Miftahul “Uul” Hidayah: The making of a technician

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Growing up, I was more interested in electronics than traditional dolls and toys. Actually, most of my childhood friends were boys who, like me, enjoyed tinkering with motorcycles, radios and other devices.

My passion for technology eventually led me to a degree in electrical engineering from the State University of Malang in East Java. After graduation, I worked in a garment manufacturing company, maintaining their electrical systems.

Around 2009, ExxonMobil was building new oil and gas production facilities for the Cepu field in East Java. There was a demand for electricians and so I submitted my application.

I was again the only woman in my electrical trainee class. However, when I was sent to California for further training in 2011 I saw that women and men were treated the same and everyone worked together as a team. Our supervisors there gave us increasing responsibility and independence, and that really boosted my confidence.

I returned to Indonesia in 2012 as an electrical technician assigned to the Early Production Facility (EFP) in Bojonegoro, East Java. At the time we were starting oil production in the Cepu block. It was an exciting time for everyone involved.

I’ve now been with ExxonMobil for nearly 10 years and, inshallah, I hope to stay until I retire. It’s like going to school and getting paid to contribute every day. The eight other members of my workgroup are men, though there are lots of other Indonesian women working in the company. Still, I am one of the few who seems to prefer being out in the field working with my hands.

I have a 12-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy. Like me, my daughter, says that she also wants to go abroad at some point. She hasn’t yet decided what she will study or what kind of work she will do, but it makes me happy to think she takes after me in some important ways.

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