Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Reflections On Getting the Level 5/6 Position

This might be a lengthy and boring post for the 3rd party reader but for me, it was an incredible event in my life and I am hopeful that the moral of the story may be helpful to some as it had been to me.

2017 had been an eventful year for me at work. It didn't begin well, with the bitter struggles carried over from 2016 and perhaps even from the years prior to that - end of 2015 was the period I was on the ve-rge of falling into depression while 2016 was a year full of hardships and trials. They weren't entirely work related nevertheless, my condition had affected all aspects of my life. By the beginning of 2017, I was nonchalant and indifferent plus the pressures of CPA studies only increased the stress.

After passing the 3rd CPA subject in May 2017, I decided to take a break first as I felt really burnt out and that I was already losing myself. By this time, there was this nagging feeling of sadness that comes and goes but most often times stays. I thought it was my job, I have been very comfortable where I was and no longer felt motivated to do my best. I thought I might have reached the dead end in my career where I currently was. However, when opportunity for another job in private sector presented itself in June, I realised that I was really in a better position already and so I decided to stay.

This experience was like a wake up call that no matter what environment I was in, I could still choose to be happy but this change in outlook required actions. Firstly, I had to turn away from pessimistic conversations. I may not have had control of the negative chatter that went around me but I realised that I didn't have to add fuel to the fire. If I had nothing nice or truthful or helpful to say, then it was better to just shut my mouth.

Secondly, I had to remind myself to be a little bit more compassionate. After the hurtful experiences, one after the other, I didn't realise I was slowly turning into this cold-hearted and bitter monster who cares only for herself. Besides that, some people told me constantly that helping others in the workplace is a sign of weakness and loss. After all, we were all competing for promotion so why should I disadvantage myself by sharing and helping?

Third and most important is to go back to basics when things get complicated: keep doing what is just and right. For a long time I had become complacent which was not uncommon at that time as most of us were unwilling to love our job and were probably motivated only because we secretly hope to get noticed and be promoted soon. How ironic! I realised that if I was not motivated enough where I currently was then I shouldn't expect to be given a higher role. So with a change of heart, I gradually persuaded myself to do my work with passion again.

By mid-August, I was able to gain momentum with work and when the promotions came up, I was no longer as greedy and hungry for it. I placed my application nevertheless although I wasn't very hopeful after all I had been slacking off for a long time. I was more concerned about learning from my cases and finishing them as quickly as I could, for I was also helping out the newstarter in our team.

Then beginning of September, after submitting my application, I started feeling sick. At first, I thought it was ulcer and I tried to self medicate until my colleague convinced me to see the doctor because 5 days after, the stomach pains still lingered. Mid-September, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. 

The morning sickness that came with the pregnancy turned my life upside down - I was constantly away from work, I couldn't even finish a week without taking sick leaves because the excessive vomiting left me without nutrients and feeling weak. For the rest of September and October I struggled but fortunately still managed to meet my KPIs.

By this time the promotion was completely out of my mind. I was on a 2-week sick leave break late in October when surprisingly I was called in for an interview. I didn't have reviewers with me but I didn't panic. I told myself I will just have to rely on what I did and knew, after all, I have been doing my job for 3 years.

I kept the whole process confidential, with only a very few inevitable people knowing about it. I no longer expected to get it anyway, with everyone aware of my sick and pregnant condition so I decided I'll just slip quietly unnoticed. Without anyone knowing about it, I was also spared from the stressful questions from colleagues. The morning sickness was more than enough pressure on my plate.

By November, my health started to pick up. I was seldom vomiting now and less nauseous although my sense of smell and taste were still crazy and fussy. With the holidays just around the corner, I also felt happier and even helped in organising our Kris Kringle Team 1 ritual. With my health back Phillip one day approached me to let me know that he would like me to act in his place as Team Leader while he's away during the first week of January next year. During the closed door meeting he also asked me about the promotion to which I replied what I had been telling everyone who asked: that I wasn't called in for an interview and that my chances would have been bleak anyway with the pregnancy and all.

By December, I was feeling pretty well so we decided to book a holiday from the 6th (Wed) until weekend for the kids. The day before our holidays was one I will never forget.

5th of December. Coming back from lunch, my dear friend shared to me the news about her application. She had been placed in the eligibility list which means she didn't get the position now but if there will be open positions in the future, she and the others on the list may get it. I was happy for her in all honesty and I kind of hoped to be on the list too. Shortly after, I was also called in to receive news about my application.

As I sat at the Manager's office, I prepared myself for the worst - that I didn't get the position. I know I have conditioned myself from the beginning, but rejections always hurt. Then the Manager turned to me, smiled and said "Congratulations!" She decided to give me a spot in the promotions. I couldn't really believe it when she told me so I had to confirm a few times before I thanked her profusely. Then involuntarily, tears streamed down my eyes and I had to explain to her how I no longer expected it because I thought my pregnancy was bad timing.

I left her office feeling overwhelmed. In one of the empty meeting rooms, I locked myself up and continued to weep quietly. My heart was overflowing with gratitude as I continually thanked God in my mind for this unexpected blessing.

It was still confidential at that time so I told only my husband. With blessing from the Manager, I also told Phillip about it. I felt that I had the responsibility to finally tell him the truth as he was my Team Leader. Then I left work feeling happier than ever for our family holiday.

Again, this story may not be as profoundly felt by the mere audience as much as it had made an impact on me. It is important to me because it made me realise that when I am powerless, that is when I see the power of God working in my life. Just when I let go, that is when I was taken to a better place. It was a humbling experience to get where I am now and to pay it forward, I hope I could inspire others to keep doing what is just and right even at times when it seems that life is not fair.

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