Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perfect Career - My piece of Young Blood

Saw this piece again online. This was my article published in the YoungBlood section of Philippine Daily Inquirer years ago.

Youngblood : Perfect career

By Amabelle Rica R. Lopez

Posted date: June 27, 2006

EXACTLY a week ago, I did something that will surely disappoint my parents, raise the eyebrows of my aunts, and open me again to mockery by my friends: I again submitted a resignation letter to my employer. I’ve done the same thing five times since I graduated from college about a year ago, and my friends are saying making resignation letters has become a hobby for me.

I’m only 23 and I already have a long list of short-time work experiences, making my CV three pages long. My mom said that finding and leaving work are just like bar hopping to me. I’ve been jumping from one company to another, hoping to find the perfect job -- something that would exercise my knowledge and creativity and at the same time give me freedom to do whatever I want to do. I know I’m being idealistic but I believe there’s really that kind of work waiting for me.

Back in college, most of my classmates thought I was dumb and wrote me off as a failure. Whenever we had a group project or report, nobody wanted to have me in his or her group, fearing I would just pull down their grades.

I couldn’t blame them. Who would ever trust a person who would just show up in class when there was quiz or sneak out of the classroom after the attendance had been checked?

But I never thought of myself as a failure. I believed that I was as smart as those boring students on the dean’s list. I knew that even if I didn’t graduate in college with honors, I would still feel fulfilled because my college days were wonderful. I was able to enjoy my life amid the pressures of university life and got only one failing mark -- in Trigonometry -- but even that was a learning experience for me. I knew how it felt not only to flunk a subject but also to attend summer classes. And it made me different from my classmates who would cry a tub of tears whenever they got grades of 2.5 in some of their subjects. I didn’t worry too much about grades and rankings since I knew they were not essential to living in the real world. I believed that as long as you had your own talent and you knew it, you were already successful in your own way. And I still believe it until now.

The reason I didn’t stick to one job is simple: I was not happy in any one of them. In know it sounds like a very shallow reason for jumping from one job to another, but that’s the fact. For how can you stay in one company doing the task assigned to you if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing? How can you concentrate on finishing a business plan if your mind and heart are telling you to do what you enjoy most?

I hate writing resignation letters and handing them to human resource managers. I don’t enjoy job-hopping. I don’t like being asked what I am doing with my life. I hate it when friends teased about my not being able to stay in one company. But can’t these people understand that these companies only offered me money and not the satisfaction I was looking for? Sticking with a well-established company might be an easier way to a comfortable life, but I know I would just be fooling myself. It can never satisfy the hunger inside.

There’s only one thing that I really find pleasure in doing, one thing I’ll never grow tired of doing over and over again -- and that is writing. Whenever I finish an article or a story, I always feel fulfilled and even triumphant. I feel like I had done something great, no matter how lousy the story may be. Great, in the sense that it’s my own masterpiece, something that’s wholly a product of my creativity and not extracted from me by my supervisors.

I used to work for a publication, and it was one great work experience despite the very low pay. I spent more than a year working there and I honestly enjoyed it there: the pressure of beating the deadlines, the never-ending overtime work, looking over the layouts, etc. But I had to leave that company because at that time, my family was so financially challenged that I had to get out of my comfort zone and find a job that would pay me enough so that I could help my family financially.

I didn’t really want to leave. I even tried working part-time as an English instructor for four months, waking up at 3 a.m. and reporting for work as early as 4 a.m. just so I won’t lose my writing job. But my body didn’t cooperate. I got sick and was bed-ridden for almost a month because of over-fatigue. My mom insisted that I give up my part-time job and eventually I gave up my position in the publication due to financial reasons.

Now I have decided to follow my heart’s desire. I will no longer think of the downside of the writing profession. Instead, I will ponder on how happy and fulfilled I will be doing the one thing I love. I will not look for a job that is just an exchange of labor for money. Instead, I will look for a job that will help me grow and develop as a writer.

A job is different from a vocation. A job is something you do for money. Looking for a job is something that society dictates so you’ll have food on the table and you can buy the things you need. A vocation, on the other hand, has a much deeper meaning in your life. A vocation is something that you are not obliged to do because your heart and mind are in it. It is something that give you so much satisfaction in doing.

I know writing is my vocation. I knew it from the time our teacher in fourth grade asked us to write a short essay about ourselves. Writing makes my life complete. It fills my life with meaning. Writing allows me to give voice to who I am and what I want to say.

I don’t care if most people think there’s no money in writing. I don’t care if I’d grow old poor, typing my latest piece while most of my friend and colleagues enjoy the luxuries of life. I will die with no regrets because I’ve spent most of my life doing something that I really love.

All I want is to write as many articles and stories as I can, hoping that I will be able to inspire people around me. With a bit of luck, I hope that through the words I write I will be able to make a difference in some people’s lives.

I’ve made my choice. I will keep writing until I can’t think of anything to write, until my mind becomes exhausted by thinking. I will no longer dwell on what other people say or succumb to pressures around me. I will not let these things kill my dream. I am determined to prove to the world that in doing what I love I will be successful. I don’t want to wonder some time how good I could have been at writing stories.

I’m glad to have finally found the perfect career. And this time, I will no longer have to prepare a resignation letter.

Amabelle Rica R. Lopez, 23, is a PR associate and writer for a PR firm.

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