Fits and Starts

“Don’t wait. Set out… it might just be a magical day.” – Nancy Coey

That was what I did. When I received the call and the person on the other line told me to report to their office for immediate hiring, I responded positively. Of course, I was plagued by hesitations, but then again, some opportunities knock only once. Even though I was not yet emotionally and physically ready for the sudden call of duty, I went… and the following day, a Friday, I was officially starting my first job.

When I graduated from college, I somehow made up my mind. I’d land a job in a television network, if not lucky, I’d pursue further studies. Both didn’t happen. I was caught in the middle of something I wasn’t expecting. The truth is, when I was interviewed, I was so pleased and excited with what the company has to offer. I mean, come to think of it, magazine. Not many people land on an editorial job the first shot, or so I thought.

Life has ups and downs. I was barely adapting in my workplace when I experienced disappointments. The first day: culture shock. There I was, one Friday morning, waiting for the contract and an official orientation about the new world I was about to face. But it didn’t turn out exactly as expected. I was the earliest, then I met my superior and she introduced me to their publication, and told me what I will be tasked to do. It was a whirlwind, and everything went way too fast… except that I didn’t get my contract. I got it a week after.

During my first week, I felt intense self-pity. I somehow thought that it wasn’t the world for me, it wasn’t the job for me. I did not grew up in an environment where I encounter Prada, Bvlgari, Chanel, Hermes, and Gucci everyday. I did not even recognize many high-end brands, and usually end up mispronouncing their names. I never thought that there were excessive working hours that exist everyday… and those “over times” won’t earn me a cent. The positives in the job? Well, I’ve got friends. They were really easy-to-get-along-with. I did not feel isolated. I am still holding a pseudo-editorial post. I never experienced being scolded despite mistakes, and I think, my superior likes me. She doesn’t act like a bitch to me.

I’ll cut the long story short. My office mates kept complaining about the demanding and inconsiderate superiors. They complain about unfair treatment and lack of benefits. Most of them planned to leave the job. Two of them were out already, they just left a week ago. While I joined the non-stop ranting during my first three weeks, I eventually got tired because I realized some things.

First, I was disappointed because people around me were disappointed, too. I guess it’s some kind of virus. But when I rethink what I was ranting about, it’s not very substantial. I mean, it’s not totally baseless, but the fact that I am just starting, I think I should expect things like that. Because life is so filled with surprises, we don’t know what’s ahead of us. I am a beginner. I am kind of starting from scratch, actually. But then again, I must be lucky. At least this job is teaching me things I never learned in school.

I made up my mind that I wouldn’t quit unless the odds are totally not in my favor. I mean, if every single thing affects me negatively, what’s the sense of holding on? To my surprise, even though quitting crossed my mind, I am not giving up. Every thing is new. And sometimes I still feel self-pity. But who am I to rant? Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I’m not. But I should not give up just because the people around me are already giving up… one by one. I’ve had enough of that in college. Actually, I am starting to like this job. I pride myself whenever I finish my things-to-do with grace and perfection. I’m glad to be productive.

I talked to my closest friends about first job dilemmas, and one particular person feels the same way. The first part was depressing, it’s as if nobody appreciates you. I graduated in college with distinction but that did not set me apart, and there were actually times that I wanted to remove the words “cum” and “laude” below my major in my résumé.

But so far, I have learned lots of things. People expect too much, and they become blind because of those expectations. When we talk about love, it’s as if expectations entail disappointments. The same applies in other things. What we should keep in mind is that there are positive things that surround us. In my case, at least my superiors are nice to me and they appreciate my effort sometimes. (Yes, not always. But it’s still sometimes, and that’s something positive!) I am learning lots of things about this field, and I am continuously challenged given my shallow collection of vocabulary. I am learning to commute a lot, and when I say a lot, I really mean going to places I am very unfamiliar with. I get to practice my PR skills. And well, I feel trusted. Last week, our superiors left us in the office, and yes, we were under minimum supervision. I was tasked to interview a new applicant, and orient her about the company. Considering that during that time, I was so raw – I am with the company for only several weeks. And I was surprised that as I shared what I knew about the company, and what I was experiencing, I was able to extract something unexpected – the learnings, the lessons, the promotions! Hah. This company that I was complaining about? Well, I was actually able to do some PR there… I was able to highlight its positive aspects.

I am not quitting anytime sooner, but I am not also totally closing my doors to the dreams and plans I made months ago. There were times that I miss researching, interviewing, transcribing, and writing. I also miss watching news programs. But I believe that someday, I can still do those things. I mean, I do research, interviews, and writing but a lot different from what I used to do way back in college. It’s nice to learn something new. But I know it will be better if I am doing the job of my dreams. Then again, I am so thankful that as I approach my official first month in my work, I am used to my surroundings, and I am doing good. I never thought I’d adapt and learn this fast.

The obstacles I faced and will be facing for the next days, and months will act as stepping-stones so that I can build the life I want. The path ahead is creepy and I can see a lot of rough roads and manholes from here, but I am not giving up. No way! This challenging work and my entrance in somewhat independent living will max out my personality, and no matter how hard, I know in the end, I’ll benefit from this. People who are just starting and fitting in must keep in mind that hard work, patience, and prayers will harvest fruits… maybe not now… but someday, somehow.

And to conclude this über redundant and gleeful post, let me share with you what Martha Grimes once said. “We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.” There are times that you measure yourself by what you can’t do. Your failures and misfortunes start to define you. But try to look at the things that you can do, and as the cliché goes, look at the brighter side of things. Life will always present you with two choices: the rough path or the short cut; the tight rope or the feather bed; the coconut tree or the buko juice. What happens in your life, it’s up to the choices that you make. 🙂

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