The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

"I have climbed highest mountain
I have run through the fields

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."—U2 (1987, Joshua Tree)

July 20, 2006

A month has passed since the day I started to look for jobs. The first batch of works to which I applied as a healthcare aide comprised of nursing homes and hospitals. No calls nor results yet until now. But I'm still keeping my fingers crossed and holding my hopes high. Fortunately, I don't feel any pressures or disappointments about this, unlike during the mid-'90s when I was still in the Philippines and inbetween jobs--I remember feeling helpless and hopeless after months of looking for jobs but in vain. Perhaps because my patience has really been tested and stretched during the last almost three years of my life.

I graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. I didn't rest anymore after my schooling; right away, I took the first (June) batch of Nursing Licensure Examination, which I passed, fortunately.

Around September of the same year, I began scouting for jobs in the classified-ad section of the newspapers. Some friends told me that working as a Medical Representative was cool. In fact, it was one of the coolest and nice-paying jobs during those days. So, my first target job was it. Then did I see the ad: Ashford-Vendiz Intl., a pharmaceutical company, looking for medical representatives... I cut the ad and went to the office the same day. Luckily, I was considered. I had to endure a month-and-a-half paid training period before I finally landed the job. That was my first job.

1992. I was assigned in the Manila area including UST Hospital, Family Clinic Hospital, St. Jude Hospital, and Mary Help of Christians Hospital. I had a great experience working as a pharmaceutical representative. I got to familiarized myself well with drugs and medications, particularly antibiotics and dermal and ophthalmological products. My love for details helped me a lot in this job. I also got to polish my communication skills, for I had to deal with drugstore attendants, physicians, nurses, and other people working in the medical field. I was doing well in this job. However, I soon realized that working in the "sales/marketing department" was not really my thing. I'm a moody person; a little bit manic-depressive in the sense that there are times when I can be so talkative and gregarious but also moments when I get so quiet and solitary; and this kind of personality is a no-no for a salesperson, who must be energetic and on-the-go all the time. I reached that moment when the fluctuating nature of my sales reports began to affect my drive to work. I remember finding terrible difficulty in getting up in the morning to go to work, because I no longer enjoyed what I was doing. In short, I quit the job after a year. I was a pharmaceutical representative from October of 1992 to October of the following year. But I was the top applicant during the orientation. I remember topping every exam and impressing the bosses during the battery of panel interviews. I also remember one of my bosses' telling me not to resign, for he found in me an exceptional skills in the "mental" area. He said that he could transfer me from the field to the office department. But I wanted to move on and have a break from that exhausting year of having to comb that area of Manila, visiting virtually every hospital, drugstore, and clinic to promote the company's products. Thus, I didn't accept the offer. I'd rather chosen to become unemployed.

1993-1995. As soon as I became jobless, I devoted my time with my band Half Life Half Death. From 1993 to 1995, I did nothing but play in the band. I had no clear direction during those days. I depended on my mom for my gimmick allowance, especially that my band was just a hobby band. This period of my life was the most useless, careerwise; but in retrospect, I would say that being in a band that had its little share of fame and glory in the Philippine Alternative Music scene has helped me in so many ways. I had become more gregarious. It boost my self-confidence to heights. I became relatively known. In fact, my having been in a band made me unique and popular in the succeeding jobs that I had. But it also had its downside. Many people used to have wrong impressions about me. As soon as they learned that I was in a band, they associated that to being intellectually inferior. But, I learned not to get affected. But I always had to exert extra effort just to prove them wrong.

1996. My mom used to call me "batugan" during the times when I did nothing but attend band gigs and other gimmicks with friends. I couldn't blame her. I remember always waking up late in the afternoon. After lunch, friends would pick me up and off we went to band practices or gimmicks. I would come home late in the wee hours of the morning. That was my routine. One good thing was, I was never in a bad company. My bandmates and best-friends mostly comprised of my highschool friends, so my mom was never worried. The best thing I survived with my having been in a band for quite a long time was, I never got into drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. And I'm damn well very proud of this. I continue to dispel the rotten belief that when you're in a band, you must as well be a drinker, smoker, or worse, a drug user. My friends and many people who say they know me well can attest to this--that my passion for music has always been enough to get me high. However, as friends used to tell only vice was girls. Yes, I had my more than fair share of flings and relationships in my life. Heartaches... heartbreaks. Either I was the heartbreaker or I was the brokenhearted. Don't ask me anymore how many girls I fell in love or in lust with, for I might just make your jaws drop because of disbelief. But, hey, I was once a rockstar in my own rights! Okay, enough of this stuff, before someone accuses me of being conceited. Besides, that's another story. But, I never had any regrets about this. I learned so much from this aspect of my life. This contributed much to my having developed self-control (for I've already tasted so much, so to speak) and achieved some kind of a contentment early in life.

