About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

Maku Store Singapore: Men’s Wallets

Maku Store Singapore

In case you received the impression that Maku Store Singapore caters only to the ladies, here’s an item just for the guys. And I’m doing a giveaway, which you’ll find at the end of this blogpost! :D In the picture above is a long wallet from Maku Store, with over 9 card slots for all your credit cards, and a zipped compartment for coins, plus two SIM card slots.

More pictures:

Maku Store Singapore

Maku Store Singapore

If you cannot wait to get your hands on a Maku Store Singapore wallet, head down to Maku Store (Bugis Junction #03-20) today and enjoy 20% discount off all men’s wallets! (details on their facebook page)

{ Giveaway }

One winner will receive this wallet (worth S$49.90) in a gold Maku Store Singapore gift box. Just complete these 3 simple steps:

(Head over to my facebook page)

1) ‘Like’ my giveaway post on Facebook

2) ‘Share’ my giveaway post

3) Comment on this blogpost and tell me who you’d like to win this wallet for (yourself? a friend?)

Winner Announcement: 19 Dec

Prize Collection: 20 Dec (Saturday) 5pm

*Only for residents of Singapore

*Please take part only if you are able to collect your prize on 20 Dec! 

Hello Kitty Moleskine Notebooks – Get Yours Now! :D

Hello Kitty Moleskine notebooks

When I first saw an ad on Facebook regarding the new Hello Kitty x Moleskine notebooks, I knew I had to get one. Or two.

I purchased the limited edition large notebooks which come with 240 plain pages and 3 bookmarks each.

These notebooks cost S$41… EACH! I got mine from hipvan.com with S$10 discount for signing up for their newsletter, and free delivery. Though it is stated on the site that it’ll take 2-3 weeks for the items to be delivered, I received my package the very next day. Amazing!

You can also purchase Moleskines from bookstores like Kinokuniya. Kino currently has 20% discount for members from 10th to 25th Dec 2014. So hurry and get your favorite Moleskines today! You’ll probably pay just S$32.80 for these Hello Kitty Moleskines!

~

Why pay over 30 or 40 dollars for a notebook?

Well, that’s a question I’m still trying to answer myself. :P

I love the designs. It’s just like how people pay a little more for an Apple product, when there are way cheaper made-in-China alternatives. Get what I mean?

And I do try to get them only when there’s a discount. Ha! I guess this means I should head to Kino again soon. A blogger can never have too many notebooks.

Maku Store Singapore & My New Favorite Handbag

Maku Store Singapore

I’m more a fan of backpacks than handbags but I could not resist this particular one in a pretty shade of lilac! It comes with a detachable sling too, and is available in 3 colors at Maku Store Singapore (#03-20 Bugis Junction).

If you’re thinking of getting a present for a female friend or family member, head on down to Maku Store where you can get 15% off just by showing staff that you are a fan of my facebook page and theirs. (*Check in-store for T&Cs)

Maku Store Singapore

This bag is amazing! There are two zipped compartments within, PLUS a detachable wristlet in the same pretty lilac:

Maku Store Singapore

If you’re looking for a pretty Christmas gift below S$50, look no further, this is it. :)

Vogue Japan Dec 2014 Issue with Coach Notepad

Vogue Japan Dec 2014

Vogue Japan’s December 2014 issue is one of the priciest magazines I’ve bought this year, at S$15.20 from Kinokuniya. This particular issue comes with a free COACH notepad.

I’d love if the notepad is a little bigger, though this one is great for small purses. And in a striking bright pink, each note will be impossible to miss.

Get 10% discount if you’re a Kinokuniya member! :) Not a fan of magazines? Well, you can purchase ‘Blogging For A Living’ too. Hahaha!

Meeting Irene Chye from Absolute Slimming – Finally… A Slimming Program That Works?

I bet you have heard about blogging Queen, Xiaxue, almost getting into a legal tussle with a slimming centre because she had blogged about how their gua sha (scraping) and ba guan (cupping) treatments were painful and ultimately did not result in any significant weight loss for her.

I was told that the founders of that particular slimming company are, supposedly, ex-clients of Absolute Slimming, and had set up shop and tried to replicate what they experienced during their slimming treatments there.

