Random Thoughts

The Tale of A Jakartan Jobseeker: Those Who Can, Teach!


For those of you who have been reading or following my blog posts or are friends with me, you must be familiar with my major in University. Yep, it is English Literature. As some of you know already, I graduated in September and I do not have a decent job up until this blog is published (I resigned from my previous work in October). So, that clearly explains that I have been unemployed for four months straight.

During all these frustrating months, I applied to lots of companies with various job positions. From Junior Linguist, Translator, Secretary, Content Writer, Editor, Copy Writer, Human Resource Officer, Admin, Content Admin, Training Officer, English Teacher and from multi-national to local companies. I have to admit that it’s not that I was always rejected. There were times when all these companies offered me the opening position and made a pretty good deal yet I had to refuse simply because I was not sure the job would bring me eternal joy as well as good career path.

Yes, I am a very picky fresh graduate and yes one of the jobs that I refused was a job as an English teacher. As a dear friend of mine once quoted, you may have heard of this phrase from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman: ‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.‘ At this point, you may think that it was the reason why I refused the job; for the sake of avoiding being a sample of failure. But nope, it was not.

I remember back in high school, when I was about to graduate. A friend’s aunt who happened to be some sort of a fortune teller predicted my future and what I was going to be. She said that I would not be accepted in the University of Indonesia and I would be a teacher. I cried and was scared of her predictions. Months later the first point came true.

Though I always try not to believe in the non-sense, I could never forget what she had predicted. Being a teacher was not my dream in the first place simply because I was (I try not to bring the whole community here) taught and told that it is a less-achieving job.

Until months of post-graduation yet still unemployed depressed me to death, I had no other choice but to try applying two jobs as an English teacher. Fortunate enough for a fresh graduate like me who had not have any teaching experience, these two different companies hired me to teach at their companies. Long story short, I refused one of them because the work location was too far from my house yet I accepted one of them simply because it was close to my house and it had a ‘bigger’ name and was known worldwide.

So, there I was once again proving what my friend’s aunt had said about my future.

It was not until I waited for almost two months to start working as an English teacher at that company that I got a part time job during the waiting to work as an Indonesian language teacher for expats. I took the job because it was good for me to gain some teaching skills before I got started (although previously I had a minor experience of teaching street children voluntary at a non-profit organisation.)

So just when I thought teaching is rather easy, especially teaching Indonesian language, which is my first language, I was wrong and it WAS really an understatement to say that. I found lots of difficulties during my first day of teaching and I feared I would fail my prospective students to get a better and excellent learning experience.

Back to that Bernard Shaw’s famous phrase again: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. I find it very insulting and offensive. For me, it is more like those who can, teach; and those who can’t do anything else. I am not saying it because I accepted that job to be an English teacher, I am saying it because all the efforts one teacher has to put up are astounding. In fact, knowing that I was not really capable of teaching, I decided to look for more jobs and apply some positions that do not require teaching simply because I thought I could not.

Up until to this point, the other thing that I would like to point out is that your future is not something that you could see, but it is something that you create yourself. My friend’s aunt might have predicted what I was going to be in the future, but life is always full of surprises… and the choice is always mine to pick whether I would just live by what she said or create my own future and not dwell on what she had said.

I found the latter is very tempting, so I am making it real. I cancelled the job as an English teacher not because of that shallow phrase but because I am creating the future that I want.

And my new job starts tomorrow.

Wish me luck! xx 🙂


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