By Eki Akhwan
For many of us – including myself – thinking that job equals career is probably taken for granted. We start a job and hope that the ladders it offers will lead us somewhere along the career path: higher positions, better remuneration, recognition, and – eventually – self-fulfillment.
Apparently, it’s not so according to Rene Suhardono, a career coach and author of the book whose title I use as the title of this book review. Your job is not (necessarily) your career.
Rene builds his arguments (persuasion?) on this notion that job is just a vehicle, a means, that takes us to our destination, whereas career is the trip itself. Thus, we may pick and choose and change jobs as we do with the vehicles when we are traveling to make our trip as smooth and convenient as possible, but the trip itself and its destination should never be obscured by the choice we make of the vehicle.
This argument somewhat still did not sound very convincing at first. As many of us know, the means we choose can often determine what kind of trip we are going to have. It may sometimes even make us change our destination. But as I reached further into the book, I could not help but being enlightened (if not 100 percent convinced) that indeed we need to make fine discernment about job and career.
Job belongs to the company (or wherever it is that you work). It has to do with company’s goals, job descriptions, job enviroment, and compensation. Career, on the other hand, is about passion, values, the individual’s life objectives, fulfillment and happiness. Ideally, of course, your job should be the match for your career. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. For reasons of money, prestige, etc., we often sacrifice what we enjoy doing, our values, our own objectives in life, and even the feeling of being fulfilled and happy.
To offset that kind of situation, Rene suggested that we should know (or find them we haven’t already done so) what our passions, values, and life objectives are, and in step by step fashion showed us how to do it. He did all this like a very good friend who intimately knows who we are that in the end it feels like we’ve been confiding in a good friend about our worries and got the right answer.
The book is a pleasure to read. I finished it in one sitting at a cafe while I was sipping my cup of cappuccino and enjoying my crispy fried bananas. It’s a light reading that really enlightens like the kind of friend you’d like to have a conversation with over a cup of coffee.
One thing I find a little bit ‘disturbing’ about the book (if disturbing is the right word to describe it) is that it doesn’t have a table of content, so the reader has to plod through all the pages to really get to its gist. Another unconventional thing about the book, the switch-coding (the mixed use of Indonesian and English), does not really disturb me as I am very proficient in both languages. But then, the book is probably written with a particular audience in mind – that of middle class professionals who are well versed in the post-modern unconventionality of things.
I’d suggest you read it yourself. It’s worth your time over a cup of coffee.
Book Title: Your Job Is Not Your Career
Author: Rene Suhardono
Publisher: Literati Books (Penerbit Lentera Hati), Jakarta
Publication dater: October 2010 (6th print)
Number of pages: 160
Price: (Bundled with Career Snippet: Embrace Your Passion, Live a Life of Action, Build Our Nation) IDR 72,000