Self Deception on Career

Maybe it’s our behavior,
That we bend the facts to fit our self-image,
perpetuating a view of ourselves,
that is often more positive than accurate..”
(~Sam Sommers)

You see, when it come to career, I’ve always interested about “attitude” & behavior, just trying to understand my career more. And, this is another honest reality-based post, taken from various resource. I’ve noticed that various people doing those “self-deception” about their career. In fact, those “self-deception” can be used to make ourselves feel better, but sometimes it can cause problems.

Accompanied by denial, rationalization is used to justify things we do that we know are wrong. To sum it up, it is the way we allow ourselves to avoid facts. But, I think, rationalized are made so ourselves can feel better about a choice or decision at work, even deep down, we knew it was questionable.

The Better-Than-Average Effect
Have you ever involved on “Performance Appraisal” process at your company? If you ever done it, then you’ll notice that most people usually think they’re better or more than average, or having more than satisfied performace, etc. Let’s be honest, how many times have you thought to yourself, “I’m better than my co-workers.”?

Illusions of Control
It’s like that we convince ourselves that the randomness of life doesn’t apply to us. Others may be unable to manage their own workload, but somehow we think we can. Many workers think that if they do their job well and stay ‘under-the-radar’ at work, then they should be able to keep their job as long as they want it, a controllable job security. Do you think your hard-working efforts on-the-job ensure a job is yours for as long as you want it?

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Passion, It is..

“Your time is limited,
so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma,
which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions,
drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.”

(~Steve Jobs)

I do understand a lot about the quote above. You see, we all have these dreams, and somehow, reality of life pushes us in another direction, and next thing we know, we are far from those dreams we used to have.

Clearly, I’ve met a lot of people that seems not be doing what they were meant to do, or not doing what their knowledge meant to do. And, most of these people, are not happy at all with their life. This is an eye-opener for me.

You see, perhaps this is why there is so much unhappiness going on in our society, people just aren’t doing what they are here on Earth for. Maybe, that’s why passion is needed.

The question is, how do you know your passion?

You see, for me, peace is happiness, and happiness is passion. Think about something that you do or that perhaps you used to do that brings total peace to you when you do it. Sometimes, it can come from the topics of conversation we have. The topics that makes our eyes brighten up, and changes our entire behavior.

Or, think about something that you feel you must do and that failure is not even a concern of yours, because the mere act of doing it is like the journey and the destination all wrapped up in one. The thing is, as long as you remain true to yourself and follow your own interests, values and dreams, you will understand what passion is.

Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up a few years from now working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”. So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop, that’s passion.  You’re on to something big. Because, in that way, by your own definitions (not others), you’re already success.

Honest to yourself, and go after your passion, and you’ll see what enjoying life mean..

Perfectionism Trap

I’ve been there,
it’s exhausting having to try to be perfect all the time.
That’s how I held it together ever since I was a kid.
I figured nothing, nothing bad would happen if I was just,
One step ahead of everything and everybody, all the time..

First of all, I don’t believe perfectionism is bad character trait. In fact, I think it’s a sign of self-respect. As perfectionists, I know I have high standards about what I can do. That mean, I just want to demonstrate my best at all times. And sadly, it simply isn’t possible. That’s what drives me nuts. Because, in my experience, life, by its very nature, prevents this.

The desire to excel is usually a good thing, but when it spills over into perfectionism it can also cause a lot of trouble. Honestly, too often I put off turning in papers or projects, waiting to get them just right. Or, feel that I must give more than 100 percent on everything I do or else I’ll be mediocre or even a failure.

Until last year, I recognize this trait holds me back, and that’s the start for me to make real effort to overcome it. I changed my motto to “Progress, not perfection,” and to be honest, it served me well, and I’m proud of it. (You can check, that lots of my writing on this blog since last year, actually reflect on some of my efforts to overcome it).

It does, however, still trigger mild anxiety. But, I have it under control to a great extent. I won’t pretend to have all the answers. I can only share with you the things that work for me.

“Progress, not Perfection”

Sometimes, on my perfectionists mode, I used to think I’m not good enough. That makes me to constantly beat myself up for falling short. But, I realize, if the ultimate goal is perfection, I’ll always be disappointed. To overcome it, I’m learning to be grateful with progress, rather than a so called “amazing” result.

“To Prove ‘something’? It doesn’t Matters..”

Okay, here’s what I think. Who are you trying to be perfect for? Truth be told, no one notices you nearly as much as they notice themselves. That’s the nature of the world. So, I just letting it go my desire to impress others, or to prove “something”, that eventually trap me in perfectionism. How much others cares anyway? It just, doesn’t matters.

