Sunday, August 17, 2008

Being Independent

Yesterday was the independence day for my country. I must be grateful since I don’t have to go to war anymore like my ancestors just to get my freedom. I like to be free. I love being independent. I think one of the best moments in my life is when I was working as independent consultant in Dubai to do several projects with my previous customers. I was able to give my advice during vendor selection process without any pressure. I compared all the products and produced the most honest report since I had no interest or attached to any vendor.

So independency is important for me in so many aspects. And I use it as main consideration when I have to choose my next career. In working hours and working place, for example. I love to be given a freedom to choose my own working hours and the place to work. I can sleep in a day and stay awake the whole night to do the project from my own bed room. I may drive to a coffee shop that has cozy couch and fast Internet connection just to reply my email. I don’t mind to make documents inside the airplane, or build presentation slides during the transit between flights. With the meeting place technology from Cisco, I can have a meeting over the phone or share my desktop to present my design. With webex I can even take control my customer’s PC and use it to connect to the router console, and this can still be done even if he’s behind the firewall with private IP address. In summary, it’s the result that matters regardless of how it is delivered.

When I told my current boss several weeks ago that my time is up and I want to join a different team, he asked me which team I would like to go. Due to a good relationship and my sacrifice in the past to jump over to any pain-in-the-arse projects that seem to impress him, he offered me full recommendation and willing to call the next team’s manager to support me. What a great man. I’m so blessed and proud to have a manager like him. Even though I didn’t reply at that time but my mind actually had only one answer: to follow Jason Bourne’s path.

Jason Charles Bourne (real name David Webb) is a fictional character of Robert Ludlum novels and he first appeared in The Bourne Identity (1980). This novel was adapted for a film by the same name starring Matt Damon in 2002, and subsequent film adaptations for two other films, The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). He’s a highly trained assassin, expert in martial art, can turn almost anything into lethal weapon, and travel many countries to do his task. And he always finishes his task without any question. Well, at least until he got shot and lost his memory. Once he discovered his true identity as a killer, he decided to change his faith even though he must face his previous organization that wants to get rid of him.

So I want to be Jason Bourne in many ways: highly skill, finish the task without question, travel around the world. All except the assassination stuff. I want to visit the places he’s been up to during his journey to discover his true identity. And I don’t want just to do so as tourist. I want to capture the requirements from the customers in Moscow. I want to assess the network in Madrid. I want to stand before the customers in Morocco to defend my design. Conduct the workshop in London. Give knowledge transfer in Berlin. And even it was not within Jason’s path in his movies, I want to be involved in large scale deployment projects in South Africa.

Sound too optimistic? Too ambitious?
Well, just consider it as a dream. A dream worth fighting for.

I have been leading high-risk migration projects in Vietnam. I stood in the middle of Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge during the project in Malaysia. I have done the 1st CRS implementation project in Singapore. I optimized the network for the largest mobile provider in Indonesia. I was watching the sunset from Taipei 101, world's tallest building, while doing survey in Taiwan. I pushed our hardware to the limit in Proof-of-Concept lab in Sydney. I conducted a training in Bangkok in a day, then took the flight to Hongkong to have my dinner. I helped my team when they were stuck in Philippine.
Even with all those, I still feel that it's not enough.

With those things in mind I applied to Cisco Advanced Services – World Wide Service Provider team that covers Europe, Middle East and Africa. I got phone interviews with the experts that have seen and done many projects that I could only imagine in the past. And they called me from various locations in EMEA: UK, Slovenia, Germany, Spain. I have a friend in that team who lives in Brussels. My new boss is based in Sweden. I may be based in either South Africa due to lots of projects there, or Dubai considering its location is in the middle of the team’s coverage. And, again, thanks God I have cleared all the interview process and got accepted in the team. So now I’m just waiting the transition process from my current team to the new one. Waiting with full of excitement. I don’t know what will happen next, I don’t know whether I can fulfill my dream and be the best among others, but it’s the opportunity to chase the dream that can make life becomes more exciting.

How about US? How about your previous dream to join the development team in San Jose? Well, as I said previously, I need my independency in working hours and ability to choose the place to work. So I’m not ready yet to give up those even to join the elite team who develops the high end router from Cisco. And until now I still can’t imagine myself to deal with interesting stuff but without any chance to face the customer directly. But it was your dream too, right? It was one of the reasons that kept you awake at night for years to try to catch up with the knowledge required? Yes, it was. And I may still chase it later. Perhaps one day, but not now.
As Juba said to his dead friend Maximus in Gladiator: I will see you again... but not yet... Not yet!

Let me be Jason Bourne first.


Anonymous said...

Salam 'Merdeka' dari Kuala Lumpur.

Anonymous said...

your blogs sometimes scares me a lot :)

clearing the CCIE security lab in 5 hrs in first attempt and performing well in a mid sized semi service provider is the greatest i have achieved in my life professionally till date... and i believe its hard to reach the level u r talking about without getting into a company like cisco or a big cisco partner....just my thots though...

u inspire a lot ..all the best to u in whtever u do!


Anonymous said...

"As Juba said to his dead friend Maximus in Gladiator: I will see you again... but not yet... Not yet!"

From your quote, wasn't if Juba that was dying and then he said I will see you again, but not yet, Not yet..

anyways, great post. Love reading your blog.