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Friday, October 26, 2007

Celebrating My 2nd Year at Work (Long Read)

Remember my Affirmation on a Friday entry:

I came up with that affirmation because that was the day I had a 3:00pm job interview. To date, that was the most challenging moment I had to face in my entire career in Australia. That interview meant a lot to me as I had to conquer a lot of insecurities within me and I needed to prove something to myself.

I started work here about two years ago. When I arrived here in Sydney, my goal was to find a job ASAP. At that time, I was ready to do anything just to have work---I even readied myself to work in a supermarket as a "bag boy". Since I was starting from scratch, I was open to starting from the lowest of low. Kinalimutan ko kung ano ako sa Pilipinas bago ako umalis. Tinanggal ko ang pride ko. Basta, hinanda ko ang sarili ko kasi kailangan ko ng trabaho.

The next day after I arrived here, I did everything that I had to do: applied for a Tax File Number, opened an account at the bank, went to Centrelink, then went to a recruitment agency. On my second day, I went to another recruitment agency. On my third day, I stayed home but I looked for work online. Send lang nang send ng resume. After sending a resume to a certain agency, I received a phone call from them, asking me to go to their office the following day. They wanted me to take some tests. Fourth day, I went to their office and my tests were alright. Fifth day, they called me again, this time for an interview the following Monday.

Monday, two recruitment officers interviewed me. I told them I want a job in recruitment. They told me they'd let me know if a position opens up in recruitment. At that time, my cousin went with me because she, on the other hand, was applying for a part-time job. While waiting for her at the lobby, one of the recruitment officers came out and saw me. Ganito ang dialogue:

Her: Hey, you’re still here.

Me: Why?

Her: A government office needs a Training Administrator for two months, would you like to take that while waiting for a recruitment position?

Me: Yeah, sure. Where is this gonna be?

Her: It’s in Glebe.

Me: Where’s that?

Her: Inner city.

Me: Okay, so when do I start?

Her: Tomorrow

Me: (in silent shock) what???

So that's how I got my first job in a government office as a contractual employee. For the first time in my life, naging contractual ako. No financial security, no benefits. No work, no pay. I thought I won't be able to stay long because of the "insecurity" I felt but I stayed because I love my work, I love what I do and I love training. I tried looking for other jobs but I was never that serious.

Finally, the government office I was working for advertised the position I was filling in. It's official, the position is open to application. So I applied. The application was tedious. It's not like in the Phils na magbigay ka ng resume, mag-exam, mag-interview ka, wait ka na lang for results. Just for the application, I had to write an essay for each Criteria/Job Description, I had to write down how I'm capable of each criteria they're looking for in an applicant. Para akong nag-submit ng mahabang essay! Kasi kung di ako pasado sa paperworks ko, I won't be called for an interview. So I had to sell myself by what I wrote there.

When I submitted my application, I asked my boss, "How many applications did you receive?" He said, "We received 140 applications." Then I asked again, "How many Training Administrators do you need?". And he answered, "We only need four."

Patay na! 140 applications and they only need 4. Bahala na. I told my husband and parents to pray for me everyday. My mom even went to Sta. Clara to pray for me. Some of my friends who knew, told me to stay positive. They kept assuring me I’d get the job.

July of this year, I was called for an interview. Yehey!!! I was nervous and scared. Normally, di naman ako masyadong nerbyosa pagdating sa interview. Sanay na ako---sa Pilipinas!!!! Pero Aussie eto eh, panel interview pa! Baka sa sobrang nerbyos ko, di ko maintindihan ang kanilang English accent. At isa pang kinakatakot ko ay baka ma-biktima ako ng racial discrimination. In our office, I'm the only Filipino and I think I was the first Filipino employee in the department. Pressure diba? From the start that I worked there, gusto kong mapakita sa kanila kung gaano kahusay ang Pinoy. At may pressure din ako sa sarili ko. Pagdating kasi sa akin, ako at ako lang ang kalaban ko. May standard ako para sa sarili ko at yun ang focus ko pagdating sa career ko, sa buhay ko. I'm competitive, yes, but I only compete with myself. I don’t mind failing but I always make sure that I do my best in everything I do. Hindi ako takot matalo sa kahit anong laban (sanay na akong matalo) basta dapat alam ko lang sa sarili ko na ginawa ko lahat ng makakaya ko.

The interview went well. During that time, I realized that regardless whether my employers were Pinoy or Aussie, kaya ko, na magaling ako (sorry, nagbuhat ako ng sariling bangko). At kahit mag-English accent pa sila dyan sa harap ko, kaya ko palang makipagsabayan sa kanila kahit pressured ako. But here’s the thing: feeling ko magaling ako, pero paano kung mas may magaling pa sa akin? At isa pa, feeling ko lang naman itong lahat.

And so I had to wait…wait for a very long while for the application to get finalized. Waiting for the application did me good in a lot of ways. I realized that I love what I do. I realized that I’m really meant to be in training even if I want to try other fields of HR, even if I always look for a job in recruitment. One time, na-guilty rin naman ako. Kung nakakapagsalita lang ang training, baka sinabi nya na sa akin na “Bakit ba ayaw mong mag-stay sa akin when I’ve always been here for you?” Which is true. In the course of my career, I was never out of a job and all because there’s always a training job for me wherever I go. I really owe a lot to training if only for this.

I also realized that when you really love what you do, you stay there even if you are lacking rewards or benefits based on your standards. I have experienced living out my mission without expecting rewards. Binigay ko ang 100% ko sa trabaho kahit contractual lang ako.

I have learned to live by just being grateful that I have work today even if there is no assurance I have work tomorrow. Araw-araw, na-practice ko ang mga clich├ęs na “Live in the present” at “Today is a gift.” While some people are bored or unhappy with their jobs, I on the other hand, is just happy with just the thought I have a job that I love.

I told myself last week that I won’t celebrate my two years at work (I won’t even acknowledge it, sabi ko deadmahin ko na lang) this year if I still don’t hear anything about the application. I will admit that I was feeling a little down because it was taking so long. But I guess God wanted me to celebrate because last Monday, I was told that I got the position I wanted and worked for. After so many challenges, adjustments and prayers, I made it! I’m finally a permanent employee in a government office.

Yesterday, I received my offer letter and the biggest surprise of all was that my start date was Oct 22!!! Pati boss ko nagulat (the letter came from Head Office), sabi nya “nag-start ka na pala officially di pa natin alam.” (of course he said that in English hehehe).

So today I do not only celebrate my two years at work (even if I wasn’t even at work today hehehe) but I also celebrate a new beginning for me---this time as a full-pledge public servant in the land of Koalas and Kangaroos. To my family and friends who prayed and cheered for me, thank you very much!!!!! You were the candles that lit my way while travelling thru my dark tunnel. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat! And to me, Happy 2nd Anniversary at work!!! Cheers!!!