Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Good job!

My work life and study life has been bordering on stressful in the last few days. Usually stress doesn't get to me, so if I'm feeling this way, I guess I am really stressed. The new responsibilities at work, my term papers and presentations at university, plus my dissertation (which my supervisor remarked was written in too 'interesting' a style to be an academic paper, so I am now actually working on making it 'less interesting'), my exams which are a few weeks away, are really bogging me down.

Last week, I had a term paper meeting after class. The class ended at 9:30 pm. The meeting ended at 10:30 pm. By the time I got from NTU to Paya Lebar station from where I was to take a bus home, it was almost midnight. The realisation that it was almost the next day, and that I was closer to work than to my home, almost made me cry. I felt like I'd have crashed at the train station if I had a sleeping bag or a tent with me.

As I waited for the bus that would take me home, I felt really miserable.

Bus stop. Misery.

Suddenly, I had a feeling of deja vu.

And I thought to myself - what am I complaining about? This was any day better than that.

So what was that? That was the last time I'd been so miserable.

I had quit my first crappy job and was on a job-hunt that seemed endless and futile. When I'd got the first job, I'd been so proud - I was one of the first people in my batch to bag a job. I was gonna graduate in July, and I already had a job in April. A high paying one at that. I patted myself on my back.

But then, the things we celebrate the most come back and head-butt us. So did this job. (You can read details here if you want). So I quit. Because self-respect certainly seemed bigger than income to me.

After applying for various kinds of jobs, I started to get really frustrated. I was down to 100 bucks. It was the first time I felt so jealous of Singaporeans. If I'd been in India, I could have just chilled at home for a while without any worries about rent and bills. My ego wouldn't let me borrow from Dad so I did not tell him about my situation. I don't think people who congratulated my Dad with a "Arre wah your daughter lives in Singapore!" had any idea of the irony in their statement.

To make ends meet, I decided to waitress at Pizza Hut while my job hunt was on. After getting kicked out of Pizza Hut for being over-qualified (the guy who interviewed me kept laughing while he was looking at my resume), I realised I really was in the lowest of the low.

And then that happened.

I was on my way back from an interview with an insurance company. They had offered me a job on condition that I study for an exam, pay a few hundred bucks for it, and if I flunked it, they would retract their job offer. As I walked out, I asked myself what the hell I was doing applying to an insurance company? I did not even want to be an insurance agent anyway!

As I crossed the road, I thought to myself - either I could take up this offer and study like mad and bag a job I did not really care about, or I could turn them down and continue the futile job hunt. I did not know which was worse.

And then suddenly out of nowhere, it started raining like crazy. It was a long crossing and I had forgotten my umbrella. I tried to run, but my high heels slowed me down. I found a bus shelter and dashed for it. I was soaking wet. It was raining really heavily by then, and I decided to wait at the bus stop. That stop did not have buses that would take me home, so I had no choice but to stay and wait there. I was too broke to take a cab. After a while, I got really hungry. I dug into my bag and found a little packet of bite-sized choc chip cookies. So I sat at the bus stop - a hungry unemployed 'foreign talent' in a country of no family, few friends and many strangers, drenched to the bones, nibbling at the cookies and wondering where the rent money for the next month was gonna come from.

I don't think I'd ever felt more miserable in my life. Ever. I wanted to get out there in the rain and cry till my tears became one with the rain. And I will always always remember myself sitting at that bus shelter and the way the rain and the situation seemed to be draining the life out of my body and mind.

I sat there thinking - this can't get worse.

(The next day, I was to be involved in a kitchen explosion that would peel half the skin off my face, making me unpresentable for at least three job interviews I got calls for. But let's not get into any more details, lest I faint of 'traumatising-memoritis'.)

And then a few weeks later, things started looking up. After much reluctance, a publisher decided to 'give me a chance to prove myself' with a two-week contract and a salary of $60 a day (yes, that actually was my salary!) way less than half of what I was getting at my first job.

Today, I'm good. I have a job I'm in love with, a decent salary, a decent (albeit rented) home, a couple of credit cards, money to spend on clothes and shoes, and fewer things to worry about.

