Thursday, July 03, 2008

To be or not to be

Our CEO announced a new round of promotion again yesterday evening. Why I said "again''? Because we've had a series of these announcements over the last month or so. A LOT of people have been promoted recently, deservingly or not, and most of them are newcomers.

In the latest round, two people from my office were promoted to GM, including my boss. And these two have just joined the company last year. I've no qualm about my boss's promotion, I think he deserves it, but the other guy... besides the fact he's very close to the Big Boss, I'm not sure how he got the promotion. I've been with the Company more than 8 years now, but not once have I been promoted. Not that I'm complaining, it's just that sometimes who you know speaks louder than what you know, if you know what I mean.

When I look back at my career path, I wonder if I'm really cut out for the corporate world. 8 years, but stagnant. Not moving. Sometimes people come and ask me, "Eh, kenapa diaorang tak promote you, ya? Dah lama you kat sini... bla.. bla... bla.." Ok, I get offended sometimes when I hear this but to me, it's a matter of choice. If you want a promotion, you have to earn it lah. Work hard or work smart or whatever lah. But in my case, I'm just plain lazy. Is that a crime?

I don't want the extra responsibilities, the extra headaches, the extra working hours that would stress you up as you move up the career ladder. As such, I'm quite happy with what I'm doing right now. My boss is pretty flexible with time, I get to come in late or go off early when I need to, and he's not very particular about office protocols as long as I get my job done. Although I may seem relaxed at work, I don't compromise on my work assignment ~ that's one thing I don't do. Whenever there's a job to be done, I'll do my best. There are days when I have to stay back late to finish off a project, I'll stay back and I don't complain either.

Sometimes when I read other people's blogs or hear from friends who are now Directors/CEOs/VPs/someone important in their organizations, I envy them. They negotiate deals, seal big contracts, make important decisions, run million dollar companies, travel the globe for business meetings... But me? I'm just sitting here quietly in my cubicle doing my usual 9-5 job. Pukul 6, I balik rumah. By 7pm, I'm usually at home already, playing with my little boy. I don't use a Blackberry or carry a notebook to check my e-mails from home. Everyone else does that, including my husband, but for me, work is work and home is home.

Does that make me any lesser as a woman? Should I aim higher and go for that VP seat? Should I change my mind set about work? Do I have to play a different ball game altogether?

No. My answer is no.

I asked my husband one day if he wanted me to be more successful in my career. You know, kan best kalau orang tanya, what does your wife do? "Oh, she's a VP at so and so.". He said to me, it's up to you.

I, for once, cannot imagine myself as a VP in a big corporation. It was never in my dream. Ok, I'm not ambitious, but that's my choice and I think it's ok. Yes, it would be nice to see my name printed on the business card like that, but given the many roles and responsibilities that come along with it, I don't think I want that. And yes, you get to mingle with VIPs and high net worth people, and see your photos in Tatler or whatever, but I think can live without that.

And the money? Well... yes, I can do with a lot more money, but if it means having to sacrifice my time with the family, I think I can forgo that. I'm not good at juggling two things at a time. I know if I go for my career, my family will suffer. Either way, someone will get hurt. So, again it's a matter of choice.

But I'm happy for those friends or people I know who have made it to the top. I'm very envious of them infact! But I know I can never be in their shoes because 1) the size doesn't fit, 2) i don't feel comfortable in it, and 3) that's not my kind of shoes. Mine may not be a pair of Jimmy Choo's but they still make me happy wearing them...


Anonymous said...


Yet again i totally agree with you.

For me, a promotion would be a bonus, but the most important thing is appreciation of the work I do. That alone makes me happy.

Its like being a mom, we know what our roles and duties are, tak perlu dpt mother of the year award but warm hugs and kisses and thank yous are always welcome.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I am a working mom of 4 kids, ranging from 5 to 12 years old. Everyday, I go home at 5.30, only once in a blue moon I may have to stay back. I make sure the kids do what they're supposed to do. My hubby has a demanding job and the family will suffer if I am ambitious too..well, at least that's what I'm telling myself!

Sometimes, being human, I do get envious but only for a short while, of friends who are doing so well in their career. Most of these friends have a good support system from their parents or in laws so they don't worry when they have to work late.

Mrs N, even if you don't get a promotion this time, I think you are a superb woman..just like me..ha..ha.


