Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you " High Performance " or " High Potential " ?

                                                                  Trust the process ♥

I am prompt to write this, because of an incident that has just happened yesterday with regards to a dear subordinate of mine, whose contract has not been renewed due to medical reasons. It reminded me of my own frustrations once too many a time over the years, when it comes to not being recognized for the work that I am doing.

Where did I go wrong? I wonder. It took me years to finally learn how to accept personal responsibility and to understand the rhythm of my own company and how things work. It is a long process that starts with being accountable for your own actions or inactions and ends with a question. How much am I willing to lose to gain?

I would like to believe and deep down I know that I am a dedicated worker who treasures and appreciates her job much. However, I wasn't one who wanted more than I already have and that is when things went downhill. I became dispensable and was only part of a statistic. ( Lesson #1 )

My first blow was when I received my very own termination of contract letter on the 5th year. I was shocked beyond words to know that I am not needed. More than shocked, I was upset and equally angry. After all the hard work, tons of complimentary letters, near perfect performance reviews, the undying loyalty, the blood, sweat and tears, they wanted me out. All because of a 2 weeks long medical leave, due to an injury that I sustained in Japan a few months before contract was due to end. ( I was shopping in Narita, unaware and in my own dream world, when two little boys came scuttling down the escalator and sent me straight down to the depths of despair ). It didn't even matter that for the first 4 1/2 years, I had not taken a single sick leave. I had no one to blame but myself for not seeing it coming.

I decided to appeal, did what was necessary, put my ego aside and instead of lashing out, I sucked it all in and let the anger go. After all, it is a big organization with thousands of workers. Plenty of hiccups and losing oneself in translation. No one up there knows who I am or what I am good at. ( Lesson # 2 ) ~ It was my own fault to have not shown the right people my worth or how far that I am willing to grow with them.

Needless to say, after saying what I had to say when I was given the chance to say it, in front of the right people, my contract was ultimately renewed and I received my spot as a permanent crew. Instead of harbouring ill feelings or taking things lightly, I cherished my job more to the extend that it has now become a way of life. The rule of thumb is, you cannot expect others to invest in you, if you do not, first invest in yourself.

My ( Lesson #3 ) came at the worst timing. When I experienced a failed pregnancy, a week after the loss, I was required to start back online. After unsuccessfully trying to worm my way through it, ( short of manpower and the fact that if a pregnancy is less than 7 months, I wasn't entitle to receive the post delivery leave that would have been ideal for my recovery ), I operated a long trip to LAX and got myself into a bout of depression and a jelly of a womb. I didn't know my rights neither was I aware of my alternatives. It would have helped a great deal had I known people from other departments who might have been able to offer me a word of advise or expertise in handling situations that I am not good at or did not expect.

When I became a Supervisor 9 years ago, my biggest and most challenging task up to date, is to motivate others to give their best during the worst of times. Taking up the post and being in lower management currently, gave me the opportunity to play a few roles that I enjoy performing. As a figurehead on board, a leader, a spokesperson, a liaison officer, a negotiator and an initiator. Technical, conceptual and interpersonal skills came into the picture. It opened up a whole new world for me, to test my potential. I brought it onto myself that no matter what happens to or with the company, I shall do what's necessary to utilize the resources that I have while at the same time, ensuring that the objectives of the company is met without having to sacrifice any joy out of it. You got to love what you do and when you do something out of love, you'll do it whole heartedly.

The only way I can stay positive and current is to continue upgrading myself. Have a mentor or two. To increase your marketability, you got to specialise in something or be so ordinary that you can do what others would never dream of doing. At the same time, keep family members and friends close to you. Spend time with chickens, cluck like them. Fly with the eagles and you will soar like one! Do not expect others to give you a sense of fulfilment neither are you entitled to anything. You reap what you sow. It is as simple as that. There will always be more lessons to learn. The difference is, how you react to it.

The fear of losing my job is lesser now, for I know that I am able to adapt and learn new things if there is a need for it. It is my good health that I am more concerned in maintaining. Expanding one's network out of your own working environment is a great way of getting support, exchanging ideas and gaining knowledge. You got to find your passion and purpose. The only way to do that, is to know who you are and what you want. To be at the top takes great effort and lots of sacrifices. If you are not willing to do that, stay where you are. Where I am at, it is the survival of the fittest.

Monday, February 3, 2014

All I Want For Christmas, Is My Two Front Teeth ♥

Here is a story of one of the sweetest and kindest lady I know, Safia Atira Bakar. An adorable soul with a smile that lights up her entire face and settles automatically in that twinkle in her eyes.

You see a picture of a girl. I see true beauty from within. It is, in the caring that she lovingly gives. It is the passion that she knows. It is also the beginning of a never ending end. It is the woman that she has become :)

She joined the airlines a few years back and I have known her ever since. The eldest daughter of a pilot, with a number of siblings. It was love at first flight. She's definitely a fun individual to spend time with! We have had some very memorable trips together. A night in Maldives last year, was one of them. She volunteered to be our tour guide cum camera woman back then. At that moment in time, she was taking up photography as a hobby. Before that, she studied make up during her free time. Lucky are those that gets to spend time learning new tricks with her, for she is a generous person. She calls us her guinea pigs. I however think, that we were mostly, a pampered and chosen lot.

