My First Job Interview: PART 2

I went for my first job interview the very day after SPM ended.

(If you have not read part ONE of my job interview yet, click here!)

Christmas mood filled the air at Midvalley Megamall, and Christmas crowds filled its streets. My would-be colleagues bustled about their colourful kiosk, and it wasn’t until about 20 minutes later that I was attended to, but that did not bother me. I was glad to have the chance to take my time to observe the products on display and how the staff attended to their customers.

A lady gave me a form to fill up, and then she proceeded to ask me if I had any problems with talking to people. I was nervous, as would anyone at their first job interview. I also knew for a fact that my social skills were not the best. However, with my promise to myself to perform and breach my comfort zone, I told her I was okay with speaking to crowds, just that I don’t happen to do it very often. Even then, I can, I emphasized to her, and in my mind I told myself I would raise myself to the standards I spoke of. It was also that day on which I learnt that this was another effective way to encourage improvement in oneself. In the consequent weeks, I would discover yet another way. These were all methods we had heard of a million times in theory, but it really only dawns on you when you discover it for yourself through experience.

Then the lady described what it would be like, working at their booth (During Christmas season, they had a little booth at the Centre Court in addition to their permanent kiosk at LG floor.), how I had to be observant and watch for roaming eyes toward their products on display, how working with them would be very fast paced indeed, and I had to be able to be efficient. Already all that was making me dizzy, but I nodded my head and smiled calmly at her, like all this was not a whole lot to take in after being locked up studying for months. Then came the final blow:

“It’s okay to make mistakes,” said the lady, “But if the same mistake is made too many times, it becomes an offense.”

I stared at her, feeling as if I had already started making mistakes. But I had walked into this anticipating “the world out there” — demanding bosses, strict rules and a fast-paced working environment were what I was expecting, and what I wanted for myself, so I nodded bravely.

(I would later discover that it wasn’t the super-strict scenario I had been trained by my parents to imagine, but instead my bosses were a perfect balance between being strict when it was time to work, and being friendly when it was appropriate to have fun.)

After discussing the days and hours per week that I was available to work and my salary scheme, the lady told me to come for training on the 2nd of December, where they would observe my promoting abilities and see if they could accept me. Before she let me off, she smiled at me and said: “Welcome to the working world!”

My First Job Interview: PART 1

If you really want something, you will make it happen.

Rachel Tan HX, 18

It was almost by chance, that I managed to secure a small temporary job that would add so much colour to my life compared to the dull studying days of before.

During the past month, I had scoured the Indeed Job App in search of promoter work, as a means to improve on my confidence while getting valuable work experience after SPM. I finally landed myself a job interview with Matchy & Co (Midvalley outlet), a company that sells colourful travel products and personalised gifts. Finding the right job match for myself was not easy, having to take into account many factors such as distance, age limit, and working hours and days per week, but I got it done.

Despite the huge effort I had put in throughout November to find this job, I was prepared to drop the opportunity for this already-secured interview if I could not find the right timing to inform my father about it. Only teenagers with strict parents will understand when I say angering the fire dragon/s in the family is no small joke! Haha.

Today, I am instead grateful to my dad for unintentionally causing the opportunity to ask him to arise. This is how it went:

Dad: “Your SPM has ended! What do you want to do? Hmm….. Aha. How about I take you to visit your potential university tomorrow?”

Immediately, the word tomorrow clashes with something else I’ve planned. Before I can stop myself, I say: “Tomorrow?…. Uhhh….But tomorrow I have an interview.”

Dad’s excited grin falls into a deep frown. “Interview. Since when?” (Rarely do I ever make plans for anything on my own, without first informing my father.) “Then when did you plan to tell me? It’s tomorrow already.”

I then proceeded to pounce on the opportunity like a starving cat, and I think it is partly because SPM had just ended that my father was a bit more open to the idea, and he allowed it! (After making some reluctant grunting noises.) Yay! I was very excited for the opportunity and the experiences my potential job had to offer. I knew that given all the effort taken to find the job and get the permission to go for the interview, I was going to make sure I got this job. No way would I allow myself to be rejected the position. I was going to perform well and secure it.

We still went to visit my potential campus the following day to make some enquiries, then I was rushed to Midvalley just in time for the interview at 3pm. “This is one busy woman,” my dad laughed, as he sent me to my first job interview ever. Scattered around KL and Selangor, my friends were watching Korean dramas, going for outings, scrolling on their phones or lazing on their beds. Oh dear! What was I getting myself into?

>>> To read about what happens next in my first job interview, click here.

Interesting Facts About COVID-19

Tired of all the coronavirus articles that start every day off with big numbers and zigzagging lines? Let me change that around for you. Here’s some fun facts about the coronavirus that has become the global topic recently:

Naming of the coronavirus

The official name for the virus is SARS-CoV-2, as announced on WHO (World Health Organisation)’s website. The coronavirus may be referred by most mainstream platforms as “the Covid-19 virus” or “the virus that causes Covid-19” to prevent unnecessary consequences such as widespread panic, especially amongst people in the Asian regions who were most affected by the disease in 2003. However, WHO has clearly stated that these designations do not replace the official name of the virus: SARS-CoV-2. The virus is named this way because it is genetically related to SARS-CoV, though both are different viruses.

Disease: Covid-19, named by WHO

Virus: SARS-CoV-2, named by ICTV

>>>Why do the virus and disease have different names?

