Different Types Of Friends As You Leave Your Workplace To Another

When you are young in your career, it is easy to make work becomes you. As though consciously or subconsciously, work is the single most important thing in life. Over time, you may find your balance. And recognize that workplace is just an entity. Your boss doesn’t own you a living. Neither do you own him or her your life.

With the amount of time we spend at work, inevitably we make friends. Or at least be friendly to others. We talk about our weekends, our overseas families that visit us, the joy – wedding, childbirth, or promotion – and the sadness – aging parents, a sick child, or health issues. We talk about our “friends” at work. We talk about our “enemies” at work. Enemies become friends (less likely). Friends become enemies (more likely). A workplace can be fun (less likely). Or it can be toxic (more likely). Most of us could probably write a book about work than writing about what happens after work, though I sincerely hope not.

Eventually, one leaves from one workplace to another. This is where I have come to the realization that besides those whom I don’t care about and those who likewise don’t care about me in my day-to-day work and beyond, there are different types of friends as I leave one workplace to another.

Type I. Friends who no longer talk and are turning into strangers.

People can be nice to each other thanks to the work environment. We find topics to talk about that are largely work related. We need each other at work. We have common goals. Outside of this environment, there really isn’t anything worth catching up on. So when separated, there is hardly any reason to be friends.

I suppose most of my colleagues at work would fall under this category.

Type II. Friends who continue talking with me most likely they still need something from me in near future.

While no one is indispensable at work, when one leaves, someone else would need to take over. It is hard to say whether or not that someone would continue befriending me when I am of no value to him or her in near future.

Pessimistically or realistically, type II can become type I. Or it can become type III.

Type III. Friends who become friends for real.

I have worked for more than two decades. I can say with conviction that I do come across people whom I have got to know at a workplace and we keep in touch after we parted. In fact, many of my best friends in life were once upon a time my colleagues.

When you come across type III friends, count your blessing. Hold onto them and stay in touch. Time works both ways. It can grow friendship; it can also kill friendship.

One Crazy Week

I listened to the acoustic recording of the quake captured from the deep ocean with goose bumps all over my body.  I suppose I could imagine the terror induced had I come face to face with such force of nature.  The 2011 Japanese earthquake had lasted for 2 minutes.  That has triggered a series of aftershocks, a tsunami, a potential nuclear meltdown, and an impact to the global economy.  For the past one week, I have been glued to the news from the Internet feeling deeply saddened.  That puzzled me a bit because I do not usually feel that attached to the disasters worldwide.  Maybe deep inside, I admire the Japanese people and culture more than I think I do.

This week has been a crazy week.  My mother in Hong Kong was hospitalized for a minor operation and how I wish I was there with her.  One colleague of mine’s grandfather has passed away and I said to her, “Go home and spend time with your family.  Don’t worry about that minute of meeting”.  I suppose falling back into routines helps one to return to normalcy.  And normalcy helps one to momentarily forget the pain.  I did not have the heart to grant her that wish.  There were two major deliverables this week and in the mist of all these chaos, one of my colleagues has lost his sanity – figuratively speaking – because he thinks that he will be asked to leave the company soon.  So I said to him, “Keep your head down and continue to be productive”.  I suppose different people handles stress in a different way.  Constantly having to deal with his momentary lapse of sanity seems to have worn me out a bit.  And hence, summing all up, it has been a shockingly depressing and incredibly busy week.

I have a different approach when it comes to work, compares to some of the colleagues around me.  I believe that knowledge and experience should be shared.  Because together, we can do so much more.  Don’t you worry that one day your job will be taken away from you, some have asked in the past.  I would be in deep trouble if my job is hanging onto what I know today.  In contrary, I would be happy if more and more people can do what I am doing.  That way, I can move onto other things in life and create new knowledge, create new experience.  I think there is enough food to share around (again, figuratively).  Even when the time is bad, deep inside, we are hunters.  We will be able to find something else to eat, somewhere, somehow.

