Yesterday H and I had a good long video chat. We haven’t had one of those in a long time, usually because the connection gets in the way.

Honestly, it was mostly one-way – I had a lot going on that day: two interviews, in person and via telephone. He listened patiently, intently and responsively. He was happy to see me excited. I was happy to elaborate on the nitty gritty details and see his responses to them. It was fun. I missed it. He’s my favourite person to talk to.

That evening, I was watching The Voice of Germany (I’m a big fan), when Jessie J came on and performed her new song “Masterpiece” with the hopefuls. I caught some lines of it and was already in love with the song, I searched them up. It was one of those songs that clicked instantly with me, because I felt exactly like this at this very point in my life. I would love to belt it out:

I still fall on my face sometimes
And I can’t colour inside the lines
‘Cause I’m perfectly incomplete
I’m still working on my masterpiece

And I, I wanna hang with the greats
Got a way to go, but it’s worth the wait
No, you haven’t seen the best of me
I’m still working on my masterpiece

And it made me realize that H makes me feel exactly the same way as this song. Even though it’s been a tiring journey, he believed from the start that I was working on my masterpiece, even way before I realized it. (Such a great feeling.) He believes any visionary leader would take me under his/her wing. He has hopes and dreams for me.

As I inch ever closer to starting my career here, I, too, started to have hopes and dreams for me too. I, too, believe that I can take anything that comes my way and make it great. I’m not going to give up and go home and whine about this place.

I’m going to kick some ass, you’ll see.


Ross and Rachel

Watching FRIENDS has become quite a ritual for my flatmate and me. I started right from where it all started. Season 1, episode 1. And now we’ve arrived at season 3.

Of course this meant that Ross and Rachel finally understood that they’re each other’s lobsters, but then in this episode, the unimaginable (but actually imaginable since I’ve watched it a million times already) happened: they broke up.

And it’s still a shock. I imagine being in her shoes and I don’t know what I would’ve done. It made me question everything.

You see, I kind of took Ross’s side most of the time, though nobody did. Even my flatmate (from India) said, “Is he a man from the 18th century?” when he didn’t understand why Rachel thought it’s best to keep him and work separate.

But I disagree. I don’t think he was crazy to be upset about her slipping away from him, because he didn’t know what was going on with her anymore. It’s understandable. I don’t need to be my partner’s colleague, but I’d still like to know what’s going on in my partner’s life, especially when work is going to be a huge part of it.

If my partner suggested a break, (cue history class) I would’ve also said that a break was a lead-in to a break up – it’s a symbol that one gave up and stopped giving enough crap about it. I would’ve thought that it was over too. I don’t believe in splitting up and getting back together because the fundamental need to want to break up in the first place was already there, and who’s to say it won’t be back again? Basically nobody in a strong relationship needs to break up during a fight.

But then Ross cheated, and that sucks. I can’t stand up for him anymore.

It’s a drunkard mistake, but I wouldn’t have been able to accept that mistake either. I don’t know if I’d ever forgive a cheater, and God forbid, I don’t ever have to face that dilemma. But why? How? What now?!

Ok, these characters affect me way too much.


S and I have a very different perspective in life, especially when dealing with uncertainty. He adapts as he goes. In actual fact, so do I, but I do a lot of worrying in between.

When I start off with a new project, I’m worried, excited, fascinated, nervous, all wrapped up in one. I wonder what it is like, I worry about screwing up, I motivate myself, etc. He is calm and composed.

He was starting on a new rotation today, so I asked him how he was.

I: How are you feeling? Are you nervous?

S: No, I don’t know what to expect.

I: That’s exactly why I would be nervous.

S: But I don’t even know who I am meeting. 

I: Yup, and still.

S: It’s just the first day.

Man, what a weirdo.


“Take a job that you love. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
– Warren Buffett

What a line.


Fun – Carry On

In lieu of the recently discovered misery, I currently face a lack of many words.

