Feeling appreciated

I have been working since 2000. Contrary to my coursemates who applied for prestigious jobs in the cities once they graduated, I decided to work as a research assistant in the university and do my Master of Science (Environmental Science) at the same time.

It has been 17 years since then, and I have worked for all manner of employers, from tiny three-person companies to sizeable international ones, but somehow, the interest wanes after one to two years, and boredom sets in as I do the same thing over and over again, year after year. In my last job, in my fourth year, I tried to apply for a transfer to another department to have a change of environment and job scope, but my application was unsuccessful. I then did the next best thing. I set out on my own, choosing to become self-employed.

Of course, this does not mean self-employment is for everybody, nor do I recommend it for anyone who is having issues with boredom at work. Self-employment is a major life-changing decision, and can only be made after careful consideration of all important aspects of one’s life, and everybody’s life is unique and different.

There are many pros and cons in relation to being employed by a company, but I feel the top reason why employees stay on even though they are unhappy is perceived job security. Sometimes, the only reason they bother to wake up and go to the office is to get a pay cheque at the end of the month. It has become a mechanical action for countless people every day – to get up, dress up, and show up. And that is how they pass their time, year after year, decade after decade, till retirement. The retirement age in Malaysia used to be 55. Now, it is 60. Maybe 10 year later, as the workforce ages progressively and costs of living rises steadily, the retirement age might be raised to 65. Who knows?

However, in these trying times of economic uncertainty, I sometimes feel that job security is somewhat of an illusion. Terms like ‘retrenchment’ and ‘VSS’ are becoming increasingly common. Even though staff do not want to think about it, it is there, lurking in the dark corners of their mind.

In times like these, it would be useful to pick up a new skill, or learn a new trade, or even take a hobby to the next level. Perhaps, the new experience might spark passion in a previously undiscovered area, and lead to a new direction, and hopefully more interesting times ahead. Let’s face it. How many people will not get bored working in the same job for 10 to 30 years?

Another area of concern for me in full-time employment is the lack of appreciation from employers. Since staff are paid for their time and effort, it is easy to take them for granted, treating them as if they owe the company, simply because they are paid to work. It is like deja vu. In large organisations, sometimes staff are like hundreds of cows or sheep. The top management simply thinks of their workers en masse, and not as individuals with unique aspirations, interests and needs.

Strangely, I have found appreciation in other areas, all of which do not concern full-time employment. Since a young age, I have always had an interest in volunteer work, serving the community and environmental conservation and protection. It is the organisations and individuals in this area that are the most appreciative of my contributions.

In 2008, the Selangor Branch of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) gave me a branch award in recognition of my contributions as a volunteer.

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About 10 years later, our MNS Selangor Branch chairperson Pasu brought back a certificate of appreciation from the recent national AGM in Langkawi for me. It was a pleasant surprise that an award was presented to me at an AGM that I did not attend. 😀

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Even though I will not likely be awarded any long-service awards by any organisations in the future, these NGO awards will always remind me that I have contributed meaningfully to worthy causes and people have taken note of my contributions. And that is how I would like to be remembered.

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RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #73 Black&White

I read with interest that Ronovan is starting a free eBook project to share the work of those participating in the weekly haiku poetry prompt challenge. The book will first be published as an eBook on Smashwords. After a period of time, the book will be put on Amazon as well. This is something to look forward to in 2016. 🙂

Now, on to today’s entry for week #73 of the weekly haiku challenge. The word prompts are ‘black’ and ‘white’.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Black or White

What do colours mean?
Does it matter – black or white?
Fresh outlook needed?

Khor Hui Min
6 December 2015

 

 

At the Crossroads

For this week’s Malaysian Writers FB page poetry challenge, the word prompt was ‘crossroad’. I decided to write a piece inspired by sad news of human trafficking uncovered up north. When people are driven by profits, they can even view other fellow human beings as animals or even objects to be traded. 😦

Tulipmania @ Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

At the Crossroads

At the crossroads; junction of life
Which way to go, left or right?
Can the past be severed with a knife?
Can you win without a fight?

Pack your bags; escape is nigh
Be light and strong; steel your mind
Be brave; hold your head up high
Unchain the shackles that bind

Run out the door; close it back tight
Look to the front; don’t turn back
Move those legs, with all your might
Once you’re out; never come back

Godspeed and good luck
May the heavens smile kindly
Upon your weathered soul
And bring you to safe haven swiftly

Khor Hui Min
10 June 2015

Dedication
This poem is dedicated to the long-suffering victims of human trafficking

Maybe

Wheeeee…. we are at the half-way point of the 2015 A to Z Challenge! 😀  For all participating bloggers, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. 🙂

For my 13th post for the  Blogging A to Z Challenge, I wrote a poem entitled MAYBE.

M is for MAYBE

Maybe

Maybe if we looked a certain way
People would take notice
So life would be less grey
It’ll just take a bit of practise

Maybe if we spoke in a trendy way
We would be more popular
That would make our day
Not as hard as pulling a molar

Maybe if we mixed with a certain crowd
Instantly, gain more respect
Enough to make us proud
Wouldn’t life be just perfect?

Maybe if we splurged on expensive things
To draw attention to our uppity tastes
Mustn’t forget the bling
It wouldn’t be merely a waste

Maybe if we joined a cliché or two
Dress and look just like them
And ape what they do
Feel like we can be sparkly gems

What if you max out your cards
Gold, diamond and platinum
Would they help clean up the shards
From your life gone wrong; or just play dumb?

Maybe you should try to be you
There’s nobody quite like you
Special, unique, custom-made
Your shining star will never fade

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
15 April 2015

A beautiful white lotus flower in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
A beautiful white lotus flower in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.