by NEIL G
…a story on how I survived 2 years in my first job
Right after graduation, I received a job offer from a company so I gave it a try since I still didn’t know where to start during that stage. My original plan was to work abroad or find scholarship there and later come back to the country to teach. Still, I was really contented especially that I was receiving good pay for someone with no experience yet. Maybe it was because of my educational background.
My first day was really so boring that I thought of not coming back the following day. I wasn’t able to figure out my importance to the company. I was literally a “nobody.” Then I found out there was another newbie. He was 14 years older than me, had already worked outside the country, was from Metro Manila, and escaped from there with his second wife. He seemed so quite at first but we eventually got along well. Somehow, I saw in him the perseverance to work so I forgot about quitting. I felt the challenge.
It took me a month to adjust to the environment and a year to love my job. Still, I was contented. After my first year with the company, I decided to take the board exam. I was granted a 2-month leave since they didn’t want me to resign. It was then that I also decided to never come back as soon as I get my license. My license, by the way, was the only reason why I delayed my plan of working abroad. Frustrated about how I performed in the examination, I didn’t show up in the office anymore but my boss called me up, saying that the company still needed me. So I did come back because I was not that confident on passing the board exam anyway… but I did pass! I was happy but not extremely since only 3 out of 11 of my closest friends made it.
The management learned about this and expressed their happiness, too. But deep inside, I still wanted to leave the company. Then the big break came. For the first time in my life, I was tasked to handle a major renovation project which I was so nervous about but turned out so well. The management was so impressed that they reciprocated it with salary increase. The increase was also for passing the exam. From then on, major projects were assigned to me and people seemed to refer on me already. Slowly, I felt my significance. This was something I had been longing to feel.
Many started joking, calling me “COO” (from CEO), meaning - Con (pronounced as “Son”) of the Owner.” It’s true that I became really close with the management. The president even gave me 2 of his neckties as a sign of appreciating my contributions to the company. He also planned of promoting me as Artistic Director that if not for my young age, I was already on this level. Yes, I was the youngest in the department. Next to me was 4 years older and most of them in their 30’s. I understood that I would have to wait a little longer to achieve this.
From there, I made some reflections on my job and it was only then that I realized I had been fooling myself all this time. I became so blinded with the applause people gave me and so I forgot my real purpose in life which is to share whatever learning I have with others maybe through teaching. I have realized that I had been giving so much for the company and completely ignored that I was not receiving as much. It is true that I may have brought certain degree of happiness for the company but not for myself. There was emptiness inside me.
It saddens me to also see that the others struggled while I was on the pedestal. So, I started feeling for those who had been with the company for more than 10 years, 15 years and even 20 years... remaining to be a “nobody” after all those years of service. I feared that when the time comes also, I’d end up being a “nobody”. Everything depreciates in value. At least in teaching, I’ll find true happiness of being able to mold more professionals to be even better than me… and that after 20 years, I’d be able to say, “…it was worth it.”
To make a difference, I prepared myself to lose everything I worked for in the past 2 years just for the sake of the others. So, I released my own version of SONA (State of the Nation Address) to the corporate office. I distributed more than 40 copies to a population of about 300. There I stated many concerns which were not only mine but of the rest of the employees. I became their voice… and conquered everyone’s heart. I was only hoping that there would be changes – changes for the better.
A week later, I finally submitted my resignation which I thought would be best… bringing with me the memory that I once became a hero.