Nevertheless, today I felt alive for the first time in a while. It was a day I did only the things that I wanted to do, and it felt good.

Last night, my cousin went to Fun’s concert, and called me when this song was playing. I’m not sure if it was deliberate or not, but then I got the message loud and clear.

If you’re lost and alone or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May the past be the sound of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Thanks, babe.


Bastille – Pompeii

This sums up how I’m feeling right now.

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

I have to retreat to the corner of my bed now.

Work and extra work

I suppose I’m thankful for my current job for several things.

I came into it with no concrete job description. It was made up along the way. It was probably unintentional that so many little responsibilities fell into my lap along the way.

Truth be told, I often feel isolated in my department. We work individually because of the nature of the job. Some days I feel happier because more people are talking to me, fulfilling my need for human interaction.

But with these little responsibilities, I get to see the world outside of my tiny department. And I’m thankful for it.

It’s so easy, fashionable even, to term them extra-curricular, be unhappy about the unnecessary additional workload, meetings, deadlines. It’s so easy to shirk them, say it’s the lowest of my priorities – go away, try to get it out of your hands.

But in actual fact, I’m so glad I get to know more people through this. I’m glad to be tasked these little things.

This must sound really bizarre.
(And evidently brings up an issue of job fit!)


There it is – a brand new year.

I would love to say “Whoa. Where did the time go?” But I think this year didn’t exactly zoom by. It did feel like a year ago that I did the annual reflection.

That’s not to say the year wasn’t eventful. It was, and that’s also why at this very point, it feels extremely far from the events of last year.

  • Career

Can’t believe I’ve stuck with my job all this time. As a product of the new generation, it’s safe to call it an achievement to have it made it past a year of being with the same company. I think I’ve grown through it, the ability to separate emotions from business, networking internally, dealing with external vendors, being now called a “bro” by my lunch group, etc. There are greater responsibilities now, and there is a greater comfort level where I’m sitting now – and that comes with slight fear and knowing that there’s still a lot of room to grow – maybe within the role, maybe within the company, but also maybe out of this city I call home.

  • Family

I lost a loved one at the start of the year. Sometimes I worry that I’ve forgotten how things were with her around but sometimes I dream of her and her indirect ways of showing approval for the things I do. Sometimes I feel so sorry for her, for leaving behind a broken extended family that only held up with her presence. The extended family is definitely screwed up, but I’m keeping my nuclear family close, and I think we had a pretty good year.

  • Friends

I don’t think I’ve realised the fragility of friendships until this year. The ability to drift apart through space and time, and the ability to think – ah heck it, it’s too much trouble, and if you don’t care, I don’t care. With the evolution of technology, somehow keeping in touch becomes a greater pain in the butt – how was that possible? I decided to lay off social media like Instagram and Twitter, partly because I didn’t want to know everything about a person before meeting them, and partly because I would like to know what friends would like to tell me in person, i.e. not through the broadcast of social media. This year definitely saw me through the making of several new good friends, the ups and downs of sustaining some old ones, and how the ones with the best fit are gonna stick around through it all, without much effort at all. I’m truly blessed in that area.

  • Love

I remember someone telling me not to give in to the stereotype of long distance relationship being difficult. It’s true that for most of the time, it is easy peasy. I love him, he loves me, one of us is in the wrong city. When we meet, it’s heaven on earth; when we part, it’s hell. There are so many ups and downs in a long distance relationship, god knows my poor cousin had to hear me out so many times. If it isn’t a cyclical moodiness of realizing how far apart we are, it is just insecurity. It’s tough to get a healthy balance of dependence and independence necessary. But at the end of the day, it’s about what works with us, and I think we did a pretty amazing job keeping it going, reigniting the spark every so often, despite – till date – having no expiry of the long distance in sight. But it’s clear we have a similar goal and I’m blessed to have someone love me from 10,000km away.

