Shadow [Whatever]

Dear Leaders, admit it. The most effective way in training new employees are by assigning them as ‘shadows’ to existing employees in the same position. The new recruit might be there to either replace, be a subordinate or even a manager to the existing employee. The advantages of implementing this shadowing technique are:

  • The existing employee, which nowadays is typically overloaded, gets the assistance s/he needs
  • The company saves cost for professional training, which normally are not so effective if not followed by real world problems
  • The new employee gets the experience, learning, and a new ‘friend’ s/he definitely needs to adapt to the new environment, without being burdened with full responsibility (yet)
  • (In case the existing employee is resigning midway from his/her position) the company gets the replacement right away

When we’re talking about shadows, there are actually 2 different approach with 1 similarity: the shadows are hidden from the outside world, i.e. other organizations doing business with this organization don’t know that these shadows exist.

  1. First approach, which is also commonly done, is putting the shadows as advisors/consultants to the company. This approach is normally used when an organization has to work on a big, complex project like it has never done before, and they don’t want to bother existing employees other than the ones assigned to the project but also don’t want to hire/contract professional consultancy service.
  2. Second approach is putting new employees as shadows of existing ones, the one we’re discussing in this post.

I might not be a good example when it comes to career path, but my many experiences have somehow enriched me to share. Please note that I’m a project manager, basically an individual contributor to a company, i.e. we work on our own with our own style at our own pace (hence we’re an ‘artist’ to our customer), without hierarchical subordinates.

  • I’ve been in a company where in my first months I was assigned as a ‘co-PM’ to other PM.
  • I’ve been in a company where I shadowed my assistant in my first couple of months before I was able to go on my own.
  • I’ve been in a company where I was ‘tried and tested’ to handle my own projects, closely controlled by my manager, followed by several formal training.

Out of all 3 experiences, I can say that all methods are good, depending on the nature of the company. If the industry allows, then training is the most constructive way to sustain and develop the employees. However, the quicker way to ‘use’ the new employee will be the shadowing technique because it is super hands-on.

*Confession: the title’s been there for more than a month now, but I was too lazy to update the post even though it’s been on my mind ever since. The original title is ‘Shadow Project Manager’ until I realized that this is applicable for all positions.*

on honeymoon period

As I reached the end of my first month in the new company (yes, again), I came to my boss and asked if he can assign me with something. The problem is I had become idle while others were very busy. I’d even felt uncomfortable leaving the office at 5 PM when everyone else stayed until late.

I talked to a senior about my idleness and he only responded with: “Just enjoy your honeymoon period.”

Recalling my experience, it’s been more than 4 years since my last honeymoon period with a company. I didn’t have one in the previous company I worked for, since the nature of the business is totally different: the previous company’s business is a highly competitive business with high-paced development, while the current one is a more long-term business with slower-paced development. I like working for both, but I think the latter suits me more in the sense that I get to have more time for play (I felt like I had no life with the highly competitive business).

Honeymoon period is actually important, since it enables people to observe and adapt to the new environment. The ideal time for honeymoon period varies depending on the pace and complexity of work. The important things are to get to know people whom you’re going to work with, and the process to make you succeed in the work. Just remember that no company is dumb enough to let its employee idle forever, especially when it’s still paying his/her monthly salary.


Happy honeymoon to myself!

September 2014 quick update

image from
image from

So that’s how I look lately, with overloaded works (well, imagine the person in the picture is me, a woman, instead of a guy). Never-ending meetings, reporting, phone calls, with additional “travel agent” to arrange overseas customer visit that I didn’t even get to read other’s blogs. 😦

I’m gonna off WordPress for another while, I guess.. Ciao. *with a heavy heart* (Will update eventually, especially on the food reviews.)

to girls: how to survive in a male-dominated field

In my case: out of 30 engineers-to-be in class, only I was the girl (image taken from
In my case: out of 30 engineers-to-be in class, only I was the girl (image taken from

Confession: I did something crazy last weekend – I spent the whole Saturday and Sunday going to Bandung with my 2 male best friends. (Don’t get me wrong here, they’re like brothers to me and they take care of me as much as brothers will do to their sister.) During the 2 days, we had 2 other girls joining us and both gasped with surprise when they heard that I studied electrical engineering with the 2 guys.

So how did I survive in a male-dominated field? (This will also answer some girls’ questions on how to survive there.)

