Posts Tagged ‘work’

Business casual redefined

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

I decided to take advantage of President’s Day sales today by going to Kohl’s to buy myself a young working woman’s wardrobe.  I have only ever held two jobs that required professional attire – one was an internship that I went to twice a week and one was a summer job that had business casual days two or three times a week.  This job in Singapore will be the first time that I need enough fancy clothes to wear five or six days a week for many long hours!

I have a bunch ofnice shirts that are borderline “going out” and some that look nice, but just don’t look… grown up enough.  I am also sorely lacking in slacks – I have four and the ones for two business suits.  So, today I marched myself out of the house and spent THREE HOURS rifling through the racks, trying on various sizes and colors of various styles.  All in all, it was a productive time and I came out with eight shirts (though two are casual for day-to-day wear), three pants, one suit jacket to match one of the pants, three dresses (one for work and two for formal parties), and some small personal items.

I tried to arrange everything in a way that would show their features best, but alas, I had too many things squeezing into too little space.  As you can see I went a little crazy with the gray pinstripes…

I have feared this shopping trip for far too long and it’s nice to finally get it out of the way.  I always knew it was coming, but I never really needed to stock up, so I never had the patience to spend so much time sorting through what I wanted and what I didn’t.  Why did I fear it?  Because “business casual” is a very hard term to define nowadays.  Traditionally it was business formal attire minus the outer jacket, but with trends influencing what we wear, there are my nice button-up shirts that are also inappropriate for the office.  Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between what adds a nice stylish flair to your outfit and what gives off the entirely wrong impression.  It’s a fine line to walk.

Whatever happened to the good old days when things were simple and straightforward?  Now it’s just a complicated mess that you can’t generalize and things like these can vary by personal preference.  I hope my choices were classy enough without being too straightedge.  And if they were expecting longer sleeves… I’m screwed.  But hey, it’s Singapore!  Their temperature is currently in the high 80s!

Singapore: it’s all coming together

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

I mentioned before that I was going to take the opportunity to go work in Singapore.  Well, I am on my final two weeks here and we just booked the ticket!  I’ll be flying out March 1st on Singapore Air, which I’m excited for – I hear it’s a posh airline.  It’s not really sinking in that I’m leaving yet, but by the time I get back in six months, things will be drastically different.

The house will most likely be rented out again.  My mom will either return to China to continue working or find a small house or apartment a little closer to downtown LA and try to get into the aerospace industry.  My boyfriend will be entering his senior year of college.  My other friends at UCLA will mostly be moving out into the apartments (woe for no more swipes!).  Meanwhile, I will be homeless, trying to figure out how to make things work over here.

Though the prospects don’t seem that great, I am excited to see what will come of this experience.  It’s part of the beauty, not knowing how things will be.  It leaves the door to opportunity wide open.  There are a lot of things that could happen and I am excited to get started on this new leg of my journey.  At the same time, it’s rather daunting, so I’m taking it one step at a time… first, pack, then, go.  After that… well, time will tell as I integrate into the company (Caelan & Sage) and learn, learn, learn!

I am extremely lucky to have this chance to work abroad, experience a new country, and shadow the CEO and managing director.  Most importantly, I will be given plenty of room to develop and even freedom to decide my path from there!  Do I want to start a branch of the company here?  Do I want to create a new division to go under their umbrella of services?  Whatever way I end up going, the company will be behind me, supporting me in so many different ways.  From finances to connections, manpower to ideas, I will have them to lean on.

Caelan & Sage’s slogan is “Infinite Possibilities” and they certainly do live up to their name!  There is a plethora of choices I face and countless paths that I can eventually take.  What lies ahead of me is a wide expanse of land, waiting for me to forge my way.  How many people can say they have that opportunity?  And how many can say they have it with one of their closest friends?  I am truly blessed.

An important decision: Singapore

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

My best friend’s blog inspired me to pick up writing again and now one that she referenced has inspired me to take an incredible job opportunity abroad.  It started off when Katana mentioned Penelope Trunk’s entry on how that isn’t her real name.  This caught my eye not only because I use something other than my birth name, but also because Ms. Trunk started the website Brazen Careerist that Katana had recommended to me as a networking tool.  Interested both in the story behind her alias and background as an entrepreneur (especially a woman entrepreneur, which seems a lot harder to find), I went to her blog.

At first, I was unimpressed.  Here was a woman who had changed her name multiple times and wrote about it in a quirky writing style that didn’t suit me.  All those changes made her seem flighty, almost shady.  I had been expecting some sort of great revelation that led to her current name, but she didn’t even choose it.  The first time she changed her name would have made a good story, but the other times it was just giving in to pressures.  After reading the article, I hoped a second reading would show me something I had missed.  I was about to start on that when other links distracted me and before I knew it, I was engulfed in the opinionated advice of a career woman.

From working as a professional to working as a mother, tips on relationships to advice for the future, she covered a lot of ground.  I found what she wrote to be thought-provoking, whether or not I agreed with it (and mostly, I found I did).  She referenced Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, multiple times, which won brownie points for me – I have read the book twice and will probably continue to read it in the coming years, or at least remind myself of the lessons held therein.

Hours later, I was still reading, scouring every entry that had an interesting title.  I read about her experience beinga block away from the World Trade Center as it collapsed, why graduate school has become a deadend, why working any job is better than taking nothing, how changing jobs should be in the normal course of a career, how my generation is unique professionally, that failure will come and failure will go (and only those things worth doing will make you doubt your ability to accomplish them), and so many other lessons.  Most were lessons I knew in the back of my mind, but never really took to heart.  Some were new concepts that just made sense.  And somewhere in the midst of all this, I realized that I needed to stop living in denial.

