Entry: Reliving a (Bad) Dream Monday, August 02, 2010

I hate Makati City.

Ok, maybe just a little. I actually quite enjoy hanging out there with friends. It's just that I've always felt that I don't belong there. It somehow always seems a different place, because it has lots of tall buildings and fancy places and most people are dressed up and shit. I just... no, I just don't quite belong there.

I started my professional life there in that very same city. That was 5 years ago. It was like a baptism of fire. I have just (kinda) graduated from college back then and I was very eager to face the real world, not knowing that idiots like me who are too eager to face the real world usually end up punched and kicked in the nuts by the end of the day. Figuratively, of course,  but sometimes literally as well, when I had to fight head to head with other yuppies like me during rush hour to squeeze myself in the tiniest of places inside trains. And that 's not the hardest part. I had to go through that TWICE a day, 5TIMES a week. And to top it all, the travel time from where I worked in Makati to home is more than 2 hours. Again, twice a day, five times a week. And that was the EASY part.

Since I was already a professional and already in the real world, the consequences for fuck ups are oh so real as well.

For my first job, I worked as a software engineer. Whoa! Software engineer! Get out of here... almost precise what I said to myself as well. I was overwhelmed, to put it modestly. And in actuality, I was a bit terrified because of the tremendous pressure that was thrown at me all of a sudden. To be honest, I wasn't really a very good student back in college. I think only my mom thought that I was, but for me and for some of my peers back then, I was just an average student. Most of the time even below average. I just wasn't very good. I took up BS Computer Science in college, which was ironically, my dream course when I was still in high school. See how dumb I was? Anyway, since I was studying in University of the Philippines at Diliman, which was generally considered the very bestest university in the entire country, a lot of people thought that I was one hell of an ace student as well. I wouldn't be able to enter it if I wasn't anyway. Right? I must have been really good.

The college entrance exam (UP College Admission Test) in UP is considered as the hardest college entrance exam in the country. It is so hard that only less than 10% of examinees pass the exam yearly. Luckily, when I took it, I was able to pass it. I knew it right at the moment I finished the exam (despite the 4 items that I wasn't able to answer in the  Math part... because I fucking hate Math... and BS Computer Science was like 80% Math!). I was able to enter the best university in the land and I was like high in pride for the next few months.

Until I started screwing up in my studies and I was beginning to get low grades and the pride started to deteriorate and one day, I just felt like shit and down to the ground... yeah, college life. Dorky, college life.

I don't want to dwell too much about my dorky college life. Too dorky.

So anyway, back to my story, I started to work as a software effing engineer. Well, kinda. Because in reality, I wasn't really engineering software and the company that I worked for was not a very good one. So I sucked. It wasn't fun working there. And because of that and the long travel times and the alien world that is Makati City, I started to fall apart myself. I was at my fattest back then. Yeah, like double chin, anyone? Size 36+ waist line? XL clothes? Yeah, that fucking fat. I'm still quite overweight right now as I have been for most of my adult life but THAT was something else! Probably one of the reason that lead to my weak knees, one of which I injured back in 2006 and hast fully recovered yet up to now. Anyway, so I was fat and unhappy with work so finally, I had enough.

A week before Christmas on that same year, I had to quit.

And then, almost 5 years later, I went back to Makati City again to find work. Actually, I'm still employed and I been with the same company for more than 4 years and still counting (unfortunately). Primarily because it's very near where I live. Less travel time, less stress, more time for other stuff, yey! The pay is ok, but could be better. And that is why I went back to that alien world that is Makati City: to search for something better.

To be honest, when I went there earlier today, I wasn't really serious. I was just a bit curious because I saw this ad on the net for this job position. The company is looking for L2 CSR's (I'm still working for a call center, by the way, but I'm no longer an agent because I have leveled up already, haha. Just the position, that is, the pay didn't move much, demmit!). The ad says that the company will send these new hires to the US for training. To the US. For training. New hires. That was just too good to be true, I said to myself. So anyway, I applied for it 2 weeks ago, haha, and about a week later, I received a call from someone from the company for an initial phone interview. Which, of course, I aced because I'm awesome. Or the lady on the phone was asking dumb questions usually asked to n00bs. Either one of those, your choice. Anyway, since I am still employed and go to work 4 days a week, I couldn't be schedule for another interview right away. So I have it scheduled today, a week later after the phone interview.

It was almost 2PM. I just arrived at the Ayala MRT Station at the bloody heart of Makati City, wearing polo and slacks and black leather shoes... clothes that I have not worn all at the same time for ages. It was uber-hot. The weather, I mean, not the lady that was sitting beside me (though she kinda is... she even have a vamp stamp... nice!) inside an air conditioned jeepney minutes later. Yeah, AC jeeps... anyway, I kinda know where the building is located (PBCom Tower... very easy to spot since it's the tallest building in the country, or so I heard). But since it's been ages since I was last there on my own during day time along with lots of strangers, I got confused with the route that the AC jeep was taking, so I got off at a wrong place and I had to walk for I think about a kilometer, which I should have done initially instead of waiting for that useless piece of galvanized steel shit to be filled with people, which took 20 minutes.