And that night, standing there at Paya Lebar station close to midnight, alone and hungry and miserable, I realised something. That our jobs mean more to us than we think they do. If our jobs could talk, they would give us a piece of their minds. They would remind us that they do not ask for a lifelong commitment from us, and yet they bring us a sense of achievement and challenge. All they ask of us is sincerity at whatever we do.

And of course, they pay the rent.

And perhaps at times, we forget to give them the respect they deserve.

We don't take them up when we should.

We don't quit them when we should.

So today's special at the bar is a toast to jobs everywhere. To jobs of every kind. To jobs that mean so much to us.

To jobs that make us who we are.



Anonymous said...

I win the gold!!!

Anonymous said...

impressive and very true... cheers

Anonymous said...

Well said!

shub said...


Iday said...

//So I quit. Because self-respect certainly seemed bigger than income to me.
I bow to thee miss :)

Anyway - broke and involved in a kitchen explosion :(
Looks like u had a bad time really.
Hope u emptied ur "trouble quotient" those days and have a gr8 life ahead :)
A life, full of , err (what do i say?!? Ah yes!), Pani Puris :D

Anonymous said...

Remarkably penned! After reading your post, I took sometime from my daily schedule to reflect on my job hunting experiences and how it depicted all the main faucets of human nature (happiness, frustration, eagerness, dejection, proud). Sometimes we take things for granted, and not realize how important they are when we have them.

- Anjaan ladka

Anonymous said...


Jina said...

You have made me think..and actually think a lot!!!....

THANX..n hugs if u r gnna take it..:)

Anonymous said...

You said it sister.

dearbharat said...

I had problems with my thesis writing. I used section titles like "Winds of Change", "Anatomy of XYZ" etc. Even today I have 2 drafts of thesis written in Latex and MS Word both.

Once I also asked for a job at McDonalds but they didnt believe that I was serious.

It seems that you have had lot of fun living your life so far.

Inder said...

so very true. job is not just a job. it is independence, confidence, defense, fun, satisfaction along with stress, late-nights, paunch and glasses.

i haven't been to your paya lebar statuon juncture and would never want to be there.

'clink' for that :D

PizzaDude said...

Hmmm... thought provoking.
Man, you have been through some tough times. And have come out victorious!!

Anonymous said...

i beg a slight modification to the statement:-'To jobs that make us who we are'...it is not the job per se but the challenges in the job that make us
(realise)who we are...on a second note the proverb :-'find a job you love and you will never have to work for a single day' methinks, fit you well!!:) gr8 post!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

hey bhai.. yeh kahaani pe to ek movie ban sakti hai.. apun ko rights becho na!

waise cheers to ur strength.. amazing stuff

Anonymous said...

I love this part, "if jobs could speak, they would ask of us the sincerity they deserve".

But could you have applied that to your first job too?

*Mr Anon*

Anonymous said...

Indeed. When I was in my first job you-know-where, I often found myself thinking that no matter how bad it gets, the gratitude at having a job overcomes all misery. Even today, in the midst of busy-ness and relative luxury, the little voice still goes, "PHEW!" Our jobs make up part of our identities, no doubt about that.

dharmu said...


are sayesha bhai, i needed this one today. read this post before starting my work. i was kinda wondering how the heck i landed in this job.

but as you say, it makes us what we are, it has brought me here, it has made me different,thanks!!!

Thanu said...

very beautiful post, very true we never give our jobs the credit it deserves

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

He he... so your blogging skills are seeping into your thesis?

I understand what you are trying to say, Sayesha... we need to value what we have, and need to respect the job. But your experiences are really scary... don't worry, if you have made this far, you will live to see the end and enjoy the fruits.

All the best!!

