Moment of Clarity

I think one of the reasons I like placing my thoughts down on paper (or via a blog) is somehow, ideas that were formed in my head suddenly become a lot more real. From their formlessness springs reality, and everything just became a lot clearer.

Case in point, this was a week where our entire firm finished our Annual Performance Review. It’s like giving scores to yourself and letting your manager know about it just in case he forgot what you’ve achieved this year (Hey, you can’t blame him! He’s really busy). Then, after 2 weeks, he himself writes his feedback about your performance and both of you can talk about it later on… and hopefully, he’ll give you a big fat bonus if you’re lucky.

I placed a lot of thought in my performance review. This year has been such a roller coaster ride for me, and I’ve spent so much time working that I wanted credit when it is due. Not to be boastful, but rather, to be fair. I didn’t want to go into my bosses office come bonus time, and leave disappointed because he hadn’t fairly allocated the amount which I felt was reasonable given my contribution to the company.

I am aware that in Chinese culture, it is better if one is humble and underestimate their achievements. “Be humble la,” they say. “Always good to be surprised in the end.”

Maybe I was asleep when this was being drilled into our head, but seriously, I really believe that given my job description, I overperformed and kicked ass (the fact that this blog is semi-anonymous helps).

I know I have exceeded expectations (though by how much I am unsure), and despite my many screw-ups this year, most of them didn’t bankrupt my firm and though they were difficult, I’ve learned from a lot of my mistakes. Proudly, I can place my head up and say, “I have made my office a better place by being part of the family. I am an asset to my firm.”

Hence, I listed what I felt were my achievements — one page seemed like overkill, but trust me, I have done quite a bit this year. In fact, I had to cut down a lot of fluff and narrowed it from two to one.

Honestly, I am unsure how I can beat this year with next’s. As I’ve said, this year has been ultra crazy — who else can boast that they’ve done 194 hours of overtime in a SINGLE month? My devotion to my firm is complete, but then again, I have always taken pride with my work. I know exactly the extent of my contribution.

So what now?

After pressing “Send,” nothing really I can do but wait and be admonished for my honesty or rewarded for what is due me. I have already started planning for 2008. For the first time in quite a while, I know EXACTLY where I am going, and this excites me.

The exam I am taking this December is merely a stepping stone to a larger goal. Honestly, there is a 60% chance of failure, and I am not embarrassed if I do fail. Sure, I have been studying my ass off, but it would be my great pleasure to revisit the material again and further improve my mastery on the subjects. I am aware that if I do not pass this round, I will the next — and I will definitely try again the next time around.

GMAT and the brokerage exam are both in the horizon and I’ll definitely take both by the next half of the year. Fortunately, I have already dipped into the habit of studying, and it can be both an exhilirating and humbling experience to study — it is when you cover new material that you realize that you still have a long way to go, and yet, the prospect of discovery tingles you to the bone.

Because you are learning new things, day in and day out.

My mind is almost set — I would definitely pursue an MBA. There, by writing this done and sharing it for everybody to see, I share with you my ambition. And hopefully, this is one step further into making it a reality. After December, I will start researching the schools I want to go to — maybe Columbia or University of Chicago, or maybe even INSEAD. I’ve heard that their Singaporean program is exemplary.

I have a good grasp where I want to be 3 years going forward. Sure, I can continue doing a great job at the firm I now work with… but I also know I am a better asset if I am equipped with technical knowledge that can leverage my strong work ethics and personal contacts I’ve been making in the industry. An MBA is a short-cut way to do that, and the thought of studying with like-minded people excites me to the bone.

Personal-life wise, I have unfortunately become a lot more jaded. Blame it in the older age at 27, but I feel that after seeing tons of friends come and go, that friendship is indeed cheap. It is not unimportant that’s for sure, and everyone needs friends… but ultimately, one has to depend on yourself alone. My life is no stranger to close friends who disappear not really because of misunderstandings you’ve had, but rather, because they find themselves a significant other, they start becoming busy working, or because they just couldn’t be bothered.

Yes, feel sorry for me… but surely you will agree. There is no one whom you can depend on more than yourself, so though it’s healthy to keep a handful of friends, you shouldn’t depend on them too much, because if you do, you will just get disappointed.

Now that I’m older, I think I’m a bit wiser. I am still that gregarious woman who seem to be friendly with everybody she’s met, but people who know me know better. Sometimes, I really couldn’t care less. I get along with everybody because I don’t care too much. And if this makes me a bad person…. well, that’s sad.

Do not misunderstand though — it’s not that I’m a heartless b*tch.

I’m not.

My heart breaks when you hurt yourself. I am concerned about your health and well-being. When you have problems, nobody will be a more eager person to listen and offer you consolation and advice, or at the very least, a shoulder to cry on. I will give you a helping hand if you need it without asking for anything in return and even if it inconveniences me. Why? Because I am still someone nice and this is how we treat others — the way we want to be treated.

I will however, give my advice but not force you to take it. I will not pout if you don’t listen, though I will probably hug you tight and will tell you that “I told you so” even though it’s the last thing you’d like to hear right now. I will give my shoulder for you to cry on when that bastard whom I think doesn’t deserve you give you another blow to your emotional sensibilities. I will be your mirror, and you’ll feel better after a glass of wine and great conversation with me.

But I will let you be… because you are already an adult and you have to take accountability for your actions. How old are you now? Am sure that you know that in life, with every action comes a consequence. And if you do act, make sure with eyes wide open, and that you can take responsibility for the result of your actions.

If you say something bad and people get hurt, this means, you can’t say, “I’m sorry but I don’t mean it.” Saying it may make you feel better, but it doesn’t really take away the pain, the cracks in the relationship after you’ve become a jerk.

If you don’t adequately study, you fail. If you don’t call, you don’t start anything. If you don’t try, you don’t get. If you act foolhardy and people start treating you like a pariah the next day, sorry hun but grow up and yes, it’s your fault.

But we’ll forgive your idiosyncrasies anyway.

I’ve written too much. It feels good when I put my thoughts down on paper. And yes, it feels good when these thoughts — whether you agree with it or not — is being read (you must realize that I am thanking you for your readership).

Gotta get back to studying.

Moments of clarity, out.

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