Laters!

Today is my last day on the job. Yes, I know what you’re thinking “You’ve only been back a few days” … “You haven’t worked there for that long” … “What are you going to write about!”
There are several contributing factors amounting to my resignation, some of which include; enrolling in a Masters degree, hating Sales and fearing that this was going to be my career for life, feeling a lack of belonging and acceptance whenever I walked through the doors of the office and the need to eliminate unnecessary stress in my life.
Someone said something very wise to me the other day and it stuck with me, piercing my sides and making it a little harder to breath every time I woke up for work. “What is something you can spend but not earn?” … time.
I realized I was in a job that I hated, working with people that I was never going to enjoy the company of (other than from an observation desk at the zoo) and spending something I was never going to get back … my life. I was living in a foreign country and had been handed, on a platter, the most marvelous experience any one could wish for…and I was wasting it, spending every day in an office passive smoking and being yelled at in Cantonese. Enough was enough.
I decided that 2011 had to be the year I started to assemble my career and create opportunities for myself that would eventually allow me to be one of those REALLY annoying people that harp on about how they “live to work” because their job is their career, and they love their career because they are doing something that they love blah blah blah…I know I know… you have to admit though, they have a point.
So I have enrolled in a Masters course and applied for English teaching jobs. I’m excited. I’m really really excited. I get a do-over. OK – so the first university experience for me was a dud. A complete and utter nightmare titled “University of Sydney”. It took me 5 years of suffering and several deferments and failed attempts at transferring to other courses, but after half a decade of enduring one of the biggest and worst decisions of my life I finished. Now I have the opportunity to make an informed decision about my course preferences, and not after a weeklong bender as a fresh 18 year old, scribbling down a few random numbers on my uni preference sheet and hoping for the best.
Anyway, back to my last day and the events that got me here.
Prior to leaving for my holidays, I noticed an article in a English newspaper in Hong Kong. It was a 2 page feature on our company and its growth. On the second page, was a larger than life photo of ‘The Team’. I laughed out loud. I noticed the clothing that everyone was wearing and realized that I was in the office that day. I worked out that they must have all communicated with each other in Cantonese and arranged to meet somewhere else to have this photo taken. I recall I was in the office alone for about an hour that day, and even recall the moment when they all exited the office en mass. I remember wondering where they were going, but just assumed it was another luncheon that I hadn’t been invited to. Little did I know…I wasn’t wanted in the picture. In their defense, I would have looked out of place being the only individual with blue eyes and blonde hair and the articles content would have appeared incorrect if I featured in the picture, after all it was all about how local Hong Kong company makes it big, hiring locals and getting the best deals for local businesses and consumers. I’m laughing out loud still as I write this.
A few days later the office was buzzing with conversation about peoples favourite foods and for once I had been included. “Frozen Yogurt” I said. They all laughed and the girl that sits next to me asked me my favourite flavour. I was impressed not only had I been included but I was making a friend. That afternoon, Bozo came back to the office with tubs of ‘Yo Mama’ (a frozen yogurt shop in Hong Kong). She handed them out to everyone and handed me an apology “Sorry – I didn’t know you were here!”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I sit opposite you, you crazy lady with the lens-less frames! I have the biggest boof of blonde hair and you are ALWAYS commenting on how I should use a leave in conditioner and yet…YOU DIDN’T KNOW I WAS HERE? I felt like that kid in the playground that is being bullied but has no evidence for the principal because it’s all encoded with passive aggression. Bitch.
I phoned the office the other day and explained to the person who answered the phone who I was and that I wanted to speak with Mr Manager. The reaction I got absolutely gob-smacked me. I knew the girl that answered the phone, she sits near me. She muttered something in Cantonese and then hung the phone up. I called back again “Hello…its me…I think I got disconnected before..can you put me…” before I had finished, the line was disconnected again. UNBELIEVEABLE. I called back a third time, but this time I lost my cool. “Listen (Girls name), you hang that phone up one more time and you’re gonna know about it… put me through to Mr Manager NOW!”…beep beep beep. When I finally reached the office I stood in front of her desk and asked LOUDLY if there was a problem with the phones. Everyone looked around at each other and the general response I got was that the phones were fine. I looked over at a very nervous looking receptionist. I twisted her chair around so that she was facing me, crouched down next to her and in a low voice I said calmly “Are you sure there a problem with the phones?”, she shook her head and I pushed her chair back in and walked back to my desk. I desperately wanted the little turd to be rude to my face, but it didn’t happen.
I guess you could say that it has been a long road of little events like that. Some may say that I’m seeing things or taking things personally, that they might not mean to act this way. I’d say back to that “What’s the difference?”. I feel like an outcast and whether its intentional or not is irrelevant. I’m going home at the end of the day with a diary full of moments where I have felt like a wally more than moments where I have wanted to do those embarrassing fist pump in the air and say “yessss” and that ain’t right.
I came into work this morning with a plan. Resignation. I called my boss and requested for him to meet me at the local café. He arrived and sat down and asked me what was wrong. I explained that I was going back to university and i didn’t feel that I was going to be able to juggle work with my studies. I told him that it wouldn’t be fair to either party and that today was going to be my last day (still being on probation allowed me to say that…they had written the contract outlining they only had to give me a day’s notice and vice versa). I was flattered when he offered me a part-time version of my role, some time off to think about and eventually when he accepted I was set in my ways, he offered my job back when I finished my degree. When the office found out that I was leaving I received gifts of cupcakes and cards, sad faces and “keep in touch” moments. It was quite humorous, I assumed they were all so nice because they were happy to see the back of me. Nevertheless, it was a good ending to a bad few months.
I’m going to put it down to cultural differences and call it even. At the end of the day, I’m sure I annoyed them just as much as they irritated me. But it’s all over now. I’m sure I will think of more stories as time goes by, but for now this ends this chapter of my life. It was a great experience and one I will take to the grave. I’m glad I took this job and have zero regrets, I mean after all…how many of you can say that you have watched your colleague have a durry out the 18 floor window of your office? Not many!
Stay tuned for the next chapter.

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4 thoughts on “Laters!

  1. Emma I am so sad that those benny’s bullied you! If I was there you know what I’d do to them all!
    You will be a great teacher…just remember patience is key! Xx

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