19/09/2023  •  5 mins read

A journey of growth and passion

Taranjit Kaur Madhanjit Singh | Illustrations by Ahmad Saiful Syazwan Ahmad Jamil

The day is still vividly fresh in my mind, despite it being over a decade now. I was at Suria KLCC when my desire to be a part of PETRONAS’ workforce emerged. Being within proximity of the PETRONAS Twin Towers fuelled excitement, and I often wondered how it felt being in the iconic Malaysian steel towers.

It sure was a dream come true when in April 2009, I got the honour to carry the PETRONAS name as a Writer at its Group Corporate Affairs Division. The odds were in my favour as I was bestowed with a line of work correlating with my discipline of study. I had graduated with a Bachelor of Communications (First Class Honours) from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in 2007. My family too rejoiced, especially my late father. His only daughter of four children would be part of Malaysia’s only (at that time) organisation on the Fortune Global 500 list. The journey began with a cubicle at Level 70, and I was gratified to be in the space where some of the country’s best leaders and brightest minds came together. The workplace was beyond my expectations – just being a floor so high up was an adrenaline rush. I was given two mentors to guide and nurture me through, and they were just wonderful. In less than six months in PETRONAS, I was already out and about. It was exciting yet demanding. 

There was more to PETRONAS, and it was even more fulfilling and enriching - an Amanah to serve. The advice I received as a young executive was to always act with Loyalty, Integrity, Professionalism and Cohesiveness in the best interest of the people. During my time, “Energy Receive, Energy Return – Aspiring People Everywhere” was the guiding compass. The globally acclaimed corporation unknowingly gave me a steadfast purpose, to look beyond myself and push boundaries steered by a clear conscience.

I didn’t fully understand at the time how PETRONAS was subtly guiding me towards self-development and personal growth. Alongside this came equitable career opportunities. After serving as a Writer, I moved on to Sustainability Reporting in 2013 and back then, this discipline wasn’t yet mainstream in Malaysia. So, it was a lot of learning on the job, reading and keeping abreast of global good practices. The environment of trust and empowerment eventually led to delivering the PETRONAS Sustainability Report 2017 which was accorded a Gold Award at the 2018 National Annual Corporate Report Awards (NACRA). It was a humbling opportunity, as the PETRONAS standalone Sustainability Reports were written and conceptualised in-house. Currently, I undertake the role of Security Global and Strategic Affairs, a fusion of communications and insights looking into PETRONAS’ various countries of operations, more recently Sustainability from a Security lens. My move to Group Security was in 2019 to pursue the role of Security Research and Analysis.

There was hard work, pain and sweat – no doubt. Many a time I also faced fears, especially when the task was demanding. These colourful experiences came concurrently alongside life’s turns of triumph and turbulence.

Yet, despite life’s many challenges and tests there was a deep sense of satisfaction. There was an incredible network of support and outstanding mentors at PETRONAS. Learning came in many forms, the best being learning via observation and asking questions. It also took a conscious commitment to being resilient, and recognising how we think and do is a choice. Growth certainly comes at a price. And sometimes, we must create opportunities fearlessly – and set out on a path not taken.

All of this I learnt at PETRONAS through many invaluable experiences. For example, PETRONAS gave me opportunities to set out on a path in emerging domains. The experiences at PETRONAS were an eye-opener to strategic writing. I never thought I would ever say this, but I like writing speeches and reports! Perhaps it reinforces the nerdy part of me, one who finds joy in reading! Today, my job is far more enticing – revolving around dynamics in our countries of operations. Honestly speaking, writers block, new ideas and innovative experiences are some of my prevalent challenges. Time, I wish there were more than 24 hours a day!

Now that I look back, the purpose of serving and honouring the Amanah entrusted upon me was my driving factor. I was given an equal voice and empowerment. For me, it gave me confidence and pride – irrespective of gender, age and creed.  In today’s world – there is heavy discourse around Diversity, Inclusion and Equity – I am grateful PETRONAS gave me this for over 14 years. Undoubtedly, PETRONAS touched many lives over the course of its 49 years. Growing with PETRONAS for me also meant being able to fulfil the dreams of my loved ones, especially my parents. Most of all, PETRONAS makes me a proud woman – and fills me with the confidence to live fearlessly and ethically. Carrying the PETRONAS name comes with immense pride and also a responsibility. A reminder that humility, hard work and persistence always stand tall.

Gain without pain to me is unsustainable because anything worthwhile takes effort. Standing up for what is right or pushing the barrier of success can be lonely. Ultimately it is all about perspective. The only predictability is perhaps unpredictability as we navigate into an Energy Future that calls for newer investments and capabilities.

My top three real-life learnings –
(i) Being resourceful is uncompromising, it is not just about delivering a task, instead about asking ourselves ‘what more’ and ‘what else’.

(ii) Adaptability is critical, and so that means being ready to pivot even with the best of plans in place – sometimes, things just don’t work out as expected. 

(iii) A clear-conscience and intent must underpin everything we do. Doing the right thing may not necessarily be easy, and when we stand our ground – criticism is possible. The right purpose will always guide our path. I am humbled to have found mine!

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