The World of Work: Reflections of a Mentee

By: Stanley Gona Chee Khiong, DTM
Division D Director, 2018 – 2019


Recently, while on holiday, I had the opportunity to enjoy a quiet afternoon with a trusted companion – a book by my favourite author, Lewis Lapham. As I read the chapter, entitled ‘The Norm of Mediocrity’, my thoughts suddenly shifted to January 1989 and my first day as a graduate trainee at Sarawak Shell Berhad, Miri.

I still remember that first morning, reporting to my supervisor, Mr. Arni Hj. Noor, Head of the Vendor Information Unit at Shell. He was kind enough to brief me on the ins and outs of the unit including my duties as a trainee. Then, the work started! I must admit, as a fresh university graduate, I was not at all accustomed to the world of work! I felt like I was ‘thrown in at the deep end’, unable to swim! So much for the seamless transition from the classroom to the world of work! I remember spending a couple of sleepless nights wondering how I could salvage some pride! Ah, the expectations heaped on the shoulders of a fresh graduate!

Fortunately, Mr. Arni, ever the patient and kind mentor, took me under his wing and became a beacon of inspiration for me to strive for excellence in performing my duties. When I reflect on my fourteen months as a trainee, I realize that Mr. Arni did two significant things to transform me from a fresh graduate to a productive member of his team. First, he made me think. Whenever, he saw that I was ‘stuck’, he would always ask questions to encourage me to think about possible solutions to the problem. By not ‘spoon-feeding’ me, I was able to hone my problem-solving skills.

What was the second thing Mr. Arni did? He taught me the importance of ‘Learning by Doing’. Through this hands-on approach, I was able to develop my writing skills as well as a healthy dose of self-confidence!

Yes, Mr. Arni, in his role as my Mentor, was my beacon of inspiration! My stint at Sarawak Shell Berhad was a springboard for me to launch my career.

Over the years, I have progressed from a mentee to a mentor. Indeed, those valuable lessons by Mr. Arni have left lasting footprints in my heart. Today, as a Toastmaster, I am grateful for the many articles on mentoring posted on Toastmasters International’s website and published in the Toastmaster magazine. Thanks, Mr. Arni and Toastmasters International!


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