Friday, July 28, 2006

Meet Carol, the Salespeople Bomber!

Oh man, I am sooooooo half dead-like right now. I think it's because I've been sleeping a bit late the past couple of night.....though I don't think sleeping at 1am is actually THAT late.... but a few nights of doing that in a row is enough to turn me into Zombie Girl. Dang, that Rockstar Supernova. Wish they showed the repeat earlier. Or that my mum wouldn't watch her Chinese shows on Wah Lai Toi so I can the 8pm show..... Ah well...

Anyway, I've recently been in positions in which I pretty much crushed the hopes of two people..... Now before you go on thinking what a meanie I am, they were people trying to get me to pay quite a bit of money for stuff. So don't feel so much pity yet. :P

The first one was in the last two months or so, when an old friend of mine from college whom I hadn't seen for ages (and whom I used to have a crush on, but way over it now!) called me out for makan and wanted to tell me about a 'way of making additional income' but wasn't generous with the details when I tried to ask about it. Yes, very suspicious sounding stuff, but since he wasn't trying to push me to do anything and he was pretty nice asking me to just go to his office and check it out, I agreed. Turned out to be a multi-level marketing company called Synergy. And so my friend introduced me to this woman who launched into her whole sales pitch about how great their (superbly expensive) products are and how many amazing testimonials they've gotten from customers. I was pretty much about to doze off in that part coz' I've heard it all before. Then she explained the compensation plan, and that's when it got interesting. Coz' they have 6 different ways of compensating downlines who bring in more people into the company, and it's quite different from other MLM companies' strategies. And I'd been to MLM companies before where I was not impressed with the compensation plan coz' in those companies, we'd have to bring in like a gazillion people to make money, but this Synergy's plan made it a lot more easier. And I thought it would be good to make some extra income, what with the cost of everything sky-rocketing these days.

So I was almost convinced to join up.... my friend even got out the application form which I filled up. The only step left was actually giving the all important money.... But then after giving it some thought, I decided not to join. Not because I didn't think the plan was good enough (I still think it's pretty good), but just in order to really get some good returns, I'd have to take a lot more time after work to meet people and try and convince them to join up, and I know I just don't have the energy to do that. I'm quite happy coming home straight from work and bumming around at home watching tv, relaxing or chatting with Gerald. :D And if I started doing this MLM thing, I'd have little time to myself. Plus, I hardly ever call my friends out just to hang out anyway, and for me to start calling people up mainly to convince them to join this company.... well, it just feels so wrong. The company even has training sessions where they teach their people how to talk to their friends without sounding too imposing or pushy. They try to make it sound like they just wanna hang out and be friends, but actually got ulterior motive wan. And I asked myself if I really wanted to become like that and the answer was a resounding NO.

Another reason I decided to pull out was when I went for one of their talks about the company. It was a Cantonese talk that I went with my dad (I brought him along to listen so he could advise me on the company and also coz' I thought if he was interested he could join coz I had decided by then that I didn't want to join). And the whole presentation was so gung ho in a scary kind of way. Like they would play really corny dramatic music to intro the speakers for different sections of the talk. And then when the speaker asked if everyone was doing well, almost everyone in the room would say loudly in unison, "Ho!" which means "Good!" in Cantonese. It felt like so fake and freaky... it was during the talk that I decided for sure that I was going to bail. I don't think I could've lasted through any more corny talks. :P

So I dropped the bomb on my friend that I didn't want to join after all. And of course, he didn't want to take no for an answer, so he called me out again a few days later for dinner... and just as I suspected, sometime through our makan, he started talking about the company and tried to convince me to join again. He even took out some paper and a pen and wrote all this stuff to convince me that the calculated returns would be good or whatever. At which point, I was pretty impatient already, so I think he got the hint. And he hasn't contacted me since. Ah well.

