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Tag: Career

Imposter Syndrome

Internet is a good thing: it allows us to see and experience things that were not possible decades ago. On the other hand, it’s sometimes also overwhelming. When I see capable people doing amazing stuff on the Internet, very often I feel I’m not worth of what people think I am. Occasionally I thought it’s because I’m shy and I’m usually not comfortable fully expressing my thoughts. In other occasions I’m simply not patiently enough to argue otherwise.

But it’s not just me. A lot of people are experiencing the same feeling and I’m starting to realize that I may be suffering from the imposter syndrome. After all, after so many years my personality has changed a lot. I’m no longer shy. I’m much more confident than I was. And I’m also a more capable person so I deserve a better life. It doesn’t feel right to be satisfied with what I’m getting. I’m better than that!

Meeting with people confirms that. There are a lot of people pretending to be expert in something and it seems they are enjoying quite a lot, although I can spot right on that they’re not what they believe they are. They’re not ashamed, why should I feel bad for myself? I’m much better a person than those real imposters, of course I deserve better things!

It’s more than a year since I wrote a blog post last time. A lot has happened during the past year. After years of depressing research career, I’ve published in a good conference and successfully defended my PhD. I’ve started working (again) in the industry. I’ve also found a long term direction that should keep me busy in the next five years. We’ve also got our foothold in Luxembourg, although there remains a lot to complete, it’s a good starting point. I’ll try to blog more often about what’s happening in my life, just to keep track of my thoughts and experiences, so that I can look back to them later and say “boy, I didn’t know I was so naïve a while ago.”

I’ve also updated my blog theme and fixed the HTTPS issue with WordPress and Cloudflare: I only needed to install the CloudFlare Flexible SSL plugin and enable “Automatic HTTPS Rewrites” on Cloudflare. Now the website feels more responsive and neater. That’s a good starting point to (re)start blogging!

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The Last Battle: Our Problems

After yesterday’s 6-hour meeting we finally made a decision: focus on programs that may immediately make money and make sure we survive in the following six month; and cut off more than half of our employees — which makes me think what a pity it is for those being laid off, because it’s mainly the executives’ fault. Or to be specific, it’s the boss’s problem that lead to the current situation.

So what he is doing wrong? Not focusing on the business. Since day zero he is always looking for fundings to support our business, which he fails to define; but he always fails to find enough funding to support the company. Each borrowing was used to pay previous debts, which leads to a situation defined in the book “Scarcity”: the poor gets poorer, the busy gets busier. We are always solving problems that are urgent but not necessarily important — we tunnel and we pay for doing this.

But what’s important anyway, for a startup? Finding out what’s unique about your company and proving that this uniqueness has its value. It sounds easy but think about this: is there a startup that isn’t unique. Every startup claims to be unique; so what’s left is about proving the value of the uniqueness, which is your core business activity and which is what tells you apart from others. If you fails doing so, what you’re doing must be wrong or inappropriate at best. For us, we claim that our business model is superior than those traditional agencies and facilitates young people to travel beyond boards. The results? For one and half years we spent roughly 5 million CNY and attracted around ten customers, which by the way, is less than the number of our employees. So if you keep telling me you’re unique, go and slap yourself until you realize you’re just wasting money.

To prove your value you need the right team. There has to be salesmen that are able to get customers, product developers that make sure the product or service is attractive, and managers to setup goals and coordinate the team members. For us, we are incomplete and incompetent. Basically everyone of us is from an engineering background and knows nothing about marketing and sales; yet this is the most important aspect for our company. When everyone is expecting others to generate revenue, no one will. It also strikes me that, when you feel your efforts will not significantly contribute to your company’s cash flow, you’re in the wrong place. Switch to another position or another company. I don’t think there’re more choices for you.

Make sure you have control over your career path; do not focus too much on pressing tasks; step out of the tunnel and also see the big picture. Keep this in mind.

