Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Tuesday, 31 March 2009 @ 5.21pm

It’s been a tough and trying couple of months. But in those months, it’s also been one of the most joyful times of my life. On the one hand, I’ve been battling some inner demons on some very crucial career choices. I contemplated throwing away stability of cash and benefits for pleasure. On the other hand, I’ve taken my personal choices to the next step. My career has been somewhat stable, and I feel ready. Eddie’s family are more than happy with me (up to the point where they contact me instead of contacting him for anything). And I feel sure of Eddie. I know. It feels right.

Making the transition of Editor to Account Executive was a little tough for me. It took a lot of time for me to accept that I was no longer an Editor. Only recently had I fully embraced the job role of an AE. And everyone else who saw my potential as an AE was right. I am damn good at my job. But… working at an advertising agency comes at a price. There’s no such thing as finishing work on time or when the sun is still up. There’s been A LOT of stress added on nowadays. Clients, bosses, designers, copywriters, art directors and admin (chasing me for cheques) during working hours, then everyone else after (and sometimes during) working hours about the engagement and the wedding. I couldn’t breathe.

I tried quitting once, but they wouldn’t let me go. I tried quitting again. They still wouldn’t let me go. But the difference this time is they asked what I wanted. I said four working days. I told them this job is taking a toll on me and working till 10pm or 2am frequently is not doing me any good. My wish was granted.

However, something struck me as strange. After they granted me my request, my big boss, L, was discussing a job with me. It was then that he also said that I am modern and aggressive. My other boss at Get Crafty has mentioned a number of times that I get the sales up because I am aggressive.

At dinner last night, I asked Eddie to describe what he thinks of me. His reply was, “You lemah lembut. Sebijik macam Mak Long. You’re caring, and loving…”

Then I asked him if he’s seen me at work. He said, yes, at Get Crafty, but not for a full day. Only for the short span of time whenever he comes visit me. He tells me that my bosses probably call me aggressive because that’s what my working attitude is like. I know what I want and what I have to do and I go for it.

And now I’m wondering…since I’ve tried quitting twice and they’re not letting me go, will they ever let me go if I really want to leave? Hmm…maybe I never really wanted to leave here. I admit the first time I quit it was done purely because I was in a very emotional state. But the second time, I was willing to take the chances. I had a back up plan. Not a solid back up plan, but one nonetheless. Will I be aggressive enough in talking them to let me go if ever I really want to leave?

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's OUR Wedding

Friday, 27 March 2009 @ 3.09pm

In the last couple of weeks (or basically since we broke the news to both sets of parents), there’ve been plenty of suggestions from everyone how our wedding should be. I want it in the Masjid. Cannot. I want the reception at home. Cannot. And then there were the plans. Oh, you should have a sit down dinner. Oh, you should do it in Lake Club. Oh this, oh that…

For the first time in the last few months I can say, thank God I’ve been busy with work. It’s kept me away from home, which means it’s kept me away from hearing everyone else’s thoughts. Then last night, I had dinner at Dome while Eddie was working. He gave me a bridal magazine to read through and there was an article that gave me a brilliant idea – make this wedding your own.

If I just follow and say yes, this is not going to be my wedding. This is going to be everyone else’s ideas and input of what they think is best. Damn it. It’s our wedding. We’re getting married and we’re paying for it. When they said they can book the hall at Lake Club, I thought, ‘are you sponsoring?’ If yes, by all means, go ahead. If no, then agree with what I say.

One of the suggestions in the magazine was to write down what our favourite past times were, what we like about each other, what inspires us to be a couple, what we like about us as a couple. What we write from the list should be an inspiration to give ideas on how to make this wedding our own.

Eddie was a little confused when I asked him to write his side of the story. But after much argument and much debate, this is what he came up with:

What do I like about Anna R****?

- so sweet
- caring
- full of love
- understanding
- pandai menyesuaikan diri
- supportive
- motivator
- a planner

What do I like about our relationship?

