Your Pain Is My Pain, My Pain is My Pain

So we’ve all heard that saying that labels people, “some people are takers and some people are givers.” In a sense, I believe that applies to our daily conversations with the people we interact with. Some of us have a lot to say, while some of us have a lot to listen to. In my case, I’m a mixture of both, but I know when and what mode I’m needed. More to the point of this post, I know when the people around me need someone to vent to.

What separates a giver and a taker in this case? A taker will always end up steering the conversation in the direction of their own interests. Have you ever had a conversation with your friend where they start off asking you about your day/life/dilemma, and suddenly the conversation ends up all about them? That’s the classic example of a taker. Takers in general are focused on themselves. As much as they try not to do it, it still ends up the same way. Why? It’s simple, we are all individuals. Individuals walk separate paths, have separate interests, and separate goals. At the end of the day, each and every interaction you have with someone else can be summed up as how did that end for you.

What’s a giver then? A giver is that person who patiently listens to you as you talk about your life, vent about your problems, and helps you figure out your dilemma. Why do we have givers if everyone is an individual? Givers tend to be the more passive types. People that are a little less selfish about their needs. I think givers tend to understand that if the people around them are happy, it’ll surround them with a more happy environment. So at the end of the day, givers balance out the takers.

So what’s the point of this post? The idea behind this post is for you, the reader, to take a brief moment and think about this. Which one are you, a giver or a taker? Keep in mind, being labeled as either one or both isn’t a bad thing. We all have moments where we need to be a taker, and we all have moments where we are givers. There is however a tendency to be a more dominant giver or a more dominant taker. So which one are you?

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

Advertisements

Motivation, Drive, and Knowing What You Want.

So the other day, as my coworker was driving me and another one of our coworkers to a lunch, we listened to one of her motivational speaker recordings. One of the ramblings the guy talked about struck me because I never really thought about it much when I was young. The topic was how some people go through life accepting what others tell them to do, while other people go on through life doing what they want to do.

The reason why I have never really thought about this is because growing up, I always had an idea what I wanted to be. It started out with being a lawyer, computer engineer, or a programmer. As I grew older, I realized that being a lawyer wasn’t for me. The billable hours and the possibility of putting my ideals aside to represent a client didn’t appeal to me. So from there, I went with the goal of getting into a college program revolving around computer technology. In the end, I graduated with a computer engineering degree with the goal of being a programmer. Presently I’m not a programmer, but at least I had a self decided goal that I ultimately accomplished.

Some of my friends however didn’t grow up with the same drive as I did. By the time we were high school seniors, many of them didn’t know what they wanted to study or what they wanted to do in life. In a sense, I don’t blame them. To have to decide by the time you’re 17 or 18 is tough, especially when you’re not old enough or exposed to the world enough to understand all the challenges you will have to face for the rest of your life. This lack of direction however results in a slight delay in life. For many of my friends, their college choices and career paths turned out fine. For some of them, the path twisted and turned, resulting in a more difficult or less direct path to their goal.

So what’s the point of this post? This post is meant to raise awareness to this lack of direction some people have. Rather than listen to other people and let them decide your future, why not decide it yourself? At the end of the day, the person who has to go through the challenges of life for their particular life path is you, not the people telling you what to do. All of us walk our own individual paths. The people we’re exposed to day to day merely have paths that intersect with ours.Very few of these advisers. friends, and family will have a path that runs in parallel with yours for long. All you can do is take their advice into mind as you decide your own fate and figure out what you want. From there, you need the persistence and focus to finish what you set your mind to.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below.

Workplace Dating, Is It Acceptable?

So last night our program managers treated our customer as well as us testers to dinner at a local restaurant. Over the course of dessert, the subject of how each person met his/her wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend. One of my colleagues told him that she was dating someone in another department which led to some teasing by the customer. He had two rules, these rules are as follows:

1) No dating at work.
a) If you have to date at work, no dating a colleague you work/interact with at work.

The funny thing is, he admitted that he had actually met his wife at work, but he never broke rule 1a. So this leads to the question, is it or is it not acceptable to date someone at work? I know a few colleagues who are presently dating someone at work now, or is dating someone they used to work with. Just to be clear, I don’t mind other people dating at work. Personally I don’t have plans to date anyone at work but here’s the dilemma.

Many of us full time working professionals spend the majority of our weekly hours at work. At my company, most individuals average approximately 45 hours per week. In my lab, most of my co-workers average 50 hours per week. With that being said, most people wake up before the sun is up and end up leaving work after the sun is down. By the time we get home we have to cook dinner, clean, and with what little time we have, relax, go to the gym, or attempt to socialize. I’m not saying socializing after work isn’t possible, I’m just pointing out that there’s only so many hours to do so. So what do you do when you’re having a hard time getting out of the house/work to go out and meet people? Some people do so at work, others turn to online dating, and others turn to friend set ups.

But let’s get back to the topic of dating at work. I’ve listed some of the reasons why people do it. Here’s some of the reasons why people shouldn’t do it. Let’s start with the most obvious argument, dating doesn’t always work out. What happens if the person you were dating is someone that you need to work with on a frequent basis? Not only does this leave both of you in an awkward situation, it results in a tense work environment. Another argument against dating someone at work is that it mixes work and play environments. I’m not saying that you’ll be messing around at work the whole time, but in the time that you’re flirting with someone at work, you’re also not using that time to be productive. It’s like they say, “don’t shit where you eat.”

At the end of the day, I’m neither for or against it. I think sometimes things are beyond your control. I’m interested to read what you guys think about dating at work. Is it appropriate or not? If so, how should you go about it?

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

Moving On, Career Choices.

