I have a friend who, when applying for a job with foreign employers (Singaporean, actually), was asked to rate her skills from 1-5. She didn’t want to say 5 — it seemed too high as if saying you have no other room for learning because you’re reached maximum best already. She settled for a 3, I think (if my memory is right), and the woman seemed to have been disappointed at this answer and gave her a task to prove her skills instead. She’s already proven it and is swamped with more work right now, but the point of the short story was: how would you know how to rate yourself in numbers? Continue readingIn which they said I had to rate myself
I have recently read the article “We the restless” by Fatima Avila and it speaks very closely of how I feel: Restless. I wish to tread a path similar to Fatima: have 2 years of work experience in my country, take graduate studies abroad while traveling a lot and then eventually work with an international and multi-cultural group of people. Right now I’m just soaking up all kinds of opportunities to build a resume of experience but I always have that general kick of wanderlust. I want to travel. I want to meet strangers. I want to discover all the new things. All these things come with the pressure to be among the best in the field I want to specialize in because merely “graduating” is no longer the key to my dream career. My undergraduate degree is a starting point but there’s so much more I need to achieve before I get there.
“The youth of today knows the world’s current expectations and we find ourselves packing in more and more activities into our profile. We do studying, part-time jobs, voluntary roles, sports, society membership and travel simultaneously. After all, so much is expected of us so soon and we give our best to comply. And sometimes, even if you fulfill all that, you still might not get the job if you do not have the right passport.”
– We the restless, Fatima Avila
I feel restless because in a way the world is also ruthless: the career path I’ve chosen caters to an audience wider than the local scene thus the competition is greater. It’s a global competition out there and there’s no room for mediocrity. I need a global perspective. But for that I need to be well-traveled and have a lot, lot of experience. Oftentimes education or exposure abroad is a requirement. It’s the world setting our standards now: Facebook, Mozilla Firefox, Google, Apple — these are only some of the many companies that started out small but by young people who were either still in college or who have just graduated that it feels like I should have had achieved something great by the time I’m 20. But I’m 22 already with no awards to boast of and oftentimes I just feel like I’m not good enough; that I have to reach a certain level fast.
I know I’m from a generation that is used to instant gratification but when it comes to building my career, I know it takes time. I’m currently working on the usual two-year experience requirement for most graduate schools but some days time feels a little slow. I guess I’m just excited to get there. There’s so much to do though and much more to learn.
The projects at my 8-5pm job are no longer enough as work experience. Trying to get involved with local groups and meeting up with new people, partnering with them and helping out towards a common cause is only one of the ways in which I can constantly learn about other disciples of design and even other industries related to it. I go home and then continue interacting with other people online through twitter, discussions, Facebook groups, meet-ups and all these things. It’s a digital world and everything is so fast-paced that I need to keep up with a myriad of topics, news, and my friends’ personal lives. Connecting with people from different countries has become so important that keeping to my office desk and to my city seems to be limiting myself. Networking (and a public display of skills) can really bring you to places and as exciting as the possibilities are, the path to my “dream career” is tougher. Ruthless, yes, but exciting. “Be more and do more” might sound cliche, but it is the kind of expectation that hangs over our generation.
Despite the pressure though, I think what I should focus on is to simply exceed myself. Not anyone else. I don’t have to feel so down when I think about what others have achieved at my age. After all, we all work on a different pace and “being great” might not be happening to me now, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen to me in the future. The year is still young. It’s only February and there are much more things waiting to happen. The global pressure is an effective driving force for me to do my best. Guess what, world? Challenge accepted!
Recently I’ve found this great little place called “You the User.” In one of the posts entitled, “Touch,” she talks about trusting our own feelings because at one point, after we start out, little voices of doubt would creep in our mind telling us we are wrong. Every time we are disappointed or experience setbacks in life, the voices become louder. She continues:
But we have to stick to our perceptions and to our feelings. That is where experience, philosophy, and self-refinement come in: we know that we have accomplished things, we know that we can coordinate what we perceive with established principles, and we trust that our beings are finely tuned enough to accurately feel what is around us. **What we do in life is up to us and will not be known all at once.** Therefore, we have to feel our way along, little by little, building the vision to know what we are individually meant to do. We can’t let doubt interfere with our touch. We have to trust our touch.
