Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aim High! (and I mean real high….)

When we graduated from college, or maybe even before that, I am sure everyone of us had a dream of what we wanted to become, what kind of career we wanted and what kind of life we would want to lead. And when we graduated, we embarked on the journey. Some of us continued on the path that we have dreamed on, and made it. Others found that the journey was not smooth and chose another journey. Some of us are perhaps on the verge of thinking: Is this STILL the right journey, or shall I take another one, a different one?. But whatever it is, most of us continue walking, or maybe perhaps even running.

The end of that journey sometimes is very clear to us, other times, it’s not. But how many of us have actually defined what that end will be – aside from a better life in the future…whatever ‘better’ means which again will be different from one person to the other.

I work in an industry where it is actually difficult to find good talents – and I mean real, good, talents who have enough commitment to stay on and ‘make it’ as their definition of their end of the journey, or to continue on the journey. And sadly, in the whole of my career, I don’t often come across people who are in this industry and really want to ‘make it’. Yes, market research is tough. At times it drives us mad with deadlines and all. But, aren’t all industries have the same story?. It’s all in the mind and our attitude towards it, isn’t it?.

And when I say ‘make it’ – I mean making ourselves indispensable to the industry, not just to the company we work in. And this is not just in the industry I work in, but in any industry. Have we actually aimed that high – not just about climbing the career ladder, but more, to make a stamp, to create a story about us…some sort of an ‘urban legend’ for the industry in which we work.

I keep thinking about this as I sometimes sadly look around me. And again I maybe just talking about market research – where, sometimes, the so called ‘experts’ are still people from out of this country. I have no negative sentiments to them – but, I feel sorry for my own country men and women who actually, if they try hard enough, if they learn hard enough from those expatriates, they can be the same expertise, too!, if not even more.

I see talented people sometimes do not realize they have good talents, and they do not focus on their talent, which is a real pity. And often we look at others and think that we will never get there, rather than think that we CAN get there if we focus and try hard enough.

Sometimes work becomes just as ‘work’ – something routine that we do everyday. But, is that how we want to look at it for the rest of our lives?. Is going up the ladder at work, at the company where we work, is the only aim that we can have?.

I personally stay in market research because I love it. I never care about going up the ladder – as long as I can do what I love doing, that is enough for me. Then one day I stopped and thought, is that it? Is that a high enough aim for my life?. If I love doing what I do now, then, shouldn’t I aim higher than just doing it for the love of it?.

Then I began thinking about making a ‘stamp’. Not having anything to do with pride, but, I believe, that as an Indonesian who loves working in an industry where talents are scarce, it is my tribute to this country too to make myself indispensable to the industry. I should be making a noise, not some foreigners. I should raise the bar for my own country men. If I cannot do it then I cannot claim that I love doing it – an expression of love, is when others can feel it and can benefit from it. At least, that’s what I believe.

If we, as Indonesians, sometimes think that no one in this country does something good for the business, then have we actually done something ourselves?. Everything starts small and most of the time, we should start from ourselves. I always believe Indonesians are creative and smart – I mean, if we can survive these years of difficulty, there must be something good in us.

Or, am I dreaming too much about seeing more of my country men and women to lead the way and make more noise?. I hope I’m not….

(R I R I)

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