On Leaving the Job You (partly) Love

Whoa it’s been a long time since my last post (last year, i guess?). It apparently took a big milestone in life to finally write again. And this part right here is dedicated to my fellow office mates.

Three years ain’t too short, I suppose, to make the decision to leave. I joined the company through a graduate program. Over the time, I learned a lot. The most valuable thing that I learned during my first year is about dealing with people and the work itself, how to structure our thinking every time there is an issue. How we have to clearly understand the whole story, make rooms for possible causes and impacts, analyze the case, and remain calm. I observed how my manager win people and I basically copied what she did over time. The achievement of the year was to gain trust from people I worked with, that I’m capable and I can even do more.

I got a great role model and a job that I love. Exactly on that year, I was thinking of building my career in the company.

Then things change in the second year. My teammates left, my manager left, so I was alone. I got a new manager – but it’s different. Even the organization structure changed. I once felt like sailing alone on the sea with no clear direction and sometimes the storm came. The good news is, I survived. Partly because the lessons I have learned during my first year and partly because I still love my job and partly because I have built a great friendship with my colleagues. Susah senang sama-sama is probably the most suitable phrase. I laughed a lot, even with all the struggles.

It was some sort of a good balance between everything – an ok job, an ok manager, and a good friendship. It was a little bit boring though, an ok job somehow does not spark me joy. But it was comfortable. The common sense told me not to have the intention to leave.

Here comes the third year, where the balance went off. I got great friends. The manager changed (again) and this time was different. No personal issue but I did not feel the ‘click’ with her. We had a very different way of working and solving problems. The ok job had become very mediocre. I often fed up by how often the same issue happened over and over again. And like most people do, I wanted something more. However, I was going nowhere further. Yet the most important thing I finally realized, during this year, was how the company operates is actually bothering me. It does not necessarily bad but it clearly does not suit my value. I believe that a vision of a company and how it is directed really influence the behavior of the employee. I don’t want to be there if things don’t change. Since then, with the combination of all thoughts and feelings, I wanted to leave.

To trace back, the first thought came in the first quarter of 2019. I have started looking for new opportunities ever since. I did interviews with several companies but there were no ‘yes’ answer from them. When I finally slowed down early this year, I got the good news. Good and unexpected, honestly. It’s funny how sometimes God answers our prayer in the most unexpected time. The lesson is don’t lose hope, guys.

This is my own story. I did not say that everyone in the company has the same experience and feeling. Fate has different stories to tell each person. So please don’t compare mine with yours (or them). To me, for now, the better place is out there (and who knows if I will ever come back?). To emphasize my reason to leave the company, it’s because in the end, I need the good little balance between everything. For the sake of my whole career, great friendship alone is not enough. I’m not (yet) settling down, not like this. I still want to move forward and push myself through.

Quick message on leaving a job, everyone has their own personal reason. So if one day you feel like you really need to go, be courageous to explore what’s out there. And don’t ever lose hope. When God knows it’s time for you to have new adventures, He will help you out. If leaving has never come across your mind, that’s totally fine. It means you already got what you want. And what you want is up to you. What’s important is that we always choose the option which serves ourselves best.

Adios, with lots of love..

Atiqah Zulfa Nadia


Adventure of a Lifetime

It’s funny how life works, I might actually have said this for many times. It’s just that this life never fails to surprise me (of course with both ups and downs) – although sometimes it is not so unexpected. I thought I’m not gonna be able to implement things that I specifically learned in my master degree – ever. But I actually am, the path is simply just not that instant.

This week I almost finish my Amatil X journey. Almost, because apparently my team was selected to continue to the final round of the program. This, actually, is something I wasn’t really hope for. I’ll tell you why.

The story goes way back to my postgraduate study in 2015. I studied Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship. In the first semester, one of the compulsory subject was High Tech Entrepreneurship. It taught me about how to build a tech startup. I enjoyed the class very much. Not only because the lecturer and the subject itself, but also because I was teamed up with amazing people. For the final project, the class was grouped into teams and we had to create our own startup proposal and to pitch our idea. I was in a team with 4 other students and I think we worked together very well. We won the pitching competition and I was very pleased with how the final proposal looked like.

The rest of the study in my master degree was about innovation and somewhat getting ourselves ready for startup environment. In the second semester, I had to work with one UK-based startup and helped them to understand the market better. That was the moment where I kind of reflecting what I learned in the High Tech Entrepreneurship class. Since then, I had a balanced view of startup environment. It wasn’t all cool.

So I came home to Indonesia, looking for a new job. I applied to several Jakarta-based startups and to other big companies as well. Finally I ended up working in an FMCG company. However, I’m actually curious of whether I can actually work in startup or even build one of my own. But I don’t quite have time to work on my startup idea while working as a full time employee. Slowly, the curiosity faded away. I will work in corporation and I don’t really mind of it.