  1. Be some kind of a hybrid individual: be nice and polite when you’re with girls and be careless when you’re with guys. This will work perfectly, trust me. I’ve been doing this thing for the last 9 years. One thing to remember about this tip is to balance the two – you have to get close to girls as much as to guys, otherwise the girls will start talking about you behind your back. Nobody wants that. Ewh.
  2. Be blunt when speaking. This is the easiest and the hardest part for me. I’ve always been a blunt one since I was in high school (all-girl high school, remember?) that sometimes I forget that I’m surrounded by normal, soft-hearted girls who can’t take blunt words easily. The thing is, guys don’t understand codes and signs girls normally make, so speaking things directly is always the best choice.
  3. Understand guys’ ways of thinking: the key is to be logical most of the time. I know it’s hard for girls to do, even I fail sometimes (specifically during ‘that’ time of the month, doh), but this is the way to get guys to respect you. The easiest way to learn guys’ ways of thinking is by playing games with them – they will become themselves when playing games.
  4. Be ambitious at work. Not to tackle people on your way to success – that’s not ambitious, that’s mean, but to know what you’re actually doing (this also means: never mix up personal and professional matters), where you’re going, and where you want yourself to be next. Pssst.. they will also be very happy and proud if you ask them for career advice. Don’t be too much in this, though..
  5. Keep yourself up to date with politics and economic news. Because those are the topics they will most likely discuss with you during coffee breaks. They like to keep topics about ladies and sports to themselves, but they will discuss about politics and economic with you. Don’t forget office politics as well. πŸ˜‰ I know it’s hard for you ladies to keep your mouth from talking about everything you know, but it’s better to be able to control your mouth when speaking about others. Guys like gossip, but not too much.
  6. Be able to make decisions without hurting their ego. I often find girls answering “up to you” when guys ask them about where to go or what to do now. Don’t do that so often. To survive male-dominated world, you should be able to make your own decisions, with note of not hurting their ego. They’re still guys, so say your decision and ask their opinion about it. They like to feel superior and let them be, without making ourselves inferior.

Hope this helps. I will continue the list if I have something more in mind. πŸ™‚

random thoughts

For the first time in the last 8 weeks, I’m not reading any articles posted in the “blogs I follow” on WordPress. Why so? Reading those blogs is fun, but too time consuming. Being in my 5th month of working in the new place, I need to be more productive, despite the fact that my workload is far lower than my fellow colleagues. πŸ˜‰ (And what’s so productive about writing a blog post anyway?)

Going to work on a Monday morning might be really hard for most people, but it isn’t for me, as long as I’ve had enough rest for the weekend. I’m not the workaholic type – on the contrary, I’d lived with the motto: work hard, play harder; most of the time I prioritize play to work. x) What I dislike the most is not the traffic or the laziness, but the fact that I’ll have to wait for a long time for the bus to come. I don’t understand what the people are thinking, but the buses on Monday morning tend to come in 30-minute frequency, causing bad congestion at the bus shelters and even worse in the buses themselves.

Monday morning is always fun because all colleagues will come to work with a huge smile on their faces, all the positive spirits from the weekend. (This, if you have a quite moody boss, will be a perfect time to consult to him/her regarding your work problems/issues.) Sometimes they will even bring some snack from their hometowns, which will ensure that you won’t be hungry until lunchtime.

Monday morning flowchart
Monday morning flowchart

For you who don’t like Monday morning, here are some tips to have better ones (which at least work for me):

  • Never hang out with your friends/families until late on Sunday evening. You got the whole Saturday to hang out till late and get wasted. Just don’t do it on Sunday evening.
  • Go to bed early on Sunday night. This is why the first point should be avoided as best as you can. If you can’t fall asleep already because you’ve spent your Friday and Saturday nights sleeping past midnight, then at least you can try to turn off the lights and lay under the warm blanket. Sometimes I even take my phone to bed with me and read something/play some games until I finally fall asleep.
  • Stay away from your computer as best as you can on Sunday night, especially if it’s connected to the Internet. I find that Internet’s the biggest distraction these days – once you’re connected, you won’t be able to stop yourself from looking around the limitless world. πŸ˜› This, will consequently disable you from doing point number 2.
  • Wake up early even though you’re not a morning person. Waking up early in the morning has been proven to boost your mood up. Another plus point for me is if I wake up early, I’ll get to use the bathroom before my parents. πŸ˜›
  • Go to work early and make yourself a good cup of coffee. Normally (at least in Jakarta), people will go out of home earlier on Monday morning, so the later you go out, the worse the traffic jam will be. I’d rather go out earlier, arrive earlier and sip a good cup of coffee at the office (I’m a coffee person, by the way) than the opposite. This will surely be a good start to my Monday morning.

Those are my tips. What are yours? πŸ™‚

about being prepared

I’m one hour away from an important meeting and instead of preparing everything, I’m updating my blog. Guess what, I’ve prepared the presentation slides since last week, so that’s why I don’t feel like it’s necessary to mess things up.

Ever since I was in elementary school, my mom taught me to study the day before exams, so when the day came I would just sit there, talking to my friends while some other friends were busy re-reading the notebook. It becomes a habit that I’d prepare important things way before the day. (Other than the fact that it’s my personality – my mom taught the same thing to my sister but she won’t prepare until the last minutes.)

Call me perfectionist, but when it comes to big things, I like it well prepared. I can be spontaneous at times, but the spontaneity will be most likely anticipated. Here’s the example: I spent last weekend going on a quick getaway with my best friends – we went to Bandung for 2D 1N and I, being the one who’d spent 4 years of my life there, was the “tour leader”. I arranged things from what transport we’d be using to get there until booking the hotel room and destinations. Since I’ve known that we’ll go to a specific area, when a friend asked to visit a place spontaneously, I was fine with that because I know that we would go pass that place.

The bad thing about being prepared is that I will be less relaxed when things go far from planned. I hope that I can be more spontaneous one day. πŸ˜›

*50 minutes to the meeting, better check the meeting room and snack*