Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I can see myself getting ready for my first day of training. I’ve been idle for so long I couldn’t remember the last time I felt as excited to go to work. My past self cannot see me in this vision. Perhaps it’s all in the limitations of my imagination. Still, there I am, ironing my striped F&H shirt, wondering if my new officemates will like me. Hoping for the best, yes but still bracing myself for the worst.
You see, joining this company wasn’t exactly my most thought out decision. All I knew was I couldn’t stand to be stuck in the same routine day after day, pacifying angry customers in a thankless, hopeless loop. Leaving was my way of breaking the cycle. My resignation was the poor (and arguably crazy) man’s version of a vacation. No, wait. That’s not exactly true. Let me tell you why.
This time last year, I barely had two cents to rub together. I struggled to survive on P150 a day- my meal and transportation allowance. My officemates and I, determined to see the glass half full, held noodle parties at the cafeteria. Now, I get a different idea with each cup of Nissin Seafood noodles I see.
It’s funny now that I think about it but back then, I hid my shame with every cup of noodles I devoured. My new friends reassured me that there was nothing to be ashamed of and that once we certify out of DIET, we would start receiving our real salaries. Somehow, our shared poverty made us feel better about ourselves. Suddenly, things didn’t seem so bad.
You probably know how the rest of the story goes. The account I was put in eventually closed and the company gave me an opportunity I would never ever forget. I stand in stark contrast to my life last year. I went from trainee to trainer. I went from devouring noodles at the fifth to drinking enough coffee to redeem three and a half planners. Even my priorities have changed. I’m starting to develop this weird sickness called “career goals.” I find myself afflicted with this other thing called “ambition.” It’s strange how my steps don’t feel so aimless anymore.
Don’t get me wrong though. I still know where I came from. I know that I was extremely lucky to be promoted in such a short period of time. I also know that in general, the faster you rise, the harder you (could) fall and so I’ve become a steady mix of careful and thankful. Whenever I hear a trainee complaining about their allowance, I find myself smiling because I see myself in them. I wish to tell them that things will get better and that this phase ends sooner that you can say “certification bonus.” I wanna sit down with them and recount how gracious the company has been to someone like me who wouldn’t know a great career if it hit me in the face. I wanna tell them not to waste the opportunities they are given and to treasure the moments they spend with their new friends. I met some of the best people when I was in training and now that we don’t get to spend as much time with each other, I miss them very much. There are millions of things I wanna say to them. Someday, maybe I will.
And so while the road that led me here was careless and borderline stupid, I’m grateful that it has brought me to where I am today. To quasi-quote the truly quotable Melanie Marquez, sometimes you really can never can tell. Despite appearances, I say this now with complete honesty- I am completely and utterly happy with my life.