Why is that so?
Well, guiding a career path of a future psychiatrist to become a headpiece designer?
Never heard of. Unbelievable. A radical career disruption!
But it’s a true story.
This article features a 30-year-old doctor, a former resident of psychiatry, doctor Melissa Harapanita.
Melissa wanted to be a fashion designer when she was seven but must bury her dream in order to follow her family’s advice to be a doctor like her father and her other family members who most of them are doctors.
Studied medical at a private university, University of Tarumanagara (Jakarta), she purposely worked very hard for just one reason: "I wanted to finish as soon as possible so that I can realise my dream," she recalled. As a result? She was graduated not only as planned but also cum laude in March 2011.
Did she say she wanted to graduate ASAP so that she can go back to her secret dream?
Well, it wasn’t just like that. Her outstanding result led her smoothly to a position as a physician in three hospitals at the same time in Jakarta.
Two years Melissa dedicated her life as a doctor to gently treat her patients from various backgrounds and walks of life, young and old. She also had the privilege of working with senior doctor-colleagues ranging from specialists to distinguished professors. Through them she gained more knowledge about illnesses and advanced medical treatment. This included opening a door for her to pursue her studies further: undertaking psychiatry.
Psychiatry and Colours of Life. With such a reference and bright mind, she was accepted at the Indonesia's best national university in Jakarta, University of Indonesia. She began her journey as a resident of psychiatry in the university's hospital: a central government hospital, known as “RSCM” -- Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta; under the guidance of, again, best psychiatrists.
It was in this world of psychiatry that she saw life has multi colours: "... like dramas we usually read in novels or watch in movies, unfortunately they are real," explained Melissa.
As part of the study, Melissa had to be involved in the life of many mentally disordered individuals: boys and girls, men and women — of all ages — as young as eight year old to elderly ones. They became mentally disturbed for various reasons: from trivial problems of life, such as unrequited puppy love or jealousy; genetic problem, to serious psychology issues that threaten others’ life.
In order to treat her patients appropriately, Melissa must diagnose each patient assigned to her through tireless conversations. In the process, sometimes, some patients became aggressive and dangerously attacked her that she had to be protected by specially trained nurses for this kind of circumstances.
On the other hand, it was hilarious when a patient fell in love with her, following her every where she went and called her a queen or a princess.
Awaken Dream. Until one day, a call within a call knocking her heart to revisit her other dream. Two years into her residency, in late May 2015, Melissa decided to leave the world of psychiatry. Not that she shrank from her duty and responsibility — but somewhere, the buried dream was awaken.
Amazingly, there was indeed, a hidden talent inside Melissa’s head that was long overdue to be unleashed. In June 2015, she launched her handmade headpiece business: Highclass Headpiece.
“Elegantly designed headpiece is like a crown fits for a princess,” said Melissa.
To be a headpiece designer and business owner -- was it planned? Not exactly. Speaking of work of craft and art, it usually comes uninvited and silently immersed in the midst of hectic life. But when it’s listened to and actioned upon, true art does do marvels.That’s what Melissa did.
At an unexpected invitation of a friend for a photo-shooting, Melissa quickly set her needle and threads to work, not to stitch the wound of a patient but to craft and design her first five headpieces.
The photo-shooting and the five headpieces were the beginning of everything.
Since then she has created more than 500 designs and sold nearly 1000 pieces.
To date Melissa is still actively creating and designing handmade headpiece that she cleverly linked with interesting histories, stories, fairy tales, and movies — such as “Great Gatsby” and “Game of Thrones”, and she explained why such a headpiece was created. Visit her collections at <@highclass_headpiece>.
As her mentor, often I am asked if this radical career disruption is a wasted effort of time, energy, and money. Because apart from a long study process that could take six to seven years or even longer, it's very costly to study medical in Indonesia especially in a private university.
Again, someone’s future, especially in career, is not just determined by what he or she must do based on skills he/she has; or trainings he/she has undertaken; or what his/her parents do, or ancestors did. Something else must be considered.
The business management guru, (late) Peter F. Drucker, concluded that a professional can only perform well out of his or her strengths. Management reviews such as Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review often feature discussions about how to measure job satisfaction that really brings happiness or what makes work meaningful. Many are the suggestions, but one that I think resonates to doctor Melissa’s story, is — if what we do can bring the best in others.
Melissa’s Highclass Headpiece is aimed at bringing forth a complimentary beauty that most women wouldn’t think of: wearing headpiece. And this not only satisfies Melissa but inspires her to skilfully create more and more beautiful headpiece, affordable for all ladies and even for their babies. For this reason she chose “You smile, I smile” as her marketing spirit.
Other quality and capability. Still, it is undeniably a radical decision but I believe Melissa has come to this direction and was able to see her other quality and capability because of her previous journey in her medical career. She is not alone. One example is Manolo Blahnik. He was on his way to be an international lawyer, but one day when he responded faithfully to the call of his secret passion, he became a famous designer of luxurious shoes, "Manolo Blahnik".
Yet, … you may still argue that Melissa has wasted her promising future by abandoning her profession?
So, trust me -- when you are unwell physically or tired psychologically, go to her, she will still with tender care look after you!
Go ever forward doctor Melissa, there’s no limit to the gifts that God has bestowed upon you. Just multiply them all.
Now, let's smile for the picture,"You smile, I smile".
Jakarta, 22 November 2016