Friday, November 11, 2016

Life in BookXcess / Big Bad Wolf Books Sdn. Bhd.

As usual, I have neglected my blog after a while. I could easily blame it on the country or the authorities for limiting the events, raves and parties. But those will only be lame excuses. There should be no reason that the blog is left abandoned. There are always parties elsewhere. I just need to go for it.

For the past 11 months, life has been really crazy for me. I have been introduced into a company as Crazy Susan in December 2015. Up to date, I am still Crazy Susan.

For years I have been in the teaching industry. Last year, I decided to break all boundaries and start doing something I have never done before. I called up for an interview at Big Bad Wolf Books for a job opportunity. To be honest, I did not know what to expect. I just went there asking for a job. 

All my life I have been asked to work in their company. People called me up offering me a job. This was my first time applying for a job, what more, something that I have not done or experienced before. The interview ended with me, being hired as BBW social media executive. My first full time job after so many years.

What exactly was the job scope for a social media? I had to sit in front of the computer searching for groups and sources to post our ads or promotions on. It was not as challenging and fun as I thought it would be. As my job was too flexible back then, I helped everyone in the office whenever they needed help. Marketing, business development, operations, etc. I definitely learnt a lot from them.

After 2 months, the General Manager asked me to help him out in some operation related matters at BookXcess retails. Helping him out also meant gaining more knowledge as he brought me into retails every day, giving me pointers on how retails should run. It was an eye opener for me as I never knew retails meant so much work and so much focus. There were so much that needed attention as you run a retail that it never did hit me.

In June, I got promoted to Retail Operations Executive. I step higher to learning more than sitting around the office clicking "post". That was also when our GM left us and I had to cope with work on my own. I was given the choice to drown in the deep sea or swim to safety. 

July was a hectic month for me as I had to handle contractors, designers and open 3 outlets within 1 month. On the 2nd week of July, our outlet in 1Utama was opened. 4th week, Centro Klang. 1st week of August, Courtyard. All these happened so quickly. I thank God for having a crazy team with me to help me with all the openings. I will never forget the nights we spent til 4 in the morning getting work done. Up to date, I am very blessed to have my boss alongside with me til 4am, helping set up the outlet. Without the team, I think I would not have made it. Seeing the outcome definitely paid off.
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When my bosses came back from work overseas in late September, they called me into their room. I was expecting the worst as I did not know if I was doing right in the retails. I was surprised when they offered me a promotion. It seems that I did swim to safety and earned it. I was promoted as Assistant Manager for 3 Retail outlets with effect in October. What a sweet 29th birthday present for myself.

It was also then that I offered myself to help out in BBW Surabaya. They flew me to Surabaya for Big Bad Wolf Books Sales. I was in Surabaya for a total of 18 days.
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That's how I spent my first birthday working. I have never worked on my birthday, what more, abroad! It was my first work experience overseas and being away from home for so long (not for vacation). I have never studied abroad in my younger years. It was truly very different. I got to understand the pros and cons of working overseas. I actually felt homesick for once. I do not know if it was the birthday greetings on Facebook and whatsapp or my nieces calling me and video calling me, wishing me happy birthday from the screen. I really wanted them with me at that moment. I knew then how parents who work away from their children felt. My colleagues at work were so nice to buy me KFC to celebrate my birthday. Such loves.
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My shifts at Surabaya were 12 hours based, 8pm to 8am. For the first few nights, I couldn't keep my eyes open from 3 to 5am. It was really suffering til the 2nd week. It was a work, eat, sleep, eat, work cycle everyday. Fast food joints were everywhere. We walked from our hotel to work, passing by KFC everyday, which was a stone throw away from Starbucks and Pizza Hut. Giant was the only place we went for "shopping" and it wasn't too far neither. Oh, Pizza Hut there has such a big variety of choices! The pizza there seems more delicious than it is here in Malaysia!
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Starbucks was a place where I visited most this trip. I had to stay awake all night. Even colleagues had me do deliveries for them. The cards I purchased there were pretty. Good for collection. I managed to score free drinks, free birthday cakes as I spent my birthday there. It was a pity that there wasn't any nice tumblers to buy. And as usual, my name would be Suzan than Susan. I was such a regular there that the baristas knew me by heart and greeted me by my name whenever I stepped in.

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There was a fast food place called Richeese. I would recommend those who loves to compete with others on the spicy level of their tolerance. They offer chicken with 5 levels of spicy. For me, I went for 0 as I can't take spicy. Watching my colleagues cry and get all soaked up with sweat makes me laugh a little inside. I'm evil.

 photo 20161101_193042_zpswep62yfr.jpgAs for accommodation and all in Surabaya, I would say it was ok. Breakfast was always repetitive food but it was good enough for us to not go to sleep starving. I had my eggs cooked the way I wanted everyday, just not half boiled eggs as it is not known there (or maybe it was just the language barrier). As for the room, it was perfect for me. I would love a room like that. I have always loved the concept of an open bathroom, or rather a see through bathroom from the bedroom. I could see the sunset from the bathroom and also watch tv while taking a shower. It gives a very clean feeling, til it's time to clean the glass of course. The water pressure of the shower was awesome! I never wanted to leave the shower ever! I had room service for the first time of my life on the last night of the trip. I felt like a queen. Such a lazy brat who just wouldn't get out of the room, watching movies on TV one after another.

 photo 20161017_162740_zpspaisk3nm.jpgLaundry has been very cheap. I paid only about RM5 for a bag of clothes worn for 2 weeks plus. I have never been to a laundry but this is really cheap. Certain things are pretty cheap there. I heard from the PA that even cigarettes are 1/3 of the price in Malaysia! It's a smoker's paradise there. A&W there still serves root beer float in a glass mug! How I missed the good old times.

 photo 20161021_183018_zpsmdlicuqe.jpgIf there's one thing I dreaded most everyday? I would say the traffic. For us to get to work, we had to cross 3 major main roads with crazy traffic and also 1 railway track. People there are so used to the "Power of the hand" that they would hold it up and just cross the road. So far, we have not seen anyone being ran over. On the days when I was on my own, I usually waited for a local to do the magic and I just tag along, trying to act cool.

Overall, the trip was tiring but I learnt a lot from it. We all definitely couldn't wait to get on that flight to go back home. Everyone felt homesick during the trip. Many calls were made home, pictures and videos exchanged, tantrums let out. Most of us even had the cravings of pork. Nevertheless, it is definitely great to be back home.

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