Tags: work


12 more days ...

... to Christmas!

I've not figured out what to get for my sissy, BIL and B.T (I still owe him a birthday gift!) and though I'm bewildered at how fast 2010 has zipped by, I am looking forward to Christmas.

This year has been a mad year of travels again just like in 2009. 6 trips to State side, 6 within Southeast Asia, 1 to Bali and Hong Kong and Hong Kong again next week. 15 trips at least in total - I might have even left a trip or two out. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired out by the travel but it's all good.

Oh yes. I did sorta get my Charlie Brown tree which is a crack up. I'll post pictures soon :p

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One Bowerman

Just 12

I'm vertically challenged. I need to stand on a stool or chair for the stuff that I do at work.

A: J, can you help me to remove that shoe on the top. Yea. That one.
My counterparts laugh.
I reply,
A: Yea. I need to request for a stool or ladder for me the next time around.
J: She's actually 12. But we aren't supposed to say so due to the labor laws.
A: -_- Thanks.

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When I get lost, nobody is surprised

Still on the topic of my reputation (at work) for having a hopeless sense of direction.

After my director emailed on the Christmas gift idea for yours truly (and my manager), she received my out of office notice which said that I was on a market visit (the day before). I had forgotten to turn it off when I got in the next morning and she replies to me, Wasn't the market visit yesterday? Or are you still roaming around Orchard? i.e. did you get lost? -_- Hur hur hur.

And this is because I got lost trying to get out of the shopping mall.

And I got lost trying to walk back to my hotel from the mall (after visiting Portland for a dozen times) - I walked around in a square twice, before realizing that I got it wrong.

And I got lost walking in a circle. Don't ask me how I did it but I did.

And every time my co-workers try to 'test' me on a run by letting me run up front, I make a turn in the complete opposite direction - Andy!!! Where on earth are you going??!

And my teammate is so aware of my sense of direction that she types out ONE page of directions to get to the outlet in Hong Kong with instructions like - walk till you see this building called X and I suggest that you stay on the bus till it reaches the end of the terminal otherwise you might get off the wrong stop.

Oh and my manager is like me. He was planning to run 5km but landed up running 17km because he got lost :P And so whenever we run, it becomes a running joke. Pun intended.

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Terry Fox Run

In the rain

Running in the lunch-time rain. Phenomenal.

It's fun if it's not a heavy downpour with lighting and thunder. My shoes were soaked through but not enough to give me blisters.

And oh. I like that fact that I can tell the customers (at today's meeting) - I am a runner. It is legit to talk about running at work. No one thinks that I am crazy. Well, most don't or they are already resigned to the fact that I am obssessed.

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Union Station

My favorite shot taken of the inside of the Union Station

B.T commented that I'm far behind my entries. That strange boy. He knows all about my dailies and trips (except the work trips where he isn't around) but he enjoys reading my blog. But I guess he's right. I've been back from Washington D.C for weeks and have yet to finish the entries on it! There is still Hong Kong to go but I've been busy juggling my time training for the marathon which zaps out a lot of energy out of me (and time), work is getting a bit crazier now and I am trying to squeeze in time to meet up with a friend once a week. I have a small list of people that I would like to meet up with this year!! So I really am trying :P

To side track a little, since I mentioned a little about work, missy here was stupid enough to get the dates of her 8am teleconference calls mixed up. So guess who reached the office at 730am only to discover that hey, it's actually on Thursday instead -_- Great. That means I have to wake up earlier for 3 days straight. Arghh.

So back to Union Station which is what this entry is meant to be all about. I have a fascination of train stations. Not the ones like the tube or the metro or the MTR but old school train stations. Anyway, it seems weird to want to check out a train station but I think it's cool to look at one with history behind it.

Frankly, I was slightly disappointed when I stepped in. I mean, don't get me wrong, the Union Station is nice but I kept thinking of the Grand Central Station in New York City and I can't get that station out of my mind. It really blew me away. When I stepped in, I really went, WOW There is just something about it that makes it special.