The second person whose hopes I dashed was this MAA insurance lady who has sold insurance to my brother before and who was trying to sell a medical policy to me. She arranged a meeting with me last week where she explained the whole thing to me over an hour and a half. Of course, she started off trying to scare me into buying a policy by telling me sad cases of people who don't buy insurance or don't buy a complete medical plan and end up in a rut when they get into accidents or have diseases. I really hate it when these sales people use their scare tactic. Yes, I know insurance is important, no need to try and freak me out already!

Anyway, she was offering me this complete plan that covers accidents, hospitalization, critical illnesses and life protection (which is compensation my nominated relatives get in the event I suddenly kick the bucket) for the price of slightly over RM1500 a year. She also tried to convince me to pay for a better policy by saying a proper insurance policy should cost between 10-15% of my pay.... But I was like, hehe, no way, jose. Plus, she said that I had to buy it quick coz the policy price would go up in August. Yes, yes, the favourite catchphrase of all sales people.... So on the first day I met up with her, she already tried to get me to fill up the application form and all, but I said I needed to think about it for a few days, which she was ok with.

So I went home and ended up not really thinking about it. I intended to check out some other policies first to compare, but didn't have the time (especially when Gerald came to visit over the weekend, so obviously I wouldn't care about checking out boring ol' insurance policies then!). So I ended up dilly dallying til our next meeting, which is when she pulled out the application forms and got me to fill in everything and coerced my entire medical history out of me. And then when she started talking about payment and wanted to go to the bank with me to tranfers the money to her account, I said I had to go back home first to get money out of my joint account with my mum. I actually felt it was a bit too rushed to pay so fast, and I wanted to really think it over properly. And when I told my dad, he advised me not to get into it so fast. So the next day I dropped the bomb on the lady too, saying that I needed time to think about it some more. And then she emailed me apologizing for whatever mistakes she thought she made and 'reminding' me about the policy price going up in a few days.

Well, I'm glad I managed to stop myself from paying for these things so fast. The thing is that I've had such people try and convince me to buy their stuff quite a few times now, and I notice that I always do the same thing.... I aaaaallllllmost get convinced into buying whatever it is they want me to buy, and I sign all the forms or whatever, then somehow or another I tell them I will pay up later but end up changing my mind. And I'm quite annoyed with myself coz' I think I have a problem telling these people that I won't pay anything or fill up any forms til I'm completely sure I want this. Especially the darn good sales people who know how to say all the right things. Dang, I gotta learn to drop the bombs earlier. It would probably be a lot less disappointing for them too. Haha!

P.S.: I started writing this on Thursday night but it got too late, so I finished it on Friday night. Just so you know. :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

More office news

Hmm... it would seem that my dog Sassy is in that time of the year again where she gets all frisky. She has little cushiony mat on the floor which a friend gave to us for her to sleep on, and she usually ends up sleeping on the floor anyway. But last year when she was in heat, she would try, with all her little puppy power, to roll up the mat sideways, climb on it and then....em.... get frisky with it. And as I am writing now, it seems it's that time of the year for her again. I thought it would've stopped after spaying her! Oh well, she ends up panting like crazy after numerous failed efforts to roll up that thing, so at least it gives her some exercise. :P

Anyway, I've been working for at Mad Science for one month, and now I'm officially confirmed. Woohoo! I didn't know it before, but most of the other instructors had to go through a probation period of 3 months. So I dunno why my boss decided to confirm me after only one month.... but I ain't complaining. Well, I did remember him saying during my interview that he thinks I have a lot of potential in helping to expand the company.... hehehe... Ok, stop now, head getting big.