“Get Real, will you?”

By setting more realistic goals, I’m gradually realize that “imperfect” results do not lead to the punitive consequences I expect and fear. Otherwise, I enjoy process without too much anxiety. I don’t necessarily stop trying to improve, but I also doing it for fun and relaxation. Perfectionists often miss out on fun, relaxation and satisfaction, because it’s just not real.

Many of successful people are indeed accomplished while striving to perfect ourselves. Great achievers, like perfectionists, want to be and do better; but, they are also willing to admit to make mistakes and accept (learn) from failure, and general imperfection as part of the reality of being human..

The Sad Fact About Job

Since I’ve graduated, I’ve been constantly got this advice : “Do what you love, and you’ll never work”.. This advice actually kills me for few times. But now, I realized it’s so cliché that make me question its truth. Because the sad fact, based on my personal experienced, is this: “If I do what I love for a living, I’ll probably end up loving it a little bit less”..

Yes, it’s a wonderful goal to strive for finding work that we enjoy. In fact, it should be a goal for everyone. But this absurd axiom, suggests that we can simply take what we already love, turn it into something for which we get paid (meaning, have clients, bosses and deadlines and obligations, etc), and it won’t ever feel like anything other than that thing we love.

This is a blatant, hurtful lie that I fall for. And, in the beginning, I felt like something is wrong with me. But, then I can see that, when something I love becomes work, it fundamentally—and unavoidably—changes the way in which I interact with it.

“Work IS NOT Play, even the best job in the world [is] still just a job..”

Yep. Ain’t that the truth?

Work is called “work” because it’s not play. Once you depend on something to put food on your table, it becomes something different. It’s no longer “that thing you do for fun”; it’s “that thing you have to do for survival”.

Work isn’t the same as play, no matter how similar they might appear on the surface. Sometimes, when I do an activity all day long and depend on it for survival, the playfulness can disappear quickly.

That doesn’t mean you won’t end up enjoying or maybe even loving the work you do. But it will also be “work”. You probably won’t mistake it for anything else. Doing what you love can certainly make it a more enjoyable experience. But you’ll also experience a new side of that activity, and it won’t be comfortable.

Do I sound cynical? A little. But, lots of people sit around convinced that if only they could turn their hobby into a fulltime job, they’d finally be happy. Really?

The Destination?

Faith in Life

I’m just a man with something to prove,
slightly bored, & severely confused..
I hope, I can
manage to see the light on this “tunnel”..

You know, I always like to wake up in a late night, in time that morning will closely come. This kind of time really gives me a lot to think, surely, in a silence, which gives me sharp thought. In this kind of time, I usually doing some “dialogue” with my own mind. “Talking to myself”, if you prefer to put that way.

Right now, I’m thinking about Life Destination. I know, it will take a long “road” to arrive at the destination. Although, the destination itself maybe still exist on “fantasy”.  But, when I’ve tried to be honest to myself, it’s really give me some “pause” moment about the worthy on what I’m sacrificing. Because, I can’t even guess how often I believed the thoughts I was holding onto were true, only to find out otherwise.

I’m sure most of people keep hoping that one day we will find the man who really understands our experiences, the woman who will bring peace to our restless life, the job where we can fulfill our potential, the book which will explain everything, and the place where we can feel at home..

Such false help leads us to make exhausting demands and prepares us for bitterness and dangerous hostility when we start discovering that nobody, and nothing, can live up to our absolutistic expectations.

I do understand that Life is too short to feel sorry for yourself, to sit and do nothing. Because, I’m still believing that when I live an unconventional life, I’ll grow much faster than someone who’s looking for security, comfort and convenience..

It’s about faith for believing in a possibility, even when life gave all reasons not to believe..

Bukan Hasil Akhir..

Akhir-akhir ini, ada satu pertanyaan naif dari orang-orang sekitarku, yang kadang secara tidak langsung melemahkan semangat perjuanganku. “Kenapa orang kecil seperti kamu mesti kerja habis-habisan? Toh, gajinya cuma segitu-gitu juga”.

Dalam sujud panjangku semalam, ingatanku kembali melayang ketika masih di kampung dulu. Dulu, aku sering ikut orang tua pergi ke pasar pagi, pada pukul dua pagi untuk menjual hasil panen. Bertemu dengan manusia-manusia sederhana, tukang gorengan, penyapu jalan, petugas pembersih toilet, buruh tani, dll.

