Monday, February 19, 2007

End of the Rainbow

Every time someone asks me why I decided to leave Dubai and join Cisco based in Singapore, my answer is always: because Middle East is the end of the rainbow. What is the end of the rainbow? When I was young, I always heard people say about the pot of gold laid at the end of the rainbow. They say: If you want to become very rich, just follow the rainbow until you find the end.
There you will find your gold.
Well, I might be small and na├»ve that time so I wasn’t brave enough to follow the suggestion. Right call, I guess.

I believe Middle East is the end of the rainbow that many people used to tell me about. You can get a very high salary, without tax, so if you make 100 you will bring 100 home. Car price is cheap and everyone can afford to buy car. And the good thing about being networkers in Middle East is the infrastructure is still under heavy development so many technologies that have already had mature in other country may be considered new to many people there. It means if you know a bit more compare to the others than it’s very easy to set yourself apart. The competition is relatively low to reach the top, so if you are able to do so then you will find yourself alone. With lots of $$$ for sure.

So what’s wrong with all of that? Well, if you want to make lots of money and get retired quickly then you should work in Middle East. But if you are like me, who feels like being rich is not enough and always tries to get new challenges all the time then you may not want to go there at all. At least until you get tired with whatever you are doing in life and finally start thinking to chase the money.

Then one friend strikes me with his ultimate question: so what do you expect to see at the end of the rainbow? What would you like to end up?

As per today, my answer is: I don’t know.
I used to think that working for Cisco in Silicon Valley is my ultimate goal. I used to dream about it. Hoping someday I can be one of the guys who build and test the product. And finally, after more than 10 months waiting, I got my H1b visa approved. Now I have a chance to fly to San Jose and try my luck. But I’m not sure if I’m ready for that.

The thing is, I’m already with Cisco now. Even it’s the Advanced Services team and not the business unit who develops product, but it’s still Cisco. And my current skill is fit as part of Advanced Services. I mean I used to do consulting work, make a design, lead the project implementation, allocate resources, discuss with customer and make a plan etc and I’m doing all of those now with Cisco AS.

So I may be best with whatever I’m doing right now.
But if I move to SV, I need to start from beginning since the skill set required is most likely very deep in one particular technology plus I need to know how to automate the process to test the product.

The question is not whether I’m going to survive in SV. But the real question that’s killing my mind now is whether I’m going to like what I will do there. Even if I’m able to join Cisco in SV.

Maybe I’m good with whatever I’m doing now so I should just continue doing it. And actually I really like whatever I'm doing. Or I may just need to work hard and ask for internal transfer one day. That will be the day I have made my decision to switch from Advanced Services to the business unit.

And perhaps you should start asking yourself too: what do you expect to find at the end of your rainbow?


Anonymous said...

Looks like you have dilemna on your hands.

IMHO, I think you have a great thing going for you in Singapore, but then again I understand the drive inside you that strives for learning more.

I knew this guy Sayeed, Khawar's cousin, who joined up with Cisco in San Jose last summer. Although he knew his stuff, he was still placed in a group of multi-CCIEs who knew a routers debug output by heart. That's not to say you can't ever learn that information at that level, but it seems you are already at the top of your game over at Advanced Services.

Sayeed didn't like the fact that he became a small fish in a big pond and eventually left Cisco after 2 months. I know Cisco-SJ is trying to hire CCIEs, so they can cut down on the costs for training an internal employee to become one. You might want to weigh your options again. But if you know for sure you're going to be at Cisco for the long haul (10+ years), then maybe you should consider it and bring your skills over to America.

Good luck deciding.

Ibrahim / Ibam said...

what do you expect to find at the end of your rainbow ?

$15K/month salary :-)

Unknown said...

Hi Himawan,

This is one of your old freinds who went to the other side :)

I think end of rainbow is what we acheived in life , when you look back we got respect (not from company) but from customers :)
They respect us and remind me of the TEAM who could do anything.
Companies are made of people who perform and take the challange.Some people work for living and some live to work.
Good luck with your dreams :) i know u can get it .

Imran Ali Khan

Anonymous said...

Relax. Things you have to know:

Your r an updated Triple CCIE. You did an amazing job. May be some of your colleagues r Token Ring CCIEs.

BTW, do NOT forget about enjoing yourself and getting back to your social life.