Friday, May 23, 2008

Long awaited movie

Finally, my favorite flick is on air at cinemas in Jakarta.
Long live Indiana Jones!

(I can even hear the soundtrack being played in my ears at this very minute!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grow up, man!

What happened in the Morning Meeting session today would absolutely make a good headline if only our company had a newsletter or bulletin. I was not there to witness it (since I was still on the bus trying to make it to the office on time), but from what I heard, it was so shocking and tense. So here's what has happened according to my colleague's story.

As always, presentation by our analysts during Morning Meeting was either interfered by or continued with discussion. Today was no exception at all.

However, something changed the mood of the meeting. When our head of research asked something about a company to the analyst who covers it, this analyst browsed through the newspaper he was holding as if he had not heard anything. He simply ignored her (the head of research)! And he did that not only in front of its research & marketing colleagues, but also in front of us, newbies! My pals were even holding their breath when the scene happened.

I don't know what problem he's having with his boss, but that is surely not the proper attitude to display, especially in front of people beyond his department. He shouldn't mix his feeling with his job. And to think that he is a senior (as in the years of service AND age), he should have known how to work professionally.

Gosh! Sometimes age does not matter.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The problem with love

“Now you can tell the difference between three-o’clock and nine-o’clock direction, Metty?” asked my friend, Donita. We were on the back seat of her car, on our way home from office. I was lucky that evening to get a free ride home (relatively free, actually, because I still needed to get on an ojek (chartered motorcycle) to reach my house) on Donita’s chauffeured Land Cruiser.

“Yeah,” I smiled sheepishly, recalling the scene that afternoon. We had been away to a public expose in Sen-Ci, and when we went back to the office, I saw a bunch of Caucasian guys going up on the escalator. They were probably on their way to have their lunch. I rushed to tell Donita because she’s such a big fan of this kind of guys.

But in an instant, I remembered I had been telling her the wrong direction! I should have said “Donita, (cute guys) at three-o’clock!” but instead I said the opposite. Not only had Donita missed the opportunity of feasting her eyes on those guys, but also she had smiled at the wrong person. We laughed hard over what we had done.

“You are responsible for what you have done, Metty,” Donita looked at me straight to my eyes, trying to be serious.

“Excuse me? And what am I responsible for, exactly?” I looked back at her, perplexed.

“You know, you have cost me an opportunity to see those guys,” said Donita in a no-non-sense way (but I know it was a made up), “so next time you see another bule (Caucasian guy), you have to come to him right away and introduce me to him.” At her last sentence, she gave me a big smile.

“And what are you going to do with James? Poor James, having a flirtious girlfriend like you are,” I teased her.

Suddenly Donita’s face changed. She looked a bit troubled. When at least she said something, she said this: “I want to dump him, anyway, you know that?”

“Huh? Are you serious?” I was shocked. “Ah, so that’s why you have been avoiding his call?” I inquired her. Two days ago I did see her getting all panic when her cell phone rang and it turned out James was the caller. She later let us listen to the record of James’ voice in her phone answering machine. He said he was sorry and he loved her. So romantic yet it tickled my ears, hearing someone else saying that to his girlfriend for real. I usually heard that kind of line from some romantic movies.

“Mm, that’s not all. I was mad at him. But I also want to break up with him. This relationship just can’t go on.”


“He’s too old for me, Metty. He’s 40 already while I’m just 24 years old, for God’s sake. If only he were much younger, I probably would carry on with this relationship.” Donita sighed. “The problem is he’s so nice and kind to me. That makes it so difficult for me to end this.”

Indeed, James has been such a nice and loving, not to mention generous, person. He’s a retired U.S. army who is now working as a professional gardener in his hometown in U.S. Yet living so far away didn’t keep him from sending presents to Donita on Christmas and Valentine day. Everyday the couple always chats either by Yahoo! Messenger or by phone. Seeing how she maintained her relationship, nobody could tell that she actually has no longer the eagerness to keep it going.

“Well, if you want to call it a quit, you’d better say that to him as soon as possible. It is not fair for him if you in fact don’t love him as much as he’s thinking,” I said.

“Yeah, I know that. But it’s difficult to tell him that.”

“It’s not gonna be easy, I know that. But you have to do that, Donita. If you keep postponing, it would get a lot harder because you two will be too emotionally bound,” I advised her. “Come on, don’t be mean to him. ‘Stop playing games with my heart,’ Backstreet Boys said,” I said, giggling. Donita did too.

“Maybe I should find her a beautiful girl first and introduce him to her,” she uttered.

“But he loves you, Donita. He won’t want another woman.”

