The Breaking Dawn

Note: This is not a note about the cheesy vampire love story. After long, dark, lonely nights, the dawn finally came to my life. 

January 2015.

It’s been two years since I resigned from Astra, the company that provided huge salary and safe position. It’s been two years since I left my comfort zone and took the leap to an unknown darkness. It’s been two years since I shared the story on why I made that decision, which was published on my book Follow @MerryRiana.

During those two years, many people asked, “So now, what are you up to?” They expected spectacular answers. Resigned from Astra, you must have awesome plans. Many thought I would be a successful motivator or started my own business and got rich instantly. They shook their heads in confusion when I replied that I joined a tiny, nameless startup.

Our office was only in a tiny apartment. We didn’t have office boy or cleaning service, so I had to mop the floor myself. Some of candidates that I invited for interview ran away when they saw the office – maybe they thought I was going to sell them as prostitute.

During the first year, there were moments when I asked myself, “I left Astra for this?” Hard times when clients were reluctant to be on board. Hard times when the employees I had trained for weeks resigned and left me with a pile of undone work. Hard times when I felt like I had given my best, and it just wasn’t enough.

But turned out that these words are 100% true: It’s supposed to be hard. If it’s easy, everyone will be doing it. The hard is what makes it great.

The result didn’t come instantly, but it showed bit by bit. Clients purchased again and again. Convincing portfolio made it easier to sell to new clients. Employees became family, turnover dropped drastically, they even recommended their friends to work for us. The office – now sophisticatedly located in a prestigious building – was full of laughters and jokes. It didn’t mean we no longer faced any problem, but we were united in one vision: this company was our second family.

If this were a movie or a novel, it would be the last chapter with happy ending. This nameless startup now known as Gift Card Indonesia that nailed million-dollars investment. As for myself, I accomplished the promise I made to myself. I earned enough money to travel around the world, and to buy my own apartment. Everything looked unbelievably perfect, and it all started with a leap of faith.


The Road Less Traveled

Note: I write this as the Basic Manual #1 Speech for Toastmaster Club. It was in October 2013, 5 months since I wrote the last post “I Screwed My Life”.

Exactly a year ago, I was holding in my hand the things most people wanted. I worked at a very prestigious company, and my salary was the highest among my classmates. And my boyfriend just proposed me to marry him. If you told me last year that today I would be cleaning the used glass and dirty floor, without any ring on my finger, I would laugh and say that you’re crazy.
But here I am now. Ring less finger. Nametag less neck. And yep, this morning I cleaned the office floor. How could this happen?

To explain this we have to go back to my childhood.
I was a book freak. And I grew up with fairy tales. You know, the love at the first sight and live happily ever after thingy. And though I know that it’s nonsense, I hold it unconsciously—maybe until now. I hold it in the 2 aspects of my life: relationship and work. I still believe that someday I will find the one who complements me perfectly. That someday I will get a highly paid job that I’m truly passionate about. But as years went by and reality bite, I started to lower my expectation.

Even before I was graduated, I was accepted at Astra International as a recruitment analyst. It’s never been my dream job. I love writing and event organizing since I was very little and I always wanted to work in a magazine or EO or something like that. But Astra offered me a ridiculous amount of money that blinded me. So I accepted the offer.
It’s not so bad at first. My coworkers were nice. The job description was easy. I can accomplish the task easily.
And my relationship was not bad either. My now ex bf had a stable job, my family loved him, and above all, he loved me so much.

But in spite of that comfort I felt empty. I didn’t feel any fulfillment. My job wasn’t significant. In a big company like Astra, we use the bus theory. What that means is if when you go home from office and you get hit by a bus and die, tomorrow somebody has to replace you and do your work flawlessly. It means that the system has to be established so well that no one can hurt the company when he leaves.
And I don’t like that. Anybody can do my job. My works was insignificant.

Many people tell me that I’m so lucky. High salary, easy job. But this is not what I want. I have bigger dreams. I still want to do so many things in my life. I want to build my own business, I want to study abroad, I want to live an adventure. And my name tag was choking me, and sadly, so was my ring.

So I threw them all.
Of course it’s not as easy as it sounded. I had to go through months and months of thinking, calculating and counseling. And I had to go through the tears and disappointment from my loved ones. But I kept going.

This is not a success story because I haven’t accomplished anything. I hope 5 years from now I can stand with more pride, saying that I have walked the road less traveled, and that what makes all the difference. But now I am doing the things I love. I join a startup company, and in this small team basically I have to do everything, including mopping the floor if needed. I write novels, my latest novel was collaboration with Merry Riana. I speak at few seminars and trainings, mostly about courage. About risk taking. About taking the leap of faith

So here I am now. Wandering through the unknown, to hopefully a better place. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not ship is built for.

I Screwed My Life

Note: this is an old diary entry. I remember writing this in the morning, feeling genuinely terrified about the unknown future. Now that the dawn has finally came, I decide to share my journey to you.

May 2013

My life is screwed. Or I should say, I screwed my life.

I have no one to blame.

I’ve abandoned everything secure and comfortable in my life. And it scares me like hell. Although I look careless and calm. Although I act reckless like it’s not a big deal. I’m scared like hell!

I’m afraid I’m ruining my life and let down the people I love.

I have to pay 40 mios IDR penalty to Astra. I’m going to leave a company that pays me 10 mios per month for an unknown startup that pays me 4 mios/mo.

I have to pay 20 mios for the cancelled wedding. So it’s 60 mios in total. The price of this lesson is 60 mios, more expensive than my undergrad tuition fee.

Talking bout learn it the hard way, huh?

But so what?

I only lost my money. I used to start without any money either; I joined Astra with zero in my bank account because I used the money to travel around Europe. Now I can live with zero saving too, can’t I?

And I paid the 60 mios for what? To buy my freedom. To buy my time. To buy my space to purse my dream. Worth it? Hell yeah, I’m even willing to pay 100 mios for that! (I want to say a bigger number, but obviously I don’t have the money lol.)

Now, I give myself 2 years timeframe. In two years, I have to earn minimum as much as I would earn if I stayed at Astra. That would be around… 300 mios? Damnit. That’s a lot!

But that’s my promise.

The limit is when I’m 26, the magic 26.