Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I am going to talk about one of such jobs that has to do with maintaining a client. Maintaining a client is like, you know, he bought from you once and he will buy from you or your company again and again. And to make this happen, you must keep the client happy. However, what keeps one client happy is not what keeps another one happy too.
Below are some brief recollections regarding this maintaining activity.

To some, nothing is sweeter than money and my friend knows this conventional truth and she would comfortably start with, “Is there anything I can do to support you?” Happily this kind of client responds in varied answers; one would say about the broken sound system in his car; one would say his wife is now in the hospital; one would bluntly say “How much is my cut?”. For the last statement, he said, it is easier and time saving.

Another is playing dumb and dumber. What I mean here my friend is playing it for herself. Though she takes hold of a certain subject too well, she would let his client think he knows more of the subject. To her, this is like a free session to learning to humble oneself, suppressing the ego to let someone go on speaking of something he does not know of and learning to do more listening than talking. So, some expressions like “I see”, “And then what?”, and “No, please go on” are profusely uttered.
Sometimes the resilience of this humility was tested further in a different ground. When playing tennis with the client, she knew how to make the client feel good; she let him beat her in the game he could have never won had she meant it a little.

But nothing would have been more surprising than this following one to me. I asked her what she hated most from this job, and she did not answer immediately, fearing I was not ready to hear it. After I pushed her a bit, she was right; I would never have been prepared for this...
She said that another way to keep a client happy was a companion. To find out if he desires one is easy; for the client who enjoys this kind, what she would do is ask him what sort of entertainment he wants to have during his stay. And when the answer is someone he can talk with, then he is asking for that kind of companion to come over to his hotel. When I further asked her how she felt about setting this all up, she said she hated it as much as she did the client and felt like she was like a pimp doing a pro bono.

And that was all I got.


As if securing people’s physical matters is not enough, some took a step further with the spiritual one. Last month governors of Tangerang, Bandung, and Depok took the like measure on Dewi Persik, a Dangdut singer; she is not allowed to stage in their territories. Their grounds are that her stage performance is too ‘sexy’ and may lead young people into sex conducts. They said what they were doing was to voice the public and it fully supported their action.

Dewi Persik’s case is not the first of its kind. Another Dangdut singer, Inul Daratista, known for her gyrating hip moves, too was condemned for her stage performances by those public figures claiming responsible as moral guardians of people.
So far these people could not prove how the performances had been responsible for the moral decadence.

Though seen by many as nothing but a cheap fad that distracts people from more important concerns like skyrocketing daily commodities, those individuals, in the name of morality and faith, have many times successfully gotten away with that and left the other party unable to defend, let alone to retaliate.
Take for example, DEWA, Indonesia’s premier rock band, had to redesign the album cover because somebody, claiming he represented Islam, said the cover insulted Allah and thus insulted Islam. The band had it redone; they were left numb with their room for reasoning.

Unfortunately, the government has not been decisive in this matter; it seems it’s best to leave it in God’s appointee’s hand.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Would life be better if people were given choices for work? With jobs so difficult to come by and needs (or wants?) increasing, it is very difficult to answer YES as people are left with not so many choices and they just grab what comes before them. I think there are three typicals of jobs that people love to hate from today’s jobs but nevertheless, when they are offered with such jobs, they just can not say NO.

Some jobs simply do not do any good and this one is not far from the truth. Though justifications may there be, I know people know the cigarette is a killing business; either the selling or the production. Though WHO reports hundreds of thousands died of smoking every year, that simply does not stop people from reconsidering working for the killer puff. It is clear that to survive life some are willing to kill life.

The second is the wasted time to reach the work place. Gone is the saying Early To Bed And Early To Rise Makes a Man Wise. People wake up before the sunrise not to wise up by doing morning contemplation on life nor savor precious morning hours with loved ones but to waste these hours to get them to the workplaces. Millions living in Bogor or Sukabumi commute for more than one hundred kilometers everyday as they work in Jakarta. This means they start at 4.30 A.M and arrive at the workplaces at 8.30 A.M, leaving them, if there is any, thirty minutes before works start at 9 A.M. With more than six hours wasted and totally spent on the street, these commuters would arrive home only to bath and sleep. You may say these people are exceptions but the truth is most people waste at least two hours to commute every day. You do the math how many (hours) they will have wasted after twenty years of work.

The last one, and I think this one has become more and more common in fashion, is that people do not see work as a part of life but see it as their whole life. I do not know if the work commitment was invented by employers or somebody who loved his work too much but some just hate it to stay in the office for at least fourteen hours, and during peak seasons or book closing times, eighteen hours. But complaining is not an option; many other people are waiting to eagerly replace them if they mind. They have literally surrendered their other aspects of life to working around the clock, thinking that this is the only way they could do to show the boss they are worth the job and their commitment goes beyond those other aspects; they go home so late that they find their families have been sleeping and their families only find them sleeping on weekends to revitalize from the fatigue.

So with all these as the available options; jobs that do no good, jobs that are very distant from home and jobs that take them away from other engagements, then I think jobs have reduced people to a boring position they can not avoid.