This past week, I was in an army camp, on national service. (Where I live, male citizens form a conscript army, and we are called back to revise our training every year or two.)
These couple of weeks are a bad time to be away from work – just so many things to be done, by not so many people – but my time back in the army has been fairly productive. In the sometimes lengthy interstitials between lessons, I finished Ram Charan’s Know-how, and half of the Chinese translation of Norwegian Wood, a Japanese novel by Haruki Murakami i.e. 挪威的森林 by 村上春树. Know-how lists a set of leadership know-how (e.g. how to position one’s business, how to judge people for leadership potential, how to make people work as a team), which the author posits can be learnt and honed. I came away from the book urged to try my hand at other kinds of work, different from my current milieu. Couldn’t identify with the characters in Norwegian Wood, but (on the evidence of the translation) I found Haruki Murakami’s writing very evocative, especially in his detailing of the textures of emotions. Still wondering whether to continue with the second half…
I made several acquaintances among my fellow NSmen. One is a pilot; one wants to be a pilot; one is an airline/aeroplane buff. (I have to say, I feel a little old and more than a little inadequate in this whole group – I feel most are more successful, more comfortable with themselves, more what I want to be, than I myself am.) That last person recommended a web site – SeatGuru – that identifies good seats and inflight amenities for different aeroplanes and airlines. Those who fly a lot or are particular about their flight experiences may want to check it out.
My big boss spoke to me recently about my promotion prospects. To cut a long story short, I missed a great chance to ask for feedback on how I could improve. That was dumb. Sigh.