- so matching
- each of us want the best in our life
- want to change our life (for good)
- satu kepala!!!
- susah and senang sekali
- being together for every moment

Favourite memories?

- tengok wayang
- first date
- first time taking Anna back to my family house at Perak
- following me to rumah Pak Amat (Baiti’s wedding)
- celebrate Anna’s birthday for the first time at Starbucks

Things in common?

- change lifestyle (from bad to good)
- want to learn something new and good
- respect elders
- humble and grateful

In my list, I wrote down things like, we both like pasta, we both appreciate art and both work hard. I had no idea that he thought these things. You always assume that a man never remembers things, or takes things for granted.

I always thought that Malay weddings were the standard akad nikah, sanding and done. But this is OUR wedding. And since Eddie always says to me, “You buat Yang, I follow je.” Then we’re going to do it MY way. Yes, I am grateful and happy that my family want to help… but maybe if they don’t reject every single request that I have, then maybe I might start listening to them. After all, it’s going to be my day. Oh, and Eddie of course :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beauty is Pain

Tuesday, 24 March 2009 @ 7pm

We’re in the car. Eddie’s driving me to my 9pm meeting.

Eddie: Kaki I sakit la Yang.

Anna: Why?

E: (he tells me why)

A: Eleh…pasal tu pun sakit? Have you tried wearing heels? All day long? Running around to meetings?

E: No la… tapi apa you selalu cakap? Beauty apa?

A (smiling): Beauty is pain?

E: Ha! Beauty is pain!

Thank you and Bye bye

Tuesday, 24 March 2009 @ 4.48pm

It was 6pm when I arrived my client’s office. Eddie dropped me off and circled the block. I told him it was going to be a quick drop off. My client had other ideas. She pulled a chair for me, placed it next to her, and proceeded to go through the changes word for word, page by page. It was for a 56-page annual report.

When I was done, it was past 8pm. I went back into office, knowing I had other jobs to settle. But I had another meeting at 9pm. It was at 10.30pm that I finally got to sit and relax a bit. But my mind was already filled with worry. My days were already planned out for the next year and a half (and no, I’m not exaggerating). Meetings, photo shoots, deadlines…

I’m not advertising material. This is the sort of stress I don’t want to handle. Late nights are not worth it. Not for something I’m miserable in. I’m tired, I’m overworked, and it’s all just from this one job.

Tonight, I’ll be going home to shower and change. Then it’s back to the office to pull an all-nighter. And when time allows, I’ll rush home to beautify my appearance for the clients, where the meeting has been set at 11am.

No, I won’t be home tonight. And no, I won’t be doing this for much longer either.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh my god...I'm getting engaged...

Monday, 16 March 2009 @ 2.35am

There have been a couple of recent developments. I tried to quit my job, but was refused and now am deciding what I'll do once I'm given the confirmation letter. My brother told me he's getting married this year. And I finally had the courage to tell my parents I'm getting engaged this year.

The last two weeks has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me. I've been upset and confused about work. Then a little relieved and anxious after trying to quit. Then I was nervous about talking to my parents about Eddie's family coming to ask for my hand in marriage. Then extremely pleased and happy that they're ok and supportive of it. Then busy and slightly panicked once the fear has settled down and reality has kicked back in.

I've been planning for my engagement for a couple of weeks now. Writing down a list of what to buy and budgeting for it. Then researching price differences and going from shop to shop to find what perfume, shoes, handbag, etc. to buy. This was all done in secret, while fearing an argument of wanting to get married.

After my parents ok-ed it, we went into full mode. Before this, we were being careful and not really doing anything 'obvious' that would give it away to my family. Now...I'm still trying to believe the idea that first, I'm getting engaged. And second, that I have my family's support. (Oh. My. God.)

In the last two days, things have settled a little... and that's when I started panicking. There's SO MUCH to do before the engagement in July! I need to buy a new bed. I need to get my dress done. I need to find the best place to get beautifully-decorated cupcakes done. I need to FIND TIME to buy all the hantaran items. Oh my god... just listing it down...

