5 month checkpoint

January 7, 2010

5 months into the working life, I realise that I have found my passion; working.

Besides writing, of course.

I loveeeee the thrill of reading proposals, making proposals, thinking of new business proposals. At first I thought the real life would be a scary place, but now I realise the possibilities are endless!

It doesn’t really matter what you study. You can have a law degree and open a restaurant. You can have an engineering degree and be a banker. You can have an Economics degree and start your own clothing line. Anything you want!

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My goal is actually to diversify and expand my dad’s company and I currently have a couple of ideas written down. They’re still in the researching stage, the very early stage. I want to be able to come up with something fruitful this year, and be proud of it. So wish me luck, people!

In 5 months, I feel like I’ve learned so much. It’s all in my head but I can’t really explain what it is specifically. Just the daily problems companies face, the office politics, the issues that manufacturers face, the importance of quality control, the frustration of dealing with certain institutions or government bodies, the basics and details of being a property developer, how important price comparison is etc.

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I never knew I had such energy and excitement in me. If I’m not doing anything, I get very depressed. Hehe. I never knew I had such a thirst for knowledge (where was all this when I was doing my law degree????). I have learned that I like the front office work; meeting clients, closing deals, PR work, business development. I have learned that I hate dislike the back office work; writing letters, filing, accounts and admin.

It’s definitely made me learn a bit more about myself.

In 5 months, I have been given opportunities that I never could have had if I worked elsewhere. And I am extremely thankful for it.

Some of the little things I’ve done:

  • Push all the work emails to my Blackberry. At work we have a couple of central email addresses that all emails go to, regardless of who they are sent to in the office. Every email goes to my phone and I can access it anytime anywhere. This is an extremely effective way to really be on top of things, updated on each project , know every secret and really not hang your mouth open in meetings.
  • Buy business magazines. I am a magazine junkie. I buy every fashion magazine in Malay and English every month and I tear out and keep the pages of clothes I’m inspired by or tips I liked. So, I made a deal with myself; for every fashion magazine I buy, I have to buy a business magazine along with it. And read the business magazine FIRST. This isn’t going according to plan. I have a stack of business magazines waiting to be touched. But I’m trying!
  • Read the newspaper. By reading, I don’t mean the headlines only.
  • Buy business books and watch The Apprentice. Seriously, super motivating!
  • Completed and published the company website. Can you believe we have been in business for 15 years and we don’t have a website?!! My dad couldn’t care less about websites, that is why the new generation comes in and get with the programme!! The website was already in the works when I joined the company, so all I did was to push for it. I inserted and amended lots of things and ultimately got it published for the world to see! In the process, I had a bird’s eye view on the company.
  • Be willing to go to the ground. Even in high heels!
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  • Make an effort to do more. It’s not wrong for you to drop ideas if you think the company can improve in some ways. Like offer to check English grammar in letters that go out (I also get to know what correspondence is going out). Or sit with a colleague and ask her to teach me on what she’s doing. Or ask to see cashflow of projects for me to learn how much things cost. Or fill in for someone who is on leave. Or offer to write reports each month (I am now in charge of doing the monthly reports, which is an extremely good way for me to get a good grasp on the company and where it’s heading).
  • Ask to sit in every meeting where possible. I’m busybody like that. But at least now I know what rebar and palettes and formwork and silos and pilings are. All these construction terms! So sexy.
  • Try to dress up to the office everyday. The way you get excited for a party if you’re dressed up, it’s the same if you’re dressed up for the office to do work. And you never know who drops by. 3
  • Ask, ask, ask. Never shut up if you don’t know something.

Also, I’ve learned to love my colleagues.

In the HQ, we are a close knit bunch.  I am learning that you can’t really work alone, you need a support system. And why on earth would people support you if they think you’re an arrogant snob? I respect my colleagues a lot and I feel like they respect me too. We joke, we tease, we laugh, we share stories, we eat together, we search YouTube videos together.

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There was even a point before I joined where they watched The Oprah Winfrey show on TV during lunchtime every single day and pig out. How fun is that?! We need to start doing that again, now that I’m here.

Through time, you know who’s loyal and who isn’t. And the only way you can find that out is by getting to know your colleagues. If you treat them good and there’s mutual respect, there’s really no reason for them to be unhappy or disloyal. Unless they’re horrible human beings, in which case you shouldn’t want them in your organisation anyway.

So far, I get excited to go to work every morning. And I truly love being in the office.