The Rollercoaster Life – Part 1 (Reflection of 5 Years in Real Life)

RollerCoaster Life

We can’t design our life like a building.
It doesn’t work that way.
Just take the leap, have faith to live it,
and it will design itself.
Well, It may become like a rollercoaster ride,
but we always have a choice,
to either scream or just enjoy the ride…

Well, life is really just going so fast. Somehow, I can hardly believe it. ‘Cause it felt like just yesterday that I graduate from college and being “thrown away” to a so called “Real Life”. And as this year kicking-off, I sort of forgot that it’s been more than five years since the day I got my first job, back in the end of 2008.

I think, this is surely a good time to reflect on what I’ve done for the past 5 years. Especially, I’m surprised at where I am at now, compared to five years ago. It may a long post, but personally, it’s worth my time to write & share it, as such I’ll write it on several part, and this post is the first part. As the saying goes, “It’s our experience that shape who we are”, right?

The Beginning

Back on October 2008, after recently-graduate, like any other recently-graduate, I was endlessly searching job, took job-test & job-interview in various companies, attended one job fair to another job fair, traveling from one city to another city. Starting from Bandung, and just in the space of two months, I went to visit several cities e.g Jakarta, Cikarang, Karawang, Bekasi, Depok, Cilegon, Pekanbaru, Duri, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, even to Balikpapan.

Sometimes, I went from one city to another (faraway city) just in space of 2 days time. Even, I experienced one time where I was trying to rest in mosque, because I didn’t have time to find affordable place at the city I had never visited before. The harsh reality I had face at the time was it that, after countless job tests and all had the same ending, “no concrete job contract/offering”.

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Pipeline Engineering World

Some kids dream of being astronauts.
Some kids dream of playing baseball.
Some kids dream of becoming rockstar.
When I was a kid, I had only one dream
To create something useful to people & society..
And eventually, I became an engineer..

(~Ted – HIMYM)

Well, there are a lot of responses on my blog and my e-mails that asking about pipeline. The thing is, It’s not like I’m more expert than you, because honestly, I’m also same like you that still required to learn more. So, I hope, this post is useful to give a basic understanding for you, who also want to pursue the career on pipeline’s world.

What is ‘Engineering’?

There is little point in talking about pipeline engineering without first understanding what ‘engineering’ is, isn’t it?

Engineering basicaly means an application of science to create something through practical of technical knowledge on design, or implement, or problems solving, or improvements for materials, structures, machines, devices, systems, and processes that safely meet its intended function, efficiently & economically.

In a big / establish country, Engineering is a high demand and prestigious profession, because Engineers can make a big ‘difference’ in the world by clever designs on energy worlds, or on infrastructure projects such as building, bridge, or water treatment to give people clean water to drink.

What is ‘Pipeline’?

The term pipeline refers to a long line of connected segments of pipe, with pumps, valves, control devices, gas compressor stations, and other equipment/facilities needed for operating the system. It is intended for transporting a fluid (liquid, gas, mixture of fluids, etc.), of under or above the ground or sea.

In a “rich oil” country, pipeline systems are always in high demand. As transportation by pipelines reduces traffic on highways and streets, reduces noise, air pollution, and damage to highways & streets caused by trucks and other vehicles.

Define “Pipeline Engineering”

What is the first thing you think of when I say “pipeline engineering”? “I don’t know” or “that’s a good question” was a common first response to me. Although many specifically said “mechanical engineering”, some identified “civil engineering”, but there seemed to be a bit of “process engineers”.

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I’m Working Overseas in Middle East

It’s like sometimes not knowing,
how crazy you doing something, is a good thing..
You’re just goofing around..
Until someone noticed it, shows up, and says, “Wow”..
And the rest of my life story, is unfolded little by little..

You know, to be honest, somehow I’m still thinking, all of these are “too good to be true”. Yes, surely there are times when I imagined this one before, but it’s just some fantasy or fairy tale that I actually never thouht to became reality. You can see those my previous posts are quite reflecting it.

I still remember, the first time when I want to actually make this happen, and being focus to achieve it. It was 3 months ago, during my Field Break time, I was alone at my room, and I was watching How I Met Your Mother with “Unfinished” episode. It made me look real hard about my lifelong dream and relate with what I’ve achieved on my life so far..

And, at the end of movie, Ted said that,
I know that successful person don’t just live in life. They change it, they shape it, they make their mark upon it, and mark it with amazing result. They never gave up on their dream..

But, you see, that’s not usually how it goes. I mean, usually, it isn’t a speeding bus. Most of the time, it’s just too difficult or too expensive, or too scary. It’s only once you’ve stopped, that you realize how hard it is to start again. So you force yourself not to want it. But it’s always there. And until you achieve it, it will always be…unfinished..

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The Harsh Truth of Career

It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow.
Sometimes, it’s hard to hear these things
but, in the end, they make you stronger.
I might not even make it myself,
but I sure as hell ain’t leaving without putting up a fight..

As you see, career means a long term path of what we do that have directions & goals. And the thing is, just like everything else in life, there also some harsh truth that we need to face regarding our career. So, here is some facts that based-on my experience on real world… 🙂

Starts at the bottom

Almost everyone starts at the bottom. Regardless of what you think you deserve, you probably will to. Get over it, and just get started. And the thing is, it’s not enough to be good at what you do. Talent and skill will only take you so far. It’s like video game, more problems solved, the more experience gained, and the more character growth.

Job Hopper Fact

If you find yourself job-hopping, moving from one career to other different career in a short time, and still, nothing ever satisfies you for any period of time, it’s time to look at yourself. Most likely, you’re part of the problem.

Professional growth requires discomfort

Embrace it don’t fight it. There is no learning in the comfort zone. Achieving long-term career goals requires sustained effort and deliberate action. It’s no accident or coincidence. It’s a process that takes time. Sure, it won’t be fun at times, but nothing is. Do you really want to stay where you are and look back at your life in the future and regret not having taken the steps to go after it?

Your career is all about YOU

If you’re unhappy with your career, it’s up to you to change it. Sticking around because you’re afraid will only dig you deeper into the rut. No one else controls your situation. No one else responsible. Stop asking for everyone’s opinion about what you should do. Again, it is all about YOU.

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Permanent & Grade Promotion

There are different kinds of journeys in life.
For some, you’ll have a clear destination in mind.
For others, you’ll wander until the right road appears.
Even if you know precisely where you want to end up,
the process of veering off-track with intention and curiosity,
that will reassure that your path is right…

Time is flying fast, don’t you think? It has been a year now, since the day I’ve arrived & join this company. After join in a company in a year, the good thing I expect is all about grade promotion & permanent offering.

You see, we all want to be recognized for our capabilities. So we work hard, learning all we can, and showcasing what we’ve got. The sound from our boss, such as “you have so much potential” is indeed, alluring music. But, the main point is, Sometimes, actions speak louder than words.

If we’re really that good, the offering will just come eventually. So, when I’ve been offered for permanent position & grade promotion, it reflect a recognition about my effort & what I’ve done.

You see, a promotion is like a deal, a business transaction, so I’m treating it as one. The higher grade, means higher salary, but also more contribution & more responsibility. It’s up to me to take control of my own career. And, this step is part of  “step by step plan”, in the big picture of my life.

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Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Pipeline

The art of living draws no sharp distinction between his labor & his leisure, his work & his play, his education & his recreation. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he’s doing, and leaves others to determine whether he’s working or playing. To himself, he is always doing both.

(~James A. Michener)

You see, I’ve been moving to new city since last month, it’s related with my Job Assignment for Oil & Gas Project. Currently, I’ve been involved on Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Commissioning (EPCC) of Oil & Gas Project for NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) Pipeline, that will be used to transport an extracted NGL from Prabumulih to Palembang.

As you know, a pipeline is a complex transportation system, that is intended for transporting a fluid (liquid or gas), from plant to other plant that have long distance. Pipelines perform vital functions. They serve as arteries, bringing natural gas through a dense underground network of distribution lines, that have facility such as Pig Launcher, Pig Receiver, Metering Stations, SCADA System, Valve Stations, etc.

As Pipeline Engineer, I have to know about specification, criteria, and requirement. It will be useful on route selection, wall thickness analysis, flexibility stress analysis, stability analysis, corrosion protection, installation analysis, etc. And surely, to ensure the constructability of pipeline design, both on “paper” and also on the field.

The Dynamism Part – Living The Life

The Dynamism Part is coming when I have to go to Field. As Field Pipeline Engineer, I have a role to ensure construction works will be perfoming as per engineering design & specifications. Also to lead all activities regarding any field adjusment.

Just like any Oil & Gas projects, working on the field have dynamism & flexibility. It is the best part, indeed. Because I’m not like “robots” anymore, It’s a lot of traveling & and mobile during the work. It feels that my life aren’t running on “auto-pilot”. I’m far away from life that caught in the loop of “going through the motions” in automated mode (repeating the same activities day by day).

You see, lots of people are drone through the weekdays, looking forward to Fridays and weekends, where they recharge themselves for yet another dead week ahead. This cycle continues week after week, with no end until they’re retired. They are too comfortably snuggled in the cycle, convincing themselves that their current life is the best one.

Because, as far as I concerned, the truth is, ”Death isn’t sad. The sad thing is: most people don’t live at all. “

OCTG (Oil Country Tubular Goods)

Currently, as GT Engineer, I’ve been assigned for OCTG Implementation & Continuous Improvement Analyst for Oil & Gas Well Exploration. OCTG (Oil Country Tubular Goods) is a group of different families of steel pipes, that used on inside the engineered structures of Oil & Gas Well.

OCTG is designed based on API/ISO Specification or equivalent standard, that involves the definition of all casing and tubing specifications (lengths, diameters, wall thicknesses, steel grades, connection types, etc.) that meet all technical requirements (pressures, temperatures,corrosion resistance, etc.) in the most economically possible way (optimal technical / economical solution), with the final goal of achieving a given production rate of Oil & Gas.

OCTG comprises :

Casing is the main structural compound of an oil or gas well. The “big” diameter pipes serving as structural retainer for the walls of the well that prevents the whole Well to collapse (Support Wellhead equipment), prevent movements of fluids or gases from one formation to another, isolate the producing horizons and keep out undesired fluids, etc.

Tubing is a relatively small-diameter tube that runs into the production casing to serve as a conduit for the passage of oil or gas from the reservoir to the surface. Ends are threaded for special integral-type joints or fitted with couplings and may or may not be upset externally. This type of pipe is placed inside the well and used to produce or to inject fluids (the ones through which the fluids runs).

Drill Pipe
It is a pipe which transmits power by a rotating movement from the ground level to a rotary drilling tool placed at the end of the drill string. pipe used to make the well bore by transmitting power from the surface to a rotary drilling tool.

“Connections” is a mechanical assembly consisting of either two pins and a coupling in a threaded and coupled connections, or one pin and one box in an integral design. This is an area where much effort is focused in order to minimize the risk, improve the safety factor and put at the minimum the probability of failure of the string elements. Almost all the OCTG material are joined by threaded connections.

Well, I know that I need to learn a lot for now. My life isn’t a race, and to “master” something worthwhile does takes time. Because, even the great artist was first an amateur, right..??