Archive | March, 2009

So much for making a quiet exit

31 Mar

Before I get to make the news public, Advertising+Marketing does it for me.

A M

I never thought that joining a new PR firm would generate so much fanfare.

Yes, I’m joining Text 100. Of all the PR firms I’ve dealt with over the years, I can safely say it’s one I enjoyed dealing with.

The package isn’t what appealed because The Agency’s pay wasn’t much different and it had what some suppose is the ultimate perk – working from home. Yet I felt that Text 100’s core values resonated the most with my own code of ethics. Having as many quirks as I do, it’s not always easy to find a place where my principles and mindset would not only be acceptable but welcomed. Am thankful Text 100 boss Mei Ling’s decided to take a chance on me despite the knowledge I might be a handful. After all, I used to be the reigning Dragon Queen Who Eats PR N00bs For Breakfast.

Of course, I don’t expect it to be all wine and roses. Having some of the crew on my MSN for awhile, I know when they get off work. I don’t foresee going home on time happening very often, but that’s fine with me. Late nights are just part of the PR drill and the publishing beat too.

Right now, I’m trying to decide if working with these people is a perk or a downside…

Case in point:

t1002_3

t1002_22

(pictures shamelessly stolen from http://text100malaysia.blogspot.com)

I kid, I kid. You know I adore you guys! And you’re welcome to ‘rag’ on me for all the times I was:

  1. Snippy with you on the phone
  2. Whiny about not being fed
  3. Putting on my Black-Faced Editor mask at events

And a big shout out to the Text 100 bloggers:

(alphabetical order)

Beatrice

David Lian

Eevon

Lee

Please update the Text MY blog already, last post was in August, slackers!

Meeting you at the crossroads

31 Mar

March 2009 seems to be career change month. I’ll be starting a new job in April, while quite a few people I know are either quitting or planning to – as soon as they get a gig lined up, of course. One dude, G, is being pretty brave and sent in his resignation without securing another position.

Traditional advice is to get another job before leaving your current one. From my experience it really isn’t the best thing to do. When your job takes more from you than you can afford – endangering your physical or mental wellbeing or impeding your personal growth, move on.

The longer you stay in a bad situation, the harder it is to leave. One girl I know dithered about leaving her unfulfilling job because she didn’t want to take a paycut to change industries. Some sacrifices are justified. Maybe you’ll have a lower salary now, but if the new gig is a better fit, the tradeoffs will be worth it in the long run. Said girl still isn’t truly happy (she is the perennially dissatisfied sort)but at least she’s happier.

Some people assumed I left journalism for the money. I’ll be frank – at my current job I took a minor paycut though upon confirmation, my salary would be bumped up significantly by a cool half grand.

So why am I leaving then? Because I realised that though working from home is ideal for some, right now I need structure and people around me. There were days when I thought I would go mad from the lack of interaction in my daily routine. I prayed for guidance, for strength, for reassurance. So when a door opened unexpectedly and unlooked for, I took a chance.

It wasn’t about the money. It never is, for me. The job, the environment, the people, the projects I’ll be involved with all matter. When it came time for me to decide whether a move was the right thing, I prayed as I always did: “If this is what You want for me, open the door. Else shut it firm and keep me from harm.”

I believe that God doesn’t always give you what you want, but He will, if you trust Him enough, give you what you need. That you don’t provide for yourself – He does, by giving you the means, the strength, the help or the company. And in the darkest of times, He is not absent. He is right there, with you, hearing you and helping you understand that life may not be the scripted fairytale we want but hope is always there. Hope in His love, His guidance, His compassion.

So to my friends beginning new journeys, I wish you all the best. May you find comfort and guidance whichever path you take, however terrifying it might be. As my friend S says, “Jump first, fear later!”

Tha Crossroads – Bone, Thugs-n-Harmony

How relevant is LinkedIn?

26 Mar
LONDON - MAY 31: Party revellers pose with a n...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

So it’s 1.30am and on a whim I decided to update my LinkedIn profile. It’s weird that though I got the hang of the new Facebook interface (quit whining about it already, people), LinkedIn befuddles me.

The thing about LinkedIn is that you only really ‘get it’ once you’ve filled in your profile and tweaked with things such as your public profile. I like the ability to include apps on your profile such as blog feeds. Right, now I can distract myself by reading blogfeeds within LinkedIn too!

I’m surprised so many people I know are not only on LinkedIn, but have fairly recently updated profiles. Is it a sign of job insecurities? People just preparing or looking out for the next gig, just in case this one falls through?

Why then am I updating my LinkedIn? It’s just one more thing I need to do to manage my ‘online identity’. When you’re on the Web as much as I am, managing the way people perceive me online matters. I have a website, yes. And a Twitter account. Plurk too. Facebook – do you really need to ask? A MySpace somewhere and all this adds up to quite a lot of stuff you can find when you Google my name. No, I don’t Google my name. That’s what Google Alerts are for.

Since I’m now making a career of public relations, it would be patently unwise to be unmindful of my own online fingerprints. At The Agency, I’ve had a client read my blog entries to see what sort of inappropriate content I should desist from writing from then on. It’s a reminder that yes, the Internet is a place where employers will do research on you. So those drunken MySpace pictures? Take them down. Embarrassingly bad high school poetry? Well, that’s what a lot of new pop songs sound like so that won’t matter much. Unless you’re applying to teach poetry at a college or university. Then, hide the evidence of your own amateur ramblings.

LinkedIn, I think, is trying to be the grown up, business minded person’s Facebook. No Zombie apps here, thanks very much. Instead you can share more enlightening things like slide presentations and your professional/corporate blog. I have to admit, though, that I’m only on LinkedIn because, like Facebook, I just caved to end the constant stream of invites.

