Had a long coffee chat with a former colleague from IDA yesterday. It was nice to know whats happening with the team as well the usual corporate gossips. It is even nicer to confirm one of the work I started is indeed going places, not just to the Cabinet (and PM was there :-) but also COPS (Committee of PS) as well as the ultra-elite Pyramid Club1. And as expected the 20min timeslot given was not enough and as usual, a lively discussion :-)
Hearing these stories makes me wonder if I should have left IDA in the first place. I missed all the fun!
Just before meeting this colleague of mine, I was meeting with an investment banker whom I recently know as we are working together on a project. So we were just trading histories and I blurt out “I spent 3 years in IDA…but I think it is one year too long”. He gave me a suprised look and said “You dont like IDA?”.
No, I absolutely love IDA. In fact, leaving IDA is one of the hardest thing I had to do in my career. “There is no better place for a technologist like me to work in Singapore. Tracking technology trends is a hobby and doing it as a living is even better. Not only that, it gives me opportunities using technology to make a difference to the society (hopefully for the better).” still remains true. Making it harder was the fact I had nothing to fall back to. Essentially, I am resigning without knowing what I am going to do next. (It has to do with a promise of staying back until my replacement is found but no longer than that)
Yet now that I taken that step into the unknown, I realized I should have done so earlier. Like the story of “Who moved my cheese”, the journey of the seeking is exhilarant, the savour of the new cheese even more.
Looking back, it was the same experience when I resigned as CTO of my previous company. I had an extremely well-paid senior management position. I left without anything to fall back and after several months, I landed in IDA, with a paycut no less. But I was having so much fun in IDA that I told myself, “Damn, I should had done so an year earlier”. Not that I wasnt having fun either in my previous job.
Sincerely, I enjoyed all my jobs. I would not have taken a job that I know I dont enjoyed in the first place. Each of them is challenging, pushing me to higher and most of all the experience is valuable. But as fun as it is, as challenging as any work is, once is fun, twice is okay, thrice is boring and if remains the same, become monotonous2. Eventually I will find myself dragging myself to work.
Thats when I know it is time for me to leave.
The only problem is I always waited one year too long to leave.
So no more. This is a promise that I pick up the courage and be true to myself. No more dragging myself to work and feeling life sucked out of me. When I know it is time to leave and if it is the time for me to leave, I shall leave, as soon as possible.
No more one more year.
1 You wont find info about the Pyramid Club anywhere on Net. It is an exclusive invite-only club that comprises of the whos and whos in Singapore from both public and private sector. I had a mentor who was once a club member.
2 Don’t get me wrong, there are many many people who likes predictable work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If anything else, I am the odd ball. Thats just me.