Out of the Norm Into the Unknown…

A decision was made after months of procrastination, battling fears, searching for answers, praying for signs and seeking advise. A month had passed and it is still sinking in. The question that keeps playing on my mind “Am I really ready for this?”

The fear is real. Getting out of the comfort zone of bringing back the same amount of money each month vs fluctuations of income. The fear of not getting enough work, the fear of starting from scratch, the fear of being lost, the fear of the constant need to seek validation, the fear of being overwhelmed, the fear of overcoming all fears (overthinking really does not help) and the list continues.

It was not an easy decision to be a full time freelance after 15 years of being a cubicle rat. The thought  has been playing on my mind for more than a year and I was waiting for the right time. When I was at my deepest end  I started asking “when is the right time?”, “do i want to continue to be stuck and simply leave everything to fate?”. There were multiple rounds of self-reflections aided by conversations with family and friends. A split second decision was made when enough was enough and at that moment I realised that there is no such thing as the right time.

Many say that a job is just a job. You do based on what you get paid for.  There are times that due to changes in the company, responsibilities are added. Due to these changes you start to see a lot more wrong than right. Due to changes, your values and principles are no longer aligned with the company. When that happens, do you stay on and simply take it all in despite being jaded, brown out/burnt out because you are already in your comfort zone?  Wouldn’t it be like a daily robotic routine – wake up, go to work, slog at work, go home. Where is the satisfaction? I admit, different people have different satisfaction levels, different people have different motivation level and different people stay as long as they could for different reasons.

I realised that I had lost my motivation for more than a year and no longer feel a sense of achievement. I was just going through the motion. Being a team player, I man-up, putting in more than 100% and simply just taking it all in even though most times felt that I was taken for granted by being a team player. Speaking up (part of company culture) feels like falling onto deaf ears. Many times I was told that I take my responsibilities too seriously and that I have too high expectations of myself. It is difficult not to when I am dealing with someone else’s life and safety. I take my responsibilities seriously because my credibility is at stake and I am one who do not regard a job as just a job. It is an implied trust. I hate it when I dropped the ball and felt inefficient. It saddens me when told that I’m physically there but not mentally. Don’t get me wrong, I am one who prefers to have open and straight conversations/feedback. But it does not work when frequently it is only one way traffic.  It came to a point where I am tired of trying and simply give up. I had alot more questions than answers. Instead of asking and listening, it became asking and finding fault.  Cliche but true that at the end of the day no one is indispensable to a company.

Through out the years of working full time I had picked up various skills (both technical & soft skills) and past employers had given me abundance of opportunities and regional exposure. For that I am truly grateful. These actually complement the experience that I gained with my freelance work and vice versa. The various roles from my freelance work opened up a totally different world and experience that I could not gain while sitting in the office. I had been asked many times why I do it. I simply answered “why not?” Knowledge is to be shared and learning is at its best when it is shared.

And so, here I am writing this still thinking if I am really ready for this (more like – what did I get myself into). I guess I will never be ready but at least I am brave enough to take the very first step towards an adventure to add on to my book of journeys.

“When you get out of your comfort zone, life begins…” – Unknown

JMJ Cubicle
Thank you for being of service for the past 5++ years

Laugh at Yourself

At Raffles City Simply Wrapps while ordering a bowl of make-own-salad to take away after a day of info overload…

Me: Walnuts (while pointing to sunflower seeds)
Server (smiling): Walnuts or sunflower seeds?

Me: Sesame seeds (looking and pointing to sunflower seeds)

Server (chuckles): Sunflower seeds

Me (still blur): Sesame seeds (then realised & paused) eh…sunflower seeds (laughs). Sorry, brain breakdown…

Server (burst out laughing): Sorry lah kak, but you cutelah…made my day

Me (laughs): its ok, glad i made you laugh

Moral of the story: its ok to be blur and laugh at yourself cos you’ll never know when your ‘blurness’ will make someone laugh and even make her/his day…

Kitab Lama (Old Book)

Kitab Lama

Antara kayangan dan kenyataan
Antara lagenda dan sejarah
Antara bangsa dan budaya
Antara yang menjajah dan dijajah

Antara yang terpilih dan dipilih
Antara yang tersurat dan tersirat
Antara sumpah dan janji
Antara jati diri dan naluri

Antara adab dan adat
Antara dusta dan rahsia
Antara iman dan pedoman
Antara ketaatan dan kesetiaan

Hidup umpama roda…Kun Fayakun
~ss~

P/s: A very good book that uses old / proper Malay that ties nicely to a fantasy, myth and historic genre

On the Side…

Strangely, I had been asked many times for the past few months if I am a full time freelancer. Everytime it came as a surprise when I replied that I am a cubicle rat. Some of the responses or reactions are rather amusing. The standard faq “you don’t behave or dress like one who works full time” or “how do you manage?” or “aren’t you tired after a long day at work” or “you so free & have so much time?” or “what you actually do?” and the best “why?”

I am fortunate enough to have a day job that allows me to dress down daily (it helps because of the occassional manual labour). Power suit and the whole works will only make an appearance when required. Clothes do not define a person or what he/she does. Its the work ethics and being that count.

Each of us are given the same 24 hours. How we manage and split the time is entirely up to us, there is no magic formula. I admit there are challenging times especially when there are conflicting priorities and commitments. There are days that I totally crashed both physically and mentally. When that happens will have to suck it up and make things work cos I am a firm believer of ‘make time’. There is a time for everything, if one wants to. If I can’t commit I’ll say so upfront. There are times when I had to painfully say no to side projects. A little bit of planning does help but Murphy loves to throw a curve ball every now and then. Being flexible and adaptable are key. And most importantly not to kill myself and over-commit.  I am fortunate that I have quite a number of vacation days that I can play around with.  That helps heaps when I need to recover after weekend events.

Knowledge is best learned when it is shared. It is a gift in its own right. If I could extend my help and share what I know, why not? Sharing is a two way learning. I am still learning.

Why I do what I do? Or what it is exactly that I do? Its easier to explain in person over coffee (desserts are more than welcome). But don’t be surprised if it ends up with us having other conversations.  Simply said “do what you love, love what you do”…

And so, last Wednesday night session wraps up side projects and everything non-work related for 2016. The late nights, wee hours, Garfield eyes, sore muscles, bad ankle acting up, swollen knee, bruises on legs, broken shoes, soaked in the rain, melt under the heat and the occasional brain drain were totally worth it, no complains. It has been an unexpected remarkable journey this year.

It is such a blessing to have the continued trust, faith and the constant opportunities from those I had worked with for years.  To those whom I get to know and worked with this year for the first time, it is such a blessing that I had crossed paths with them.

Now its time to hibernate for a bit and recharge before it begin again early Jan. Looking forward to upcoming & more collaboration, exploration, opportunities, pushing limits and continue asking ‘what did I get myself into’ in 2017…