Turning the Tide

My last blog was a whole year ago. My situation wasn’t too good back then but I’ve managed to turn things around rather quickly. Read my previous blog here: Looming Unemployment and PhD Scholarship Results

Last year, I quit my government job. It was not really because I felt unhappy or anything, I just felt quite empty. It was a relatively good job and it was far from boring. Lots of travel, lots of opportunities to meet people, I didn’t feel I wanted to be there anymore- whether I secured the scholarship or not. I took a risk and paid the price for the first few months.

I did not hear from the scholarship council I had applied for. I found this to be very bizarre and I have no way of knowing what happened but a part of me feels that the government might have interfered. I don’t know. The bottom line is that I didn’t hear from them and ended up having to stay here. I tried consultancies but this is very tough work… from having to look for work, applying for work and doing the work. I didn’t make much money from consulting. Clients either did not want the service I offered or wanted more than I could offer. On my side, I didn’t feel the money was worth the time it required which is every single waking moment. If you get a gig, it pays well… the world of “feast or famine” as they call it. Too much work for intelligent people.

During the festive season, I met with an old boss and family friend. He told me he wanted me to come work for him. After the festive season, I agreed to meet with him and agreed on a 3 month consultancy with him. I liked the work and decided to stay on. My take home pay is quite better than my previous job and the perks help as well so I am generally doing better than I was last year in terms of salary and perks. Travelling has gone from approximately a monthly affair to nil but I have grown to dislike travelling for work so this works out for me at this point in time.

 

Happy Almost Half New Year 2019

It’s been well over 2 months since I last blogged and lately, I’ve been feeling the need to take a step back and invest time in recalibrating. This would be a time for me to try to address issues I’m not too happy with about myself and of course, I feel I need to work harder on being better.

I’ve been confirmed to my new post- a post I created at work under a unit I am creating. I basically could have chosen an easier route of doing anything else but I chose the ambitious route of trying to fix issues within the company. I’m stupid.

I’ve been quite annoyed with myself lately. I’ve been giving in to negative behavior and I need to nip this now. I’ve been asked out by a colleague and I’ve managed to keep that in check but mainly because I’m just too busy checking someone else out. It’s one of those things that I will never have the guts to pursue anyway so why bother?! I’ve decided to stop the BS and be very proactive in avoiding this person at work no matter what the cost, and avoid any temptation to stalk them on social media. Generally, it’s easy for me to not stalk someone on social media anyway but WhatsApp has also been quite tempting. As a result, I’ve activated my focused app to block WhatsApp during most hours of the day and night.

I also haven’t started exercising nor have I started drinking more water. I’m just so unhealthy and my room reflects the status of my mind right now- mess! I haven’t read a proper book all year and I just feel I need to avoid people for a bit… Maybe ban myself from socializing for a month just to reset!

Unproductive Days but New Week Resolutions!

Weekend, Gone Like the Wind 

A very unproductive weekend indeed. On Friday afternoon after a brief meeting at work, I had a headache. You know, one of those types that make you feel sleepy? I tried meditating it away (I found some guided meditation videos on YouTube) but it didn’t work. On Saturday (yesterday), I had to go get my back, left-hand tyre fixed. Last week it was the front one on the same side. I have no idea how they both  got punctured but the front one would deflate in day and the back one in a few days. I went to one of the closest places where they offer Western Union services to transfer money to my sister but they told me that they were not offering the service that day. Western Union in their branch had been down for most of the week and when I went there on Friday, there was just too many people during my lunch hour. I didn’t want to take more than that because I had a meeting to prepare for. I then went to bring my mother to the hospital to visit the husband of my mother’s aunt. Today, heavy rain really put a damper on everything.

Week Resolutions

Every Monday might be a great time to start with fresh resolutions. For this week, I really want to try to sleep better. It’s already 10 minutes to 1am so I guess I’ll have to start tomorrow. I normally iron my week’s worth of clothes on Sundays but I won’t have time today so I guess I’ll have to leave the rest for tomorrow evening. I also want to exercise this week (I like HIIT… Jillian Michaels’ “30 day shred” is great to start with). I also want to make sure I’m drinking enough water. Okay so that’s 3 resolutions for this week:

  1. Sleep by 11pm latest (at least 7 hours sleep)
  2. Exercise ( like exercise at 4am in the morning but sadly, if I wake up at 4 tomorrow, I’d have had very little sleep! I’ll see how this goes day after.
  3. Drink sufficient water!

On top of all this, my sister and I have started dieting. My tactic is to calorie-count and exercise of course. The aim is to reach our goal weights by the end of June 2019.

Can I Recognise Happiness for 100 Days? Hmmm…

Downtime

The internet at the office isn’t working. I’ve been feeling a little edgy lately. I am aware of this and trying to control my temper. Because there’s a latent perfectionist within me, I try to recognise this and control her. She begins to manifest when things don’t go according to plan. When one works from home and controls many things, many things can go one’s way but this isn’t the case in an office environment. What can I do? Be patient. Being patient is certainly not my strong point but I should work on that! In terms of what I can do, that’s the only option I have, other than throwing a tantrum which will reflect poorly on me- especially since I am new, have no authority at this point (and the IT people clearly know this, of they would be rushing to help me with my internet). I guess similar to many millennials, when the internet is down, so am I!

