Seven years and counting… =)

It’s October – my anniversary month @ SM!

I treat October as if it’s my biological birth month; I commemorate my birth into the SM organization – where I practically spent a big chunk of my waking hours in the last seven years.  It’s a fun-crazy-challenging work life, but if I could sum up the experience down to a single word, then it’s gotta be worthwhile!

Celebrating my 7th year at work – it’s like having two birthdays! =)

This is the first time I’m posting an account of my career – other than those facts which could be viewed in my online CV.  I’m excited to be writing about my more colorful experiences at work, in parts or sequences, attuned with my anniversary month.

In the beginning…

I’m fresh out of college…12 years ago. Five years into building a professional career, I was job hopping – I wanted to believe that I was good / flexible / go-getter / but-so-not-a- supermodel, so I seized up opportunities ala-Tazmanian devil, until I landed an opportunity to establish my career at SM.  Joining a retail giant was never part of the plan but fate had its way of bringing me here.  Just like any other job applicants, I had to undergo several interviews.  The recruitment process I chose was one that was (decidedly) longer.  I got an offer in July, I joined in October.   It took my former boss 3 hours to discuss the final offer, and it took me a week to sign it…I was excited and (so) scared at the same time.  I badly wanted the opportunity, but the responsibilities were daunting – the most difficult was to build an IT organization!  It was a make-or-break situation, and I never expect to reach such a point quite early in my professional life.  I was a clueless yuppie.  I only had guts, a pending MBA thesis, and an ECE license.  Are these enough to warrant success?  I was never a fan of the idea of failing – a standard which I deliberately ingrained in my head.

Now reminiscing about how it was seven years ago,  I requested a meeting with one of the corporate consultants before I signed up.  (I’m very fortunate that he has become one of my mentors).  I asked him several questions in a way that could have been regarded as a folly for a yuppie like me.

Consultant:  I heard that you have a concern about the opportunity at hand.

Me:  Yes, sir.  May I ask for the updated job description (JD), including the qualification?

The Consultant gave me a two-page JD.  I carefully read the text.  First item under job qualification, “+10 years relevant work experience in retail…”  I paused, to ask the Consultant a very honest  (bold) question in Tagalog…

Me: Sir, sigurado po ba kayo na ako ang iha-hire nyo?

Consultant:  Of course, we are.  Why are you asking me this?

Me:  Sir, five years pa lang po ako nagta-trabaho.  I don’t have a solid background in retail.  I only know retail in the context of CRM and BI.  That’s about it.

Consultant:  The technical aspect of the job will be very easy for you to learn.

Me:  Sir, this is a make or break situation for me – the experience is entirely new, the responsibilities are tougher, and I don’t know how to play management politics. As much as I’m up for the challenge, I’m also afraid to fail.

Consultant:  I see.  Your concern is valid.

Me:  By the way, sir, may I also ask for the table of organization?

Consultant:  Only this one, the rest you have to build.

Me:  Do you think I can do it, sir?  I don’t want to fail.

At that point, my former boss showed up at the Consultant’s office.

Consultant:  We will guide you through.

AGF:  Sign it, Ann.  We promise you, we will not let you fail.

They had interviewed a lot of applicants before, but may be the scenario of an applicant bringing up her fear of failure is rare…I attended a number of job offer-meetings in the past, but it was during that meeting with the Consultant and AGF where I truly felt the organization’s commitment to my growth as an individual – It was not just about the organization that I would be supporting.

I took a deep breath. In my head I said, ‘this is it, Lord.’  I signed the offer.

I would be forever grateful for that day – a sanctifying grace.  =)

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