I want to take the opportunity in Singapore.  I am going to stop being afraid of failing, I am going to stop being afraid of disappointing, and I am going to try.  I may not have a definite plan, but I have goals, dreams, aspirations.  I have a vision.  It’s time to stir my passion and just go for it.  It’s not going to be easy and it will take a lot of time, energy, and effort, but what better time than now?  I have the least to lose – no job to quit, no family to care for, no rent or mortgage or loans to deal with.  I will, however, be terribly sad to be so far from Panda.  He is supportive of my hopes and career choices though, so we can work through it.  I need to stop being so scared of how difficult it will be to not see him for months when I can’t even go a week without going crazy.  Because you know what?  Once I’m over there, working, learning, growing, it won’t seem as bad as when I’m sitting here like a couch potato, with no real plans and no schedule to adhere to.  Plus, I’ll be living with Marylin!  I’m sure my “twin” can help me get through rough times and we can commiserate, since her boyfriend is also here in California (albeit up north).

Degree confirmation

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Today I received an e-mail confirming the conferral of my degree.  Though I have meticulously checked to ensure I had met all the requirements to earn my double Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and Economics, it’s a relief to have the degree checkers from the registrar’s office validate it.  It came in a nondescript e-mail from the UCLA Registrar’s Office, with a subject line that I nearly deleted: “General Info”  Yet inside, its message was priceless to me – I will be picking up my degree in two months!  It’s official.  Official!

And ever more pressing is the job search… I had a conference call last Tuesday with the CEO of Caelan & Sage, their Managing Director, and my friend Marylin to discuss the possibilities of our employment together.  I really want to pursue this opportunity, but I am using it as an excuse to not apply for jobs here.  :-/  I don’t know why I’m so averse to the idea.  Maybe it’s because getting jobs has always been rather easy for me.  Sigh.

Back to school… NOT

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Today, all across the nation (and likely, the world), students are returning to the classroom.  And I?  I sent my dad off at the airport with my mom this morning and returned home to scan some documents.  Just another day, just another chore.  Now, for the first time in my life, I’mnot going back to school.  It’s a strange sort of feeling to hear about all those who are going back to the old routine.  After 16 years of that, what else am I to expect?  Classes, breaks, homework, midterms, finals… it was all so familiar and now I’m in a whole new dimension, dealing with job searches, applications, cover letters, interviews, networking…  sigh.  It’s time to move on with my life, whether I’m ready to or not.

My parents and Panda have been on my case to apply for jobs, send out my resume, get something going.  I know they’re right, but at the same time… it’s so hard to find the motivation to because I have such a specific image of what I want!  Anything less is just not good enough and I’m afraid I’m being too picky.  I’m sure there are a lot of options that I can settle for, but that’s the problem: I don’t want to settle.  I want to find a job I’m passionate about, something I’ll look forward to doing every morning.  Something I can do for the couple of years that I’d need to before business school.

Well, I guess I just need to hop on it, do my research and see what’s out there.

Fresh outlook

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well, with a new year, I thought I’d start something new.  Recently I’ve been inspired by my best friend “Katana” to do more blogging.  Since she moved out to Kansas I haven’t gotten to see her much, so reading her blogs are a great way to stay in touch (and entertained!).  She’s made a career out of life in the blogosphere and while my hopes are not exactly along those lines, I’d also like to write more like she does.  Granted, I still have my personal handwritten journal to take care of (and that I’ve neglected for a long time), but there’s nothing quite like blogging to capture the small things in life.  I find it’s a great place to explore my thoughts in a more immediate way.

Though I kept another LiveJournal a few years back, I think it’s time to use a different domain for this new chapter in my life.  Maybe I can track my progress as a recent graduate, looking for a job and figuring out where to lead my life.  I know where I think my life is going to go is going to change a lot before it settles anywhere and I’m ready to explore what there is out there for me to do.  I can also follow the development of my relationship (the first!) and how my hopes and expectations evolve over time.

Ok, so… where am I in my life?  I just graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Economics.  I’m looking for jobs nearby (preferably in Westwood, otherwise in Los Angeles somewhere) in marketing or administrative work.  I want to work for two or three years before going to business school for my MBA.  After that I’d like to get into upper level management, get the experience to see what it takes to run a company before branching off and getting into entrepreneurial work.  The first thing I want to do at that point is start an environmental consulting firm focused on conservation and recycling.  I’ve also toyed with the idea of a vocational school for athletes and a craft/party store complete with classes.  But that will be on the back burner for many more years to come.

Well, at least that was my 10-20 year plan.  More recently I’ve been considering an opportunity to start up a branch of a Singaporean company (Caelan & Sage) here in California with my Singaporean “twin” – let’s call her Marylin.  However, there’s a lot of research, preparation, and information I need to look into before I go forth with this.  It would be lovely to get a head start on my dreams of entrepreneurial success though.  I have high hopes and dreams, though I’m trying to stay grounded and be practical about this.  However, I am fresh out of uni and ready to conquer the world!  Ultimately I just want to learn and grow, then take that to inspire and motivate people, as well as create happy work environments.

As for my personal life, it’s the first time in my life that I am happily seeing someone.  I’ll refer to him as Panda.  He is an amazing person and I’m really lucky to have met him.  I’m still grappling with this concept: someone likes me and is good to me?!  I’ve made some poor decisions in the past, leading to some unfortunate experiences, which makes me appreciate this all the more.  My other best friend, “Elle,” bluntly showed her shock when she heard I’d found someone who treated me well.  She’s happy for me, of course, but she’s seen me go through some less than savory characters and never really get into a relationship.  I’ve also been known to run from any guy who shows interest in me, so she’s glad that I still like this one!

The world has a lot to offer and I have my fair share to contribute.  Onward!

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