Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Am I (Suddenly) Hesitant to Go on Assignment to Indonesia?

Posted by Ruth at 5:38 AM
It is less than two months, and I will not be surprised if one day I will find myself heading to the airport and boarding a plane to Indonesia (no, actually to Singapore). The original itinerary I received is that I will land in Singapore first, spend two hours there, then take the plane to Jakarta.

Picture from Expat Service Blogspot
To be honest, I am not excited at all. I got some personal obligations that I need to attend to while on assignment, and I just found out last week that due to assignment proximity, I will not be able to attend to it.  I wish I could just share everything in here, but this is something that I cannot share to even my closest friends. When I posted a status message in Facebook, it was funny that my friends thought I were pregnant.

There are actually very few people who can understand. I have a few regrets on how I chose my preferred geography during the application. I thought that placing Asia as my second choice will enable me to attend to my personal obligations, but it looks like it was such a bad idea. Second, I just thought that to be assigned in Asia, or South East Asian country is too close for comfort. Somehow, I have already explored some culture in other Asian countries, and reading the booklet that was sent to me makes me feel like I was reading a nursery book. I am not saying that there is not much to learn and discover in Indonesia. It is actually a very interesting country. It reminds me so much of Philippines because it is also an archipelago. I just thought that it would have been more meaningful if I would be assigned to a country with really different and diverse culture. I honestly hate myself for feeling this. When I submitted the application, I told myself that I will accept whatever country of assignment that will be offered to me.



I know I should be grateful and happy for the opportunity that is offered to me. I am actually. very grateful. Just the thought that more and more colleagues are being inspired and planning to apply to the same program makes me proud and fulfilled. One mission accomplished.  At this early stage, I am already inspiring people and making a difference. I just felt that I could make the most out of it, and it would be more beneficial to me if my assignment country would be in a different geography/continent. I could have requested a change of preference early on. The thought of not being able to attend to my personal obligation during my in-country assignment makes me more regretful.

I don't want to bother the program manager with this especially that placing 10 to 12 participants with diverse culture and background, ensuring that their credentials will work together for the success of the project is a hard work.

People might expect me to be more flexible and adaptable. At one point, I thought of dropping out, but I have already committed to this. I just look at it as part of the learning and development process. 

Screenshot of the Corporate Service Corp site. You see my live tweets are fed in the site. ;)

Last Wednesday, we had our weekly call, this time with a representative from Indonesia. Before I called in the number, I was surprised with the mail I got from my inbox. Another member of the team just dropped out. She sent a thank you and good luck note, and advised that she is separating from the company to pursue another career; thus, she will not be able to join. So joining us on our weekly call is Jessica (she will replace Deeptha).

During the call, they shared the clients who we will be working with during our in-country assignment. To make it a little more fun, I will not disclose the names/industry yet. I am just praying that I will be assigned to a project that is of my interest (educatio and marketing). They also shared to us the itinerary during our arrival and departure. Again, I will not disclose the exact dates - not that I am expecting paparrazzis to run after me in the airport during my departure, but for security reasons too.

On our first Saturday in the country, we will have a welcome dinner with the Indonesia team. During this time, we will be introducing ourselves. Is this how they do it in Ms. Universe pageant? That makes me a little scared. But honestly, talking infront of people who I don't personally know is more fun and easier for me, than presenting to my bosses and friends.

It was my concern because my expected time of arrival in Jakarta is sometime in the afternoon. Thinking of immigration processing, delayed flights and travel from the airport to hotel makes me nauseaus. I might missed the welcome dinner so I sent a note to our travel coordinator requesting to schedule my flight one day earlier so I will still have time to relax and probably explore the hotel and Jakarta before the welcome dinner.

Two days before our departure from Indonesia, we will have a presentation of our final project. It reminds me so much of the final defense for a college project. Then there will be a sort of presscon. A press conference?! I have been to press conferences several times, but I am always the one asking questions. I have never been to the other side of the fence - sitting on a fully skirted table, with microphone and flashing cameras infront of you. My imagination might be a little exagerratted.

After we had discussed the schedule, Roman (facilitator) asked us (finally) to introduce ourselves. We did it by timezones, so we started with those who are from US to Europe. It is interesting to know my teammates more - most of them have been in the company for more than 5 years. They have diverse interests and skills, but one thing common is that most of them are already married with kids. Again, it makes me wonder how someone like me who don't have much contribution and achievements became part of the team. Grateful and blessed are what I am feeling. 

We ended on time that day, so next call I will introduce myself to the team. And after I released the call, it was business as usual for me. And the battle in my head continues..

It is a commitment, that I am embraced. Yet, this opportunity that will help me become a better leader, give me a chance to make a difference and help a community will not allow me to attend to my personal obligations - the one thing that keeps me stronger.


(Blogging this with an intermittent internet connection)



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