Not so long ago, I decided that startup might not be for me. I can still implement all those stuffs I have learned back in university to a corporation, and that’s enough. Yet, life takes me to the path that can answer my curiosity. Amatil X.

The company I work for launched an intrapreneurship program. Employees went through 6 classes of startup thinking. Those who have an idea that can benefit the company can register for the Hackaton event. During the Hackaton, I was grouped into a team of 5 people and we had to define the problems we’re trying to solve, the solution we offer (which was our idea), and the benefit for the company. My team was selected to continue to the second round. Thus we went through another classes of creating a product. This week, we finally got the chance to do a pitch in front of the directors and investors, where they selected the best two ideas to continue the journey.

I value the experience very much. All the discussion, the thinking process, the chance to pitch in front of important people, those aren’t something all people can get. I’m very grateful, I know this is good for me. The drawback for me is because the process had totally drained my energy – more than ever. It’s not easy to work on an idea, it’s even harder to convince people that the idea is worthy. I salute all founders of startups that try to solve problems in various aspects in life. That is one tough job. However, I do believe that if the person is highly passionate about what he’s about to solve, it won’t be as tiring as how it affected me (I guess this validates more of how I am not so passionate about supply chain). But the ship has sailed, I gotta finish what I’ve started and keep doing the best that I can.

The thing that I want to highlight here is actually how life can take us to many different routes before finally reaching the destination – to where we really belong, to our true calling. And the road isn’t always straight. We might end up in a strange place several times, there probably shortcuts, and we can definitely get lost or just circling around a few times. I guess I haven’t reached my destination, there’s a lot to figure out. It’s a adventure of a lifetime, Coldplay said, we are diamonds taking shape.

Love, Atiqah Zulfa Naida

Hijab Journey

Akhir-akhir ini cari ide buat tulisan di blog agak susah deh. Kalau stuck gini biasanya social media comes to the rescue. Tulisan ini muncul berkat social media, waktu aku tanya di instagram topik apa yang pengen dibahas. Lalu salah satu sahabatuku di SMA nanya, apa suka duka dan challenge menggunakan hijab sampai akhirnya bisa ikhlas berhijab lillahi ta’ala.

Topik menarik nih, aku ngga punya cerita inspirasional terkait perjalanan hijabku sejujurnya. But let me just tell you the story, semoga I can come up with lesson learned at the end supaya kalian ngga sia-sia baca panjang lebar. Fyi, kata hijab, kerudung dan jilbab di tulisan ini bermakna sama ya, penggunaannya kuganti-ganti biar ngga bosen aja.

Aku konsisten berhijab sejak SMA kelas 1, but the journey started long way back. Dari mulai SD aku sudah paham bahwa menutup aurat itu wajib saat perempuan mulai menstruasi. Kakakku mulai berhijab kelas 5 SD, jadi ibuku pun meng-encourage aku untuk mulai pakai kerudung di waktu yang sama. Di minggu pertama aku duduk di kelas 5, aku mencoba pakai kerudung ke sekolah dan ke tempat les. Tapi rasanya belum dari hati, jadi aku ngga betah dan akhirnya berhenti pakai jilbab sampai lulus SD. It was a very short period of time, mungkin ngga ada yang inget kalau aku pernah menggunakan kerudung saat itu.

Di SMP, sehari-hari aku diwajibkan untuk pakai bergo di sekolah. Saat itu aku juga disuruh oleh orang tua untuk mulai pakai kerudung secara konsisten. Cerita menariknya di sini. Waktu SMP aku pakai kerudung kalau sekolah dan di depan keluarga aja, jadi mereka taunya aku udah konsisten berhijab. Tapi kalau lagi ngga sama mereka, aku lepas jilbabnya. I don’t quite understand kenapa dulu sulit banget untuk berhijab, I just didn’t feel like I want it. Ditambah lagi dengan lingkungan teman-teman yang saat itu masih belum menutup aurat. Waktu itu fashion untuk perempuan berhijab belum kayak sekarang. Jamannya masih hobi beli majalah Gadis dan Cosmogirl, ngga ada tuh model berkerudung ataupun inspirasi gaya hijab. Di masa SMP ini aku masih berat hati banget menutup aurat.

