Framing of a different kind

I first met AR when I was looking for a role, after a bad experience with Melbourne Markets. This was way back in early 2007. He helped me land the AIA gig then and later, helped me land a couple more. A few weeks ago, AR contacted me out of the blue and said he had a role that he thought would suit me. He asked if I would be interested. I wasn’t looking but because it was AR I said I’d take a look. It certainly looked interesting and last Friday, he and I had an online chat to explore that a little bit further. At the end of that chat, he asked that I write a short “executive summary” of my career. That made me think in ways I hadn’t before, but I quickly wrote something that looked like this:

I am a senior lawyer with over 30 years’ experience in broad commercial and corporate practice. Broadly, my practice comprises of two chapters – the first in Malaysia, where my initial 13 years culminated as a General Counsel of a financial services group in Kuala Lumpur, and the second, in Melbourne (mainly) where I am currently the sole counsel of a large Australian IT and software company. [ ] is a well-respected organisation that contributes immensely to the community. It will be a privilege to have my career culminate in a Head of Legal role that contributes to an organisation like [ ].

I am a calm practitioner who takes a pragmatic and long-term view of matters before me. The outcomes matter as much as the journey and process that my team and other stakeholders experience with me. I am as happy that I succeed, as I am that my team does. It gives me deep joy and satisfaction that my team flourish, individually and collectively. I derive great satisfaction when I become trusted and seen as dependable. I look forward to the opportunity to play a role with other [ ] employees and team members.

I believe every person has good and bad days. A “bad” person has good days and a “good” person has bad days. One looks forward to and share in the joys of those good days that a “bad” person has, and walk closely with and lend a hand over the shoulder of a “good” person when he/she has a bad day. This belief gives me joy and hope and helps me engage with everyone as positively as I can.

After over 30 years, I remain interested in the law. I continue to engage with what and how the courts and our legislatures think. I read judgments, exposure drafts, opinions and articles in relation to an ever-wider range of matters. These materials inform my views of the sorts of matters organisations need to be thinking about. An organisation can continue to flourish when it journeys alongside and contributes positively to the community that gives our rule makers the licence to make and develop the law. It will be such a privilege to come alongside [ ] to contribute and provide support in the way I know best, to help it to continue flourishing so that it can continue to contribute to the community.

I have been struggling to make sense of this – on the one hand, this looks like an opportunity to step up in what is possibly my final dance, and end my career on a higher note. On the other, I’m not sure I consider this a priority for me anymore. At this stage of my life as well as my career, all I want is to continue to work in a way that lets me live the life I have come to accept, or even enjoy. I’m not sure if a job that lets me finish my career “on a higher note” but would disrupt that sense of priority, is what I should be shooting for. After all, I’m happy where I am, and have slowly but surely built good working relationships with folks there. It is however, a very good opportunity. It is a highly respected organisation, it sounds like a terrific role, and it pays some 30% more than my current role. Is this a “bird in hand” scenario? Watch this space I guess…


A couple of weekends ago I caught up with an old friend. I had caught up with Tham Fuan almost a year ago now, and it was a positive experience. I had asked Tham Fuan if he thought there were others I should catch up with and he mentioned David Chiang. That has been on my “to-do” list since and better late than never for sure, I finally caught up with David two Saturdays ago. It was really good to chat with him again. We spoke about our families mainly. He was expecting to be a grandparent soon, with a second grandchild to come middle next year. It turned out that a couple of days ago, the first arrived. I received a message with a photo of that beautiful child, held lovingly and proudly by his father. I could almost feel the sense of pride and joy David had when he sent that message. I told him too, about Kiddo and Mic – that they too are expecting to be parents in March next year. We also reminisced our early days in the Klang church. He recalled those days when he and I and other dads were waiting for our kids to finish Sunday School classes. We would be at the car port area of the “white house” behind the church, “chewing the fat”. That mansion – the “white house” has since been demolished and a new church building has been built.

That was more than 20-25 years ago.

In writing the above “summary” I realised it has been over 15 years since I first met AR.

More and more recollections are of things in decades past. This really frames a perspective that I ought to consider in my decision making process. It really is the last quarter now. I need to consider how I finish this game. Should I think about the experience of playing in this final quarter, or what the scoreboard and stats would look like? Should it be both?