Saturday, August 26, 2006

Greenhorns Part II

Ok, I promised this long entry about work. Expect 3000 words, so get a sandwich and coffee ok. =)

Note: Reading the entire entry in one seating will cause involuntarily spasms, and whatever brain cells you have will shrivel and dry up like little raisins. Please dont attempt to commit suicide by reading this entry. It is bad, but NOT THAT BAD!

This entry is here mainly because I want to document the event. You can always scroll away, I welcome that. =)

You just keep referring back to the namelist ok, because I think it will get confusing.

I had a confirmed project beginning of this month - lets just call it ProjN for convenience sake - and I was quite excited because well, it is my first confirmed project and this project was almost solely done by me (partly because the project is the size of a sesame, hee).

You should be able to imagine how attached I am to this project and I really want to do a good job for my clients - AP, GI, KR. They are very kind people and willing to give me a chance when I made mistake at the project.

Once the project was confirmed, I had to go through with the clients the different laminate colours, paint colours and etc used in the design, and make changes if they prefer something else.

Also, I have to liase between the site work and paper documentations, as well as update the design changes, confirm stock for everything I ordered, and keep clients informed of the project's progress.

I have to do all the above while I continue to push my design proposals for other projects.

Trust me when I say I cant handle, I am really not joking. I feel like I am being torn into pieces when each and everyone of them demands my attention at the same time.

Ok, the story:

Once the project is confirmed, fc begins to take a back seat for this project, giving me the reason as that it is the company procedure that during the proposal stage the sales and design team has to work together, but once project is confirmed, it would be the design and project (site) team working together.

(Quite straightforward, you guys dont need a diagram for this right?)

But honestly I am not very confident of taking over the project because I am so new in the job. Usually during earlier meetings, fc will be the one speaking, and leaving me to explain the design bit only.

He will be answering all the other technical questions that client posed and I would just take note and rethink my design later.

But the moment he took a step back, it was now between me and bt, and I cant trust bt to direct the meeting, so I just have to hold the fort no matter how difficult I found it to be.

Of course I will not show my nervousness in front of fc if I can help it, cos if he decides to leave the project for me to handle, I cant possibly act like a wimp even if I feel like one.

When I have to hold the meeting, I would send out emails to everyone involved, then in the email I will clearly state the agenda of the meeting so that anyone can review and add to the list of issues that they want to bring up.

(Typing out emails to clients calms me down as I ponder over the use of words and emoticons. That is the best part of the job yet.)

Just before the first meeting, sl called me and requested that I help him collect 3 documents, 2 forms and a chq deposit for him for the electrical account.

I didnt know why is it my job, but since he asked me to do it, obviously it must had been that it is the norm, so I told him ok.

Bt wasnt around, so I left a note to ask him, and when he returned, I went to ask him how, specifically, that I should go about collecting the needed stuff.

He vaguely told me we will pass the forms to the client on the next meeting and get the forms completed and that's all. There would be nothing to be worried about.

It was good that he had so much self assurance, but I was hardly convinced. But I cant possibly distrust my own team mates, so I agreed. I asked him then, should he be the one asking the clients about the forms or should I be the one?

(I felt it should be him, cos these are supposed to be site forms what.)

He replied 'Ok lor, I will ask the client, but you help me keep all the forms.'

I accepted his suggestion, and I took back all the forms and prepare to collate them into a file, together with the material selections, and whole set of drawings, for next day's meeting.


The meeting was quite a nightmare. Bt basically shoots his mouth off at every chance that he have. The moment he realised the clients are from britian, he begins to ask them about soccer, as though everyone must like beckham or bergkamp.

The clients are too polite to stop him, so they engaged in silly soccer talk, and then the atmosphere became unbearably awkward because I dont know much about soccer to participate in their conversation.

AP and KR obviously felt it was rude to leave me out of their small talk, hence they tried to stop talking about soccer in hope that bt catch the hint. He doesnt.

I practically had to act like a kindergarten teacher, clapping hands together to get the toddler's attention, and amicably lead them to another activity.

I breezed through my design stuff quite easily with some technical input from bt, and then when bt started (or I thought he was going to start) to go through the forms, I really froze in my seat.

He just pass the whole stack of forms to the clients, and even gave them the note I gave him the day earlier, and told the client to read the note themselves, pass us the necessary documents and complete the forms.

AP looked totally bewildered and glanced at me but I hadnt reacted from my shock yet. The moment I snapped from my shock, I apologised to the clients and took over explaining what the forms are about. AP asked me why I didnt tell him earlier that the documents are needed, because if I had, he would had brought them along to the meeting already.

We concluded that we will settle the forms the next time we meet.

