My Beginning in Toastmasters

Maroon Logo.jpg

Prior to involving myself in Toastmasters, I’ve heard about it a few times and had an idea that it is something related to public speaking. It’s quite popular but I never really knew how it works. When somebody posted about Toastmasters, they would remark it as a place we can learn to improve our skills in communication, presentation and public speaking. I wasn’t really interested because public speaking is never my thing. When it comes to giving presentation, my timid personality becomes so dominant. Frankly speaking, I’m not a confident and skilled speaker.

But in my office, we have this BP Asia BSC Toastmasters Club formed under the company. Employees are encouraged to join for self-development but it’s not compulsory. My boss has been forwarding the info about this programme but I never really bothered to dig further. As this year one of my goals is to get involved in more non-work activities at the workplace, I thought it’s time to give my shot for Toastmasters so I began attending the bi-weekly meetings as guest.

I heard from outside independent clubs, one has to pay certain fees in order to become a member so he or she can participate in the activities. But in here, because everything is sponsored, whoever wants to become a member has to fulfil three requirements:

  1. Give a 2-minute Impromptu Speech during Table Topic Session. There will be 4-6 topics for anyone from the room to volunteer to pick one topic related to the theme of the day and talk about it, spontaneously! The picks could be in a form of vocabularies, idioms or questions.
  2. Take up a roll during the meeting. There are three main rolls to be filled so we can choose any one from these :
    • Ah-CounterThe purpose of an Ah-Counter is to note any speech crutches a speaker made during his speech like ‘ah’, ‘urm’, ‘lah’ or anything that do not have any meaning in a speech. During the evaluation session, the Ah-Counter will announce who made how many crutches.
    • GrammarianA Grammarian is to note grammatical errors or misused or mispronounced words and will advise corrections. Also, every meeting will have a theme and word-of-the-day so speakers are encouraged to use the wotd as much as possible and grammarian will take note on it.
    • TimerA Timer is responsible for monitoring the time of meeting segments and speakers. A speaker must not exceed the given time or else he or she will not be qualified to be nominated for the Best Speaker of the day. Mr. Timer will signal speakers by his ‘traffic-lights’ and ‘ting’!
  3. Perform a 6-minute Prepared Speech on Ice Breaker. This is the very first project assignment in the Toastmasters module.

After fulfilling the third requirement, they will officially welcome us as the member of BP Toastmasters Club and from there we can begin our learning based on the modules provided and present more and more speeches.

As of now, I have completed the first two requirements so the next one is to perform my first prepared speech! I’ve booked a slot in the next meeting and now I’m sooo nervous even though the topic is just Ice Breaker! Haha.. After speech sessions, there will be an evaluation session from an expert who will comment on our speech and will point out any rooms of improvement. That’s the scary part huhu but actually not as scary as it may sound because they are all constructive feedback. But maybe embarrassing a bit. Aaa…

The question now is, why am I doing all theseeee? Is my job not busy enough? Haha. Definitely just for fun. It’s freee but they have limited quota so I better grab it quick! My job and my daily life do not force me to stand in front of many people to speak or present anything. I’m really in my comfort zone and plus, I’m kinda person who don’t bother to challenge myself to do this and that to prove myself to the world but I know this is not healthy. So I’m taking this as a bit of a challenge for myself to improve and become a better person.

Perhaps for some people it’s not a big deal at all but for such a person who is lacking in confidence and with my incompetency in proper verbal communication in English, this is such an enormous big deal! Not expecting a vast transformation in myself but I believe this little effort is not fruitless at all. Prepping my text for my first project speech; Good Luck, Self!

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Dream Job You’re Wishing For

BP

I received this letter last week unexpectedly, just because I forgot my anniversary with the company that I stepped in 5 years ago. 5 years! A complete set of fingers to tell me that I’ve been here for such a significant duration. 5 years of undeniable blessings I can say. Having a job, a solid source of income is really something we can’t take for granted of that we should be thankful every day, not only on paydays okay. In total, I’ve been working for 8 years since I graduated and this is the second company I work for. 8 years and 2 companies – pretty loyal, no? Hehe, or maybe just unaggressive in finding opportunities.

I began my career journey in 2009 and what I can say is it was not a good start. The first company I worked for taught me the harsh truth of working life. Unreasonably heavy work load, bad boss, stupid system and sickening people surrounding me every day. It was so stressful and in fact the most stressful period of my life making me traumatic if I throwback the moments. Driving to work felt like handling a cable car – so heavy and the weather was always gloomy all the way to the workplace. In those 3 years, I lost appetite badly and turned from an originally thin girl to almost anorexic. That’s how ugly a bad job could make of me and that’s a true story.

Of course there were still good things I should be thankful for – the knowledge, the experience and there were still nice people I could talk to – and yes I did, thanked God for every little thing I gained from the company. And thank God I have my mom, she was there listening to my whine every time I came home crying. That was all my motivation when dealing with the depression with the hope that things would change for me even though I thought it was impossible. It was my first job and that concluded an impression that working life was never a good thing. I wanted to go back to my wonderful and happening university life but that was just impossible. And it was also impossible for me to not work because I am an adult already, so adults work, adults must work, we have bills and loans now, a pile! So all I thought was, then on and for as long as I’m w.o.r.k.i.n.g, my life is miserable. Nuff said.

