Job hunting in the old days

I knew even before I graduated from college that I would do nothing for the rest of my life but write. So I decided to hunt for a job that has nothing to do with writing just so I can experience anything that might enrich my writing life later on. Or life in general.

So off I went, resume in hand, high heels and pencil skirt on, commuting aimlessly toward nowhere. Of course I had a target company or two to begin with that I got from Manila Bulletin’s (then Bulletin Today) classified ads. After that, I would drop by one or two more offices nearby just to drop off my resume. You see, I had to make the most of my time and energy since I lived somewhere down south and traveling to either Manila, Makati, or Ortigas is no joke. The heat…the traffic…the crowd…you get the idea.

photograbbed from Flickr
photograbbed from Flickr

Since I was still living on borrowed allowance until such time that I get to have my own paycheck, budget was really virgin-tight. I would take the tricycle, jeep, and the bus to get to my destination. Mind you, aircon buses then were rare. I had to take JD Transit most of the time, which did not have aircon and had wooden benches as seats. Imagine how my butt would feel after traveling from Alabang to Ortigas!

If I’m lucky and I end my first two batches of applications in the morning, I will eat lunch at the nearest and cheapest restaurant. There were times when I would only eat at Dunkin Donuts because the donuts only cost less than Php10 each. So I would order two donuts, and beverage (coffee, hot choco, or soda, depending on my mood), and that’s lunch for me!

At the end of each day, I would feel like I’m ten pounds heavier. It’s not because of the two donuts — it’s because of all the sweat on my clothes, and the dust and dirt that clung to my skin and clothes. I would be dead-tired, but I always felt it was all worth it.

At the beginning, I was brimming with high hopes that I could get a really good job in a really nice office. Back then, there were no call centers yet. Fat salaries for a first job are not options. I speak for myself when I say that my batch was highly idealistic and therefore set our sights on careers, more than mere jobs. We were still reeling from the effects of Ninoy’s assassination and the eventual reign of his widow to the presidency. We were all fired up and optimistic to a fault.

It didn’t matter if we started out as secretaries for as long as we were working in our ideal companies. We were bent on working our butts off to climb the corporate ladder and get to where we wanted to be as professionals. We were slaves working on meager salaries and scant benefits. We didn’t know better.

That was more than 20 years ago. I look back to those days with fondness, proud of where I am now, what I learn and who I meet along the way. The job hunting, hopefully, stops here; but the journey as a writer continues. The thing is, I want to do more. Write more. Be understood. Touch lives if I can. Make my momma proud.

Let me end this post with a quote from Confucius: Choose a job that you really want, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

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