Friday, March 27, 2015

Leaving PETRONAS Part 3 - Why do I leave?

So Exactly Why do I leave?

I've fixed my relationship with my boss. The first interview job caught my attention but is this the reason why I leave?

It's all started after I passed my TPCP assessment in July 2013. I was practically the fastest person who exit ACD, and the youngest Staff. After that assessment, I sat down, thinking what do I want to do next. I was firm that at least in the next 5 years, I want to do more serious technical work, not the team lead position that I'm currently holding. But to be specific what sort of technical work? And which department to go?

To be honest, both the international and Basin Studies (XBD), I don't like them. I think maybe the way the department and business was run. In terms of robustness, I think exploration Malaysia wins. We still struggle to get the data internationally let alone propose a meaningful activities.  As for the XBD, those peeps go to a lot of data review, but rarely I see meaningful projects were secured. So no, at least for that year I don't want to go to both international or XBD.

MPM? Oh no. This is even worst. Maybe if they think I should go to MPM I'll go in the next 10 years but definitely not now.

I want a new breath. Different perspective, different way of thinking to look at things. I want to interact with different people. I want to know and understand how others do things. So I opted for a Masters program. A break for a year to satisfy my hunger for new breath and new environment. Then I thought, I'll come back and enrich others.

But Allah is a better planner. My application got turn down both by the management, and the university. Later that year, I conceive my third baby. So yes, no masters for me.

Comfort Zone
By this time most people already know my capability. Bosses trusted me. I read through LBVF, consistently peers, subordinate and superior praised my technical capability. My salary with PETRONAS is already very good. Work as a team leader is manageable. I mean, I already know the nitty picky details of the managerial work, and with my technical capability, it is easy peasy job.  PETRONAS is basically a homogeneous company, I pretty much know the culture and way out to things. I also know that I have a future with PETRONAS, both the technical path or managerial path. I basically sitting in my comfort zone.

I started feeling uneasy. I'm afraid this comfort will turn me into grumpy old lady, that later down the line wouldn't want to listen to the juniors because "I am old and has already eaten more salt than you". I also started feeling bored. I never sat doing 1 thing for more than 3 years, and I was with Sabah Exploration for almost 5 years and I am bored. I practically need to drag myself and creatively have to think of creative ways to make my job interesting everyday.

At the same time I missed being unknown. I missed learning new things. which include understand different background and culture. I missed being alone, nobody knows me, and started my learning curve. 

So I need to go out from this comfort zone. And this is the main reason why I leave.

Interview questions
It was the same question when I introduced myself and explaining my 10 years experience with PETRONAS. In 10 years time, I've covered quite a lot from the exploration spectrum, and also development. I was so steep on my career path in that 10 years time. I achieved a lot of things in that 10 years.
"Why do you want to go out since you have a very bright future in PETRONAS?" this is consistently being asked by all interviewers.

And I answered the same. I want to go out from my comfort zone and see where I stand with reflect to the world's oil industry. I want to learn new things. I want to learn different way of doing this. I've made 3 discoveries, until now we cannot monetize it. I want to learn how to do this differently.

If its for the money, I would have leave the corporation 5 years ago. If its for the money, I would not have come back in the first place. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Leaving PETRONAS Part 2 - I'm SORRY

