Career talk, people!
I'm in the mood to talk about work today, because finally after 10 years of working different jobs, getting frustrated because of the job or the boss, I finally got to the point where I think I'm quite content with what I do.
Yup, it took me 10 freaking years to get to this place. To the place where I'm happy with what I do. The place where I complain less. The place where I think I've finally found the purpose of my life. The purpose of the skills that I could confidently offer.
Yes, 10 years and 8 jobs later.
Things that I've Learned (The Hard Way) About Work
My first job was as an English-Indonesian translator during my college time. I got hired by a cleaning service company to deal with the US Army who had a training session with the Indonesian Army at the time. It wasn't much, but it was still a job. And I was quite proud of myself doing that. You know, that kind of naivety you had in your early 20s.
After that, I also worked freelance at some wedding organizer during my university time. I enjoyed the work, even though it could be super tiring as wedding itself is a big industry here in Indonesia. Not to mention that the company I worked for, they got hired by some high-end customers.
Those were the job I had during my university, and I started my first job after I graduated at an airline. That was the very first time where I realized that professional life, in fact, is not that easy. Sometimes you get stressed with the people you have to deal with. Sometimes you get angry with your company whose rules could be so unfair. But guess what? You still need the money anyway to make the ends met.
As much as I wanted to be that kind of “employee of the decade” who would dedicate her
life time for the company, I didn't. I was job-hopping more than I thought I would be, until now I'm comfortable in my PJs at home as I just finished some work for my clients. Yes, in plural.
1. Work smarter, not harder.
When I started my job for the first time, I was the kind of person who would glorify hard workers. The harder they work, the better they are as an employee.
I knew some coworkers who would do things outside their scope of work for a reason that I can't simply understand. And I was being so critical about it
because of my attitude, like why would you work something beyond the things you need to do when you're somewhat underpaid?
That sounds like coming from a lazy person, but it's not. Now that you've probably read my rants about holding a green Indonesian passport that stops me from traveling to many places, let me tell you that it's not just my passport rank that restricts me from expanding my experience. The labor movement in Indonesia isn't anywhere near those countries in Scandinavia.
Some companies actually treat their employees like slaves. And some people normalized that situation, even though it's not right. And don't get me started with that “I work longer than you here, therefore what I do is always right” attitude.
It's a good thing that I'm a rebel by nature. I wouldn't hesitate to leave the office even though my boss was still around if I finished my work. I mean, didn't Bill Gates agree on this?
Work smarter, people… Don't work if it only gets you stressed. Be efficient with how you distribute your brain and heart at work.
Know your scope of work first, and you have the right to ask if you get asked to do something beyond it. Don't be a slave for the company who will replace you at a glance!
2. There's a timeline for each one of you, but being in your 20s is never really easy for everyone.
There was a meme I've seen on Facebook where they found the similarity between 1920s and your 20s: the great depression. I mean, no kidding dude… I'm just glad that everything is over.
Like, there were times when I saw my friends' accomplishments in so many things. Then I saw my junior doing much, much better than I did when I was struggling. And I just couldn't stop wondering when was my time to shine.
That led me to the next point.
3. Not everyone has the same indicator when it comes to success.
Yes. First thing first, before you start comparing yourself to others, ask yourself this: “What's a success for you?”
Some would say a 6-digit salary or basically money as their indicator of success. Some others would probably think their exposure is on the top of their mind. And who knows? Maybe your indicator of success is having enough money and time to do what you want.
I've learned the hard way that the success category is different for everyone. It's not wise to think that you're not successful just because you're currently lying on your bed sharing memes on Facebook when at the same time your ex-classmate is relocating to the HQ of some bonafide MNC, living their best life.
It's okay to feel content and ‘success' in your own indicator. It's your own life. Don't get intimidated with someone else's accomplishment. Instead, be happy for them make sure that you're also happy for yours.
4. Being busy doesn't always mean productive.
It's something to do with the first point, but yes… Being busy doesn't always mean productive. I know too well, since I once worked 2 jobs that caused my lack of sleep for months.
Was it fruitful? Nope, not really. Was I tired? Terribly.
5. Keep yourself sane, and get enough rest.
I mean, seriously… Get some rest when you're tired. Don't force yourself to work too much when you know too well that your body refuses to do it. Your insurance money isn't really worth your mental health.
It took me so long to understand the importance of self-care and self-love. I'm just glad that I wasn't too late.
So yes, those are the things that I've learned the hard way about work since I started my first professional job 10 years ago. Have you learned any other thing about work that you feel relevant to apply for others? Let me know in the comment below, and cheerio! 🙂