I'm too tired to type, so I'll just display all the photos here :)

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Universal Studios

Shrek's castle?

Every 3 months or so, the SEA teams will fly in for our seasonal meetings. There will be a big team dinner and this time around, it was over at Universal Studios!

My memories of Universal Studios in the States are somewhat faded. Let me see, I was about 11 years old when I visited?! I didn't expect anything - I just thought it was fun that we could boot out of the office at 5pm and have some fun on company expenses :P

I heard we could sit on a few rides - I said NO. I don't mind okay speed type of rollercoasters but not those that go up-side down. In the end, I got swindled into sitting on the Revenge of the Mummies ride and the result was quite hilarious -_-

The Swede fibbed. He said it was a simulation sort of ride. Well, okay. That's fine. You just sit in a chair and it wiggles and wobbles with sound effects etc. I can handle that. So I said I'll ride and when we stood in line and I saw the carts coming in, I went Sh*t. So I asked Talley if he could sit next to me and he laughed and said okay.

The ride came. I sat at the last row with Talley on my right. It started. I said to myself, Well, okay. I can handle this if it goes at this speed. It was fine for the first minute and I was actually laughing and then Talley said, It's going to drop! And I got nervous. And the damn thing - well I shan't spoil it for those who haven't gone on it. But okay, it did its thing and I was screaming my head off. I landed up grabbing onto Talley's arm for the entire ride or rather whenever it was dropping and swerving around the bends. He actually gave me fore warning but it made it worse. When the photos came out, everyone laughed their heads off because I was gripping onto Talley's arm and head on his shoulder. Sigh.

So that's it. NO MORE RIDES FOR ME.

It's actually a short ride and probably not even scary for most but for me, bah. I hate rollercoasters.

We didn't get to tour all of Universal Studios - I don't know if I will be back but at least I had a glimpse of it. I wished I saw Kungfu Panda, Shrek and the rest though :\ Some of them did but I didn't! Bah!

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Truly a busy week!

My results!

I am quite glad that tomorrow is a holiday because this week has truly been one helluva week.

::: Attended a course and sat for an exam - more about this further down this entry
::: Spent 4.5 hours on Saturday cranking out work and clearing my 3 days backlog of emails
::: Did my sis' simple evite
::: Did x2 hot yoga sessions, x1 Insanity and x1 run (not quite satisfied with the 4 times a week workout though..)
::: Attended a house party
::: Watched two eps of GA, Naruto movie and one ep of Naruto Shippuden
::: Posted the latest interview on Discovering life through sports

And the other standard stuff.


So I am mighty glad that I have an extra day to do some senseless stuff :)

With regards to the course, I have long wanted to be more proficient in using MSFT Excel. Excel is one of the most powerful MSFT applications and I wanted to learn how to maximize using it other than the standard formula calculations, cell formatting etc. My company sent a couple of us on a 3 day Expert Excel course in which we had to sit for the exam at the end of it and if we passed, we will get the official Microsoft Office Specialist certification for Expert in Excel.

The course took place at New Horizons training centre which is one of the Microsoft gold certified partners. I highly recommend this school if you wish to take any IT related courses be it for MSFT applications, Open Source etc. Lessons and materials are comprehensive, content is highly relevant and useful and the instructor that we had was great in explaining the concepts.

It's been almost a decade since I last sat for an exam so I was rather nervous when I found out that I had to sit for one. I was totally attentive in class and honestly, I really enjoyed the class because I found it really interesting!

The course book is as thick as a bible and comes complete with a CD that has all the practice files! We are even given a version of the exam questions similar to those 10 year series questions that we did in school?! Example of topics that we covered included creating lists, defining names for list, advanced filtering (extremely useful!), custom cell formatting (for e.g. making a negative number in red, a certain range of numbers in blue, etc etc), pivot tables, building templates, error checking of formulas, protecting workbooks and worksheets (not just the simple ones that most of us are familiar with!!), analyzing data using tools like goal seek, scenarios, creating trendlines, data validation and consolidation, simple macros creation and more!