But who actually said so? It was just a blind assumption of a hopeless young girl who just began to ‘live’. Who just hasn’t realized and truly believed the power of the Lord who can do miracles. After three years trapped in such a destructive environment, I married my husband and moved to KL. A few months of job hunting, I finally secured a position in here where in the beginning I brought with me the assumptions from my previous work life to the new one, just to be ready to face the “norms”. Amazingly as the days went by, my guesses got all wrong. This place is bliss! The people, the environment, the culture and the boss are all so nice I never thought they existed. Things totally changed as different as night and day. I turned to a positive person, happier and fatter! Haha.. that was due to another reason as well –  being married, exactly.

Alhamdulillah I’m happy here. At the moment, I’m surrounded by the people whom I can call friends, not just colleagues. Work-life balance is something really necessary for employees and this company has it ready. Flexi work arrangement and tolerant superiors who understand our commitments at home, not just all work. Some days are bad days and some people are unpleasant which can’t be avoided anywhere but I choose to focus on the good. This place is my comfort zone.

Of course not everything is perfect and I’m not telling those means to brag that I am the lucky one to have the best job ever. No, I’m still at a moderate level of the career ladder and in fact I am not a good employee enough so how could I boast? What I’m trying to tell is, guys, if you’re having a hard time at your work place or have been going through such a disappointing journey to find the right job I truly, truly understand the feelings, because really I’ve been there. If you could see, Allah tested me for three years to grant me with such a wonderful gift I couldn’t ask for more. If you’re tested even longer or harder, imagine what’s awaiting for you in the future! Allah’s arrangement is beautiful. When He tested me with the stressful job, I was single and had less commitment. My focus and weekends could all be spent at the office and no one got affected. Now that I have a family to look at, He gave me a work-life balance job, a company that’s so supportive towards mothers. Our stories are different but believed; the best is yet to come, right on time.

Two years back, the oil and gas industry was having downturns and that affected the company as well. As a result, it worked through a few cycles of retrenchment that impacted even some of my lunch buddies from other department. It’s so devastating to know that from a steady position you held for years, suddenly being told that you’re out of place. It somehow threatened everyone’s security and belief on the company’s stability, including mine. Things improved after that but the incident somehow serves as a constant reminder to me to rely everything on Allah because anything could happen and that a good job does not guarantee a fine end. While I’m cherishing my time here on this anniversary, I pray that if you’re seeking, soonest Allah will bestow you with the dream job you’re wishing for. Ameen.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Congratulations, Lia

17.7.17 – A beautiful date to remark a beautiful memory. Today was my best friend’s big day! After almost 4 years struggling to achieve her dream to receive that doctorate in Accounting discipline, she finally made it last year and today was the official graduation. It was held thousand miles away in UK but we, the friends, in Malaysia did not miss to witness the ceremony broadcasted live through the web. Like wow, technology! With the very clear video plus a 360 virtual reality live stream show, we really could feel the heat in the University of Manchester’s hall. Hehe really, the music sound was ding ding ding making me feel extra nervous that I would miss the moment. But with the friends on What’s app group together updating each other to get ready, it turned into an excitement. This friend’s graduation is a shared happiness, and a shared success too! Hence, we also own partial of that Doctor of Philosophy, yeah? Hehehe.

CONVO1

Congratulations my dear!! You did it!! I’m sooo proud of you. A PhD completion in less than four years? It’s a big wow. This journey wasn’t easy, you nailed it. Come what may, you got it. You deserved to be happy, you deserved to be proud of yourself. Well done, doc!

Last year I went to UK to visit her when she was still there in her final year. I flew alone and it was my first time travelling out of the country. From just a normal text conversation, suddenly she came out with an idea to drag me to her place like it’s just next door. This is how it started. I went to Genting Highlands with my little family and it was night time. It was soooo cold I couldn’t stand that 17 degree temperature outdoor. In my mind was – this is only Genting, not UK! UK is definitely colder but I wasn’t sure how low. So back home, I texted Lia and asked her what’s the normal temperature there in Manchester she’s living. She said “7 – 8 degree at the moment, why?” I was like whattt?? That’s damn cold how do you breatheee?! She replied “Why, are you coming??” I laughed and told her about Genting and so.

Three weeks after the conversation, I touched down UK and breathed in the coolness myself. That’s how simple a partner in crime worked the impossibility. It was spontaneous but timely, the day I arrived was the day Lia had the green light to submit her final thesis. So the very first place she brought me to visit, out of many interesting places in Manchester, was the printing shop! Haha.

UoM  MBS

I’m glad I was part of the journey, the very least one. The highlights of today’s occasion in some way flew my mind way back in our college time when we were students, pursuing our first degree. Those years we talked a lot about the future, our goals and dreams, like an open book. Our plans and preferences differed, making it fun listening to each other. Lia had always wanted to continue studies to the highest level, PhD. Who would’ve ever thought, after 10 years, the ordinary talk finally took its turn into real play. All praise be to Allah who listened and willed the plans as she wished for.

 

Convo2

Being the witness from day one she voiced out the wish, I felt touched because I know the ride wasn’t easy, it’s flawed and bumpy. Not everything worked out the way we wanted it to be as we hoped everything would be smooth but Allah shaped it with a mix of sweet and sour of life. After all the sweats and tears, He finally handed the final result wrapped in the most beautiful package of persistence and determination. At this point, we couldn’t be any happier and more grateful. Indeed, Allah is the best of planners.

Today was one of those days that I sat with my chin cupped reminiscing the good old days. We’re blessed.

Till the next post,
SALZY