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Cycling to work

I booked a flight to Warsaw one day after midsummer and discovered later no bus connection is available to the airport on that day. And after searching the cycling route to the airport I decided to cycle there this Saturday, since it’s just 22 km away. Last Saturday I started cycling again to get some exercise; I tried to find the airport but failed in the middle, I rode in the wrong direction for around 5 km without knowing that… Yesterday it was raining the whole day so it was not possible to cycle. To get more exercise I decided to go to work by bike — and to avoid too much exercise I chose the shorter route, for 7 km of which there’s no cycling path and I have to ride on Road/Highway 51. The road is under construction so the speed limit is around 50 kph — not too dangerous. There was not so much traffic, at least in my direction. And in 1h20m I arrived at Ericsson, saving 20 minutes compared to my previous route.

The previous weekend was also nice. On Friday I went to the best Chinese restaurant with my colleagues. The Peking Duck was quite nice and all of us loved it. I’ll probably go there again with other colleagues later on. On Saturday we had a grill party. The food was nice but the discussion was better. It seems that none of us is content with our current situation. I believe this is good, especially we are planning a change. On Sunday three of us had lunch and dinner again, again the discussion was great. It is nice to discuss with someone with the same technical background. Very fruitful weekend indeed.

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Otaniemi from 80m above

Today I had a meeting in Otaniemi and finally managed to visit the possibly the highest building in this area: the water tower. It’s quite a nice view up there. The water tower is build on top of a small hill around 30m high; and the tower itself is about 50m — that makes it standing 80m from the sea level and on top of which it gives a perfect bird view to the whole Otaniemi area.

It’s said that with totally cloudless weather, one can even see as far as Tallinn, which sits around 80km away in the south. That’s pretty amazing!

There is one seagull nest on the roof and there are some eggs waiting to be hatched in it. We saw the seagull circling above us. Fortunately it wasn’t so aggressive to try to attack us, yet.

By the way, the water tower is designed by Alvar Aalto, after which Aalto University is named.

A look upwards to the tower:

Off back home early. It was a nice day!

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Positive thoughts today:

  1. I made a few slides this morning and found myself to be more efficient in preparing slides that expected. Also I managed to find the company template and icons for making computer networking slides. They make life much easier. And, Ericsson icons looks nicer than Cisco ones. They give a cleaner look and are easier to change the color and to scale.
  2. During lunch we discussed about alcohol, and I was told that good Vodka does not taste anything. This relieves me since the Russian Vodka I bought last year doesn’t have any taste and someone told me it might have been made from industrial alcohol and water. Nice to know that, even though I don’t drink.
  3. I’ve been listening to Johnathan Lee’s songs during work. His songs are very toughing. The more I listen to them, the more I like them.
  4. Saw a provoking African proverb on Google+: “If  you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito.”
  5. It’s nice to have others sharing some of my feelings: guys never know what girls are thinking. (Picture link shared by Mohit and Nalin.) See picture here:
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Giving name to a Finnish baby

Today was a good day, thanks to the following things:

  1. It was nice to talk with a colleague from Ericsson Beijing. I got to know what’s going on in China through someone else’s eyes. Also I know how it looks to work in Beijing and how a different job may feel like. She said working in Operations is quite stressful and may require a lot of night shifts, which is not good for anyone’s health. One of her colleagues in Japan had worked night shifts continuously for 90 days… I feel lucky to work in a job that is less likely to cause health problems, although sometimes I do want a bit more pressure.
  2. During lunch we were chatting and one topic came out when discussing giving names to babies. It turns out that Finns give names to their babies secretly for the first three month after the baby is born. That’s probably due to religious reasons, i.e., the devils can not claim the baby if it doesn’t bear a name. It’s also funny that Finns wait until the baby is born to give it a name, simply because they want to make sure the baby’s image matches the name. Hmm, how can you possibly do that? How do you know how “Jussi” should look like? Well, Finns simply do.
  3. I succeeded to revert my Galaxy Tab back to stock version, there wasn’t any noticeable damage to it. It’s nice to have a working tablet that a brick.
  4. I got a clearer view of the short-term goal of the project I’m currently working on.
  5. There are a lot of spam comments in my website, luckily the Akismet plugin successfully blocked all of them. Akismet is free of charge and it works like magic.
  6. Yesterday I managed to update my WordPress Responsive Theme to the latest version, and managed to fix the “number of comments title wrongly aligned” issue.
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GitHub couples

