What use are good intentions when you can’t get anything done?


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This is a picture of a cat I saw at the bird market in Yogya at the start of January. I was horrified!!! Poor cat! It was crying! I wanted to save it. I wanted to save them all.
But I wanted to save the street children more.
And I wanted to, like, fix everything through the wonder of journalism… but I kept all this inside, because even at the young age of 23, where youthful idealism is still allowed, I knew this was pretty daft.
Especially considering the way journalism is going with the global economic climate, and the way I have managed to achieve barely anything since moving here.

When I moved over here I had an equally daft notion that I would work my "day job" in the evenings, do freelancing in the day time, study Indonesian, teach English to street children on Saturday mornings or something and then party on Saturday nights. And go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Oh, and save lots of money so that I can travel around the world at the end of it being a gung-ho reporter on the way.

In just a whisker less than five months, I have produced no journalism, speak barely any Indonesian, have not much more money in the bank than when I decided to move here and have only just managed to complete the most basic of life's administrative tasks.  Like cooking meals and paying bills on time and showing up for work in clothes that don't smell.

The one thing I am happy with achievement-wise is some of the photos I have taken while here… but I don't know what to do with them, especially since I lost a lot of the high quality originals thanks to computer disaster.  Unless I write stories to go with them, where do they go?  I haven't even gotten around to posting most of them on here.  I love them, but I'm completely at a loss as to what I should do with them.

Random photo to break up the rant:

Three on a bike

So, where do I start the hundred stories I really want to do?  I haven't even tracked down contacts or decided where I want to start.  It's literally just a list of ideas.  And when do I fit in the time to make my Indonesian slightly more passable?  And when do I go and see cool stuff, take cool photos, edit cool photos, study more about photography and digital post-production because I seriously lack technical skills.  I can't even use my external flash properly yet.  And read more books to improve my writing.  And keep up with the news.

And when do I get the time to pitch stories to editors and try and build up contacts?  And how do I get them to take me seriously when I am 23 and mostly have local council stories in my portfolio?

And, what do I even want to do?  More print?  More radio, which I haven't done in ages?  Mostly photography?  Online?  Multimedia?  I don't even know.  I know you are supposed to just be able to do everything these days, which is fine and I have dabbled in a bit of everything, but I'm just not even sure where to start at the moment.  I keep leaning towards photos these days, but I feel like I have so little technical knowledge…

And then every now and then I entertain the idea of going back to uni and studying international studies or development studies and working with government or NGOs so I can be involved in actually changing stuff… but then, I'm not sure about that either.  I don't know whether I would like it more than being in the media.  Deep down when I grow up (…) I want to be an editor or something I think.  But I don't know…

The irony is I left Sydney because I was bored and was in a career rut… now I kind of feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities for reporting here and I just don't know where to start or when to find the time.

This psychotic rant has been kickstarted by waiting 45 minutes to pay a bill (that is already several weeks overdue), despite there being nobody else trying to pay a bill at the same time, and then not being able to because the payment machine was broken.  In the end, I lost an hour and a half out of my day, which was going to be writing time, because of it.  And I have to go back tomorrow.  And this stuff happens all the time here!  I also lost three days to yet another jungle fever.

So, I guess what I am asking is:

1.  When do you grow out of career crises?
2.  What should I do with my photos?
3.  Where does my time go?  How can I steal some of it back from the frenetic whirlwind of Jakarta?
4.  How do those people get famous blogs?  Do I need to flash my tits with Paris Hilton or something? Cos I could seriously handle just making a supplementary income out of posting pretty pictures and funny shit on here.
5. Am I especially neurotic for a 23-year-old?  Is this yet another scar from being part of the Howard generations?  Should I just forget about career crap and stuff around for a few more years and stop obsessing about 'what I really want'?

Apologies for the "attack of crazy". Back to the regularly scheduled program of pictures and anecdotes.

7 Responses to " What use are good intentions when you can’t get anything done? "

  1. Novia says:

    1. When do you grow out of career crises?
    Never, never, never.

  2. Ashlee says:

    Hmmm. Figured as much.
    Just going a little mad. There’s so much I want to do while I am here and I have no idea how I will fit it in!

  3. bellesbits says:

    5. Am I especially neurotic for a 23-year-old?
    Well, you’ve just written the diary of almost every 20-25 year old I know in Jakarta.
    Which says a few things:
    1. I know too many journalists and well-meaning humanitarians types
    2. You are not alone
    3. Fuck me- on top of all that- you’ve got alot of competition!
    You’re awesome, don’t stress. (All this is me in gentle brief hibernation from usual existentialist career panic. Don’t worry, it won’t last.)

  4. Ananda Ayu says:

    Betty loves blogging,
    You can do it. Trust me.

  5. Sophie says:

    Haha I love this post. I’ve felt like this a lot lately – just a bit kind of “so… where do i go from here?”
    I have no idea what you can do with your photos, but they are AWESOME. I don’t know much about selling them etc, you could find a lovely publisher who would put them into a pretty coffee table book?!
    About stories, could you pitch them to travel mags or the herald’s travel section or something? I’m also not sure about the options there.
    I have no idea how to make a blog famous – although I’ve observed it seems all to do with networking. If you have powerful blog friends, they will link to you? I think? But I kind of like that your blog is so personal, and not hugely popularised, although it deserves to be.
    I reckon my advice is – enjoy indonesia for the moment, and realise what an achievement it is to be over there in the first place, and surviving! When you feel settled, maybe jot some stories down and see what opportunities arise.

  6. George Darroch says:

    Yeah, don’t hurry. It sounds like a cliche, but you don’t have to do everything by 25 (god knows I haven’t) – just enjoy things for the moment, but keep an eye out for opportunities and seize them when they come close.
    Since I’m in the same position as you, I’m in no position to give advice, but hey!

  7. Rima Fauzi says:

    1. I used to have an awesome career but never smiled. I grew out of my career obsession when I moved to this foreign land where people speak every other language but the ones I speak thus making it hard for me to even think of having a career. Then I got a job that pays ok, no career but a life full of smiles. I was 29.
    2. Do to it like a guy did with these photos

    3. I’m sure the time thieves stole it, they did mine. Steal it back by not over thinking about it too much and have fun every chance you get..
    4. I have no idea. Still figuring that one out myself. Tried flashing but all I got was horrified looks, so I stopped doing that..
    5. No, you’re a normal neurotic 23-year-old. Maybe. Yes.