thoughts

My 10 Year Career Journey

WARNING: LONG READ BECAUSE I GOT CARRIED AWAY πŸ˜›

It’s been a decade! My first day at work was September 1, 2009 at Hewlett Packard. It was a happy job because I spent 4 months looking for work. I felt discouraged because most of my batch mates were already employed that time and I was still a bum. My plan B was to go back to my university and teach if I don’t have work by September. But blessings do come unexpectedly because I got hired before my deadline. My first job was located at Makati and we all know it was the “IT” place back then when BGC didn’t exist yet. Because I already have a job, I was able to resume meeting up with friends for dinner. 😎

My undergraduate course was BS Computer Science from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos. I was an HTML enthusiast in high school and thought of getting ComSci because I wanted to make websites later on in life. Little did I know that the course wasn’t about website making. πŸ˜… Everybody in high school was expecting me to take up Conservatory of Music in UST but during that time, I didn’t think it would be a practical career and would likely be just a hobby. Without any background in programming, I decided to proceed for the first year and told myself I’ll transfer to a different course and campus the next year. That plan didn’t happen because UPLB was a nice place to study at, away from the city, fresh air, serene location, and cheap but good food. Fast forward to four years, I graduated in 2009 and started the job hunting right away.

During my 10 year journey, I’ve worked with five companies. My first company, which I mentioned earlier, was the best and longest one I’ve been with. I started as an SAP PI Technology Consultant who worked on technical support, release to operations and knowledge management processes, and project coordination. I won’t bore you with the details but my LinkedIn has all that listed. πŸ˜€

First and best team ever. πŸ™‚

I was taught to do great things now because the reward will come later

It’s the biggest training ground and we were also lucky because our mentors were driven to help us hone our skills for the future of our careers. We were fresh graduates but we didn’t feel like we have a smaller voice than the experienced ones. We were treated as equals and for that I was grateful because that helped me realize that I have a voice in the organization despite how big it was. We were also given opportunities that should’ve been handled by a mid level employee. During the early years of my career, I was taught to do great things now because the reward will come later. I have been holding on to that thought until today and I guess that makes rewards even more worth it when you least expect it. I stayed in HP for 3 years and 8 months and we all know that the only constant thing is change so I had to move on. For me, it still holds the company with the best culture.

I went through a quick stint of being a Business Analyst for Codebridge, Inc., a startup company, after I left HP.

Find the white lady in the room :))

It’s important to know what you want because that will determine your career path and help your manager understand your goals and guide you better.

I was feeling the effects of being a bum again because of resigning without a job replacement. To yuppies who are reading, if you plan to do the same, make sure you have liquid funds for 6 months to 1 year. Better yet, do not resign without signing an offer from another company.

I started the BA work 3 months after HP. It was different from what I’ve started with given that I have a technology specific knowledge. This is when I’ve decided that I wanted to be able to do a cross industry path and it means I had to remove all technical specific skills. I didn’t want a technical career path so I did it by focusing on my transferable skills such as process and management. That way, I’ll be more technology agnostic. It’s important to know what you want because that will determine your career path and help your manager understand your goals and guide you better.

The short stint ended and I found myself moving to a different role this time as a Pre-sales Solutions Consultant for ePLDT covering data center, infrastructure, and software products.

Just 1/3 of the team but stuck with them ever since. Yes, I’m the only girl. πŸ™‚
Photo c/o @iam_color

I do not have any experience in pre-sales but I do understand that my transferable skills acquired in my short stint of doing requirements analysis through my BA work and the rest of my HP years will be useful and thankfully, my interviewer was convinced. It was a humbling experience because I do not have any knowledge on those technologies but I always thought that everything can be learned.

I remember having the interview with the COO and she asked me if I have any questions. Given that I have been a big fan of HP’s culture I asked her what’s ePLDT culture is like. Her answer was, “ePLDT’s culture is defined by its employees contribution.” It really struck me because it was answer that wasn’t really an answer. I never knew her view of the company’s culture before I signed but it got me accepting the offer to be able to understand more. To me, it was more of a challenge to contribute to the company’s culture on what I envision it to be. It was a good two years and two months then I left for my fourth company.

I went back to doing Service Delivery work with Opentext Philippines, Inc. after realizing pre-sales wasn’t really my thing.

APJ Team 1.0 with my previous HP colleague now manager. Blogger poses πŸ™‚
APJ Team 2.0 and my previous team lead now director from HP.

I wanted a fresh start and I realized how my technical skills were still important.

I believe I was not doing it the best that I can and that Service Management will always be my first love. I see how my colleagues strive with the role and though I know I used up my transferable skills very much, it wasn’t enough because the technical skills needed to be believable to customers must be in depth and it’s something I do not have. I wanted a fresh start and I realized how my technical skills were still important. This time, I made sure I used it. It’s a very challenging role because it was a dual hat. Delivery wise, everything needs to be met with speed, quality, and on time. On top of that, operational issues are also under my turf. This is the same period I decided to start my MBA. They were days when I asked myself why am I making my life hard, LOL. But again, I look at the end goal and I just know that the reward will be worth it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to reap the full return because I wasn’t able to finish my MBA. In almost two years, I left this role and returned to my roots which is Service Transition.

Globe gave me the opportunity to go back. I looked at it as the last company because I was getting tired of going through the whole new hire process of understanding the organization, meeting new people, and fitting in the culture.

ITSMO folks
Service Transition Team

I never wanted to be known for what I do. I wanted to be known for the values and learnings I shared because that what makes me do better at what I do.

It was a totally different experience from all of my roles because I get to be the customer now. My previous roles I was always on the other side of fulfilling customer requirements and requests. Personally, it was a test of one’s values, patience, and mentoring. I understand that as a customer working with a provider, it isn’t part of my job to talk to resources and know their concerns, it was my provider’s lead’s job. However, that HP culture was really ingrained and I was more than happy to talk and share my knowledge. I was a functional manager but I didn’t think that doing people management role really was that tiring.

I never wanted to be known for what I do. I wanted to be known for the values and learnings I shared because that what makes me do better at what I do. I ended my career with Globe because of an opportunity overseas but not without ensuring I know how to choose my battles.

My career journey won’t be conventional to people who only see Computer Science graduates as Programmers. A lot of career opportunities are out there. The most important point that I wanted to stress here is that your undergraduate course doesn’t need to define your career and my 10 year journey was a testament to that. Found this trail in Twitter and the responses were awesome.

If you’re experiencing doubts about where you are right now, I hope this post gave you the right push and encouragement. And if you’ve read until here, thank you so much. πŸ™‚

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