I arrived at the PBCom Tower after about 15 minutes of walking. I was sweaty and annoyed and I wanted to go home, but of course, I couldn't. So I pushed through, got to the 12th floor of the building, and went inside the office of the company who would possibly like to hire me.

And my bad day begins.

I was scheduled for an interview at 2PM. I was late for about 15 minutes. Only 15 minutes. I had my initial exams (which they didn't tell me about!) more than 2 HOURS LATER. which I fortunately passed with super flying colors (I think I got a perfect score for each of the 3 boring, noobish exams... with questions like what does MS Word do and other shit). The chubby examiner told me to wait at the lobby for my name to be called again for an interview. He didn't tell me that I would wait for another 3 fucking hours!

During those 3 agonizingly long hours, I was able to chit chat with some of the other applicants. Unlike me, most of them are currently unemployed for some reasons I wouldn't dare ask. One of them, this guy wearing a beret over a Bieber hair style (good move for the beret!) was telling his story: he has been unemployed since November last year and he doesn't have much money to even afford to get a Philippine passport, which is a BIG pre-requisite for the job since the training will be in the US. I could see the agony on his face. He was there at the office to talk to one of the HR people there to consider him still for the position even though he doesn't have a passport. I don't know about him, but I am not really dying to reach America anytime soon. Life is not so good there presently due to the decline of economy and politics and war-mongering and other shit, if I'm not mistaken, especially if you don't have much money. I was just there because I was curious and I am not expecting much. And I have a passport, haha. Poor guy. He looked sad when he left the office. He didn't even bother talk to me and to the other applicants again after he was able to talk to one of the HR people there. Bad news still, probably.

I got interviewed not long after that poor guy left. The slightly chubby but bubbly cute interviewer greeted me hi and I said hello and the interview started and it was finished in under 15 minutes. Probably the shortest interview that that lady did the whole day. It was short because the job offer was worse than the worst that I was expecting: the pay was below than what I am currently getting plus I would have to work as an agent again, plus other shit. I saw that coming, anyway, they were hiring for a CSR in the first place. Since I'm already a service desk analyst, a corporate, non-agent position, I am a bit over-qualified. Ms. Bubbly said the account that I would be hired for is a pioneering one (meaning it will just be starting and there is a very high chance to be promoted in a very short time) plus I would be sent to the US to be trained. Since I have a passport, I''ll be prioritized over other non-passport-wielding applicants. Aside form the low pay (which she said is not really low compared to what other companies offer and will quickly go up in the coming months especially if I perform well), there is another catch: I would have to commit for employment within this week and should be already an employee of the company by the 16 of this month. Easy for them to say.

The problem is, since I'm still currently employed and actually in good terms with my bosses and almost all of my other co-employees, it may come as a big shock to them if I suddenly quit my job. It will create a lot of headaches for the entire service desk tean, especially to my bosses, since currently there is a shortage of manpower in our team. If I leave, it will create a big gap of unmanned hours for the different queues that I handle.

Sorry if you didn't get what I just said. Long story short: people will not be very happy, plus, if the bosses accepted my resignation, they would surely not let me leave right away because they would need to fix first the big mess that I would be leaving them.

So I had to say no to the job offer, which I was expecting. I wasn't surprised with it, since I've been there for more than 6 hours and for that short time, I knew that I would hate the place for months to come if I ever joined the company. They can't follow schedules and are not so applicant-friendly. They could have given the applicants some snacks or at least turned up the volume on the TV, which was showing a B-movie starring Dolph Lundgren and this lovely actress named Gina May. If the AC inside the office was a bit less cold, I would have already stormed out of there hours earlier.

I had to say no to job offer, but at least Ms. Bubbly said they will contact me if something good comes along.

I went out  of that god-damned building as fast as I could. I didn't know if I would eat (the last time I ate was 10AM earlier in the morning) or just walk to the MRT station. I chose the latter. After walking for more than 20 minutes, I reached the Ayala MRT Station, where I had to squeeze myself again inside the train, which reminded me why I hate Makati City. I was squeezed between bodies from the Ayala Station to the Cubao Station in Quezon City, where lots of poor-looking folks got off, to spend the night with their families and loved ones. It's been a hard, tiring day, probably much worse for them.

So I still have a job. I realize now that I'm still fortunate to have one. I learned something good today: value what you have, because things could always be worse.

By the way, I'm still actively searching for another job. Hopefully, something better will come along, but I'm not really very desperate. It's just that things could also always be better. :D


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