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

*clink* :D

Anonymous said...

read yr post. went into flashback to the time i was 20 - a gud 18 yrs ago. my 1st job was mkting electronic typewriters. paid me rs 2000 in 1988. it involved a whole lot of cold calling. Me?? making cold calls, when at home i wld hide in the other room when we had visitors. but this job made me realise that i wasn't such an introvert after all. i liked talking, i was honest in my conversations . my folks didnt like the ' sales gal' part and i had to quit. the next job paid me rs 750 a month and it was a desk job with a phototypesetter. i enjoyed talking to ad agencies, taking down msgs, reading proofs and co-ordinating the pick-up and delivery of orders. the next month my salary was rs 1000 and my boss became a good friend. such a gud friend that he would look out for ads especially the airlines jobs as i easily met the height criteria . i stood at a lofty 5'9". he would do my resume and mail it himself. a couple of months later i joined a semi govt undertaking, and with my new found confidence and realisation of self worth did very well for myself for a whole 4 yrs. later i quit and now am a full time housewife and mamma. each job chiselled me, honed me and made me the person i am today. diff from what i was before , more evolved. today i miss those days sometimes but am not sure that after 12 yrs i can fit back . then i think that this phase too is playing teacher - teacher in my life. making me aware of my responsibilites in shaping the lives of my 2 kids. in imparting values to them. in trying to make them honest and better individuals. infact i do share some of yr posts with my 12 yr old son. we laugh together at some of them, and i use some of them (slyly) as a moral science lesson. so sayesha bhai, lets hear it for u, drum rolls, blaring trumpets, sitting there miles away , i set u as a model - for following ethics, zany writing style, for teaching him the importance of education, for teaching him to be responible.

hai, i am being bahut emotional, par kya karein - u r like that only . And i am like this only . haha ha ha

PS : to the editor in u : i know that i cannot begin a sentence with AND ( I can almost hear my english grammar teacher talking, but then i suppose , bhai ke adde pe sab chalta hai.

Iday said...

"WoW" comment for a "WoW" post!

Koi Pahailee said...

yada yada yada..aaarrrrggghhh

*change topic*

so when are u going to pakistan? :P

Anonymous said...

really enjoyed reading this, needed a reminder of how things could be worse. I've been there as well - no job and not informing the family. best of luck on the writing. --ng

HaRi pRaSaD said...

What coincidence! Of all days, today you have written this. I came home just an hour back (which was 5hrs late than usual). I had been breaking my head to meet a deadline and after much agony, I did finish it and I felt really good!! It was then that I realised, it all depends on one's attitude. I was telling myself that I have a responsibility. A job (which no one could complete, due to the lack of knowledge of the situation) was lying there waiting for me to finish it off... I shouldn't desert it. It is at such times that Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism and her characters John Galt(Atlas Shrugged) and Howard Roark(The Fountainhead) spring to life inside me and I continue to work without uttering a complaint! But ofcourse one should always be wise enough to see that there is a balance in life...
No point in being a workaholic 5 days a week and an alcoholic, the other two!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sash,
I can imagine how miserable you might have felt at that time.

Yeah, we sometimes do take our jobs for granted. We forget the days we had nothing. To be at a job we love....is a HUGE blessing.

We should celebrate our jobs. Yes.

*Clinking back* :-)

Kroopa Shah (Kr00pz) said...

Cheers to -
The crappy jobs
The good jobs
The cool jobs
The not so cool jobs
The crazy jobs
The boring jobs
Hell, cheers to all those jobs out there!!

How do we know said...

Cheers!! To jobs and the other blessings we take for granted!!

Sayesha said...

#Super Commando Dhruv,
Super Commando Dhruv??? Hahahaha! :D Super Commando Dhruv?? Wah wah watta nick! :D :D

Thanks :)

#Super Commando Dhruv,
Thanks :)
ps: Super Commando Dhruv?? Hahahaha! :D

Hey girl, chin up! Hard times will pass, and they will make the good times look even better :)

//Hope u emptied ur "trouble quotient"

Hehehe... perhaps it's not such a good thing for that to happen :)

//A life, full of , err (what do i say?!? Ah yes!), Pani Puris :D

Now you're talkin'! ;)

#Anjaan Ladka,
Thanks :)

Cheers :)

Hey you still visit my blog!! Long time no see! Welcome back! :)

//THANX..n hugs if u r gnna take it..:)

Yes, please! I'll take it :)

*clink* ooops... broke your glass... too many cheers in the bar today! :P *hic*

Sheesh! Yeah, I have to tone down my dissertation as well :(

//It seems that you have had lot of fun living your life so far.

