The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
My life is complete.
I couldn’t ask for anything better than everything that I have right now. I’m feeling so blessed and grateful right now and I don’t know how to start this blog post, but yesterday marked the beginning of my adulthood. Ha!
As some of you might already know, I have been working at HootSuite since September. I came to HootSuite to apply for the Indonesian Community Ambassador position and during the interview, I mentioned my background in Design and they loved it. I became a double agent, working both as the Indonesian Community Ambassador and Design Intern until December 2011. My internship was then extended to February 27th and I was moved to the newly-developed Community department, working directly under the great Dave Olson. Well yesterday, my life was completed when I signed the contract on becoming a full-time employee of HootSuite as the Community Coordinator. Yes, the rumours are all true, I am now a full time owl!
The journey to get here was not as easy and as smooth as most people think. I am a happy-go-lucky kind of person and I don’t usually show my depression and stress to people, so it might be deceiving what I actually have gone through.
I’m going to take you on a journey of how I got to where I am today and this will be another long post. If you don’t have time, then just scroll to the very bottom and I’ll summarize it up for you. I might even do bullet points. If you do have the time and curious, then read on…
Sometime in 2006, I googled myself and of course, my name was not on it. It was not on the first page, not second, not even the last. What showed up instead, were my sisters’ names. Both Trixie/Beatrix and Michella. I was not impressed. All my life until then, I have always been living under their shadow. At school, I would be identified as their little sister and thus, there were a lot of expectations that was put on my shoulder just because they pulled them off. When hanging out with family friends, I would be identified with either my parents or my sisters. No, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, looking back at it, I should be proud that my sisters were popular and that I was their sister. Back then though, it was different. I was jealous and furious and determined to change the algorithm in Google so then next time I google myself, my name will show up.
I started joining clubs in high school, like salsa, swimming, and rugby. Yes, I played rugby. Being small has its own advantage, but two months in, I got thrown off a few metres by my team mate and ended up on crutches for a month. My mom later found out what rugby actually is and banned me from going back. Hah!
I, too, became more active in volunteering. I volunteered at various fairs, schools, and senior community centre. I was awarded a silver medal in grade eleven and maintained my grades to stay in the Honour Roll all from grd 10 to 12. Finally, I graduated with a scholarship and an article with my name on it.
While in my first two years at SFU, I have maintained my active volunteerism with the Indonesian Catholic Society in BC but nothing more. I was mainly focusing in school but I was already branding myself with the dandelion theory. I got the idea about this dandelion theory while walking home from a Volunteer Appreciation Night for a sporting event I volunteered for.
I was walking home on that sunny summer evening and saw some dandelions. I picked one up and was so mesmerized by how magical it looked. Then, the wind started to blow it away and I got to see the seeds danced in the wind. It was that moment that I realized I love dandelions and have to make up a theory that’s somehow related to them. Yep, very intellectual of me huh. So, I went home and thought about my life and realized there were so much I did not know and I need to grow to make myself better. I set a goal for me to get a notebook and attend conferences/workshops as many as I could.
Fast forward to November 2010. I attended a conference called Beyond Pink. It was all about making your brand and leaving your brand. The conference was amazing. I got to meet some amazing and inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs. To be quite honest, I went to the conference knowing that I will get inspired, but little did I know that it would change my life.
I attended a couple workshops while at that conference and it was there that I attended Jillian Walker’s workshop on Set Yourself Up for Success: Become a Hot Commodity. I’ve never heard of Jillian before this, but was interested in how I can differentiate myself from the rest of my folks. In fact, that’s what the dandelion theory is all about! Being that special dandelion in the middle of a grass field. I remember thinking “Holy sh*t, she’s just a few years older than me and have done so much. She has gone to Africa and Belgium representing Canada and has received numerous awards. What have I done with my life?” At that time, nothing. Nada. I worked at SFU Career Services the year before and did internship with the Vancouver Short Film Festival. Both were super awesome but I haven’t figured out what my next steps were. I didn’t go t
hrough an immediate change and I wasn’t thinking in a long term when I approached Jillian during dinner and asked her what I should change my twitter handle to.
Long story short. Jillian and I kept in touch via Twitter and I looked for ways of which I can be more active in the community and establish my presence. I’m not going to go over all the little things I did here, because that’s what Linkedin is for and you can find the summary of all the awesome things that happened to me in 2011 in this post.
