Career? Never straightforward, usually. Stability or potentially?

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I stayed 4 years in my first job. I loved my job too and I thought I could work there forever. I only started looking out because my new Japanese GM gave me a rating of C for my performance appraisal. Quite funny because I was a top performer in the first three years and was involved in even an annual negotiation in Tokyo with a VIP customer when I was just 23 years old. Anyway, to cut the story short, I took a pay cut and joined an internet company when it was fighting the mighty newspaper. What did I do before I joined? I calculated the potential business that this new company could do. I bought the newspaper and actually counted the potential one by one!  I realised the potential was huge, plus it’s online versus offline. I joined and within 6 months, I got back my pay and by the end of the second year, I was already getting a pay that I would not be able to reach at least for a few more years had I stayed in my first company.

I left the internet company after 9 years. It was a very tough decision because I would be taking my second pay cut. From a top sales person with some supervisory experience, I would become a ‘mini-GM’ in another internet firm. Again, it was a debate between stability or potentially. I was already a top sales and the targets are often set based on average. It is not that tough to hit the sales targets… By the way, top sales people would typically earn more than even the GMs in public listed companies. I took up the offer because it would offer me a chance to manage the operations of an office and later, two offices. It gave me lots of learning. From restarting a struggling office, retraining and upskilling staffs, firing a few people and even hiring good people and eventually pushing the sales revenues to a record high meant that I was offered to relocate to the KL HQ. Yes, plus a senior manager title too. The scope is a little narrow as it will be within sales.

I was already thinking of relocating to KL but I did not take up the offer and I rejoined my second company instead. Somehow, due to my awesome performance in my first 9 years with them, they were willing to even let me choose the department to join. Again, it’s everything about the potential in an expanded organisation and even roles. This time, I stayed for 4 years plus. During these four years, I switched role 3 times. Lots of new experience, new learning and I was even managing teams across a few countries including Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia was next. I did not get to continue because I got offered another new role. This time as a COO in a 13 year old profitable group of companies. Of course size wise, by far smaller than my previous companies that I worked for. Am I really ready to be a good COO? I seriously have no idea but I know this. Between ‘stability’ versus ‘potentially,’ it has always been potentially all these years that I have worked; 19 years plus to be exact. I will work hard. Perhaps I can write another article about this 3-5 years later? Haha. Yes, I intend to stay so that I could help the CEO transform the company together. Wish me luck!

written on 5 July 2017

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