Without prior knowledge of acupoints and how they work, just randomly sticking suction cups onto your clients will not result in weight loss, as it’s just ultimately guesswork. Perhaps, if you cover your client’s body entirely in ba guan cups, you might get lucky and hit the right spots. But like Xiaxue mentioned, your client will look like a “tentacle” due to the many round bruises.

I had the opportunity to speak with Irene Chye, founder of Absolute Slimming, to find out why customers have almost nothing but praise for the business she founded in 2002 and has been managing since, what she thinks about clients or staff setting up businesses to rival hers, and why her treatments work when similar-looking ones have failed.

Irene Absolute Slimming

[Read about how I have gone undercover and reviewed many slimming centres, all of which have not worked for me]

1) How did you get started with using gua sha and ba guan to help people achieve weight loss?

About 12 years ago, when I was still a housewife, single, and raising three kids, I became interested in the idea of TCM-based slimming. After learning the basics of acupoints from a friend in China, I experimented with using gua sha and cupping as a way to help people lose weight with no rebound. It was a lot of trial-and-error, but over time my knowledge of acupoints improved, and so did my customers’ results. Also, there are certain foods that cannot be consumed while the treatment is ongoing – and it took many years for me to identify them.

Over the course of one month, our cupping and gua sha treatments will speed up your metabolism, reduce your appetite and tone your problem areas, helping you to lose 4 to 6 kg in the process. During this one month, our customers will be required to follow a flexible diet plan which varies from individual to individual. Once we have stabilized the increase in your metabolism, you should be able to resume your normal diet after treatment without any rebound.

2) One thing that amazes me about your business is how you clearly state the prices for your treatments on your website. Why do you do this?

Screenshot:

Absolute Slimming pricing

Before setting up this company, I actually went into a previous slimming business with a partner, and that business failed after about a year. There were some practices I did not agree with, so I ensured it did not happen again in Absolute Slimming.

My business partner at that time was happy to offer clients who looked like they are rich more expensive packages and fewer discounts. Similarly, my clients have shared with me that they have been to slimming centres with treatments that do not work, but the consultants will tell them that it’s all “stubborn fat” and that they have to upgrade their package to one of a higher price, and eventually they will find that those do not work too.

At Absolute Slimming, our policy is that we will never sell you treatments you don’t need. For example, most people require eight treatments over one month because that’s what it takes to ensure their weight loss does not rebound in the future. Anything more than that is just unnecessary. And for underweight customers who come to us looking to get rid of a specific problem area, we recommend only six treatments.

I’ve been told that I’m too honest to be a businesswoman, but I believe that as long as we conduct our business fairly, everything else will fall into place.

3) How long do these ba guan bruises usually last and why did Xiaxue’s last an usually long time?

Gua sha:

Gua Sha Absolute Slimming

The bruises usually fade in about two hours. The gua sha done on Xiaxue was too vigorous and therefore those reddish marks quickly appeared after the ba guan was done.

Also, I use a special homemade cream for the ba guan. It is my own concoction so it is unlikely you can find a similar one elsewhere. Sure, you can buy these little ba guan cups online, but not this cream.

4) Having had clients who learn about what you do and set up businesses to rival yours, have you become less open to teaching your staff about what you know? Does this also mean you have to serve all clients yourself?

My business has expanded from being home-based to this current outlet in Holland Road Shopping Centre. Scaling up means that I need to teach my staff everything I know and have them serve clients alongside me. When I first found out about my ex-clients replicating my life work, I took it pretty badly. Because I had little formal education and I’m not an aggressive business person by nature, it just seemed like the odds were stacked against me. It took me a while to accept that as long as I was good at what I do, there will always be competition around the corner, and I’ve learnt not to take it personally. And even though there is competition, I must not hold back from providing quality training to my slimming therapists!

Moreover, in the last 12 years, I have refined my slimming technique to the point that my success rate is 99%, with no rebound. I am so confident about my results that I offer a money back guarantee – if you follow my program strictly but still do not lose weight, you will be eligible for our refund policy. I’ve been in business for over a decade and till today, only one customer has ever asked for a refund.

And because my satisfied clients often refer their friends to me, I am happy to give them a token of appreciation in the form of complimentary heat treatments (priced at S$90 each).

