“Struggle is part of nature, which is why we find stories of adversity nearly impossible to ignore. Pearls, diamonds, and award-winning wine represent nature’s conquest over adversity. Pearls are formed as an oyster protects itself from irritating grains of sand. Diamonds are formed under crushing pressure and intense heat in the Earth’s mantle. And the best grapes come from steep mountain slopes or rocky soil that stresses the roots and creates grape clusters bursting with flavor; they have the most “character.”
Excerpt From: Gallo, Carmine. “The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t.” St. Martin’s Press
Although I will not know how an award winning wine taste like, I can still relate to the lustre and sparkle of pearls and diamons.
I read this as I contemplate about the recent happenings in my life.
You see, some while ago, I read a comment from an editor regarding new artists, indies in particular and her aversion in giving them a chance or coverage. She said the indies, since they have no strong financial backings, they are struggling and broke ..and just that. I also remembered another reporter who was working under her was excited about covering Dato’ Seri Siti, but his eagerness was slammed shut, reason being she was a nobody. That was when Tok Ti already won the Bintang HMI at RTM, and only when she eventually won the AJL shw was recognised and given the wide berth for publicity she deserved.
And that’s Tok Ti. Me?
Since I work closely with AG Coco who has worked with Yuna since her early days, one cannot help but alao be reminded of what a struggle it was for Yuna to be accepted by the media and its mainstream gate keepers. It was s long one, but she stuck long too and proved that nothing can stop her, and she never had any cruel bones in her to feel bitter about her struggling days.
That’s Yuna. Me?
I am the same age as Tok Ti, yet leagues and leagues far from where she is.
I am produced by Yuna’s long time colleague and producer, AG Coco, but I am no where played in any such air waves.
Too far. Too high.
That’s why I was hesitant and tried to find ways on how best to share these recent stories. And not present it as whiny, as pointed out by many, everyone have financial troubles and being broke ..so, it’s easy to be pulled into a spiral of darkness which is not only negative but embarassing.
I am broke. Last week I was selling ice cream and learning to make ice cream cones, yippie! Then the young-ish supervisor, diploma holder chef-tery told me she couldn’t work with me. I remembered cleaning the ice cream tubs, which are branded as Italian ice cream, and was listening to Josh Groban, singing Italian. It struck deep.
Then, while cleaning, more like siphoning the scums from under the sink, Listening to You’llNever Walk Alone by Josh Groban, I really felt it.
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein Ii / Richard Rodgers
She said it was because I talked to the manager directly, the manager doesn’t like that. I musn’t, never to talk to the manager directly.the manager insist on talking only to the supervisor. The supervisor also said that she always talk like she does and thats how she is, which is bordering rude,and that I should understand where she is coming from. Fine.
For someone young to first time pegang kuasa, she can go very far. When another manager commented and praised me here and there that I can talk, aka selling ice creams more, the supervisor was seething.
This supervisor wants to be a stewardess, and told me she only likes to work in the kitchen and was never good with people or the front counter mannerism. Go figure.
So, when she told me she will be finding another full time and in the mean time I should stay put, until she finds a replacement to fire me nilly willy,I said thank you..and goodbye …
I went walking and thank God, found a job the same night, this time, selling expensive range of mattresses at an upscale home boutique.
When I went back home to sleep that night, I felt soo tired though relieved.getting fired even from a 1,000 salary job, the sadness and pain, ..I remembered it too clearly, although it was months along the road from my previous job, earning 10,000 a month.
There was a new CEO, and he seemed to have someone of his former team to replace me, so, there were always things that we don’t see eye to eye. I was at the job for one and a half month. I was freelancing for close to 4 years before.
I declined a 10k job offer from an O&G and an offer from s a high ranking politician to be his PR Strategist, to take that job, thay eventually I had to resign because the HR said amicably in their way, that it will not work out, me and the new CEO.
I was planning an album perhaps, a decent launch at least for new singles, more music works with Kamar Seni, but it all went down the gutter.
Months went by, with no new offers. Savings depleted. Always my fault. I get it.
