Lebaran 2014

Setiap Lebaran di dalam Kraton ditandai dengan sungkeman atau ngabekten selama 2 hari. Hitungan hari pertama selalu jatuh pada tanggal 1 Syawal dalam tanggalan Jawa dan bukan tergantung jatuhnya Lebaran. Jadi kalau selama ini dibilang “Jatuhnya Lebaran di Kraton berbeda dengan pemerintah”, itu karena memang 2 hal yang berbeda. Yang satu Lebaran dimana kita ikut sholat Ied sesuai tanggal pemerintah, yang satu lagi sungkeman internal Kraton.

Hari pertama adalah sungkeman untuk para pria, dari adik-adik Bapak sampai abdi dalem pria. Ibu, Mbak Condrokirono dan saya kebagian shift pagi untuk menemani Ngarso Dalem di bangsal. Kenapa pake shift-shift an? Karena sungkeman nya dari pagi sampe malem, ampun kalau harus bersanggul dan berkorset dari pagi sampai malem.

Kraton Kilen

Ngarso Dalem menuju ke Gedong Jene

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How I Quit My Job

I have left my job voluntarily twice so far. My last one was due to health issues, I got engaged to my now husband working in New York, and also accepted for a full scholarship for my MBA in the States. So deciding to quit my second employment was much easier to make than my first employment.

For this post, I’d like to share the circumstances and decisions that I took in leaving my first job. I am sure there are many of you thinking about leaving your job and either can’t decide or afraid of the possibilities and changes that it brings.

I sat down, asked myself several questions which I tried to answer as honestly as I could. Nobody needs to see your notes, so don’t be afraid to be honest to yourself!

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When I Grow Up….

If you ask the 6 year old me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would answer “A hacker! So that I can rob a bank remotely!”

Yeah, I blame those tv shows…

Growing up, I did nothing special in computer related stuff though. I wasn’t one of those 11 years old hacker. Just had your average class using a computer, with those floppy disks. Oh God, that makes me sound so old!

When I got into high school, I grew some interest in politics. Indonesia was undergoing a major political transition from Soeharto to a new president so there were so many things happening. I remember asking my teacher what she’d think and she answered “Somebody will probably shoot you!”
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Raising Team’s Morale

The first year of my full time employment, everyday I walked into the office with a big smile on my face and greeted everyone I walked past with a “Good morning!”. It wasn’t until I got assigned a really big, difficult project loaded with difficult client & office politics that I would have headache every morning, feeling my energy level steadily decreasing as soon as I left home, and drained completely when I walked into the office, resulting in a grumpy face and morning greetings dissapeared. I was agitated and impatient all the time, I had difficulties sleeping and when I woke up, it felt like I hadn’t slept at all. Pretty soon my health started falling and I had to take an unpaid leave to recover.

Morale is influenced by various factors, depending on the personality and priority of the employee himself. However, some of the more common cause of low morale are poor leadership, poor communication, long hours or heavy workload, lack of appreciation of work being done. In such environment, an employee is likely to not have a sense of belonging because he already spends effort just to come to work every morning. When this happens, it will likely result in high employee turnover, increased complaints, increased internal conflicts and lower quality output.

Working in an IT company usually warrants long hours, especially when approaching deadlines. I did my share of working for 20 hours for weeks including weekends and sleeping on the client’s floor for days for way too many times. In cases like this, the only thing that can make your team continue to work is the sense of belonging. Money only motivates people so far, and the sense of helping just a colleague is not as strong as the sense of duty towards a family member. For me personally, if I did not have my friends there in the same office, I would not last as long.

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My Partners in Crime

My best friends and I
I’m one of those people who don’t have much friends growing up. Even a close friend usually drifted apart after a few years. It got worse when I started studying overseas, where I moved to a different country every few years. I tend to lose contact with them when I moved. During my school days, other students seem to have different interests, so I didn’t talk that much either. I was that girl who always ate alone during lunch hours, but I didn’t mind at all.

