November 2017 issue editor's letter
Jennifer Lawrence stars on the cover of ELLE Malaysia's November issue
Maybe it's just me, but isn't the modern-day workplace a fascinating thing? I could talk about changing work culture and practices all day long. It sounds kind of sad (or perhaps sadistic?) but I spend a not-insignificant chunk of my non-work hours reading about work – how to do it more efficiently, how to have better relationships with colleagues, how to manage people, right down to what to have on my desk and how to write a great to-do list. But sad or not, I enjoy it. I've worked since I was 12 years old (I don't say that as a brag – it was three hours a week in a newsagent, not 12 hours a day down a mine), and while people say you shouldn't let your job define you, I can't deny that much of who I am, good and bad, I owe to my experiences at work. The bosses (again, the good and the very, very bad) who shaped me; the colleagues who inspired me, or who taught me patience; the long hours I spent perfecting something, and also the five minutes I spent doing something at the very last minute – all of these have given me a confidence and skillset that I use in my non-work life every day.
But I like to work smart. I can't bear unnecessary or rambling meetings (although there is value to rambling in editorial meetings – creative ideas often bubble up when everyone is speaking at once). But why spend an hour in traffic just to get to a face-to-face meeting when we could achieve the same outcome more efficiently via a two-minute phone call or possibly even a WhatsApp? Time is short for all of us, so we owe it to ourselves not to waste it. There's nothing to be proud of in spending your life in the office. I want to work smarter, not harder, which means not spending the first half hour of the day eating breakfast or putting on makeup at my desk (guilty of that one).
I've been thinking about this after reading this month's features on the new style of leadership (page 52) and the 2.0 alpha girl (page 54). Both will ring bells if you've ever had great bosses or challenging colleagues. The author of one of those pieces, Emma Chong Johnston, is a great colleague to everyone here at ELLE, and we don't quite know how we'll cope without her now that she's on maternity leave. This week Emma gave birth to her first child – or as we call him, ELLE's first baby! A perfect reason to stop work and pop the champagne if ever I heard one.