Today, I made the effort to buy some bridal magazines to get ideas of what kind of dress I want. (Oh my god... I'm getting engaged...) And then made the extra effort to drag Martha and Frank with me after work to a bridal shop to survey what items need to be bought and when. (At least I managed to get some ribbon samples of what I want to decorate my hantaran items).

Then as I was flipping through the magazines, I realised that I have to go get my dress done NOW if I want to make sure that there's no delays or setbacks before July. (Oh my god...I'm getting engaged...) And as I continued flipping, I had NO IDEA what I wanted. There's SO MANY to choose from and there's SO LITTLE time! (At least I've made certain what colour I want for my engagement. *Pause* Oh my god...)

There were around twenty-five thousand things going through my head earlier - the poster I was supposed to be editing, all the engagement and future wedding plans, the meetings that are lined up for me tomorrow at work...

I couldn't concentrate. So I thought...Facebook. I scrolled down my page and saw a picture of Eddie and baby Shira. That made me smile and calmed me down immediately.

When I was back in Teluk Intan with him for Ijah's engagement (yes, everyone really is getting married), I remember I was putting make-up on in the back room when Eddie's aunty asked me to bring my camera out to the living room. Eddie was sitting on the couch with baby Shira cuddling up to him. (She doesn't like just anybody. If she doesn't want you, she'd scream and hit you.) I saw that picture that I took of him and baby Shira and started to relax. Seeing him so happy holding I don't know whose baby just made me feel calm and even more confident that I want to marry him.

I remember after I took that photo, I was sitting in a sea of women, young and old, fretting over last minute hantaran to be wrapped in the bride's room. Ijah was sitting on the bed getting her make-up done when all of a sudden Shira, this tiny two-year-old, walked into the room holding onto two of Eddie's fingers. She was taking him for a walk. Eddie was bent over, happy to follow her orders. This tiny little girl was taking this giant of a man (when compared to her) for a walk around the house. And that memory just makes me smile. Even at that moment when I was living it, suddenly all the noise around me faded and the focus was on Eddie's huge smile as baby Shira took tiny steps into the room :)

I've put that picture of Eddie and Shira as my wallpaper on my laptop. It makes me calm. It's hard to explain. But maybe you understand what I mean. I dunno. I can't sleep...just means it's time to start planning again (Oh my god... I'm getting engaged...)


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Thursday, 12 March 2009 @ 2.11pm

I met with my insurance agent last night, and after having signed the necessary documents, we just took the time out to chit chat. Somewhere along the lines of the conversation, she mentioned that she called up the list of names I gave her for her to try and sell insurance to. I mentioned that some don't have a steady job yet. And she said, "ya...one of them is still studying right?"

I knew immediately who she was referring to. So I said, "yeah. And he wants to be an actor, so it's not steady income." And then she laughed! She giggled and said, "he wants to be an actor?" I was immediately offended on Frank's behalf, but to be polite just said, "yeah.. I know..."

That was when it hit me. People who choose to follow their passions are laughed at, smirked, sniggered and teased. All because it's not steady and secure. It seems foolish to follow a dream. These people don't always get the kind of support that they need from a lot of people. But if they really believe in it, they are determined enough to just go for it.

Yes, Frank is struggling a bit. It happens with any of us who are trying to follow a "silly" dream. But he makes do with what he has and he makes the best out of it. I just really hope that I have been there enough to give him the support he needs.

I can understand him better now. Why he is willing to volunteer some time in community theatre (and for those of you who haven't caught on... I used the word 'volunteer', meaning pay-less). No, it may not be the 'smart' move, but it's a decision he made and a decision that he's stuck with and believes will make him the somebody he wants to be someday.