Who suffers from the Covid-19 outbreak?

1. The sick patients. Previously, the new cases ranged between 2000-3000 every day, with about 100-200 deaths. I am glad to hear that the numbers have dropped to below a thousand yesterday (22 Feb)! Let us pray for those still battling the disease, and mourn those who have passed.

2. F&B (food and beverage) industries. Physical outlets such as restaurants have been affected, but more significantly in China, especially during the 14-day quarantine. No one wants to go out in such hazardous conditions.

*Of course, when KFC had their 20.02.2020 RM20 snack box promotion, all was forgotten. πŸ˜›

3. Retail outlets and shopping malls. Naturally, there will be a general avoidance of crowded areas. People still need to eat, so F&B can still survive… but shopping for clothes isn’t exactly a necessity around this time! Shopping malls are air conditioned, which means “used” air is being circulated… it’s an absolute no-no for many.

4. The stock market. Finally, HERE’S when it starts to get a little more interesting. As an 18-year-old who doesn’t know much about trading, the only way I know the stock market has been severely affected is by my father’s horrified yells. “IT’S DOWN ANOTHER (insert complicated statistic with decimal places)!!! SELL NOW!!” Followed by pounding footsteps toward the telephone.

5. Global economy. China supplied a large portion of global demand. Retailers haven’t been able to restock on many of their products on sale, and this due to many suppliers having difficulty obtaining raw materials from manufacturers in China! This is the best example of the chaotic chain reaction caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Who benefits from the Covid-19 outbreak?

1. Pharmaceutical companies. Demand for masks, hand sanistisers etc have soared. However, this has caused a shortage in these items and a struggle to meet the demands, since China supplies two-thirds of global demand.

2. Healthcare centres, especially in China. It may not be a nice way to think about it, but there have been a massive number of patients coming in for treatment everyday – too many, even, until only recently when the numbers were reversed.

3. Medical R&D (research and development). It is a cold fact that when there is a loss, we push ourselves harder, and therefore advancement moves faster. China’s astonishing pace at both identifying the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus and the building of the thousand-bed hospital has set new records for research.

4. Online food delivery apps. You might not have thought of this one! πŸ˜› More and more people are staying at home and avoiding the crowds, so apps like Foodpanda and Grabfood are thriving. This has compelled some people who were previously illiterate in online apps to learn how to use them, leading to an increasingly digital era – of course, with its own pros and cons.

Little Joys

“Zui zhong yao hai yan mou si.”

Enter The Fat Dragon movie

Translation: ζœ€ι‡θ¦ζ˜―δΊΊζ²‘δΊ‹γ€‚/ The most important thing is that we are safe.

“There’s a spider on the – one, two, three, four, five…. twenty third step,” my brother reported, sitting on the staircase next to me.

“Kill it lah.” I reply, squeezing grey water out of my cloth.

“It’s Chinese New Year,” he replies. “I’ll just let it walk away–“

“Aiyarh. That is just a superstition– DUST ON THE TWENTY-FIRST STEP!! Wipe this one. We are both born on the twenty-first!”

“Now who’s being superstitious?”

Image result for spider free stock image
Picture credit: Pexels

Chinese New Year spring cleaning is a tedious task for most people, but it’s different for our family. We manage to make it fun and exciting every year. Here’s how:

We notice the little things.

“Ew! I didn’t know there was SO MUCH dust behind the beds! Accumulated throughout the whole year?”

β€œI vacuum behind the beds every week.” Mom replies. 

β€œThat’s even worse!”

We get to position ourselves anywhere we like.

“Tired.” One word from dad, and he lies face up on the newly mopped dining room floor.

We can blast festive music throughout the house.

It’s our tradition to play Astro’s 12 year Zodiac animal theme songs (Here’s the link! on our father’s computer at ultimate volume, so that it can be heard throughout the house. It makes spring cleaning less dry and more fun.

However, one piece of advice – enter our father’s room at your own risk!

Finding angpow money.

“Gasp! Old angpao from aunty. Whoa! Last year’s angpao from mom! Eih… this one is from three years ago!… I must say, I have awesome money hiding skills.”

We can snack on Chinese New Year cookies while spring cleaning.

Chinese New Year cookies!
25 January 2020

“Rachel, do you like cheese?”

“Urgh!” I frown at my brother. “You know I don’t. Why do you ask?”

“Nah, just wondering. We have a can of cheese biscuits over there,” he pointed at nowhere in particular, but I was carrying the vacuum cleaner in one hand and a bucket of dirty water in the other, so I didn’t bother to ask further. “But try these.” He opens a can of cookies in front of me, and places one in my mouth, since my hands are dirty. “You’ll like this better. Isn’t it lovely?”

I pause to savour the taste as the first chinese new year cookie I’ve had this year hits my tongue. “Yes,” I say. It is such a treat, when I’ve worked so hard. “What cookie is it?”

“Cheese cookies,” laughs my brother.

Our family has weird customs.

Every year on Chinese New Year eve, during the cleaning of the front porch, you will be doused with a bucket full of water when you’re not looking.

I am scrubbing the porch floor with a broom. My mind is focused on the floor, dotted with soap powder. Scrub scrub scrub scrub scrub. Scrub scrub scr– SPLASH!!!

“Oi!” I yell, soaking wet from head to toe. while my brother’s laughter rings behind the wall, just out of sight. “That was too strong a wave!….. Wait. Where did my glasses go?”