Please do not see this as a racism post; this is simply my real life experience in the point of view of a woman Muslim wearing hijab and 100% Sundanese.
For the past 2 years, I’ve been working in one of large conglomerates in the country (the owner includes in the Forbes 20 richest Indonesian). Like most of the large conglomerates in the country, the owner is from Chinese descendant. I work at the holding company. My division consists of 5 people, including the VP. I’m the only non-Chinese and Muslim in my division. And at the beginning, it scared me. I became scarier when I figured out that the majority of the holding company’s employees are non-Muslim. For your background, the holding company only employs a few people for key functions, maybe around 30 people, while the large chunks of employees are in our subsidiaries. But I felt a little bit relieved because one of our directors is a woman, wearing hijab, like me 🙂
Sometimes I feel awkward, of course. Sometimes I’m in a meeting where all of them are Chinese, and I’m the only non-Chinese person and I’m a woman and I’m wearing hijab and I’m the most junior. The awkwardness is too obvious, isn’t it?
But as time goes by I can extract two most valuable lessons.
A secret that may explain why they are very successful in doing business. We should do business professionally and wholeheartedly. In a professional world, we should treat everyone objectively based on their performances. Everyone can speak up their mind. Junior or not, as long as we have the basis of our opinion, it will be appreciated. If someone has a good idea, whoever he/she is, it will be carefully thought. If one performed well, don’t hesitate to give them adjustment and appreciation. Even I don’t have any special relationship with any of them, even I’m a minority there, I feel much appreciated I’ve been treated fairly.
The culture is very different with what my husband experiencing when he was working in state-owned companies. Where talent is not appreciated and underrated. No wonder the result is different, right?
Being a good Muslim agent. I saw my condition in a brighter view. It strives me to become a good Muslim agent. It strives me to show that Islam is a religion with piece. It also makes me brave to protect my principle, i.e. I have to pray, I don’t eat haram food. It also strives me to learn Islam more because sometimes they ask about Islam.
The other good thing is that in our Group, not my company. We have a biweekly taklim for women only. Because we’re a media group, we get the chances to invite famous ustadz/ustadzah to share their knowledge in our forum. I’m so grateful~~~