Monday, September 30, 2013

Finding Common Ground

I was updating my resume the other day was taken aback at the number of jobs I've held and the variety of work I have done. (Side note: Thank you to all past employers for taking a chance on me!)

At first glance this jobs all seem completely unrelated, I mean how does an Environmental Scientist become a buyer for an Industrial Construction company or a nanny become an International Waste Management Advisor? But what I have discovered over the years of countless jobs in a number of different cities (and countries!) is that there is common ground in everything that we do.

Though not exhaustive here is some of the things I've found the most useful is adapting to new jobs.

Adaptability:

Whether its a new job or a new location adaptability is key. I've also found being adaptable in my daily work schedule to be very important. The key is to plan your work but always be willing to adapt to changes.

Ground Water Sampling on a very rainy day on Vancouver Island

Speak the same language:

I'm not referring to speaking English or Bahasa Indonesia here (though given the right circumstance this can be extremely important as well). Rather it's those moments where you are both speaking English but you can't understand a word the other person is saying. The key thing here is know the person you are talking to and cater your message to their needs. Keep your message simple and to the point and try not to use jargon or technical terms that the other person won't understand. This has always been a huge learning curve both in the International Development world and Industrial Construction. Trust me miscommunication can happen even when we are all speaking English. If you aren't sure, always ask for clarification.

Talking to one of the street cleaners in Ende outside the Bank Sampah on selling day

Dress the part:

I've always struggled a bit with this one. And while I strongly believe that we should all have the right to personal expression and freedom, sometimes work isn't the place for that. Dressing the part while working helps to put the people around you at ease (especially if you are the new person in the office). In some situations following a certain dress code is for your own safety and protect as well.

All dressed up in traditional wear for a coworkers wedding in Ende

Make Friends:

Work camaraderie makes the days go by faster.  You don't have to be the best of friends with the people you work with but you spend half of your day with these people so take the time to get to know them on a more personal level. This is especially important when working remotely. More often than not it has been the relationships I've formed with co-workers that have made or broken jobs for me.

Posing for Photos with Coworkers in the Philippines

My career path might not to be as clear and direct as others. But I wouldn't trade any of it.

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