Sukses Berbisnis Anggrek

ciater

Ciater Orchid didirikan oleh Pak Widjaja S (58) pada awal tahun 2005. Ciater Ochid merupakan perusahaan yang menjual tanaman anggrek bulan (phalaenopsis) pada setiap fase pertumbuhan. Senada dengan tagline-nya, yakni more than just a flower, Ciater Orchid menawarkan anggrek bulan dari yang baru bertunas, yang tangkai bunganya baru keluar, hingga yang sudah bermekaran bunganya. Untuk fase pembibitan, Ciater Orchid berlokasi di Subang, Jawa Barat. Lokasi kedua Ciater Orchid yakni di Desa Sukamulya, Bogor, untuk fase pembesaran tanaman. Lokasi yang ketiga mengambil tempat di Desa Palasari, Ciater, untuk tahap pembungaan.

Ketertarikan Beliau terhadap usaha budidaya anggrek berawal dari hobi. Sejak dulu, ia menyukai segala sesuatu yang berhubungan dengan pertanian serta perkebunan. Sejak tahun 2000 ia gemar mengunjungi pameran-pameran anggrek baik yang berskala lokal maupun internasional. Kunjungan ke berbagai pameran ia manfaatkan untuk belajar mengenai pembibitan anggrek. Ia pun semakin yakin untuk terjun ke usaha ini setelah mengetahui margin keuntungan dari penjualan anggrek yang cukup besar.

Berbicara mengenai kesulitan yang dihadapi dalam menggeluti bisnis ini, Beliau ternyata telah melalui serentetan eksperimen yang berujung kegagalan. Berkali-kali ia mencoba menanam anggrek, berkali-kali juga ia gagal menuai hasil yang memuaskan. Anggrek yang ia rawat terserang hama, terkena penyakit, atau tanpa alasan yang jelas mati di tengah jalan. Beliau mengatakan ia hampir putus asa karena tidak kunjung berhasil menanam anggrek. Ia kesulitan karena bidang ini sangat berbeda dengan latar belakang ekonomi yang ia miliki sehingga ia harus belajar dari nol.

Untuk mengatasi masalah ini, Beliau tak bosan-bosan bertanya kepada orang yang lebih ahli di bidang anggrek, belajar dari kebun orang lain, dan banyak membaca artikel di majalah mengenai anggrek. Kerja kerasnya berujung manis. Pada awal tahun 2005, ia akhirnya berhasil memahami cara merawat anggrek yang tepat sehingga anggrek yang ia tanam berhasil bermekaran bunganya.

Tantangan terbesar dalam bisnis ini ialah perawatan tanaman anggrek itu sendiri. Dari proses pembibitan hingga bermekarannya bunga, dibutuhkan waktu 22 hingga 24 bulan. Setiap harinya, perkembangan tanaman harus selalu dipantau karena anggrek sangatlah sensitif.

Apabila cuaca terlalu panas, organ dalamnya menjadi rusak. Namun jika kurang panas, anggrek tidak bisa bertumbuh dengan optimal. Kalau terlalu lembab, anggrek akan ditumbuhi jamur. Namun jika terlalu kering, daunnya menjadi rusak.  Semua unsur seperti suhu, cahaya, kelembaban, serta cuaca harus selalu stabil untuk mendukung pertumbuhan anggrek. Niat, kesabaran, dan ketekunan menjadi kunci kesuksesan Beliau.

Tantangan selanjutnya ialah usaha ini membutuhkan minimal dua lokasi yang berbeda, yakni dataran rendah serta dataran tinggi. Tanaman anggrek membutuhkan cahaya matahari yang kuat di masa awal bertunas untuk memacu pertumbuhannya. Setelah berusia 1,5 tahun, tanaman anggrek harus dipindahkan ke dataran tinggi untuk mendukukeluarnya bunga. Jadi, bisnis budidaya anggrek memerlukan waktu yang lama, investasi yang besar, dan perawatan ekstra teliti.

Hebatnya, Pak Widjaja memandang hal ini bukan sebagai ancaman, melainkan sebagai suatu peluang bisnis. Demand terhadap tanaman anggrek trend-nya terus meningkat, sedangkan produsennya sangat sedikit, sehingga Beliau mengambil risiko untuk memanfaatkan celah ini dan berhasil meraih keuntungan yang menggiurkan.