5) This gua sha & ba guan treatment has to go alongside a strict no-carbohydrates diet. What do YOU eat on a daily basis?

There are some people who are very lucky – no matter what they eat and how much they eat, they do not gain weight. Not me. Just like how milk causes some people to get diarrhoea, and how seafood causes some people to break out in rashes, rice causes extreme weight gain in some cases. It all depends on what type of food your body is sensitive to.

Unfortunately, my body is extremely sensitive to rice. Eating rice causes me to put on weight so I don’t eat very much of it – just the occasional fried rice meal and that is it.

For breakfast, I’ll have wholemeal bread, with perhaps some peanut butter. Lunch involves some vegetables and meat (I tell my clients to take two servings of vegetables and one serving of meat) and I eat almost the same thing for dinner.

I have a weakness for chocolates, biscuits and I love the green tea kitkats! :D But of course, I tell my clients that they must not eat these while on the program.

6) Give us an idea of what your clients can (or cannot) eat while undergoing treatment at Absolute Slimming.

Our diet plans are extremely flexible, even though some may consider it to be somewhat plain. During the 1 month of treatment, our clients are required to completely eliminate carbs from their diet, unless it is non-processed carbs we’re talking about (for example, wholemeal breads). Vegetables are great, except for a few with very high sugar content. Most fruits are fine, but it’s important to remember that because they have different caloric content, we prescribe different fruits to different customers based on their needs. We do not have a standardized diet plan as everyone’s physiologies are simply different.

Some additional tips:

Make sure that you only eat till you are 70% full for lunch and dinner. Our treatments help to shrink your appetite, and it is important that you avoid ‘over-expanding’ your stomach during treatment.

Buy a weighing scale. The progress you make will serve as motivation for you.

 ~

Irene offered to let me try this program and I passed on the opportunity to my guest writer, Kirbie instead. She’s preparing for her upcoming ROM ceremony and will be a more obedient client for Irene. (I have a weakness for chocolate too)

Here’s Kirbie, before her first session at Absolute Slimming:

Kirbie Absolute Slimming

Also, this allows me to give an objective take on whether Kirbie looks like she has lost some weight. If I’m on this diet, I might try to convince myself that my clothes feel looser even when they are not, simply because I would have gone through all the diet-related sacrifices.

Thus, my next post on Absolute Slimming will be a guest article from Kirbie. Stay tuned! :D

5 Tips On Getting The Most Out Of Attending A BNI Meeting

I have been invited by friends to attend BNI meetings at a handful of chapters in Singapore. So far, most of them meet at (what is to a blogger) ‘unearthly’ hours, basically 7.30am. I have only been to one that meets in the evening, but I didn’t quite like the vibes I was getting from members there, hence I won’t be returning. But after a few hits and misses here and there, I’ve been learning how to make the most out of each meeting I attend, bearing in mind that I have sacrificed sleep and done what most bloggers do not usually do, if at all.

For the uninitiated, BNI stands for Business Network International. In a nutshell, each “chapter” or group has members from different occupations (you cannot join a particular chapter if someone from the same occupation is already a member there). They meet on on a regular basis and refer business to each other. As a visitor, you get the opportunity to share about your business and you just might get some new clients if you are lucky. Most of the time, you have to pay a ‘networking fee’ which will cover your meal there (around the range of S$10 to S$20). To join a BNI chapter, annual membership is over S$600 and there’s a registration fee too. And you’ll also have to pay for meals.

As a visitor, you pay for the opportunity to network, and you’ll also have to wake up early and make your way to the venue, therefore you should grab the opportunity to make the most out of your time there.

So here are my 5 tips for anyone who visits a BNI meeting and wants it to be a fruitful session. If you have any tips to share, please drop me an email and I’ll credit you in my next post. :)

#1: Prepare what you want to say and do before you attend any meeting

As the saying goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. I have attended meetings without thinking about how I will introduce myself in the 30 or 60 seconds given to each visitor at each meeting. It is valuable airtime that can either give people a great lasting impression of you, or make you un-memorable like the rest in the room.

I had my pitch ready today, and it turned out pretty well as I’d timed myself to perfection at home.

If the bell goes after your 30 or 60 seconds is up, and you are still trying to get some final words in, you simply sound desperate (for business). So make sure you keep it short and sweet, and though I’m saying this again, timed to perfection.