Asking for friends favour only has such limits, and I am thankful.
I was aiming for freelance project that never came. Some would calm me by saying rezeki ada tapi lambat, ada tue.
I was broke habis, after four years freelancing. Ala buat CSR, part of me nak tolong start ups and SMEs, so I charged minimally. Just my luck, I happenned to find clients yg ungrateful and deffered payment and breached contract. Menangis.
Here I was, nak tolong. Giving them world class agency services, to me lah kan ..tp ..tapi kadang2 rase macam I takde value
Orang kate I ego. That’s why ..
Then, apa egonya orang yg mengaku ada PhD and guna taktik yg tak semena utk buat bisnes, and berduyun org perfi kiri kanan atas bawah. I felt, at those times, macam tak berguna semua experiences yg I garnered utk sampai tahap diterima kerja di Group terbesar di dunia in its kind, one interviewer pernah kata he feels scared tengok my resume ..canggung I dengar komen tue. Here, kita nak mintak kerja ..macam menganyikan kan kita ..make fun pun ade ..
You tak tahu, I bukannya ambik stock benda macam tue. We are only as good as our next project. New ones comes with different sets of challrnges, siapa kita utk proudly say confirm boleh semua.
I thought I was humble enough to know. Tp, prospects and clients shpuld know that with a chance I would give my all, and my all, with God’s grace, also encompass lots of relevant experiences …
There was a couple, polite tp rude in the politess way. Wifey kata, diorang pun pernah susah. Bila owner rumah dua tingkat mengejut nak balik rumah, so they had to sell evrything and finally rent a room next door to me. To them, itu susah, amat.
They just came back from Bali. Happy for them.
I tak pernah mintak duit dari mereka. But they will always say sorry kalau kitorang ade, kita dah bagi.
I tak suka, because I felt something lurking behind it sekali masa my last day, the husband gave his piece of mind, kata sapa kau aku nak tolong, salah kau tak cari kerja, aku senyap aja sebab bini aku.
I diam aje. Nie dari org yg keja kelab malam. And bini dia suruh I keja bank. Which I said to myself, no, kalau conventional, at least. Bini dia keja bank je, obviously bukan oun jawatan besar. Before this tak terlintas oun nak question mereka. We accept people as they are. Si wife baru gugur, so I obviously was very careful and couteous.
si husband marah lagi kata dia tak suka, sebab muka aku riak aku masa dia marah aku.
I dalam hati kata, kat depan dia aku nie nothing tp I’m okay. Dia pun kata takde org akan amik aku kerja. I heard from his wife yg dia sendiri tengah frust sebab x dpt kerja yg dia nak. Then, lash kat aku ..
For me, dia tak tahu where I’m coming from. I bukan buat kerja haram. I buat bisnes sendiri and kena aniaya. But I held back..sabar ..
My lowest was with no prospect coming to light, I was due for rent for 3 months. I have been living dgn the agent’s room arrangements tiga tahun dah. He will let illegal massage operations, drug traffickers and drug addict masuk. When I confronted, dia kata just mind my own business. For secen months dia tak betulkan lampu bilik, bergelap. Kata bilik air bocor. Okay, I bukan pengemas, tapi tombol bilik pun tak boleh tukar, I kena letak kotak against it malam2. Dua tiga kali polis datang.
I said to myself, I will get out of here. Tp I will bersabar sebab broke lagi utk cari deposit and with freelancing, one does not know when the next pay check is coming from.
I learnt how to freeze foods, buy things in bulk. In monts I was so broke, mujur ada food dalam fridge and freezer. I belajar masak sendiri.
I stayed with the foul arrangements because kat thr aprtment ada pool, gym and reading room and decent surau. I had a master ala studio room at 600. I have lived with just a 300 rooms but I was positive thinking, takkanlah I tak mampu ..lagipun, I was illegally storing my freezer and fridge in my room. Only a master room can do that.
