Friday, June 22, 2012

Over Time

It was an emotional ride home. These past few months have been crazy, to say the least, and the enormity of everything that I've done and been through just washed over me while I was listening to this song playing in the bus:

Perhaps, I was just one song away from the tipping point. I've been keeping a tight lid on my emotions and reactions throughout the whole "ordeal": I don't want to have an outburst because I knew I would regret it later. I've refused to rant outright and tried my hardest not to complain or whine (it was impossible though, and I found myself whiny a lot of times. God, I hate it when I'm whiny specially to people who work as hard-- and even harder-- than I do).

Tonight, the song played, and the flood gates opened.

But, believe or not, the tears that threatened to spills weren't bitter ones, and the emotion that made my heart swell wasn't resentment. It was gratitude, relief, a God-awesome increase in self-worth, and overflowing praise for the Father for everything these past few months have given.

True, it was reminiscient of hell weeks in college, and the problems I've faced required far more than conventional programming skills. These past few months I had to learn how to compute interest pay-outs instantly, decipher that Rosetta stone of a data from another bank, second-guess what people want and translate their often conflicting requirements into a system, and perhaps the hardest part, rectify errors that have aroused out of the lose ends of the module that I created. For months, I have lived in constant apprehension of the adverse effects an error in my system might have on the people who use it. An unusable atm card can cause untold inconveniences to a person who's expecting his salary at the 15th. A miscalculation in a time deposit liquidation can get a front-liner bitched at or scolded or blamed. Day to day I dreaded reading my emails, scared of what new h-errors (hah) the day will bring. A ringing phone sends my brain into overdrive with thinking of what could possibly go wrong at 9 am in the morning and coming up with a thousand possibilities-- all of them dire. It was scary for me to be always reminded that what I'm working on is very much part of the real world, and a far cry from the projects I've dabbled with during undergrad where the worst effect of me bungling one is just a failed subject. Real world is bitchier than college, is what.

Looking back at everything fills my heart with gratitude to God for placing me smack into the midst of very capable leaders. I feel thankful for being under people who can translate my panic induced blabbing into a so-it-was-a-jsp-misdirection-no-problem-that-can-easily-be-remedied and whose calm demeanor in the middle of system-error storm foils my easily-ruffled (scatter)brain. I thank God that the people I work with aren't the screechy type and whose reaction to the worst of my mistakes starts with these very calming words: "So moving forward...", assuring me that I have more than enough chances to make up for a slip.

I also consider it deeply enriching to get to work with hardworking and cheerful users (well, at least most of those I met and talked to ;), who despite being into situations far crazier than mine, can still utter the words thank you and smile even after going through a system that went bonkers on them. And I feel so inspired seeing their tasks become a teeny bit lighter because of the tool I created for them. I feel humbled and proud to be of assistance to people who excel at their jobs and extremely gratified when they go out of their way to express their appreciation.

And the lessons. The awesome lessons. More than the technical skills, I've learned a great deal about dealing with a lot of people in different mediums possible: from phones to email to talking to them in person. It is great exercise for one's character to keep one's cool in the middle of a misunderstanding and to be patient despite very trying circumstances (i.e explaining a process over the phone!). I have learned to re-align my perspective with the perspective of the people I interact with and to see where they are coming from. And since my users are very real to me (I know users are real [duh], but being disconnected from them gives this feeling that they aren't. Right?), it gives a sense of validation to what I do. My job has a [direct] impact to society. Yay.

Yes, the past few months was definitely crazy, but the lessons I've learned and its contribution to my whole being could not be gained in any other way. Being through the ringer gave me the sense that I can be given even more ridiculously challenging tasks and come out victorious. After all, a flood of phone calls have failed to drive me insane, what can a few hundred more do?

PS. This whole entry sounds a lot like everything has settled down, but no, no, no. Tomorrow would be another super duper crazy day, so I might as well dock a few hours off my sleep to pen what would be a "save point": when things are at the most hectic and craziest, this will remind me that I am part of the team that made a 2 day bank turn-over possible,  and therefore a part of history (Co, 2012). Throw all the lemons you can at me bitch, (I mean real life), and I'd make the awesomest lemonade I can out of them. That is, if I'm not yet bonkers.

PPS. Dear bosses, please do not take this a challenge.

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