People with purpose: Syawalianto Rahmaputro
8 min read
30 Apr 2021
8 min read
30 Apr 2021
From the outside, it seems like Syawalianto Rahmaputro has been moving from one significant milestone to another in his life to date. But if you look closer, you’ll discover all the effort he has taken to make his dreams come true.
The story of Syawalianto – or Anto – is the fourth in our People with Purpose series, in which the people of Wärtsilä share in their own words about the major turning points in their lives, what brings purpose to their days and where they find the energy to get out of bed every morning.
Now, Syawalianto will tell you the full story.
Making dreams happen
Our parents always encouraged my two younger brothers and I to educate ourselves. Even if I didn’t understand it at the time, one of their best investments was when they forced me to take extra English classes in elementary school. Looking back, I’m very grateful for the head start. These classes, which felt like a burden then, made the life I have now possible.
My parents also planted the seed in my head to try studying abroad. However, to do that, I needed to work for three years after my bachelor’s degree to earn money for a master’s degree abroad. Some of my friends were able to move away from Indonesia immediately after graduating, and their experiences in Europe gave me the motivation to continue saving. Eventually, in 2011, I quit my job and moved to Nantes, France to continue my education.
Leaving Indonesia and using all my savings of nearly EUR 20,000 for an international study program was a big thing for me. Fortunately, I got a scholarship for my living expenses but still, investing that much money on tuition fees made me realise that I had to make the most of my program. So, I took my studies seriously. But I also took the opportunity to get to know new people. I particularly enjoyed how my Latin American friends livened up the atmosphere in our get-togethers with music and dance! I was also active in our Indonesian student association. One of the best experiences of that time was when we got all the Indonesian students in France to meet at our university – it wasn’t the easiest thing to organise, but it was definitely worth it.
During my last semester in France, I came across Wärtsilä for the first time. As part of my master’s program, I needed to do an internship, and Wärtsilä Norway sounded like an attractive opportunity. From a young age, I was interested in physics and wanted to work on the traditional side of engineering. When Wärtsilä approved my thesis proposal and offered me a job after the internship, it was a major win for me. I like the size of our company; depending on the background of the people I meet, some of them recognise the Wärtsilä name, but often I get to explain about the company and the amazing stuff we do. I really enjoy increasing awareness about the company in that way.
Professionally, I dream of developing my career with Wärtsilä, but not at the expense of work-life-balance –the trust and the flexibility to manage my schedule are some of the main reasons I work here. Another important matter is the joy of working – it feels like I’m doing something meaningful. After working in other companies – where I started to stress about upcoming work week already on Sunday – I prefer this feeling where I deliver solutions to real-life problems and don’t just work for profit. I believe that our strategy and technology can hugely impact the energy transition.
I also like how people in Wärtsilä are so willing to develop together; everyone shares knowledge and cooperates as we work for a shared goal. Overall, in life, I find it important that people help others and make themselves valuable that way. It doesn’t have to be anything physical you give – it can be some simple advice – just as long as you’re not always at the receiving end.
One thing I’ve learnt during my studies and experience moving between countries is that dreams rarely come true without relentless work. During my life, I’ve saved money and filled in many applications, forms and letters, to reach my goals. It may not seem enjoyable, but it will pay off. I hope that one day, my two sons will also be willing to walk that extra mile – I’d like to provide a good education for them, too.
Feeling at home in two countries
Living abroad, I never felt miserable or lonely, even if at times I have felt sentimental and missed my family or certain places. I made good friends in Norway with whom I’m still in contact. I even avoided the ‘winter blues’ by skiing regularly – I believe that it often helps to simply go outdoors, consume vitamins and reset your life perspective.
