bad times are good


How self-contradicting the title you might say!

The other day I was talking to someone about some serious stuff (sorry, too confidential to disclose) and my view about it, I was literally honest and just spoke my mind. I was expecting to get back some disagreeing point of view, however; to my surprise the person i was speaking to nodded his head and said: it’s true, really true.

So I went to think about it. And I realize I kind of ‘grow’ in bad times, pretty much. Let me explain the ‘grow’ part.

– I got out of school in 2009, exactly when the whole world is facing the Great Recession. A majority of graduated kids had difficulties in securing their first jobs. Companies shrank, retrenched, restructured, lost business and all that negative things you would read on the news everyday. Lehman Brothers collapsed. My house mate came home early one day and he stopped going to work from the next day. It was really scary.

I remember reading a friend’s status update from Facebook which drew a noble quote and that somehow means "embrace challenges". Immediately, it lightened up my mind and I thought to myself: it’s not everyone who could have a chance to live in the Great Recession. I have to really appreciate this experience.

I don’t remember how I survived that bloody period. But I did, gladly. I managed to secure my first job and my career started there.

Now at times, I would have humps in my career path. Every time it happens, I tell myself it can’t be as worse at Great Recession that I went through. I change the way I look at the situation and it becomes less scary.

I guess we are all scared of obstacles and difficulties, but we are motivated to overcome challenges. And I think i did grow in that sense of training myself to take obstacles and difficulties as challenges and to gain experience. For that, I’m grateful to the Great Recession – bad time.

– I used to have a bad job. By bad I mean:
+ I was literally dumped in a mess of all the problematic projects
+ My supervisor didn’t give me proper guidance. She blamed things on me
+ My boss told my supervisor to maximize my working ability
+ I worked 18 hours a day, 9-7: dealing with grumpy clients, 7-3: working on what i’m assigned to do, mostly paper stuff, lunches and dinners often skipped
+ My colleagues were not cooperative. They have an idea that all accounts people are stupid.

I was in the job for a year. Getting out of it:
+ I understand the business and industry, how certain things work or don’t work, how to lie and bluff when i need to. School of hard knocks, indeed
+ I had an idea what I wanted to do in my next job. I saw how certain things or processes can be improved
+ I don’t let people bully me anymore and I stood firmly on my feet
+ I can handle a shit load of work and are willing to take on anything
+ I learn how to figure things out, how to cry for help and how to push back some times.
+ I became friends with my colleagues for the bonding we shared while enduring the hard (bitchy) times together.

And for what i’ve got, it helps me a lot in shaping my career. I know what I like to do, what I don’t like, what I’m good at and what I have to work on it. Looking back, I don’t remember how miserable I was during the bad time but I see how thankful I am to move on with the takeaways. Totally appreciate the experience.

– I had another bad job. By bad I mean:
+ The boss doesn’t know what to do with the business
+ The boss pissed off the client. The client complained to me.
+ Colleagues didn’t cooperate. Projects always got delayed or under-delivered with poor quality

+ I had a hard time being the person in the middle of the whole mess, trying to figure things out on my own.

I was also in that job for a year. Getting out of it:
+ I converted clients to friends
+ I won clients’ trust and learnt how to ‘use’ clients to get things done for the clients. Sounds funny but it does exactly just that

+ I thought of so much what I want for in the next job.
+ In the mess of a no structure company, I’ve got to think of how to optimize certain things which proved to help me later on when it comes to the thinking process or work management

+ I learnt to let go. Some people are not worth arguing with
+ In the midst of always-lack-of-resources project, I certainly brushed off some skills that I graduated from a while ago. Not that I planned to but glad that I’ve had that anyways.

And again, I’m thankful for the experience.

For all the shit that seemed to break me, it makes me.

And because of all this historical learning experience, I have decided that I will throw myself in a major big fat uncertainty now. No expectation or whatsoever. If it turns out to be good, it’s a bonus for me. If it doesn’t turn out to be that good, it’s another learning experience.

So I think the problem with me now is I’m too young and too reckless.

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bad times are good

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