AFTER A year of self-loathing, soul-searching, doubts and a whole lot of ups and downs, I finally left my very first job. Lo and behold, I am now an official tambay on a job hunt.
While members of my college batch flew all the way to Manila to pursue an exciting career, I got stuck in the province because of my parents’ refusal to send their unica hija away. I pleaded with them: I spent four years in college away from home, so what difference would it make if I work away from home as well? But my pleas and cries were useless. Nothing could change their mind.
Now what would a broke 20-year-old do in the province? I had one brilliant plan: Work in a call center and save enough money to run away. I’m 20, for Pete’s sake!
So there I was, working like a zombie, and God, was I ashamed of my career. Friends were getting hired in amazing companies; I cried at the mere sight of their Instagram posts. I didn’t know where my life was heading. For a few months, I kept it a secret from everyone but my family. When other people asked what I was doing, I changed the topic.
You see, I was bursting with ideals and lofty dreams in college. Never did I imagine myself working at ungodly hours and reading other people’s cable bills. And while I was trying to hide what I was doing from my friends, my parents were so proud of me that they kept telling everyone about my first job. I was mortified.
You know how parents tend to spill your most embarrassing childhood stories? That’s how it went. “Ay, call center lang pala ang bagsak nyan!” some neighbors would say. But my parents were unfazed. They would gleefully tell family and friends about my progress at work or how well-compensated I was.
I tend to worry a lot about everything ever since I was a kid. I would be depressed when I got a barely passing mark in college, but Mama would say it’s okay. When my high school friends graduated from college with Latin honors,
Papa would point out that, well, I’m a UP graduate and my friends are not. Even at my all-time low, my parents always showed how proud they are to have me as their child.
My parents married a little too early. Papa had to drop out of college to support us. Life has been tough for us financially, but Mama and Papa raised me well. I am lucky to have such understanding and caring parents.
So now that I have finally saved enough money to fly away in search of greener pastures, I can’t help but turn back. My parents have sacrificed so much to fulfill my needs; now it’s my turn to take care of them. Life is short. I have to look after them while they are still here. I don’t have to go that far to pursue my dreams, right? Manila isn’t the only land of opportunity. It’s not the place that makes dreams happen, it’s I who can make it happen.
Maybe I just have to look harder. Maybe it’s just here, close to home.
Jodhie Mae Cabarles, 21, is a graduate of the University of the Philippines.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.