Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My First Job and Some Realizations

Now I know what it feels to be a working student. In between work, assignments, social and domestic obligations, I just realized how far back I am on an on-line course I am currently taking.

Though I am officially enrolled in a class, let me be the first to admit that my situation is far from that of the working students that I admire.

I've always had a high regard for students who had to work just to go through school and how they managed their time and studies. I am always struck with awe when I see a waiter or a fast food server having to work during the day and study at night. It's no different from call centre agents who work at night and continue to study during the day.

I admire these people so much... we have so much to learn from them.

I used to consider myself fortunate that I did not have to work to get myself through school. Now I think working students are somewhat fortunate in the sense that they realize early in life the value of hard work and the zeal to succeed in life.

Flashback to 1985....

I was 25 when I decided to take a COBOL programming course at STI. Six months after the course, I landed an on-the-job training at Pan Pacific Computer Centre (PPCC). They eventually hired me as COBOL Programmer for the IBM mainframe.

I am what an uncle once said “a late bloomer”. My first job did open my eyes to some realities.  For some unexplained reason, it suddenly dawned on me that I was getting too old to be a kid. It felt good to be earning money, to be waking up early, to be working hard, to be among co-workers, to be somewhat financially independent and to enjoy your hard earned money.

A year into my employment, I was moonlighting as a freelance programmer for two companies. It was through friends and family that I acquired both clients.

Another vital lesson learned in life is that your network plays an important role to your success. Friends, family, and the people you meet will always be a good source of referrals and new businesses. Some of my former officemates at PPCC are now holding senior positions in other companies and have become Sysgen’s client at one time or another. As a matter of fact, PPCC itself became a client when it needed IT staffing service during the Y2K era.

My life as an employee was short lived. After one year as a Programmer, I realized that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and a businessman more than anything else. Among other things, I wanted to be my own boss and I knew the best option I had was to get into business.


Lamia said...

Hi Sir,

Inspiring post! Was it hard making the switch from being an employee to entrepreneur? I feel like the longer that you stay as an employee, the harder the switch to being an entrepreneur becomes... I'm 25, I've been in the IT profession for more than 4 years before I realized that what I really want is a sense of freedom. Aside from this, I really enjoy "building things" and "seeing things grow" like a tall building being built... I thought that I could apply my knowledge, my skills (not necessarily the technical skills) in programming to business if I look at business in a another way (i.e. not in a programmer's point of view). I'm really lucky to have found your blog. I hope that we could make a connection sometime in the future.



Jimmy Roa said...

Hi Tim. Taking the "plunge" has to be a well thought out decision. As in any start-up businesses, your objective would be to satisfy a consumer/corporate need. Whatever you offer (product or service) has to address a need. Identifying a need is essential to the success of an entrepreneur. The market needs to be big enough as well. Some entrepreneurs have said that passion for something is what drove them into business. As for me, passion is just a bonus. Without a need or a sizable market, it would be difficult to make your business fly simply because your are passionate about something. As an example, I later realized that there was a need for IT staffing due to the growing requirements for IT Staff. Staffing was not a true passion but the passion to learn the business and be successful in it was there.

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