It was a usual Transjakarta ride in the blazing sun of Jakarta when suddenly the same roads that I have been passing for so many years screamed all the failures I have made in the past one year. The street signs and billboards whispered all the dreams I did not pursue and all the chances I did not grab. Every mile closer to the building where I spend at least 9 hours of my days was a reminder how life remains constant. Each day I have made myself nothing but a mediocre whose body and mind yearn to be anywhere but where they actually are.
The city that once got my hope so high now has made me brokenhearted. I did not even have a very high expectation, to begin with. Unlike many other millennials out there, I did not dream of establishing a startup nor living off my so-called passions. I am content with the idea of having a steady job at a multinational corporation; I do have my eyes on the boardroom but I know for sure that it will take an arduous journey to get there. I am not a typical millennial who like to rush things out and have an unrealistic expectation towards corporate life. I am high but I keep my expectation on the ground so I will not be disappointed.
As Cal Newport wrote in So Good They Can’t Ignore You, it is not a huge deal if your job does not match your pre-existing passion because passion can be found when you put a lot of hard work. I am glad that I did not pursue what I thought as my pre-existing passion because that is not where the money are and I get to develop new things that I begin to love. But days after days, I grow tired of running out of novelty. Every day is just like the day before and thanks to social media I cannot help to compare my life with my peers whose working life seems to be so picture-perfect when all I got on my plate is a mundane task in front of my laptop.
I start questioning my career path: why do I stop having as many learning opportunities as I used to have? I have been in my current job for almost three years and I am still working on the same thing. I was promoted to a senior position last year (thank god it gave an increase to my paycheck and I am so grateful that now I can save up to 2/3 of my total income per month) but it did not alter my job description that much hence I feel so stagnant. I see colleagues start to job hopping while I flunk in many of my job interviews. They fly out of my office, come back to the comfortable nest (how cannot it be comfortable if you have almost 40 days of leaves per year?!) and I am still there doing the same thing over and over again. This boredom has taken its toll as I become pessimistic and bad-tempered on each passing day. I did think to quit my job, to rest my mind for awhile, and to apply for a new job but the fact that it is not easy at all to book a new job hinders me from doing such irresponsible action. Reality strikes! This is what people call adulthood I guess, I need to endure this mundane job to get money.
I am grateful for what I earn but this point of my life has taught me a valuable lesson that without a sense of accomplishment your life will not be fulfilled. And I need that damn accomplishment to make my life more fulfilled and healthy. My definition of accomplishment at work is not something that is too much to ask for. I only want to come home every day learning something new and knowing that the project I work on challenge my intellectual capacity.
Writing has its own magic in healing a wounded soul. I feel somehow better as I write this. I might sound like oversharing millennials who puts everything online but I hope this writing can serve as a reminder to my future self.
If in the future the 30 years old Arya feels that he is so caught up and takes for granted his dream job, I want him to remember this that there was a moment in his younger self’s life when he was dying to get a bigger shot so he will be grateful for what he has. And I hope at that time life gets better and he will be more mindful and let his mind stays where his body is.