Our columnist for Australia and New Zealand area, Salim Darmadi, once again came up with an eye opening article based on his experience when he studied in Australia. Life lesson is what we always expect from his pieces – very thorough and also trigger a sense of self-contemplation. So, what else are you waiting for? Please check the following article, and also his previous articles, to ensure you can have a rewarding study and work experience.
I recall when I had just arrived at the University of Queensland (UQ). I and a number of international students were welcomed by the University’s international student advisory team. One of the team members was Jacqui. The tall, blonde-haired Australian woman represented characters you would expect from a student advisor.
Jacqui was a friendly and attentive person. I found that many international students enjoyed talking to her. She greeted us and quickly memorized our names. To my amazement, she excitedly greeted me, pronouncing my name correctly, when she coincidentally saw me on CityCat, Brisbane’s water-based transport. She always enthusiastically listened to our stories. When students asked for her assistance and support, she would usually respond quickly and give an excellent service. She provided us with guidance on how to settle in during our first weeks in Brisbane, and expressed her sincere appreciation when we finally did something quite well.
In my first semester at the St Lucia campus, I was taught by Tracy in one of the subjects I undertook. I admired the way Tracy delivered her lecture. With her distinct Australian accent, she explained everything clearly. She was also friendly and approachable by her students. Two friends of mine even told me that Tracy took them to their apartment by her car when she found them walking home after a lecture session concluded in the evening. Tracy also quickly recognized me when I and other Indonesian students performed angklung in a Brisbane daycare where she put her young son in. When I heard an announcement about the UQ teaching award, I without doubt nominated her for such a prestigious award; and she finally won.
During my postgraduate study in the Queensland capital, I also knew fellow students, either from Indonesia or other countries, who showed me what positive attitude is. Likewise, I had also learned such a valuable lessons from many people I knew back home. To name a few, I learned from my parents and also a number of my friends, my teachers, my schoolmates, and my colleagues.
I love being surrounded by ‘positive’ people who are always demonstrating positive attitude. I may not be like them, but I push myself to imitate their good behavior. They have set positive examples in living lives to the fullest. They create positive vibes in their environment. They are well-mannered, humble, optimistic, and respecting others. They will not let rotten words come out of their mouth. People generally feel comfortable to stay close to them. They never have intention to undermine others. They prefer staying silent rather than upsetting others, though some exceptions may apply.
All I know is they have taught me an important takeaway lesson that positive attitude really matters. To my even greater amazement, their well-mannered attitude is often complemented by their great personal features like integrity, professional competency, and performance excellence.
When Positive Attitude Finds Its Relevance at Work
You may have heard this maxim: ‘attitude is everything’. Having been in a public-sector career for more than ten years, I found that positive attitude would always find its relevance at work, including for millennials aspiring to career growth.
As Indonesia will soon welcome an era of ‘demographic dividend’, the millennial generation now makes up a significant portion of our recent workforce. Either in government institutions, private companies, or startups, you would find young people who are keen to prove themselves. Many of them already made achievements that provide them with greater advantages in the workplace.
Being in my mid-30s, I feel that I am somehow in between, neither Gen-Xes nor millennials. But for sure, I enjoy working with millennials. I am always happy when my unit accepts new young employees. That means I will have more team members who will support me in accomplishing all of the never-ending tasks. I found them enthusiastic and eager to learn new stuff. They exhibit admirable qualities that cannot be found in previous generations. Their creativity and spirit are second to none. Indeed, they demonstrate a great potential to bring about valuable contributions in our institution. I like to have discussions with them, listen to their interesting stories, and encourage them to continuously develop their capacity.
At the same time, I recognize there may be negative stereotypes directed towards them. Older generations may view them as young people who just want to have fun and are tech-obsessed. Sometimes, they are viewed as the generation who do not want to work hard and do not pay attention to good manners and proper etiquette. I found that some of those stereotypes are not necessarily true and should not be generalized, but I do not deny that I frequently heard the older generation’s complaints about their millennial colleagues or subordinates.
A friend of mine told me how he was so done with his subordinates who were always glued to their mobile device during office hours, just for an online game. In another occasion, one of my colleagues told me that he just reprimanded his team member to behave properly when attending a meeting with external parties. I also did the same thing to a young employee when I found her busy with her gadget and earphone in an elevator while a high-level official standing beside her. Definitely, such improper manners of millennials are not to be generalized. I believe the vast majority of millennials still appreciate good manners. It is my obligation, as a manager, to provide my team members with guidance and reprimand them when necessary.
In informal chit-chats with my team members, I often addressed the importance of good attitude. I did not intend to preach them, of course. Instead, it became my self-reflection, whether I already demonstrated such a positive character. As a manager, I put in my best efforts to treat them the way I want to be treated by my boss, colleagues, and subordinates.
Millennials may feel that they have different work ethics from their older counterparts. However, they would need to demonstrate positive attitude, especially when they aspire to professional career growth in well-established entities that have been in business for decades. Hence, they should not expect that the organization they belong to would adapt to their culture and viewpoints. Millennials need to observe and learn, and then adjust themselves to the organization’s norms, culture, and practices.
I learned that people with good characters, like Jacqui and Tracy, might have adopted such good attitude since they were very young. It was no wonder when they grew up, they successfully demonstrated good manners that inspired many. To people admiration, they showed people around them positive attitude and professional competency at the same time.
Manners and attitude will make an impression of yourself, your personality, or how you were taught. People say, your attitude determines your future and success in life. Golden opportunities might have gone when one failed to exhibit such a great character. Indeed, attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Photo source: ejournalz.com