Make the Dots, Connect Later …

Today is the first day of the second term for MSc Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations program in Manchester Business School (@lifeatambs), sponsored by the Government of the UK through Chevening (@Cheveningfco) Awards program. I was so excited in joining the International HRM course in the morning and Employment Policy and Practice course in the afternoon. What I really like from today’s lectures is the way the lecturers delivered the sessions (and indeed other previous sessions); by not telling what have to be done in organizations (based on best practices etc.) but by equipping the students to understand why certain things have to be done based on several contexts we need to consider.

This, in my perception, is an attempt to equip the students to have (higher level of) wisdoms in making decisions in the future career. Of course ‘best practices’ based learning sessions would be interesting and beneficial as well, but gaining knowledge, understanding, and wisdom on why certain HR policies and practices need to be designed, again to my perspective, is essential. Yet, you know that owning wisdoms (for decision making in organizations) is not easy. A nice quote from Confucius said “by three methods we may learn wisdom: first by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”. Well, I am not going to discuss the Confucius way, but I was trained to do a reflection on almost everything that I see, hear/listen, feel, and experience.

By reflection, I am saying that everything that have been known and already happened, planned or unplanned, would give more understanding, lessons of life, and wisdom. It’s too hard to do a reflection for what’s not happening yet (and indeed for the unknown). Just like what famous commencement speech from Steve Jobs in Stanford University back in 2005, he said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards”. So, what to reflect or what to connect if we don’t have our (significant) dots? Thus, it’s important for me to always remind myself to make the ‘dots’ in every opportunity that I have.

Illustration (personal collection): we can only look backward to connect the dots

I never know what will happen in the future, but I always try to experience as much things as I can, based on my value and goals that I review in every certain periods of time. My job today, as a young learner and early HR practitioner and consultant, is to make as much ‘dots’ as I can, so then in the future I could look backwards, connect them, and (hopefully) gain more wisdoms from the reflection of connecting those ‘dots’. It’s basically the reason why I always try to join learning sessions, forums, conferences, networking, volunteering, and other initiatives which I think will be good and significant ‘dots’ in my career and life journey.

I recently attended my very first ‘Connecting HR Manchester’ (#ConnectingHRmcr) event in Manchester. The idea is to provide an offline platform for HR Professional in Manchester and its surrounding area to meet and to connect. Unlike other events that discuss certain topics, people who come are allowed to talk about anything related to HR and related people issues. And of course with some drinks, as the meeting is (usually) in a bar. How relaxing!

I heard that this initiative is organized 3 times a year, firstly by Coach Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) and some of his colleagues since years ago. I get connected with Coach Ian initially in twitter and then LinkedIn. I saw the registration link for this event and decided to come along once I read the event description. I asked Coach Ian if student(s) would be welcomed to the event. He said yes. So I filled in the registration form and spread the link out to my classmates through our Facebook group. Nobody seemed really interested – they might have plan for the scheduled day already, they might not see this as a good opportunity to learn, or they might think they didn’t need it now. But no worries, I used to be a kind of ‘outlier’ in an event or forum 😀 – in this, a student who attended an event for professionals.

I was so grateful to be at the event, although honestly as a student and first timer, I needed to be extra confident to speak with professionals in the forum. I got some chances to connect and to talk with professionals in recruitment, learning & development, HR generalist, HR tech consulting, and also employment law. I learned quite a lot, not only from the talks, but also from observing people (their interactions etc.) and some other things (how the event was organized, etc.) on that evening.

Back to previous discussion: if I look forward, I wouldn’t be able to reflect / to conclude why did I came to that event or in another perspective, what did I got (as a student) from that event? Up to this moment, I am happy that I learned a lot from that event. But, I am sure I would learn more by the time I could connect what I learned from this event to another ‘dots’ in the future.

Well, I know we might also connect some dots that we didn’t make by ourselves (through reading people’s stories, etc.); yet I suppose connecting our own dots would be more exciting as it contains our own life stories and to reflect our own journey.

So far, I enjoy (and feel grateful) to connect my own dots from my childhood until this age. However, I would love to have more remarkable dots to be connected in the future. I don’t know how it will be, but for now, my task is to make the dots to be connected later, to be wiser and to be able to contribute more.

@yosea_kurnianto

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