Getting what you wished for

Now I know how clouds have silver lining

It has been one really long year. Despite going on part time, my work commitments were not lightened and coupled with managing Joel’s school work, I was ready for a long break. However I didn’t have enough annual leave and so it was with much lethargy that I drag myself to work each day. Not that I dreaded work, I really enjoyed it. I just needed a break.

And then it happened. My daughter got chicken pox. And two weeks later, her mother who has escaped that virus for 31 years contracted it too! And so today starts my 14 days of medical leave. It is with much bitterness that I joke at this. I wanted a break from work and I got chicken pox. God has an interesting way of making things happen.

Speaking of which, I recently had my work chat with my boss and director. They were really pleased with my performance over the last year. We were under fire from the corporate services. Basically the management felt that we had no structure and strategy whatsoever in our public eduation efforts. And we had to come up with a model to justify what we do by this year.

I was roped into the working committee. Essentially the person to pull out all the numbers, do the research and analysis, write the papers, come up with the presentation slides, coordinate the meetings and once in awhile give my two cents worth. And I have to say I am extremely grateful for the opportunity as well as the eventual success of pulling our department through the structural review.

My director commented that it took a special kind of personality to be able to accomplish what we did. Someone who could blend strategy and operation together and he was honestly sceptical that such a person could exist in our department. I was really honoured by that compliment.

He also reminded me of a conversation I had with him mid last year about how I envisioned the department to function and somehow by force of will, it materialised this year with the new model. I really got what I wished for. And it keeps me stupefied on how that was remotely possible.

Looking back at my past entries when I was just a helpless noob, I would have never expected myself to develop the necessary gung-ho to have my voice heard and the wit to carry it through. Just as how it has been all my life – never expecting to be a mother of three and thriving on it. Never expecting to own my first investment property and a whole lot of other unexpected outcomes.

Truly when you are at the center of God’s will, anything is possible.

Having said that, now that we have taken one step closer, I am fearful of what the future beholds. The irony of it all. The journey never ends and we have to seek continual improvement lest we become overtaken by complacency again. I must make sure this never happens.

A stark reminder that it is ok to be different. This is a natural shot taken in Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay. No photo editing done.

We had our department team building just this Monday. We did an interesting personality profiling called Belbin Team Assessment. Basically it requires you and four other observers to rate your personal traits that make you a contribution or detriment to a team’s performance.

As someone who has strong sense of self awareness, it is indeed an eye-opener to find out that my colleagues do not see me the way I see myself.

There are basically 9 crucial team roles (Think-Social-Action) that a person can play –

1. Plant – the idea person

2. Method Evaluator – the strategy person

3. Specialist – the expert

4. Resource Investigator – the network person

5. Co-ordinator – the delegator

6. Teamworker – the people person

7. Implementor – the do-er

8. Completer Finisher – the tie-up-loose-ends person

9. Shaper – the whip person

My strongest role is the Specialist and this is concurrent with my colleagues’ observations as well. I suppose it comes with the fact that when I am assigned a role, I make sure I have all the facts and figures to help me do a good job. And I love to do in-depth research.

What was divergent though was that I regarded myself strongly as a Plant, but my colleagues didn’t think so. I can only surmise that either I don’t promote my ideas strongly enough, that my ideas aren’t ideas at all from their perspective or that I only think I am creative but in fact am not.

Anything interesting facet was that my colleagues rated me strongly as a Method Evaluator but I had rated myself 0 in this aspect. This was rather unusual. I never regarded myself as a strategy person but an earlier personality profile (Big 5) did indicate that I have strong analytical skills. Perhaps I should give myself more credit or perhaps my colleagues have misunderstood my ideas as strategy or vice versa.

In the end, it turns out that I am the think tank of the department, average on the social element and failing miserably on the action part. My husband, partner in crime, on the other hand is probably high on action and social but low as a thinker. Which makes us a really good team and that is I believe is part of the equation to get what you wish for.

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