So then finished the first interview episode. As an initial conclusion, even before seeing the monetary benefit, they sort of got me on board.
From Bangladesh to New Zealand. Definitely an offer not to be missed.
So then I go back home. Not knowing whether I passed the technical interview or not. But overall I have a good feeling.
But was I happy? Hell no. The moment I step in into my reality office the anger and the stress just poured down at my face. Saying something like, here you, wake up from your dream. This is your life. All the grunge and hatred just conquering me again and again I yes I am not happy.
A chat with a VP
The news that I started making move outside doesn't get very long to come to the VP's knowledge. Last time we had a conversation was like 3 months ago, and my former SM moved. Now I have a "challenging situation" with the new SM. We had another serious talk. I mentioned what I am not happy with. I showed her my roadmap. I confess that I do have grunges. There were occasions that happened between me and my superior, that it keeps hitting and like a big movie, keep on playing in front of me and I just cannot control myself from not feeling angry, demotivated, stressed and well you just name all the not good feeling.  
"You are still very young, with a lot of potential, I don't want you to make a mistake" this vividly some of her words.
Basically, the conclusion of the meeting is exactly what my husband tell me everyday. Go clean, meet your SM and tell him all your concerns. Some of it is valid, some of it might be not. And don't put your anger into someone that is not related. She also suggested to meet a psychiatrist. Just in case to rule out depression.
I walked off that room not feeling relief. I know I have to confront him. But I don't have the strength. My team is my strength to get through this tough time. But to confront him, I just cannot.
What sort of strength that you are looking for?
And strength doesn't mean anger.
I'm afraid of my own expectation. I am afraid that even after I confess and confront, things still wouldn't change. How could I face the situation again after all the energy spent to confront but it still doesn't change. I am weak, and I cannot let myself to get hurt again.
The next step
I stayed a bit longer that Friday evening. The next day, I supposed to have a weekend gateaway with my family, but hey she just ruined it I thought.
I cried again for the countless time. How am I going to get through this?? I am still long for my delivery. Then I just browse for a psychiatrist. Book an appointment. lets try this. What if I am totally in depression. I practically cry when I called. I don't want to go home in this state. I'll ruined everyones' feeling. then I called my sister. lucky she was still in the office. I went to her room. Practically had another session of crying and confession.
It felt a bit relief. I went home. But then again, everyone's mood was down because, umi is just finish another round of crying.
"Umi kena marah lagi ke?" my son asked. Oh no dear. I am just too weak to face all this challenge.
"there surely a reason why allah sent certain people to us. He wants to make us ready for a greater challenge" this basically the words from my sister that keep on lingering on my ears.
"be thankful that your ujian is actually in the office. Imagine if its happening in the family.." another good words from her.
The munajat.
To Allah is where we should turn to. Again, I meet Allah. confess it again to him. And after subuh prayer that Saturday morning. I just looked outside the window, and suddenly Allah sent an ilham to me.... "send a card, saying I'm Sorry"
The last time I make and send a card is to my husband. So I asked his permission to send a card to both my SM and GM. I actually went the trouble to buy the papers, and make the card.
Yes the next morning, I put the card on the bosses table. Going through the exercise is so released.
Now I've realized that the strength that I was looking for is...
To forgive myself sincerely. to accept that I make mistake too.
To ask forgiveness sincerely, and not to expect anything from them.
I also realized that, hurting other people actually doesn't cure the problem, it hurts you more.
And yes. The atmosphere totally changed. My relationship and my team's relationship with my SM totally changed. Not just my team members notice it, but people from outside notice the tone, the gesture, and the feeling. Yes human, as professional as we want to be, we still have feelings that creates the entire atmosphere of working environment.
Alhamdulillah. It was a life discovering journey. I treasured this moment so much. I treasured the lesson so much. And for the first time, I think we made a great team. I spell out my limitations. And he covers it. And I love working with the team more and more.

