I had insomnia on and off since forever. Yesterday's sleepless night sparked me to write my thoughts down - yeah, my brain was drafting out what I should write today. I dislike how my overactive brain works.
While this is not a financial post, it is my personal reflection post and outlet. These have been recurrent issues I face. I hope by writing all these down, I can get rid of my negative and worrisome thoughts. After all, the new year is coming, and I want a good start to it.
I attribute yesterday's insomnia to insecurity at my workplace. Although I am rather senior in the team, I feel like an imposter. And I feel that staff are judging me.
I feel extremely inferior when I compare myself with my team. My team is made up of elites - academic elites from overseas top universities and top JCs and a handful are social elites with rich family background - whereas I come from local university and mid-tier schools. Despite having stronger experiences, I feel that my staff don't hold me in high regards as they pander more to the other elites.
LinkedIn makes my life more miserable. I know my staff checked me out on LinkedIn before I joined, but they never added me. I initiated to add them, but it's "pending" for ages; whereas they accepted the elites' request, or initiated to add them (I know because they talked about it).
I looked with envy at the academic elites' linkedin - Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, with descriptions saying "Phi Beta Kappa" and adding that they are the top 10-15% of cohort (thanks to them for adding that because I don't even have a clear idea of what's "Phi Beta Kappa" and I recalled there were a few variations), RI, HCI, listing down the number of distinctions they've gotten; some even list down their top-tier secondary schools and the number of As for O levels.
I thought education doesn't matter anymore. But, it still haunts me. New colleagues would ask where I studied, probably as a simple starter qns first, but I believed they secretly judged that there's no common topics. They'd move on to the next person and dang, "do you know xxx? (laughter ensues)". Since I didn't study in their elite schools (where they gossip about this teacher, that professor, that module, that friend), I have lesser topics to talk about.
I thought that as I climb higher, I could command better respect. I do feel that I take care of my staff well by guiding and checking in with them, but they may feel otherwise. I think issues lies with me, and I am not suitable for corporate life. The saving grace is WFH which makes me avoid 80% of those fake pleasantries.
I grew up in a traditional lower-income family. Although I have not experience extreme poverty, being frugal, budgeting and being sensitive to prices have been ingrained in me.
In my traditional family, I feel a lack of love. My dad's main aim was to work hard and bring money home, while my mum's main aim was to take care of us and keep the house in order. While I reminisce my younger days where I felt more love as my parents would buy birthday cakes and have mini celebrations, it stopped in 1997. 1997 was the year of the Asian Financial Crisis. Everyone was hit. I remembered feeling worried that my dad would get retrenched because my mum shared out her worry. I felt helpless. I could only remember telling my siblings that we need to spend less in school and I purposely find the cheapest canteen food just to fill my stomach and stretch my $1 allowance. I think I could survive on $1 for more than a week because I bought 10cents snacks during recess time.
The lack of love comes from having no parental support in life journey. My parents are not educated. They have no clue what goes beyond primary school. From then on, I only had myself. Each education route was determined by myself. I didn't know the impact of studying triple sciences (on hindsight it was useless), or going Arts or Science stream in JC. I just fumble along the way. Even after graduation, stepping into the corporate world was a new realm - my parents never had office jobs, they had no clue what my work is as long as I'm able to earn a living. I could never seek advices from them because they were none the wiser; and therefore, it made conversations limited. As much as I want to pour out my woes in school or work, they don't understand. I would more likely get scoldings than encouragement. As such, I prefer not to talk much to them.
The lack of love comes from comparison. Primary school felt ok - people were more carefree, less competitive and I had more fun. Secondary school was the turning point. We started becoming vain and competitive. Everyone wanted to hold the latest phone, wear branded shoes, get branded pencil cases. My classmates could afford it - their parents were educated and well to do. I knew I was more inferior when they talked about their parents buying branded stuff for them, and when they talked about how they played tennis in their home courts or condos. I mentioned their parents were educated because, it turns out I was the minority with parents who only completed primary school. Some had parents who completed secondary or JCs, but a good majority parents graduated with degrees - those days, if you have a degree, you are pretty much set, and their parents really own private houses and drive nice cars. With their parents having higher education, they were also more aware of the education system - they go for popular enrichment classes, and their parents would meet our teachers often to discuss chances of their children heading to JCs. I only know the difference between JCs and Polys at Sec 3-4 when I hear bits and pieces from my friends, and often these were from their elder siblings or parents. Whereas, my parents would prefer not to meet the teachers as they feel it's usually a bad thing. I could sense their helplessness when they meet my teachers - it was evident they felt inferior and talked subserviently to them. I hated it when they started off the conversation with my teachers by embarrassingly apologising that they are not educated.
I also feel the lack of love from how they manage our family. I do not feel strong parental nor siblings love. It just wasn't how our family function. I suppose it's because they were not close to their own siblings as well. I wouldn't have reflected on this much until I see how my husband's family function. Conversely, my MIL had good relationships with her family and they constantly keep in contact. I also have friends who had funny dads and mums they are very close to to share clothes, gossips and woes. While my friends would also lament that they would occasionally get into quarrels, they do agree that they have a close-knit family. I would never say my family is close-knitted.