Apakah mereka akan mendapatkan hasil besar? Tidak..!! Meskipun mereka tahu bahwa tidak mungkin untuk mendapatkan pendapatan sejumlah miliaran atau sekedar ratusan ribu rupiah saja, namun mereka tetap melangkah, ikut terlarut dalam geliat hidup.

Dalam dunia nyata, setiap orang tahu, ada sejumlah hadiah disediakan bagi mereka yang berkoneksi sangat kuat. Bermodal teramat besar. Dan berkedudukan begitu tinggi. Namun, jika saja orang-orang yang tidak memiliki semua keistimewaan itu memilih untuk berhenti sebelum bertanding, kehidupan mungkin akan berubah menjadi sebuah ironi ketidakberdayaan.

Aku jadi sungguh merasa malu. Karena aku yang notabene lebih beruntung seringkali menyia-nyiakan potensi. Terlalu mudah untuk berkeluh-kesah. “Untuk apa bekerja jika dibayar dengan upah murah? Cuma membuat kaya para pengusaha saja! “Ngapain susah-susah jika gaji cuma segini?”

Padahal, orang tua sudah menyekolahkan dengan bersusah payah, mengumpulkan rupiah, demi rupiah, dengan terengah-engah. Supaya aku bisa jadi “orang”. Namun, setelah lulus? Setiap kali dihadapkan pada jalan yang menanjak sedikit saja, sudah cepat merasa lelah. Ketika tersandung dengan kerikil kecil saja, sudah mengeluh seolah kehilangan kaki sebelah. Mungkin, bukan peristiwanya yang menjadi musibah, tetapi sikap. Astaghfirullah…

Ya Rabb, jadikanlah aku ada dalam barisan hamba-hamba-Mu yang mampu memenuhi & menunaikan panggilan hidup, dengan segenap bekal yang telah Kau amanahkan dalam diriku. Panggilan hidup untuk menjalani kehidupan itu sendiri, jauh dari rasa takut & khawatir tentang hasil akhirnya…

Busy..?? Really..??

“Being busy does not always mean real work.
The object of all work is production or accomplishment…”

~ Thomas Alva Edison

Last week I had a very full schedule. Meetings, events, analysis reports, engineering projects, etc. I felt sooo busy. Until, My Boss encourage me with simple question. He simply asked me : “Armet, When was the last time you heard a successful person regard to themselves as “busy”?!” Wow, this question really make me realize lot of things..

Do you remember the last time you asked someone how work was? How about life in general? What was their response? The unanimous answer: “busy”..!! The response is almost programmed. No need to think. And then they look at me proudly, as if I should be impressed. Well, I can’t say that I am.

I’ve noticed that We’ve talked of being busy for so long that we’ve forgotten that being busy was never the goal. We are not on this earth to be busy. We are here to contribute, build relationships, experience life, go places, create things, help others, or whatever else you decide. But I have a feeling that none of us feel we are here simply to be busy. Why are We thinking that busy is good, no matter what we’re busy with?

I’m sure that being busy is not the way we should measure our worth. I do not believe being busy is a worthy goal for any of us. I think that felt busy is simply a state of mind. And, the fundamental difference between busy and doing a lot is in the attitude. Whenever someone tells you they’re busy, there’s negativity in that statement. It’s more of a complaint then an actual representation of their reality.

Life can never be too busy for the things that matter most. Pride and satisfaction are not found in busy. It doesn’t mean I don’t get things done. It just means I have to enjoy, do them calmly and with intent.

Yep, I am done being busy. That is no longer my response to life. Enjoy the weight that gets lifted off my back simply by changing my focus. Perception is reality and I don’t need busy to be my reality. I bet you’ll get even more done and have time left over to do the things you really care about.

Being Good Enough..??

A few days ago, my college friends celebrated the graduation. (Chat from yahoo messenger) The first question he asked to me, was the same “old” question for young professional (fresh graduate), “Am I really good enough for a real job”..?? Yep, almost the same question while I was fresh graduate too.

You see, ever since we were young, we’ve been taught that we aren’t good enough. Teachers have highlighted our mistakes with red pens and parents have wished we would’ve been better. It’s easy to assume that you don’t have any “value”, but you know what, you do, everybody do. Since I’m sure that every person have always something to offer.

Basically, the feelings of “not being good enough” are just because We tend to judge ourselves against another standard. This standard is often a comparison between what we ‘know’ about ourselves and what we ‘believe’ about the other. We end up seeing ‘the yuck’ of our own lives, but fail to see it in the other.

