Monday, October 4, 2010

My career in hounding careers. Wanted: fixed marriage anyone?

can you find me? 

My parents used to tell me that I can easily be what I want to be after I finish college. But I guess that was only to motivate me, truth is university life was way much easier and the real world was really a big jungle. After I graduated from college I never really had a clear picture of what I really wanted to be. I thought it was easy to decide, but looking for a career was just the start of the problem. Out of the blue I decided to be a sea woman. It was not in line with what I studied but the thought of sailing seas and docking to different ports made me excited of the adventures that will come. So the first summer after my college graduation, (Career #1) I enrolled myself to a marine school where I took basic safety training before I got my Marine passport. I did get a lot of discouragements along the way. On the first day of class my teacher asked me if I was sure that I’ll enroll in his class, he was hesitant if I can cope with the activities like fire fighting, emergency drills, swimming, and the feared jumping 30 meters off the open sea. He suggested that I marry a sea captain instead.

Getting the marine passport was easy, finding a job at sea was harder than I expected. They wanted tankers, engineers, captains, things that I can never do. I applied for luxury cruise ships but during the interview they would tell me that I was still too young for the job and they don’t think I could handle the pressure and the possible indecent proposals from the men on the fleet. They told me that after 8 months of voyage the women usually come back with something inside their tummies.

Out of my desperation I just decided to walk along the Kalaw area in Manila since most of the shipping companies are located there. I saw the building of the Department of Tourism to my left and out of curiosity I went inside; I asked the receptionist how I can be a tour guide. She directed me to the tourism standards building, and the next thing I know I was at the Coconut Palace for the panel interview together with other sixty plus aspiring tour guides as well. I noticed I was the youngest of the group; I could see the marks of wisdom and experience in the faces of the lovely people. They were discussing about the history of the Coconut palace and all I know is that a large percent of this place was made by yes, the Coconut which is the tree of life! Haha! I was called inside and all the big bosses of the tourism industry were in the room. It was the usual tell us about yourself question and the golden question was: “For you what is tour guiding?” I told them in confidence that tour guiding is not even a career but a passion. It’s your passion to be of service to other people by representing your country and being proud of it (I forgot the rest). Everyone had big smiles on their faces and told me that they want me in! I didn’t have to wait two weeks for the announcement and I was eager to start the training.

My I.D.
My tour guiding job (Career #2) took me to places I’ve never been before. It led me to a lot of discoveries and learning that not any job can really amount to. I can say that it’s the coolest job on Earth; getting paid to talk and to go to places; improving your French grammar and learning about other cultures as well (I’ll elaborate more in a different blog I guess). My first experience was the Costa Cruise ship; that is where I had my first taste of Euros.  

Mid September my cousin got married in Cebu City. Everyone in the family flew there for the big event. We went around Cebu and I admired the place then I decided I wanted to stay there. On the wedding day itself I passed my resume to the HR department then I was scheduled for an interview the next day. I applied for (Career #3) Media events and front desk staff. I went back to Manila to get my stuff, the hotel was taking too long so I decided to work in a ( Carrer #4)call center at I.T. park. Bringing my 40 kilos of excess baggage, I settled in Cebu thinking that it would be a fun adventure; discovering the city and the beaches, that was what I had in mind and of course being independent and far away from my dad’s curfew and supervision.

I didn’t last in my call center job; it was not even a month because everything seemed like a routine to me. I was not yet even done with the training, so we were just like having fun learning, drinking free coffee and iced tea and team building that time. Sadly the smell of carpet, the air conditioning, the gossips and the mundane made me sick. I already got three violations for wearing what I want, and being late considering that my house was 10 minutes walking distance from the workplace.

My next job was in a (Career #5) travel agency. It was the usual 8- 5 job and with the average daily wage of 267Php per day. I also did not last long in this job, but what I enjoyed the most was since my boss was one member of the high class Cebu, sometimes we would be invited to exclusive dinners, free food, free tour, free and free and lots of free stuff. I was able to participate in the Travel Mart expo where I met my future Boss, that’s when I got my job in Bohol. I didn’t care about the pay and I was not really getting much being an account manager/ writer of a travel TV show (Career #6) but I can say that the experience I had was priceless. Meeting the Who’s who in Bohol, being invited by the local municipality and letting us try their touristic spots/ amenities for free and I even tried hosting for the show and some events. I love multi- tasking, I love diversity, I love meeting different people and going to different places. I decided to go back to Manila to continue my tour guiding career since I received an offer to do a series of French tours starting November to May the next year. That’s where I stayed for the next six months (the longest career so far!).

But the tourism industry has its highs and lows. I have been officially jobless for almost six months now. I wasn’t taking my condition seriously until one day I had this interview for a job abroad. I don’t remember how I applied to that recruitment agency but the next thing I know was they were asking me to sing (SING???), I was asking myself what I was getting into, but then ok there was nothing wrong singing so I sang awkwardly like 3 different songs (wehehehehehe). They asked me if I could sing in front of a camera wearing an evening gown, and at the back of my head I was thinking –uh oh!( I must leave this place at once). It didn’t end there, they asked me how earning half a million sounded. Of course who wouldn’t want to earn that? But here’s the catch, it was a(career #7?)  fixed marriage, yes you heard it right FIXED MARRIAGE. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or feel sad or what. I saw pictures of the girls who were bribed for fixed marriage to men they hardly know. The pictures pretend that the chosen couples were madly in love; their love story documented from having dates to the marriage and honeymoon itself. I wanted to faint, hearing that they want to introduce me to the boss because they are sure he would like me, so they want to sell me now? What have I gotten myself into was the question I repeated to myself over and over again. I was not that desperate for money, and I don’t see marriage as business as well.

It made me feel sad how something sacred and special like marriage can now be regarded as a career. And yes there are people who involve themselves in this kind of set-up. I do not judge them; I do not have a right to whatever reasons they might have. In fact I think I admire them. Let’s face it, sometimes all a girl can have is her body and her pretty face and that’s it, getting married or being involved in this set- up makes her semi- millionaire in no time. She just needs to smile in front of the camera, profess her vows, and eventually WORK for her husband.

I’m sorry but I don’t see myself doing this yet and I am not considering this even as a last resort. If I still need to pursue my career in hounding careers then let it be, life is a discovery anyway. I’d rather have a hundreds of different jobs that I like, where I grow and I learn than be forced to work somewhere just for the sake of money. I may be a free spirit now but I know one thing’s for sure, that someday I’m gonna be great doing whatever it is that I love to do. 

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