Ciater Orchid menggunakan teknologi perawatan yang khusus untuk membuat pupuk sendiri. Tak hanya itu, Ciater Orchid juga sedang mengembangkan teknik cloning atau tissue culture menggunakan organ tanaman anggrek dengan mempekerjakan seorang Sarjana Biologi. Beliau mengatakan teknologi cloning yang ia gunakan sekarang masih tergolong standard, bukan cloning yang melibatkan perubahan secara genetic. Untuk menghemat biaya, Ciater Orchid juga sedang bereksperimen membuat bibit di laboratorium milik sendiri. Pak Widjaja mengatakan teknologi sangat penting untuk menjadi kunci keberhasilan di bisnis anggrek ini.

Menurut Pak Widjaja, pendidikan yang ideal dimiliki seorang entrepreneur ialah pendidikan yang tidak melulu teori, melainkan juga menekankan pada praktik. Menurutnya, ilmu ekonomi dan manajemen dapat dengan mudah dipelajari oleh siapa saja. Namun, ketrampilan berwirausaha tidak dapat diperoleh begitu saja tanpa pengalaman dan bakat. Karakter entrepreneur seperti keberanian mengambil peluang, keberanian mengambil risiko, serta kreativitas dalam memunculkan ide-ide bisnis tidak dapat dipelajari melalui teori, melainkan lebih kepada pengalaman setiap orang.

 

A Message for My Teenage Self

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Hey, you.

Stay true to yourself. Just because everyone seems to talk bad about someone, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing – even if it seems a very cool thing to do at that time. Be prepared. There will always be a trend, whether it’s a sophisticated gadget, a hairstyle, a sport activity, a social media, new restaurant to try, or even some sort of cool words. Following a trend could be a ton of fun, and you know, it’s good to try something new once in a while. However, it’s totally fine not to do it if you feel uncomfortable.

Again, you don’t have to get along with everyone. Not everyone deserves a spotlight in your life. Some of them probably just be there occasionally, maybe because you guys are in the same class for three years in a row, maybe because you ride on the same bus every day for going home with them, or maybe because you do the 2-hours activity together every week.  They would teach you some valuable lesson, maybe, along the course of the time. But you don’t have to talk to them or hangout with them everyday if you don’t want to.

Don’t ever be mean. Even to a guy who puts online game as their life. Even to a guy whom your friends classified as a “nerd” because he’s so damn quiet all the time. Even to a guy who comes late to class every day. Even to people who fail a lot at exams. You have no idea who they would become in the next 6 or 8 years. You have no idea how much they would change. And they might even be more successful than you would be. So, don’t ever be mean. Regardless of their future-self, respect everyone for who they are.

Be brave enough to do what you’ve always been dreaming to do. Take that foreign language class. Go to the next performance audition. Teach yourself how to design a brochure. Lead an organization. Handle an event. Never say you’re too busy now to do this stuff, because in the future you would even have more responsibilities and duties to handle. Now, is the right time to learn something for the sake of your own future. And by the way, it doesn’t always has something to do with your career afterwards. Do it just because you like it. Because it makes you happy and brings a wonderful experience for you. Because it makes you a better person and equips you with a lot of useful skills. Because it will bring you closer to your dreams.

Don’t let anyone or anything define you. Keep the balance. The best thing to do now is finding your true-self. Don’t loose all of the productive time for someone who doesn’t value yourself. Just, don’t put a complete trust on anyone who said they love you at their 14. Now, he might be your whole world, but in the next 3 years he would be a stranger for you. Never stay too long in an unhealthy relationship.

And last but not the least,

If you knew beforehand how busy your life will be in the next 6 years, you probably think twice and make more time for your family. Time passes so quickly. One day you would see yourself in the mirror and notice how fast the last 5 years had gone. One day you see your parents and they are not as young as they used to be. Spend more time with your family while you can, while they can.

Enjoy your youth, make (a lot of) mistakes, that’s fine, because people are more forgiving when you’re a lot younger! And besides, your mistakes are one essential thing that makes you, you, in the future. 