MrsNordin said...


I suppose I haven't been showing my full potential here. I know if I want that promotion, I can get it. But that's not what I want.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm saying this just to make me feel better about not being promoted? I don't know...

Some people get so worked out when they don't get the promotion. Perhaps they've worked hard, perhaps they want that recognition.. tapi I tak rasa macam tu pulak. That's why I rasa pelik kadang2 tu. Why am I so contented with life?

MrsNordin said...


We can be superb in many ways, right? Superb at work, at home, in bed, singing, dancing, cooking... the list is endless. Just choose! But whether you choose to become a career woman or a homemaker, no one should pass judgement at your decision.

Hurray for going home at 5.30!! Hee.. hee...

wanshana said...

Hi-5, BJ!!!

I do get remarks like, "How come you're JUST a lecturer, huh?! You were one of the best students in school dulu, kan? etc.

Alahai...tak kuasa!

Anyway, if you were to check my tagline, it says : "I'm truly, madly, deeply in love with the life I chose..."

And I truly am!

So, there! ;p

MrsNordin said...


Best student ke, tak best student ke, ultimately it's what makes us happy that matters the most.

Sometimes I wonder juga how come I'm so de-motivated now, don't want to become The Best again like how I used to be. Have I lost it? Did I miss the opportunity? I don't know...

If I wanted to blame the age factor, ada juga orang yang sama age dgn kita who still make it to become the CEO or CFO. They still have the drive. Children? Ada juga orang yang ramai anak but still doing very well in their careers.

So I think, we just don't want it. That's all. And that's fine, really.

Hope said...


I think you have the balance all right. You are a wonderful wife, mother and stepmother. We all make choices in our lives that hopefully will make us happy. I envy you and your time with your family -it sounds so blissful.

Me-I had that once and I lost them. Not because I was chasing my career but for different reasons. I gave so much and in the end, it was not appreciated.

Now, my solace are my career and kids. I realise now I am happier this way- even with all late hours and globe trotting but more importantly being a woman in a man's job. It gave me satisfaction I need.

But my luck - I have a very supportive 2nd husband now who is the pillar behind it all.

You may not get your work promotion but you are highly promoted in your family's life!!

Madam Tai Tai said...

BJ, you have a misconception of yourself. You are not lazy, that I can vouch. When all of us dah tak larat to further our studies, you actually quit your lucrative job and did your MBA.

Kalau you think you are a person who is not ambitious, so why do you want to push yourself academically? What was the MBA for then? I don't think you really wanted another certificate to decorate your walls with, right?

Maybe you don't care much for promotion because your current job isn't your vocation in life. Perhaps a career in education is more your calling. You've always indicated an interest in it.

Like I selalu cakap - don't sell yourself short. You know you are able and capable to be more than what you are now. It's just not your choice. So there...and be happy with it.

I, for one, am envious of you. To me you are a high-flying career lady. Always dressed smartly and look wonderfully professional.

If you want to look at a person who is without any ambition nor successful in her career - just look at me now, ok. So kesian kan lah I ni..

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs Nordin,

I am one of your many silent readers. Whenever I read your blog, I seem to always have something to say but in the end never do. But this posting has evoke some very strong emotions within me with regards to career women nowadays.

I agree with all the above especially with Busybody!! I work full time and have 4 children, ages ranging from 9 to 14 months!! And my husband has a very demanding job which leaves me with the runnings af A to Z for the family. Many of my colleagues have climbed and reached the career ladder in the profession I've chosen. I am still at the bottom of the ladder.

Why? It is just not me.....simple. I use to be very ambitious, the best studentlah, best ni lah. But over the years, children and family changed my priority. And I discovered that I am not that type of person. I would be very miserable if I chose career over my family. There are more important things in life than money!! Of course everyone wants a comfortable life, but hey if my husband can afford the life we have now, I wouldn't mind resigning.

Sorry, terpanjang pulak my comment long as you are happy that is all that matters. To me seeing the wide grin on my baby's face when I get home is enough to melt away the day's hard work.

And I don't have any Jimmy Choo's either.....would love one but I think my feet are too fat!! Hahaha!!

Mom of 4

MrsNordin said...

Hi Hope,

You are actually one of the reasons for this posting. :)

When I read about your success at work, clinching deals, travelling the globe, ahh... I asked my self, why can't I be like her? I envy you. You've made it in the man's world. Not here, but in London. Wow... that's a major achievement, I would say.