Everything that was taught was done in a comprehensive manner, we had loads of hands-on sessions and I really feel as though I had not only learned a lot more about Excel, but am able to put it to good use. In fact I think that it will definitely make me more productive at work now since I spend a large amount of time analyzing data.

It was a relief that it was an 'open book' examination. Examination is taken online from Certiport - site that tests worldwide. We only had 50 minutes for 18 questions and it is quite strict in the sense that you have to be sure of where you click as your cursor is tracked and you get marks deducted if you click a wrong function or so! Thanks to the notes given to us, the exam was not as daunting as we all expected and most of us finished with time to spare.

I scored 969/1000 - I think almost everyone had around similar scores. I had full marks for all sections except formatting data and content. I think I was clicking my cursor in a few areas and was penalized for that!

It's somewhat fun to be back studying albeit short! I almost forgot what it was like to be a student all over again. The stress, trying to stay awake during lessons and I actually felt nervous whilst sitting for the exam -_- Hmmm to do a masters in the near future? I don't know! At least what I do know is that I am quite pleased to get the certification which is officially recognized :)

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One Bowerman

World's most admired companies

Earlier this week, we had a top Filipino basketball coach speak to us. It was a motivational session and damn he was good. One thing that he said left a lingering note in my mind. You are working for one of the best companies in the world. If that doesn't motivate you. I don't know what else will.

As I crossed my 3 year mark at the big Swoosh earlier this year, I had a strange calm sense of achievement that overwhelmed me. I went to work that day with an extra bounce in my step. I mean, other than the fact that I now had extra days of leave :P, nothing else had really changed. But I felt good. It has been a great 3 years and more in counting.

Fortune recently posted the list of the top 50 companies that are admired overall. Coincidentally, the 2 best companies that I have worked for - Microsoft and Nike (current), are in the list. And I can totally understand why. There will never be a perfect company that you work for. Most of the time, people just spend their time complaining about every little thing about the company instead of looking at the overall picture. The pros over the cons. I have my gripes but for the bulk of it, I am thankful and grateful for where I am.

I am happy to note that Nike is voted 24th for most admired, rank 3 for best in innovation (number 1 in industry!), rank 3 for best in people management, rank 6 in financial soundness, 5th in long term investment, rank 1 in global competitiveness and more. Also, all the companies that I admire are also in the list!

::::: The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. :::::

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One Bowerman

What do you do?

All in a day

I often get asked, what exactly do I do for work?

Somehow, I can't explain it in just one sentence. It's not - I'm in sales. I handle PR. I create mobile applications. I'm an accountant.

Mine is - I'm in the footwear team. I handle shoes? Big shoes and little shoes.

OMG. Your job is so fun!

It is. It really is. I go to work each day, mostly with a smile. Of course, there are days where I am grouchy but I honestly do love what I do at work. But it is not always as glamarous as it sounds. So this is an example of what I do in a typical week -

... Staring at spreadsheets. It's typical to have 4 opened simultaneously at a time.
... System maintenance.
... Forecast and pricing for 7 countries.
... Arguing on targets.
... Working with the sales and sales planning teams.
... Lunch time/evening run.
... Meetings.
... Conference calls.
...Working on powerpoints.
... Surfing websites for updates.
... Dragging boxes of heavy footwear samples around the office.
... Sorting and packing samples.
... Finding samples for marketing.
... Giving feedback for marketing material.
... Testing shoes.
... Selling samples.
... Retail visits.
... Staring at images. What should I adopt?
... Listening to product feedback.
... Writing reports.
.. Analyzing and reading reports.
... Preparing powerpoints for presentations.
... Presentations.
... Emails.

And you have to give me at least 5 minutes to explain to you on what I do.

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