The Seniwisma Express
During his Upper Secondary, he opted for building construction classes at the Technical Institute Penang. As a result, he understood how a house was built, even before he started his first year as an architectural student. In fact before joining UiTM, he read every single book at the British Council on architecture and urban planning.
Unsurprisingly energized with such passion he graduated as the top Diploma student of his year, and being the first Gold Medalist, the Dean of the School of Architecture arranged for him to join an architectural firm immediately upon graduating.
“They used to call me “Seniwisma Express” because I would probably be working in the office putting in 48 hour working sessions without sleeping, three or four times a month. My overtime hours are much more than my official working hours. It was totally against the Labor Law. ” He recalls with laugh.
“I wanted to learn, I was more interested in learning and salary was secondary. I just went in and I worked my butt off.” He adds.
“The only competitive advantage I had was that I just worked twice as hard as everyone. Being extremely focused on my work; I did not have much of a social life. My social life then consisted of going for a midnight movie in Ampang Park every Saturday. That’s it. Beyond that, I was working. I had NO social life. ” Dato’ Roslan shared what his early career life was like, which is eye opening.
A year later, he went on to continue a degree program in Architecture at UiTM. Due to financial constraints and his work ethics, Roslan was able to secure the agreement of his then current employer Seniwisma to continue to work whilst undertaking his degree program. Being the extremely hardworking staff that he was the firm had no qualms in allowing him to pursue his studies which was done with the full knowledge of the University.
“As a diploma graduate working in Seniwisma I quickly took on a huge portfolio of work. Whatever was asked of me I took on without any qualms” he says. There was a time when a client called him up in the afternoon and asked him to present to the Board of Directors the design for a high rise office building which had to be presented the next day. He took on the assignment and managed to compete it on time. “That was me. So that’s why they called me Seniwisma Express, which was the joke behind my back. Coz I was running around like crazy (within the 4-Storey office),”grins the energetic entrepreneur, developer and architect.
The wife of his boss used to come to him and said: “Can you please leave the office, you have been here two days already and have not slept.” He says with laugh again, adding he never slept for the two days working at the office. “It was very normal for me to do 48 hours and more than that sometimes, until I get kicked out from the office,” he continues.
NEXT PAGE: The person who influenced Dato’ Roslan Khalid and how he started his ventures