Valedictory Post-Its for Ganda

Worrying about her exams, no doubt

[Note from Noel : Coincidence of coincidences, both Ganda and Bunso’s schools copped the NCAA and UAAP crowns this season, now how lucky is that?  Happy birthdays to Atty Edlyn Verzola, Cathy Gruba and Pinky Pineda (all on 2nd Nov), Dexter Lim (4th Nov), Atty Vicky Suarez (5th Nov) and Tess Reyes (6th Nov).  Happy Halloween and undas to all ! ]

Dearest Ganda :

THE NIGHT (day) before the start of night shift week (11.00 pm to 7.00 am), I can never trick my body into turning in early.  It’s Sunday afternoon, and not only did I turn in late last night, I also slept in Sunday morning.  In short, including the weekend things you have to do, the overactive environment (everybody else is outside basking if the sun is shining) and the preparation for the long week ahead, it’s the worst time to try to sleep.  In fact even before going to bed I’ve already given up getting the usual eight to nine hours of winks; I already I’ll spend at least half an hour in broad daylight tossing and turning.

The silver lining is writing you is the best way to while away the displaced insomnia.

I’m sorry we got cut off the last chat, the old PC can only go so far before it realizes it’s not supposed to be working anymore, at least not while its plate is full running Yahoo!, Facebook, WordPress and Multiply simultaneously.  All it’s good for now is the in-house solitaire called FreeCell, composing e-mails to Immigration NZ that I need to print anyway, and sending e-mails to the money transfer lady who always gives us a generous NZ$-PP rate, I think she and Tita H come from the same region.  (They usually chatter unintelligibly on the phone when I’m near, baka praning lang ako.)

I know it’s a bit early and you’re as superstitious as anyone, but it’s a good time as any for a pat on the back, you’ve turned the last corner and are heading for the homestretch.  Almost on your own and with the minimum guidance from either me or your mom, you’ve stuck by your convictions, chosen your own career path, and have hurdled the hardest subjects on your way to, may I say it? Graduation.  Wow. 🙂

I know you’ve insisted on what you wanted to do, because your mom wanted you to major in something else.  Whether you’ve made the right decision, only you can tell now, might as well stick with it till the bitter end.  I know you’ve gotten over the hump of the academic grind, because on your enrollment form I saw Quantitative Marketing, and another course title had Calculus or some dreadful sounding subject, did I not?  I know that although you still have at least one more semester of matriculation, you passed up a summer practicum so you could prepare for an overload of units this sem.  All told, you have done quite well for yourself.

I have the minimum benefit of hindsight, I continue to make mistakes along the way and far be it for me to tell you what to do after you have overachieved your way this far, but I would always be second-guessing myself if I didn’t at least try to give a father’s unsolicited advice to a graduating daughter, albeit one who is mature beyond her years :

Don’t be afraid to hook up with something less than your dream job.  Especially, if this is your first job.  You and I have heard of endless stories of people starting out full of fire and momentum for their first job, which they naively think will be their ideal job, and even more naively, for life.  We both know neither of this will turn out true, for an overwhelming majority of jobseekers.  The first danger is you will lose interest and momentum looking for that ideal first job, because unless you are a COO (child of the owner) or phenomenally precocious for your rookie status, you will not be considered for anything more than an entry-level position in whatever field of endeavor, particularly in the professions where cadet engineers and under-bar law grads are expected to fetch coffee and do scrub work for their superiors for at least a year.  Don’t worry about this, as you have time on your side.  The alternative is to wait and wait until time will have passed you by, while your contemporaries have moved on to the bigger world.

Don’t be afraid to take on a job with a wage/salary dramatically lower than your expectations.  This is true particularly on two counts : first, you will have the satisfaction of negotiating for better pay when you have proven yourself, and second, you are still learning the ropes and you are actually getting paid to educating yourself about the realities of your career.  Let me enlighten you further.  The staff at Tita H’s sushi place are filled almost exclusively by migrants like us.  One in particular worked quietly and took the worst hours and shifts without complaint.  No one knew that after a year or so, she and her husband would open a sushi place of their own.  She was actually learning everything about the business and was quite willing to do anything to acquaint herself with the ins and outs, the nuances of this particular niche of the food industry, and how much they would need to shell out to undertake a business just like the one she was working for.  The smart ones I guess are willing to work for free, if they can learn in the process.  The lesson for the rest of us here is if we are absorbing something important (like tips and tricks for getting ahead in our chosen bread and butter), and we’re getting paid for it, it’s not such a bad deal, no?

Don’t be afraid to use back doors, school connections, family relationships, and insider referrals to get to your job.  I know that the moralist in you takes a dim view of using anything other than merit to get hired.  Well guess what, my dear ? You can use networking to get ahead job-wise without compromising your ideals.  I concede that the proverb it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts is pretty Machiavellian but you can prove you’re worth being hired later.  Now, what’s important is just getting your foot in the door and getting a word in edge-wise.  Everyone else is fighting tooth and nail just to get an interview with the HR guru; all you’re doing is leveling the playing field.  Put it this way : if you just go with the flow and rely on a pretty face, perfect CV and outstanding references to get a coveted job ahead of hundreds, if not thousands of candidates with identical credentials, you might have a long wait.  And lastly…

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  This is not so much related to job hunting as with the real world after you’re hired.  There will always be people who will do things for you, to please you, and to get on your good side.  There is always a trade-off, or payback time.  Taken another way, it is usually a good rule of thumb that when something is too good to be true, it usually is.  Of course, when you anticipate that you rub each other’s backs, then there’s no real harm.  But when potential bosses, colleagues and work mates do more than the expected courtesies, then you have to step back and ask yourself why?  Take it in more than one sense since you are a young woman and your mother has probably told you all about men, the latter almost always carry a perennial agenda behind the visible one ; sometimes it’s the only one.

That’s it, for now.  You have already gotten this far and are aware of your gifts and shortcomings.  I’m so happy you have turned out as well as you have and no matter what happens to you before and after you graduate, I am already proud of you anak.

God bless you always, kaawaan ka lagi ng Diyos.


PS. Please kiss and hug Bunso for me, and tell him to get enough rest always.