Monday, 23 November 2009 @ 6.08pm
Imagine screaming children, lots of hugs and laughter, with the occasional tears. That’s what you usually get when you’re at Get Crafty. I remember my very first time walking into Get Crafty. It was on a weekend and I was with my sister and her kids on our way to lunch at Cozy House. I was in the midst of an ugly break up and wanted to fill up my time to get away from reality.
The sign said they were looking for part-time art teachers. I saw bright colours, smiling faces and heard the sounds of hairdryers in the background as I hastily filled in the form. I told the CSR attending to me – who would later become my friend known as Ken Li – that I would drop by one of these days to hand over my resume. Which I really did, a week later.
It was a Thursday when Soo called and asked me to come in for an interview on a Saturday. I didn’t know what to expect. I’d only just started working at Trix (my first ‘real’ job) and was still in the transition of uni-goer to career woman. Or at least, that was how I felt at the time.
I didn’t know how to dress. So I thought casual chic. I wore a white top with black three-quarter pants. Which I was told by Soo and Roza jokingly that if I were going to work there, don’t even think of wearing anything white and anything nice. I got the job after a 20-minute interview. And was asked to come to work the following day, which was Sunday. As I was walking out, Jet told me to wear blue as that was the colour of the week.
My first day of work, I was told to go to the Ground floor with Soo. There was a booth set up for Easter. I was quickly briefed on what I had to do. I met Audrey and Angie later in the afternoon. Didn’t really think much of them then. My mind was trying hard not t focus on methods of trying to let him to let me go.
When Soo asked me to go for my lunch break, I gladly went up to the noisy calm of the The Chicken Rice Shop. I was getting a migraine from the children. Some were loud. Some had to be coaxed. Some asked a lot of questions. And some just sat and did nothing. One asked me to draw a crocodile on their Easter Bunny bag. I convinced her that stars and polka dots looked better. Angie was impressed by my lack of needing to question Soo or anyone else before making this decision.
It got better over the weeks. The break up was done with and I finally started getting to know the other teachers a little better. Although I usually took my lunch break with Soo, I started to feel some sort of a bond with Zaza, Iqa, Jet, Melinda and Ken Li.
Then over the years, and over the three times that I quit and came back, things began to progress. I got better with handling children – good ones, naughty ones, disabled ones, and even satanic ones. I also got noticed by my boss as somewhat of a leader, which lately has evolved to my new position among the other teachers – momma.
I learned to work smart. When I became CSR, my responsibilities included handling parents, which surprisingly (even to myself), turned out to be something that was incredibly easy for me to do. It just felt natural. So natural that I was soon called “the top salesman” at the centre by Audrey. It was also around this time that the other teachers started confiding in me their worries and problems. As did the parents.
I started getting ideas for the centre. I was always thinking of ways to improve. And I always tried to find a way for things to work systematically, faster, easier and more conveniently for teachers. I changed what I felt was needed and I voiced my concerns where I thought only Audrey could get my message across. This led me to the title another title by Audrey – Business Development.
It’s been three years since I first walked into the centre to fill in the application form. I was a much younger (physically and mentally) person, who was conflicted and in pain. There are children who I’ve seen grow – physically and mentally too. Now, there are many, many parents who actually think I own or run the centre. They see me in control and they seem to like the fact that there is that sort of ‘mother figure’ around when they drop their children off.
I am also a part of the Get Crafty family, where we are all sisters, but most see me as their ‘momma’. We’ve created a special bond where we do not establish ourselves as colleagues. But we work together and we stick together as a team. And it’s for this reason that I have left and come back many times. And it’s for this reason that I heart Get Crafty.