As I embark on my job-hunt, these interviews really help you reflect. A popular question "What are some of your areas of improvement?" Nice way to say weaknesses... er, I am only human, sure plenty, kan??
I don't know about corporate flers, but art practitioners crave to get feedback. We'd open the newspapers the day after opening night to read reviews, we stay back after shows for our director's notes. Was our singing off pitch? Intentions unclear? Bad diction? The very next day, we will try our best to fix whatever comment the best we can, be extra vigilant on those areas of improvement.
Feeding on criticism, of course, can go beyond just the arts... if we would only endure the occasional burst of ego-bubble from critics with good intent, those who are honest enough and care enough to help us grow.
Critic 1: Anish
Remember how he got me to my cheese? Well, in the process of finding the cheese & all ... he too gave me 2 distinct criticisms that I can recall: I was too risk-averse & low sense of urgency. At the time, whatever ideas I had, stayed ideas in my head. "no guts to implement? maybe now is not the time yet? maybe I shouldn't fix what is not broken?" Yup, I was like that... but I tried to fix it. Not overnight but little by little, I got a bit braver, more adventurous, and as a result, I was much faster too. If you asked my team in my most recent job in Abbott, I was a feisty, gutsy, out-of-d-box, high sense of urgency person... & will drive them up the wall (or vice versa hehe) if they were conventional or slow. The biggest risk in my career? Taking this sabbatical to pursue the arts; Will I get back the kind of job I like? Can I start back where I left off? Or will I have to make sacrifices & rebuild my corporate reputation from scratch? I still keep Anish's whatsapp message "I know you'll do well, keep following your heart"!! :)
Critic 2: Ai-Hong
My favourite boss, mentor, friend in my entire corporate career. Her critique? You need to be more sharp with numbers. I was indeed quite often careless with numbers but she was super sharp & meticulous. I may have been a math-whiz way back in school but after graduation, after deciding to give an engineering career a miss, I got too lazy to practice it anymore. Use it or lose it. So, it was time to revive the engineer in me. I gotta check and recheck all my data constantly. Then guess what? A few years down the road, I got a distinction in my Finance module in my MBA. Finance! @.@ Sure boh? *blink hard hard* Look at my transcript again, yup! And most recently, I was offered an analyst job. Huh? Miss artsy fartsy? An analyst? No lar... it's just a part of my mentor which was left behind in me, among all the other amazing stuff that she taught me.
Critic 3: Kerry-Ann
She was the first ever choreographer I had to work with, in my first every production back in 2009. The first person I ever knew who had a Bachelors Degree in Dance!! I remember struggling to understand what she wants... "you need to be in character! what does your character want? what does she feel?" Huh? I thought dancing meant, 5-6-7-8 step here, turn there, fling out an arm, turn to the right, etc etc. What's all this inside-out thing she's talking about? I didn't get her, she didn't get why I didn't get it. She shouted until I cried one day. But after that, little by little, I understood her a little more. Not entirely but just a little more each day. Eh, eh... she stopped shouting. "Now we're getting somewhere" was probably in both our minds. In the end, the choreography was what stole the show. Suddenly I was enlightened that dance, was way beyond what was just physical and mechanical. We've been great friends ever since!
Critic 4: Kai Loon
My very first epic musical, first time having a serious role, first time working with Dama Orchestra. Nerves and anxiety got the best of me. During rehearsals, Kai Loon repeatedly said that I kept looking "lost" on stage, my intentions either unclear or complete blank. Yikes! First production with them, I really really didn't want to screw things up. I tried & I tried, but to no avail... he still repeated I looked lost. Lost? What did that even mean? I wanted to badly to do well and I didn't know what to do about it... I just woke up one morning & cried to hubby. Then I asked for a private rehearsal session with Kai Loon, I wrote down my sub-texts for every single phrase spoken while I was on stage. Went through each and every scene with him. Finally, progress. Yippee! After every nights performance, he would email us his super long and detailed director's notes in the wee hours of the morning. I keep refreshing my gmail... refresh, refresh, until I fell asleep. First thing I do when my phone alarm-clock goes off in the morning, refresh gmail! Everyday, each performance, I dread to see in my email "Lady Liu looks lost"... but opening night, don't have, 2nd show, don't have, 5th show, none, 10th show, still none, 20th, none, none, none. Yayyy!!!!!
God know I still have more stuff to work on... am definitely not gonna publish them here on a public blog. :p Well, God sends help in the form of other people to slap me into realization. Sometimes I just can't see these things myself & need people in my life to be my third-eye.
This song below is dedicated to all you people in my life ♫ ♬ "who has helped me most to grow, ♫ because I knew you, ♩ I have been changed... for good"♬ ♩.
I am eternally grateful to you... I love you guys!! Hugz! =)