It would be a lie, if we thought building a community for young government employees to network and empower each other wouldn’t be a herculean task. After all, we are a melting pot of individuals coming from different professional and educational backgrounds. Some of us can still remember how exhausting our first meeting was! We spent nearly four hours on a weekday evening debating over our vision and mission while devouring what seemed like bottomless portions of Indomie and Roti Bakar at a 24-hour café in downtown Jakarta. Now we know why Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The meeting though turned out to be a very memorable moment as each of us was amazed how a bunch of individuals who barely knew each other had so much enthusiasm and energy enough left in their tank after an exhaustive a long day of work. This moment showed how fatigue was no enemy to achieve a common goal. Flash forward two years later, we would always reflect on how the lessons learned and jokes shared in that evening played a crucial role in shaping what Aparatur Muda stands for today.
It made us believe that we could take part in contributing to a better future for our country. No matter how small our contribution may be and irrespective of our current stage of career. Some people think we are going way past the extra mile required. Some have labeled our efforts as “ambi” or the commonly used Indonesian abbreviation for ambitious. Some have asked why do you want to be active in doing things that you do not get paid a single cent for. Why spend time doing this while you can spend your evenings eating out at the hippest place in the town or exercising at the many revitalized public parks scattered around town?
However, surprisingly, we have not felt at any point that what we are doing is a burden to our already packed daily lives. In fact, we have grown more accustomed to each other as time has passed. To the point where we consider doing activities with each other for this organization as a “new normal”. In other words, we have come to terms that doing activities for Aparatur Muda is not any more responsibility but is something exciting that we do out of love – love for our country, love for our profession, love for our future generation, love for our friendship, and even love for ourselves. We are all excited by the prospect that in 20 years’ time we could be in a situation where Indonesia’s public policy decision-makers could meet up at a meeting room not feeling like total strangers. The process of being total strangers has already been overcome with the energy and time we have currently invested.
What to remember when starting your own movement?
For those thinking about starting a social movement with total strangers, we do not guarantee that the process would always be smooth sailing. We have learned that road bumps and hiccups are necessary in order for any process to be successful. But what keeps us going is that we know that the end result would be worth what we have to go through. During this learning process, while we might feel like we are just having fun or squabbling with each other, we are actually organizing activities for what we believe would be an improvement for the future of the Indonesian public sector workplace and environment.
One tip we could share with others is to break down your vision into sequences such as short term, medium-term, and long term. In the short term, don’t think too much. Try to develop synergy with each other. Once the synergy has developed, the focus can be shifted on what everyone wants to achieve. We suggest such goals to follow three principles: achievable, enjoyable, and having high impact. We have an example of an activity that reflects the current COVID-19 situation where gatherings of large groups are banned. A desire to increase networking and the capacity of government officials can be done by simply holding a routine online discussion event through video conferencing platforms. Once the pandemic is out of sight, an example we have been looking at is to organize routine sporting events. Once in a while, a change of scenery from sitting at a table (and burning those calories from eating office meeting snack packs!) is necessary! These goals should slowly build up what one wants to do in the long term. In our case, an increase in networking and knowledge should be a precursor to contribute better to the government and profession, whether through better policymaking or at our current career stage, voicing recommendations and thoughts to the ones in the hot seat of policymaking.
The bottom line is an organization has to feel like a warm home for its members. Without shared values and goals, this home is just an empty and eerie house. The group is responsible to collectively fill the house so that it becomes a welcoming place and a “safe house” from the hustle and bustle of daily life. If this is fulfilled, there is a reason to think that achieving greatness is a reality than a distant dream. Achieving greatness in the future would be priceless and have no monetary value. Every initiative needs to have a starting point. For us, we hope the moment where we shared thoughts and laughs over Indomie and Roti Bakar until late in the evening was the starting point in achieving our common future goals.
You can also listen to our podcast with Aparatur Muda team here.
This blog has been submitted by Aparatur Muda team. Aparatur Muda was established in 2018, and is an independent community that is self-led by Indonesian young government officials from various ministries and non-ministerial bodies. Aparatur Muda aims to build the networking and capacity of young government officials through three pillars which are integrity, synergy, and innovation. For more information on Aparatur Muda, please visit www.aparaturmuda.id or follow their Instagram @aparaturmuda.id .