The Act of Giving

Selain memperkaya diri sendiri dari hasil kerja keras mereka di bidang masing-masing, deretan nama di bawah ini juga secara aktif memberikan kontribusi yang positif kepada masyarakat. Yuk, intip ceritanya.billgates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Gates – yap, pria yang telah sukses membangun Microsoft itu kini mendedikasikan sebagian besar waktu dan ilmunya untuk Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Kekayaannya yang diperkirakan mencapai 81 miliar dolar ini justru semakin mendorong keinginannya untuk berbuat baik kepada sesama. Bahkan, mantan mahasiswa Harvard University ini hanya akan memberikan warisan sebesar 10juta dolar kepada masing-masing anaknya. Pada tahun 2010, Gates mendeklarasikan aksi Gates Giving Pledge, yang membuktikan kalau ia ingin memberikan setengah dari kekayaannya untuk aksi sosial. Yayasan sosial miliknya giat bekerja mengenai isu kesehatan seperti pemberian vaksin malaria, polio, dan pencegahan HIV di berbagai benua.

OPRAH WINFREY

Oprah Winfrey – selain dikenal sebagai pembawa acara untuk her own talk show dari tahun 1986 hingga 2011, Oprah Winfrey merupakan wanita Afrika-Amerika pertama yang berhasil masuk ke jajaran daftar billionaire versi Forbes di tahun 2003. Menjadi sukses seperti sekarang tentunya bukan perkara mudah bagi Oprah Winfrey karena banyaknya masalah yang ia miliki di waktu muda, mulai dari kekerasan seksual, dilahirkan di keluarga yang tidak utuh, penggunaan obat-obatan, dan lain sebagainya. Bakatnya di bidang public speaking sudah diasah sejak remaja, hingga ia bisa menjadi news anchor termuda di Nashville TV Station di usia yang baru 19 tahun. Sejak berlibur di Afrika Selatan pada tahun 2002, hatinya tergerak untuk menolong anak-anak di sana. Ia menghadirkan kegiatan bernama Christmas Kindness-memberikan hadiah bagi setiap anak di sana. Nggak hanya itu, hingga sekarang ia juga memberikan bantuan kesehatan dan pendidikan bagi anak-anak yang terkena AIDS di Afrika. Tambah lagi, melalui program Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, ia mengajarkan perempuan di sana untuk mengembangkan soft skills mereka di bidang kepemimpinan dan komunikasi sehingga kelak mereka bisa punya masa depan yang lebih baik.

rowling

J.K. Rowling – siapa yang tahu bahwa alasan penulis sukses serial Harry Potter ini tidak lagi menjadi seorang billionaire adalah karena ia begitu senang menyumbangkan uangnya untuk anak-anak yang hidup dalam kemiskinan. ‘‘I remember 20 years ago not eating so my daughter would eat. I remember nights when there was literally no money,”katanya di suatu kesempatan. Melalui yayasan sosial miliknya yang bernama Lumos, Rowling berupaya mencarikan keluarga dan kondisi yang layak bagi anak-anak yang terlantar di panti asuhan. Lumos sendiri merupakan istilah yang merujuk kepada cahaya di ujung tongkat sihir milik Harry Potter. Sedangkan, inspirasi untuk menolong anak-anak di Eropa Tengah tersebut juga berkaitan dengan kisah Harry Potter yang lahir tanpa kasih sayang dari orangtuanya.

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Taylor Swift – memberikan kebahagiaan bagi orang lain nggak melulu harus dengan uang, dan hal ini dibuktikan oleh Ms. Swift. Terkenal sering memberikan kejutan bagi para penggemarnya, baru-baru ini Taylor Swift mengunjungi fansnya yang juga penderita kanker di rumah sakit, memberikan donasi untuk melunasi tagihan rumah sakit, memberikan personalized Christmas gift kepada fansnya, dan masih banyak lagi.

Bahagia itu Sederhana

HOW TO BE HAPPY

Bahagia itu sederhana, katanya.

