I don’t know at what age or how long before I can call myself ‘learned’ and confident of my earned perspectives (growth). I also admit that it generally takes very little to impress me – a kind gesture here, a genuine smile there, and the next time we meet I’ve placed a halo above your head. But if we speak about perspectives I’ve gained over these 3 days (of a full week) of being offshore, my key takeaway is the kind of newbie, leader, and ultimately person I want and hope I’ll always be: the type who neither talks in ‘Us vs Them’ terms – because ‘them’ are contractors, vendors, technicians – nor talk down to them (“You ask why our daily meeting is in the Malay languge? Majority of the folks are lower-educated!” A red coverall-wearing person said to another yesterday).
This ‘Us vs Them’ mentality also comes up often in terms of where one stays – the barge versus living quarters at the platform (allegedly more comfortable and definitely easier to work). I’ve thus been asked many times why I’m not in LQ, and whether I find the barge intolerable (“Doesn’t the food suck?” Someone whispered to me).
But no, I don’t – and maybe it’s cos I’ve nothing to benchmark against; but I like to believe it’s more likely cos I’m guided by a senior colleague who leads with humility (“You want to be with people who are working on your scope… see how hard the work actually is”) and doesn’t plan on opportunity-basis (we cost-share for the barge thus our bedding provision is firm). I wonder if I could maybe even trace it way back to my parents’ parenting: to never settle for less than what we deserve yes, yet be grateful and humble for what we have. Maybe I don’t know the working world enough (and maybe this is a good thing), but it makes me terribly uncomfortable whenever I’m reminded that I’m ‘better’ or ‘more’ because I’m wearing red. I hope that however we choose to gain perspectives – we keep in mind that while we’re in red coveralls today, we could easily be in a different color tomorrow. Does it matter? It’s all perspectives in the end, y’know?
I recall years ago, Eldest Sis had scolded me for talking down about Miri all internship long, “You don’t have to do anything extra and they already think you’re on a pedestal. So why can’t it be you to step down from there and meet them as equals? Is it beneath you; does it make you less – to think and treat others different from you respectfully?”
It’s all perspectives in the end, y’know?