Vicky’s Guide To Moving On

Nine years, three months and I have finally moved on. And the journey is, surprisingly, not at all painful. It’s as easy and smooth as you would have wished all your breakups in the past had been. But perhaps I should start by explaining what it is, or was, that I have moved on from.

So here it is.

Three weeks ago, I left my job. Or more to the point, (my) life for almost a decade. You know how sometimes you develop an intense affection for something or someone (the latter being more relatable, I guess) that you think the romance is never going to wane, but then you wake up and bam! It’s. just. not. there. anymore. However, in my case, it was more gradual rather than abrupt. No drama, no tears, no gut-wrenching pain or guilt. Except when I finally had that chat with my former Boss, whom I have always respected and I reckon, always will, and not only because of our working relationship but because he’s just a genuinely awesome person, that I got a wee bit emotional. A really good man, that one. And then of course, I have a few (so few) colleagues whom I really liked talking to and collaborating with. Let’s not forget the fun memories of the good old days when people were a lot closer, less calculating, more genuine, more fun. When you’ve had your fair share of breakups, you know that often, even when you know the relationship is heading south, you try to delay the inevitable by allowing yourself to be swayed by memories which are really no more than just dying embers. And these things (do) die, eventually. But I remain loyal to people, good memories and experience spanning nine years and the learnings that came with it. Otherwise, if I forget all of that, those years would have been all for naught. And they weren’t. I just…needed a good change.

Which brings us to here and now. Since I tendered, I found myself planning and doing all sorts of really fun stuff which admittedly made the transition so much easier, like I said. So here it is, Vicky’s guide to moving on:

1. Buy a MacBook Air. I mean, I wish Apple had just given me one for no reason but in my case, Apple came in the form of my doting husband. Merci beaucoup mon mari for my early Christmas gift! With my new job, I intend to pick up blogging again so Macquette and I are certainly going to have a LOT of crazy fun adventures together!


2. Go to a baking class with newfound friends. Making friends is always encouraged but I prefer my connections to be more than just the perfunctory follows, likes and comments on social media. I want to be in the company of beautiful people (hi Mae!) who are just as passionate about learning new stuff as I am. Plus, baking is totes fun yo! And c’est bon, says Hubby.


3. Indulge your inner fat kid. Met up with a dear friend (hi Madie!) and discovered Market Grill and its famous Mangalica Pork Chop and swooped down on Dean and Deluca’s top-rated rainbow cake for dessert. Before the night was over, we made semi-concrete plans to hit foodie haunts we’ve never been to before in Singapore and just let ourselves go. Anyway, there’s always running and yoga to turn to when things get a little bit out of hand.


4. Go to a Mariah Carey concert. Okay, this one was not random. I bought the tickets months before but it was just fortuitous that the concert happened during my period of transition. Mariah can still sing and she performed beautifully last night! So haters and trolls, you can all give it a rest now. Give the lady a break. She’s been through a lot.


5. Go to a yoga and music festival on the beach! What can be better than these three things – beach, yoga and music -combined? Them three plus a lifetime supply of Ben & Jerry’s! Jest aside, I’m glad that I signed up for SoulScape SG where  I met a lot of likeminded yoga and fitness enthusiasts and got to do some fun things right on the beach! Never mind that the sight of their yoga-toned and taut bodies made me feel overweight.


6. Repurpose old clothes. I started with a major spring cleaning session and, tadaaah, found clothes I have not worn in ages which I am now in the thick of repurposing so they don’t go to waste. While repurposing ex-lovers is a big no-no, I cannot say the same thing for, you know, things.

7. Reorganise stuff. Books, clothes, bags, shoes, kitchen items, digital photo albums, etc. Basically, anything messy that I can get my hands on, I will eventually reorganise.

8. Plan for winter holiday… (or any other holiday because now I have 20 plus paid vacation leaves a year to use whenever and however which way I want!) Planning is actually more of Hubby’s hard skill but I do get involved occasionally by scouring Instagram and Pinterest for places I want to visit and haranguing him nonstop to consider plugging it into the itinerary.

So there you go. Bottomline, we all have different ways of dealing with a major transition in life and mine just happened to have come together to form this beautiful pattern, for which I am truly grateful. And now that I have put the past behind me, it’s time to plan, nay, just BE awesome in life everyday.

Got Bad Reviews? Relax, it’s not the end of the world.

Learn from Dilbert.

Those of us deeply entrenched in the corporate jungle would agree that if there are two things we look forward to each year it would be our bonus and the quarterly/annual performance review. Whereas the former is usually  met with delightful anticipation, the latter perhaps, not quite so – depending on how you are rated by your immediate boss.

I am a big advocate of performance reviews.  You may have had some bad experiences with them, but you must see the merit in having some form of feedback mechanism on how big or small an impact your performance makes in the company you work for.