I’m feeling good today because of theses things:

  1. My mobile phone ran out of battery and the alarm clock didn’t ring this morning, but I still managed to get up just in time and caught the bus at the last minute — and arrived at the company at my usual time.
  2. My manager told me it looks positive to renew my contract and hopefully it will be one and half years. He also says he tries to get it done before the summer vacation, which makes my life a lot easier. Also he says it’s possible to save my holidays till winter. So I’ll be back in China for some time in winter this year.
  3. A very old lady managed to stop and got on the bus even though she waved her hand a bit late to the bus driver. The bus driver was polite and that what I like about Finland: people generally don’t get angry.
  4. Here’s one very funny and geeky picture I saw from xda-developers. In case the link gets invalidated later, the picture reads: “So, where did you two meet?” “Windows users: at the office” “Mac users: at Starbucks” “Linux users: GitHub”.


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Summary of 2011 and New Year’s Resolution

This year is approaching to its end at such a high speed that, before I realize it, there’re barely ten days left. It has been a busy and fruitful year for me. And it started quite well, too. I believe it’s beneficial to summarize what has happened so far at this point, now that I’m waiting to go back home and enjoy my winter vacation in one and a half hours.

It began with the confirmation of being in love with my lovely girlfriend in the beginning of this year (or rather end of last year). It was hard to keep this relationship especially most of the time we are thousands of kilometers apart from each other. We have had problems and had argued and blamed each other. Luckily we went through those hard times. Now although she is still two hour’s flight away from me, we are making some progress. The progress reflects of course not only in the distance, but also in the expectations towards and understandings between us. I’d say to myself: “you’re not doing perfectly, but not terribly either. Keep improving.”

This year also marks the beginning of my career. I was fortunate enough to get position at Ericsson to do my thesis and be offered a contract when I was finalizing the thesis work. The work was not perfect neither, to be frank. I’m not gonna lie to myself, but I wished I were treated equally when doing my thesis, for example, it would have improved my moral a lot if I had been offered a salary for my thesis work. And it would definitely help a lot if my work gets fully and really appreciated. I understand it was the problem of both others and myself; I was not doing my best. I should have done a better job by not caring too much about what others do and think. Anyway in all I think this is a good start of my career despite of some of the downsides.

I finished my thesis in time and got my master’s degrees — a degree from Aalto and one from KTH. It’s not so difficult to get two, but people are often amazed at the fact.

I also did something ‘crazy’ — cycling for around 1,000 kilometers from Espoo to Rovaniemi, a town in the arctic circle. Looking back, it was not difficult, but I was glad that I did it. Though many others are surprised at that, I do not see the meaning of doing that. — “But why do one has to bother the meaning of doing something?” I also tried to put on some weight and succeeded. I went to the gym for around two months with a colleague and successfully gained around five kilograms. I guess that was the first time when my weight has exceeded 120.

Looking forward, I have a few resolutions:

First of all, getting myself heard. This involves not only improving my english and language skills, but also expressing my feelings. I need to convey my ideas, my emotions, and my interests to others, so that hopefully they will see to it that I’m no longer ignored. I have also set some concrete goals for the next year: 1) talk to at least five persons face to face each day. 2) Get some publications and patent approved. 3) Pass at least two Ericsson’s internal certifications.

Secondly, improve my professional competence. I’ve targeted my competence as efficient and quick programming, especially in networking protocols. I also need to recap the complicated but efficient data structures and algorithms.

Thirdly, take good care of my physical and psychological health. I should resume going to the gym.

Last but not least, giving more time to the ones I love — my family and my friends. They’re one of the most important things in one’s life, if not THE one.

I shall keep all the determinations in mind and come back to them regularly, and monitor the progress of executing all these tasks.

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25/10/2010–07/11/2010参考C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4
Introduction to Design Patterns in C++ with Qt 4。同时启动第二个Qt项目,做好详细规划。


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