I guess you could say that :)

Come to Singapore some time... I'll show you Paya Lebar station as one of the 'landmarks'! :D

Thanks :)

Ah! Well said :) But I meant the challenges to be a part of the job :)

Cheers! :)

Hahahaha! Apun ki life par movie? Wah! Bana re baba bana! :D

//waise cheers to ur strength.. amazing stuff

Thanks :)

#Mr Anon,
//But could you have applied that to your first job too?

Nope. Because I was too busy moping over the treatment I was getting at the company to actually give my job the respect it deserved. The best thing I could have done to that job was to quit it.


Thanks Harley bhai! :)

Aap thakur! Thanks and welcome back! :)

//He he... so your blogging skills are seeping into your thesis?

Yeah man :(
That and the four years of writing for children, where you have to make everything (including scientific theories) interesting otherwise they won't read it! :/
ps: *clink*

Wow! Mind-blowing comment :)
And what are you doing man - making your kid read my blog?? :O :O :O Impressionable mind par Bhai ki bhaigiri ka asar? :O :O
ps: Hi kid, guess what? You don't need any lessons from this sadak ki gundi... your mom can teach you a lot more than I ever can :)

//i know that i cannot begin a sentence with AND

Hahahahahaha! Is bar mein sab chalta hai... half of my sentences here begin with 'AND'. I like it :P

Egg-jactly! :)

#Koi pahailee,
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :'(
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :'(
ps: Pak trip is postponed to Nov, and I'll have exams then... someone else will get to go.
pps: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :'(

//But ofcourse one should always be wise enough to see that there is a balance in life...

To-talli agree! :D

//No point in being a workaholic 5 days a week and an alcoholic, the other two!

Hahahahhahaha! :D

Thanks, babe. You said it! :)

Hahahaha! Cheers! :)

#How do we know,
Yes yes, the other blessings too! :)

Ajj Kaim Singh said...

awesome post..kya likha hai....

Gold Silver Bronze sab medal Sayesha Kaur ko dedo...

qsg said...

Absolutely great post, Sash - just what I needed today.

I do think though, that sometimes we associate our self worth with our jobs, and forget that they are only a means to an end... I guess the key is to strike the balance.

Very good post, indeed - love the thought, the attitude and the honesty! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh no, no Pakistan after all that drama?:( tsk tsk tsk....I'll secretly pray for you that the trip gets postponed yet again so that you can make it:D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

salut! thanks for this post!

Pakku said...

Hey sayesha.. that was too good a post. Hats off!!

chanakya said...

So golden rule is if u like a job keep it. I must say i follwed my boss rather than the company. but then thats me.

Pardon my ignorance but wats special in Paya Lebar station? but then everything looks the same 4 me in Singapore

Mysorean said...

Cheers Sayesha! Cheers! :)

I needed this particular post I guess! Thanks!

Di said...

really..i may not love my job to death...but i too know that it is way too important to me.....that makes me love it a bit more.. :)

Jina said...

ofcourse i do visit ur blog..even if i dont read others..i do read urs ..hehe..its some kinda therapy i guess..:)..i dont comment..coz ther r too many comments all the time..dint wanna get lost..hehe..if u know wat i mean...:)..

Pi said...

You possess character that is seen in very few people. cheers.

R said...

proud to have a sis like you:)
*maxx fond waalaa luk*
*biggg hugggggggg*

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Your post is so inspiring and gives so much of pleasure and happiness to the heart. As I was reading it I got goosebumps. You are such a talented girl. May God bless you all the way :)


Anonymous said...

Vive le bourgeoise!

Harsha said...

Beautiful beautiful post !!!