Tetapi banyak riset dan karya tulis yang secara mendalam membahas gimana caranya supaya orang bisa bahagia. Sederetan buku di kategori self-help juga ikut-ikutan menjelaskan tentang hal ini, baik dari segi spiritual, psikologi, dunia pekerjaan, dan aspek sosial. Alasannya tak lain adalah karena semua orang menginginkan hidup yang fulfilling dan menyenangkan. Seorang Dalai Lama juga mengatakan: The purpose our life is to be happy. 

Berdasarkan aspek psikologis, dikatakan kalau happiness takes effort. Memang butuh usaha dari diri kita sendiri untuk merasa happy. Tidak hanya dengan menghindari hal-hal yang tidak menyenangkan, tetapi juga kita secara aktif harus melakukan hal-hal yang menyenangkan! Nggak harus dengan hal-hal yang besar dan wah seperti traveling ke negara baru, mendapatkan penghargaan dan trophy, atau punya mobil mewah.

Berikut ini cara-cara simple how to be happy yang semua orang bisa lakukan:

Build a better relationship with the people you love. Hubungan yang harmonis dengan teman, saudara, dan keluarga, secara positif berhubungan dengan tingkat kebahagiaan seseorang. Coba mulai tunjukkan perhatian ke orang-orang terdekat; ingat ulangtahun mereka, be a good listener to what they might share, support their dreams and ambitions, and try to be present in their important day, whether it’s a graduation, wedding, or if someone’s sick or lose someone important to them.

Spend money on things that you genuinely like. Uang memang bukan segalanya, tetapi kalau kita punya uang, apa salahnya dipakai untuk membeli sesuatu yang memang kita suka? Yang gila olahraga, it’s OK to buy a new pair of running shoes. It looks cool and plus, you can be more motivated to do exercise now. Yang suka jalan-jalan, boleh banget nabung uang sekalian nabung jatah cuti untuk pergi ke destinasi impian kamu waktu ada libur. Yang suka musik, it’s totally fine to spend your money on concerts that you’ve been waiting for.

Give back to society. Sebuah riset di tahun 2005 menunjukkan bahwa dengan berbuat baik kepada orang lain, kita bisa merasa lebih complete and happy. Sejumlah orang diminta untuk melakukan 5 acts of kindness setiap minggunya. Hasilnya, terdapat sedikit peningkatan prosperity atau kesejahteraan pada orang yang melakukan satu perbuatan baik setiap hari. Sedangkan, orang-orang yang melakukan 5 perbuatan baik setiap harinya mencapai peningkatan prosperity hingga 40%. And by act of kindness, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture like what Mark Zuckerberg just did recently, but it can be small things as well: giving a nice compliment on social media, borrow a pen to someone, offer a ride to your co-workers, and many more which can even make your heart melt! 

10 Quotes on Forgiveness

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white tulip means forgiveness

Life is full of disappointments. Sometime things can go smoothly without problem and just in the next minute everything can turn upside down. Holding grudge against something  brings nothing but an emotional burden on your side. At some point of your life, you will have something or someone to forgive. Whether it’s your boss at work who hurts your feelings with their word, a shitty partner in your previous relationship, the woman at the cashier who gives you the wrong change, or even yourself, who is failed to obtain a satisfying result of the last project.

Here are a collection of beautiful quotes on forgiveness which hopefully can make us understand the importance of forgiveness and exactly, how to forgive:


 

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
Steve Maraboli


 

“People have to forgive. We don’t have to like them, we don’t have to be friends with them, we don’t have to send them hearts in text messages, but we have to forgive them, to overlook, to forget. Because if we don’t we are tying rocks to our feet, too much for our wings to carry!”
C. JoyBell C.


 

“Forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” – Unknown


 

“I learned a long time ago that some people would rather die than forgive. It’s a strange truth, but forgiveness is a painful and difficult process. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s an evolution of the heart.”
—Sue Monk Kidd


“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” – Louis B. Smedes


“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare…”
Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith


“We learn our lessons; we get hurt; we want revenge. Then we realize that actually, happiness and forgiving people is the best revenge.”
—Madonna


“Forgiveness is the one gift you don’t give to others. Rather, it is the gift you give yourself, so you can finally be free.”
—Shannon L. Alder


“Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. It prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.”
—Hemant Smarty