I just wonder if LinkedIn has proved a valuable tool in career search  or headhunting. Have not heard any “Oh, I got an interview offer from LinkedIn stories!” What would be nice is if LinkedIn and Facebook hooked up. So you’d have a public profile for employers and a private, personal section for friends and family. Should something like that emerge, there had better not be any Zombie/Werewolves/Leprechaun crap. 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Returning to Azeroth

25 Mar

WoWScrnShot_032409_184907

Guess who’s back playing WOW?

I just needed my gaming fix and an MMO proved the best way.

WOW is far more casual friendly these days, and I can come in, do a few dailies or quests and not necessarily need to spend more than 1-2 hours a day. I know if I started on Fallout 3, GTA or anything else, I’d likely be glued to the PC for hours without moving. Like in my early WOW days, heh.

I have an Alliance Druid to level – she’s 32 right now but to experience the brand spanking new Northrend content of Wrath of the Lich King, I have my level 70 Blood Elf paladin. She’s in the picture and look, there’s an orca!

After having tried plenty of other MMOs, I have to say WOW is still the game to beat. A lot has changed since I visited Azeroth. New areas, new abilities, a whole new way of playing your class.

I still have Warcraft 3 sitting in my drawer begging for a replay. Dawn of War II and Empire: Total War beckon to me. And people keep telling me about the awesome sauce that is supposed to be Left 4 Dead.

No, I don’t have the time. WOW will be my one, my only gaming fix for now.

Until Starcraft II and Diablo III come out. Oh, and Sims 3 this year.

And for the record, I did play Spore. Played, tinkered, screamed at constant crashes, got bored. Will also schedule some quality Team Fortress II time with Calvin once he’s not being eaten up by work.

Why game at all when there are so many other things I want to do/be doing? I’ve been PC gaming since I was a wee tot, all right? And I grew up on Space Invaders and King’s Quest. Of course, teh hardcore l33tz will be making fun of me for not playing FPS games. Pardon me if I like games with, oh, plot?

Besides, even Vint Cerf plays WOW. If it’s good enough for the ‘Father of the Internet’, it’s good enough for me.

Saying what needs to be said

22 Mar

I hate walking away from anything. Because I believe in finishing things, in holding on until it hurts too much to go any further.

Sometimes, though, you have to be honest with yourself and everyone involved when you realise the stakes, and the price, is too high for you to pay. It’s only March and already I’m starting over, ending one adventure and changing direction in another.

It’s hard to swallow my pride and admit to myself that I just wasn’t the best fit for a role. But I guess it’s better I admit it, open the door that’s suddenly opened for me and leave room for more worthy successors. I see the writing on the wall and it’s telling me “There is where you should be, not here.” A path is laid out for me to walk on and I see now that its beginnings had been laid so much earlier.

In work and in love, sometimes you just have to understand that you’re not “The One”. You might have been a good candidate, but not the best candidate. And it works both ways.  Sometimes an employer, or a lover, might keep you around because you fill a space. But at the back of their minds, no matter how hard you try to fill that space, you can’t take the place of an ideal that you aren’t.

I’m afraid.

I’m excited.

I’m sure.

Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all your so called problems
Better put ’em in quotations
Say what you need to say (x7)
Say what you need to saaaay…

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead
If you could only
Say what you need to say (x7)
Say what you need to saaay…

Have no fear
For giving in
Have no fear
For giving over
You better know that in the end
It’s better to say too much
Then never to say what you need to say again
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open… wide…
Say what you need to say (x7)
Say what you need to
Say what you need to
Say what you need to say…

Still not here

22 Mar

When overtaken by arrogance, I often make fun of the small-minded and people unable to grasp either the big picture or possibilities.

But I am guilty of another sin – not being able to live in the present. Everything in my life is so scripted. Uptight, wound tightly, defensive to the point I snap, revealing that my supposed easygoing nature masks my inner control freak.

It’s hard dancing to a song when you’re not listening to the beat, not letting the music envelop you. We’re all guilty of ignoring the song that’s playing and instead wondering what will play next, what tune to recommend to the DJ  or whether maybe you/your brother/your musician friend could do a better job of it.

Perhaps it wasn’t coincidence I stumbled upon Katie Goodman’s “Improvisation for the Spirit". A self-help book utilising the tools of improv comedy? Pretty novel, I thought and it didn’t hurt the price was marked down at the MPH Warehouse sale.

Goodman describes the first four skills of improv thus:

1. You must be present and listen carefully

2. The pink elephant rule: don’t negate

3. Affirm and add

4. Always be willing to surrender your plans

The second rule stirred feelings of guilt. How often had I shot down ideas without fully listening to them? Ignored thought and just dismissed ideas out of hand without at least giving the person some due consideration?

I suppose one reason people choose to remain ignorant is the truth that the more you know, the more painfully aware you become of how little you actually do know. The process of learning is becoming, for me, a mirror reflecting back my shortcomings.

If I’m still a work in progress, I dread how much work there is yet to be done.

Cryptic messages or an excuse to pimp Boyce Avenue

21 Mar

My new obsession: Boyce Avenue and their stripped down cover versions. Favourite so far is this slow keyboard version of Ne-Yo’s Because of You.

This version takes the crassness of the original and turns the song into a bittersweet song about lust and obsession.

I got a problem and I don’t know what to do about it
Even if I did I don’t know if I would quit but I doubt it
I’m taken by the thought of it
And I know this much is true
Baby, you have become my addiction
I’m so strung out on you I can barely move
But I like it and it’s all because of you

The problem with being addicted to emotional stimuli is that you get so wrapped up in the whole notion of feeling, feeling something is better than nothing.

Emotional high junkies.

When do you go to rehab and how do you call cold turkey?