(Honestly, I thought about it the previous day but bt was so assuring that I disregard that thought. Sigh, one should really depend on herself.)

AP got over it very quickly, and we ended the meeting after making sure we went through every item on the agenda.

After I saw AP and KR to the door, I went to bt's table and checkecd with him who is to keep these forms this time round, and again, he told me to.

saw the whole exchange and was pissed that bt was asking me do something that was his jobscope. But I didnt want to make a scene, so I calm ec down and told him nevermind and I would just hold on to the forms.


Before the second meeting, I wrote out an email to everyone to outline the agenda. AP replied with many questions regarding electrical setting up and I informed bt to ask sl to attend the meeting too.

Sl agreed.

Before the meeting commence, AP and I were already seated and we were waiting for bt and sl to join us. When bt did, I asked him to give sl a call to hurry him. Bt didnt answer me but began engaging small talk with AP regarding soccer again!

When AP was finally visibly frustrated over the soccer talk, he turned to me and asked me who are we waiting for. I told him we are waiting for the electrical vendor and bt just nonchalantly say sl isnt coming because he is held up by another project.

Just imagine how irritated I was. Couldnt either of them inform me earlier, and not in front of the client? I trusted that they will notify me if they had issues, but apparently they do not care.

During the meeting, AP revealed that one of the needed document was with the landlord and I phoned sl to asked him what should I do now? He advised that I ask the client to call the landlord for the letter but I felt I shouldnt be asking client to do all these if our company wants to claim to be 'one-stop-servicing'.

He said if I want, I can call the landlord myself and I decided that it is only correct that I do so.

Also, AP asked about some network cabling question which I had originally meant for sl to answer. But since he isnt around, I told AP I will check things out and email him a reply.

Eventually, when I called the landlord, she explained that there was another electrical letter that would authorise us to apply for electricity and etc. I asked her whether she is holding the letter, she said no, and informed the letter had been passed to the client.

I told bt that, and asked bt if he had the letter. Bt denied. I asked him does the electrical people hold the letter? He didnt think so but he called and check. They say no.

I asked him, then, what about the network cabling? Bt told me to check with fc? I was confused, I told him ok (as I thought fc might be able to give me a better picture).

I called AP to asked him about the electrical letter, and he said he will check, and once he found it he will send me a scanned copy.

Next I caught up with fc and asked him about the network cabling. He gave me a weird look and asked me why am I asking him when it should be the project's jobscope. I was really sick of being volleyed around, so I expressed dissatisfaction and asked him now what?

He told me to check with ec.

Ec was evidently amused over my irritation, and he went through the stuff with me, explaining each aspect. I complained to him that I dont know all these and everyone is just referring me to someone else (except himself)!!!

I told him I know I dont have the electrical/network knowledge and hence I asked sl to come but he didnt. Nobody wants to assist me!

(I would have complained more if not for that I need to go to the project site. Bt promised to go but he forgot about it. What the!)


I fell sick and didnt turn up for work on wednesday. I spent time worrying about the project and I wished I could check email from home.


Despite being on mc, I decided to go back to work on thursday morning to straighten out issues on the project. I practically staggered there as the wool in my head was staged riots.

The moment I reached office, I checked my email, and AP had replied to my query, and he informed the said letter is with fc.

I spun around and asked fc whether he had the letter. He said yes and he had already passed the letter to ao (sl's boss in case you are too lazy to refer to the namelist).

I roared!

I smack my table and I complaint out loud that why do they say they dont have it in the first place?!? Fc heard me out on the whole story and he sighed (as though he is the one experiencing the mess) disgustedly. He told me he will settle the issues with the electrical contractors.

drafted out long letter to ao to say he doesnt wish such things to happen again. So what? I was the one who needed to apologise to the client eventually.

"Hi AP,

I've checked with fc and the letter was indeed with him. He had since passed them to the electrical vendors. I am sorry to waste your time to look for the letter when it had been with us all these while.

With apologies,
This apology letter was cc-ed to everyone, so that all the colleagues realised I am taking the fucking rap. Fc sent me an email to calm me down, and told me the apology letter was well drafted. He mean that I hadnt started any finger-pointing and had expressed responsibility in the entire issue.

As if I wanted to take the rap. Bleah.

Ec called me after that and told me in future if they - meaning bt, sl, ao - were to dump things on me again I am to tell him immediately so that he can settle things for me.

He said it is not fair that they are all pushing work to me when he himself hadnt even begin to bully me.

Hahaha. Luckily for ec, if not I have no idea how do I survive the job.

If only ec is assigned to this project in place of bt. Bt isnt all bad, but he is just as new as me and he cant solve the problems that I have. Sigh, greenhorns shouldnt be grouped together.

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