Sometimes, I feel embarrassed with myself when I read about others who have really done well in their career. Maybe I should have pushed myself further, I don't know...

But when some people here say they envy me for what my life is right now, then perhaps what I'm doing is the right thing after all. I just need that affirmation, I guess..

And now, as for you my dear, go and chase that dream job and prove to them all that you are just as capable as they are in the man's world. If it makes you happy, it'll surely make me happy too, to know that you can make it to the top. Good luck!

MrsNordin said...


You, not ambitious? Among our friends, I'd say you are the most ambitious of the lot. Remember when you were still working? You always strived to be the best. You always got upset when people sidelined you or treated you unfair at work. I wouldn't really bother.

You are what you are today because of your choice. And it is a GOOD choice! If you ever decided to work again, I'm very sure you'd fly high again, like how you used to be. So, don't feel bad about being a Tai Tai, ok? Many people envy you, tau?!

Hey, I'm not a high-flyer lah, far from it. I may dress up like one, but the truth is, I'm just an ordinary employee at that place.

By the way, I had a lovely time today. Thanks! The movie was great, huh? Remind me of those years when we used to watch soppy movies together... :)

MrsNordin said...

Mom of 4,

Tulis lah panjang2 pun tak apa... actually I enjoy reading people's comments... :)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feel this way about my choice in life. Ada ramai juga orang yang share the same sentiment on this, ya? Great!

Now, if we want to analyse this further, is it true to say that those who did very well in school, sekarang ni prefer to choose family over career? (Hope, you're excluded). Or, looking at it from a different angle, those who didn't do very well in school are now high-flyers in their job?

Just think about it... Have a nice day!

Kmar said...


I lagi teruk laa... end up being a housewife.. pff.. I gave up a well paid job-offer and terpaksa terima hakikat to be a housewife.. ikut hubby la.. move to another country. At that time, I dok terfikir nak jadi weekend-wife/husband. I am happy with my decision that we stick together.

He doesn´t mind me working but he did mentioned before I resigned ... ´I can afford You´ (he meant in a sweet way... means I am free to work or not to work, we have enough income to cover the expenses).

At first bersemangat nak cari kerja part-time... then bila dah ada kids.. terus jadi malas.

I selalu envy dengan my friends yang have good positions in companies. At the same time, I am proud of them.

As for me, I rasa I can agree with Shana´s tagline.. ¨.. in love with the life I choose...¨ he.he.he..

Anonymous said...

Out of my thought and into your blog! Aptly written, and you did a much better job of it than I ever would.
Like you, I too am happy to leave my work at work. I even refused a laptop - I don't want to take my work home. There are times when I had to work late or on the weekends - and I would just go to the office and finished what I had to do.

I am home most days by 5:00 PM, dinner on the table by 6:30. My husband takes care of the kid in the morning, and I pick him up in the afternoon. There are times when I feel envious of the stay at home moms - they get to watch their children grow and witness all the childhood firsts! My husband, however, told me long time ago that he doesn't want a stay at home wife - and he has been supportive and doesn't expect me to do everything at home. He sometimes cooks and does laundry himself.

I think each one of us has to find the right balance between home and career. I am sure your children will cherish the time you spent with them!

MA & Brood said...

To me personally it boils down to rezeki and passion.

Rezeki doesn't always have to be translated into monetary nor material gains - but how you give your thanks to wonderful things bestowed to you in your (own) life. Be it a SAHM (stay at home mom), a globe trotting executive, or even a Tai Tai. It's how you feel passionate about your own life and all you have.You must a passion doing what you currently do to equate that with *success*.

The grass is always greener on the other side. Don't worry about it. I don't envy people with husbands (for example) cos I am very contented with what my life brings and all the happiness I can make out of what I have.

I may struggle a little bit with what I don't have, but hey, I always make the best of what I have.

IBU said...

Hallo BJ

It's 4.40 am, am waiting for Subuh prayer.yeahhhhh....right! Was 'disturbed' just now (if you know what I mean....hahaha...) and couldn't sleep thereafter. so... here I am. but it's true...sat lagi subuh, so might as well..

