A guy who was born in Canada, grew up in Indonesia, went to high school in Australia, spent half a year in Hawaii, and ended up back in Canada.
This is my story...
DR's Corner
Friday, June 25, 2004

Networking

During my orientation program, we did quite a bit of networking. I've always heard about the power and effectiveness of networking in developing a career. I just want to emphasize how true that is, even though it's really hard for some of us to do. I find myself feeling very estranged and alone during these events :). So here are some of the things I do during meetings / conferences to start networking:

- Make up my mind (important!!!) to go to a person and introduce myself.
- Keep thinking to myself that there's nothing to lose.
- Walk to the person from the front and look at them so they know you're planning on talking to them.
- Before the person can think or do anything, say hi, offer a handshake and introduce myself. If you walk slowly towards the person and avoid eye contact, they might move out of the way, and you could lose your confidence and avoid them altogether.
- Ask them open ended questions, like where they work, where they live, how'd they get here, what they think of the meeting, etc. Most likely they'll ask you the same questions and you can then begin to relax and think of stuff to talk about.

I'm not saying I'm an expert at this or anything, and I still do go to the washrooms 5 to 6 times during breaks because I can't seem to find anyone alone to talk to (group conversations are more intimidating to break into. I'll have to learn to do that), but if there's one person doing the same thing as me, or not doing anything, I've learnt to go to them and have a conversation. Don't forget to exchange information and keep in touch. Try to help that person out as much as you can, you never know when this person might be able to help you out in turn.

On a final note, after talking to lots of new people and exchanging ideas during the last 2 days, I find myself full of new ideas and things to do. I guess meeting new people and building relations do have a way of promoting creative thoughts in your mind.

Toronto Raptors

Yesterday was quite an interesting day for the Raptors. I'm not really an expert on these college players or international players that have entered the NBA Draft, but I do generally keep track of discussion boards and know who the top players are.

Well, I know that by the 6th pick, all of 3 our first options were gone (point guards). I was expecting at least one of them to fall down to 8th spot where the Raptors were picking. "This is not bad", I thought, since some of the top prospects who were expected to go higher actually were still there, and even if one of them went to Chicago with the 7th pick, for sure the Raptors would get another good prospect.

To my surprise and great disappointment, the Raptors ignored the player who everyone thought should be selected, and selected a Center who was projected to go as low as 18. I couldnt' believe what I heard and proceeded to turn off the TV and just felt gloomy in general. I mean, if they wanted this guy, why not trade down with someone and at least get some sort of compensation? Anyway, I went to bed and didn't think much more about it.

The next day I woke up, checked the boards and got a new perspective on what the Raptors have done. Apparently, they did try to trade down and get some compensation, but with no takers. And people were also starting to realize the rationale behind the decision. This guy was a hard worker, fights under the rim, and backs up his buddies, which if you follow the Raptors on a semi-regular basis like I do, you know thats what the Raptors are missing. Insted of taking what people expected them to do, they picked what they needed.

So my point is this: In life, we are often pressured by people's expectations of us. And we try to please people, which is not necessarily bad, but when we start pleasing people and forget about what's best for us, then it can get ugly. I mean, the Raptors could've gone for the best available player (a Shooting Forward) to satisfy people, but in the end, that person would only find himself fighting for minutes with a logjam of people who can play that position (Vince Carter, Jalen Rose, Lamond Murray, Morris Peterson), which in turn wouldn't be good for the Raptors. By filling a need, they have made sure that the Raptors will be better of, even if people are upset right now. Similarly, by not falling into the trap of people's expectations of us, but trying to be the best we can in our own way, we will be better off in the long run.

Still no offers on the house

Wow! 3 weeks on the market and still no offers. Houses have been popping up for sale all around us, and have been sold already. This one house came on the market less than 2 weeks ago, and it's already been sold.

Our agent has indicated that he thinks it's almost time to lower the price (we did mark it up quite a bit), and try to get the best offer.

Anybody want a house? :)

Update on work

It's been awhile since I last posted, mainly due to the fact that I've still not gotten used to working :). When I get home everyday, I try to spend as much time as possible with my wife and kid, and after that, there's not really much energy left to do anything else.

I've been at work for 2 weeks now (minus 2 days of orientation to my program), and I've mostly completed one small project. It's basically a Windows Service in C# that takes backup log files from the server and parses them. It then stores the data in a small Access database, to then be analyzed by Cognos. Why not use SQL Server you ask? Well, my mentor doesn't want any extra overhead on our Business Intelligence servers, so he doesn't want to install SQL Server there, plus the data won't be really that big anyway. This little exercise was intended to get me started on my coding tasks, as well as Cognos, since we didn't have any data that could be used from the beginning.

The program is not completely done yet, I haven't figured out what's wrong when it tries to read files from a network share. I keep getting these access denied errors, when I have full permission on the files and directory, as well as access to the servers. If anybody can shed some light on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

But the main functions of the program are fine, and I've managed to get some initial data in the database. My mentor then proceeded to show me how to use Cognos Impromptu to produce reports. I must say that it's really easy, because everything's drag and drop based. Hardly any typing involved. Of course, I haven't delved into the complex reporting etc., but I did find it quite simple at the time. Next week, we'll start getting into Cognos Cubes, which should be more fun and challenging.

There's just this one thing that's bothering me about my placement. It seems that the job I'll be doing and learning doesn't really match the proposal that was sent to me. From what I understood, I'd be doing .NET development, Database development, as well as Business Intelligence. But from what my mentor has told me, it seems like .NET will only be a small part of this rotation, and database development doesn't appear at all in anything he's mentioned.

So, I'm gonna go to talk to my manager sometime next week to clarify things. I was hoping to ask her if I could be involved in team projects, especially dealing with web and database development, and also projects that will directly impact the public. I don't mind just shadowing other developers or people, but I think that will broaden my experience even more. Not that learning BI is bad mind you, but I'd also like to develop my existing skills and team working skills.

The last 2 days, I've been in an orientation program into the OPS (Ontario Public Service). It was quite interesting getting an inside view of the government of Ontario. I really liked what was presented to the interns and left the whole thing excited about my future, since they have emphasized that we are the ones who will take over the reigns from the current regime. They have glaring gaps in the structures, and we are the ones who will be trained and expected to fill these roles in the not too far future.

It's a great opportunity, and I really expect to seize the moment and do a great job at my placement. I'll also keep pushing for more challenges and expect to grow in leaps and bounds within the next few years. So wish me luck.
Monday, June 21, 2004

Blogging magazine

Ever been interested in reading a magazine by bloggers and for bloggers? Check out The Bloggist, a site pioneered by Jeremy Wright.

Jeremy's asking people for opinions and suggestions, and in the near future get a magazine published. So go on and take a look.

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