Friday, September 15, 2006

Filipino Expectations, Leaving Corporate America

I wonder how many people out there hate their jobs. Who told us we were supposed to work 8 to 10 hours a day, sometimes 12, 40 to 50 hours a week, sometimes 60? And with all the hard work that we do, a majority of what we make for the company goes to the owner or to the underserving boss.

I don't hate my job so much as I am so uninspired by it. What motivates me to wake up every day is the possibility that I am saving money so that I will something I can finally call my own. We slave day in and day out just to make a living; at the end of the day, sometimes, it is not even enough. Lucky for me, I have a decent paying one.

But what is life, what is work, when I could care less about the work that I do. Yes, I'm jaded by corporate America. I do things that help fatten the owner's pockets. It's all about profits. Money, money, money. Money makes the world go 'round. I have finally come to the realization that I need not be afraid to pursue my passions, even if it doesn't involve much money. Otherwise, life would be miserable, as it is now.

As a Filipino American, I grew up with an extended family who all wanted to see me become a doctor or a lawyer. Then they focused on law school for me. I graduated top of my class in both high school and college, and they wanted only the best for me. Then I decided to postpone law school to help my family. So I joined corporate America. One year passed. Two. Then everyone started asking me about law school. It took some time for my family, and extended family, to understand that I don't want to go to law school, that it was OK, that I'm not a disappointment even if I don't become a lawyer. There are more things to life. There are things I wanted to do for myself, not things my family wanted to do for me. I'm glad I'm finally arriving at that point.

In the Filipino culture, there is so much expectation from parents and grandparents and uncles and aunties. I have spoken to so many Filipinos who were told by their elders to become this and become that and do this and do that, just to please them. In the end, they became miserable. We try to do the things our parents tells us because that is what they think we should be. How about what we really want to do?

In about a month, I will give up my corporate, managerial position in place of something I am deeply passionate about: education. I praise all the educators out there, good educators, that is, for helping to help shape a youth's life. They are the ones who can help mold a child into better citizens, and in these days, it's a tough job. Tough, but can be very satisfying.

I hope to open up an institution for learning in the Philippines. I want a school that will challenge the norms and produce students that are liberated. Students that will know how to question authority, question beliefs and traditions, question injustice. Students who will think for themselves. I want them to be openminded. To accept differences. To accept diversity. I want them to be leaders, to have a new way of thinking.

Idealistic, sure. But revolutions of the mind came through ideals. I am ready to take part in this, in the Philippines, as it is truly needed there.

6 comments:

Senor Enrique said...

My older brothers used to get on my case when I favored getting myself challenging and enjoyable jobs over security and penson. Told them then that there is no such thing as security -- that corporate America's ultimate goal is to become profitable. It's that simple.

Many years later, all of them experienced the shock of downsizing, and now they admired that I had at least enjoyed my life while working.

Hey, if ever you manifest your vision here in Manila, let me know -- I might even volunteer as a part-time tutor in English communication skill development.

Good luck!

eric aka senor enrique

Anonymous said...

good for you. it takes a lot of courage to be able to do what you are about to do, and a lot of filipinos abroad would be dead scared of leaving the foreign country to pursue life back in their homeland. i will not judge them, but they probably have a bigger need of money-- money they earn in the foreign country to support their kids, their spouse, their relatives, or their whole village.
i honestly think that teaching is the noblest of job, because it takes a lot of passion and patience in order to channel and pass on ones knowledge to another individual.
today, people are just trying to be a teacher just because they know that there's a need for teachers abroad.
with the innate skills you have with the english language, i would not think twice why your school would be a success.

moks said...

You have the courage. And I guess the means (money) to do it. Indeed, life is short; and we must spend it the best we can. Take care, and wish you the best...and success.

schumey said...

Contentment in life is the secret to fulfillment. This has been my secret and have gained from it.

snglguy said...

Good luck with your endeavor, dude. Oh and thanks for swinging by my blog too.

jo said...

Hello, I'm a teaching (education) student - hope to get my USA license in 2 years. I would love to go back in PHIL to teach, preferably the private schools - b'cuz public is CRAZY system. But for now, American kids are challenging , especially the teenagers - attitudes. SUS MARYUSEP !