Experience Can’t Pay Your Actual Bills and That is Why Setting The Boundaries Matters

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If time feels running faster in your life right now, there is a huge chance that it would feel two times faster in the life of those fresh graduates who graduated in the middle of this pandemic. Even if nobody pressures them to get a job, it still feels a little bit frustrating when you’re supposed to get a job when most people lost their job. Then imagine if some of those fresh graduates already have pressure to get one.

I graduated from my university with a bachelor of interior design last October. Two months later, in December, I was lucky enough to be hired as an interior designer in a start-up company. Last month, I decided to resign.

“How dare you decided to resign when most of the people right now struggling to get a proper job? You’re such an ungrateful woman.”

Yes, I know. In a time full of uncertainties like now, find a proper job is so hard. Especially when you’re lack experience. For instance, in this case, is a fresh graduate. But it never means that we, the fresh graduates, have to stay in a toxic environment with a minimum wage.

“You don’t need to rush. Gain their trust and they will treat you better. Do something more than they expected and they’ll see your value,” some people said.

Trust me, I did that. Whenever they asked me to do something out of my job desks, I did that as long as I can do it. For example, when they asked me do I know someone who can do copywriting and I said I can do copywriting because I am. What I thought that time was, if I could do a double job probably I will get a double salary. On another chance, they asked me can I make content for their social media promotion and I said yes I can because I am. But jokes on me. Instead of appreciating me for being extra, they acted like those extra jobs were my basic job desk without anything in return to me except being overwhelmed.

What I said before is just a little part of the whole reasons why I decided to resign. I wouldn’t tell you everything about the last company I worked at because it doesn’t feel right to shit while I eat even though I finished eat there.

When a student doing an internship program, their main focus is to gain experience. A place they can learn and get a direct professional lecture in the industry. We’re voluntary to do everything the company asks us to do because they’ll judge our performance and give the result to the university. Even though internships are supposed to be paid, some companies will not really care about that and take advantage of the interns. If every intern has a label written on their forehead, that label would be, “It’s okay if you don’t want to pay me as long as I get the experience and pass my semester. My experience will be useful one day to pay my bills.”

The last sentence of that argument is neither completely wrong nor completely right.

When I graduated and started my daily life as a junior interior designer in a start-up company, day by day I realized that experience will increase my own value which means I could get a higher salary in the future but we can’t be paid with experience. Experience can’t pay your household bills. You need real money to pay them.

Why did I said that because I believe not only the last company I worked at before but also there are other companies like that which will ask their junior worker to do extra but pay them with minimum wage. They will always say that everything they offered was in the name of gaining experience and make us grow. Funny because we can never be growing up if we can’t afford proper food.

So, after long consideration and advice from some of my friends and family, I decided to resign. Not because I don’t need money or feel like I already had enough experience but because I try to set my boundaries and know my worth. I believe that my sustenance will never come only from one place. Even though when I set the boundaries like now it will not make me afford my bills, just to remember that paying my work hard with experience will not make me able to afford it too.

I understand that there is no perfect company just like there is no perfect employee but I still believe that out there, the better company still exists. And I’m trying to get one.