Hiatus explained.

I remember when I started out at my current workplace, I thought to myself that I had better not personalise my office space as I was not sure how long I would be here for and what a pain it would be to tear down again my inspirational posters, the photos of people I cherish and silly decorative items that make me smile. Colleagues did ask. But I had my doubts about making this place my second home. (Then again, I am slightly skeptical as to whether our workplace should be our second home.)

One year experimenting as a public servant and it turned out my gut feeling was right. I was not designed for the bureaucracy and nature of government jobs. A part of me does not care less for politics, even though I learnt I can fake it pretty well and become sort of good at what I need to do. But what does it mean for me to be good at something that I dislike? What does it mean for me to wear a mask when I value authenticity and transparency?

One thing I was uncomfortable with was that the nature of this job required all of us to be available on some weeknights and weekends. I value work-life balance in a way that meant I get to go home at 6pm and make my own after-work or weekend plans without worrying if I had to cancel on anyone. I also mentioned in a previous post that not having the time to pursue other interests and passions on the side would be one of the deal breakers for a job. Writing slowly became a thing of the past, again.

Yet strangely, it felt like I was the only one who finds it disturbing that a workplace would embrace work-life integration and accept it as a norm for staff to stay late hours almost on a daily basis including weekends. Or perhaps like me, it is a pain to speak up about the need for balance and self-care when such a culture has been so ingrained that you know change will not happen overnight so you jolly well find a way to cope with it or run along with it silently.

The daily incongruence was almost too much to bear. The struggle was real. After a year of service, I knew it was time for me to get out and move on. I needed to be somewhere else that shares similar values, purpose and mission in life. I tried asking the questions I needed to ask during interviews and pre-employment orientation to get a sensing of the culture and nature of the job at my next workplace. Will the next job be it? Can I finally settle down in a job for a longer period of time? Honestly, does it really matter? I am only optimistic that this change is a good change, and hopefully what I need to grow in a way that resonates closer to my heart.

Having said all that, there are also a number of things that I am grateful for about this job:

  1. Bosses who have been open, supportive and trusting of their team to get the work done (at our own time own target)
  2. Team-work is strong and if you ask for help or advice, you will almost always get it without hesitation
  3. Makan Kakis or colleagues that somehow came together and bonded over food because we enjoyed eating out and eating cheap
  4. A stable income that has paid the bills, cleared the credit debts and allowed me to travel to Perhentian Islands, Bangkok and most importantly Nepal for my solo trip in 2016
  5. A better understanding and appreciation of how the big G connects and relates  with the people on the ground (this will help me consider my next vote)
  6. I learnt that I can be hardworking and resilient even in the face of things that I do not care about. I persevered and chose to ride through the storms and take my leave only when the water has calmed down
  7. By doing the things I do not like or do not find meaning in, it has helped me to re-define what a fulfilling job means and what I need in my next job
  8. I have learnt to be more grounded and am better able to say “no” to others without feeling as guilty whenever I have to prioritise self-love.

Thank you for all the things I have learnt and taken away from this job, whether I am aware of it yet or not.

I leave you in peace and with no regrets.

Credits for gif to https://m.popkey.co/bd2d59/DYgDx.gif

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