I was in a very similar situtation 2 yrs ago. Although I have never been in a foreign country, nor in a kitchen accident ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way I was feeling so low and reluctantly came to work. Then it was destined that I should read this post and guess what I'm back to my normal self. I like your never say die attitude.Thanks Sayesha !


Ravi said...

Thank you for this post.

Sayesha said...

#Anon (ng),
Sorry sorry I missed your comment earlier!! Wasn't intentional! :O
Thanks for stopping by :)

What's with you trying to punjabi-fying me in ever comment eh? :D Sayesha Kaur it seems :)

Yup, the key is to strike a balance :)

Hehehe.... thanks :)

#Ipanema Gal,
Thanks babe :)

Thanks :)

Depends on how you define a job. Some pple associate it with the company, some with the nature of the work and some with their bosses. :)

Paya Lebar station? Naah, there's nothing special about Paya Lebar station. It's just the station where I am spotted three times a day :)

Thanks :)

As long as you love it even a little bit... :)

Great to know that you're still around :)

//i dont comment..coz ther r too many comments all the time..dint wanna get lost..hehe..if u know wat i mean...:)..

Yup yup... too many puarana diljalas of this mehfil have told me that ;)

#American Pi,
Thanks dear :)

#Raam Pyari,
Maxxx wala big wala hug back to ya, sis! :)
ps: I just adore the way you say maxxx fond wala luk... no one can pull it off the way you do :)

Thanks :)

Eh? Gotta find out what that means, then I'll know whether you just complimented or insulted me! :/

Thanks :)
Hope you have the foreign country experience soon, but not the kitchen accident one :)

Thanks again :)

Thanks :)

Nirwa Mehta said...

I am jobless. Literally and figuratively! Of course, I can't wait to get over with my studies and start a job and get some practical exprerience, which I believe and HOPE is different from what crap I study! :P

Well said! :-)

Sreejith said...

this really spoke to me :) thanks.

Anonymous said...

"...which my supervisor remarked was written in too 'interesting' a style to be an academic paper"

So did you start of with, "Yeh apun ka thesis hai... blah, blah" :D

"And perhaps at time, we forget to give them the respect they deserve."

So true :)


The Smiling Girl said...

U reminded me of the days when I was broke and the days when I cribbed about my job... :)

GuNs said...

I hate my job. Its only about one and a half year since I graduated from college and got in thru an campus interview. Now I realize working UNDER someone, taking orders, working to somebody else's whims isnt really my cup of tea.

But then my dad isnt a millionaire and I havent won a lottery. [:-(]Crossroads of life, I'm wondering what I should do.


Anonymous said...

another person at the crossroads. I love my job but somehow I want more. Weird but true.

Anyway, lovely post. remember having commented on the pictionary post! Adding you to my blogroll :)

The Inquisitive Akka said...

I am gonna try and cheer up. I am SO SO bugged with work and esp people I work with right now.

Strider said...

I can really associate with your late-night-away-from-home-waiting-for-bus episode
It reminded me of the first day at my new office ..
I have to travel for around two hours on a good day and on this particular day I got down at a wrong stop!!!
I don't know why I am writing this here

Sudeep said...

many a times i feel like quitting my job n sometimes when i meet my classmates who r yet searching for jobs n their problems then i feel tht probably having a job makes me think like tht... lekin phir bhi i want to quit.. lol

n half skin gone.. gosh! tht must be scary.. Zeenat ho gayi thi tu toh :P

Lalit Singh said...


Sahi likha hain
Something upon which u spend more than 2/3rds of your awake life should be treated well.

Shekhar said...

Mmm...hell, u made me think about the tough times I had at my first job. But, yep, it did teach me a lot, and so......


Cheers !! :D

Sayesha said...

Good luck with finding your true calling, babe! :)

Thanks for dropping by :)

//So did you start of with, "Yeh apun ka thesis hai... blah, blah" :D

Whoa! Thanks babe, you just inspired my next blog post! :D

#Smiling Girl,

Start your own business! ;)

Thanks :)

Hey... come on babe.. cheer up now... everything is different the next day :)

//I don't know why I am writing this here

It's okay, random ramblings are allowed in the bar ;)

Quit yaar... if you dun like it, just quit and do justice to the job na :)

//n half skin gone.. gosh! tht must be scary..

