My new desk is an oasis. My cubicle has white walls, cupboards, and surfaces. In a smattering of concrete facades, a deluge of billboards, and a cacophony of noise, my space inside the School of Sciences and Engineering is my refuge.
I am the Program Officer for the said department in one of the top five universities in the Philippines. I have been here for a month now, and it is a tectonic shift from my previous job. I was the Senior Risk Officer of an Australian BPO for five years, until I resigned due to change in management. Letting go of my job due to circumstances beyond my control was humbling. I did everything I could to fulfill my role for half a decade, so I felt out of sorts to be jobless. I was the type of employee who had systems in place and for once, I did not have a system or map for navigating the murky waters of unemployment. Since I resigned before Christmas, it was pointless to apply when companies were already preparing for the holidays and their year-end reports. I had to wait until 2017 begins to commence my job hunting.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity and feeling sorry for myself, I chose to enjoy the festive season. I spent time with my family in Taipei, caught up with my friends over coffee, and had a meaningful first Christmas with my boyfriend. By the time the new year unfolded, I was certain that I no longer wanted to work in a BPO. I wanted to join the corporate world again, as I used to work in a bank prior to my outsourcing stint. I also narrowed down a possible office location, as I drive halfway to work and commute to and from the parking space.
I read books which were beyond my comfort zone, lived within my means (I was prudent with my savings), joined the country in celebrating the events leading to the Miss Universe pageant, worked out everyday, stuck to my 1,200-calorie diet, and cleaned my room. I gave away books to The Bookstop Project, watched a Bach vs. Beatles concert at the Ayala Museum, and rediscovered the joys of third wave coffee shops. I continued supporting Human Nature and other social enterprises. I did all of these while applying for potential opportunities and attending interviews. Before I knew it, I was being dispatched to a clinic for my pre-employment medical exam and eventually, I was signing my contract at the university.
It was not easy to wait for my corporate job because my qualifications had to be deliberated by board members, and eventually, the Management Committee. I am fortunate that I was picked over other worthy candidates, and that I am able to return to my alma mater. While I currently do not have the luxury to take further studies, I am enjoying my privileges for learning as I have access to numerous seminars and of course, our libraries. Being a voracious reader has enabled me to hunger for knowledge, and I then discovered podcasts which enabled me to learn during my commute. My favorite podcast is The Purposeful Creative by my mentor Arriane Serafico. It was from her episodes that I have discovered online courses which could enhance my skills. I joined her free class, and eventually her paid course Braver Goals. It was through one of the exercises that I realized how much I miss writing and that my One Brave Goal is to start a blog. I researched online for the basic steps in the whole process and decided that I need to sharpen the saw by joining an online writing class. This led me to enrolling in the #15daysofwritingtrue, which I know will allow me to find my voice and overcome my shyness as a writier.
Indeed, my new role in the university allows me to yearn for learning, to pay for my desired online courses, and to finally buy a domain name to jumpstart my blog. This job is my simple triumph.
This is only the beginning.