While living in Norway, I married my girlfriend. We had our first date in McDonald’s in Jakarta back in 2013 – the usual starting place for great love stories! Our love story matured from there, and in August 2014, I flew to Jakarta for our wedding ceremony. After the wedding, we continued to have a long-distance marriage for over two years, leaving it open as to which country we would settle in
My eldest son was born during that long-distance period. I was supposed to fly home three weeks before my baby boy’s birth, but he happened to come into this world prematurely. So, when my wife was already in labour, I was still packing my luggage in Oslo. It was certainly not what I would have preferred, but luckily the airplane WiFi worked, and I received a picture of our boy through WhatsApp already before landing and rushing into the hospital.
After all these life changes, my team in Norway gave me the opportunity to continue working from Jakarta and I moved back to my family in November 2016 without hesitation. It was a good time to return, as soon after that my brother moved to study in France. I believe it made it easier for him to leave knowing that there were still two of us spending time with our parents.
Finally, when my second son was born in 2017, I was present. It was on a Thursday morning when my wife's waters broke, much to our surprise. We hastily drove to the hospital, which was located 15 minutes away. It was around 7 pm when my second son was born. Because it was a C-section, I could not be by my wife’s side during the delivery, but at least this time, I could see and hold my son right away. It was a thrilling experience!
The role of the eldest sibling is to lead by example
When my brothers and I were small, we used to quarrel a lot, but ever since our teenage years, we’ve been bonding. My brothers have quite different interests, but I’m a mix of both of their characteristics; with one brother I do sports, like tennis and soccer, while with the other, we enjoy culture together.
As the eldest son, I think it’s my role to be the frontrunner. With the lessons I’ve learned – and my mistakes along the way – I hope my brothers can take better routes in their lives. In some families, you may see sibling rivalry, but I think it’s only a positive if my brothers are more successful than me. It means I’ve played my role well and encouraged them to earn a better life. Now that my middle brother is working in the UK and the youngest one is soon leaving for a master’s degree abroad, I feel my example has actually mattered.
When I was living in Europe, I learnt one thing that I still carry with me: it’s sinful to waste a sunny day. Consequently, I like to spend weekends going to the beach, mountains or to the park with my family. I even have a list of things from which we can choose on Friday what to do each weekend. I keep it in my mobile phone, so I don’t forget our options and so I can add things whenever friends are telling about some nice activities they have discovered.
Once the pandemic allows it, I’d like to take my family to see the world. There are so many places I’d like to show my wife, such as France, Italy and Singapore. Even though Singapore is not that far from here, for me it’s like experiencing another, better, version of Indonesia.
All the gears falling into place
During my studies at university, there wasa self-improvement course that had a big impact on me. The course taught me to know and accept my limits and weaknesses – and then forgive myself all my imperfections and past problems. After taking this class, I felt much more motivated and confident, and improved my grades significantly.
That course also woke me up to the realisation that one day, we all will die, so we had better live this life to the fullest. Now, during the pandemic, this lesson has felt more relevant than ever. I had a friend who was about same age as me and, like me, also had a son and a wife. He passed away due to Covid-19. It’s simply sad, and it really makes me appreciate all the adventures I still get to experience with my family.
In life, I find it important that people help each other with the skills they’ve been given. Personally, I consider myself good at explaining things to others. At the university, I supported my friends by helping them understand certain courses that were harder for them. And when my Indonesian friend visited me in Norway, I managed to teach him downhill skiing so that he was able to enjoy the sport already on day two. I enjoy spreading knowledge and I think others appreciate it, too. At work, I use this skill when speaking with colleagues or customers – I’m able to ensure that we have a shared understanding of what’s going on and what the problem is that we are about to solve.
Besides helping others, the feeling that I belong to this world makes my life feel meaningful; I know there is a spot that I fill. At work, I’m feel a part of the big combination of gears, and at home, I have a role in the family. I’m grateful that I now have them both – work and family – in one location.
After studying in Nantes, I continued my experiences abroad doing an internship with Wärtsilä Norway.
During my career with Wärtsilä, I’ve made great friends in both Norway and Indonesia.