And since you are speaking about YOUR own business, and not anyone else’s, you should be able to share WITHOUT referring to notes, your iPad or your phone. It’s just a 60 second introduction at most so MEMORIZE it by heart and have eye contact with your audience instead of reading off a screen.

#2: Get to the venue early & make yourself comfortable

There is nothing more scary than having to speak before a group of strangers. And it is worse if you are feeling cold and hungry, having not had breakfast.

Breakfast is usually served after the meeting ends, so head to the venue early, and grab a cup of coffee or milo, and give yourself time to settle in.

Make a few new friends among the early birds too! Then you’ll feel like you are speaking to friends when giving that introduction, instead of a scary bunch of strangers.

#3: The space where you are seated at is prime advertising space

This is what I did today: I brought a book stand (S$2 from Daiso) and a browsing copy of my book ‘Blogging For A Living’. Also, I had a box of namecards ready for anyone to just grab a card, even if I am not at my seat:

BNI Singapore

When I was away from the table, and actually in the pantry getting my milo fix, someone came over to look for the lady whose face is on the cover of the book, ME! :D

It is near impossible to miss seeing my book when you walk into the meeting room, so people know an author is in the room. And they will be more likely to pay attention to my introduction. :)

#4: Have a namecard they just cannot throw away

Great Namecard Design

I collect namecards but I also throw many of them away every year. Most people have plain-looking, even cheap, namecards. I make sure mine stand out from the rest.

It has my face on it. It has my contact details behind, including the title of my book and my blog URL.

And as about 99% of recipients have told me, my namecard is “SO CUTE!” How can you throw away a card that looks so adorable? You just can’t, unless you are heartless. Haha! :P And yes, people at BNI have kept my card and called me months after I first met them. Cool or cool?

#5: Make them an offer they cannot resist

So today I offered people who bought my book an advertising slot on my blog for FREE. Not everyone bought a copy, but I knew not everyone will anyway.

My book is an awesome read (as I have been told) and it is also the most amazing ‘business card’ for me. Read it and you will know why I do what I do and even how I do it.

I gave book buyers an advertising slot for free – usually advertisers pay hundreds of dollars for one. But it gives me an opportunity to follow up with these people.

And if they like what they read in the book, and what the ad brings them, I might get more future business.

And to me, there is no loss at all from giving out free ad space. Plus, I earn a good sum from the sales of the book. I get an “author’s discount” from my publisher. So it’s a win-win situation for me.

~

I hope you have enjoyed this blogpost. I’ve shared tips from my own experience attending quite a number of BNI chapter meetings, so you can make your next visit pretty awesome. Feel free to share the link to this post with your friends (social media sharing buttons below).

Let me know if you have any tips to add on to this post. I’ll be most happy to hear from you. :D

Chocoolate x Disney Tsum Tsum Launch TODAY!

Chocoolate Tsum Tsum

After blogging about this particular Chocoolate x Disney Tsum Tsum launch, I FINALLY got my hands on the winning sweatshirt and socks today! It wasn’t easy though. I had thought that the outlet at Orchard Gateway would attract fewer fans of this launch so I arrived at the store before 11am this morning.

I got a shock when I found that a queue had formed outside – even before the store was open for business! And then my worst nightmare happened. The first batch of people ahead of me (maybe 12 of them) were let into the store. And when it was my turn, the sweatshirt had been SOLD OUT! Like, what the hell, Chocoolate folks? Did you guys bring in just 3 pieces of this adorable sweatshirt or what?! I ended up just buying the socks (sold at S$19.90 for 2 pairs). How sad. Waking up early and rushing there only to end up buying socks, of all things! Still, it was probably the final pair of socks that I snatched up. LOL.

I wasn’t hopeful, but I thought the outlet at Bugis might still have the sweatshirt so I took the train there.

Thankfully… I found the final piece in XS size. Those in S size had been sold out and only a few pieces of those in M size remained. Probably sold out by now too! And yes, the early bird catches the worm. After all, this is Singapore where being kiasu is something even kids are good at so… *shrugs*

In case you are wondering, the sweatshirt costs S$119. If you are a member, or can quickly befriend someone in the queue who is a member, you get 10% off your purchase, like I did. :D

*If you like this design, the shoes cost S$129, but are pretty heavy.

