is expensive where i work. i miss my former workplace (not the bookshop) where i could get a cheap and delicious vegetarian meal for less than rm5.

the other day, i thought to myself, sure, it’s not fun taking a pay cut but i was glad that i was not earning too much that the pay cut was too drastic. theoretically, the pay cut is not that much, but at the bookshop i was doing a lot of overtime so in the end i brought home an ‘inflated’ paycheck back then. here, i have not started doing overtime yet so i’m taking home the minimal paycheck.

(actually, i am more glad that i did not let money issues get in the way of me accepting this job, because i enjoy doing the jigsaw puzzle these days, if you know what i mean. and that it means i don’t hold money so highly that it gets in the way of what i think could make me happy. but money makes me happy too. sometimes.)

yesterday, a family member was rueing our financial issues and now i feel bad about my smaller paycheck. i went out with a friend for a book spree and lunch but what that person said ruined the day for me and i did not truly enjoy the trip. i felt guilty for indulging myself (though in reality i spent less than rm10 for the 3 books i bought because i had some book vouchers) when i keep telling my family that i’m broke this month. i had some car troubles yet again and they’ve footed the bill, which might explain their money grouses.

i like this job. i’m learning good things from good people who have so far been nothing but good to me. i like that i’m not too ‘in love’ with this job that i can really enjoy my days off without worrying and have more free time at the moment to catch up on my reading. but with more free time comes the itch to do activities which requires more money. and sadly i’m in that zone where i have to think twice before i take out money from my purse. and the feeling sucks. not funny at all.

growing pains

went through my first two days of subbing and now i have the weekend off quite unexpectedly. yesterday i finished a book, so i consider that day well spent. today i will be meeting some friends so that too is not a wasted day.

what can i say about subbing thus far? well, if my job were a game, reporting would be like treasure hunting. you gotta go out and find the things in your list. it can be exciting, frustrating but for the most part interesting. every treasure hunt is different and therefore tests your skills in many different areas. sometimes you would be good and sometimes not.

subbing is like a jigsaw puzzle. you have to fit all the pieces together. every day you get a different jigsaw puzzle but essentially you use the same skills to solve the puzzle unless the element of the game has changed.

you could also say reporting is like shopping for ingredients while subbing is preparing the meal in the kitchen. when you shop for ingredients you might finish buying all the things in your list quick or take longer than you expect. you will also have to go to many places far and wide to get a specific ingredient. when you prepare the meal in the kitchen, there is only so much time left after the shopping. if there is an ingredient missing, you have to make do with what you have or improvise.

between treasure hunting and jigsaw puzzling i suppose the treasure hunt sounds more fun. it is, no question about it. i much rather shop than slave away in the kitchen myself.

so does that mean i don’t like subbing? i won’t say that. i am just not used to it at the moment. i am not familiar with the software used to sub so it has been a real struggle at the moment.

i am missing reporting because right now, that routine is more familiar to me than subbing. reporting has its fair share of dud assignments, but the beauty of it is that it is only sucky for the day. then tomorrow there’s a chance that i get a better assignment. but i have to admit i do not miss having to call up the office the night before to get my assignment. i much rather find out before i leave the office or have it e-mailed to me.

doing the jigsaw puzzle is hard for me right now, but i will reserve my feelings about it until i have mastered the basic rules of the game. then i would have a better idea if i prefer to go on a treasure hunt or to do a jigsaw puzzle.

learning every day

every now and then i get a longing for my old job because at there, i knew what i was doing most of the time. if i didn’t, very few others would know what to do anyway. i miss being in control and having juniors listening to me as if i knew what i was talking about.

at this job, i know nuts most of the time. sometimes it’s frustrating because the learning curve is steep and the lesson is difficult at the time. and then there are other kind of lessons – the kind i could only learn because i was there in the office and someone was willing to tell me what to do or what i did wrong or tell me something i never even gave a proper thought about before.

last weekend i was chatting with a senior who’s about to be transferred. i was giving her my best wishes when the conversation somehow turned to the goodies that reporters get simply because we’re in the media.

everybody knows that when journalists go to press conferences or launches, goodies and meals are always expected. it didn’t take me long to have the same expectations. there was once when i felt quite indignant when i thought the press were not going to be served food because they sat us in an area without tables, while the other guests were sat around tables. turned out i jumped to conclusions because the organisers took the journalists for a buffet lunch after the event.

anyway, the senior was telling me that whenever she receives a goodie bag she would give away the freebies to other journalists who wants them and only keep the written materials for her article. my first reaction was of surprise. you get something free, and most of the time it’s a pretty good thing, and you don’t want it? why??

a superior who happened to overhear our conversation chipped in and explained that my senior is correct in doing so, because to accept the goodie bag is in a way a form of bribery. she quickly added that she wasn’t saying that people who accept goodie bags are bribed, but it’s just a matter of ethics.

when she put it that way, it seems so simple. i’ve studied professional ethics, of course i should realise this. but i never really gave this a second thought until this conversation.

to me, the goodie bags are like gifts you receive from a friend. if a friend gives you a present, it would be rude to say no. so i accept it. but of course, if you get a goodie bag from an organisation, the underlying meaning is that they hope you would put a good word for their product when you write the article. and of course they also hope it will be published in the papers.

(when i worked in the bookshop, there was one occasion i was told to prepare goodie bags because we were expecting the media. it wasn’t so that they would write about the bookshop immediately but to build a relationship for in the future when they would like a write-up. the management would occasionally give away pretty good books to people in the media that they know have written about the bookshop recently.)

but they don’t realise that what goes into tomorrow’s papers are not decided by the people who accepts your goodie bag. they can write the best article for you but if something more exciting or sensational or catastrophic happen on the day, chances are your product is not considered news anymore. (i’m talking from the newsdesk perspective, not from features.)

the seniors raised a good point. i don’t know if accepting goodie bags are akin to bribery, but it’s definitely something for me to consider. thankfully my reporting days are coming to an end so that will not be a moral dilemma for me.

if i were to go back to reporting some day, would i be accepting goodie bags? to be honest, i think i probably will, but the difference is that i do it based on an informed decision. i learnt that my actions can say a lot about me whether i realise it or not. that’s something good for me to be reminded of every now and then.

a question i don’t quite know how to answer.

since i’ve started this new job, most of my new colleagues love to throw this question: what made you decide to join this organisation? or why do you want to be a sub?

and every time they ask me that, i don’t quite know how to answer it.

i did not choose this job because i have a passion for journalism. i like to write but that is not the same as being passionate about journalism. i did not choose this job because of the pay. i am taking a pay cut and people have told me the organisation does not pay much compared to others.

i chose this job because i want stability. i want to commit to something that does not take the life out of me. i chose this job because i want to learn and gain experience that will be useful elsewhere when the time comes. i chose this job because, admittedly, working in the media sounds better than saying i am working in a bookshop. it’s wrong to be elitist like this but i am being honest.

(i loved the job i did at the bookshop. i love the people and making friends with some of the customers. i felt what i did made a significant contribution to the bookshop. but when people i know see me working behind the till at the bookshop, i feel a twinge of awkwardness. they are probably thinking, “she studied at university, right? why is she doing retail?” it should not bother me but it does nonetheless.)

of course, this is not the answer i give them. my answer is invariably about something i’m interested in doing and liking the hours.

it all feels like the wrong answer any way i say it.

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