Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Monday, February 14, 2005

Passion at work, and at volunteerism

Why do people leave their cozy high paying corporate job to run their own business? Why do they put in the extra mile, extra hard work, extra heart-ache, extra sleepless nights and extra worries? Many claim the noble word - passion. Some say it's to pursue a ''dream''. For many, it's simply to be their own boss and to get away from the corporate crap (bad boss, bad pay, politics/ back-stabbing...). For most, being the own boss comes at a price - the loss of freedom (ironic eh?), loss of security and steady income. Some say they have to be ''accountable to themselves and hence work harder to succeed'' ...

Then you have people like me - a salaried worker, in a hectic, not so cozy, but high level highprofile corporate job, who still gave the same, if not more amount of untold unearthly hours, untold headaches, unparalleled commitment, to a company that might not necessarily deserve nor appreciate it....

Why? It's the same passion. Passion to excel, passion to do a good job, passion to ensure ''perfect delivery'' - of my spokesperson. Passion in going over every comma, semi-colon of that speech before my CEO steps on the rostrum.…It's one word - professionalism… for what you do, not for which company you are in.

And in the midst of the crazy, insane, mad, mad schedule that I hurl myself into, what kept me going? Not the column inches I managed to garner in BT, or the three minutes airtime for CNBC or Bloomberg. Nor the lunch that my SEA President bought me in appreciation. Or the nice encouragement my boss sent me over the email. It was a mere moment shared between me and my ever busy President of the Telecom business unit - that three brief minutes of ''humanity'' - ''stolen'' (or should I say ''snatched'') just before our next interview with CNET began. In that three minutes of casual exchange he bothered to ‘’catch up’’ and managed to convince me to ''never give up in what you believe in....'', to tell me the touching yet funny episode of how his father in law, at his age, and given his inexperience in the sophisticated corporate world, managed to publish his book of a little tale....

On volunteerism - why do people volunteer ''for free''? Because they are passionate about what they do and believe in? (Discounting tai-tais who do it to pass time or to find yet another occasion to dress up in their glamourous gowns and bling blings to get into limelight) Or do they volunteer so that they ''feel good'' that they are ''helping and doing something meaningful''? I used to volunteer a lot and counseling.....I gave up. I initially thought that I was just burnt-out, tired and too busy. But no. If you want to help or volunteer, you must, literally help. I felt I was the one being ''helped'' instead. I felt that I learnt more than I could give. My counselees taught me more than I could impart. I could not withhold ''judging''. There were times I imposed my own standards or expected others to think/ feel / behave like I do - not consciously but very subliminally....

Today I am convinced that the purpose of volunteer work is to make others feel good first, then yourself good, second.


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Friday, February 17, 2006 12:31:00 PM  

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