I'm kind of in your shoes now, Frank. So if I haven't given you much support in the past, know that I will from here on out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Problem

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 @ 10.59am

You know what I realised? This doesn't have to be a major issue. It's MY problem. Why is other people are more upset than I am at the moment? This is my decision to make and yes, I've pondered through all the posibilities. How is it going to affect you? Why are you more upset than me? This is tough enough on me. Let alone having to voice it out.

If it's a mistake, let it be mine to make. How else am I going to learn? I'm still young right? So watch me grow.

Happiness = impracticality. Misery = money.

Wednesday, 11 March @ 12.45am

Are you the one there every day?
Are you the one who has to face the bullshit everyday?
Are you the one who has to lie everyday?
Are you the one who sometimes goes into the bathroom just to cry?
Are you the one who feels useless and unproductive?

No, I may not have worked as long as you have.
No, I may not have as much life experience as you have.
No, I may not be as 'professional' as you want me to be.

When are you going to LISTEN?
When are you going to HEAR?
When are you going to UNDERSTAND?

I'm trying the best that I can.
I'm working as hard as I can.

I would like for you to LEARN to TRUST me.
I would like for you to LEARN to TRY and SUPPORT my decisions.


I know you never will.
I know you think I'm childish.
I know you think I'm young.
I know you think I'm fresh and raw.
I know you think I'm too emotional.


Are you the one who stays till late?
Are you the one who goes into office at 1.30am, leaves at 3am and then has to go for a meeting across town at 9am?
Are you the one who has to stay late night after night?
Are you the one who has to sell and lie?
Are you the one who feels dirty when you come home?
Are you the one who scrubs and cries in the shower hoping to feel 'clean'?

What's the point?

Things never change.

It's all so predictable.

Don't you worry. I won't burden you for long. I'll work three jobs if I have to. I won't sleep if that's what it takes.

Tell me it's wrong to follow my heart.
Tell me I'm dumb for doing something to 'please'.
Tell me again I'm not being practical.

I don't understand.
I don't get it.

You would rather have me stay miserable.
You would rather have me lie.
You would rather allow me to be unhappy...
...because you don't think it's not important.

And that's the problem.

That's always been the problem.

Put your feelings aside.
Work comes first.
Think about the principles.
Use your head. Not your heart.

Thanks for not supporting me again.
Thanks for making me feel alone.
Thanks for assuming and then not believing what I have to say.
Thanks for punishing me for having any sort of feelings.
Thanks for making it that much more difficult.

I've never had your support anyway...

Apa ni?

Tuesday, 10 March 2009 @ 8.43pm

I just got off the phone with our Creative Group Head, V. I was clearing up some issues on one of the jobs I'm handling. And then she says, "oh, while I have you on the phone... I just wanted to tell you what a good job you've been doing on (lists down my jobs and clients). I just wanted to give you some encouragement and tell you that you've been handling it all really close and well. Keep it up girl!"

Aiyo...apa ni? Is it some sort of sign? Or did N call V? Or what? Why why why? Why is it when you've made up your mind and ready to go... so many things try to change your mind and keep you there. There's a voice in my head telling me...hey..if you stay, then you won't have to worry about money. Then the other voice goes, yes, but you're miserable.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

To Stay or To Go...That is The Question

Tuesday, 10 March 2009 @ 7.45pm

Half an hour ago, I just tried to quit my job. The letter was prepared, printed, signed and folded. My boss, N, asked me to come and help her with something. I thought, perfect timing! I took the letter, hid it behind my back and stood next to her while looking at her computer. What happened next truly surprised me:

A: "N*****, I don't think I can stay here any longer."

N (with a completely horrified look on her face): "Why?!?"

A: "I just don't feel right for the job."

N: "But you've been so good at it."

A: "I know I can do the job. It just... doesn't feel right. I don't feel very productive here. I used to give 150% at my last job. Here...I feel like half of me is gone already."

N: "But there's so much more for you to do here. Why? Do you feel like you've lost control?"

A: "Yes. I used to be involved every step of the way. From the brief, to the brainstorming, to the finished product. Here, after I brief...I get the almost finished product. I've missed those steps. I just don't feel very productive."