1996-1999. The second-most fulfilling career that I had in my life in the Philippines: at Quorum-Lanier (Phils.) Inc., a litigation company specializing in document analysis and data encoding. I started as a coder and climbed my way up to being a coding supervisor. I would say that whatever achievement I had in the company was a result of hard work and perseverance and continuing education. Of course, with help from supportive supervisors and managers who tapped my skills and helped me develop these. Also, I gained a lot of great friends and acquaintances from this company--individuals most of whose faces and personalities remain etched in my heart, as well as to whose minds I remain to this day an unforgettable character. Also, I entered this company without a knowledge in using a computer; I left with a treasure of computer-related skills. Sadly, the company had to retrench its workforce in 1999, and I was one of the casualties. I was already a supervisor back then, so I felt that I had a responsibility not to show emotions during that day. Deep inside I was devastated of course, but I had to appear strong in front of my staff. Until that last day, I remember giving hope and comfort to those who, like me, lost their jobs.

When I lost my job at Quorum, the person I first called was my mom. I remember I was crying when I told her over the phone that I no longer had a job. I was so devastated because I regarded my post there as a dream job. I loved what I was doing, I was earning so much, and I had many friends. Then, all of a sudden, most was lost. But, as what I always told my staff during seminars and learning sessions:

"Every time we encounter an obstacle lying on our path, we are usually left without a choice but to deal with it first before hurdling past it." And I try to practice what I preach. Until now.

So, I moved on. Again, I was among the tens of thousands of unemployed in 1999. And to think that the new millennium was fast approaching.

(It was at Quorum where I first explored my skills in writing, by way of starting a newsletter called eLf ideas. This will be a perfect time to express my gratitude to the following persons, who believed in my abilities and shared with me so many fruitful expriences. To this day, I carry in my heart the affection and trust they once bequeathed me: cousin Brian Mella-Medina (without whom I wouldn't have been at Quorum in the first place), Evaristo "Barry" Suarez, Remedios "Remie" Del Rosario, Ma'am Olive, Alex Arao, Joel Bohol, Daune, Bong Remedios, Natz, Tolaitz, Nookie, Melchor, Badette Sunga, Celga, Alvin Patolot, Dang, Arnel, Myles, and so many more whose faces I remember but whose names are at the moment hidden somewhere in the corners of my mind.

In late 1999, I had a short stint as a faculty evaluator at De La Salle University at Taft Ave. I worked there for only a month, but for me no moment is short to learn many things. This job was also fulfilling for I had to deal with professors and students, gaining so many new insights and realizing once again that, in the Philippines, having your education at a prestigious school really counts a lot. I would have stayed long, but my supervisor told me that my being there was a misplacement on my part. She told me that, with my skills, I should be somewhere more challenging and more highly paying. I didn't understand her that time, for the last thing in my mind during those economically troubled times was finding myself without a job once more. In short, despite my good performance, my contract was not renewed. In retrospect, I would like to thank that supervisor, Mariapaz Trinidad, for letting me go in order for me to find something more worthwhile and in line with my talent and skills.

2000. I finally got my dream job, as an editor/writer. From 2000 to the year I left the Philippines, 2003, I was working at Diwa Scholastic Press Inc. as the editor/writer of scholastic magazines on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature which included Bato Balani, a popular supplementary highschool magazine in the Philippines. In this job where I learned so much. It rekindled my love for knowledge which I had in elementary and highschool. This was also the period when I got to polish my skills in English Grammar. I will never forget those days (and nights) when fellow editors like Jayge Salvan, John Ponsaran, Shella Montemayor, Elline Perey, and bosses like Dan Cruz and Joseph would spend moments editing even the littlest grammatical and punctuation blunders. Because of this job, I further gained so many friends--not just ordinary friends, but respectable individuals from the "education department" of life. That was one of the reasons I left my post in 2003 with a heavy heart, finally to go to Canada as a live-in caregiver.

And most of my experiences during the last three years of my life, here in Canada, I was able to document through this blog site.

Whew, what a rollercoaster ride!

Now, my adventure continues...

I want to give special thanks to my friends Jimmy Olais and Rodolfo Roscueta for their assistance and most especially for giving me free rides every time I look for jobs. If not for them, I would be unable to drop by several places in one day just to submit copies of my resume.

Yesterday, July 19, Wednesday, I passed by an A&W Restaurant one-bus-ride away from our place. I filled out an application form and submitted a copy of my resume. Fortunately, the store manager was there. When I submitted the form, he told me to wait so he could interview me right there and then. After the typical job interview, he told me that I was hired! Of course, I was surprised. He took my size for the uniform and discussed about my salary. I would be assigned either at the counter or in the kitchen. The salary is just a little above the minimum wage here. But that's okay with me. Anyway, if this pushes through I'll be working every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., which means I'll be working fulltime; and besides, I can still look for a second job which will keep me further busy from 3:30 p.m. till nighttime. But of course, I won't stop looking for better job opportunities. I just don't want to stay jobless for so long, especially that I'm now on my own. Besides, having a job will always be better than having no job at all.

Today, I went to check out an homecare-services agency in downtown Winnipeg which hires healthcare aides. I filled out an application form and submitted the requirements. I'm not expecting immediate results, but at least, I have something to look forward to.

Just wish me luck that I may soon find a job which will, again, give me fulfilment--careerwise and salarywise.

What's more important right now is I'm alive, full of hope and dreams, and finally free to think about myself.


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