Quietly honest

A new job. A new environment, culture and expectations.

My DiSC results showed a high reluctance for conflict. However, conflict is inevitable to varying degrees when working with people of different characters.

Generalising here when I say that the Asian culture promotes sweeping issues under the rug to promote a surface of harmony. It would have been easy to brush the friction aside.

I quietly raised conflicting issues early. Nothing deal-breaking. After a lot of reflection, the root of the issue dawned on me. I reflected again, discussed the issue with trusted people and wrote it out to check my thought process.

As I write this, the stages of explaining have begun. Forgive the lack of details as it is a case still unravelling.

This is penned down as a milestone reminder. That I am being as openly honest as possible. That this is an incredibly uncomfortable task as it goes against how I operate, yet I realise it is necessary. It could cost me, but living my life as honestly as possible is what I strive for.

Intentionally weird

This is an actual commercial that ran on national television. It features two animated furry animals with bulging eyes and a mouth full of bare teeth. One is wearing a black bowler hat. The other was wearing the kind of hat that old-timey sea captains used to wear and it’s playing an acoustic guitar. They’re singing about Quiznos sandwiches, while bopping around over footage of the subs coming out of an oven.

It’s like this memorable horrific advertising campaign. It’s almost an assault, like in a way. And I remember just seeing him be like, what the hell was that? Like what just happened? And I like immediately loved it. Sometimes there’s these flashpoints where weird underground stuff finds its way to popular culture and the mainstream gets like a little exposure to it.

Creativity magazine, which is a big industry magazine, covered it and the creative director who reviewed it said something very interesting. “On the surface this just seems like a bunch of crazy maybe gross creatures, you know being funny,” but he says, “You look at this work. This campaign is brilliant retail advertising. The client’s store name, the logo is on the screen the entire time. Characters, they’re not just singing a funny song. They’re singing about the sub and that they’re toasted and they then show the toaster and the sandwich is going through the toaster and then they’re talking about the price of the sandwiches. This is brilliant.”

Listen to the podcast talking about the story of how this Quiznos ad got made.

Why I’m not playing Harry Potter Wizards Unite

With the release of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Other Half and a whole bunch of friends started playing it.

When prior Niantic games, Ingress and Pokemon Go, launched, the Other Half and I launched into intense playing — spreadsheets, a Tableau visualisation posted on Reddit, community events, etc. Go Big or Go Home, is our modus operandi.

Time spent on both Ingress and Pokemon Go has since decreased to almost nil.

With this launch, things were different. I flatly refused to even download the application, knowing that it would be a massive time sink. Time that I could not spare as due to other priorities.

It has been slightly lonely (or FOMO), watching the Other Half excitedly discussing the game with friends. While he would like us to play the game together, he understands why I do what I do.

We both agree that time should be spent wisely and right now, it’s divided between ramping up my career, health and spending time with him.

Short-term versus long-term.

My worry is that for all this surface progress, we still have so much farther to go before the law and the courts catch up. No federal laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment. No federal laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing. No federal laws protecting LGBTQ people from access to public amenities. Yet this perception of equality persists. It’s like, “Look, we gave you people marriage. And YouTube turned its logo rainbow. You’re good now, right?”

I just have a beef with the precarious place we find ourselves as queer people. We are suddenly seen as more accepted than we really are. And while it’s always good to be thought of nicely, it would be even better if we were equal.

Thank you Dorothy

Tracking job applications for metrics

In a past iteration of tracking job applications, I kept an uber long note in Simplenote, with simple information like:

  1. Job title
  2. Company
  3. Link to job posting
  4. Date of application

In this iteration of applications, I decided something had to change and decided to spreadsheet the applications. Since the Internetz has probably done it, I decided to not start afresh.

Zen Ren, from Zapier, really knocked it out of the park with this fantastic article.

The biggest thing I changed this time was realizing that, much like a real job, I had to track my work and pin down what was efficient for me and what wasn’t, and keep re-adjusting my strategy. Reading a hundred guides on how to write a standout resume or kill it at an interview wasn’t going to help me if my application strategy was all wrong.

By focusing on the tactics I was using and tracking numbers, I could quickly fine-tune what was working and cut out tasks that were wasting time with no results.

As for me, I had a lot of soft skills across diverse industries, which can be tough. Because of this, I had three resumes that I had tailored for the three different kinds of jobs I was applying to: Sales Management, Business Operations Analyst, and Tier 1 Support.

Amen. I too was applying to different types of roles that suited different resumes, and yet it was getting really time consuming to tailor my resume to every single role.

Hope this helps someone and good luck to you too!

Not an animal person

My family never had a pet. Not counting the koi that we were gifted that quickly met their demise via the neighbourhood cat and an overflowing pond.

On the other hand, the Other Half always had many pet cats in his life.

I was uncomfortable with animals. Petting them on the heads or backs was fine. No belly rubs, scratches under chin and if the animal so as much playfully swiped at me, I was outta there.

In stark contrast, the Other Half would be merrily attempting to pet and carry every stray cat we saw.

When we got our own place, he hopefully mentioned that perhaps we could have pet cats in the future. I declined vehemently, saying that I didn’t think I would ever be ready for a pet.

For about a year plus after that, I got to know Flapper Choo and his brothers and sisters. Almost weekly, I met and played (swam) with Flapper and Frodo, both huge dogs weighing slightly over 30kg.

Due to their size and weight, they easily came up past my waist and could just as easily knock me down. What really helped to ease my discomfort was how well they had been trained. They were so well-behaved, quiet and listened to instructions.

Flapper was also an exceptionally clever dog which greatly impressed me.

Meeting them regularly helped me to understand their different personalities and quirks, endearing me to them.

However, that was insufficient for me agreeing to have a pet.

One day, Flapper’s and Frodo’s owner sent the Other Half a picture of a rescued cat.

She felt that the cat’s temperament would suit me, a first time pet owner.

We went to visit the cat and upon seeing the Other Half, he trotted over and plonked himself right into the Other Half’s lap. I smiled and patted the Other Half’s head, announcing that both boys were very happy.

It took us awhile before finally agreeing to adopt the cat, renamed, Tyrael1.


1. We used to play Diablo