What I learned at work this year

It was back in February when the AVP Center Head of Smart Communications reached out to me.

He said he was building a team and he wanted me on board. I was with StarTek at that time, 4 years as a Network Engineer, handling 200+ sites all over the world, there were only 5 of us, best of the best, I was the only Filipino, a woman and the youngest by a 10 year gap. We were the A team, I would be on call for 24 hours for 3 weeks straight and I loved it. I was proud of what I did. So I was surprised when the Smart opportunity came and somehow something in me felt that it was time for me to move on to a different avenue. I had very high and specific demands though, it took me 3 months with the Recruitment, but of course, excellent companies would do everything to get excellent people. (That’s one of the perks of being really good at what you do.) March 25, I finally signed my onboarding. And had no idea what was waiting for me.

Imagine working in a massive, sophisticated aquarium (enterprise), it has all kinds of aquatic species (people/clients) equipped with top of the line devices to ensure the fishes are happy (technology). The job is to make sure everything is running smoothly everyday inside that aquarium. But suddenly, an offer from the ocean (ISP which stands for Internet Service Provider) comes at you. It’s a dream come true, Google offered me at the same time, I had to say no.

So there I was, situated at the top floor of the most historical building in the heart of Makati. I had a whole team around me. I had to report everyday onsite. All of it was so new to me. I used to work alone in the comfort of my own home. Which leads us to the first lesson: be quick to adapt to new environments.

On my onboarding day, I will never forget what the head of Recruitment said when it was time for him to give advice to us new hires. He said: “This company has been around for 90 years (PLDT) and Smart for 25 years. Do you know the secret to sustain those decades of success? Pivot or Perish.”

I realized it was that simple. When you rest, you rust.

And so it was that on my first 3 months, I successfully transitioned one of the most critical security technology. I managed to accomplish a company-wide audit in 4 weeks that has been pending for 6 months. Of course I could never do all of it alone, we are talking of hundreds of thousands of assets. This is where the second lesson is most important: Learn to delegate, trust your team. Make use of the talents, skills and expertise of the people around you. It’s not being dependent, it’s collaboration.

This was something I saw that was so crucial to the new organization that I bypassed all protocols and made my point known to the Management that each team member must utilize the Value Chain of each technology pillars. For the third lesson, this is the exact words I said as I made my point to the bosses: “I know this is unusual and not promoted by the culture of this company, I fully understand that by doing this, I’m bypassing protocol and procedures that has kept everything as it is, but if I may be honest, I just don’t see the point in it. What’s the point of having all these amazing, talented people if you can’t talk to them directly? What’s the point of having the most seasoned, respected leads if the people don’t have access to them?”

You see, things aren’t the way they were before. You see it in the emerging technologies: IoT, BYOD,5G. What they all have in common is Synergy. Each individual parts working together to create a powerful and robust system of interconnected systems. It’s obvious, you have to be connected and stay connected if you want to be relevant.

I guess that sums it for now. 2020 is almost here and with it comes new sets of challenges, technologies and changes. There is no straight path to success, knowing what I know now, I can say that there is no such thing as “success”. The idea, the prestige, all of it is superficial. If you ask the most accomplished people what they think is their biggest accomplishment, most of them would say, “I haven’t reached it yet” because the truth is, there is nothing to reach. Your achievements last month is not going to count next month. Success is a never-ending journey full of untrodden paths, to be navigated and explored by taking one step at a time, courageously committed to always doing the next right thing.

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