And this is to remind myself to trust my feelings a little more. I will take time because everyone does at their own pace. I have to ignore the pressure and the voices no matter how loud they become. I have to listen to myself. “I’ll be great!” One day I will do brilliant things, help people, and become happy. It will happen.
For almost a year now I’ve struggled with the idea of being deserving of some things. Deserving goodness, deserving happiness, deserving love. Being blamed and getting called names by people whom I used to think of as, at the very least, “old friends” was the worst and most painful (and freshest) memory I have of college. During and after everything, I often thought of being so undeserving of anything because they must have been right about something if they, as people who I’ve spent years with, would treat me that way. Maybe they were right about my being wrong about all of the things that happened. Maybe I really did not deserve to explain my version of the truth. Maybe I didn’t deserve to have my own point of view of things. Maybe I didn’t deserve explanations. Everything was my fault and I felt like I did not deserve anything at all.
At that time too, we were talking about the story of the Prodigal Son in sir Bobby Guevarra’s theology class. In our discussions, the saddest words I’ve ever heard were: we will never be enough for the World. The world will keep on taking, taking, taking from us and even after giving our whole selves to it, it will still never be enough.
I’ve always tried my best to be useful to other people. I almost never said “no” to anything, always wanting to please them no matter what it was they asked from me. Never you mind that I was going to be butchered in the process. I thought that in that way I’ll get approval, I’ll be worthy of being considered a friend, a confidante, whathaveyou.
I was wrong. Although I still find it hard to say “no” to most people, although I still have this impulse to please everybody else, I’ve learned that it was never about being deserving of, or, about deserving anything.
Although from Theology class, Bobby Guevarra said that it was only God who could give us the limitless kind of love that not one person is worthy of. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t experience it from other people, also mere mortals like any other person is.
Last week, Isa wrote an article about undeserved love. She said:
Undeserved love means I don’t have to work for the love that I dream of. It is entirely possible in the here and in the now, in later, in tomorrow and in always.
Nothing in this world will inspire me as much as this kind of love. Because it took me in and wanted me, even though it had no reason to. It desired me, believed in me, and stuck around. I will become all the better because of it. And, at the end of it all, I might even grow into actually deserving it. Who knows?
I’ve experienced this in my closest friends, who at one point really lost the reason to love me — and yet they still did. Ruby always said she was scared the four of us would never be friends again after that, but for some reason things just worked out and they’re still the very best people I trust unreservedly among everyone else in this world.
Charlie is also one of those people who inspires me to at least try to become better than who I am right now because of how he loves me even with all my issues (self-inflicted or not). He always deals with others far more generously than I do, deserving they are of his friendship or not. That is basically one of our biggest differences, mainly because I’m a very unforgiving person.
But if I’m really out to learn something in this world, I should start by forgiving because love is, as these wiser people have proved, never about “deserving”.
Isa ended her entry with:
“Love is unfair and I thank God for that. Because the truth is that the only love we were made for in this lifetime is the kind of love we don’t deserve.”
And as I’ve wrote Charlie: isn’t that beautiful, and also true? Although we can never be truly “deserving” of anybody’s love, this doesn’t stop anybody from trying to work so hard and do everything to make themselves feel they deserve love. Any and every kind of love. But the amazing thing is: true love is being able to give and receive love that you don’t deserve. Because there is so much more to love than just “deserving” it. Love has nothing to do with deserving. More than anything, it is the potential for more possibilities, for more beautiful things to come because of loving and being loved. And all these people writing about this kind of love and most especially those who live it — they make me feel hopeful and I think also push me to grow little by little.
Camille, I had met you for few occassions only, but you had left a good impression to me. How much more ur old friends who have spent more time with u. You deserve kindness.
This makes me feel really sad.