Monday, March 01, 2010

I'm 18 Today!

I'm 18 today and I feel really old!

That is because it is not my age I am talking about, it is the number of years I have been working in this company!

That is right, 18 years out of my 22 years of working life.

I started working at the age of 22, just after I completed my National Service of 2 years... a compulsory regiment for all male Singaporeans to serve the army, navy, airforce or police force the length of 2 to 2.5 years.

I was a combat medic in my final year in the army and a good one at it too, I think. That made me wondered if I should go into nursing or health-related field, but my bond with the technical institute had me working in the electronics manufacturing company for 2 years.

That was where Cipher Data, a back-up subsystem in tape form employed me during a job recruitment drive the institute held for its former students to serve their bonds.
It was a good 4 years in Cipher Data... my first adult-life working experience.

That was the place I started to know another aspect of life. The different people and hierarchy in a multinational company, the different functions of the department, the culture and the office politics.

In Operations, I got to know the different people and their mentalities.. from the production operators, to the Line-Leaders, the Supervisors and the Engineers... and right up to the managers. I was a young technician when I first started.

I regarded myself as fortunate while I was there. I had a good circle of friends which was important to me at that age. Our group was quite inseparable it seemed back then. A group of us, Debug and Line-Support Technicians worked well together in the company and enjoyed ourselves very much outside the company during our various outings.

We went out for dinners, movies, barbecues and just hanging around, enjoying each other's company... which were quite often and would not trade those times for anything.

Throughout the short few years, I could see our lives transformed from the youthful and playful bunch to responsible adults when we started our dating phase. Our group became larger with the addition of our partners brought into it. Wifey was one of them and the girls in the group loved her.

I still can remember the outing we had at Marina South. The whole group went for all buffet lunch at Ponderosa at Marina Square, then we went kite flying at the open field overlooking the sea. That was the first time I held on to a kite since my family moved out from our village.

The girls told my wife-to-be good things about me. Maybe that was one of the turning points why she is my Wifey today. I am so grateful for them for "butting in" and doing so.

I was promoted to Senior Technician after working there for 2 years. All was well and I liked the way things were and how my life had turned out for me thus far but the US company was not that fortunate.

There was a merger and we went under Archive's name during my 3rd year there. Everyone had to go through the painful reality of working life... retrenchment.

I saw production people whom I worked with had to leave. The production line was shut and became dark and dreary. One by one, close friends left on their own to other places. Many left before many too were eventually retrenched.

I was spared together with a few of us who had to see the sprawling and buzzing-busy manufacturing floor we were so accustomed to, stripped bare and depressed-looking. We had to move the operation to a vendor the company had outsourced to.

Never in my wildest dream, the vendor that I went to transfer the product to for the length of 3 months became my second company that I work for till this very day!

The GM offered me a place as Test Engineer since I was all too familiar with the varied products I was suppose to transfer.

The group of friends kept in contact for a long while but I guess, "long distance relationship" is hard work. After some years, the bond between us weakened and our friendship faded away. Everyone was leading their own life; with their new careers, new friends and loved partners, just new priorities.

During that process, two of them migrated to another country. One to the US with his whole family of four, while the other to Canada to live with her elder brother after their father died and left her without a family member here.

I have lost all contacts from all of them!

At one point, I searched the internet for them but to no avail. The internet was not as comprehensive as today. Recently, I searched for them again in Facebook and other social network websites but it proved futile as before. Most probably, they may have registered under a pseudo name.

I just home that they are looking for me too because I put my name and picture in my profile just so they can find me and hopefully wanting to get back into contact with me.

I am not sure what triggered me to look for them again but I really would like to know how they are doing in their lives and careers. How their children look like and how has live been treating them.

18 years here and I am not budging. Feeling too tired of the same thing yet I cannot shake off being safe and take risks. Too safe being me all this while... tougher now as my decisions will affect not only me, but my family as well.

Mentally too old to move on to other things. Things that I am passionate about; the opportunity does not seem to present itself and I am not putting conscious effort to look for it either... physically to lazy to do it anyway... most likely psychologically too scared to step out of my comfort zone.

Do I see a silver lining? I seriously have not seen it in the clouds, so I am not so sure about it myself. I do see rainbows...
Where is this career heading to?


  1. The future can hold many surprises. I hope all your surprises are good ones.

  2. Have I upset you in some way. If I have I apologise, but I can't think what it is I've done...


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Muhd Imran
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