Haan yaar... very freaky :| Took a few months but it healed :)

Wah wah! Kya sum up kiya ek sentence mein! Awesome! :)
ps: Really 2/3rds?? :O :O :O

Cheers! :)

Girl next door said...

Great post! I love your writing style and I bet your dissertation would be a great read. Why do they always want formal papers to be so boring?
Your story about standing at the bus shelter on a rainy night and being miserable rings a bell. Makes me flash back to some of my experiences when I've thought about giving up and just going home. Also having issues with my job.

Anonymous said...

*clinks* returning after say ages and i get to read this amazingly written post. wonderful stuff. Cheers

Who am I?? I'm Spiderman!! said...

Good post. You have a great blog btw.

Reminds me of a time in my life when I had hit rock bottom. I don't think it could have gotten any worse. Looking back, I still wish it hadn't happened, but in some ways, I am glad it did.

It has provided me with perspective that I may not have ever gained in life!!

Keep blogging!

Shouts of Nothingness said...

You've come a long way, baby! :) Good job with the post as well :)

Unknown said...

Its 2 in the morning,
Mr. Maugham, on my table is waiting to be picked up for around 3 odd hours.
At around 11, I bumped on this blog.
Hell of a writer you are, no wonder you are doing a good job!!

Thanu said...

Hum to yehi te, I read all ur posts

bellydancer said...

hmm... reminds me of the time when I was looking for a job and everything just felt so low... guess at least I have some money coming in now... I have to stop brooding!!!

ferret said...

everyone's said it but i have to say it again, AWESOME POST!
The jobs we do become our identity, they give us more than just the paycheque. I associate certain values to each proffession, and i believe these values certainly do grow on you with time. Each proffession is impacting a certain sect of the world, each one exposes a different facet of the world to you. There are so many proffessions that i want to be in, there is no single job that can fulfill all my wants.

Anonymous said...

Yeah there was a time when i was job hunting and my confidence level was so low that i had begun to think i will never land up in a job.And after i got through a real Big company and had not got a call letter yet. I had thought I would kill myself if i dint get though.Thankfully I got the job.I felt like i had got my self repect back. But its very rare to have a job that you would love and never complain of.sign.
Great post as always :)

Anonymous said...


This is a very good post. I actually stopped to think and acknowledge the value of my job.


Sayesha said...

#Girl next door,
Thanks :)

Welcome back and thanks! :)

Thanks :)

Thanks baby :)

#Jack Sparrow,
Welcome to the bar, and thanks for your kind words :)

Achha? Kabhi kabhi hello-hi bol diya karo yaar! :)

Yeah, that's the spirit! :)

Thanks! :) And I hope you get a job that has most of what you want :)

Thanks :)

Thanks :)

Siddhu said...

Sayesha, that was one of the most touching posts I've read in a looong time!! Somehow, misery is accentuated when you're broke!!! You know what's almost as bad? Knowing you'll get paid at the end of the month, but having a negative bank balance till then!! Trust me - last week, I learnt the true meaning of hunger. :P

Ashish Gupta said...

Thanks for being a silent inspiration :-)

Swapna said...

Well said! We often do not realize the importance of a job and the amount of self-respect it gives us.

- Swapna

Harini Sridharan said...

Beautifully written. Something I can relate to, too. Many a times happiness is a measure of how much worser things have been in the past.

Persona non gratis said...

Think it works both ways, our jobs define us, we define how our jobs turn out to be.

manju said...

Have been reading your old posts, courtesy desi daaru... I have read this before, and now again, and I have to admit, this is my most fav post of all your posts. May be becos, I have been there and I can relate to it so well, how you feel when you are in a foreign country without a job, with very less money remaining and lots of question marks floating in your head, sleepless nights etc... Very nice writeup...

M. D. Ramteke said...

Well said.

Ashish Gupta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashish Gupta said...

I still read it and share this blog post when the context of our jobs come up with friends :)