“Life is so short. The only person you hurt when you stay angry or hold grudges is you. Forgive everyone, including yourself.”
Tom Giaquinto


 

 

Indonesia, di Mata Saya dan Dia

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Jakarta dari puncak Monumen Nasional

Tom pertama kali datang ke Indonesia pertengahan Agustus 2015. Ini merupakan pengalaman pertama buat dia traveling ke luar negeri sendirian, pengalaman pertamanya keluar Eropa, sekaligus pengalaman pertamanya ke Asia. Jadi, nggak cuma buat saya, buat dia pun pengalamannya nggak terlupakan banget saking banyaknya hal baru yang dia temuin. Ini saya cerita beberapa contohnya, ya.

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Tentang kondisi traffic di jalanan. Dari pertama kali dia naik mobil keluar dari komplek bandara, matanya nggak lepas ngeliatin jalanan (iya, bukan ngeliatin saya). Dia kayak bingung gitu karena selain jumlah kendaraan yang banyak banget lalu-lalang di jalan, pengendaranya juga nggak semuanya tertib. Ada motor yang tiba-tiba nyelip gitu aja, angkot yang berhenti mendadak, mobil yang belok tanpa ngasih lampu sen, dan sebagainya, Dia curious banget gimana sebenarnya peraturan di Indonesia tentang berkendara. Soalnya di tempat dia tinggal, volume kendaraan benar-benar sedikit. Bahkan kalau malam hari, jumlah mobil yang lewat di jalan raya itu bisa dihitung pakai jari. Motor? Nyaris nggak ada. Apalagi kalau musim dingin, nggak ada motor yang nampak di jalan raya. Lucu gitu jadinya ngeliat muka dia yang nervous gitu liat jalanan. Terus dia berulang-ulang bilang,”I think I am not able to drive here, somebody will probably kill me or I might kill somebody.”

Tentang orang Indonesia yang ramah. First impression dia terhadap orang Indonesia yaitu friendly. Jadi ceritanya waktu dia baru mendarat, pas lagi nyari saya, ada segerombolan ABG cewek yang ngedeketin dia, kenalan, dan minta selfie gitu. Dasar Tom orangnya baik nyaris menuju innocent, dia iya-in aja dan selain itu dia sempet disapa sama beberapa staf bandara juga. Jadi sejak itulah dia pikir orang Indonesia ramah-ramah ke foreigner. Dan itu beda banget sama di negaranya, di mana orang lokalnya pun lebih sering jutek even ke orang lokal lainnya.

Tentang jenis pekerjaan dan service yang excellent di Indonesia. Mungkin karena jumlah penduduk yang banyak, terutama di usia produktif ya, di Indonesia kita bisa nemuin banyak banget jenis lapangan pekerjaan yang nggak bisa atau susah kita temuin di Eropa. Contohnya, pembantu rumah tangga, mas-mas di supermarket yang masukin barang belanjaan ke kantong plastik, mas-mas di supermarket yang nimbangin buah, tukang parkir, tukang jualan macem-macem di bus, mas-mas yang bukain pintu mobil di lobby mall, penjaga pintu tol, dan lain-lain. Yang paling lucu sih yang bukain pintu mobil kita di lobby mall. Tom kayak,”What is he doing??” dengan muka wondering gitu. And setelah dijelasin, dia kayak,”He is paid to do that??” Ya gitu. Soalnya juga di negaranya jumlah penduduknya sedikit banget kalau dibanding Indonesia. Jadi sebisa mungkin semua perusahaan hanya menggunakan jumlah minimum tenaga kerja. Dan tipe pekerjaannya juga banyak yang sudah dikerjakan mesin atau self-service.

Terus pernah sekali dia amazed banget waktu masuk toilet di tempat umum, lalu disapa gitu sama penjaganya, something like “Welcome to the toilet, Sir.” Terus dia keluar-keluar WC, excited banget, terus bilang,” Oh my god there is no such thing like that in Czech, here everyone is so happy and content with what they’re doing, even if it’s just cleaning the toilet.” Tom bilang di negaranya hampir semua orang yang kerjaannya di level seperti itu nggak akan mau kasih effort lebih buat bikin customer seneng; mereka literally just do what they should do. Kita nggak bisa expect untuk disapa, dilayani dengan senyum, dan sebagainya. Jadi bangga-bangga gimana gitu. Dipikir-pikir iya juga sih. Jadi terharu.

