A Quarter-Life Crisis, Perhaps


I have refrained myself from labeling this as a quarter-life crisis not only because I am still two years short, but also in the wake of my disbelief to such sights. I had always believed that things like pre-menstrual syndromes are simply excuses made up by men who did not want to compromise to their women in arguments, as much as quarter-life crises are made up by young adults who cannot figure out what they want to do in their life.

In spite of that, I had come into realisation that a quarter-life crisis is perhaps what I am going through at the moment – or perhaps not.

Last year, I graduated from the university and signed off to become a full-time employee in a giant multinational company based in Jakarta. A lot of people asked me why I took the decision, which seemed strange to them. “I had always thought you were going to work in the UN or an NGO!” is something I had gotten used to hearing every single day in my first months of being employed, at least from the mouths of youngsters who are stuck in the same circles with mine. To be frank, the job that I possess is a job that could be enviable to some, not to mention the company I work for is a company that I really admire. However, I still could not keep that question from being thrown onto my face. Maybe because people already have expectations on what I should do in life.

I basically took the decision to work full-time because I have seen too many young ‘activists‘ or self-proclaimed pseudo-entrepreneurs trying to change the world without having a sense of reality and what really happens on the ground. I wanted to know how it would feel like to meet people in remote areas, to witness how they maintain a certain perspective towards current issues, and how they run their lives. I also practically had never been led by someone else, let alone having a boss. I thought that would have been an essential experience to be possessed, also to prevent myself from turning into a Ms. Know-It-All.

Long story short, I have managed working in a company for over a year now, something I had never thought I would ever successfully go through. Now here comes the trouble. By this point, most of my friends from certain circles have already graduated, or at least, signed up for graduate school. Other have started award-winning entrepreneurial pursuits, or successfully soared as talented ‘self-employed’ artists, writers, or film-makers. Yet, here I am, working in a company on a 9-to-6 job (no, it’s not an 8-to-5). Yearning for my pay day to come sooner, or for a day to run more quickly.

Sometimes it makes me ask myself, “What have I been doing in the past one year?”

It’s something that I constantly talk about to my significant other, someone whom I seek to console myself with. He has always been a hard worker, one of his qualities that makes look up to him. He’s started working part-time in high school to do the same thing until he’s finished university, to earn money to pay for his living costs and tuition fees. He then worked on two jobs simultaneously for a couple of years. Quoting on what he often says to me, “Be grateful of the job you have. I used to come home at 3 am only to find myself working again 4 to 5 hours later, to make ends meet.”

This evening, I re-told him the same story, that sometimes I feel like I have not been doing much, I have not been doing great things for my future like what my friends are doing. I have not been contributing to the country as much as I could, and as much as I should. I haven’t been…

This is what he told me,

“I think what you are doing: creating activations at work, writing books, selling ice creams, have tangible results. I could see you doing it. It is not something that could be gone through the thin air. It is not something conceptual anymore. I think, by doing so, you have been creating an impact in people’s lives, an impact that could be witnessed, which is not something that many people could do these days.”

And that got me thinking.

In IYC, we have always believed on the principle that anyone, any young person, should be able to positively contribute towards the development of Indonesia through his/her passion and interests — no matter what they might be. That the contribution should not be limited to activities in the field of politics and education, but also creative industry and economy. That whatever you like to do could be transformed into something useful for the community, only if you know how to do it, and how to see it.

I could not believe that I, myself, could forget to apply this principle in my own life. I have not done much, yes, but I could keep on pursuing anytime I wish to. Perhaps the way could be different with how my friends are doing it. Perhaps I do not go to Ivy League schools, or volunteer in political campaigns, but it can never mean that I am not allowed to go my own ways in creating my own version of “contribution” towards the betterment of Indonesia, can it?

But hey, perhaps this is just one of a useless ramblings of a recently-legal girl having both quarter-life crisis and pre-menstrual syndrome at the same time.

Or perhaps not.

4 thoughts on “A Quarter-Life Crisis, Perhaps

  1. ingke

    Hi kak alanda, this post really inspired me.

    I think I have been through more or less the same issue in life. started career in a multinational company, working with a very different background, yet at the same time I still have my own ambition to pursue my passion.

    With this post you really encourage to keep doing my best in corporate life and just be grateful for the opportunity that I have and experiences that I gain along the way.

  2. Hello Alanda.

    I feel you. So much. Kadang hidup berlalu begitu aja, rasanya kok saya ga ngasih dampak atau feedback yang besar ke lingkungan sekitar ya. Apalagi dengan adanya socmed dimana-mana, bisa kenal berbagai orang yang sangat menginspirasi dan melakukan hal-hal besar di dalam hidupnya (seperti kamu!), sometimes I feel so small. Apa sih yang bisa diberikan oleh seorang karyawan 8-5 seperti saya?

    Tapi setelah membaca post ini dan mendengar apa yang Adit katakan, ternyata benar juga lho, sedikit demi sedikit ternyata pekerjaan saya ini punya impact terhadap orang lain. Bisa membawa dampak positif dan it makes me feeling better. Thanks a lot! :)

  3. Hi Alanda. I love your writing. This post is pretty summed up my life. Working in a multinational company, which probably enviable for many, can be a big issue for young people like us. I feel something lost inside myself, I feel so bored with routine, sometimes.
    Probably we need to stop worrying about this and that. We need to be more grateful. Let’s proudly say that working in a MNC is also a kind of contribution for Indonesia. We work and compete with people from various countries. Doesn’t it a kind of contribution also? :)

    Yes, we have our own way to contribute to society.

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