The Most Interesting Experiences Usually Aren’t Planned

Do you agree with the title? Well I do.

Planning a career is like traveling in a foreign places. The most interesting experiences for both cases are usually not in our plan. If I look back, my random one-day trip to Zurich with Fikri was one of the highlights of my one-month stay in Germany and that was totally unplanned. So did my experience catching sunrise in San Francisco with three complete strangers–that was so unplanned; I woke up at 3AM, bumped into a girl in my hostel, asked her if she wants to catch sunrise and coincidently she said her group have rented a car to catch sunrise that day. I also forgot almost every details of my Labuan Bajo trip but somehow I still remember vividly when I changed my plan in my last day and decided to go back to Java by bus and ferry although the cost was the same or even slightly more expensive.

I’ve also never planned to get into power and energy policy. I came to the University of Tokyo just because I want to stay in Japan for awhile. That’s very unplanned, I know. At least at the beginning I had a plan to study about how Japanese are sharing a relatively equal lifestyle. But still.

I didn’t plan to take Nobuo Tanaka’s energy classes in my first semester before entering Todai. I didn’t even know that Japan has power and energy crisis since 2011 due to their Fukushima nuclear accident.

But life happens. I took Nobuo Tanaka’s classes in my first semester, and this guy totally inspired me. I’m stunned by the way he taught us, by the way he moderated the hot-heated discussions every evening, and even by the way his eyes spark everytime he explains things.

It was also a coincidence when a friend asked me to replace his place at Sumitomo in Tokyo. I remember that was in May 2015, and I honestly had no idea about Sumitomo’s energy businesses in Indonesia. I did know that they’re a prominent trading companies and conglomerations, but I only about their portfolio in financial sector. I had no idea that they’re also into power and energy, until I worked for them.

I didn’t plan to meet Arthur, my dear French friend who is very much into energy and was constantly disturbing me with his extraordinary thinking regarding energy-relevant issues almost everyday.

By the end of 2015, I already knew that I want to give power and energy sectors a proper shot. I did my research and thesis on rural electrification policy, I mainly took classes in energy, did another internship in power company, and surrounded my self with people who are also into this sector.

Now that I am about to start my second career in power and energy sector starting from next Monday, I’ve come to realize that we can only connect the dot backwards. It’s so funny that in the end, everything seems related, although when I was in the middle of the process it was all just blurred and unplanned.

So I wrote this as a gentle reminder for me in the future when I feel things are blurred. I wrote this to remind my self to have the faith and courage to always do the best of what my heart and intuition tell me to do at that time–although when it’s initially not on our plan! I wrote this to remind my self to stop complaining when the going gets tough and be grateful. Because right now, I learned my lessons and understand that we can only connect the dots backwards.

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One thought on “The Most Interesting Experiences Usually Aren’t Planned

  1. Your last sentence on “we can only connect the dot backwards” is actually what my host mom Cathy in Canada said to me when we have discussion about career this Xmas holiday when I visited her. She was giving a career coaching and consultation to various organizations and thats one of her conclusion. Could not agree more!

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