Saturday, August 09, 2008

Not Only What You Know

Do you believe in numbers? Some people do. In China, the word for “eight” in Mandarin sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth”. They really believe on this so even the Beijing Olympic was opened on August 8, 2008 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm. 8-8-8-8-8-8. Amazing. For me, I failed and passed CCIE lab both in August 13th. So it seems like the “unlucky number 13” can give me both failure and success. And where was I during the lucky day 08/08/08 yesterday? Ah, yes. I remember now. I was stuck in one of our priority customers due to some serious network issue.

Regardless, this week has been an amazing week for me. First of all, because I have just come back from a very special place in Saudi Arabia. Second, because couple of weeks ago I told my boss that I want to go beyond my current team, beyond my existing customers, beyond the South East Asia that I have been dealing with for almost 2 years. I started having a feeling that I’m already in my comfort zone, so I need to get out. I want to go to a bigger pond. And I know there is no certain future out there compare to what I currently have right now. But it’s the uncertainty that makes me feel alive.

So after I informed my boss, I contacted few guys I used to work with in the past. They are part of the practice team that develop the network design blueprint with broader coverage, and the team consists only architects and very senior consulting engineers. Lucky me, my folks provided recommendation and direct contact to their boss. Without further due, he arranged several interviews for me and this week, thanks God, I have done all the interviews and I got the offer to join the new team. I still can’t disclose which team in specific, but it’s still within Cisco. So please all of you from recruitment agency, stop chasing me with your offers to move to competitors! Everything I know about networking I learned it from Cisco, so I’m planning to stay here for a little while.

I must said that the interviews were quite difficult. Those folks are all very far beyond my skills and experiences. One has a very low CCIE number, most have done many large scale and complex projects, and all of them really know about the protocol and hardware architecture very well. Some asked about deep technical questions. Some interested to know about my past experience in detail. Some wanted to see my previous works. And the one that really help was the recommendation from my current boss, with a performance report of my activity since last year that is accessible by the new boss. Remind you this is the process to move internally from one team to another within Cisco, so you can imagine the process for outsiders to get into this team.

And here comes the main point of my writing today: one friend of mine told me once that to get a new job it’s not because What You Know anymore, but Who You Know. After what I have been through, I can’t disagree with that but I want to add: it’s Not Only What You Know. First, I need to have a contact for the job I want to apply, this is where the Who You Know takes part. Then, I still had technical interview so I still need to use What You Know. And last, my experience in the past, my performance report, and recommendation from my current boss mean What You Have Done in the past is counted as well.

So for those who don’t have contact in their next job, try to get one! And you still need to excel your knowledge for technical interview, I believe. And remember to get involved in high exposure projects and maintain relationship with your current boss. You never know one day you may need all three to move to your dream job.


Anonymous said...


I guess i know where are you heading to. I read this in your linkedin summary "*Pretty soon he will be joining Cisco Advanced Services - World Wide Service Provider team to cover customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa."

Anyway, as what you said enjoy life once at a time. Best of luck to you.

Nickelby said...

I could not agree more. Everyday is a learning process and by getting out of our comfort zone, everyday will be a new challenge compared to the previous day.

Anonymous said...

geez, I forgot about the comfort zone that you wrote about it, maybe I just carried out about my work, and not going forward..

thx for the enlightment..