At some point during the course of your career you are likely to get an unflattering performance review. Depending on how bad you perceive the result to be, some of you may be inclined to immediately resign and shop for an employer than can appreciate your skills.  It is perhaps a solution, but probably a little drastic in most cases and may not at all solve the real problem.  Here are some tips to consider before you make any decision:

1. Evaluate what was actually said and try not to get too emotional – If your boss pointed out concerns regarding your performance, take a moment to focus on what was actually said.  In fact, try not to be hasty with your rebuttal and understand clearly where your Boss is coming from. Stay calm, and don’t take any remarks personally—even the ones that hurt or you feel are unfair. Above all, don’t argue or force him/her into a corner to defend his/her comments.

2. Win your Boss over – Getting a negative mark on your performance review doesn’t automatically mean the demise of your career. There is, in fact, an opportunity for you here to win your Boss over and possibly receive a second chance. Study your Boss’ comments regarding your accomplishments and subtly work into the conversation other accomplishments he may have overlooked. After you and your boss have gone over the positive comments, mention that you’re concerned about how the negative comments will affect your future in the company. If the negative comments outweigh the positive comments, ask your Boss to consider giving you a second chance and turn things around moving forward.

3. Thank your Boss for his honesty and file your rebuttal or appeal if you still feel he mis-graded you in some points – If you think that your boss’ critique was completely wrong and you have facts to back you up, then you certainly have the right to offer a rebuttal.  You may, however, consider doing this a few days later, when you have had an opportunity to calm down and look at the situation again, more objectively this time.  Gather your thoughts, put them in a logical order and once you are prepared, set a meeting with your Boss and present your thoughts with your emotions in check.

And lastly, PERFORM, PERFORM, and if possible, OUTPERFORM.

Total Fitness: Travel Tips for the Holidays

Check out my article on page. 91.

As published on Total Fitness December 2011 issue. Grab a copy today! Christmas season may be well over but there’s still the Chinese New Year long weekend to take advantage of. So, travel away!


For most of us who spend countless hours and days fighting for survival and control in the cutthroat urban/corporate jungle, going away on a holiday is a necessity for a few different reasons: to relax and recharge our batteries, to get lost in the moment and have fun, meet new romantic partners or seal the bond with current beaus, or to simply take ourselves away from the chores and problems of our daily lives. But perhaps, the main reason why holidays are so important to us – strange though it might sound at first – is that they heighten our awareness.


For the most part, we are contained in environments that are completely familiar to us, and our lives largely consist of experiences that we keep repeating everyday. But when we go on a holiday, we are transported to a whole new dimension. The beaches, the mountain tops, the fields, foreign buildings and streets and the different food, language and culture are more real to us. They are all so new and different that we pay them much more attention. As a result we become more present than we are at home. We spend less time immersed in the ‘thought-chatter’ in our minds, or giving our attention to distractions like TV or the Internet. Why would you want to stay in your hotel room and watch TV when you can sit in a beach café and watch the boats going by, or go for a walk along the ancient city streets? Why would you give your attention to the chattering worries inside your head when there are so many stimulating and beautiful sights and sounds to soak ourselves in?

Going on a holiday takes us to that state of natural mindfulness, where we pay complete attention to our experiences and develop the kind of fresh, ‘first-time’ vision we used to have as young kids.

Taking a break is one thing but maximizing the perks of your holiday is another.  Because now there are tons of options to consider, it becomes more imperative to make wise and informed decisions without having to kill the thrill of spontaneity  – which is also what taking a holiday is about. To make sure you get all your money and time’s worth when planning for your holiday, consider these tips:

  1. Budget travel is NOT synonymous to bad travel. In fact, not only do you get to save more money, you also get to experience some aspects of traveling you would not otherwise experience during expensive trips. I mean, sure, you get to dine in expensive restaurants and clubs, but chances are, people are less approachable in these places and there are a lot of restrictions. But once you go the cowboy way and mingle with other budget travelers (and believe me there are more of us out there!), you are guaranteed to have the pleasure of meeting more people you can swap stories with.
  2. Explore away! Now is your chance to absorb all the colors, sights, sounds, taste, and feel your body can accommodate so don’t waste it by staying in your hotel room the whole day. Check out local tours and see which ones you can join. Or if you are daring enough, make your own itinerary and throw in some random things in between.
  3. Document your trip using your handy point-and-shoot and make short, fun videos after. This is your chance to discover the inner photographer in you, so make sure you have extra memory card and batteries that will come in handy when you run out of either right in the middle of your exploration.
  4. Make one or two friends for each day of your trip and by that I mean, make it your mission to know more than just their name and what sort of work they do. Have great conversations about books, movies, sports, or anything you can find common ground on.
  5. Learn. Find out more about the place, it’s history, and the people by watching, observing, listening, and asking questions. Traveling should be about learning about places and people as this is also where you can learn something new, different, and surprising – about yourself.


More shameless plug: Grab a copy of this month’s Men’s Health magazine and check out my article on page 91. Here’s a quick look at the article.

Go to page 91 for full article.