Category Archives: Work

Back to the drawing board

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So, after much silence I decided to start writing in this thing again. The main reason, if I’m honest about it, is that I’m unemployed again so have much more free time to write and explore again.

So what happened with the job? A lot of you know the story but in a nutshell my employer ran out of money. After a year working there and 3 weeks to go before the conference I’d spent all that time organising, I found myself in a meeting with my ex-boss telling me there was no more money and they had to let us (myself and my colleagues) go, as well as cancelling the conference. Needless to say, this was a bit of a bombshell. A month on and there are still a lot of things to be resolved – my tax clearance still hasn’t been done, outstanding salary (of 2 months) is still to be paid.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. In my case, the conference being cancelled meant I could go to one of my best friend’s weddings. In fact, she is maid of honour at my wedding next year. So you can imagine, we were both thrilled! So I’ve spent the past week in a rather mild England, celebrating with some of my best friends. I also got the chance to see my family which I was especially delighted about.

Congratulations again, Mr and Mrs Hayward!

the girls

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The End of the Job Hunt!

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I am very pleased to report, that after several long months of searching and lots of dead-ends, that I have finally got a job! Hooray! I’m just getting into my third week now and it’s going really well so far. I’m working as a Project Manager for a company that produces a music education magazine and is also hosting a 4-day, 1200 delegate conference and trade show next October. So I am a busy bee! We’re only a small team at the moment but likely to be growing in the not too distant future.

I have to say, although I enjoyed my time not working and like to think I made the most of exploring both Singapore and the region, it is wonderful to be back in a professional environment. I’m asked for my opinions and ideas and I feel like I am exercising my brain properly, after it being a bit fat and lazy for a while. It’s great to have a new set of challenges to grapple with. Plus, having an EP (Employment Pass) means I can finally do things like have my own bank account, so I am feeling more like an individual again, rather than just being Will’s ‘trailing spouse’.

There were times when I thought I’d never find work. I found myself envying friends back home in the UK but also here, even though quite often they’d complain about their jobs to me. I suppose the grass is always greener! I was worried that the longer I was out here without work, the harder it would become to find something. It was already starting to get to the stage where recruiters would tip their head to one side and go ‘oh, so you still haven’t found anything?’. I went through a lot of disappointments – getting close to something but then it falling through at the last-minute, for a whole variety of reasons.

I would never say to anyone coming out here without work that finding a job here is straightforward. I am sure it can be much easier than I had it, especially if you are in law, finance or accounting. I found the most effective route was to shamelessly use my networks! I found that people in Singapore are quite happy to help out in that respect, as they know often you have left your entire professional network behind when you relocate. That seemed to be the best way of getting interviews, rather than applying cold through one of the many job portals. I’d also recommend familiarising yourself with the MoM website, especially their information on the different types of Work Passes available to foreigners. Some of these have quite strict requirements about qualifications and salary levels (if you have any specific questions do feel free to pop me an email – I’d be more than happy to help).  Most of all I would say, don’t give up! It can be tough and frustrating but if you put the effort in, it will pay off eventually.

I am sure that the day will come when I miss having the freedom to do what I like during the day, but for now, I am over the moon to be gainfully employed once more!

A little January update

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Sorry for the radio silence folks – we have been super busy since we got back from our Bali holiday.

First of all, we celebrated seeing in 2012 with some of our lovely new friends in Singapore. Pia threw a super fun ‘wigs & hats’ party over at her condo (which is walking distance from ours). So complete with dragon hat (Will) and crown (me), we saw 2012 in with much food, drink, laughter and silly dancing.

Does pink hair suit me?! 

We then had a lovely bank holiday spent with the same friends we were partying with. What started as a brunch at Epicurious at Robertson Quay, turned into a bit of a bar crawl and saw us sipping cocktails and eating cake at the PS Cafe on Ann Siang Hill, before moving on to the rooftop bar at Ying Yang. When we arrived they were playing atrocious club music at a stupidly early hour, so we got them to put on some reggae, and relaxed with some cold drinks and a cooling breeze. Great way to spend a bank holiday – thanks guys!

I also went with Laura back to the Asian Civilisations Museum, which continues to fascinate me. It’s such a great place to explore – I love reading all about the different areas and looking at the exhibits. In particular, we marvelled at some of the relics of language and how modern people had deciphered what was written, when no-one alive could speak the language. We had a great morning pottering around all the exhibits, before a yummy Italian lunch on Boat Quay, and a very long natter catching up on everything that we’d been up to and putting the world to rights!

Will & I finally went to Little India and had a delicious curry courtesy of Jaggis – brilliant Punjabi food in a no frills setting, exactly what we needed after the last few days of excess! I also met a fellow Claire, who is behind the gorgeous blog and company Fellow Fellow (beautiful handmade paper gorgeousness). We had a lovely evening with a cold glass of wine and surprisingly delicious calamari and truffle fries, at a bar on One Fullerton. This was followed up by eating ice cream by the Merlion and watching the laser show from Marina Bay Sands (still don’t understand the laser show, but its pretty!). Great evening, and great to meet another lovely person who calls this tiny island home.

On Friday, we went to the cinema to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I loved the books  (see my review here) but hadn’t seen any of the Swedish film adaptations. This was actually quite a good version, despite a bit of artistic licence with the plot somewhat! I would say that the rape scene and subsequent revenge scene is rather disturbing and not for the faint hearted! However, Rooney Mara was brilliant as Lisbeth Salander, and I did find it amusing how Daniel Craig has obviously made it enough to not have to put on a faux-Swedish accent!

