The first time I entered into the corporate world was in 2014 July. Singapore, the land of opportunities in Asia as you know it, was a tough spot for every fresh graduate who wants to secure their first job. After 3 months of grueling job applications and hour-long interviews, I managed to secure mine. The position was pretty much entry-level I would say. I was responsible for supporting users and managing basic IT infrastructure of ST Electronics, a leading Singaporean group of companies.

ST Education & Training ST Education & Training

I wasn’t spectacular in any way. Sure, I was ok at supporting the users, troubleshooting and stuff, but when it comes to communication and relationships, I was clearly lagging behind. Luckily my supervisors couldn’t be more candid with my actions and results. The feedbacks I received from them was the best gift I could ever had in my early working days. With their jobs done, I developed the courage and consistency to act on them. I promised myself I would follow through to become a better communicator.

Few days later, I saw a perfect opportunity opening up. Our receptionist was leaving in a very short notice. The company had no choice but to let an insider to step in, which I had. Mornings I was at my cubicle supporting users and monitoring service levels, and afternoons I was at front taking the calls and performing administrative tasks. Still I managed to squeeze some time to learn WordPress and Joomla which I used for web development. More on that later…

6 months at the reception and I was starting to change. I’m speaking English fluently, thanks to tens of hours of interactions. My writing becomes more cohesive thanks to dozens of emails and reports I wrote every week. Even then, I still managed to squeeze some time to learn WordPress and Joomla which I later used to build a corporate Intranet website. Information can now flow freely anytime anywhere at our own fingertips. While I have the momentum, I also decided to invest in Python and Javascript. And before I knew it I was able to build my first windows app, which was a fairly simple implementation using Python with Dropbox API. The app recorded every vocabulary I learnt and featured quizzes to make my learning stick.

Ok back to work. It was a fall in 2015, that time of the year when our colleagues gather for annual D&D. As a tradition, we started with an opening speech from our MD. As he was addressing our accomplishments all year long, I was promising myself I will make every effort to become one of his mentions one day. But little did I know that day was today. It came to my surprise I was touted as the next Mark Zuckerberg in light of my Intranet website. We all know it was an overstatement but it pushed me to go even further.

Three months after it looked like my best moment at ST, I managed to setup Internet website and remote access network among a few other initiatives. Just when I thought things are going well, I ran into a problem. It was as though I had been ignoring signals all along, I wanted to go back home so much. I was at a crossroads. Either I stay where I don’t feel I belong to and make a fortune or I return to Myanmar and live a quality life I wanted to. Either way, it was certain I and I alone were fully responsible for my decision.

Call it a moment of epiphany, I realized one can always work his way to a dozen jobs, six-figure incomes and social status for that matter, but he can only have one life. And who am I to live my life to the fullest if my loved ones are not in an arm’s reach. Things became clear. Before I knew it, I talked to my supervisor about the decision. The following week, I flew back to Myanmar for good.

As a bilingual repatriate, I was able to attract a few enticing offers from the largest corporations in Myanmar. After weighing my options based on career prospects, personal development and compensation, I decided to go with Schindler, a leading elevator and escalator company worldwide.

Contrary to my responsibilities in ST where I improved on what it was already there, I was tasked to build something from the ground up. The task is to set up network server infrastructure in Yangon, a commercial hub and operation focal point of the country. For two weeks straight, a virtual team of network engineers and system administrators in Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar executed relentlessly on our extensive plan.

Fast forward today, I enjoy the fulfillment of seeing something I seeded grow over the weeks and months. What’s more, I realize it’s the shared experiences where people come together to unleash all it takes for the team’s benefit that sets us up for success and life-long bonds…