Alright, going back on to my story about HootSuite. Sometime in October, I made a big mistake. The worst decision I have ever made in my life, which is to turn down an offer from HootSuite. For the next 1.5 months, I felt horrible and regretted my decision every single second. Heck, I even lost 5 lbs in that time period (I already gained it back now haha). In November/December, I was feeling so depressed and helpless. I began to hunt for jobs and went to a couple interviews with some amazing companies, but I was just not feeling it. I could not find a company or a cause or a product I could care as much as I do with HootSuite. I was not happy, but I tried to conceal it. I did not want to look desperate in front of my friends. Yes, I have a huge ego.
After going to five interviews and acing them all, I know I could not find a better company than HootSuite. I was even more convinced that this was the company I belong to after the Christmas party. I consulted with Michael and Kingsley and they both suggested that I talk to Dave. I was not sure how I should approach the whole situation and they were kind enough to help me write a letter. Michael then told me, the letter won’t be good enough. It would be much better if I talk to him directly. He pushed me to talk to Dave that very day and my hands were ice cold, my heart skipped a few beats, and I was stuttering as I expressed how I truly feel to Dave. He listened intently to my story and how much I wanted to stay and nodded. He gave me a big hug and told me he was shocked when I turned down the offer. He’s more than happy to know that I was still on board. He worked his magic and on my supposedly last day of internship, I got an extension. It was to be effective immediately, but he knew my family was here and told me to take a vacation and come back fresh in January.
Two months later, I ended up in Ambrosia’s desk again and this time, I handed her over the letter with my signature on it. Dave told me not to break his heart twice and I won’t. I’ve broken my heart and messed up once and would never do the same stupid mistake again. This is everything I have ever wanted. I have worked my way to establish myself in the Interwebz to score a position like this. I have proven myself to be a hot commodity over the years and in fact, I was offered 3 job positions this year. Yes, in the last 2 months, I was offered 3 jobs of which I never really applied to. I’m so humbled and appreciated all of them, but I have set my heart with HootSuite. The position calls for everything that I am passionate about: design, marketing, and community. I love the people, the product, my position, my boss. What more could I ever ask for?
Life is funny. You just don’t know where you might end up. Should I not google myself six years ago, I probably end up in a chemistry lab somewhere, or in a NASA program. Haha, I don’t know. All I know is that, I have learnt and grown so much from Jillian’s workshop. I have completed the goals I put down in the envelope she made all of us did. I even have checked two goals that I put on this year:
- Actively involve in a good cause / charity program
- Get a full time employment
I have always told people (and myself) that I am not in a rush to graduate so early because I don’t want to start working at such a young age. Guess what, I love working at HootSuite. I haven’t got a single penny from them (except for the Christmas bonus everyone got) for the last 6 months, but I always woke up feeling excited for the day. It’s such a rewarding feeling and you know you enjoy your work when you come home with such a big smile on your face. HootSuite is definitely it for me. I was nervous counting down to the end of my extended internship date, but I don’t have to be nervous anymore. I have proven that I am a hot commodity that they do appreciate and that I am now a full time owl! I’m still so amazed and humbled by all the kind words and the tremendous support my friends and colleagues have shown through the various media: high fives, hugs, Facebook, Twitter, texts, etc.
I thank you everyone for being a part of my journey, but I would like to specifically thank:
- My family: Thank you for letting me go on a 6-month unpaid internship. I know it’s a little difficult for you to comprehend why would anybody do it, but thank you for supporting me nonetheless.
- Ed: Thank you for listening to all my stories and rants. I admire your patience.
- Jillian: You changed my life. Attending your workshop is one of the best decisions I ever made. You seriously changed my life. You inspired me to be the person that I am today and every time I see your tweets/posts, I’m always inspired to do something more and to be more like you in a way. I never considered myself as an over-achiever until you bestowed that on me. I like that title and now, I’m trying my best to live up to and to deserve that title.
- Dave: Thank you for giving me a second chance at HootSuite. You are one amazing guy. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m more than honoured to be a part of your team and to work directly under you. I will not let you down. No, sir.
l and Kingsley: Thank you for keep pushing me to talk to Dave. Without you two, I won’t be getting that contract. I’m serious. Your support at my lowest time was tremendous. I know you said it’s “no biggie” but it was huge for me to have you on my side. I owe you both.
- Dan S.: Thank you for your time to meet with me. You inspired me to stay with my roots and be awesome at what I’m passionate for. You reminded me to not give up easily and convinced me to make a position for myself in the company and be irreplaceable. I’m looking forward to more coffee/tea chats with you down the road.
- Ken and Aldrich: Though I didn’t really express how depressed I was, but I’m glad you were in my life. It’s always good to chat with you two about career and life in general.
- Everyone at HootSuite: All of you have are awesome. I always thought I’m weird until I met you guys. Haha! Thank you for being so positive and cheery everyday. I love seeing your lovely smiles and I love being in a group of huggers and optimistic bunch!