Anyway, just to share my thoughts at this wee hour. I think what we are, where we are, how we do, has got to do with the life choices that we made. Tomorrow may be different, if (and only if) we decide to choose something else than we used to. If we expect different a result or different things to happen to us /come our way, but continue to do the same thing day in day out - that's called "insanity". hehehh...

Above all this, what we hope to achieve, either something better or status quo, is subject to what's written for us. I believe, for as long as we are clear in our mind of what we what we want to achieve in our life, and work towards it with utmost sincerity, the results would be there, insyaAllah eventually. And I say 'eventually' because it could be within our lifetime OR that of our descendants. I know my mom & dad work very hard to raise us when we were small. They did not enjoy much of life worthy desires back then, but they see the fruits of their loom in the success of their children and grandchildren today. That's what I meant as 'eventually'.

Different people have different motivation and ambition in life. Some have more 'luck' than others in different ways. Some maybe successful in their careers, but suffer the utmost in their family life. Some have bliss and happiness in their family life albeit a much lower combined household income. Some managed to achieve the much desired equilibrium - but that is not a mere coincindence, it's achieved only with focus, dedication and a clear and careful choices in mind. At the end of the day, again ... it's the choice that we make each day for today, tomorrow & thereafter.

As for me, I am quite clear of what I want in life and hereafter. And have been and still am working towards it.

To Shana - I think the best students most often make some of the best lecturers. Ya lahhh...kalau orang macam I yg malas nak siap homework and malas segala ni selain dari main jeerrrrr masa kat sekolah tu, cam mana la nak jadi lecturer? Bagai ketam menyuruh anak nya berjalan straight. Kesian students!! And remember, it is one of the greatest profession in this world. The reward comes in multiple successes, via the future successes of those you teach and guide.

And Kmar, you know they always say, the grass is always greener at the other side of the fence? I yg kerja ni pulak sgt envy dgn 'housewives' who have all the luxury of this commodity called time for their home, children, husband and ...cats!

There you go... my morning lecture series. Maybe after this, boleh belajar jadi pakar motivasti mcm Dr Mashitah... hmmm.... Dr Ibu? Cool.... But do i want to make that choice of going back to 'school' and slog through the books over again? Alahai.... I may not be tough enough for that. (Tabik spring kat Shana at this juncture). So I think I'm pretty clear of my choice for the time being. Hehehehe.....

Great morning ahead, y'all!! First choice of the day - nak masak nasi lemak ker? Or nak beli roti canai? All in your hand. Or your kids, really. hehehh..

Dalam Dakapan Ibu said...

I feel contented with what I have in life now. I don't pursue a higher post in my org. When it comes, it comes. Bukan tak ada ambition, cuma I feel I don't want a higher resposibility.. that's why I don't seek one. Kalau dapat promotion tu.. alhamdulillah...

My hubby? Well, that's different. Let him climb the corporate ladder. I'm always happy if he gets a promotion. The deeper the pocket, the better.. he..he..

It's not a crime for not wanting more, right? That's exactly how I feel. I do what's assigned to me on time. I'd stay back if that's what needed of me.

Eh MrsN... are we in the same org? He..he.. my company is forever in the restructuring business... We're currently waiting for the new org chart..

MrsNordin said...


Your husband said "I can afford you"? Well then, no need to work. Stay home mum actually lagi banyak kerja lah... That's why I still opt to keep my office work! Hee.. hee...

MrsNordin said...


From your blog, I figured you're just like me. Work is work, home is home. Welcome to the club!

MrNordin also said he doesn't want a stay home wife. I, too, don't want to become one becoz I know I'll feel miserable. I tak larat buat house work... letih lah!

MrsNordin said...

Hi MA,

It's true... we must have passion in whatever we do, and make the best of what we have. Then we'll find satisfaction. Thanks for your word of wisdom!

But I respect you, lah. Single mum with 3 kids, but flying high in your career. Sometimes, when we are pushed into that kind of situation, then we'll truly see our own potential, which may turn out to be better than what we were before. Well done!

MrsNordin said...


Thanks for your thoughts. Really appreciate it. "Subuh" thoughts like that are usually very deep and meaningful coz your mind is VERY clear! Hee.. hee...

Yeah, you can try and become Dr Ibu. People will listen to you!

MrsNordin said...


I've not seen your pic, so I don't know if we work in the same org. Mine is a telco. Yours??

