So I got a new boss end of 2010. I heard bad words from the streets about her (yes, she is a lady, mother of 2). Initially things were going okay. My 2010 year end performance review was done with her and my previous boss. Collectively, they have agreed that I have been performing beyond expectation and I was promised a good rating (read: above average). When the rating was released, I received an average rating. She knew I was disappointed and she claimed that she was not there to justify my rating when the rating was being challenged by the committee. Till this day, I honestly do not know whether she’s telling me the truth or she had purposely downgrade my rating. I just had to believe her at that point.
2011 came and it was a tiring year for me. Running 3 parallel projects on my own is really draining especially when I really don’t have anyone to help me out. The progress of one project was extremely slow because I had to deal with a difficult contractor and the project itself had to go through so many “red tapes.” Any decision has to go be approved by the committee and it slowed things down. She didn’t like the progress, so I have asked her to join me to meetings several times so she understood the procedure. She refused and kept on saying, “I don’t need to go, I trust you.”
Clearly she did not. Mid year review came and she told me that my performance is complete unacceptable given my status (as an expat) and I have performed below par. It is weird of her to say that when I think 70% of my tasks and target for 2011 has already been completed. But that was the triggering factor of me leaving as I know I will continue to suffer working under her and I had to do something.
I had 2 choices at that point: 1. to end my contract earlier and request a transfer back to KL or 2. resign. Option 1 is likely not going to happen as it requires her approval as my superior, so I’m left with option 2. At this point my morale was very low, I was really stressed and to some extent it was affecting my life at home. I got agitated very easily and I have to consistently vent out the “pressure.” I started job hunting but I wasn’t successful.
Not long after that, I got pregnant again. With the stress surrounding me, I guess I didn’t get much chance to enjoy it. The boss was among the first to know cause I thought she’d go easy on me. I guess I was wrong. Pressure on office job amounted and field work also did not get any mercy. I still had to go to control room twice a week and I still remember in my 1st trimester, she asked me to do a permit to work (PTW) audit under the scorching hot Brunei sun. Suffice to say, things did not get any better for me…
After unsuccessful attempts to finding an alternative back in Malaysia (not even a single interview), we decided that I will decide on a deadline – after which I will just resign without securing another job. Furthermore, I won’t likely get any job as I was pregnant. We figured that we’d wait until the little one comes and I was settled then I will continue job hunting again.
Mid October, I handed in my resignation letter without any fall back plan citing personal reasons (2nd baby is due). She was shocked, but accepted the resignation, and surprisingly asked me if it had nothing to do with her. Of course I lied and said no. With God’s will, a couple of weeks later, I received an offer for an interview with GL. They wanted to take me but me being pregnant held them back. After some negotiations, they decided to take me in. Alhamdulillah.
Honestly, I could stay, but having to work another year with that amount of workload and not learning anything new, in my opinion is a waste of time. I’d rather be doing something more rewarding even with a massive pay cut. She handled my departure well and managed to secure my “replacement” on time. It was just painful to know that my “replacement” had to handle only 1 project. My 2nd project was given to an external party to work on it independently and my 3rd project was almost finished that it was handed over to another engineer. It was painful as I have repeatedly requested to be shed off from my workload, and my wish was only granted because I left.
Shell treated me well and they even counter offered me a position in KL. But the position requires a lot of traveling and with the 2nd baby due, I had to decline. I guess it wasn’t meant to be… Not for me. And with a heavy heart, I just had to bid farewell to one of the largest company in the world.
Looking back, I honestly has no regret. Despite still thinking of the prospect of returning to Shell, leaving was an eye opener. And working in Brunei for too long wasn’t really good for my career as I have no network in Malaysia and didn’t understand the working culture here very well. It has been well over 13 months, I am still sad by the way I left. I wish my departure from Brunei was much sweeter than this. But that is life…
Till this day, I have been asked numerous times why I left and I just can’t explain how complex it was to me. Typically I just simply answer “I had a terrible boss.” GL life was good and even with the intense pressure of meeting the deadline, it was only half of the misery that I had in 2011. I had to say, I’m sad to leave GL, but I’m hoping that I reach the greener pasture that I was looking for. Hopefully I will last here for years to come. Only time will tell… Wish me luck!
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