Friday, April 06, 2012

10 Things I Wish I Did

I don't like to claim myself as a busy person. But the past few weeks before I conducted the 3-day Indonesian Networkers 2012 event between 26-28 March, I had to split my time between Cisco Live Melbourne, the travel time, the jet lags and working on several design documents for 2 projects I'm currently working on concurrently. So frankly I didn't have much time to prepare for Indonesian Networkers 2012.

Eventually I managed to finalize the slides for 6 topics I was going to present; 2 for technical presentation, 2 for sharing project experiences, and the last 2 for career advices. Most of the slides I made during the long flight between Dubai - Singapore - Melbourne - Singapore - Jakarta. Some slides were created during the sleepless nights in Melbourne. And I remember I was awake until 3 am in the morning the night before the first meeting with university students to complete one slide deck.

I tried to come up with the best material, even though I was completely ignoring the copyright of the photos I used in the slides. I just used whatever I found using Google Images. What I had in mind was to deliver the best I could with the time constraint.

Fortunately, many students came to me after the session and said the session was useful. And there was one particular slide deck they like the best, the one I called 10 Things I Wish I Did in University.  I always brought up the slides at the end of every session with the students.

If you wonder why I put Cisco logo in the title slide, even I had the following disclaimer, is because I felt grateful the company let me take days off to stop by Indonesia so I had opportunity to create this event. Those who ever work for high pressure and demanding projects should know sometimes it's not easy to let a team member or the project leader to have such break in the middle of many activities.

On the air between Melbourne and Singapore, I imagined if I could go back to university and prepared myself to compete in global market. Based on my experience working as professional in multiple countries for more than 10 years, I put down the things I wish I did before graduate.

So here it is, the 10 Things I Wish I Did in University:

1. Make more mistakes. Take more risks

School is the best place to make mistakes. The worst thing can happen is to fail a subject and repeat it again in the following year. Make mistakes as professional has more implication and business impact. I wish I made many more mistakes and took more risks as a student.

2.  Find the one thing I love, earlier

After figure out that many people who change the world are the one who work on the thing they love, I wish I spent more time to find the one thing I love when I was a student or much earlier.

3. Work hard on things that matter

Once I knew the thing that I love doing, I would be focusing my self to start preparing and pursuing it as early as possible. I would work hard on things that matter that made me closer to achieve my desire.

4. Always finish everything I start

Good thing I finished my Mechanical Engineering degree, even in the middle I knew the subject was not something I would like to do to make a living. There were many more things I wish I finished. I wish I always delivered and made it as habit to finish everything I started.

5. Make more networks

Human networking is one main key to success in global competition. Some said, it's who you know not what you know. I wish I spent more time to make more networks, beyond my department, beyond my city, with all professionals across the globe who work on the field that I wanted to be, even when I was still in university.

6. Take more leader positions

Now I know global market seeks for leader not follower, I wish I took more leader positions as a student. I wish I joined many organization and be the leader. To learn that it's not easy to become one, to make hard decision, to assume responsibilities and to delegate works.

7. Do more communication. Do more presentation

I wish I did more presentation in English in university. I wish to be brave enough to stand up and voice my opinion if I believed it was right. It's better to be a laughing matter at school instead of as professional who faces difficulty to speak in public just because lack of practices.

8. Manage money wisely

Invest money as early as possible is always a good idea. And if I had managed my money from young, I would learn how to do budgeting, how to be more efficient, how to make decision in spending and many more that are essentials for global competition.

9. Contribute more to community

Most of us start working for profit, then for the one we are passionate about, and finally for a higher purpose. For me the higher purpose is to be useful for the community and people around me, no matter how small. I wish I contributed more to community, in any way, to make it as a habit and at the same time to have opportunity to make networks.

10. Travel the world

I wish I spent time to travel the world since I was very young. So I would get used to see differences. So I could work and be with others who have different mindset, who come from different background.

And as closure, I put up the new motivation words that I invented after watching The Three Musketeers movie using Emirates Airline in flight entertainment.

To all Indonesian students: it's your time.
Dream. Fight. Love. Live. Seize the day!

If you attended Indonesian Networkers 2012 last week, do you think this slide deck deserves to be called the best over the others?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Students' Concern

During my meeting with the students from 4 universities in Indonesia last week, I didn't just go and start presenting the material I've prepared. Instead, I used online voting system Textello to see what topic the students would like me to present.

And majority of the students prefer career related material over technical.

Even during the 8-hour workshop with hundred IT professionals I used the same system to see what the main interest from the audience is. And the result is similar.

This is matched with my opening lines in every session last week:
"I graduated 13 years ago and realized I didn't know what I want to do. I didn't have competitive advantage compare to others who graduate at the same time. I didn't know what and how to start pursuing professional career."

The real question is: what can we do about it?

Btw, Textello is created by my friend from Gulfware, a start up company in Dubai that provides complete IT solution for EMEA region.