WRITER’S NOTE: Today marks my first day on WordPress. The place is still barren, so I thought of bringing some favorite pieces here from my former site, which is Live Journal, and one of them is this.
This was published in the Young Blood section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer last March 10, 2015. While others were busy trying to fix their broken hearts, students were struggling to finish their theses, and some were already planning their summer vacations, I sat in my room alone, tears flowed and words poured as I tried to figure out how my career would turn out. Future was bleak then; I had three jobs in less than a year. I feared for it.
I posted this on my blog,
hoping desperately wanting to be heard, but since I had little following, I then sent it to the daily (and sanitized it a bit to make it less like a rant).
A year has passed and I still receive positive feedback from fellow millennials who’ve read it. Turns out we all share the same struggles, same drive to chase for dreams, and same ideals of what life should be like.
Below is the blog version.
Looking for a job isn’t easy—let alone that perfect dream job—and so is keeping one.
I’ve been out of college for more than a year now and at 21, I’ve already applied for and got accepted in quite a number of writing-related jobs that I, for some reason, eventually deserted.
This is not something to be proud of, especially for someone who has been raised in a society where work experience is defined by the number of years rendered in a company.
Needless to say, I’m not a fan of status quo.
I only stayed for seven months at my first job in a PR agency. After that, I tried my luck at direct-selling, which didn’t work out, so I ditched it and became a research assistant for more than a month at a company where my college best friend worked. Soon after, I had an online reporter job at a New-York based online science news site for another month. And after that, I got a project-based writing stint at a local real estate company, which I think ran for three weeks.
Fortunately, after a rickety ride at a yet undefined career path—a ride that I unwittingly enjoyed, I finally found a full-time job in a local TV network. It’s actually quite a feat to have been able to stay in this job for half a year now, considering its infamous reputation of high turnover rate. However, as the months dragged on (and as of this writing), I am somewhat reconsidering my stay.
“WHAT?! You’re leaving UH-GAIN? When will you ever learn to stay? You can never have a good resume with what you’re doing!” I can hear my parents and friends shrieking in chorus. They may be right, but I know myself better and for this matter I could only care less.
Some 20th-century progenies may find it easy to declare this risky affair as career suicide, effortlessly labeling me as a wishy-washy person in the workforce who can never promise constancy to a company. I understand that. Who in their right minds would accept someone who has been jumping from one job to another?
But, as someone who’s been in an industry where deadlines are a norm, I could not easily ward off the compulsion to leave something that I know would not make me happy in the long run. There’s this unexplainable urgency of accomplishing something because of a deadline I could not even determine when. I just have to do it, to look for that one thing that would make me feel satisfied, because at the back of my mind, there’s a loud ticking of the clock that’s reverberating throughout my soul.
Hold on a little longer, they say, there is not one job that promises a trouble-free journey. I agree with that and we all have to endure things at some point in our lives. However, we don’t have the luxury to keep holding on to almost everything. In the same way that life is not a buffet, we only have enough time and energy to do a number of draining sacrifices.
I’m not generalizing; it’s more of a personal thing, perhaps another matter concerning passion versus paycheck. Or getting torn between prestige and stipend. And in the course of over a year of searching, I haven’t found that one job that could make me feel that it is what I’m meant to be doing.
And so I quit.
I used to get disappointed with people who easily throw in the white towel. I find it difficult to understand their decision to just give up in spite of the hundreds of applicants who would have killed for the job they have decided to leave.
But then I realized quitting isn’t all about being weak. It’s about having the strength to acknowledge your worth and to know what you deserve.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Sometimes, I feel a little envious of my friends who are able to stick with their jobs for a while. Some of them managed to reach one year already. Had I convinced my restless self to stay, I might have reveled in the same sweet satisfaction today. Perhaps, they have found their niche, or may have been comfortable with what they already have. And here I am, still unsatisfied and searching.
But just because I found a job that was not up to scratch my personal criteria of happiness with work does not mean I did not perform well. Each step I took, I was pushed to give my best not only with the craft I want to hone but also my attitude towards work. Each job drove me out of my comfort zone; each of them taught me how to deal with bouts I am not acquainted with before. Sometimes I go an extra mile, insisting myself in a position that would put me in an uncontrollable situation. Thankfully, I managed. Still, I don’t think this is wasted time and ‘not experience.’
I think it’s normal for young adults of this generation to experience this kind of eagerness and restlessness to pursue dreams the soonest we can. We refuse to settle for less and we fear having to regret that we have stayed for so long in a job we aren’t satisfied just because we let ourselves be engulfed by conformity. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes it’s not a really ideal action either.
Each one of us has personal reasons and dreams that lead us to where we plan to go. Some may beg to differ and some may share the same thoughts. But there is one unnerving thing that we could not deny at all—that Life has an indefinite deadline. No one knows if we are already meeting it in 20 years, 10 months, or perhaps even less than a week.
As for me, I shall continue to search for that one job that would make me say, “Oh, there you are. I have been looking for you this whole time.” I could not settle just yet. I just know it has to be somewhere. I may just have to keep going for a bit. CV