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.*
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why I do not regret going back to Jakarta

A while after I returned from Australia back in 2012, a lot of friends asked me the same question: ‘why did you return to Jakarta?’, to which I replied the same: ‘because I couldn’t find a job in Australia’.

Above all things, there are some reasons to why I do not regret going back to Jakarta:

  1. I love Indonesia. No matter how messy and sucks the country is, I was born and grew up in this country. My family is here. So I have no reason of settling down in another place. Back then, even with the fact that I really wanted to work in Australia, I have always wanted to go back to Indonesia by the age of 30s. I can’t bear the thought of leaving my parents going through their old days only by themselves.
  2. This country gives me more opportunities than other country could. I’m not comparing Indonesia to (no offense) lower level countries – it’s just natural that I would prefer working at more developed countries instead. However, after some conversations with friends, I came to the decision that my opportunities are bigger in Indonesia than in any other countries. I can freely apply for the jobs that I want without working permit restrictions and consequently resign from the jobs I don’t like without having to think about the penalties (that I would be imposed to if I were working abroad).
  3. At the same time, it also gives me more challenges. The best thing about this country is the people’s openness to others from different background. The different background is the most challenging thing of working in Indonesia: you’ll have to be able to understand the way they think and speak since it tends to be different in every region.

on sharing

Being an introvert when I was at school (I’m best described as an ambivert today), you can always be certain that I wasn’t one of those students who would proactively ask and answer the teachers in class. Of course, the bigger things like me presenting in front of class are more unlikely to happen.

I had always felt like I was the most inactive student in class until I got into college, where apparently students from other schools were even more inactive than me, and I became one of the most active students then. One thing that I’ve been facing in many organizations since my college time is sharing in events. The skill of sharing is one of the life survival skills in any organization. I’m not an expert myself, but there are certain things that you must master to be a good sharer/speaker:

  1. Be confident. You’re the one who understands the matter best out of all the people in the room.
  2. Be prepared. Prepare the meeting agenda, know what points are to be presented and to which depth.
  3. Know your audience and deliver the contents with their capabilities/expertise.
  4. Speak at the correct speed. That is, not too fast nor too slow.

Anyone want to add some points?

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.

honeymoon

Happy honeymoon to myself!

September 2014 quick update

image from http://ithrivethere.com
image from http://ithrivethere.com

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.)

pricey fashion items every woman over 25 should have

My sister, the best friend who knows me the best (and would frequently hate me for being me), has always labelled me as being the stingy big sister. Lately, however, she was quite shocked with my desire to purchase branded, pricey fashion items (she wasn’t so shocked when I decided to buy an iPhone since she knows well enough that I’m a geek). I’m still stingy, but I’m spendy. Lol. Not all items worth the high price, IMO.

Here are the items that I think worth buying at expensive price (and every woman at the age of over 25 should have):

1. Leather wallet that can hold up all your notes, coins, and cards (I know we girls like to keep discount and membership cards other than those credit cards πŸ˜‰ ).

Ladies' leather wallet that can hold all your cash and cards (image source: www.navadesign.com)
Ladies’ leather wallet that can hold all your cash and cards
(image source: http://www.navadesign.com)

2. Leather pumps for work which you’re feeling comfortable to walk in. (I’m a girl who believes that it’s not worth to buy those fancy bling-bling pumps which you can only wear to a party or social events.)

Leather pumps for work that are comfortable for everyday wear (image source: coolspotters.com)
Leather pumps for work that are comfortable for everyday wear
(image source: coolspotters.com)

3. Branded tote bag that can hold all those things you take here and there without hurting your shoulder.

Branded tote bag that can bring all your must-take items everywhere (image source: www.handbag4ladies.com)
Branded tote bag that can bring all your must-take items everywhere
(image source: http://www.handbag4ladies.com)

4. Branded watch that goes with all kinds of styles – by ‘all’ I mean from party to sports.

Branded watch that can be worn from a party to a sporty event (image source: actionprices.blogspot.com)
Branded watch that can be worn from a party to a sporty event
(image source: actionprices.blogspot.com)

5. A good, comfortable pair of blue jeans – it doesn’t necessarily be branded, as long as you look good in them (and by ‘good’ I mean: slim-thigh look).

A good pair of jeans - I prefer pencil, dark blue jeans (image source: www.numerounostore.com)
A good pair of jeans – I prefer pencil, dark blue jeans
(image source: http://www.numerounostore.com)

6. Basic beauty products that don’t cause your face to rash and pimpled: cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and foundation. This one is a bit tricky as every woman has her own suitable product that might not be suitable for others.

Basic beauty products (image source: www.speakforchange.org)
Basic beauty products
(image source: http://www.speakforchange.org)

7. Gold earrings, necklace with beautiful pendant, bracelet, and ring that you can wear every time, everywhere. My tip for this one is to take some time to browse around the stores to find the one you feel most wearable before deciding to purchase. Oh, and don’t forget to get the certificate so you can re-sell them if you’d like.

Gold earrings and necklace with beautiful pendant for everyday wear (image source: www.aliexpress.com)
Gold earrings and necklace with beautiful pendant for everyday wear
(image source: http://www.aliexpress.com)

Other than those items listed above, I will still seek the cheap ones. πŸ˜›

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 http://careergirlnetwork.com)
In my case: out of 30 engineers-to-be in class, only I was the girl (image taken from http://careergirlnetwork.com)

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™‚