Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The View From Outside

At the risk of sounding cliche, people really do judge a book by its cover; they make assumptions and comment on things they only see on the outside, without even bothering to know what goes on on the inside.

Case in point: when I recently posted on my twitter that I'd be leaving for Paris again, I got more than a few remarks, all along the lines of: 'You're so lucky to be traveling all the time!' and 'What a fancy jet-setter!' These were comments made by friends, family members, and people I don't even know but have been following my twitter updates. (Btw, I appreciate my followers' comments!)

I always find it quite hilarious how people always think that I have the best job in the world. They think that because I travel and work in fashion, that I live this glamorous life filled with shopping, partying, mingling with A-list crowds and just basically having the time of my life. This is what they think they see from the outside: I go to Paris, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and a few other places for work all the time. I host a series of events (cocktails, dinners, exhibitions) locally, I get featured in some local magazines sometimes, and I get to meet some important and interesting people (e.g. Ronan Keating, F1 drivers Mark Webber and David Coulthard, Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, Louis Koo/Hong Kong film star, and the list continues).

And while all of those facts are true, they're missing some things too. Here's what they don't see: I sit in economy for long haul flights and have neck pain every time I travel. I skip a lot of meals because my meetings run so long and everyone in the industry doesn't seem to need to eat. When I travel, I mostly see the inside of a hotel conference room, meeting room or showroom - and that's about it. Even at this very moment, I am in my hotel room trying to catch up on 317 emails that I missed while I was on the 13 hours flight from Singapore to Paris. I stand on my feel in super high heels during all the events/cocktails/dinners/exhibitions and can't feel my toes by the time I go home (which is most likely past midnight). I have to work twice as hard as everyone because of all the traveling because the day-to-day work back home keeps on going even when I'm not around. And, the last thing that seems to be invisible even though it's the whole point my existence: I travel so much I miss important milestones in my children's lives. And friends, that really really sucks.

I find it so hilarious that I can't contain my laughter every single time someone tells me they think I have the best job in the world, simply because I get to travel the globe. What was even more funny was the fact that someone thought I earned a mega-huge salary in Euros. Hah! I wish!

Look, don't get me wrong. I don't hate my job. Not at all - I would have stayed 10 years if I hated it. It's just not the all fun and fancy like people think it is. A lot of hard work goes into everything we do, and not forgetting that a lot of sacrifices are made to do these things too. So it's not just all fun and games. Trust me, it's not all wine-and-dine, partying and jet-setting around the world. It's exhausting, tyring, just like any other job. Sure, there are perks... But don't let the perks fool ya. It's still a tough job to do...

So once in awhile, instead of always focusing on talking about the glamour part of my job, I wish people would talk a bit about just how hard I work, how much effort I put in in trying to be the very best at my job, and every now and then discuss how crappy I feel everytime I have to leave my kids behind. Can't hurt to at least try it out.

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