Just when there were about 2.6 million jobless Filipinos according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, I chose to leave from my company.
I had been working for a well-known production outfit with big clients. Some people said it was a wasted opportunity. But it was not a hasty and easy decision. I thought about it for months, talked to my family and confidante, and spent sleepless nights thinking if it was the right and timely move.
It wasn’t because I didn’t love my job and my colleagues; lifestyle production was a crazy adventure and I knew it like the palm of my hand. My bosses and officemates were like family, but something was missing.
Hello to Freedom?
The first days and weeks were like heaven.
I just slept for hours, spent more time with my family, used the time and money I saved to go out and travel with friends. I even did a solo trip that I’ve wanted to do, but the fun stopped at a certain point.
I wasn’t used to the bum life — I was dubbed as the master of stress and multitasking. I got bored in just a month. Depression also started to creep in. I started to avoid talking to friends who were still working in the companies I came from.
I felt useless. Some days I barely ate or slept; I felt sick in my stomach as I wasted my days away and felt like I’m also wasting all the wisdom I learned from my previous jobs.
I spent midnights at home and in cafes, drinking stale coffee as I bit my nails, nervously looking for jobs where I would really fit in. Since I was now experienced and I know the system and environment in different agencies and companies, it was harder to choose where to work.
The fact that I also needed to shy away from production companies in my desire to shift to corporate was also a factor why it took me some time to get a job. But through all the challenges that I had to go through this unemployed stage; here are just a few realizations:
Not Wasted Time
The right time to get a new job is different for everyone.
You can’t force yourself to get employed as soon as possible just because you’re envious of your friends on Facebook who are uploading photos of their modern offices, out of town shoots, company events or team buildings. (I was guilty of this at one point.)
You really need to take time to get over the burnout stage, have a breather and when you really feel you’re ready to work your ass off again, then apply for the companies you want to work for. Taking that break you need gives you enough time to reflect and to really think about what you want to do in your life rather than stay in a job that you don’t really love.
Maximizing Free Time
Getting a job these days is not easy even if you have more experience.
You still need to compete with a lot of job hunters, even fresh grads since some companies like to employ people who they can really teach from the beginning and shape their skills. So while you’re still looking for that job, make every second count.
Get up from that couch, turn off that laptop or TV, clean up and do something productive. It could be as simple as reading books, cooking or baking, finally learning how to drive and applying at the gym or that dance class you’ve been eyeing. Or if you can go the extra mile, do volunteer work at organizations that help different sectors of the society.
Know Your Worth
Look for companies where you can use the skills you honed.
You have to be confident in pitching yourself to the companies of your interest. But you also have to be honest with yourself and with your future employers in knowing your advantages and limitations, and what you can contribute to their team.
Getting a job is not just like a hobby you can quit anytime, but rather a commitment.
What I learned from everything I had to go through is that money cannot feed your passion and purpose. Yes, money is a factor but it isn’t everything. You have to weigh all the risks and rewards — if the pay and benefits are good, if it’s a job you can still see yourself doing five years from now or even all your life if you wish, if you still have a work-life balance, or if your job still excites you.
But what’s important is to have a job you would choose to do every single day because it helps you grow.
It took a while but I am employed again. I’m still in the communications industry but this particular field is different from my previous jobs. There are new people to meet and probably be friends with, a new environment and exciting opportunities to explore.
I hope you also get your new beginning soon.
About the Author:
Apple Gamboa was an interview and field producer for GMA News, particularly the newscasts Quick Response Team and News to Go. She also previously worked as a producer for lifestyle TV shows and documentaries. Travelling and music is her passion and she takes risks as her personal reality medicine. Journalism 2010, UST. Read more of her articles here.