Festive greetings to one and all as we celebrate another festive season in what became a very turbulent year.
As we reach another Christmas, we reflect on what we have done or achieved over the past year, how we have treated and been around those who love us and how we reflect on what the next year will bring for us all.
For me it has been quite a weird year starting with a 12 day business trip to facilitate Project Managing training, at the end of January in Saudi Arabia. I was both quite excited and nervous about. This was definitely something that was on my mind this time last year as we edged into 2011 as we were preparing for the trip in November and December 2010. I was actually looking forward to it…
I also knew I was reflecting on my next chapter of my career path – having been with Amex for over 7 years by the end of 2011 – 6 years in my current role and team. But I remained very nervous to change with such a uncertain future in the UK and the Euro-land. I decided to hold tight but hoped I would be able to adapt or try something different and when I reviewed and applied for a six month temporary assignment (under the Global Rotation Programme (GRP)) in either Sydney or Singapore – I thought that this could be the answer.
I went on holiday in April to visit an university friend in Tampa, Florida, and before long I received the positive news that I was waiting for on my blackberry – I was offered the opportunity to go to Singapore for 6 months as part of the GRP work assignment. I was over the moon as I always wanted to try working in an Asian Country before, but never found the opportunity to do so – nor did I find the right role for me.
I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare so I had to move fast. When I returned back to the UK after my holiday, I started the groundwork, preparing the paperwork and also started to schedule the many good-byes / leaving drinks that I had to have. Well it was likely that I wouldn’t see many of my close friends before the year end. The start date was 1st July – so not that long to do a LOT of things.
During this period, my work was keeping me very stressed, with a launch date that kept on being pushed back as I tries to keep my arms around the whole project (it was a lot tougher than it seemed – as things kept delving very fast throughout the project). Anyway, I had to transition this project as the launch date moved in the second half of 2011.
Luckily I had my family and a family friend to help me when I was away. So this let me focus on the work as I flew out to Singapore to start my assignment.
It was quite interesting to do something quite different, but the skill-set of being a PM came in very handy – organising, time management, effective leadership, relationship management etc. So it is right to say that you do develop core skills which are inter-changeable to other roles or functions
I always wanted to make the most of the outside of work aspect, but started late. It was only after my university friend visited in late September that I took my finger out and started organising side-trips. I think this was partly due to a business trip to KL in Malaysia in early August, which was very enjoyable (although very hard work), and because of a potential trip to Manilla in the Philippines, I didn’t want to book anything up too early (the latter never materialised in the end). So after enjoying the Formula One Grand Prix – an amazing experience and very enjoyable – especially with a good mate! We then went to Kuching in East Malaysia/Borneo. I also visited Cambodia (Phnom Pehn and Siem Reap) and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Melaka/Melacca, and lastly here in Koh Samui on the east side of Thailand!
Looking back this has been a great experience and a great way to end 2011, but I do want to come back and work longer in the Asia region (hopefully in Singapore) but back into Project Management. I cannot directly control these types of opportunities but I hope it does work out – as I’ve certainly enjoyed the experience and me some truly great friends.
Let’s see what 2012 has in store for me, and I hope you survived 2011 with all of the challenges it threw at you and us! 2012 sounds like it could be even more challenging so hopefully we are all up for it! I know that a wedding in Florida, a Fatboy Slim concert and the London Olympics is scheduled – so I definitely need to plan around these
I hope you have a great festive season and I hope to see you all during 2012.
Take care and god bless!