A Pinay In Jakarta

This section continues its feature on smart and pretty women around town.

Meow
By N Mark Castro

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Phoebe works for the Indonesian office of Asian Tigers Group, which is one of the premiere moving companies in the region. Her daily grind involves meeting with clients and ensuring that their repatriation goes smoothly, oversees shipment arrival on time, and engages suppliers.

And that’s just in the morning.

But her tenacity at work is tempered by her quick smile and deep understanding of the stress and challenges of repatriation and relocation; after all, she’s lived around the region as an expatriate herself for so many years.

Says Phoebe: “I know ALL the stress involved in missing a document or furniture, and I know the awful feeling when you know your things have been mishandled. This is why I coordinate with our crew that things are handled with care.”

Despite her busy schedule, Phoebe manages to find a balance with her work and life as an expatriate, spending her downtime with girlfriends and pursuing her diverse passion: photography, singing, cooking, badminton, and golf, to name a few.

We caught up recently with Phoebe who gamely joined in sharing her experiences as an expatriate in Jakarta, and for becoming the first feature on this section’s FaceBar.

What’s your typical day at work?

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You do know that my office is quite a trip away from my apartment so I have to be out of the door by 7:45 or 8 a.m. Then as soon as I’m in the car I hit the phone for client calls, flip open the computer or Blackberry to track shipments, and look at my calendar for the day for meetings and briefings and reports.

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that no day is the same. I could be starting really early and ending very late, or not at all.  One day I’m at a glamorous event and the next day I’m stuck at some plant trying to figure problems out late at night with our crew.  A day at work is spent meeting potential and existing clients, doing surveys, planning moves and staying on top of all ongoing ones.

What your clients don’t know is your daily challenge with departure and destination countries, coordinating with suppliers, handlers and your crew … how do you keep on smiling?

It’s funny that you would ask that, just today a colleague came up to me and asked how I am always calm.  I don’t really know how, I just am.  It doesn’t really make it easier to sort things out when you are freaking out?

I strongly believe that when you love what you do everything follows.  Every person is different but personally, discovering and learning new stuff is what makes it exciting for me.  So I’ve always been inclined to go for jobs that give me just that. Like the job I have now, but again managing moves is not easy, because there are just way too many possible destinations and every destination operates differently. There are also other factors that make my job very challenging at time, but because I love it I maneuver to find a better way around it.

I equip myself with as much knowledge as I can.  I don’t stop until something makes sense. I just love the thrill of genuinely knowing what I am talking about when I am pitching to clients.  It’s a discipline I have practiced for a long time now. Like in most things, being prepared is key. 

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What advice can you share with fellow women in the workforce?

We don’t come to play, we come here to work.

There are people that, if they have problems at home, they bring them to work. People say to me, “What’s the matter? You never have problems at home?” I say that I do, but I keep them away for when I return home. But when I come here, I can smile, because I leave my problems at home.

Stay on top of your game and learn anything else that you need for your job. Since mine requires continuous networking, I have to attend every relevant symposium, conferences, parties, gatherings as much as I can to represent my company and in meeting these people I have to learn their culture, adapt to the conversation, and learn as much language as I can.

Talk to me about your photography?

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Once upon a time I was hardcore hobby-photographer.  I had a few paid gigs and ran my own studio for a while. I must say getting paid for being a pro sort of took the fun out of photography for me.

I shot for weddings and it was usually a 10 hour gig and what made it so tiring was the fact that you couldn’t relax because you keep worrying about thing going wrong, like, a memory card getting corrupted. Shooting someone else’s wedding leaves no room for mistakes because it’s the most important day of their lives. The schedule was just too grilling for what once was a hobby so I gave it up and retreated to being a hobby photographer.

Were you into profiles or dead things?

I like shooting portraits and landscapes. In other words, shooting people I know and places I’ve traveled. I am a sucker for memories so I love documenting special events for family and friends.  It’s a shame I haven’t really gone back to it ever since I moved here.

There are just many interesting places to shoot especially if you’re living in an archipelago like the Philippines and Indonesia. Along the way you meet so many interesting people so I shoot them, too.

Of course I had to hang that up for a bit when Jakarta called.

Kindly explain to us this picture.

OHEMJIII!

One thing you can say about you, you sure do know how to stalk! Hahahaha!

I was once a part of The Naturals, the band that performs in Hotel Mulia. Yes, there’s a voice buried there somewhere, and it’s good that we’re all still in the same city so I get to hang out with them as often as I can. They weren’t my bandmates, after all, they’re my family.

So what else do you get to do during your spare time?

Cook !!!

It isn’t easy to find a good meal that you’re accustomed to so I end up cooking at home and invite friends because I can’t seem to cook in small portions.

Golf?

Weather doesn’t seem to allow it these days but, yeah, I miss hitting the greens.

Ok, I’ve already tried talking about boring stuff guys don’t really want to know about. What they really would want to know is if you’re dating anyone and, if not, probably wondering if they could date you.

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Hahahaha! Must’ve been tough for you waiting when you could insert that in. No, I’m unattached at the moment but I enjoy life by meeting different kinds of people both at work and in social settings. I’m an insight hunter and love talking to people, learning from varying perspectives and ideas. I think it’s what really builds relationships.

Phoebe A. Seno, multi-talented mover specialist at Asian Tigers Group, smart, single but the claws … Meow.

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on February 1, 2013, in Facebar, Gallery, General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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