You wake up at Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Sydney. You wake up at Singapore, Bali, Hanoi. San Jose, Hongkong, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Changi International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?
(Fight Club, modified with the places I visited in the last few months)
I woke up this morning in Bangkok, and suddenly I had this crazy thought in mind. I travel quite often and keep changing my currency and timezone. But nope, I haven’t changed to a different person, I am still who I am. In fact, I feel like I haven’t changed at all. And that’s the problem.
I joined Cisco because I want to learn new things, I want to do something new, I want to be part of the company who are changing the way the world live, work, play and learn because I want to see from inside how they are doing it. But frankly speaking, so far I still do what I used to do. I still work to deliver projects. I still have to capture the customer requirements. I still spend time to find the solutions. I still must build the implementation and migration plan and sometime I even have to lead the migration by myself.
What’s the difference with before then? Number of customers. Project scale. High end products involved such as CRS-1. Customers in different country with different culture. More access to Cisco knowledge database. Meet well-known Cisco people. But I still do what I used to do. If in my previous work I had to present and convince the customer about my design or my plan, now with Cisco I still need to do the same thing. I still have to deliver the same type of work as before. And I don’t feel that I have made any improvements in doing it. Because I don’t have to. And I’m still survive, just as I have survived in the past.
This is not a good news. If you move to a new place, but you do exactly the same thing as what you used to do in the previous place and you still survive, it means either you have reached the highest level in whatever you do or you have entered a state of a very dangerous mindset that people call comfort zone. I don’t like to be in comfort zone as much as I don’t like to be in survival mode.
So I look back to see another reason why 1.5 years ago I decided to drop all my life in Dubai to move to Singapore, and in fact I was not moving to Singapore but to a new frequent flyer life style. I found out that among the reasons, one is because I was hoping someday I will get transferred to Cisco Business Unit in San Jose. Most probably I will work as a testing and deployment engineer there since my kungfu is not that good and I don’t speak C fluently. It’s a good reason to join Cisco, isn’t it? And as a US company Cisco can provide me L1 visa so I don’t have to compete to get H1b visa that is getting very difficult to get nowadays.
The crazy thought inside my head starts yelling: so what happen if you don’t get a chance to move to San Jose? Probably because of the current economy, or perhaps because your skillset doesn’t match what is required there. What would you miss if you fail your mission?
First, I would miss my chance to be part of the team that develops and makes decision of the next Cisco products. [crazy thought: yeah rite, even you made it to SJ, with your skillset and background experience as consultant not developer you won’t become the lead architect for the product to make such decision]
Second, I would miss my chance to be in the middle of world’s center of excellence and I would not be able to make the next Google. [crazy thought: oh, come one now. You won’t be able to make the next Google even you are in SJ now, but the right term might be ‘miss my chance to join a company that will become the next Google’, and this is only if you quit from Cisco there and join the right start-up company]
Third, I would miss my chance to work in one of my favorite cities, work 9 to 5, spend more time with my family, and ride my Ducati Monster around the city. [crazy thought: as you said, SJ is one of your favorite cities. So there are other favorite places that you can choose and offer you the same type of life style]
But then this crazy thought doesn’t want to stop, it wants me to go even further: so what happen if one day you decide that chance to move to San Jose is not worth waiting anymore, and it means there will be no point for you to stay with Cisco? What would you miss if you leave Cisco?
Hmm, so far I can think only three things:
First, I would miss all the access to Cisco knowledge database, all my chance to meet and work with Ciscopress book authors and all famous people such as Distinguished Engineers. And as NCE I can even access the repository to read the source code. I would miss all of them. [crazy thought: yeah, when did the last time you use the chance with all those access to increase your knowledge dramatically or make you a better person? Any company that makes product can offer you the same type of access]
Second, I would miss my chance to get transferred by Cisco to a better place. [crazy thought: according to your objective, your main target is SJ. If they can’t give that to you, then any other companies can offer the same chance to move to the place you want. Even so far you have received many offers from other company to do exactly the same thing with what you have been doing, with the same frequent flyer life-style but wider coverage of countries, and obviously with more money]
Third, I would miss my privilege and all respect that I receive as being part of Cisco. [crazy thought: yes, some people respect you at the first sight since they know you work for Cisco. But in the end it’s your experience and what you can do that really make people give you respect. There is other way to earn respect during the first meeting, in some places people look at you from your appearance, what car you drive, and even how much money you make. But again, eventually you have to prove and show that you are capable to really gain the true respect]
The crazy thought now is whispering to me: soooo, if you will not have your chance to move to San Jose, and you have only those three reasons to stay in Cisco, would you consider another option that can provide you happiness in such a different way? The one that provides more adventurous life and chance to do something that you have never done before? Would you start looking for that option?
Ahh, my crazy thought. It’s so difficult to predict and control, but I just can’t imagine to live without it either.
This is my life and it's ending one minute at a time.