Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five Years

Today marks my fifth year on the job. I feel celebratory but bittersweet is more appropriate to describe the feeling in my heart. Some parts of the past 5 years have been an uphill climb sometimes on rough road but the journey itself and the prize with each milestone are much sweeter. So here I am, cliche as this may sound, smarter, stronger and wiser. All thanks to the things I have signed up doing from seven in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

Let's toast to that.

So as not to sound vague, by training and practice, I am an engineer who is part of a TEAM which ensures that facilities are in place and processes are working properly to ensure constant fuel supply to a power generating facility. The statement sounds more professional than what I actually do. 

Trust me. 

And that's me 3 years and 20 pounds ago. #10lbs/cheek

As an immature professional, I have been guilty of being ungrateful to the job that I dreamed of before graduating from college. I was an idealistic, sheltered 21-year old who thought that the real world can be planned out and how events will turn out is totally controllable. We all know that isn't true and I had difficulty grasping my perceived "failures" - it's actually more of things not happening as I envisioned them to be. Life got better when I realized that I can choose to make the best out of the every situation and there's more to life than work.

On top of the celebratory toast and dinner Person A and I shared last night for our five year milestone, let me share with you 5 things that I am grateful about and the 5 things I learned at work.

Five Things I Am Grateful For

1. There's no better place to hone your technical skills, practice business acumen and learn people skills than at work. All the thermodynamics principles I learned at school plays out differently once it's acting  inside the pipes. There's no better teacher than seeing heat transfer, fluid flow in actual process. 

2. It pays. The money I use to eat out, the medical expenses of my parents and all my investments have been possible because I have a job.

3. Process design, economic calculations and pressures are just 30% of a typical day. 70% of the time is all about being a follower, leading a team and making decisions - sometimes in challenging situations. No matter how many times these situations took me out of my comfort zone, I am very much grateful as these shape my character. My character will always be a work in progress.

4. For the friendship I forged and the numerous mentors who have patiently worked with me. 

5. The company values of integrity, safety and trust - which everyone is expected to adhere. 

Five Things I Learned

1. When you choose a place to work for, make sure you agree with its values and culture. It will make your daily work life much much easier. 

2. Never underestimate the power of communication. How you show the results of your analysis, how you resolve issues and how you get a team to get to one direction, their success lies in communication.

3. It's all about the team. You can only do so much yourself, getting a thing into fruition requires a team of craftsmen, technicians, engineers to review your work and managers to make a decision. The sooner you internalize the word team, the sooner things will work out for you.

4. Difficult situations will constantly arise and the only thing that I want to happen is breeze through it with grace. If you're in for the long haul, you still want to face everyone 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road. So you just want to have the best character in every situation. This is my biggest challenge. 

5. Seize every opportunity, have a plan and learn to evolve. I am a naturally curious kiddo so seizing opportunities have never been a problem. I always have doubts (mostly on my abilities) but at the end of the day, if I fail doing my best, then at least I learned a single thing that leads to failure. Hahahaha!

This will be one of the few instances you'll hear me talking about work. I have a no work-related post policy but this love letter to myself is too good to pass up. I want to remind myself 10 or so years down the road that a grateful heart gets you through the day.

And so, let me share some pictures Person A and I had celebrating our 5th year at work. We started on the same day, have more or less overlapping kind of work, the same industry but employed by different companies. 


The story of our parallel lives.

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