Thursday, June 9, 2016

Of work travel, working from home and being a boss

Salam Ramadhan to all.....

It's been ages since I blog. Apart from time, I also have nothing much to share. But of late, I have been doing a lot of thinking, at least more than usual. And this contributed to the sudden growth of my white hair so I am translating that thinking mode to this entry

Work Travel 

When I was offered this job, one condition I gave was no overseas travel. Maybe I spoke to soon, or maybe I was under assumption I can manage local travel. Little did I know I will be flying from one state to another and spending every other day at the airport. 

Be it whether it's overseas or local travel, take it from me, it's equally exhausting. Yes, overseas travel gives you opportunity to see other countries, and in my experience, that's exactly what it is, see and nothing else. With back to back meetings and engagement sessions, by the time I'm back at the hotel, either I am too exhausted or all the interesting places are closed. Also the fact I'm away from my family is something I can't do anymore. No more!

And local travel is equally, if not more exhausting. I always opt for day trip, i.e. first flight out and last flight in. And my tight schedule is not helping so there are times I travel almost every day. My record thus far from Perlis to Kuching to Pahang on the same week. And the final week before Ramadhan when I went to Kedah in the morning and then back to office for a meeting at 5pm on the same day and the next day travel to Kuantan and to return at 3pm for meeting in Taman Tun before rushing back to Putrajaya for a 6.30pm meeting. That's how crazy it can get. However, looking on the positive side, at least I get to return home to my babies every day. So far, after giving birth to Isyraf, I have only spent 2 nights away from him and I can speak on behalf of my better half, those were the longest nights in his life....

While some may feel work travel is glamorous, I beg to differ. Or may be I am getting old and don't enjoy it as much as the young ones.

Working From Home

One benefit given to me after I gave birth to Isyraf over a year ago is I am allowed to work from home 2 days a week. I am fortunate to be working for a company that promotes flexible working arrangements. However, if given a choice, I prefer to either work or stay at home cause doing both is a challenge and requires strong discipline. 

My normal routine when I work from home, I still wake up at 5am as I would when I need to go to office. I will cook lunch at 5am, like always so that I can start my office work sharp at 9am. Isyraf wakes up around 8am so I have less than an hour to give him a bath, feed and play with him. He will take his nap again around 11am so I can only arrange any conference call or video conferencing between 11am to 2pm, that's the time he usually wakes up.

And yes, I have 2 bigger kids (Mira is already in college). However, when they know I am at home, they have expectations too. They expect me to eat lunch with them while they tell me how's their day. When I work from home I know I am expected to work so I need to juggle even more. I am paid to work and I have already been given the privilege to take care of son without having to send him to day care. So, I know I should not abuse this arrangements.

For those who think work from home is easy, I can tell you with or without children, it's hard. And if you can't manage your time while you are in the office, forget working from home. It is just not for everyone.

Being a Boss

This 2 years have been a super emotional roller coaster for me. I still remember when I was offered this position i.e promotion, unlike many people who jump at such opportunity, I hesitated. I requested for more time to think about it. It comes with huge responsibility. From managing team of 4, now I have team of 20 just like that. And multiple tracks that I need to manage. I must confess, I second guess myself (at times, I still do). 

I am so used to being the "belakang tabir" person. I do the strategic work, developing framework, the research to support the framework and then track and monitor. Being an introvert (yes, I am) presenting in front of others is not my cup of tea. Let alone handling media. And the current position I am holding is the opposite of my work preference. However, when we accept an opportunity, it comes in a package. While I enjoy being involved in policy advocacy, influencing the industry academia collaboration and working hand in hand with various stakeholders, I must also accept the other part of my work, being the front line. 

If given a choice, I would want to go back to the "belakang tabir" work. Well, everything comes with a price. And for now, this is the price I have to pay....

And all I can say to those who think how easy life of others are and how you wish to get what others have, careful what you wish for, it may come true.....

Nevertheless, these challenges make life interesting. And I am glutton for punishment :)

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