Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Unforgetable Words From A Mentor

Recently, I watched an episode of television show that invited famous Singapore chefs to cook their famous dishes for their own guests. This famous chef in the episode which I had watched invited his "culinary angel" to the dishes he had cooked. He related how this mentor had encouraged him and helped him in his career path.

It brings back memories of my mentor in my first job after my graduation. I had worked on temporary assignments but it was my first full-time job which required me to meet clients and provide assistance to the system users. I was given a short period of in-house training on my own to understand our systems and the software applications.

During one of my user support trips at one of our client' company site, I made a big blunder on their system. I can remember vividly the anger on the client's face. He made a complaint call to my assistant manager about my blunder. The assistant manager managed to calm the client down and assured the client that the problem will be solved. He rushed down to the site, bringing with him the most experienced senior developer in our team to assist me. While he pacified the client, the developer worked with me patiently on the mess I had created. The assistant manager managed to prevent the client from complaining to my manager and both he and the senior developer stayed with me for hours late at night till the system was working smoothly.

Both he and the senior developer did not reprimand me, instead, they tried to help me to salvage the damage quickly without incurring attention from the manager. I will always remember the words he had said to me when he saw my tired face and downcast eyes.

"I make mistakes too but I always remind myself not to make the same mistake more than three times. I will try to remember and take note of the mistake I had made for the first time, avoid repeating the same mistake. The second time I made the same mistake, I will remind myself that I had made it twice. If I made the same mistake thrice, I deserve to be punished harshly by myself as I do not learn from my mistakes and am not serious in my responsibilities." He advised me to give myself three chances to learn from the mistakes that I had made and remind myself not to repeat those mistakes.

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