Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm In Good Company

Ok, my coworkers would probably disagree, but I've been contemplating a lot about this. And there's never a better situation than today to stress that I feel I am in a good company, loose and volatile as it may seem. I'll probably regret about this post someday, but right now I want to be proud and excited of what I am currently part of.

I work in a data hosting and web services company, with one of its services supporting a big media corporation here in Singapore. Structure wise, honestly, it's a mess. Five months into the job, I've seen resignations and restructuring back and forth. As any other company, it's generally been the action of choice to make things better.

Today it so happened that one of the webservices I built for a client (a big media corporation) is creating a mess, and was halting most of their webradio pages, returning a web server busy error. I didn't realize the urgency of the problem until I saw the process requests log flashing and scrolling quickly before my eyes. That sent me into a mini-panic mode (and excitement, oddly). Fortunately I was able to determine the problem quicker than I anticipated and fixed it before lunch. But it was perhaps too late, because now the media corporation is having doubts on the database we're using, that is associated with the webservice I provided. And they are pressing on the matter of migrating to a newer database. (About a month or two ago we had a problem that was quickly tied to the database as well, on a different product that I am not directly related to). Anyway, on both occassions, I could honestly validate that it wasn't the database's fault (we're using mysql by the way), the first occassion was an SQL statement that was just trying too hard (courtesy of our developer boss). And in today's case, it was a faulty setting in my webservice. On a technical perspective, as I have said, both outages weren't the database's fault. But of course we could not dismiss the fact that we could have a better database (SQL Server). We are hosting in a Windows environment anyway. Which brings me to my boss, whom I am very proud of.

It may be perceived as stubbornness, but his persistence to stick with mysql earned him my total respect. If he has swayed easily I surely would have had doubts of his leadership. In one way or another, I know we'll migrate to that new database in a few months time, but the fact that we had to deliver at a very short period of time (I had to create the webservice in two days, plus the COM interop since the client is using ASP in their pages), he was being practical and decisive about it. In a few months time I have learned more from him than any of my previous bosses combined.

One of them was to learn when to say "no" to an idea. The new database was such an inviting and feasible solution. To my blind eyes, it was very much an acceptable solution, and I would have told the client "yes, we'll try exploring this solution right away." Those who know me well will probably nod in agreement that I am such a person. I have this unmatched enthusiasm for new and unexplored stuff. I can already see that new database running in my head. Except I forgot that I had to factor in money, period of time to execute, and other unforseen problems that may come up during the process of migrating to a new database. There's reality check for you. "No" is a word that bosses should use more often.

Anyway, if you think that my boss has taught me complacency, think again. He has pushed me (indirectly) to my limits and has given me room to work in a realm where creativity and innovativeness (is there such a word?) is highly required. The good thing about it is that he gives me enough space and freedom to move about. He gives so much trust in people that sometimes it's scary. But it gives you that sense of responsibility, which I like. If I present to him an idea, he will only ask me once if I can do it. If I say "yes" the first time, it's pretty much the end of me if I can't deliver it haha. So I find myself searching the ends of the known web world for cutting edge stuff that will help me arrive at a good and innovative solution. I have been in this work for 5 years now, but never have I stretched my mind so much until now. I am very thankful to him for that.

I remember back then what I told one of the supervisors in my previous company: If we want to keep people in the company, we should have company heroes. Those who walk the talk. Those who will give you straight instructions, and had the guts to decide on the matter at hand. Clearly we lack those back then. I am grateful that I found one now.

Amidst company restructuring, gossip, annoyances, and what have you, here is one who just won't budge. He's not running the whole company, but it's good to be in his company.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home