About A Job
It's all the same. No pain or sorrow. I am just indifferent. And it's just a job
- Death in Sandman by Vertigo Comics, that I forgot which edition and don't want to waste my precious time to track it down. But isn't she pretty?
My friend once said that an onion peeler is still a profession. She works her ass off to peel the onions, meeting the target with all of the process she must endure--tears and sore thumbs--daily, with one or two whining. He also pointed out series of pictures of an attendant in a mosque's toilet in the outskirt of a remote area when he stopped by for a rest. What he thought to be a short stop turned out into a half day, thanks to the toilet attendant's integrity for his job. It was his creed that astonished my backpacking friend: I can't do anything but doing my best, though it's only for a toilet. It's not for me. It's for people like you who longs for a rest and relief comfortably.
The mosque was the one you could meet along Pantura route: a small, solemn, quiet, praying house except for the 5-times-a-day adzan whose backside completed with the most standard restroom with three-fourth door (or none at all). Inside, the toilet is ornamented with a pair of tiled steps each to a hole and a modest basin on which supposed-to-be-fresh-yet-salty water poured from a pipe corked by a wooden stump.
The praying house was gloomy, he said. But the toilet was surprisingly clean and bright despite the resided greenish mold left from the nooks that the brush could not reach. The attendant himself is an old man of more than 60 with the head of almost white and few teeth left when he smiles--that he did frequently. Though he had his difficulties when getting all down in cleaning the floor, he did it twice a day without complaining.
When it came to his reward, my friend fell silent all of a sudden. He took whatever the customers gave him, a mere 500 rupiah of a coin or a worn-out 2,000 notes. He doesn't put standard on the price, on the effort he had to make, day, by day, by day. He loves what he does.
And that was what I'm trying to do since becoming a freelancer for almost three years, for the love of language. I do some translation job since I was in school and at the present time, Indonesian to English and vice versa. Some are for corporates, curatorial of art exhibitions, or simply handouts for learning materials. I did my time, of course. Desperately groaning, sometimes, because I'm not into flowery words in praising one's company yet I should do frequently if I happened to work on a company profile. But I always amazed in what the language represents, in conveying message, to communicate, to divert readers' attention, to give way to an idea in penetrating ones' mind, to swoop a girl from her feet and fly her high to the sky just by reading the words her boyfriend sent in her SMS inbox. As my other friend stated, word has power. It's almost... magical.
Thus, it is more than reasonable if I think that a client who is still bargaining my predetermined fee (or even asking it for free, no matter how effortless the job might seems) is an ugly, ungrateful, bag of shit, asshole for degrading my work and professionalism. Not to mention debasing her or his own integrity. Not even when he or she is meant to be joking. Listen up, Dickhead. I did it before the deadline, without typo, and with much consideration I suggested some corrections to be put on your original text should you consider it to print or publish. It's not a matter of money. I'd rather go broke and spent my days eating nothing but my pride than having you arrogantly bid below my standard and get away with pride greater than mine. I'm a boastful and my tongue is sharper than a scalpel. So, save us some times and don't come near. Because it's in my blood that if I'm good at something, I'll get paid from it.
So, here's my two-cent, dear Dickheads: learn fucking English and get off of my back!