Sampai pada waktu aku akhirnya masuk SMA. Saat itu aku ngga punya pilihan lain selain konsisten berkerudung. Soalnya, aku sekolah di SMA Negeri yang ngga wajib memakai hijab. Berhubung keluargaku taunya aku udah berhijab, jadi seragamku dijahit lengan panjang dan rok panjang. Mau ngga mau aku harus pakai kerudung karena aneh kalau seragam serba panjang tapi ngga berhijab. Untungnya, ketika di SMA lumayan banyak teman-teman yang udah berkerudung. Semacam ngga merasa terasing. Tapi aku sempat mengalami krisis percaya diri waktu itu. Rasanya ngga pede dan ngga bebas jadi diriku yang sesungguhnya karena pakai jilbab. Kadang sering iri liat teman-teman yang belum berhijab dan pengen ikut bergaya kayak mereka.

Setahun berlalu, aku berhasil memupuk rasa percaya diri dan merasa normal dengan penampilanku. Aku sadar bahwa berhijab bukan penghalang untuk melakukan hal-hal yang aku suka. Di momen itu aku bisa mendefinisikan hijab adalah bagian dari diriku. Perjalanan masing-masing orang dari tahu aturannya sampai ke mengamalkan di kehidupan itu berbeda satu sama lain. Ada yang cepat dan ada yang lama, kita hargai aja. Aku butuh bertahun-tahun. But the journey does not stop there.

Aku beberapa kali jalan-jalan ke luar negeri dalam keadaan berhijab. Awalnya merasa agak asing, tapi lama-lama sadar: not everyone cares (aku ngga naif juga bahwa ada yang akan memandang aneh atau agak negatif). Takeaways-nya adalah santai aja dan berani beda. Bahkan berhijab ini memberikan manfaat kalau lagi traveling. Selain jadi alert untuk orang lain bahwa kita muslim (jadi terhindar dari makanan non halal), berhijab membuka interaksi dengan orang lain juga. Interaksinya bisa dengan sesama hijabers, bisa juga sama non muslim tertarik untuk tahu lebih banyak tentang hijab. Biasanya mereka tanya “apa sih itu yang nutup kepala kamu?” atau “kenapa sih kamu pakai penutu kepala?”

Nah pertanyaan itu makin sering aku dapat dari teman-teman ketika kuliah di Manchester. Di situ aku merasa jawabanku tentang kenapa harus berhijab tuh cetek banget. Aku kayak ngga tau alasan sebenarnya dari pilihanku berhijab. I just did dan ternyata aku baik-baik aja so I continue wearing. Aku bersyukur karena ada orang-orang sekitarku yang menyuruh, mengingatkan, dan meng-encourage aku untuk berkerudung. Kalau ngga ada support dari mereka, sampai sekarang mungkin aku belum pakai jilbab. Insya Allah selalu istiqomah sampai nanti.

Suka dan dukanya udah lumayan tergambarkan di cerita tadi ya. Kalau sekarang sih, ngga ada dukanya. Seneng-seneng aja dan aku merasa berhijab udah semakin mudah. Terutama terkait fashion ya, udah banyak banget sekarang baju-baju untuk para hijabers.

Challenge dari menggunakan jilbab menurutku adalah menjaga sikap dan perilaku. Beda dengan jadi alim dan rajin ibadah ya, karena itu urusannya sama Allah. Menjaga sikap dan perilaku itu urusannya sama manusia. Dengan berjilbab, harus bisa menunjukkan akhlak yang baik dan sesuai dengan yang dicontohkan Nabi Muhammad Saw. Ramah, lemah lembut, sopan, datang tepat waktu, ngga ingkar janji, dan lain-lain. Termasuk juga cara menasehati orang lain, cara menegur, dan cara menyampaikan pendapat. Jangan sampai menyakiti dan merugikan orang lain. Intinya membuat orang senang dengan keberadaan kita. Ini tantangan besar supaya stereotype yang terbentuk tentang hijabers itu yang baik-baik. Udah bukan rahasia kalau sekarang ini ukhti-ukhti seringnya dikategorikan eksklusif, ngga ramah, dan lain-lain yang insya Allah ngga benar. Pastinya saat ini aku belum sempurna dalam menjaga sikap dan perilaku ini, makanya jadi tantangan besar.

Tantangan besar yang kedua adalah menutup aurat dengan sempurna. Yang ngga berlebihan tapi sesuai dengan aturannya: tertutup semua kecuali wajah dan telapak tangan, pakaiannya longgar dan ngga transparan. Sempurna di sini maksudnya juga sesuai mana yang mahram dan mana yang bukan.

Terakhir, gimana caranya ikhlas lillahi ta’ala? Aku sendiri masih progressing. Salah satu caranya dengan belajar agama terus menerus, sedikit demi sedikit tapi kontinyu. Cari terus hidayahnya Allah, supaya senantiasa yakin kalau ini perintahNya dan Allah cuma mau yang baik-baik aja buat kita.

Gitu kira-kira hijab journey-ku. Semoga ada hal baik yang bisa diambil yaa. Terima kasih sudah mau baca panjang-panjang! 🙂

♥️, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia