I had the pleasure of meeting Socheat at Digital Divide Data. He joined DDD 9 years ago as an operator, and today as an HR assistant is clearly a DDD success story. I first got to know Socheat through his dedicated participation in the communications workshops that I led for the DDD Phnom Penh office. And it was on the way to visiting the home of Bunthy, a DDD operator, that Socheat told me of his journey to DDD.
Socheat’s parents, like many of his generation, were displaced by war and moved around several times. With the economy in tough shape, Socheat was sent to Phnom Penh to try to find work. And he did, as a security guard. His ease with people and responsible nature helped him land this job, which by chance was at an English school.
Now here’s the really interesting part. You might guess, correctly, that the security guard job at the English school was a key launching point for Socheat to learn English and one day join DDD. But what surprised me was that the other four security guards did not learn English—they played soccer while he was learning.
Every chance that he got, Socheat would look over the wall at the classroom and strain to hear as much as he could. He’d take notes and do his best to learn. Fortunately a kind teacher noticed his efforts and invited him to sit in on the class whenever he had a chance.
Socheat took on this opportunity with gusto, and pushed himself to learn and use new vocabulary, writing 7 sentences for 5 new words every day. And in so doing he laid the foundation for his future success.
One day Socheat heard about DDD from a friend—he didn’t know what they did, but heard they were hiring. Unfortunately he had been given the wrong address however he searched for four days until finally he found the office.
The rest, as they say, is history as Socheat rose through the organization into his current position as assistant HR manager. I can attest, as well, that his English now is great—it was a real treat to have him helping me on the home visit.
Now this story leaves me wondering, what is it about Socheat that made him different from the other guards, in his energy to study English and better himself?
Any ideas, about what makes some people like Socheat decide to rise above the crowd and distinguish themselves? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section.