N goes on to explain to me that there's so much more for me to do here. And that she's got so much more in store for me. She has already planned for me to take on more jobs and this and that. She keeps asking me why. I keep telling her I'm not productive. And that I'm only giving 70%. She tells me I'm crazy. While laughing, says, "what kind of species do I have here? Got copywriter and designer but still want to do the job!"

I'm in a dilemma. I've already told A and my boss at Get Crafty that I plan to quit and that I'll join full-time. A and my boss had a meeting today about my position. Of course, salary would be a lot less then what I'm getting here. But that begs the question: is happiness more important than money? Or should money dictate your happiness?

I don't know what to do. It'll definitely be easier to stay if I think about it. I'll be able to pay for my car, phone, insurance, credit card, parking and petrol and still have money left over. If I worked at Get Crafty, I'd struggle a bit, but I won't need to worry about parking or petrol. I won't even need to drive if I don't want to. And I won't be using my phone so much.

But...if I really plan to get married...I'd need that extra cash. It will definitely come in handy. Eddie and I put our salary together every month now and we're happy bunnies with our joint amount. If I quit...we'll still be ok... just not as happy as we would be if I stayed.

Sigh. What to do? What to do? What to do?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is it really worth it?

Friday, 6 March 2009 @ 10.20am

The Creative Group Head here, V, sometimes pulls me aside for a chat. She wants to know how I’m doing. And ask whether I’ve learnt anything. She also asks me if I’ve ‘grown at Mega’. The first two times she asked me, I said that I’m learning and I’m still trying to get the hang of things. But that’s because the first two times she asked me, I ‘d only been working for a few weeks and about a month and a half respectively.

Two days ago, V and I were sitting in a client’s waiting room preparing for a presentation. And she asked me again, “Anna, do you think you’ve grown?” Without thinking, I answered, “no”. Before she could continue, L and N had walked in. She looked at me and said in a hush tone, “Come and talk to me if you need to.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about my aspects at this job. And no, I haven’t grown. And I don’t think I have room to grow. I came and I died here. When I was at Trix, I started off a little shaky, which is understandable since it was my very first job. But once I got the hang of things, I was allowed to try new things. So I did. I challenged designers with designs. I brainstormed with the Art Director on different designs and possibilities and made sure that there were always the best options. I learned that designers get very defensive over their work and you should never implicate that their work is a waste of time. I learnt to handle different kinds of designers. There was the one who would take days to finish a few spreads, but when he did, it turned out awesome. And the one who would take days to amend a few words, and that was just to piss me off. But I learnt how to pujuk her into doing work for me. And there was the one whose emotions would take over her perspective (you always knew when it was her time of month).

At Trix, I was hired as an Editor but I learnt to do more than that. I learned to negotiate with designers. I learned to handle clients. So much so that my bosses there saw there was no need to have an AE. I would take over that role. And I did it well. I was so happy there. And I felt so productive. I always had ideas and my bosses always backed me up. I could always go and talk to them whenever I had a problem. And if I was ever swamped with work, they would help me by allowing me to delegate work.

Here…there’s no room to grow. No place to be. I’m just there. At Trix, I felt that I did the best that I could and more. I always gave 110%. I was always passionate over every single article or image or account I was handling. Here…I try to do something creatively, and I’m brushed off. I’m just an AE here. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Maybe I’m trying to find more reasons to justify why I’m leaving. Or maybe I just miss Trix. I dunno. What I do know is…I really cannot make it here anymore. I’m trying to find reason to stay. But there aren’t any. Maybe one. Money. But is money really worth the misery?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I've made up my mind

Thursday, 5 March 2009 @ 2.19pm

I’m good at what I do. But this is not who I am. I’m contemplating leaving. But I have to stay. But is the money really worth it anymore? I cannot continue with this job anymore. I cannot do it. Not just for the sake of the money. But I have payments to make. Commitments that requires and justifies my reasons for staying.