Other caused are the need of being perfect to become Good Enough” for the job, as We’ve imagined (I’ve been there). But, the thing is, We are not perfect. I am not perfect. Bill Gates is not perfect. Stephen King is not perfect. Your favorite authors are not perfect. Perfection is an idea, but not reality.

Just throw-up those mind-set and you’ll see your talent & what makes you an unique candidate for the job.

Please note that perfection is boring. No one wants to read about a perfect character, with a perfect life, and perfect job, and perfect family. The same goes for real life, right? 🙂

The New Chapter of Moving Forward

It’s funny, sometimes I walk into a place I’ve never been before,
but I get the feeling that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
So, never underestimate the power of destiny.
Because when I least expect it, suddenly my whole life change 180 degree..

Currently, I’m working for my new job, new place, new “direction”, and with a new people. A job that in my believe is the job that all engineer dream about. A job that provide me an opportunity to have a real career path, to grow, to learn, and also going overseas. Working in one of the biggest company in the world for Oil & Gas industry..

When you’re pushing adulthood, however, It’s easy to say you’re going to do something. It’s easy to be eager with words. Actions, actually, are much harder. You see, It’s almost 1,5 years of my graduation day from college, and living in a real world, working in the dynamism of Project. But, after involved on that job for almost 1,5 years, I can understand that I can’t spent my whole life living like that.

You see, of course there is a risk, still. I know, it’s really a big step that I’ve made for my career. This year will probably be one of my hardest,”and I know, once I’ve tasted this, I can’t turn back”, especially back to Project. There’s this thing about risks though, It’s easy to sign up, but it’s the follow-through that decides your character. So, I would like to focus for an opportunity of a lifetime like this, to pass the challenge of transitioning.

Because, really, given the opportunity to completely change your whole life, what you’re gonna do..?? That night, my father said to me, “Being normal gets you a middle-class life. It’s fifth place, and you know you want to be in first. All successful people then are understandably eccentric. They take risks that normal people wouldn’t.”

And, that’s the moment, see. The moment where I face all my fears in doubting myself  “can I answer the challenge or not”, something like that. Or the moment to decide whether I’m going to smile or freak-out, move forward or turn back.

And in case you were wondering… I jumped..!!! With a smile on my face.. All I hope, taking this chance means, I’ve arrived in my “destination”. Welcome to a new world, Met.. 🙂

Future-Worried Slaps Me

Have you ever had one of those days,
where nothing at all that monumental happens,
but by the end of it,
You have no idea of who you are anymore,
or what the hell you’re doing with your life?

I think, in career terms, that’s what happened for me right now.
I know, as I grown-up, there is always a new areas of experience,
where I have no guidelines, handle things badly, overreact, & get it wrong.

And again, I have to face it & just deal with it..

You see, when you reach at some stages of age on life,
you might be surprised to discover you still don’t have life quite figured out..
Especially, when your best plans are not working as you liked..
Then, it’s leaning to a self-doubt, future-worried, and fear.
All negativity starting to flash on mind, & self-confidence slightly fade away.

Because, honestly,
When everything in our life is right on track,
it’s easy to believe that things happen for a reason, it’s easy to have faith,
and also easy to give an advice or motivate others.
But when things start to go wrong, then it’s very hard to hold on to that faith.
It’s hard not to wonder what reasons these things happen for..

At the first place, the whole story looks so predictable. Study hard, go to college, graduate, then find a secure job, planning pension, meet a woman, and built a family. But in reality, even to get all of those predictable story arc, are not as simple as it sounds.

The real problem starts now, near around my mid-20’s, when I get thrown out into the world to do “whatever I want to” and realize that actually, the majority of the time is just been spent for surviving and helping others to survive. Kind of a bummer, especially when I spend the majority of my early 20’s of days looking forward to the freedom of being an adult to chase all my goals. This realization is enough to cripple me..

I know, the career path that I’ve chosen since a year ago will make me to deal a lot with uncertainty. Back to that time, I believed I can handle the challenge, and just being happy & excited to take it step by step. But, what I didn’t know is that dealing with uncertainty itself  is very stressful, especially when I experienced with my own-head to miss the best opportunity. And, I just can’t help myself to clear some air from all these future-worried.

Yeah, surely, now is the kind of time in my life at “the down” phase,
and, maybe this is exactly the times to behave & learn a lot as an adult..
To measure myself at least once with nothing to help me,
except my hands and my own head..
Well, for now, all I can think about, is to take “a leap of faith” route..