Thursday, March 26, 2009

5 hours Meeting, 5 Hour Report, 2 Hour Debrief

I spent 5 hours yesterday in a meeting with the client which ended at 10pm in their office.

The only consolation this time is that they ordered pizza. Which came with Coke thankfully. Or we'll be starved and parched again.

As soon as the meeting was done, I got into my car and drove home while some stayed on for a few drinks.

As soon as I got into work this morning, I went out for another meeting. And as soon as i got back, I had lunch then spent 5 hours writing out a report for the meeting yesterday.

And there after i spent another 2 hours debriefing the team on the meeting and discussing next steps.

This means I've spent 12 hours in a meeting, reporting on that meeting and debriefing about that meeting.

So where will I find the time to do any work resulting from the meeting?

This is so counter-productive. And totally ridiculous.

And the client asks us why it seems that nothing gets done.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Preparing for Komodo

It's not often I'm excited about a trip. I attribute it to being older, having more experiences in life and and traveling to a fair amount of different destinations.

So a trip is usually just a welcomed getaway or for a specific reason be it visit friends, shopping etc.

But I'm actually excited about Komodo. After the diving re-fresher course yesterday, Jon the Diver, Paul & I headed to Global Scuba in 1U to look at gear.

I don't need a wetsuit since I was so enthusiastic (despite the fear) that I bought it even during my Scuba Discovery Course. And I do have a mask. But they are both black and I'd like to have some distinguishing factor when all suited up under water.

Somehow most dive gear are in black, yellow and sometimes purple. And not very nice shades of those colours either. Boring.

I'm really looking forward to the baby pink fins and mask which I've ordered and should be collecting next week.

Before a trip, I love to prepare for it. Like learning a new language when you're going to a country where English is not the primary language.

So when it comes to diving, I guess it's buying gear since i can't possibly learn to talk Fish.

Tho I'd like to try and swim like a dolphin and talk to them less I get to see one in Komodo.

Bubbles is Going to Komodo!

I know that the economic situation is bad and we should all be bucking down, eating in and spending less but an opportunity has come along that's too good to give up but it will cost RM12,000 (For Paul & I)!

Jon the Diver, Paul & I are going diving in Komodo! Yes, the place with the komodo dragons.

But we'll be living on board a boat so we'll be safe. From the komodo dragons at least.

My last dive trip, which was also my Open Water Certification, was in Redang 2 years ago. So I've forgotten a lot about the technicalities and feel of diving. So yesterday Jon, Paul & I went to the Polo Club in Kota Damansara and did a diving refresher.

I'm actually very freaked out with water. I swim with my head above the water. So diving and being totally submerged in water is really scary for me. Yet it's something I really want to do. Maybe not doing pool sessions and learning everything in the sea during my Open Water added to my fear. But yesterday was great and I re-learnt a lot of the skills and am now a lot more comfortable in the water. At least my bouyancy is under control somewhat.

And I'm ready for Komodo!

Komodo sounds so exotic and it's a place I never thought of going. But Jon the Diver who just came back from Makasar, suggested it and it sounded great!

It was supposed to be just for 6 days, followed by 4 relaxing days in Bali. But we've been told that there are so many dive sites in Komodo that a full 10 days is recommended.

So now I need to go buy my pink fins and pink mask, pack up and go! Komodo!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Recession in Malaysia & China?

Signs of Malaysia being in recession seems to be more apparent now.

Apart from the retrenchment of 5 people in my office, I also read that Dell is offering VSS and will be retrenching 5% of their work force in Malaysia. A friend who works in an electronic manufacturing firm may be out of a job when the company shuts down his division in the second half of this tear.

But we're still doing fairly well comparatively.

And China is still booming despite The Star today reporting massive loss of jobs there.

And I know this because I recently received calls from headhunters regarding jobs in China. These are fairly high level jobs and they're offering expat packages with the pay range of RMB35,000 to RMB60,000.

Here I was thinking the the RMB is a large denomination currency and therefore it does not amount to much.

So I went to my favourite currency converter site, and checked how much is RMB60,000 in RM.

I almost fell off my chair when I found it was in access of RM30,000!

It is a lot of money for me anyway, considering the level I'm at and the exposure I've had so far.

So if China can pay an expat that much (and I have loads of friends who have moved there a few years ago with no signs of coming back), they can't be in recession, can they?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are We In A Recession?

Given the 2 rounds of retrenchments in my company and news that tens of thousands of people are out of a job in Malaysia, it feels like the bubble finally burst and recession has truly hit our shores.

But I was in Jarrod & Rawlin's in Damanara Heights for dinner and the place was full of large groups of people laughing and having a jolly good time. Dinner and drinks for 5 of us come up to almost RM600. So that place isn't exactly a place for those on a budget.

And recently, I've been getting a few calls regarding jobs within the industry.

Isn't that surprising?

We're in recession, supposedly, but so many agencies are hiring. And hiring pretty aggressively too.

So actually, are we really in a recession?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


For weeks I've been feeling uneasy about work. It's not just about the work itself because that sucks ass big time but hey what can you do ......

I just felt that something is up and that the the energy in the office is dark, very negative, almost oppressive.

But I just couldn't put my finger on it.

There seems to be several management meetings a week and after the meetings in the board room, a couple of the directors will gather in the glass meeting rooms and talk further.

They then have a staff meeting to tell everyone how the agency is moving forwards and how we're in a good place and everything is dandy. Trying to spread a feel good factor.

But we're not buying it. In fact, we all walk out feeling like they're trying to cover up something.

So I've been uneasy all week. Until last Friday that is.

I was stuck in a glass meeting room for almost an entire day for a discussion and brain storm session. When I emerged at 8pm, I saw groups of people huddled around looking shocked and bewildered. Wondering what happened, I walked up to the Creative Group Head.

Me: What happened?

CGH: You didn't hear?

Me: No. What happened?

CHG: 3 people have been retrenched.

Me: What???!!

So i emerge from an 8 hour meeting only to find that 3 of my colleagues were told to pack up and go within 24 hours.

Even better was my manager who asked another colleague of mine today.

Manager: Where's that fella? His desk is so clean.

Other colleague: Oh you didn't hear?

Manager: No, what happened?

Other colleague: He's been retrenched.

Manager: What?!!

And so it goes. Management is not telling the staff whats going on and no announcements have been made that there's been retrenchment. So people walk into the office to find some collegues missing. And even worst, that a new person is sitting in their colleagues place.

I can understand the retrenchment. What I don't understand is they way they go about doing it.

I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to handle retrenchment but I do know that doing it the way they've done it is leaving the remaining staff feeling puzzled, scared and demotivated.

Open Plan Office

Some companies choose an open plan office as they want to have more transparency within it's walls.

My company believes in that. We have rows and rows of work stations and no one gets a room, even the MD or CEO.

But we do have rooms albeit with glass walls. Again, to promote transparency.

But I don't think it works. Sometimes, there are phone calls one needs to make which you don't want the world to know about. Or sometimes a boss needs to reprimand a subordinate and that should be done in private. Or HR needs to have a meeting to talk about salary or n employee's performance.

So now instead of ensuring nothing is hidden, every time someone goes into the glass rooms and especially if they look grim, people start speculating what's going on.

I don't think it works at all.