  • Personal development

Participate in two more 10km run, check. Picking up a new language, check. Picking up a new sport, check. Let my hands go crazy with art and craft, check. Read more books, check. Read the news more, check. Spend less time worrying about what others think of me, check. Travel to new destinations, learn to pack really light, travel alone, check check check.

And for the new year? Apart from the usual blessed and healthy family and friends, I sincerely hope for career enlightenment, at least for the time being. Remaining active physically. Exploring the kitchen more. And cohabiting with the boy.

I’m ready, 2013. Take on me.

Being Too Comfortable

A year and a half ago, I knew what I wanted and I was searching for it.

Things didn’t go according to plan, and this became plan B. Then S came along, and plan A became increasingly an ideal plan. Before I knew it, time flew by and the end of 2012 is in my face.

As we await the truth of 21.12.2012, that is whether we all perish or not, I’ve been reminding myself not to get too comfortable with the current situation.

I work in an environment where more than half of my colleagues are anticipating their impending retirement in their positions. We don’t have the best pay but we have really great corporate benefits. I’ve settled down and have a lunch entourage I can always count on to make the days a little better. I always have some people I will IM on a daily basis to make things livelier. I am comfortable with everyone in my department. I have networked reasonably far and wide in this company. Of course there’s always more I can do, I’m not saying I’ve done a perfect job.

But every now and then, especially now, I remind myself to get off my chair, wipe off the dust and evaluate if I’ve been sitting on my ass for too long. A little over a year couldn’t have been too long, but it was never what was planned. And I’ve been talking about wanting the same things for ages. Rereading some information online has made me realize I’ve done it the easy way, found an obstacle and quickly placed it in a KIV (keep in view) corner.

I’ve realized how easy it is to fall into the trap of being too comfortable with what works. I’ve been so comfortable on this chair that when presented with the world as my oyster again, I hesitate. I wonder if it is worth giving up this peace I’ve been having.

And gosh, that was scary. I’m glad I found it every now and then. It, being the conscious effort to get off my chair to take a look around.

I need a different chair. And I need to first get off my ass before I can plonk onto another chair.

And I’m not really talking about chairs.

Leaders that suck, and those that don’t

I always think that having a good leader is half the battle won.

Superficially, I always thought that a good leader is a good speaker. I haven’t been in close proximity of a leader of sorts for most of my life, so I hadn’t known what to look out for in leadership.

Sure, you learn in school that good leaders, well, lead.

But that was more of a function than a trait. The job scope of a leader is to lead. But it’s only in recent years that I experienced different styles of leadership. And the leaders that I particularly like share a similar trait.

I’ve definitely encountered bad leaders before. In one stint, the leader was known to be a disciplinarian who yells at people with poor judgment. He wasn’t in close contact with the ground, and the fellow employees around were unmotivated. Everyone encouraged me not to stay on in the company because of him.

In another stint, the leader was only concerned about bottom line. Because it was a small business, it was clear whenever he did or said things, they were just for the bottom line. And nobody liked it. We felt like slaves.

But the leaders that I particularly liked had one thing in common. They were extremely personable. Even if they are many levels above you; Even if their pay checks are multiple fold of yours; Even if many people reported to them; Even if you’re just a small fry; And even if the number of years they’ve been with the company is longer than the amount of time you’ve been alive.

And when you’re personable, people naturally want to listen when you speak. This has nothing to do with a flair for speaking. You don’t need to speak like Obama. (He really is a brilliant public speaker!) But when you’re personable, people feel like you understand them. You don’t make them feel small. You make them feel a part of the team.

And most importantly, this motivates people to stay on. This makes me want to put in effort for them. This makes me want to work under their care.

I’ve been fortunate to have met these people. Just like parenting (I’ve always been on a lookout for what kind of parenting traits I want to have based on observation – I know this sounds weird), but these good leaders have been inspirational. They may not be CEOs, but they are impactful all the same.

And they’ve made me realize what kind of employee I want to be – and if I end up a leader – what kind of leader I want to be.

Be personable, folks, and the world will be pleased to be behind you.