NOTE: This piece came out in the YoungBlood section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer last March 10, 2015. The first draft was originally published on Live Journal, 06 December 2014 @ 08:33 pm
Looking for a job isn’t easy, let alone that dream job. And neither is keeping one.
I’ve been out of college for more than a year now and at 21, I’ve applied for and gotten 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 was 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 stayed for only seven months at my first job in a PR agency. After that, I tried my luck in direct selling, which didn’t work out, so I ditched it and got into my college best friend’s company where I worked as a research assistant for more than a month. 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 on 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 another dream fulfilled. It’s actually quite a feat to be able to stay a while in this job (more than half a year now), considering its infamous reputation of a high turnover rate. However, as the months drag on (and as of this writing), I am somewhat reconsidering my stay.
“What?! You’re leaving uh-gain?” I can hear my parents and friends shrieking in chorus. “When will you learn to stay? You will never have a good resumé with what you’re doing!” I know they mean well, but at the end of the day I will still go for what my heart longs for.
Some 20th-century prodigies may find it easy to pronounce this risky affair as career suicide, and effortlessly label me a wishy-washy person in the workforce who can never promise constancy to a company. I understand that. Who in their right mind 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 cannot easily ward off this unexplained urge to accomplish my goals before an undetermined deadline. 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. Everyone must start at the bottom rung of the ladder and everyone must learn how to survive the landscape of the real world.
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. That’s why I think I must choose pretty carefully: what is it that I really want to do that deserves all the effort?
I’m not generalizing; it’s more of a personal thing, perhaps another matter concerning passion versus paycheck or getting torn between prestige and realism. And in the course of over a year of searching, I haven’t found that one job that can 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 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 decided to leave.
But then I realized that quitting isn’t all about being weak. It’s about having the strength to acknowledge one’s worth and to know what one deserves.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Sometimes I feel a little envious of my friends who are able to stick with their jobs. Some of them have managed to reach one year already. I do admire them, as well as my colleagues in my current job, because they’re still there, regardless of the obvious downsides of their work. Had I convinced my restless self to stay, I might have reveled in the same sweet satisfaction today. Maybe they have found their niche or may have been comfortable with what they already have. And here I am, still unsatisfied and searching for “The One.”
But just because I found a job that was not able to meet 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 in terms of not only the craft I want to hone but also my attitude toward 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. Sometimes I go an extra mile, insisting on putting myself in a situation that I could not control. Thankfully, I have managed, and I have learned a lot. So I don’t think it has been wasted time; I don’t think it is “not work 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 happy with just because we have to conform. It’s not a bad thing—but sometimes it’s not the ideal option 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 cannot deny at all: that life has an indefinite deadline. No one knows if we are meeting that “deadline” 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 cannot settle just yet. I just know it has to be somewhere. I may just have to keep going for a bit, hopefully finding it before my ultimate deadline. CV