                                                                Safia, the big sista'

Speaking of Maldives, we had so much fun and the pictures taken of us, were indeed impressive. I felt beautiful posing through her lenses and I am sure, the effect was just as good for the rest of us who were with her that day.

                                                                      Male ~ 2013

I have always liked her for her vivacious personality. Having flown with her again a few days back, made my day. Since I have not been on Facebook for quite some time, there's plenty to share. My telling her about how excited I am to finally continue my studies was one of them, that out of the blue, Safia told me what a nightmare she had had to endure, during her schooling days.

                                                             High School High!

Amazingly, had she not shared one of her deepest and darkest moments with me, I would not have guessed it, in a million years. Such a vibrant lass like her could not have been a glum and unhappy child. Now that she is ready to open up, I thank her for putting her trust in me and in return, I shall be the vessel that tells you the the story of our very own little duckling, that has turned into a beautiful swan ♥

Safia and some of her family members. It took her many years to finally believe that black is beautiful too ♥

Safia's world turned upside down, at a tender little age of 9. It all happened on a beautiful sunny day, when her mom, aunty and siblings decided to go for a picnic at Sungai Congkak. Everyone was excited and as soon as they arrived at their destination, being the adventurous little girl that she is, Safia headed straight to a big protruding rock by the river and attempted to climb it. Before her mother could even lay out the picnic mat, there was a loud thud and the next thing you know, instead of having a fun outing, all of them were immediately transported into the car again and had an eventful day at the Doctor's instead.

                                                                 Safia in braces at 15 

On that fateful day, she broke her two permanent front teeth! There was no way that they could have saved it, neither was it plausible for them to immediately fix it back to normal as the rest of her teeth, were a mixture of some milk and some fully erupted permanent teeth, thus they had to wait. For nearly 6 years, she was a subject of ridicule. " Buruk tak akak? " was the first question she asked her mom, knowing that her teeth were now different from others and it took her a very long time to accept otherwise. Life was a misery for her. In primary school, it wasn't that bad as she had another guy friend with a similar problem. So, they had each other to console and empathize with. The difference is, boys are not that bothered about their looks.

                                                              Best friends forever :)

High school was a different story. Not only was she ostracized, but also bullied and shunned. Guys spat at her, called her names, hid her shoes whenever she visits the library and girls were horribly mean to her in more ways than one. She ended up being friends with the outcasts. Nerds, geeks and other lonely and wild souls became her confidant. She grew up an awkward child. One who seeks attention in the wrong way. She behaves like a boy, slapping and smacking them to fit in. ( It was only when she started flying as a stewardess that she experience an Ah Ha moment when one of her male batchmates told her off and asked her straight to her face, " Engkau lelaki atau perempuan? " ) That was when she decided to change. From mannerisms right up to the way she dresses, prefering skirts to her love of shorts and pants.

At school, she was angry and defensive all the time. She walked with a scowl and a hunch to cover her face and her body. Her mom used to buy her bright, shiny and lovely clothes to try and make her feel more secure about herself but it backfired. She would get more upset instead. When she refused to wear it and her mom finally gives it to her other sisters, she grew nasty and envious of their beauty. Being mean to her siblings was an attempt to lash out. They suffered the brunt of it. she would cut their hair without their consent, put shampoo onto their head in the middle of the night and say painful words to hurt their feelings. It went on for years and even her studies was affected by all of it. However, the good news is, school was also where she found out the real meaning of true friends ♥

                                                A friend in need is a friend indeed...

Underneath all that, was a little girl who wanted love and acceptance most of all, and when she didn't get what she wanted, she changed her ways by pleasing others instead. She started doing their home works for them, covered their mistakes and took the blame for them, bought stuff and waited hand and foot to buy friendships. It worked for a while. Others let her into their circle but it wasn't long before she realized that she was being used for all the wrong reasons. That made her more furious. She became bitter inside.

                                         A work in progress, a friend  for the long haul

Her family nevertheless, did not give up on her. Once all her other teeth had grown in place, they brought her to the dentist for a transformation. Fillings were done and braces were put in. That was when her confidence came back little by little and her smile opened up wider day by day. Her mom got her uncle who works at a modelling agency to get her into a modelling school to change her posture and gait. She learned how to groom herself better, the models were like big sisters to her and slowly but surely, her past became just her past. She did a few magazine shots, catwalked at some important VIP events and joined the airlines to see the world. Since then, she hasn't looked back. Best part of all, all those who used to laugh at her, are now wanting to be friends with her and the silly guys that were awful towards her are now trying their best to woo her!

Happy New Year, Happy New You!
Safia's latest look ~ 2014

Oh! Did I mention that she loves sports too? I had great fun watching her compete a couple of years back & I loved the fact that her siblings were all there as well, to be her #1 cheerleaders :)

    2012 MH Athletics Meet, Stadium Kelana Jaya. Safia, the contestant and medal winner :)

** How weird life is. I have learned a long time ago to never look down on people, ever.. for you'll never know, whose ass you might have to wipe, someday! And ain't that the painful truth :)

" No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful. " Eleanor Roosevelt