The best career advice I can give

I went back to my alma mater (Saint Pedro Poveda, formerly known as Poveda Learning Centre) yesterday to give a career talk. I’ve done several of these throughout the years, but it was my first time to give this talk in the school where my first dreams were born.

It was in Poveda that I first discovered that working in the media appealed to me. We had a Media elective that was taught by Ms. Bonbon Soler (all credit goes to her for being the teacher that awakened this interest in me), and while I was taking this class, I knew I was already set on what I wanted to take up in college: Communication.

So I went to college in Ateneo de Manila University and I graduated with a AB Communication degree. In my case, it was a great choice, because I loved nearly all of my Comm classes (at least the ones that didn’t require much memorization!). Then what follows is a story that I’ve told many times before: I worked in Summit Media, I took a certificate course in publishing in New York, I went back to Summit Media, I transferred to MTV, then went back to Summit Media, then went back to MTV (whew!).

Sounds like fun? A lot of people say so. But the truth was, as the days went by, I just felt lost, like I wasn’t doing what I was meant to be doing. The jobs were great, the experiences were priceless, the people I worked with were wonderful, even the income was good, but I had lost passion, and I wasn’t sure what my purpose was anymore. So one day, after months of reflecting and praying, I finally woke up and decided it was time to go. I spoke to the bosses and they let me go with a blessing, and as such, I am forever grateful. And so I left it all behind in the hopes of becoming what I really wanted to be: a teacher. Yes, this is usually the part of the talk where I get gasps and looks of horror. :)

The truth is that you and I were designed for a purpose. Sometimes you don’t figure out what it is from the start, but you actually discover it along the way. As you discover more about yourself–what skills you have, what makes you come alive, the people or causes you’d like to serve, etc.–your priorities will change, and you’ll find yourself having to make some adjustments that will push you out of your comfort zone. And you have to be willing to make them, or else you’ll stay stuck in your comfort zone forever, and more often than not, you’ll end up increasingly miserable as the days go by.

In my case, I realized that my favorite parts of my jobs were the times when I was training and equipping people who worked under me, or the times that I would do career talks or conduct tours around the office for visiting students (they made me the unofficial tour guide!). And then I remembered how teaching really was my first love…I just didn’t realize it earlier.

You see, my first dreams really WERE born in Poveda. If I remember correctly, I was in the 4th grade when I went home and told my dad: “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.” And when my dad asked why, I answered, “Because I want to write on the blackboard ALL THE TIME!” (Crazy, I know!) To which, my dad (the successful businessman) replied, “Wouldn’t you rather own a company that makes blackboards and you can have all the blackboards you want?” I just gave him a blank and confused stare…and I think my dream slowly faded from there.

But teaching (in one form or another) was in my heart all along. Back then, my reasons were shady (writing on blackboards all the time?!), but as I grew older and as I prayed to let go of my selfish ambitions, I discovered the desires that were deeply embedded in my heart. I realized that I am passionate about helping people understand things better. I like simplifying ideas and concepts, and I love interacting with young people. I like encouraging them to do what they think they’re unable to do, and today, I am so blessed to have the opportunities to tell young people that they have more potential in them than they can imagine. There are so many things that I wish I had learned earlier in life. There were many times that I hoped that someone older than me would guide me and encourage me towards a direction where I could find passion and purpose. To be given a chance to do all these for someone else is a great blessing for me, one that I’m happily holding on to without regrets. As much as I enjoyed the experiences, loved my co-workers, and learned a lot at my previous jobs, time was up in that season of my life. I’m thankful that every experience I’ve had and every skill I’ve learned has helped me at the work I do now. Today, I get to work with passion and purpose, and I know I’d no longer have it any other way.

So how do you know which direction to go? It can get pretty confusing sometimes, but I’ve learned to always go to the greatest career counselor ever: GOD. :) He created us, and His plans are good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2!). To be completely honest, even I can’t say for sure where I’m going from here. At the moment, I don’t even know if I’ll still be doing the same things I’ve been doing in the next couple of months. But Romans 8:28 comes to mind: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

So that’s the best advice I can give: consult the Great Career Counselor every step of the way, because when you follow Him, you won’t miss any good thing. :)

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One response to “The best career advice I can give

  1. liiiz! you’re my superhero!

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