Though I know I'm pretty blessed to get this job coz' it's what I like and my colleagues are pretty friendly and my boss is super nice.... I guess I did kind of taken a few things for granted and started off with a bit of a wrong attitude in my work, which my colleagues noticed and didn't really like about me. Well, only reason I know is coz' my supervisor had a talk with me about some of my behaviours which the others were nitpicking on. Not that I did anything really bad like scold people or totally slack off, but just being a little calculative about how long I work, and certain things I do, and maybe not asking people for things in a very nice manner.... Not that I intend to sound rude. Just that sometimes I jokingly pretend to sound angry and scold people... and my colleagues seem to be the easy going type, so I thought they would understand when I'm fooling around. But maybe they didn't know I was joking around... :P Not like it's the first time people misunderstood me. But anyway, my supervisor didn't scold me or anything, just pointed out these things to me in a nice manner and asked me to try and change a bit so I didn't make anyone feel tension towards me. And though some of the things I did, I agree that I did that I will try not to do them again, some of the other things he pointed out made me confused... He didn't tell me exactly what I had said or did that offended anyone, but just told me some stories of how some previous employees had done some annoying things, and now my colleagues noticed that I 'seemed' to be becoming like that. Then he just said he wouldn't tell me exactly what I did, and just told me to think about it. So I thought about it long and hard over the weekend, wondering why he compared me to those people, and wondering if I did anything as bad as them... and couldn't really think of what I did wrong. So the next working day, I went back and asked him to clarify exactly what I did that offended anyone, and he said that he was actually just telling me about the previous employees, just so I'd know some of the history and so I would try to avoid doing the same thing.... not because I had actually done anything as bad as them. I get the feeling that he was trying not to hurt my feelings, but oh well... I left it at that.
So even though I might not completely understand what exactly I might've done to irk some people, I guess I just have to try and.... well, not irk, people. I went into this job hoping that I would be a good example for Christ, and by the looks of it, I haven't really been. But it's only been a month, so still got plenty of time to try and change for the better.

I do notice that the three other instructors, including my supervisor, are all so close to each other, that I feel a bit left out. Of course, it does take time to build relationships, but the supervisor does say stuff like "We at Mad Science are a family, and we always work together as a team."... but then when we go out for lunch, they talk more among themselves then with me. And a few days ago when we ate at KFC, I ordered my own meal, but the 3 of them bought a big family bucket to share, without asking me if I wanted to share with them. It's not a big thing, but it does make me wonder what their definition of 'family' is. Well, I'm confident enough not to be bugged to much by something like this. My whole world isn't going to come crumbling down just coz' my colleagues don't wanna share a bucket of KFC with me. And it does kind of work to my advantage when boss is at the office coz' while they're all chatting with each other during lunch, I chat more with the boss, and get to understand more on how he ticks. And of course, building good relationship with the boss is always a good thing. ^_^

Anyway, I need to get to bed, and rejuvenate my brains after another day of work and blogging about work. :P

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Of bad comedy and cell cities...

Ooh, I forgot to write in my last blog entry that the day after I gave my 2 cents on Fly FM, they had Bad Comedy Thursday on Fly FM again. So just for fun, I decided to call up on the way to work and tell a joke. And this Fly Guy will give a nice bell sound if the joke is good, but play a buzzer sound when the joke is really bad, and I got the bell, so that means he thought it was a good joke. But apparently my joke was much longer than he wanted, so he told me that the book War and Peace is slightly shorter than my joke. :P And then apparently, later on the in the day he replayed my clip over the radio again, but edited it to sound like I was talking for hours... like I would be telling the joke and every few seconds, Fly Guy would say "5 minutes later...", "20 minutes later...", "3 hours later..." :P I didn't actually hear it myself, but a friend said that he heard it. Luckily I didn't hear it though, or else I would've called up Fly Guy and really blabbered his ears off. Haha! Anyway, I won't tell the joke here, coz' it's more fun to tell it face to face. Hehe!

Anyway, I just did my very first Mad Science birthday party last Sunday at a Burger King joint in Damansara. We have a partnership with BK, so it wasn't a full-fledged party, just a short and simple one. And I think it went really well for my first time. No major screw-ups or anything, and the kids enjoyed it... though I think they were pretty blur coz' they didn't laugh when they were supposed to. The parents seemed to be more entertained than the kids! Well, it really helps that I have tons of experience dealing with kids and doing performances. So doing a birthday party show is like easy peasy to me. The only problem is making sure all the experiments work out right during the show and trying not to forget to do anything, especially for the full-fledged parties which have more activities. But that shouldn't be too much of a problem seeing as it's not like university level science or anything.... though I do have to say, I'm surprised at the level of depth in science we had to teach kids these days. I just taught a class on the different parts of cells to primary school kids.... and I don't remember learning the parts of cells until I was in upper level secondary school! Yikes! At this rate, these kids will be doing their masters while they're in secondary school.... But even though most of these kids know a lot more than I expected, I can still surprise them quite a bit. Like when I was teaching my Monday class about cells, I started off drawing out a map of an imaginary city (which was supposed to represent the cell, but I didn't tell them that) and this city had a government that controls everything (like the cell's nucleus), a power plant to generate energy (like mitochondria), constructions workers to make building (ribosomes that make proteins), garbagemen that dispose of the wastes (lysosomes) and a post office where stuff is packaged and sent off around the city (like the golgi apparatus which distributes stuff within the cell). Yes I know, the terms are scary enough to freak out a grown-up... see why I'm surprised that I have to teach kids all this stuff??? Anyway, after drawing my 'city' map, I eventually told my kids to imagine that the city was as small as their school... then as small as a 1m x 1m square... then smaller than the distance between my thumb and index finger put really close together. And at this point, all the kids are looking at me in dumbfounded silence with a look that says "Huh?? What kind of city is that???" And I'm thinking "Hehe, yes! I got 'em!" And that's when I explain that a cell is just like a city. Haha, it takes a lot of patience trying to keep a class of noisy kids under control, but once I reach that point when I know I have them in awe, the satisfaction is all mine. Bwahahaha!

Ok, I gotta sleep now. Work tomorrow!

Monday, July 10, 2006

My 2 cents on Fly FM

Yaaargh, I have soooo much to blog about and not enough time to do it all. Oh well, I'll just have to see how much I can get in over the next few days.

I was listening to Fly FM last Wednesday on the way to work, and Fly Guy started a discussion about some fella (nicknamed the 'bad boy') who is interested in a colleague at work, but she is going out with another guy (the 'good guy') who happens to also be his colleague. So Fly Guy was asking callers to give their opinion on whether the bad boy should go for good guy's girlfriend or not. And I was surprised when everyone who called up actually encouraged the guy to go for her, saying things like "They're not married, so she's fair game". After a while I got so annoyed, I called up and said that he should just leave the girl alone, but before I could say anything else, Fly Guy jumped in and read me some results of some study that said people who tend to be 'goody goodies' all the time, usually have regrets later on in life that they did not take more risks and do some 'bad' things to get what they want. And I was just so dumbfounded. I just went on saying that the guy would be so dumb to go after a girl in his office, who happens to be dating another colleague. Whether he gets the girl or not, some people are going to get hurt, and it's not a good idea when he has to work with those same people every day! And if he were my colleague, I certainly would lose my respect for the guy for doing something like that. I should've said more, but couldn't think of what else to say then. Later on, I realised I missed out a more important point that I should've said in response to Fly Guy's little study.... is he saying it's ok for the 'bad boy' to go after the girl and hurt the 'good guy's feelings, just so he can avoid possibly regretting his inaction later on? What a crappy reason for hurting somebody! If anyone were to go after my boyfriend and tell me she was doing so coz' she didn't want to regret it later on in life, I'd whack that girl upside down. Well, I'd whack her upside down for whatever reason it is. The point is, the girl's in a relationship, so whether or not she's married, it's unethical for the guy to go after her. Besides, if he doesn't see anything wrong with chasing her before marriage, what's stopping from chasing another woman later on who IS married? Or if he managed to win over the girl, would he respect their relationship enough that he wouldn't try to go after OTHER girls too? If I were the girl, I be smart and stay far far away from someone like that if he was interested in me while I'm with someone. That kinda guy is just being selfish. Dang, I wish I had said all that. That would be a good 2 cents.

Double dang, I need to sleep now. If only I could blog in office. :P

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The plan was a success, captain!

I taught my second class today, and implemented the whole point system thing like I planned... and it worked like a charm! Everytime I threatened to deduct points from then, the talkative and restless kids became more well behaved. And I got through the entire class without having to raise my voice or feeling like my head was going to explode trying to calm them down. To make it better, there was another new girl in the class today who was like every teacher's dream student. She was perfectly well behaved, kept completely quiet when I talked, paid attention to what I said (she even took notes! Aye carumba!) and answered the questions I asked in the class. In the end, the new girl, and another boy who was also quite well behaved, got the special take-home items I had prepared as my carrots-on-the-stick. I was teaching about the body, so everyone got a pieces of a cut-out skeleton to put together, but the special ones were glow-in-the-dark (which looks pretty cool in the dark, if I do say so myself. I had to paint on the glowy part myself by mixing glue with some glow-in-the-dark powder :Þ). So hopefully the other kids who didn't get the special item will be even more better behaved next time, so they can get something extra cool. :Þ Of course, I know it's not the best thing to do over the long run coz' it encourages the kids to behave only to get something in return, so once the hyper kids get more controllable, I'll won't do it anymore. I think it shouldn't take that long, coz' from what I can tell, all the kids want to learn, even the talkative ones.... just that I need to re-establish the importance of following the rules (which the previous instructors failed to do) and that they need to listen to and respect the teacher, which is me!

My little plan of giving the 'good' kids an extra special take home item did cause some concern with my supervisor, Dexter (yes, it reminds me of Dexter's Laboratory too. Dexter the Mad Scientist. Hehe :Þ). I think when he saw me doing up the extra nice skeletons and I told him I was giving them to the good students but I didn't tell him my whole point system thing, he probably assumed that I was just simply going to announce which kids I thought behaved well in the class and then give them the special items, which he didn't think was a good idea. BUT instead of pulling me aside and expressing his concerns, he went and sent out a email not just to me, but to the other instructors, saying something like "At Mad Science, we do not give special treatment to any particular kids. If any children are misbehaving, we should only try to encourage them to behave by praising them when they listen to us. If anyone has any problems with the class, they should let everyone know so we can discuss some solutions. Ablablabla..." And I was like "What the heck?". So of course, I had to reply to him and explain fully what I had planned to do, explaining the whole point system thing I was planning to do and that I believe that a little healthy competition helps to motivate the kids to obey the rules.... not that I was going to give 'special treatment' to any of the kids! And he didn't even reply to me, so it's rather annoying. I mean, my supervisor is a nice guy and we get along well.... and I suppose he didn't want to confront my personally coz' he didn't want to upset me or anything.... but I would've much preferred he talk to me personally about his concerns rather than send out such an email to EVERYONE. The other instructors knew what I was doing to, so I'm sure they would've figured out that Dexter was talking about me.... which of course gives everyone the wrong impression on what I was doing. *Sigh* Not that I'm mad lah, just a little bit peeved at how my supervisor handled the situation. But anyway, it's a minor issue lah. Better than he scolding me or something like some mean supervisors might've done. :Þ I'm still thankful that everyone in the company gets along with each other super well. My boss is still as nice as I thought (although he can really talk and talk and talk. Was in a one-to-one meeting with him this morning and it lasted more than an hour, I think!). And the boss pays for everyone's food when we go out for lunch. Woohoo! Free lunch!

Anyway, my boss has started piling more work on me to do. Apart from teaching, he wants to me get more involved in contacting more schools to start classes in, designing promotional vouchers and basically getting into the whole business aspect of the company. I have a gazillion and one things to learn. And when one of the instructors leave in about a month's time, which means I'm likely to take over her classes, I'll have to do more prepping for classes. So I need to learn QUICK. Bleh. I feel the stress levels rising.