Things turned around when I started my first full time job in Jakarta. The IT company was full of people around my age, and we had common interests like online games and anime. I had more friends than ever.

My first day in the company, I was assigned to a desk next to a new Business Analyst who came 3 months before me. We were assigned together for our first project, where I started my Project Management journey. Maybe because we were equally struggling in our new roles, we bonded almost instantly.

We do have our differences though. Susi is a stylish girl, when I could barely walk in high heels and had no sense of fashion. In the earlier days, she’d constantly criticised my work outfit or stopped me mid-sentence “Wait! This is a new shirt, right?” (she knows my clothes better than I do). So over time, I evolved to survive. At first I paid more attention to my outfit so I wouldn’t have to tip-toed around the fashion police (read: Susi) every morning. Then I started noticing the differences in clients’ attitude towards me when I started to dress better. So I am grateful for her advice.

That’s the good part of the story, the bad part is I got a whole new obsession with shoes and bags (I blame her for that). When I go out with my friends, and you see me only wearing t-shirt, jeans and old sandals, you can bet that’s because Susi is not around.
Susi and Me
During the first few months of my employment, I had the feeling that my programmers tend to markup their mandays, because I was this new clueless PM. So I would always get a second opinion from infamously sullen and unfriendly Head of Developer (back then), Isyak. He always seemed in a bad mood, sulking while staring at his monitor. The programmers were pretty much tip-toed around him. If there was a problem in the core of the system that require his effort, the project teams would rather take extra effort building a workaround themselves rather than asking him. I remember the horror on one’s programmer’s face when she realized her commited source code crashed Isyak’s. Priceless moment…
After spending a lot of time talking to him, turned out that he wasn’t so bad. He can get grumpy real fast, but that’s just depend on how you phrase your requests and questions.
Isyak and Me
Berry quickly turned out to be my fountain of productivity. My day couldn’t start until I dropped into his cubicle and chat (read: smack/pinch/abuse him). When I got stuck doing my work, all I needed to do was to find him and give him a smack, ideas would start pouring in. Of course that means he’d try to hide whenever he saw me. This is reflected by pictures of me lovingly abuse him and his adorable cheeks hahaha.
Berry and Me
Last but not least, Tjiputra. This guy is practically Isyak’s soulmate, so when I started hanging out with Isyak, Tjiputra was also in the package. He was one of the most noticable guy in the company, because he spent his working days walking around the office while talking loudly. Since he left not too long after I joined the company, we mostly meet each other during lunch hours and weekends. He started his own company, and I learned a lot on management from him. His company also supported my wedding by providing the electronic guest passes and he went out of his way to make sure that my wedding went well. He will always have my thanks.
TY and Me

So these guys, they were either heads or the best seniors in their own respective departments. When the heads of the departments are best friends, it can either make the staff job easier when they need something, or a nightmare when they make a mistake. I also get to hear them passionately complained about the PMs like I’m not a PM. Made me wonder if they ever bashed me in that way hahahaha.

We became close friends because we have similar hobbies other than our similar struggles. For example, Isyak and me are MMORPG players, the guys got me into the dark force (read: photography) while Susi loves being photographed. They helped me through one of my darkest time, and this is the most important thing, we support each other.
Group Photo
this post is inspired by Daily Post – Something So Strong

Project Manager & Business Analyst Deadly Combo

Requirement is the base of any project, cause you can’t (or shouldn’t anyway) create plans and schedule when you don’t know what to make. A definite and concise requirement is critical for a Project Manager to produce realistic and accurate (close enough, at least) project schedule. Therefore the teamwork of a Project Manager (PM) and Business Analyst (BA) is very crucial in a project.

When I started as a Junior PM, I had to learn things on my own by chasing down relevant seniors, sitting in a lot of requirement meetings and researching things. After 3 years, my BA friend and I were coaching and supervising the newcomers. We found that in most project, the two roles were often in conflict with each other.

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