Then on Saturday we hosted a birthday party for Nav at our condo – our first time BBQing in Singapore. Except although they are called ‘BBQ pits’, they are actually more of a hot plate – bit of a shock when we opened it up, but we managed to cook up a storm. Great fun, and great to find our ‘host & hostess’ mojo here in Singapore, as we were both missing having parties and BBQs like we used to in London. So we made some new friends, swam in the swimming pool after too much food, used every glass in our apartment when we had to move upstairs, and danced to Bollywood videos on You Tube. Awesome.

This is a bit of a sign of things to come as we have a busy January ahead:

  • a good friend of ours is coming over on his ‘look-see’ so we will be showing him the sights and sounds
  • we are going to Vietnam for Chinese New Year – flying to Ho Chi Minh, exploring the city, and then travelling down to the Mekong Delta. Can’t wait, as its my first time visiting Vietnam
  • hosting Will’s brother and a few of his friends as they stay for a few days, en route to a wedding in Australia

I am relishing the idea of being tour guide, as it’ll be nice to feel like a Singapore expert, rather than the ‘green’ newbie! Plus it will be great to see everyone and catch-up properly with all the news from home. I also think showing people around will make me appreciate Singapore a little bit more, as it’s always good to see your city through the eyes of someone else.

I am also on the job hunt, so if anyone knows of anyone who might like to give a great project manager/researcher/writer/events organiser/PA a job, then please get in touch! 🙂

A P45 and a few prohibition cocktails

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Last week was my final week at work. It feels so strange to have left after almost 5 years.  It’ll be strange to not go back into the office and see all those familiar faces. I’ve been really touched by all the lovely things people have said – there have been a few emails and conversations that have made me a little bit teary … I feel very loved and grateful to have worked with such lovely people.

And they did see me off in style! First we had a lovely Italian meal on Old Street, where GW read me out a poem (rather more like an epic poem – there were several verses) that he’d written to ‘celebrate’ my time working there. It was so funny and sweet – I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to me, but he is a complete star! Suffice to say, I feel very chuffed to have people like that in my life. After we’d eaten, and much to the amusement of the restaurateur, out came some of the fancy dress – we were off for a 20’s themed place afterwards so there were headbands, long strings of beads, and magnificent ostrich feathers to play with!  Once we’d accessorised ourselves appropriately, we headed to Bar Nightjar, which is literally around the corner from the office.

Almost every evening since it opened I’d walk past this mysterious door, set between two cafes, that had a little picture of a bird on it, and lights leading down some steps. I always wanted to explore it, but somehow never got round to (you never do when its on your doorstep I often think). Inside is Bar Nightjar – a gorgeous little slice of old school glamour.  It’s a prohibition style bar, all incredibly glamorous Art Deco décor inside, plus live jazz and absolutely show stopping cocktails. The have a no standing policy, which means you can relax at your table, and the staff take your drinks order from there. We ordered a sharing cocktail to start – a Nightjar ‘Ti’ Punch – which came served in a smoking teapot, with tea cups to drink from, complete with big slices of cucumber and cinnamon sticks.  Amazing stuff! We may have enjoyed a few gin cocktails after that and then had some fun on the dance floor, trying to emulate 1920’s dancing (not very well – its surprisingly energetic!). There was much silliness, laughter and good fun, which seemed like a very fitting way to say goodbye. Thanks to everyone who was a part of it (you all know who you are) x

Some photos:

Visas all sorted!

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We got confirmation this week that our visas have been approved. The boy’s is a done deal and mine is to all intents and purposes – I think I just have to go and sign some papers when we get out there. Everything is moving forward! We’ve been busy this week making seemingly endless lists of all the things that we have to do before we go. There seems to be so much to think about and I’m worried that there will be things we’ll forget!

I’ve also finally come clean about my plans to everyone at work. Its such a relief to be able to tell everyone! Their reactions have been overwhelming positive and encouraging which has cheered me greatly. I’m sad to be leaving them but excited about this big opportunity.

It all suddenly feels like we are racing towards the finish line, and all the time I thought I had to organise everything and see friends and family, seems to be disappearing between my fingers!

This weekend we are spending time with friends – eating, drinking and celebrating birthdays – which I am really looking forward to. I’m also enjoying the arrival of autumn, after the brief heatwave of last week. I love watching the seasons change – I think it will be one of the things I miss when I’m in Singapore. There’s nothing to beat England in the autumn, watching the leaves change colour, and walks in the late autumn sunshine. Just beautiful. I will have to get my camera out this week I think!

And now it is real…

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So people, the boy signed his contract on Friday. It is official. We are going. The only thing left to be arranged before we know the exact date is our visas. The boy’s is nice and straightforward as he has a job to go to, and apparently mine is relatively simple as its just linked to his, as we have declared ourselves ‘common law man and wife’. With all being well, its likely that we’ll be there in mid-November, although that timing really depends on how quickly the Singaporean authorities can process our paperwork.

Oh, and I handed in my notice. I have officially quit my job. Absolute madness.

I spent the weekend in a weird sort of state. On the one hand, strangely elated that this moment that we’ve been waiting for ages to happen is now actually here. On the other hand, weirdly terrified that this has become real. I am actually going to LIVE IN SINGAPORE. Holy cow. I think I am continually in denial about the next phase of this moving forward. I can’t now quite comprehend that I am going to have to pack up all my stuff and my life in the UK, and fly it 13 hours across the globe. All that really remains before things start to move very quickly indeed is for us to confirm our last day, and get our flights booked. Wowzers.