Coffee’s all wrong.
Even by looking at it, I already know that every single thing about the cup with brown-white-ish liquid in front of me is wrong.
Touching the cup, it’s too hot, definitely over 65 degrees. The froth’s not silky enough, that means, bubbles are everywhere. Taking the first sip, it’s bitter, well which means, it’s overburnt.
Welcome to life back home.
After three weeks of readjusting, I have to say I have adapted quite well, minus my daily craving for good coffee. Traffic’s been bad, connection’s been a pain, freedom’s been lost, but so far, I quite enjoy it.
Food’s served every day. Laundry’s gone forever. Cream bath, manicure, and pedicure is a tenth of what it cost in Melbourne. I feel like a princess, to be honest.
A princess that needs to go to work soon.
After being faced with some future visa instability in Australia, I have decided to return to my home country, Indonesia, for a period of time. That is the agreement, at least, until I want to go back to do further degree or my parents can’t stand me anymore. Fate’s on my side too, as coincidentally I am accepted as an intern at an English-based magazine in Jakarta.
Some of my friends until this time are still curious with my decision. “Are you sure?” they ask. “Isn’t life better there? Why don’t you do masters?”
At times, I’m tired of explaining myself all over again. Now, I often shrug it off, smile, and say that I fancy playing hard to working hard. It’s not entirely a false statement, too.
I know, masters great. But not at the expense of undervaluing other choices.
Somehow, not landing a job straight after graduation is deemed as failure, even if you have an internship contract at hand. Internship, as good as it sounds, is still an internship – it’s a work look-alike, without the money nor security.
Once you have graduated, I guess many people will think that we are too old for doing yet another internship.
So fresh graduates tend to escape this fate by doing masters. I know friends who are doing masters because they genuinely want to, but most often, they are doing masters because they are not ready to wear the label of being unemployed.
Going back to Jakarta exposes me to a bunch of my parents’ friends who are wondering what on earth am I doing here. Their stares show the thought, “Not employed? Do education instead!”
In other words, unless you are earning real money, get your ass back to pursuing some degrees.
Is it that bad, being jobless? You think it’s okay, that it’s just a phase in life that will make us stronger, until you meet someone who asks what you are doing for a living and you struggle to explain your life. Like you owe them some real explanation.
Like, “I couldn’t get a job, but I’m doing tons of unpaid internships instead to gain experience.” Or, “I’m focusing on my passion since I have the time, if I’m in the workforce I’ll no longer have time to do this.”
Bottom line? You don’t want to feel like a failure as you don’t have a contract yet, so you are coating the story to make it look justifiable (especially the part that you can’t get a job – yet).
Failure. A word that all of us cringe at, something that we pray we will never face our entire life.
Even after you do get a job, people start asking about your salary and if you earn below the line, you feel like a failure, too.
When will you reach the line of not failing? Of finally being able to taste success? Ironically, it’s not when you get a job, nor when you get a fat check.
I think, the line starts when you decide to stop thinking about what others think about you.
And yet, it takes a great deal of thick skin to not think about what others are thinking about us. To not feel the need to justify every single choice we make.
But it’s necessary. It’s to keep you sane, to keep your confidence and self-esteem on a safe level.
It’s to enable us to focus on the most important things.
If you have graduated and been unemployed for some time, it’s okay. Really, it is. No one should judge you based on your status, nor belittle you for that matter.
Being unemployed is just a phase in your life that will make you stronger. That will make you more mature. That will make you a person of integrity and empathy. That will teach you the meaning of hardwork and willpower.
Everything that’s worth pursuing is not easy to get. So let’s wear that thick skin, and keep on pursuing our dreams.
Author’s note: I wrote this story on the night February 4th. Strangely enough, I received my first full-time job offer a short while later. This princess will start working in three days’ time.