Tentang Jakarta: modern tetapi uncivilized at the same time. Kesimpulan itu didapat setelah dia lihat mal-mal yang begitu mewahnya, yang isinya pun barang impor dengan harga selangit, kendaraan-kendaraan bagus yang ada di jalan, rumah-rumah yang besar dan sebagainya, sekaligus mengalami sendiri gimana buruknya kondisi traffic di jalan, tata kota yang berantakan, polusi, dan sampah yang sering ganggu di jalan. Dia juga nggak terbiasa nggak bisa minum air langsung dari tap. Semoga Jakarta (dan Indonesia secara umum) bisa jadi jauh lebih baik secepatnya ya.

Tentang keluarga Indonesia yang hangat dan banyak anggotanya.  Mungkin untuk keluarga muda sekarang sudah mulai berubah, tetapi rata-rata keluarga generasi dulu kan anaknya banyak-banyak ya. Jarang yang cuma 2. Bisa di atas 5 sampai kisaran 10. Alhasil, sepupu saya ada banyak banget. Mungkin kalau ditotal ada 20-an. Sedangkan Tom keluarganya kecil sekali. Dia bahkan nggak punya sepupu sama sekali. Dan keluarga besar saya masih sering ngumpul-ngumpul paling nggak sebulan sekali gitu. Dia seneng bisa lihat keluarga yang besar tetapi dekat satu sama lain dan bisa saling ngobrol gitu.

 Tentang weather yang gitu-gitu aja. Secara Indonesia negara tropis, jadi ya udah, udah nggak bisa diapa-apain.

Tentang susahnya nyari alcoholic drinks. Ha-ha.

In the end nggak semuanya jelek loh, ya!

Kalau dari saya sih, yang paling saya suka dari Indonesia tuh keberagamannya. Orangnya macem-macem banget. Nggak cuma dari warna kulit atau fisiknya aja, tetapi dari budayanya, agamanya, mata pencahariannya, cara pikirnya, dan lain-lain. Bisa dengan mudah nemuin orang yang hidupnya kaya sekali secara materi sampai orang yang kerja hanya untuk ngisi perut hari itu. Jadi kita bisa belajar banyak tentang kehidupan dengan hanya melihat lingkungan sehari-hari gitu.

Kalau yang paling saya nggak tahan dari Indonesia yaitu mental korup-nya sama close-minded-nya. Nggak usah dijelasin kali, ya, entar sakit hati sendiri.

Kalau kalian, apa nih pendapat yang paling ngena tentang Indonesia?

Life After Graduation: Nothing Goes According to Plan

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I graduated not long ago. I was beyond happy when they announced my final presentation result. Being announced as a Bachelor of Economics was all I could dream about when I was studying at university. Starting the new experience to actually earn money sounded very challenging as well as exciting at the same time.

Honestly, I had a high expectation of how my first job would be after I get my degree. I was one of those students in the class who always got an A when the other students had to struggle to get a C. I was the one who always paid full attention to what the teachers said in class. People counted on me to get information on the deadline of final project and how to solve the latest equation. When the exam period came, I organized a small study group so that we could learn from each other. No wonder, when a bunch of reputable companies came to our school to do a recruitment process for the fresh graduates, I instantly got various offers from many of them.

After several awkward interviews, hours spent waiting, energy-consuming writing test, and countless portraits of me wearing formal dress, I finally got my first job offer from a company. I was, again, beyond happy, because I could finally start working even before my graduation ceremony. The job description sounded pretty cool too, packed with a nice monthly numeration. Plus, the first visit to the office made my heart skip a beat because it just felt sophisticated; being a part of that dynamic team in a very growing industry. It’s something that I’ve always read in a novel, something that I’ve always watched in movie. You know the whole scene, right? Well-designed office in a high skyscraper, located in the most modern city of your country, completed with young and busy employers who talk about stuffs that sound unfamiliar to you. I just finished my exam, and now I had a new identity card as part of this team.