*The adorable mickey / minnie backpack costs S$119, but I wouldn’t have the guts to carry them around ‘cos I’m not 12 years old. LOL.

Learning Journey: HOST-ing at Grand Park City Hall

I managed to tick off one of the items on my bucket list: Work in F&B! I was invited to Grand Park City Hall (a 5-star hotel), given staff uniforms, and within 3 hours, I had the opportunity of working in F&B, housekeeping, and making a cameo at Reception as a HOST. :D

The hotel has a HOST program in which staff are trained to work in these 3 roles and get significantly higher pay than the other staff who are trained and work only in 1 role.

HOSTs get a fast track up the Progressive Wage Model, NOT by working longer hours, but by working smarter, being more productive and having more skills to contribute to various departments which are facing backlogs

They are empowered to earn more than the minimum salary per job title and they can ‘climb’ up the career ladder based on their capabilities and effort.

progressive wage model

 

The HOST program re-designs traditional roles to enhance employee skills and workforce flexibility through multi-skilling. So during peak periods, the HOST is fluid and skilled enough to be transferred to other sections which may be short of staff. This helps Park Hotel manage the manpower shortage faced in the hospitality industry.

I left the hotel with newfound respect for hotel staff after that learning journey.

Grand Park City Hall

I entered the hotel in my sparkly gold dress and Hello Kitty shoes, and had to change into black uniforms for each role. HR also found me some black covered shoes. I was even given a nametag; which signaled that things were getting serious.

First up, my stint in the F&B department…

1) F&B

Thankfully, there were no actual customers at that time as lunch hour had passed. So it was just a role-play. I had two pretend customers, and all they ordered was juice.

Grand Park City Hall

As luck would have it, the kitchen had a sudden flood of orders from hotel guests who wanted food sent up to them. So the juice for these two customers took an exceedingly long time to be prepared.

I eventually spotted the lady casting anxious yet amused glances in my direction.

What I learnt:

1) Don’t offer freebies – I was more than happy to offer my guests some dessert to make up for the long wait. I must have truly felt at home. LOL.

2) Let a supervisor / manager appease angry guests – If guests are really upset, let a manager handle the situation. Usually, in the face of ‘authority’, guests are easily appeased.

3) Repeat the order before walking away from the table.

*Guess what, after this learning journey, I found myself at Xin Wang Hongkong Cafe at Plaza Singapura around 5.45pm on a weekday when there weren’t many diners yet. Our order was taken by a lady who looked like a manager, because of the outfit she was wearing. I took the trouble of repeating the order for our table of three for her. And she still managed to get it wrong, and sent us an item we didn’t order. *facepalm* On top of that, our food took really long to be served, considering there were few customers at that time, and we were nearly late for our movie. Ordinarily, I would not have hesitated about sending feedback to the company. But this time, I let it slide. It truly is tough working in F&B. On top of being on your feet all the time, you have to be careful not to spill anything or drop and break anything. Customers tend to be hungry and grouchy and if you get their orders wrong, some might give you a tongue-lashing.

Having experienced the shortest of stints in F&B, I thank staff sincerely when my food is served, and not just for demonstrating good manners. I thank those who bring me to a table, and especially those who serve the food and drink. As wait staff, it’s definitely encouraging to be appreciated by those you are serving. So, complain less, praise more, and be a better customer, ok? :D

2) Housekeeping

I was truly privileged to be taught by Jun Jie, who loves his work!

First you have to load up the heavy trolley with fresh bedlinen and all, then roll the trolley out to the rooms. In the room, you have to strip the bed, and then give it fresh bedlinen as if you have OCD (the lines on the duvet cover have to be parallel to the sides of the bed, everything must look straight and crisp, etc).

And the pillows must be placed in such a fashion that the openings on the pillowcases must be facing each other (in the center of the bed) and not outwards. And don’t even get me started on the bedsheet – at the four corners of the bed, it must be folded and tucked it precisely, with that nice straight line at the corner:

At least Park Hotel has installed an Ezy-maid system under the mattress which makes a house-keeper’s work easier, smarter and safer. The Ezy-maid helps to lift the heavy mattress up, so your hands are free to tuck the covers in properly.