So recently I’ve been hearing a few of my coworkers say that they are thinking of leaving our company. Some of these coworkers have been at the company for a few years, while some for have only been here for a few months. At some point you will reach a point where you ask yourself if staying at your company and doing what you are paid to do is worth it.

For some of these coworkers, the reason why they are planning to look for another company is because they’re spouse/family live or work too far from where we work, making the daily commute too taxing or creates a gap between them. For other coworkers, they’re bored of the day to day tasks that we’re assigned, too stressed out, or just generally unhappy with what they thought the position entailed versus what it actually is.

So when and why is it safe to move on from a company? Well while I was interviewing, I actually asked multiple hiring managers what they consider red flags on a resume. A few of them responded, “when a candidate’s resume shows that they can’t stay at a company for a least a year.” The rest of them replied with, “duration doesn’t matter if the candidate can’t explain what their position’s responsibilities were.” What would the general rule of thumb for considering when to leave be?

The minimum most managers find to be acceptable is one year but to be safe, one year and six months. The reason behind this duration is the overhead that comes with training. Managers say it takes about three months to train a new hire, three months for them to ease the new hire into a more independent role, and three more months to make sure the new hire is full assimilated into the full day to day responsibilities that comes with their job. That comes to at least nine months where you’re slowly transitioning that new hire into the position. Once you have finished the climb, you hope for a return. If a new hire leaves before a year, then you end up having to spend time to fill that position and then you’re stuck where you were nine, ten, eleven, or twelve months ago.

This process also ties into being able to explain what your responsibilities and role within a project are/were. If you aren’t able to “defend” your resume in an interview, then odds are you won’t be hired. At the end of the day, an interview is really just a defense of your skills listed on your resume as well as your appearance. You can be the smartest bookworm in the world, but if you can’t impress the manager and leads that are interviews and convince them that you will fit in with their team, then you most likely won’t get an offer. When evaluating whether you should leave a company, you should take into account how much of a contribution you are to your team and project. If you’re a high impact player that many people depend on, then when the reference calls come into your manager, the more likely they’ll say something good about you. On top of that, you never know what the future will hold. Perhaps you’ll meet that manager for another company for another position. The more valuable to a project you are, the more likely you’ll be able to explain the project in a manner that will defend your resume as well as promote your abilities.

So for those of you thinking of leaving your jobs or those of you who are looking for jobs, consider these two points. Being able to show commitment on top of being able to defend/demonstrate your contribution prior to your future interview are two of the key things that hiring managers consider as they interview you. If you plan on leaving for a new position or venture, take time to evaluate how your timing affects how others perceive these factors. Also, don’t make the mistake of quitting your job before you have a new one lined up. The job market isn’t hot enough where unemployment will be short.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or share this post.

Collection of 2014 – Happy New Year, Lunar New Year, 4 Months

Hi guys, sorry I haven’t been blogging in a long time. The holidays + work turned out to be a lot more than I could handle in terms of time and energy. So happy new year/happy lunar new year to those of my followers who read this. I hope everyone has a good year in the year of the horse. I’m excited about this year because I’m a horse and I always look forward to my years.

4 months… it’s really been 4 months since I’ve started my full-time job in my test engineer role. It feels like time’s just flashed right by, but I guess this reflects how busy I am at work these days. Looking back, these 4 months have taught me a lot of lessons. Lessons about the internal strife that is part of working at a big company, tips and tricks that go with the job, and how I view my role within my group.

To start off, I guess I’ll address the internal strife I mentioned above. Working at a big company has its perks. The reputation of the company makes your resume a lot more credible, you yourself make it even more credible when you can actually communicate your role, contributions, and skills acquired in your time at a big company. Your role however in a big company can be quite small/focused. In a sense I’m lucky enough to be in a position where my job can be as big or as small as I want it to be. I’ve come to realize I’ve exposed myself to a lot more responsibility compared to some of my coworkers who have the same role. I’m not saying that I do more than others, but I definitely put myself out there so that my managers and peers know that I’m always willing to learn and learn to do things correctly. The flip side to this ability to become involved in different aspects of work is that there seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes down to who should be doing what. There are definitely situations in meetings where some of the developers, managers, and test engineers have a hard time deciding who should be doing what. This confusion results in a very bad rap when the customer is unhappy with an issue and the fingers are being pointed. In general, working at a big company always comes with its pros and cons.

Skills, tips, and tricks. While I was in college, the projects and tasks I was exposed to generally revolved around the use of one or two skills alone or combined. I’ve come to realize at work that this isn’t the case. Our products combine so many programming languages, levels, and skills that if I hadn’t learned a variety of these languages, I would have a hard time doing my job. If you’re still in college and you’re studying programming, make sure you know SQL, linux/unix, C/Java,and some sort of mark up language. My personal adventures in android/HTML turned out to be very helpful in the workplace when dealing with GUIs and parsing data. Ultimately the potpourri that our software is made from is much more complex than I can contemplate.

As for my role in my team, I’m still NG2, aka new guy 2. There’s a lot that I don’t know or haven’t even been exposed to yet. I have this saying among my coworkers about how I’ve only faced 2 out of 7 dungeon bosses. By that, I mean I’ve only met and survived encounters with two of our customer representatives. As for my experience so far, I know that to a certain degree they depend on me for a facet of our products’ functionality. This also gives me a sense of security when it comes to knowing that I’m being of use. But this sense of security isn’t enough because what I know is only 15% of what our products are capable of. Like I said above, given the opportunities, I’m trying to involve myself in as many opportunities to learn as possible.

 

With that being said, I still can’t believe it’s been 4 months. I’m hoping that time doesn’t fly by too quickly. At the same time, I’d love for my current project to reach a conclusion so I can put my vacation days to use. Thanks for reading guys. Hopefully I can find time to blog more consistently.