“Quitting while you are ahead….
Is not the same as quitting…”
Is not the same as quitting…”
So says the Vietnam Drug Lord to Denzel Washington in the show American Gangster.
It’s with ang-ku-kueh typicality that I should be so inspired, not by the Dalai Lama, not by Gandhi, not even by Obama, but rather a Hollywood film featuring 1 bad guy sprouting words of wisdom to another bad guy, who soon will end up in jail for ‘murdering the young of America’ during the 80s.
But it’s true, I’m throwing in the towel. I’m giving up. It’s been 7 months since I shifted to the new workplace and now I’ll be moving on again. I think its kind of pathetic, to admit that hey, you really can’t take this kind of work/working environment/boss/office politics etc etc,. Its like that 10-km Nike Human Race that I joined. I ran and ran and ran and I thought, I should have ran about halfway already…and then seeing the huge banner flapping happily at me, ‘you hit 2km! 8 more to go!’ That sinking feeling from the heart to the tummy is simply relentless!
Or the time I studied a whole week and all night just for a simple math test in JC. Getting so stressed my butt-cheeks clenched and I couldn’t sit down. Going to the 24-h clinic at 12 midnight while the doc spend 5 min poking my butt and shaking his head. Then turning down his offer to give me 2 days’ MC so I can skip the test. And finally doing my test in the sickroom perched right at the edge of the chair.
And yet not only failing the test, but failing it so miserably. It just makes you cry, man.
Which was basically which I did when I got another job. I cried like a miserable sod becos I was so strung up and out by my workplace. It drowned me, tumbled me, then wrung me out and hung me in the sun to dessicate.
I thought Public sector was bureaucratic, but wow, I tell you from the bottom of my heart, this place is much worse. I knew something was wrong when my dad ended up in ICU and my boss refused to let me leave because a work emergency cropped up. That was at 7.30pm in the evening. It’s not late, but by the time I could leave my work, my mum told me to go home cos visiting hrs are over.
I stopped eating for a period because eating make me sleepy and I couldn’t afford to relax. It was a steady stream of concentration from start to finish. I even stopped drinking fluids because every second counts. I was fasting from 9am to 10pm and yet at the end of the day, I had cleared only a tenth of the shit the predecessor had left.
My skin condition started failing. I was getting rashes and breakouts along my neck. I started having panic attacks again. I think about my deadlines all the time. Everyone tells me to relax and let go of my work. But I couldn’t! Every deadline is money, every missed deadline is $400 a pop, no negotiations, no mercy. How I wish I could just scream a colourful string of expletives and just do what I can during office hours, and let go at the end of the day. But I cannot, probably because I take things too seriously, much like that Math test. So I was working minimum 10 hour days and constantly high-strung.
Now I know why some ppl can get heart attack at work.
So one day I finally admitted defeat and say, ‘I think I’ve had enough.’ I had been crying during work because of work, hiding in my cubicle and saying I’ve got a cold, something which I never thought I will be doing. Pride had been roundly beaten up and tortured enough that it is now shakily waving a white flag. Arrogance had been backed into a corner by Fear and now whimpers sorry sorry sorry….
How hard it was to admit defeat.
The hard work has paid off though. The portfolio is almost finally cleansed and the dirt from the 3 predecessors (staying power: 1 year; 3 months ; 2 weeks) is dwindling, what was once a massive gigantic nuclear bomb the size to hit Hiroshima is now a mere embassy-hostage situation. My boss now discovers my full potential as the mighty oxen, the employee who never says no, who never complains, who never misses a deadline even when her dad was carted into NUH.
How hard it is to admit that even as I turned the portfolio around and made it well again, I don’t want to stay and I don’t want to continue in this line of work.
How hard it is to admit that, yes, given just another month, I can wrestle my work to become more manageable, everything will turn out better, but I refuse to stay because I hate those deadlines.
It’s that kind of heart-sinking feeling that the miles that you ran, on and on and on……it seemed like a hundred years, but it was barely 6 months- a blimp in the life of a person.
So yah…. taking the quote of Mr Vietnam Drug Lord
“Quit while you are ahead…”
It ain’t the same, man, as quitting, but boy did it sure feel like it.
So now the new place…..well…definitely there’s no where to go but up.
Busy busy! You guys take care!
Ang Ku Kueh