Letak barang2 kat luar, pernah ada akak psycho bergaduh then dia tuang pencuci pinggan and kopi in the freezer, spoiling the foods, meats and all. Cerek electric air rosak, korean bbq cooker rosak ..tak de sape nak ngaku.
We charge on.
I went back to my father’s tapi diorang tak bukak pintu, thinking I was a rohingya pengemis mintak sedekah.
Frie ds helped tapi not enough utk for me to move and it is my fault sebab I couldn’t bring in clients for my won business.
Then my agent sita my laptop and camera and etc. Which I could have sold utk some cash, but the agent would not release it no matter what.
..and there were no job offers and potentialclients budging to say yes. Masa tue I was soo tempted to be so angry and mad dekat the prospects. Tp I know some of them are going through hard times themselves, and many of them compared me to the more glam, book publishing consultants..who seemed to have it all together.
Untill a week ago, an old uni friend I contacted on a whim, though with some hope for help. He is a christian, and orang kata, segala manner dia, except believing in trinity, is more islamic than orang melayu.
So, it was fated, out of the blue, an old old friend from more that 20 years from uni, paid for deposit and one month rent for a room in an old block of shop house near to the ice cream shop I was supposed to work the next day. He helped me haul my things after listening to my story. We snouk into UM’s Rimba Ilmu, it was a weekend, but the energy was good and I told him about my dream of doing Peaceful Management consulting, the most unique in the world, althoug the concept is nothing new at all. I will rival BCGs and McKinseys, why not, they will not produce and fair consulting that befits our needs, a peaceful aka islamic way. I told him that Assalamualaikum means Peace Be Upon You, so ..that Islam, aka Peaceful, is not agama, deen is always and will always be about the lifestyle, and that is why, we neee Peaceful ways to go into the market place, to encourage more organisations to turn into Peace as a way to operate.
To stop the tyranny of the rutal, psycho and bad bosses, who answers to greedy money grabbing shareholders, and marketeres who used weary unquestionable means, all to secure more and more profits. While at the same time, squeezing the very life of us, the people.
My old friend also corrected me that Sudra, as in now is the age for Sudra, in Mahabhrata’s refence that now is the Kali yuga, agenof Kali. I thought Sudra means traders or merchants, but he said sudra means menial workers or service men.
So this is the age of the service men and menial works.
I was dumbfounded, as they are soo much for me to understand. I remembered the infamous sayings about 90% rezeki from business amd Allah swt said that doing business with Him is the most profitable of all dealings.
True, compared to ksyatria age, the lord of the feudal worlds, shunned menial works and deemed them as beneath them.
Then I briefly had time to tell him about my music, which at that time sounds a bit frivolous and money wasting in my state.
Now I know about mattresses than I ever would. Latex, memory foam, pocket spring ..
Yesterday, an old client prospect emailed me to give him a proposal. He actually offered me a job with him in my first year of freelancing because he wants total devotion to his company as he believes I might not give my utmost attention to his projects. It was either full time job with him or nada.
I was still courageous enough that time that I gracefully said no. Later the same year, a business school contracted me to consult them on the capacity of a Fellow to the School. Big gig and chance indeed, which I would not had it if I just accepted the previous offer.
I also had two business women to just work with them, reason being they have all the contacts, so they will usher and direct all the business. So, they want 50% of all the business. They said they have influence and contacts, I have none, so I have no power to argue.
I was broke, but I said no. That was years ago. I did have a client or two, small ones. Thay enabled me to sift through the months.
That’s why I was soo surprised that early this year I was presented with three job offers, I deemed myself as ala tak laku ancient ( in the start up world, young is priceless, approoacing 40 is ancient and booted out. I may not be 40 yet but I felt it. No matter how unfair, it is a business practice for some. I just have to keep on searching and trying).
I sold my first mattress and other things on one bill a few days ago, amounting to 5k plus. Probably I will learn a thing or two about selling here. They say I can talk ..
Haha ..I am a highly paid PR consultant, previosuly PR- ing for international brands with int’l agency, amik ko ..berlemak bagi, walau jual tilam or previosuly, walau kejap, ice cream.
