July 15, 2015 marked my 2nd work anniversary. It felt like a short time, but the amount of lessons learned is probably surmountable –or to put simply, beyond what I expected. I was very fortunate to choose Project Officer role at the Young Leaders for Indonesia (YLI) Foundation as my first job out of college, simply because of the learning curve, the great culture of work, and the network I had built throughout my time there. As I moved to my 2nd job in DBS Bank, I wonder if there would ever be a better place than YLI in terms of working environment –which says much about the culture.
One said that my reality is twisted because although YLI is a foundation, and contrary to what people have in mind about non-profit organizations, YLI is very strict on professionalism and high performance –thanks to McKinsey & Company who safeguarded the whole operations. On the learning curve, the culture and the network, of course it was highly influenced by how McKinsey does things.
The non-hierarchical culture, where everyone, despite of their background and status, will be valued for their opinion. It is a merit-based organization where politics is hardly to be found. And that is scarce in Indonesia because most people will be respected when they are either senior, rich, or with high positions. People would then work hard to be able to reach the top, without having to worry about being cut off by someone who does not belong there.
Aside from that, I really appreciate the feedback culture they implemented. People are taught to be open to feedback, in fact regard it as a gift. Same thing applies to the giver; they need to know that giving feedback is actually a favor, and keeping it away from the people means doing them a disfavor.
And so I met wonderful people during my time there, people who taught me much about leadership and helped me build an idea of the ideal leaders and work environment, which later on, sadly, caused me to struggle grasping the reality.
Working with such great talents, purpose-driven and highly professional people in the past, I am now very much stressed out knowing the fact that it was way too difficult finding the same situation anywhere else under the sun. Worse, my got told me that it was only going to get worse outside these multinational companies.
Apart from that, however, working in a commercial institution has helped to balance my social spirit even better. I am expected to think from many different angles, hit so many birds with one shot, and try to benefit the business through a social cause. Yes, I took care of the CSR and Internal Communication unit.
I asked for a different challenge, and here I am, with a totally different situation: large organizations with so many stakeholders to take into account, relatively large team (compared to what I had before), a lot more activities to handle (so yes, I need to wear many different caps under the two units), more complex processes, for sure, higher expectations. Nothing is seriously easier. Well, I guess that’s the idea of a promotion, no?
Yes, I am stressed out. I still do the things I love most of the time, and I still do things I do not really like but have to do anyway.
Nevertheless, all these realities will stay unknown had I not jumped into the real life and continued studying. I never imagined how hard it is to be independent and make a living. Never had I imagined the stress level I would be at and honestly this is way beyond what I thought I could comprehend. Yet, I survived, and still striving to survive each and every day, with the many challenges. Just hoping I would be able to get through it and make it out safely.