Little did I know that my first experience in a corporate would end in numbered days. The training process that I thought will train and equip me with new computer skills, turned out to be unorganized, and I spent more time Googling about how to do the task than actually doing the task because there was literally nobody there who was responsible for me — the new clueless staff. I had to work longer than the normal working hours — not only because I had so much things to get done, but also because they have to do the training session after working hours, otherwise they could not finish their own job. I thought the former team consisted of a bunch of motivated young employers who were passionate in what they did at work. They turned out to be regular people who did everything just because they had to do it, and they spent most of the times talking about the next employers who will stop working, and also the next company that they would be applying to because staying in that company was never their plan A. Complaints were everywhere. Every team needed more people to get things done. And there was always not enough people for every team. All I could feel was a massive negativity.

Just when I tried my best to accomplish one task — a task that my coworker referred as “too much to handle for the new kid like you” — and tried to talk to myself, telling my inner-self to be strong, telling my eyes to stay open and focus on the spreadsheet, something happened. They told me that in the following month, the only person in my team would move abroad and there was not much option for me rather than to replace him as well as his responsibility. I instantly thought that was a joke. I still couldn’t apply the right shortcut just to get the right formula. I still couldn’t fully comprehend how exactly the company managed their business process. I still didn’t even know the other staff’s name who sat next to and across me at the office. How could I possibly manage all the new tasks which definitely required more complex calculation, depth analysis, and coordination with all the divisions?

Knowing that it didn’t go according to the contract that I have signed before, I finally made the craziest decision ever: leaving the company even before the coworkers remembered my name. I sometimes wonder how they would refer to me after I quit. But, it’s either quit or become “the one who has to figure out all by herself how to do a job properly in just 3 weeks — a job that obviously would lead to long-hours working in the office where nobody cares about how stressful she is — and the one who would definitely create nothing more than an awful mess at the end”.

I was totally devastated. Partly because my first dream corporate job after graduation turned into a nightmare, and mostly because I chose to give up on that nightmare. I cried on the phone call with my boyfriend and my best friend that day. That was just too much for me. I once read one article that said, the only way to tell if you are just in a normal stress or you definitely need to stop working in a company, is by start imagining yourself getting a car accident so that you could be happy and stop working the next day. At that moment, I really wish I had a terrible car accident, terrible sickness, or whatever, as long as I didn’t need to come back to the office. People who know me well probably would describe me as a very hardworking and persistent person. I didn’t like the feeling of giving up. It’s not like the normal me. But in that case, I chose to give up.

A short phase after I quit, felt like a limbo. I still couldn’t believe what just happened. I took quite some time to think about “what was that” and “what I supposed to do now”. I turned down any other company’s offer because of this job. I even lost some of my music students because of this job required me to relocate. And now I didn’t have a job anymore.

After getting out from the crowd and hectic schedule, I started to do things that I genuinely like. I started playing music again. I started reading articles again. I talked to my family about what I was going through. I felt like I found myself again.

I decided to just simply apply the phrase “do what you love and the money will follow” to my life. I became a professional music instructor at a music school. I did audition, interview, training, and other stuffs as well. I try to give my best to teach my remaining music students at home so that I could have more of them. I also manage my previous start-up which was kind of being forgotten not long ago. And, in my spare time, I help improving my family’s business, which also aligns with what I love: kids and education.

So, do I earn more money now? No. By now I still don’t have fixed monthly income because I only have few kids to teach. I still haven’t passed the probation period. And everyone knows startup needs a lot of money at the early stage. I don’t make more money than an average fresh-graduate who work in a company. But I do make a fair amount of money; enough to make me happy, enough to make me proud of what I’m doing. And I believe I’m going to earn more.

And, am I happier now? Yes, one hundred percent. I can manage my own routines. I don’t feel horrible anxiety anymore when I check e-mail. I write more and more pieces of articles. I become nicer to people around me. I am not tired all the time. I have more time for people I love. I can hear more melodies in my head. I don’t feel the constant need to check my watch. I can even have my own staffs and pay their salary. I complain less about life.

I realized a valuable life-lesson from this experience: “You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.”

And, by the way, I am still a hardworking and persistent person. I just selectively pick the battle that I love most.

originally published in Medium.