Last Sunday I took Cynthia to the IT Show.  I would imagine that must have been a terrifying experience for her.  The gigantic exhibition hall was filled with people.  Mostly men talking in some geek languages, ogling at products that meant nothing to her.  I am a seasoned IT Show visitor.  IT Show is not a time and place for shopping.  When I visit an IT Show, I know exactly what I want to get.  At the exhibition, I checked where the Creative’s booth was located and under my supreme leadership, we zoomed straight into the location that mattered: Creative’s cashier.  I took a look at the pamphlet.  Yes, the World of Warcraft headset was on sales.  Big discount.  So I ordered three headsets there and then.  The man who manned the cashier was surprised at my efficiency and determination.  I went in as fast as I went out.  Cynthia was shocked.

Today is unlike the previous days, my working day has ended with a sunny blue sky.  Finger crossed, I am hoping for a better week next week.  My world and the world I am living in.

The Mount of Java

Three distinct incidents happened today and I have chosen the most significant one to be the title of today’s diary.  One is on feeling, the other two are something that is within my control and something not.

Throughout the day, I have been disappointed by the lack of reaction from the folks in the office about the signoff of our functional specification.  It is as though nothing has happened!  Ridiculous.  How can it be?  Over time, there is nothing but bad news in Aretae – project teams cannot meet deadline and hence do not get to secure the payments.  This time, the NUS project team has made it and managed to secure the payment even before the deadline.  Sometimes, I am puzzled in how the company is run.

Throughout the day, I have learnt and experimented on how to program JSP and Servlet and I have created one semi-working function.  My first time with Java and it is like facing yet another challenge with yet another programming language.

These two events are that feeling of mine and that something that is within my control.  As for the third event, it is something to do with the weather and the traffic.  Traffic jam in CTE has been consistently terrible.  One of the worse jam I have experienced was during one of the World Cup semi-finals.  One of the most bizarre jam I have experienced has got to be today’s jam.  All the way from the second tunnel, the cars were crawling.  At first I thought it was the bad weather, then after seeing one of the van broke down in the middle of the highway, I thought to myself, “That must be it!”  Then, I noticed that the traffic police have cut off the highway from AMK Avenue 1 onwards.  That was bizarre.  Maybe they are installing another speed camera after Avenue 5.

Physical: 0.27
Emotional: -0.78
Mental: 0.10

Up There Where We Belong

Today is a high.  It is like a happy ending to part one.  After weeks of struggle with the functional specification, we have finally obtained a signoff.  It is like a gift from heaven.  Even I find it hard to believe.  Not only have we obtained a signoff for the functional specification, we have got six signoffs for the storyboard.  Not one, two, but six!

Today I have finally made an online purchase with Amazon.com after locating the Oxford’s Advanced Learner’s Dictionary CD-ROM.  Not just have I bought the dictionary, I have bought three books from Ann Rice.  These are the books that I cannot find in Singapore and these are the books that probably cannot get through the tough censorship.

To round up the day, Tong Kiat, Sing Chyun, and I watched a hilarious movie at Orchard.

Physical: 0.00
Emotional: -0.90
Mental: 0.28

Movie: Ali G Indahouse


Today is definitely a day of daydreaming.  The thought and the possibility of leaving this company to join another one are intoxicating.  In my mind, I have already planned out the entire serious of events: the lunch interview, the negotiation (if any), the drafting of the letter of resignation, the breaking of news to Choong Yong (difficult and personal), the breaking of news to Peng Yong (easy and business), the last four weeks with my beloved project team, and the breaking of news to this team of mine (tears and hugs).  I find it impossible to focus without thinking too far ahead.

This morning, I have come to the realization what I love to do best – to work in an environment full of crisis.  What I then do is to go in, put the house in order, and then go off.  Now that the project is stabilizing and most of the unknowns have been taken off the equation, the project is turning a little bit plain to me.  Probably because I feel much needed when things go wrong.  When the weather is good, I feel redundant.  Therefore, time for me to go into coding, time for me to sharpen up my technical skills.

Physical: -0.27
Emotional: -0.97
Mental: 0.46