Monday, April 20, 2009

So Young

Had a surprize meeting at work last Friday. Was called up by big boss in the last minute to follow him to a meeting at head quarters, even though I am like just his "tag along kopi boy", no need to answer any questions.

He drove us from the island to town, where the head office is. In the car, only the 2 of us, he spoke to me a great deal, the most we have ever talked in over 1 years. We talked about the industry, about my department, about his past, and career, about my future, and how I can improve myself. He is indeed a knowledgeble person, very confident about himself, and not afraid to speak of his own acheivements and be proud, yet not arrogant or braggy about it.

He talks about some of my colleagues and refer 1 of them as young, a fresh in the industry, even though he was clearly in his thirties and worked for at least a good 10 years. Maybe to my boss, he is indeed a fresh person. Later, throughout the day, I keep hearing the senior people in my company talking and discussing about age related topics.

First, after the drive to office, we went to the meeting. My big boss's boss, and my big boss's boss's boss was also there, someone probably in his early sixties. Halfway through the meeting, the biggest boss and a few other big bosses receive an email via their blackberry. They started saying out, "oh XXX(one of their colleague), got a heart attack, and just had and operation. Then they were discussing about the news and XXX, saying," oh my god, he was so young, so fit. He would always go running and control his diet. How come such a thing will happen on him, etc, etc." They continued for a while, keep repeating that he was so young, till they mentioned that he was "only in his fifties". Though I only kept quiet listening throughout, but when I heard he was "only" in his fifties, after they kept saying he was so young, I got quite a "shock".

Well if people in their thirties is considered fresh and people in their fifties are considered young, what am I? A toddler? It does not end there; after the meeting, some of us moved to another meeting room to touch up the revised slides to be sent out after the previous discussion. As a couple of them had to attend another meeting after our first one, we went straight into the board meeting room, before the board meeting starts, to do the slides while they waited for the others to come. As I am re-doing the slides, 1 by 1 of the "big shots" arrived for the meeting and sat down. Everyone in the board room were of vice president level and above, except me, the lowest of all executives.

All the VPs started talking like friends, I have never seen them talked like this before, probably because now they are all of the same level and standing, can talk more freely like friends, compared to the usual stern, serious look they give you when you talk to them. Again, they started bringing age into the picture of the conversation. I do not know what is it with older ppl, that they always like to talk about age. They started talking about this young guy being a high flyer or somthing (din really pay attention to details as I am trying to rush through the slides and leave the place filled with all the big shots ASAP), and again said that he was only a young fellow, in his forties. Then they mentioned about Obama, saying he even more zai, President of US at only 45, so young, bah bah bah they carried on.

After the "Friday Encounter" with all the power people in my company, and their conversations, it really makes me feels a little intimidated and small. It was really a rare experience for such a small fry like me, and it made me think about the words that they said. To these people who have really been through much more of life than me, people in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s are all considered young, and even fresh. For people like me only in my twenties, yet always complaining about being old, ought to be ashamed of myself. To them, I am probably just like a baby.

A few things I learned from the above, is that no matter at what age you are at, you only as old as how others see you. You will only be as old as how old you think you are. We should all think young and positively. It is never too late to do what you want to do, to learn what you want to learn. We all have many many years ahead of us. Make use of your time and do what you always really want to do, do not be afraid that mistakes might set you back a couple of years; a couple of years is really nothing. There are decades ahead of you, do not be afraid of doing something you love, for the fear that you will fail. At least you tried and not have any regrets, than going on a safe path till the end of days and wondered what if.

Though my interaction with very senior colleagues, I got to see life through their eyes for a brief moment, and felt what they experienced. I also realised how come advices from the elders are always so valuable, they have been through that phase, and they can share with you the ups and downs. Somethings in life, you can never really understand it till you have been through it and sometimes even though you know it is not good for you, you will still go ahead with it and it is destined for you to falter and fail before you can feel that pain; and only then it also becomes a word of advice from your dictionary to others.

P.S: I think it is time I focus more on my work, over here I still have a long ladder to climb. Yet on the other hand, no matter how far I climbed, there is never a platform along the way for me to take a rest, if I stopped, I will just fall off the ladder.

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