The recipe, do it with hati ikhlad and sebaik mungkin.
I may be talented but I don’t know pasal rezeki and my fate, if I am fated to be poor, I will have to endure. Sampai bila, I takkan pasti. I will work hard and bersyukur. I don’t know how long Allah swt deems ut as nevessary to train and test me. I just pray I don’t lose hope, faith and patience.
Tapi, miraculously I jumpa buku DARE. Which taught about how to tackle anxiety. Dengan confront anxiety in its many forms with So What or Whatever …to embrace and engage it instead of running away from it.
In this mattresses show room, kadang – kadang the other salesmen akan mencelah dgn speaking chineseand automatic client lebih selesa speak chinese, and I just gave way to the other SAs to entertain them. My fault, walau my great grandpa was muslim chinese from mainland, my grandma adopted to malay penghulu, none nak belajar chinese.
In business, communications is important. More so, speaking in a medium most convenient to the audience or recipient.
I dah mula masak balik tapi semalam the guy yg baik dgn owner saw me cooking using the induction plate, pagi nie ada notice ‘ Dilarang memasak dengan alat elektrik’.
Duduk di new place ni, walau old, first impression ala Kungfu Hustle ..convenient sebab dekat kedai2 and transport. Gi keja jalan kaki.
Tp, I must never be bought into camplacency, again. Kena keep on cari klien. Kena jgn tido lepas subuh and train. Everyday kena buat vocal exercises. Kena keep on hustling for the dream.
I maybe a mattress salesman, but I have big dreams too.
My first day keja, I saw an office mate from the company with new CEO yg tak suka I and I had to resign tue, and I had to run after thr guy to say hi.
I told the store manager later that the guy was from the company that literaly fired me albeit amicably and on paper flawless, that there was nothing to be ashamed of working here, jual tilam. I help people tidur dgn nyenyak and I am learning about sales.
That guy from ex employer never contacted me. No one. Walau much everyone gushed kata I did good job this and that. Just to show that no one is indispensable and kalau tak kena batang hidung sendiri, takkan tahu. Sebelum ni the company let go some people suspected of doing fraud, happens to be one was holding my post previously. I came in to resumed my position, after a five year hiatus, that guy really did a thing on me. He and a few others. So, he got kinda canned. Tapi, I yg tak buat fraud, sebabkan new CEO ada orang lain, though I heard from not one but many that he was already infamous for being a bad boss ..I kena let go. So, rasa macam I buat big salah jugak.
All the lost gaji ..10k a month. Ingatkan finally ..
Sebab tue lah, kena maafkan. Dah namanya bad boss, maybe ade hikmah tak de rezki supaya tak kerja dgn dia. And God always have a plan. I kena belajar utk let go.
My life may seemed it has gone to the dogs. Tapi at the same time I feel blessed because all in all I feel alright. Dalam tup tup, sekali a local dailies call utk interview. Then a big company interested in one of my new songs and called for a meeting. Then DPAC shortlisted me for d’NA project, to kick off their event calendar next year. Syukur.
Teringat sorang Ustaz nie, yg skrg pun susah nak get through, myb dia pun tengah susah, dia kata duku, kalau tak kebulur itupun rezeki.
Tengah risau sebab tinggal freezer and fridge jat rumah lama. Insy, cari duit to transport it, and kalau ada lebih lagi, just buy new ones now that I know how to make use of thrm. Yup, I simpan my brown rice dlm freezer, and yes, yeay, tak de bugs dah. Aman hidup nak makan.
Semoga Allah terus buka hatiku, hati kita utk terima hidayah and petunjuk.
For me, getting bumped into so called hardships nie, really grew me into someone better.
In these hard times, hati terdetik utk cari balik buku Grit by Angela Duckworth. I guess, I must keep rereading it. Semua, all people, go through hard times. So, that’s not new, at all.
To rise above it, make something of it. It will be most challenging. I have to be like the catterpillar each time, getting out of the caccoon tirelessly, before turning into butterflies.
Phoenix. To rise again. And again.
Knowing that it is His will. Trust