#100HappyDays Challenge

Remember a few years ago, there was a challenge going around called the “100 Happy Days” challenge? http://100happydays.com/

I tried the challenge twice and failed miserably. I think I reached 17 days the first time, and 3 days the second time. According to the website, 71% of those who tried this challenge, failed. I am one of them, twice over! Should I try again?

3 Weeks Into New Job!

What’s in a Career?

Hello World! I’ve moved into business and I’m starting my rotation with investments. It’s been 3 weeks since I started my new job (and possibly my new career)! Actually, my officemate asked me why I changed my career and I told him I feel I do not see this as a career change but rather an accumulation of work experience, knowledge and skills. I think I’m too young in the world of work (perhaps?) to start chasing a career. I think for now, I will concentrate on growth. The term “career” is probably for people who have resigned to the fact that they are doing what they want to do for the rest of their life. I think I prefer to float around and test waters indefinitely.

Business: It’s a Man’s World

I can’t and will not discuss much about this but for now it is safe to say that I am learning a lot and time is just not enough to complete the tasks I want to complete + study the material I need to study. The worst part about my first week was that I was sick. Even if salary is better, I am not as senior as a used to be (for now). My 3 months rotation is a time for me to be humble and learn just a little bit about most aspects of the group I work for. I do not have a post title yet so there’s still a big question mark on what exactly I will be doing in the long term but for now, I am in no rush to find out. I am still learning the ropes around here and I still need to figure the group out. So far, I realize with many companies we have investments with, both the board and employees are men! Goodbye to the development world where provisions have been made to ensure women are part of the decision-making. I guess I definitely have something to prove. In our office, the second in command is a woman but she’s the big boss’ step daughter. Most people in this office have been hired through “connections”. Most senior positions in this group seem to be through staff connections. I guess trust is a major issue here.

Recovering from the Cold

I share an office with a guy who unfortunately had to put up with my coughing fits on the first week. He’s got a good sense of humour and he really takes the time to teach me stuff. I am grateful. He is out of the country this week but has left me some work + I am also going to be working with two other companies starting tomorrow.

Thoughts about Personal Savings and Investment

My officemate and I have been having many interesting discussions about investments (of course) and our personal experiences with this. I told him that I didn’t have any significant savings but nor do I have debt. He told me that not having debt is a very good thing and a privilege not many people have in this world.

His advice to me (after about 10 years in the field of investment management) is that I should save 3 months salary as a fixed savings (3- 6 months… the decision on this would highly depend on your monthly income and necessary expenditures of course). After I have this in my account, I can start saving for specific things… a house (or downpayment), a car, a holiday etc.

The discussion made me sit down on Sunday with an excel sheet and draft my 5-year savings strategy. Contrary to what his advice was, I think instead, a % into fixed savings per month might be better. I say this because I don’t have kids. I don’t have anything… and at this point in time, perhaps savings is the only way my wealth can accumulate. It wouldn’t take me too long to save up for stuff I want… just not something as big as house. I have a car I am driving but technically, this is for my brother. He took the loan and because he is overseas, he transferred it to me. I would have to give him a % of the cost of the car or probably just give him back the car… I don’t know.

The Job and Boss I left

My former office staff have been calling me and texting me to help them with some work- pro bono. Some multilaterals have also been guilty of this. When they can’t reach my former colleagues/ boss, they reach out to me. I do feel sorry for my former colleagues. I have to boldly admit that when they lost me, they lost some mentorship as well. My former boss was a good boss in some areas but they each come with their cons: Pro 1: He understands the mandate of the department but Con1: He doesn’t use any power to impose this when he knows he needs to, he assumes everyone else understands it too. Pro 2: Even in his 60s, he liked technology and innovation and is always quick to adapt in this area. Con 2: Sadly, this area is also one that is expensive and requires training… training of staff and stakeholders that might not even have the prerequisites to choose the faster and potentially more difficult route (for some). The downfall here is that he never champions change… he will seek funding (or have someone like me do it), he will procure what needs to be procured and then when we’ve “tested” the innovation… he drops it like it’s hot. This speaks of his approach to many other things… plans we create… No commitment. Pro 3: He understands that staff should be allowed time to run a few personal errands during working hours. Con 3: Some staff run personal errands all day, everyday and even use department’s vehicles.

Key Lesson from Government

Government has taught me one very important lesson, applicable to many aspects of my life: If you want change at work, you have to make it. If you can’t make it after exploring all the avenues you know how… leaving is the last resort for some and the first resort for others. For me, it was my last resort but one that was a long time coming. My former office now has 2 main types of staff that want to leave but grin and bear it: 1. Those who are under-qualified but paid well so they stay 2. Those who are qualified but content because their boss gives them so much freedom, they can spend an entire month (or year) not working and they still get paid. There are also incentives like travel (and DSA) that keeps someone in there. I don’t think there is anyone in there who is there because they truly care about making change… that’s something NGOs do, not government. I really believe this applies in this country. Those who truly care about a cause, work for NGOs or start them. I would like to create one, but maybe a little later this year.