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My name is Joannes Rhino, and I was born in Jakarta on June 1980. I was educated at the local Catholic state school until graduation in 1998, and continued my study in Hospitality University; Sahid University, majoring Hotels Management. After graduated in 2005, I was employed by Citibank in Citiphone Department. As a Call Center Officer, my role for the company was to receive incoming calls and handling everything related with banking services, from inquiries to complaints. At this stage of my life, I built my career perfectly; started as a Trainee, Junior Citiphone, Senior Citiphone, Universal Citiphone, until the last position was a mentor in Banking Department. During my service with Citibank, I received many awards related with customer satisfaction; Fast-track Trainee to Junior Level, Best Sales in 2007, Best Service in 2008, and Best-in-class Service Asia Pacific Region in 2010. Working with Citibank was indeed my greatest achievement in life, or so I thought.
Having been working the same routine for years, I started to write a novel to kill the time. Finally, I managed to finish my first novel and got it published. My first novel “Etzhara” was published by the biggest traditional publisher in Indonesia, Gramedia, and made me one of the best young writers under thirty at Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2009. Feeling confident with the writing skill I had, I published the second novel in the same year by another Indonesian traditional publisher, Dastan Books. I then began to receive many invitations to attend book signings, talk shows, radio interviews, and other literature activities. This second novel made me an overnight success.
Feeling secured in terms of financial and social life, I felt something was missing. The turning over point of my life had occurred when my best friend in Citibank handed me a novel by Paulo Coelho “The Alchemist” and a motivational book by Rhonda Byrne “The Secret”. Those books really changed my perspective about life, and that was when I decided to change my course to pursue my dreams. I have to see the world. Therefore, my six years’ service in Citibank had come to an end. I was 30 at the time, and in the same year, I published a collection of poetry “As The Rest Come To My Heart” in the United Kingdom by Authorhouse. This poetry collection was made during the most troublesome moments of my last 10 years of life, when dark clouds enveloped me after the loss of my parents when I was at college. Anger, anxiety, emptiness, guilt and lost love coalesced into a single, unbearable emotion.
With all the savings I got from working in Citibank and book royalties, I decided to let go of the glamorous life of Jakarta and hit the road. Bali was the first place I could think of. So, in 2010, I traveled there and got a job in a timeshare company; The Karma Royal Group. As a Holiday Consultant, my role was to explain about the benefits in becoming a member of the company. I loved working with The Karma Royal Group, but it felt to me that it was not what I looked for in this journey. Three months was all I needed to realize that I needed to find my inner peace. Therefore, in March 2011, I traveled to Thailand and got myself a spot to volunteer in a local school in Phuket. I survived there for 2 months, and headed back to Bali.
Realizing how I deeply in love with writing, I always wanted to work in a publishing company. The opportunity finally arrived in July 2011. I was employed by The Bali Weekly as Sales & Marketing Executive. My task was simply to find companies who want to advertise in the magazine. And in addition, I also contributed in writing articles for the magazine. I stayed working there for 4 months until the company collapsed due to financial issue. It took me only 2 weeks before I got another job in Zee Magazine as an Editor in Chief. In this part, I was obligated to manage the editorial of the magazine. I was literally running the company as the owner wanted me to be in charge of everything. During the period of August 2011 until March 2012, I also took part-time jobs as an English Teacher in Onederland and a Freelance Marketing for Ariyana Property.
As much as I loved dealing with words and all the extra activities that I did, my passion to see the world kept haunting me. Finally, in March 2012, I decided to travel to Australia for 5 months. Having limited source of fund, I was required to fit in with a new lifestyle. And in the sake of getting as much experiencefor my writing,I lived my life differently; working from farm to farm and restaurant to restaurant, hitchhiking from place to place, and volunteering from school to school. I went all around Australia and returned to Bali with tons of stories to tell in August 2012.
A week after I arrived in The Island of Thousands Gods, I was hired by The Regent Vacation Club as a Holiday Consultant. I managed to work there for a few months until the beginning of 2013 when I joined Exquisite Publishing as Senior Sales Manager. My role to the company was pretty much the same when I was in The Bali Weekly; finding companies to advertise in the magazines. I really enjoyed myself with this company, and stayed there for 11 months. The only reason I resigned was because I wanted to focus on my writing or doing any project related with writing.
During my journey in Australia, I had written two other novels and got rejected from several publishers in Indonesia because the content was too risky to sell. Therefore, I managed to self-published them with a USA publisher, Createspace. This huge change made me an international author. However, this achievement did not stop me from pursuing my literature obsessively. I was then working freelance as a ghostwriter, copywriter and scriptwriter.
In May 2014, a new challenge arrived before my eyes. I got an offer to work as a Wine Broker for The Bottled Wealth Holdings in Jakarta. As much as I didn’t want to live in Jakarta, this unique opportunity was too precious to let go. I am still working for this company at the moment. My daily tasks are taking meetings and making good relationship with potential investors to sell/buy high-value wines. Here, I learn new things every day.
I am based at no place as I am still in search for a place called “home”.