Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Throwing in the Towel

Dot really should write journals on this. No matter how loud or how shrill my voice gets, how often I said it or how blue or red my face turns, she would still not hang her towels where they should be. Most days the towel would be strewn on the floor, sometimes on her bed and some fine moments, the damp towel would be thrown on MY bed. That would be the occasion she described her mother to have ‘menjerit sampai satu dunia dengar’. Yes, the whole world could hear me, it must have reached her ears too, but she just wouldn’t listen!

I instead, will be writing on the art of quitting one’s job. Am a pro at that, yes maam. I have had how many employers now, let me count:-

1. My first job was as a cleaner at a bakery shop. I was actually accepted in as a salesgirl, but when a pretty girl came along, they put her in the shop and pushed me into the kitchen where I played the role of Cinderella perfectly. Except, the rats in the kitchen never turned into anything else but the rats they were. If you know Kluang, well, this bakery was in the same row as A&W. Both are gone now (not because I left, nothing to do with me – or the rats). Quit after a week.

2. My second job was at a shop selling telekung and sejadah, behind Coronation (Coronation, like other cinemas, closed shop with the introduction of pirated VHSs) in Kluang. It was after SPM while waiting for results. Not a bad place to work. The owner was then in his 40s but despite his age, donned on long hair, tight jeans, boots and claimed to once be a true-blue-make-love-(with anything that moves)-not-war hippie. He was an interesting character and a great story teller. The wife was only a few years older than me, and we got along well. I quit after 2 months.

3. During my diploma years, I waited tables nightly at FC restaurant in Shah Alam. My first day there, a customer asked if he could pay with plastic money. I said, no way. It turned out, he meant credit card. That was my first exposure to the wonderful world of credit. The work was hard, but the money helped a lot. Was there for one whole semester.

4. The first Monday after my last paper last semester at UiTM, I reported for duty at CPT (a company in Shah Alam producing color cathode ray tube, CCRT for tvs) as the pioneer batch of female technicians (yes, now there are factories manufacturing Liquid Crystal Display for tvs, no more CCRTs.. technologies advance so fast, kan?) Quit after 6 months.

5. During my degree years, I gave tuition at Emkay Institute in Chow Kit during weekends. Also gave home tuition to expats’ kids. I was quite sought after, so much so that I actually owned a pager! Hahah.. only contractors Kelas A owned a handphone those days, so a pager was the next HUGE thing, okay?

6. After I graduated, I worked for an NGO, hugging trees and damning the Bakun dam. Cried over spilled water and bled for endangered animals especially tenuk. Quit a few days before I was due for confirmation.

7. And a few more organizations after that. If I continued on, this would be read as my resume. Nope. Let’s just summarise this. After the NGO, I had at least 6 more employers.

I quit for many valid reasons – furthering my studies la, stalker abusive ex-boyfriend discovered my whereabouts la, sexual harassment la, macam-macam! As I progressed along, although I cant really say that I have perfected the art of making that throw of the towel, I certainly know the no-no(s) through the many mistakes i have made myself.

My staff sent me an sms, ‘kak, siti nak bagitau akak, siti nak berenti kerja. Siti tengok pekerja yang baru tu pon kerja ok. Siti minta maaf dan tak akan lupa jasa akak pada siti dan suami. Lagi satu, rendang itik akak hari tu sedap betul, nanti buat lagi panggil siti datang makan ya kak, huhu’

Another ‘I quit’ sms I received, ‘salam pn, sy tau sy dh wat salah ni. Sy benar2 meminta maaf krn mmg xdpt nk antar biz plan tu, nk call tp asyik tk sempat2. Sy betul2 minta maaf ni, huhu’

First NO : don’t do it via sms. Because then it’ll be up to the reader to read it in whatever intonation they feel is the right one. The second sms was supposed to be very apologetic, but I couldn’t ‘read’ her regret. Impression I get – not sorry at all. How to forgive when one feels the apology was not asked for in the first place? But what is there to forgive anyway? She wasn’t quitting a job. She was quitting a public-funded programme. I was sorry to see her quit.

Second NO : Be serious and professional. Generation X doesnt quite understand the sms language of Generation Y. I especially abhor the word ‘huhu’. What is it? What does it mean? Is it an equivalent of ‘haha’ and ‘hehe’? Is it an equivalent of ‘boohooohoo’? Laughter or crying – for crying out loud! Professional, means write a proper letter lah. In a language that most civilized society can understand.

Third NO : Don’t quit and make a request. In the first example, it was bad enough that Siti gave me 12 hour notice. I would be frantic looking for her replacement now. In all the chaos that would be caused by her leaving so suddenly like that, rendang itik request was not taken very well. You cant leave like that and expect to be rewarded, can you? Mintak telur goreng ke, ampun lah lagi. Rendang? Itik pulak tu? I don’t think so.

Fourth NO : Dont be irresponsible. Tie up all loose ends neatly, transfer work properly. Don’t mess it up for those left behind. Just because you think the other person ‘pon kerja ok’ doesn’t mean they can just pick up where you left off easily. Not fair kan? You want blessings from as many people as possible kan? An extra doa always helps kan? My mom always told me, jangan pergi tinggalkan t**k – datang beradat, pergi biar beradab.

Fifth NO : don’t burn bridges. You’ll never know when you might bump into them again, or to one day be in need of their help. The world is not so big, with Facebook, the world is reduced to 12-inch screens. I once worked for this worldwide company doing educational programmes for kids. Big company, loads of franchisees, soon to be listed. I was sexually harassed and the bosses chose to defend the guy and insisted that the act was no big deal. They kept him and made the situation impossible for me so much so I had to leave. It was the company who quit on me. A few months ago, the owner – the same guy who insisted that stolen hugs are no-big-deal came knocking my office’s door asking for financial assistance. He had to deal with ME! Oh- how he squirmed! How i savored the sweetness of revenge when tables are turned!

Quit if you must, admit defeat, or move on to where the grass is greener (if you like grazing on grass), go, make that switch. But do it right.

Let's now discuss how to make your resignation something that your bosses will be rejoicing in (now that doesnt sound quite right, does it? hmmm)!

But oh my, this is getting too long now, I better quit, huhu!