I’m not giving it my all. I’m upset and unhappy. I’m don’t work ethically anymore. I’m just working so that at the end of the month, I get the cash to pay the bills. It’s not worth it. The stress, the clients, the chasing for quotations. I’ve been dumbed down.

I’m a useless piece of nothing here. And I cannot continue lying to myself. This morning my client asked me, ‘what’s your role? Are you in creative? Or a writer? Or accounts? What role do you play?’ I answer, ‘servicing’.

Servicing. That’s what I’ve been dumbed down to. I’m now in servicing. I service clients. I’m not worth creative input. Nor am I worth a say for the writers. I’m just there to make sure that everyone is in line with each other. The link between designers and writers, and client and company.

I am so unhappy. I’m depressed. And I think my bosses know. I’m not working as hard as I should. I’m just doing what I have to do so they’ll shut up. I’m finding every excuse not to come in to work.

I’m selling my soul. I’m being abused by my clients. Abused by my bosses. Abused by my peers. All because I’m not working ethically. All because I’m not happy. All because of the job. I’m not an AE. I can do the job. I can ‘service’ clients (I sound like a whore). But I’m miserable.

I watched House a few weeks ago. The episode was about this actor who was playing a doctor on a soap opera. He was brought in as a ‘real life’ patient because there was some problem or rather with him. The doctors who were administering him were commenting on what a cool job he had as an actor. But the actor said he was miserable because at the end of the day, he’ll go home feeling empty. And that the doctors who were administering him were the only ones who should feel good for themselves because they were doing something good.

I understand how the actor feels. I understand his misery. It doesn’t matter how much you get paid. It just matters that you’re doing something worth a damn. I’m not doing anything worth a damn. I’m a ‘link’. That’s all. I’m only needed if…a designer needs help looking for images, or if a client calls to comment, or if a client has a new job to brief me, or if I have to deliver a CD or colour proof. The rest of the time, I’m looking through yesterday’s newspapers to file any adverts worth keeping. Or chasing designers so I can email over the visual. Or chasing my boss to issue a quotation.

I cannot do this anymore. I’m at the end of my rope. Today, I’m supposed to be servicing three clients (who are sitting in the conference room arguing with each other before finding reason to argue with me or my colleagues). Of the three, one was the more obnoxious, while one was the big brother to the obnoxious (who kept encouraging the little fucker to continue being obnoxious – hey asshole, just because you’ve been spoiled your whole life doesn’t mean that you can continue your bratty behaviour now). And the final one was the mediator. He didn’t want to upset his colleagues (who sign his pay cheque), but he also understood where we were coming from and were trying to cool down the situation.

From 9.30am, I sat and listened and argued. And it was then that I realised that they don’t need me. Because I’m not interested. I’m wasting the company’s money. Someone else could be doing a better job than me.

When I first started, I thought that I just need to start getting used to it. Then I got used to it. And that’s when I realised that I’m not built for this job. I was hired because I can handle people and negotiate and sell. But when I started it, I realised that these are not the skills that I want to pursue. These skills are good to have and should never be forgotten. But I don’t want to just ‘service’. I don’t want to just help out. I want to be productive.

Since November 2008, I haven’t been very productive. I haven’t done anything worth a damn. And I feel useless. I’ve been putting in all my efforts as CSR at Get Crafty. So much so that my boss there wants me to write a manual to train other CSRs.

I’ve decided…I’m going to quit. It may not be a very smart move. But I’m calculating my finances now. I may not and probably will not get as much money as I am now. But I’d take that any day. I would rather feel productive and satisfied rather than useless and miserable.

I know this is going to cause some problems. I know money is going to be very tight. I know I’m not going to get a lot of support from many people. Especially my father. But I will do whatever it takes so I don’t feel like a miserable, useless, effortless nobody. Even if that means I have to become the unfriendly daughter/sister and stay in my room all the time. Or working at three part-time jobs. I’ve made up my mind. And I’m going to leave.