Leaving PETRONAS Part 1

I decided to document this. But believe me it'll be a long post. But since my current condition (at home - trying very best to get fit again - with a baby that cries every 2 hours for feeding) so I'll chopped this into different parts. I am not sure how many parts but I try to be as precise and as per chronological order as possible. so here you goes, Part 1.
So back to my previous DETOX post back in October. It was really BIG problem (rolled eyes). O yes. I am practically working point no 5 - working towards resignation.
Resignation Notice
My first step was actually drafting the resignation letter. I put a date of 15th October 2014 as my notice date, a mark for my 32 birthday. Its been normal practice for me to ask for my mum's blessings and dua whenever I want to make big decision or even go to ACD. She supports my intention but suggested to actually work for plan B. Which is securing a job outside.
I wasn't so keen on plan B. Since I really wanted to show that it is the push factor that make me leave, not the pull factor that could be easily mislead to better offer in terms of monetary. But lets face it, she is right, I have almost a million ringgit house loan that I signed late last year that need secure fund. And at 5 months pregnant, do I really want to deliver at the government hospital?
So here you goes, after almost 10 years, I started to make a resume of myself. It was a bit more sophisticated that the annual ACD assessment . Sent it out to Within a day, I receive at least 3 calls. Then subsequently an average of 1-2 calls per day. Mostly from head hunters. At this time the oil price is still 100plus per barrel. So yes, the market is still good.
Then I agreed to a few job interviews.
At the end of October, the morning before my first interview, I sat down and think what do I really want (in terms of career bla bla bla). OK I have to admit, I love geology and I love exploration for oil. I cannot imagine myself doing other business, running a bakery? or Shaklee distributor, or even jual tudung. I love books, I tried to sell them, but nah - doesn't work. An akhawat (totally know nothing about geology) commented when I tell her what I do "you really love your job right". The answer is yes. Geology is so scientific you have to be smart at it, yet it is artistic as well that you can go wild with your imagination and creativeness to find things. Geofantacymogram once an SGM call.
So I drafted what I call Nurhakimah's Career Plan. How I see myself in 5 years time. What sort of options that I want to do. (I had 4 options on which specific technical work that I want to do). 10 years down the road what I want to cover. and Finally my career aspiration. I put up a VP. Simply because, I want to use that sheet as a point of discussions with anyone that ask me what I want to do next. And to keep things consistent, I once pointed out that to VP of Exploration Malaysia that she is my role model. And why not, a muslimah VP in if not upstream, exploration. So then I went to the interview with the sheet.
That day alone I had 2 interviews, 1 outside and 1 internal.
The interviews
The outside interview went very well. Eventhough I had to go to the toilet every half an hour (I am 5 months pregnant remember), but it went very well. They showed me a seismic line and ask what do you think. I just talk. It had a flattish like anomaly that could be a DHI. after that 2 hours (it was supposed to be 1 1/2 hours interview), we finally concluded the process. They ask me if I have further question. Yes of course - I ask what will I be doing at least in the next 12 months if I join the company?
"Well basically, you will be in project and technology... you'll be using your QI, seismic interpretation and prospect maturation experience to "advise" on any farm down activities, or even FDP" <-- basically="" font="" he="" is="" more.="" my="" said="" summary="" this="">
I asked, will it be for the Malaysian asset?
Then the other interviewer said. "No you'll be looking at from Bangladesh to New Zealand, nothing in Malaysia and Brunei" "We are sorry we cannot give you Brazil but Asia Pacific might be a start if you consider"
I was enlighten. Yes looking at something outside Malaysia yet be in Malaysia. Of course this is a good offer to satisfy my hunger for geology.
I then went for my second interview the same day. I showed the same roadmap to the SM. He basically ask for the sheet and said he will use it to show to other ppl. Well as always he put a disclaimer "we will see what we can do, but just be patience and if the company thinks you should do something else, I hope you satisfy"
O yes. I've prepared myself for that disclaimer.
I shared the first interview with one of the custodian in Carigali. He basically just keep quite and be more kerut than he already is.
"That offer have some merit"
"But I am not going to say anything as the consequences is that we might lose another reasonable person"

Then after that first interview, I had a couple more but.. I just jot this down because the job scope caught my attention.
--- to be continued---

D-Day: 23rd March 2015

Alhamdulillah... finally I handed in the resignation notice to my SM. It was indeed a long thought process. We went through the discussion of resigning since 2009. A lot of plans have been put in place to materialize this. It wouldn't have gone through like what we planned initially. It went as what Allah wants it to be. I went through life discovering journey for the pass 10 months. Pregnancy, proposals, pressure, seeking forgiveness sincerely, forgiving yourself sincerely, being humble, accepting critics 100% even you feel to justify, giving yourself space to really go deep down to understand yourself, etc. (I'll blog about each one of this soon, insyaAllah).
After 10 years and 23 days, I finally make a stop. PETRONAS is indeed very dear to my heart. 14 years of learning and growing. I wouldn't have traded that time with anything else in the world. Yes I really mean this. If it wouldn't PETRONAS who had sponsored my 4 years degree, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't understand islam the way I understand it today. And this is the most important. Nothing would have been more valuable than the hidayah that Allah gave through a corporation that boldly making move to accept a student with bad SPM result. And I cannot thank PETRONAS enough for this.
But life has to move on. And insyaAllah, hopefully for the better. amen.