So first, for all of you who does not understand what Nasi Rawon is, here's a wikipedia page to help you out:
So here it goes:
It all started exactly one week ago. I was walking to the nearest convenient store from my office and met the cashier girl. We were both from East Java, so we got along quite well very quickly (the typical thing you would have when you are living outside your own region). As always, I bought my low fat snacks and low sugar cold drinks. The cashier usually smiled and was cheerful, but not at that day.
She smiled a bit, responding to my sudden question in the middle of her counting the money. "Oh yeah, I'm okay. I'm just tired. Had to work over my shift today."
"Oh? Is it coz one of your friend got sick?"
"No. He hasn't come yet and I couldn't leave the store. It always happen that way."
I somewhat felt a bit upset. "But can't you just tell your supervisor that he keeps coming late, whoever he is?"
"My supervisor won't care. He just wants everything works fine in his report for his boss. I even have to cover some of lost item here."
"Wait, what? Lost items? Like, someone steals it?"
"Yes. It happens all the time. Small things at first, cigarettes, match... Then a cartoon of milk, snacks... That's why I'm checking every items every morning now."
"Oh poor you. But if you aren't the one taking it, why do you have to replace it with your own cash?"
"My supervisor doesn't care. All he wants to know is the balance between the items in stock and items sold and the money come in."
"Since when did it happen?"
"Quite some times."
It was mind blowing. This girl had done this all this time, replacing missing items with her own money, prolonging her shift for her incompetent coworkers...
"You should resign. It's not healthy."
She looked at me as i said the magic word: resign.
"But, how? And how am I going to work?"
"Lady, you're paying the items you don't take with the salary you got from here anyway. You won't be happy here."
"But.. Then how am I going to pay for my college tuition?"
"Find another job. The better ones! The ones with better pay, better work environment. I don't know. It's not healthy to stay in this kind of environment, that's for sure."
"Just try," I continued my speech. "Just look. I mean, surely you won't save much here as well."
She was lost in her thoughts for awhile. "I think you're right. My friend told me a job vacancy for admin in a big company as well. I don't know how to be an admin though..."
"Give it a try!" I said. "C'mon. Do you think I know how to be a manager? I crawl and learn from zero. As long as you believe you can do the job and you can show your future employer you have what it takes, you just need to learn your job description later. You just need the willingness, Lady!"
A faint optimism sparked from her eyes again. "Yes! I think you're right. I'll try!"
In short, I paid my food and walked away. I didn't think about anything else at that time. My words of encouragement came out simply because I disliked people being forced to do things they don't like. Besides, at that time I didn't see any much different between a cashier and an admin.
I went back to the convenient store and met her again one week later. She looked very bright and cheerful again today.
"Hey! I wanna tell you something! I got accepted! Starting next month I'm gonna work as an admin!"
I was shocked but quickly was overwhelmed by happiness. "Yay! So you're resigning?"
"Yeah.. I'll hand in my letter today. I'm so excited!"
I was happy for her, although deep inside I had a question myself: What's so good about being an admin?
"Do you know how to be an admin?"
She nodded. "I asked around and I think I can do it." She then smiled.
"So while baing an admin, what are you planning to do?"
"Well, I can save up a little bit more for my degree, so I think I can take accounting major. Then maybe I will use my corporate experience and my educational experience to land a better job. I mean, I can't spend my entire life being a cashier right?"
Wow, this girl was filled with hopes and dreams apparently, very different from how I saw her last week.
"Hey, if that's your plan, then you go for it! I wish you goodluck ey?"
She smiled brightly. "Thank you so much for giving me the courage to do it."
On my way back, my thoughts kept wailing on my brain. The fact that she was happy to be accepted as a mere admin from her previous job as cashier puzzled me.
Then I remembered what my mum told me when I was still in Uni. I was asking her about how to measure happiness, and she came up with this beautiful analogy:
Do you remember your favorit food, Rawon? If you spend one year not eating rawon, then suddenly someone gave it to you, you will eat it to your heart's content right? Now imagine if I feed you rawon every single day. Will you be happy if I give rawon again after one year of eating it? That's how you measure happiness. For some, a plate of rawon, a small candy, an ugly t-shirt, those are worthless. For others, it was like gold.
Some people are happy for trivial things because it is one of the most beautiful things they can have, although it is trivial for others. That is happiness. It is subjective. It is unmeasured. But it gives the same impact to people who can appreciate it.
Maybe for me, being an admin is not so impressive, but for her, it is like gold. Her genuine smile says it all.
You go, Lady, chase your dream and happiness. And I shall chase mine.