Maya said...

i used to be ambitious..but it change along with priorities.. still can live happily even without so called cita-cita..i'm not willing to sacrifice life values for job..
yang penting happy and self content :)

Kmar said...


YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!.. kerja rumah tak habis-habis.

Eta My said...

Hi Bj....

Senang cerita..rezeki masing-masing kita dapat dalam bentuk yang berbeza...sangat berbeza dan pada sesetengah orang..damai yang lebih penting...Since each and every one of us is unique..maka..pengisian jawatan juga mengikut kemampuan dan kehendak...hendak seribu daya...seperti patik di sini..keleja di rumah memang tak pernah habis...kekadang rasa best kalu boleh escape...but don't despair...kalu pun saiz/harga kasut tak sama tapi boleh letak/pakai kasut kat mana-mana lagi happy ape...(ape la yang di merepek ni...)
Tata!!U've been great what!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs Nordin,

I personally don't think how well you do at school reflects how well you do later in life. At school, most people equate good results/education to a good job. But we all know that is not true don't we? Many very successful people didn't have the results to reflect their success.

I agree with many readers who commented above. Circumstances is a good predictor, personality too. When we are in a good, stable relationship with children included, it is quite natural to want a balance between family and career.

Kalau anak seorang, dua maybe can hold a high flying job and still have some time for the family. But kalau macam my husband and I, who love a big family, impossible I think. I am a determined person in whatever I choose to do, hence I want to be a good mother or a good whatever my chosen profession.

Some of my classmates who are shall I say at the top of their career, are either single or married with no children. Or married to non-malay men, who are generally less demanding than Malay men. Ooops, I may have opened another can of worms here!!But this my personal opinion.

Anyway, I shall continue another time. Sorry to stop here, ada lagi I nak cerita ni....kena gi hantar my daughter for her swimming lesson.

Take care you too!!

Mom of 4

Superwomanwannabe said...

Hi J- a few points

1. you are a highflyer even if you sit around makan koci and pakai baju kain guni. You always give your best whatever you do. Dont sweat your career choices. the way i see it, you are happy.

2. Working at home -150% more tiring than working at the office. Working at home AFTER working at the office- mak datuk.

Im also going that can be with family mah. And also my girlfriends. heh heh. the really really important things in life become clearer at age 40!

MrsNordin said...

Hi Maya,

Thanks for dropping by.


Keleja rumah memang tak pernah habis. Lagi penat woo! At work, you are mentally tired; at home ~ both mentally AND physically!

MrsNordin said...

Mom of 4,

I agree with you that how well we do in school doesn't guarantee how well we do later in life. I think, it's more of passion and giving our best in whatever we choose to do that determine how satisfied we are with our lives.

It takes a certain kind of people who can juggle work and family very well, and they are the ones at the top who I envy. But I suppose, that comes with a lot of sacrifices and headaches too, and I don't think I need that.

Have a nice day!

MrsNordin said...


You are another high-flyer friend! What with your kids and chaotic lifestyle, who still managed to carve a name in the legal fraternity. While you have switched jobs 2, 3 x since you left this company, I'm still stuck here. What does that say about me?

But if what you said is true, ie. "even if I sit around makan kuaci" pun, I'm still a high-flyer, so be it. I'm happy and hurray! for thinking of me that way! Thanks!

Superwomanwannabe said...

J - you said "While you have switched jobs 2, 3 x since you left this company, I'm still stuck here. What does that say about me?" says that you are a loyal valued employee!

(although actually you have moved too, diff departments and diff bosses)

Anonymous said...


When I first came back from UK I wanted to do this and be that. But all that changed when I got my first child. And now after 5 children, I find sheer joy knowing that my 10 year old son could do his math equation correctly and 14 year old daughter was selected to be in her school's debating team..

I carry out my work well, take pride in it, however, home is where I want to be after 7.00. I can tell you no one will reaward or appreciate you more than your children.


MrsNordin said...

Hi Yani!

Finally, a comment from you.

I think, our feelings on this are mutual. Children take over our priorities in life and I think, that's ok.

But one thing for sure, if you want that top post, i know you can get it, if you want to. Otherwise, kita tengok je lah gambar2 dia orang ni kat the new org. chart, ya? :)

Anonymous said...


Maybe I'll swell when I take over Haq's firm, when he retires, ha ha ha...