“What if you tell him on my behalf, Met?”

My jaws opened. “You’d got to be kidding me! No way, girl! That’s your relationship, your problem. I don’t want to have anything to do with it!”“Ha-ha. I’m just kidding, and you know that,” Donita smiled faintly.

Our conversation that evening was over as the car stopped at this bend of the road where it would be easier for me to get an ojek. It had not been a free ride home after all.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

When money does not lure

The one topic which keeps on being discussed nowadays amont my MT (management trainee) fellows is who will be assigned to what division once this rotation we have been doing since January is over. In fact it has been discussed since we join the trainee program, but now the discussion intensifies as we are approaching the end of our rotation.

When we first started the program, we have been asked to mention three divisions we would like to be a part of. There are at least 10 divisions we can choose, but it ended up roughly half of my fellows had chosen Equity Research as their first choice. Considering that everyone in the current batch comes from respectable educational institutions in Indonesia, my fellows’ choice should come as no surprise at all. Being graduates from top notch schools, it is natural if they want to preserve their reputation as “smart people” by joining the research division.

However, it was rather shocking for our superiors when they find out that the number of trainees who would like to join the Investment Banking (IB) division - the one division which is considered prestigious in the capital market industry - is not as many as they had thought in the first place.

Why prestigious? Here’s an answer: In the IB division, you’ll get to meet CEO, CFO, and other senior officers of various companies. IB deals with assisting companies who wish to go public or issue new capital market securities, or decide whether they should let go one of their subsidiaries or acquire new business.

Since the action is a one-time activity, the nature of the works done in the IB division is in projects. That is why you will work with different companies. If you get many projects, you can handle at least three projects, all demanding the same amount of attention at the same time.

And since the corporate action to be done is a major one, you don’t meet staffs of the same rank as you are. No, you meet the senior officers, the CFO and CEO – the ultimate decision makers. Not only will you meet them, but you will talk to them and have them hear what you have to say. Isn’t it lovely to be able to speak to people of high importance – even let them listen to you – when you are in fact only a staff in your company?

Another reason is that meeting with VIPs is surely done in special places (places where the bill comes with special prices, too) or in exclusive ways (pricey food, one thing for sure). You will wear nice outfit and look – even smell – wonderful because you represent your company to meet these people of importance. You will travel to various cities for free although what you do there is piling up documents you will bring back with you to your office to work on. The best thing is you will get extraordinary bonus. If you are lucky enough to be promoted to officer position, you will no longer go to your office on that TransJakarta or Zenia of your parents’; you will drive a Mercedes.

Still, all these luxuries have been unable to lure my fellows to join IB. Of the 10 people in my batch, only one person is truly interested to join. Others take IB as their second choice at best.

When asked why not join the IB division, the answers are mostly the same. “I believe I need to learn much about capital market, so that’s why I want to join the Equity Research (division),” as quoted from one of my fellows. “I was told that to get a good plentiful knowledge about capital market, I should join the Equity Research division,” remarked another fellow. “Perhaps I would consider moving to another division after two or three years in the EQR (Equity Research division),” he continued.

I understand why my employers get such answers: Six of us are fresh graduates of undergraduate study. There is this belief that to enter the capital market industry, one needs to start from the research division. What if one joins the IB division and is later unable to answer client’s simple question about the stock market? To avoid getting trapped in such embarrassing situation, it would be better to arm oneself with the knowledge needed first before taking a plunge into the high-class environment.

But then, of the four of us who are not fresh graduates and already have a working experience, why is there only one person who wants to join IB?

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Perhaps age and working experience matter. My colleagues (let’s say their names are Lucy and Roger) and I share one thing in common: We have experienced years of overtime works and maybe we grow tired of it. Should we join the IB division, we will definitely spend 15 hours (and sometimes more) a day working our butt off (sorry about the sarcasm) so that we don’t miss the deadline.

Nonetheless, Roger said he would reconsider his option if he gets more compensation than what he receives today. Could it because Roger is a man? That’s because Lucy and I are married and we absolutely shrug off the idea of working as IB staffs. I told the IB chief that I couldn’t possibly get home much, much late at night when my husband already complained for the three weeks I spent my rotation time in IB, during which I never went home before the clock stroke 10 p.m. There’s no way I would lose my husband because I prioritize my career over my marriage.

But then again, what if I were a man? You know what, I might actually consider working in IB. No, I don’t search for the money and glitters, but I know well that I enjoy working for project works. If it is possible to go home at 7 or 8 p.m. at the latest in the IB division, I will seriously think on working for the division.

Ah, so much of wishful thinking.

Images taken from