In high school I was really good at chemistry and trigonometry. I was quite the low-rent savant – I can picture chemical equations and, shapes and angles in my head. But then graduation came upon me and I didn’t know what I wanted to do in uni. So I chose what my father did: electrical engineering. Except of course, that required that you be good in physics and calculus. I sucked at both. But I chose to do a second degree concurrently: commerce, which I loved. Not only because there were more females in those classes but because the units made more sense to me and weren’t as abstract as Fourier transform and solid state physics.
And then it was final year and I had to choose my final year thesis and project. Nothing on offer appealed to me so I chose the one offered by the lecturer that I know loves to spoon feed his students. I basically did experiments that confirmed the preordained results. Did I learn anything? Nope. But I graduated. Hah!
Woohoo, now comes my first job. Because I was such an average student, it took quite a while to get my first job. And won’t you know it, the one place that was willing to take me SUCKED balls. The senior engineer wasn’t willing to share his knowledge and assigned me meaningless drudgery like noting down the test results of electrical motors. Tests that were conducted by qualified electricians who know more than me. Nope – my morale and sense of self-worth was not very high at that time.
So I thought fuck it. If they weren’t gonna teach me anything, I’m gonna find something to do at work on their money. I taught myself basic C programming and tinkered with the office network and computers. The latter was what I ended up doing more of. One year into the black hole of morale that was this job, my uni friend Phil asked if I was interested in an entry-level helpdesk job at the software company that he was working at. I jumped into it and gave my one-month notice.
I had the best time in this second job. I had on the job and external training, with most of them being in Sydney. It was the heady times of the IT boom before the 2000-2001 crash so the pay was excellent. I was once paid a bonus of one month’s salary just to be on call during the Y2K transition, ie. over Christmas and NYE. And as you’d know, nothing happened! Sweet stuff. I was even sent once to the Tokyo office for 2 weeks.
January 2001 came along and boom – I was made redundant. I was out of work for 6 months before mom encouraged me to run a little restaurant. Running a small business was stressful and tiring. The upside was that I get to meet lotsa people including the lovely waitresses who worked for me. But one does not make much money in the initial stages – one aims to break even which we luckily did.
So I was doing this for 1.5 years before my friend Phil (yup, the same one) offered me a systems administrator job in his software startup. I passed the restaurant to my brother and I went back into IT once more. This was where I’d learn most of the knowledge and skills that I’m using today: stuff about maintaining and configuring web and email servers. I was here for about 4.5 years when I basically hit a ceiling in terms of advancement in pay and knowledge.
I then thought about moving to Singapore. I didn’t find anything that I could apply for and was quite dejected. I am glad that didn’t happen though because I ended up meeting most of my close friends now during that time.
When I saw the ad for a position at Ilisys, I went for it. I’ve been with them ever since, even though it was bought out by MYOB on my first day on the job early 2008, and then in July this year by Uber Global. And the latest change? An offer to move to Melbourne. This offer was always present but it was always gonna be me doing the same job but in Melbourne, and I wasn’t gonna give up my family and friends here for that.
This time though, it will be a horizontal move – less support and more systems administration which is where my interests lie. My CEO said that a job contract/description will be sent in 1-2 weeks time. And if everything goes smoothly, I should be in Melbourne sometime in January. Right now, I’m ambivalent about it. I’m very rooted to Perth but I’m willing to give it 1-2 years purely for the chance of gaining marketable skills and knowledge. If I get really home sick, I can always come back to Perth.
The road of life is funny like that. Forks and turns are expected, and a detour is not necessarily a bad thing.
And cheers to that.