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The final hurdle

No need to call the cops, I am still alive and kicking.

I’ve been stricken with flu for the past week and it has since morphed into suspected sinusitis. All this frustrates me greatly – my health has been literally in the pits since the year has started. Urghs. I hate being sick, hate having to build up my health, hate having to build up my fitness.

It doesn’t help that this is the final week of my training course and we have to prepare for a BIG presentation this coming Friday. The process has been fun and illuminating, the bad health not so.

But seriously, as much as I moan and groan about not having enough time and sleep, I am grateful for this opportunity. I never thought I could come up with a pitch, let alone present in front of the big bosses. But here I am, almost at the end of the journey and feeling immensely proud of myself and my teammates. This company may have many, many bad points (intense politicking and huge egos being two of them) but when it comes to training, it definitely ranks as one of the best I have seen so far.

I’m definitely not great at coming up with ideas but I think (hope, really) that I bring a sense of logic to the table. I find myself asking why? how? very often, hoping to make some sense of what we are doing.

And at the end of the day, it helps to be able to come home to know that somebody has taken care of the chores and is babying the kittens while I work. Husband is just awesome (even if he leaves the kitchen lights on and breadcrumbs on the countertop).

It’s not you, it’s me

Despite the change in title at work, I am suddenly left with the epiphany that no, this is not the right job for me at all. I love magazines, I love flipping through their glossy pages, I love looking at the wonderful art direction of the pictures. But somehow, I am not enamoured of the magazines produced by my company nor do I enjoy what really goes on behind the scenes of these so-called glamourous rags.

I dislike the hierarchical chain of rule that’s practised and encouraged here. I hate the businesslike and cold approach we take to the magazines. I hate how I have to schedule my leave according to the magazine’s timeline. I hate how taking leave and public holidays have become such dreaded events because it means my work will pile up to astronomical heights. I don’t understand how my superiors can say things like, “Do you really need to take leave for two days? I’m worried about the deadline” when it’s my first day joining the team and they have already assigned me three feature stories to be completed in a week. It’s obvious that in times of recession, they will cut down on expenses like freelancers, which means that the employees will have a heavier workload.

I came in, a year ago, feeling optimistic and overjoyed that my dream job was a reality. To write! For a magazine! Yay! But I soon realise quickly that this is nothing more than a factory churning out pictures, words and pages at chop chop speed. What’s more, everything has to be new! Refreshing! Surprising! Unpredictable!

Perhaps, to sum it up succinctly, I lack the passion to stay in the company. I don’t love beauty products enough to wax lyrical about the newest long lasting lipsticks for many moons. My love for fashion goes the way of Nylon and Frankie, not Louis Vuitton or Fendi. I like irreverence, self-deprecation, emotional connection and cheekiness in my writing, none of which is really found in these rags. And I have absolutely no desire, wish or ambition to become anything more than a writer, having seen how much an editor can change and has to sacrifice. (I also do not have the patience to stay for years, hoping to be promoted.)

What’s more, I don’t take my company’s magazines seriously because I know that most of the content is driven by advertising dollars anyway. And while fashion and beauty are great institutions, when the world comes to an end, I am not likely to go, “Oh damn, I wished I have that Chanel 2.55 purse to bring to the grave with me.”

So where does that leave me? I don’t know. I don’t have to be a professional writer to write, I can still earn a (better-paid) living elsewhere and still write on the side. All I want is to have a better work-life balance where I can take days off and chill without feeling pressured by what I will face when I return. A life where I can go to the gym after the work or go home and cook for my little family of two.

A life where I can, ultimately, stay at home and watch my children grow up without missing out on their key moments.

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