Quarter Life Crisis: The Series — Part II

Don’t we all have moments in life when we want to just walk away from it all? Start over, someplace a little warmer, a little wilder.

Nellie Bennett

Hey guys – first of all thanks a lot for the overwhelming support & responses on first quarter life crisis post. 🥺

Just a quick update: I’m back here in HK (since late Feb actually), and recently started working again in the midst of unpleasant situation due to corona virus. #WFHsquad

Aaaand I finally got the motivation to finish this post, while working from home bed.
Me, after writing 1 sentence for this post:

Anyway – so this post is mostly about *another* career-related crisis that I went through. And yeah, this is based on real-life conversations. 


Early 2019.

“Sorry I’m late. My client emailed me at 11:59am and sent me a two-paragraph project brief. So I had to call him but he’s not helpful at all.”

“It’s like your client was wondering what to do before lunch and then thought, what if I send a new request that I’m still not so sure about?

This isn’t the worst, though.
My ladyboss client once asked me to start a new project on a blissful Saturday, at around 3pm. (yep very considerate of her)
Oh, and she asked if she could check the my progress on Monday morning.

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Nobody asked me to say yes, but in the end, all I wanted to do is to impress my client and I couldn’t let this project be doomed.
I know, that sounds like a bullsh*t, but I always set some kind of expectations / targets for myself, and I’ll be so annoyed if I don’t meet them. So it’s like, the only validation I need is the one from myself, actually. 

One time, another client emailed me a super urgent project at 6:30pm, just when I was about to go home. So I cancelled my gym plan, stayed for another hour, and sent back my complete progress at 8pm — my fastest turnover so far.
But within 30 seconds, this client sent a reply: I got what I needed already, no need to continue this project – thanks anyway and sorry to keep you long.

Me:


Mid 2019.

A conversation before lunch time, with a close friend who lives healthily and often chooses salad over black truffle pasta.

“Trying to get fit is just the same with our work pattern”, she said.

To which I replied, “LOL I should write this for my Tinder bio if I have one. Hashtag, What I Do Best.

Jokes aside, this is literally what me, my salad-lover friend, and some other people often do without even realizing.
I tend to put my work life above everything else and find ways to reach my goals, yet I ignore the fact that during the process, I’m losing myself. 

It made me sad, sometimes; thinking I’m not living my life to the fullest. Becoming easily irritated. Feeling tired because I feel like I’ve run so far, but in fact I’m still in the same place. 
That’s probably why one day I woke up feeling I had enough, and decided that I’ll press the reset button to start something new – no plans, no concrete idea…

no regrets. 😌 

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End of 2019 (almost).

When someone (who barely knows me) asked why I left the job, I said I thought I need some changes and should explore other things. Plus, I need a break.

“A break? From what — 2 years of work?”
“Yeah.”
“Most people will take a break after, 10 or 15 years working.”
“Well, not me. Also, everyone’s different – it’s not like you know what I’ve been through lately.”
“OK then, tell me – what is it that you’ve been through but others don’t.”

Dude. Really?
I was surprised – is it actually that easy to ask someone about their personal life, like it’s a matter of “what’s for lunch today”? 🙄
(ok I personally think lunch decision is not that easy but you got my point)

And so, I replied, “Nah, it’s personal to me”. Which means, I’m signing out from this conversation, bye.

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I know that I don’t owe him (or anyone) explanations, but here’s the thing: not knowing what are you doing right now, or what you’re gonna do next, or what you’re gonna be in 5 years… it’s a haunting feeling.

I spent 4 years in uni studying finance, with a science (environmental physics focused…) background in high school. But then even after that twist, my first grad job was not something I thought I’d be doing. It’s finance related, yes, but not something I wanted.
So I was hiding behind the idea of taking CFA after leaving the job– this finance exam is gonna be useful for my next move… right?
Newsflash: I don’t know that either.


End of 2019 (almost) – part 2.

Back in Jakarta, a lady who’s in her late 20s and works in big bank there, asked what did I do in HK and why I left. I explained to her briefly and she responded:

“You know, what you did before in your previous company is just SO LITTLE, compared to what we’re doing in this bank. We didn’t even know such company exists.”

I smiled, “Yeah but thanks to this company and the little role they gave me, I got to work with amazing individuals.”

Holy shit. I didn’t burst into tears, nor did I shout back at her. But gurlll, it was burning fire.

I meant it though; I was proud of what I did and I worked with incredible people (for the first time ever, I felt like my crazy clients are WAY nicer).
And yeah, what this lady said is basically not wrong, but to hear it from someone who’s a complete stranger – it’s just a bit sad.

Also – let me finish my rant: honestly I don’t get why do people say exactly what they think, without considering how it might hurt other people’s feelings? I mean, we always have the option to just shut the F up. 

This conversation plays a big role during my crisis actually. I know, this type of person is everywhere (regardless the company / country), but at that moment it felt like a slap to my face – like, if you’re unlucky enough, you’ll work for or with people who are just… rude.
And suddenly, my ambitious ass decided that this industry is not where I want to be. I couldn’t imagine being a banker* and working with someone (like her) who thinks they’re above everyone else… and worse, I might even become one. 
* no stereotyping intended


End of 2019.

In the third month after I resigned, someone also asked whether I’ll come back to HK or leave for good. I said, maybe (because I’m just clueless, alright?). And then–

“So have you applied for any jobs? I mean, did you even look for any? Or you’re planning to study again?”

Me:

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…. No, it didn’t stop there you guysssss.

“Well, you gotta think what you’re gonna do. We’re in our 20s, we can’t just be too chill, right? Otherwise when we’re 40, we’re still working hard while others are enjoying life”

((triggered)) 😑 
I mean, yea he’s got a point… but this kind of “forward-thinking” is overwhelming sometimes, you know? It almost feels like we have to decide our whole future today.

FYI – I kinda have an OCD with organizing my daily routines. I used to write daily to-do lists in my agenda, tick them off when done.😅 But, man, these days… forget my 5-year plan – I don’t even know what I’m gonna do for a day. And I guess I’m learning to just go with flow.

ps: It drives me crazy not to *PLAN* my day, actually. So more or less this is what my to-do list looks like now:


2020.

I got an offer from an IT company back in January this year. And even though I was ready to start, they told me to just start in March.
So I guess everything was fine, right? I got the chance to restart fresh, with two months gap to chill, and finally be able to get out from the funemployed life (it’s fun, until people make you feel like it isn’t).

YET I still felt anxious – clearly I’ve never imagined myself working in a tech-related industry, but do I even know what I want? Also why do I have to go back to the corporate life? More precisely, why do I choose to go back to HK? 

Anyway, like I said previously – even after detoxing, the crisis is just not gone. I still have it in my mind, but now I won’t try to get rid of these anxious feelings. I will just accept the fact that it’s ok not to know what’s next – I mean, who is even sure about the future anyway? 
Just look at 2020 so far… I really thought this would be my year but here I am in March, wishing it’s 2021 already.

So let’s just say that I’m trying my best to live my life and cherish every moment. One step at a time.

And maybe, just maybe, I could be like Mr Krab someday.

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OK, I think that’s all I can share for this post. If you’re reading this now –– thank you, are you that bored? LOL no but really, thank you. 🥰🥰 

Alright – stay safe you guys! Wash hands and practice social distancing. 
As much as I enjoy this WFH period, let’s hope things will be better so we could breathe normally again…..

Actual footage of me after wearing a mask for a LONG time, and finally get to take it off:

Adios for now!

sherendev

Hong Kong • March 2019