Grand Park City Hall

Grand Park City Hall

And, of course, the bathroom…

On top of replenishing the toiletries, and cleaning the toilet bowl, bath tub, etc, room attendants have to leave the bathroom DRY. What this means is you wipe down everything.

I was happy to let the bath tub dry on its own after giving it a scrub-down, but nooooo… I had to dry it with a towel so there’ll be no water stains after.

Grand Park City Hall

What I learnt:

1) Details, details, details! Some guests are extremely particular about how the room looks, so every corner of the bedsheet must be tucked it neatly, the bathroom must be dry, and there must not be any funky smells in the room!

2) Don’t wait around for things to happen. While the Ezy-Maid system is automatically raising the bed to a more back-friendly level, do something else, like removing pillowcases, etc.

3) Work smart – make sure your trolley has all the correct bedlinen you require. If you have to rush back to the pantry to retrieve a missing bedsheet, you are definitely not going to turn around this room in good time.

I felt so tired after ‘refreshing’ this room (I didn’t have the chance to vacuum the carpet because we were running short of time) that I told everyone present I will not mess up hotel beds anymore. I’ll probably just sleep on the cover from now on. It’s so much work for room attendants, who are also assessed based on time taken to refresh a room!

3) Front Desk

Grand Park City Hall

I didn’t get to do much at front desk besides listening to a quick introduction of their duties. When the phone rang, I didn’t dare to answer it as who knows what the guest on the other end of the line could want, right? I let the professionals do the job. :D

*pose for a photo*

Grand Park City Hall

It’s not easy working at Reception either. A lady walked up to us with a huge frown on her face, and asked to call one of the rooms. It seems that her friend was late for an appointment with her, and she could not get in touch with the person.

I was told that people who walk up to the counter to request to phone a particular guest must have their particulars verified or recorded, because guests should not be disturbed unnecessarily, especially if this guest in question is a celebrity.

~

Lots of thanks to the patient and ever-smiley Jun Jie for showing me the ropes, and Amrit for teaching me how to be a good HOST :)

Grand Park City Hall

Do fill out a compliment card for these two the next time you visit Grand Park City Hall. It’ll help tremendously in their careers! :) And don’t be surprised too if you find that the front desk staff who assisted with your check-in yesterday, is the one serving you in the restaurant today, and cleaning your room after you leave the hotel tomorrow! You may have just met a multi-skilled HOST! :D

Let the HOST team share more with you in the video below:

The Weirdest ‘Request For Inteview’ Email I Have Ever Received

I’ve received some pretty off interview requests before, usually of the cut-and-paste mass-sent sort. But this one takes the cake.

Screenshot:

Interview request email

“i have took a look at your website and found out that you are personal brand and image strategist.

a brief introduction of myself:

My name is Tan H– C—. I am the author of the upcoming book:’wealth without worries, how to make more money by doing less’. My publisher has recommended that i contact you for research for this book to boost the asian content. i need 20 minutes. I’m on the publisher’s deadline and would need to set something up within the next 10 days

if you’re open to this, please reply and i will call you back to set up the interview. please find attached media kit where you can review more information.”

How can this email be improved upon?

  1. Have a greeting, and include the addressee’s name, e.g. “Dear Grace” would be nice for a start. :P
  2. Ensure there are no (or few) grammatical errors – you’re an aspiring author for goodness’ sake! “I have taken a look at your website” / “I have visited your website” is more appropriate, as compared to “i have took a look at your website”. And for the record, mine’s not a website.
  3. Make sure you are clear about the person’s occupation – I am not a “personal brand and image strategist”. I am a blogger! I will consider becoming an image strategist if I decide to stop blogging. Though I’ll first have to find out what an image strategist does. Ha!
  4. Please don’t start your email with the first word being an un-capitalized ‘i’ – “i have took a look at your website” is an ‘immediate fail’.
  5. Your book title should similarly include capital letters, unless you are not very confident about this book. Mine’s ‘Blogging For A Living’, what’s yours? ;)
  6. Don’t copy-and-paste a line that your publisher has provided you with, in this case “My publisher has recommended that i contact you for research for this book to boost the asian content” -> Having attended Gerry Robert’s preview class, I know you are his student just from this line alone. And your media kit confirmed it. Your publisher does not know me, and I know that fact. So your saying this is pretty lame.
  7. “i need 20 minutes.” as a sentence is just rude. Try “Would you be so kind as to spare me 20 minutes out of your busy schedule?”
  8. I actually like the book title – it’s catchy, doesn’t reveal too much, and entices one to find out more. So share a bit about what this book is really about, and tell me how you think I can contribute to its success.

