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.
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.
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.
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.
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.