Oh Gerry, Gerry, I wonder what it is you teach your students. After all, your class is not cheap. It’s a sweet five figure sum. I hope you include a module about email-crafting because some students definitely need it. Even if it’s of the copy-and-paste variety, if it’s well-crafted, I sure wouldn’t mind saying ‘yes’ to this interview.

Not this time though.

Do I Regret Quitting My S$114,000 Job? Hell Yeah!!!

If the question “When did you start blogging?” is the question I get asked most frequently, then “Do you regret quitting your job?” comes as a close second. [To read the blogpost about why I quit, click here] When people ask me this question, I give them that face which is supposed to mean “Are you nuts?!” And I recently started answering the question by saying “Yes! I regret not firing my boss earlier!” :D

I think most people have no idea what it is like to be a full-time blogger, and since work is all they know about, they think that I must be seriously regretting my decision to quit back in 2011.

Even though it seems absurd to me to give this question serious thought, I think I may have some different answers on this cold and rainy morning.

Rainy Day

It’s 9:55am and I’ve showered, and put some meat and seafood out to thaw so I can cook myself some breakfast brunch in a bit. It’s still raining outside. And I know some people have had to brave the rain to get to work this morning. (I hope you guys brought umbrellas!)

The thought of “How I wish I can stay in bed instead of going to work” never crossed my mind, though I bet it was thought by many people this morning as they dragged themselves out of bed. I can most definitely get back into bed right now and sleep till noon, if I want to.

That’s the power of having choice.

Back in my ‘office days’, if there was a course my manager said I had to attend, I had to attend it, no two ways about it. Now, if there’s an event I don’t want to go to, I simply turn it down and go back to whatever I was doing (maybe even watching ‘MasterChef’ on YouTube).

And in my blogpost about why I quit my job, I once wrote that “I’ve lived almost a quarter of a century. But I can’t say that I’ve left anything worthwhile behind that would last more than a day should I kick the bucket anytime soon. And that is just too sad for me to contemplate living with.”

And here’s an email I woke up to:

Blogging For A Living

This is how powerful words are.

I wanted to leave a lasting legacy. And I believe I now have it nailed. My book! Woohoo! And the best part is Diana is from the United States. My book is going places – even though I’ve never been to USA!

So, back to that question – “Do I Regret Quitting My S$114,000 Job?”

Yes and No.

I do not miss the job. And I’ll be lying if I say I don’t miss the money. It was good.

But life is better now. Without quitting, I would not have been able to accomplish so many things and grow as a person.

Turning to full-time blogging is immensely scary. I didn’t have the support of anyone – not my family, and most certainly not my boyfriend. My mom, for one, loves “iron rice bowl” jobs and my decision to NOT become an MOE teacher was something she could not comprehend. This is why, ladies and gentlemen, if you purchase a copy of my book, you will not see a page that states “This book is dedicated to my loving boyfriend and supportive family… blah blah blah” because that would be pure bullshit, and I don’t tolerate bullshit.

Many people don’t know this, but right after I quit my job, I didn’t want to look for another job. I was going to rely on my savings while I worked on my blog. At the same time, I went to people’s homes to be a tutor to their children. At least one of the mothers got a shock when she spotted me on TV after I had quit teaching her child.

And the only reason why my mother didn’t give me an ultimatum to either “get a job or get out of my house”? I consistently gave her the same amount of household allowance, not one penny less.

I’m glad I stuck to my decision.

I’ve had the opportunity to do things I never even knew I could do: win a blog award, coach another person to win a blog award, dine with Ministers and MPs, write a book, be featured at the Singapore Writers Festival, get on TV, get on radio 3 times, interview awesome people like Peter Buffett, film a video with Dr Leslie Tay and Xiaxue (both bloggers I look up to), and so much more.

In fact, when I recently accepted an overseas assignment and to travel on my own, I thought about what I would regret not having done if the plane crashed and I perished…

Nothing, really.