WALKING along Ayala Avenue under the scorching heat of the sun with burning skin, aching feet, and a heavy portfolio was not exactly my idea of a relaxing summer afternoon. But, if I didn’t want to be unemployed for the rest of my life, I realized that I could not afford to relax. At least, not yet.

So even if it means that I have to sacrifice my vacation to scour the metropolis for job openings, I would.

I need work.

***

Searching for a job was harder than I thought. Optimism is one thing, and reality is another. When I got into the urban jungle, I realized that it was hard to be optimistic.

As a job-hunter, I had to face the dilemma of choosing between the job I want and the job I need, low pay and high pay, hard work and easy work. Of course, things would have been much easier if I could choose the job I want, with high pay, and easy work, all rolled into one neat package.

If this happens, I know I must be dreaming because there’s no such thing. Opportunities, as I’ve learned, don’t always come in neat packages and perfect combinations. Oftentimes, they involve difficult decisions that need to be made with good judgment and right timing.

***

Another thing I learned after a week of job-hunting, you have to learn how to be confident enough to handle insecurities.

After you graduate, you’re back to square one. Once again, you are a nobody and you have to re-establish yourself in the bigger world outside the university, Some people would treat you well, but there would surely be a number who would treat you like dirt.

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Still, you can’t be a crybaby running home to mommy every time someone slams the phone on your ear or sends your resume straight to the paper shredder. You’re an adult now, remember? Besides, in the survival of the fittest, weaklings don’t survive. Toughies do.

The acid test of your confidence comes during those anxious moments when you’re waiting for that decisive phone call – did I get accepted or not?

Rejection is never easy to handle. Oftentimes, we tend to feel insecure and think, “I’m not good enough,” or “What are my four years of education worth?” And then we become afraid to try for fear that we might get rejected again, while greater and better opportunities pass us by.

***

Fear of rejection will get you nowhere. When you want something bad enough, you should do everything you can to get it.

Funny how I got these wise pieces of advice from my junior staffers in the “V” – incoming senior students who have yet to feel the threat of unemployment.

Of course, they just reminded me of something I had known all along – courage and persistence are essential components of success. So is a great amount of hard work.

Luck rarely comes knocking on people’s doors. Usually, it just goes with you waiting to strike at the right moment. At times, I’m inclined to think that luck is not always a matter of chance but also a matter of consequence – one of the by-products of earnest effort.

***

Walking along Ayala Avenue under the scorching heat of the sun with burning skin, aching feet, and a heavy portfolio was not exactly my idea of a relaxing summer afternoon. But, if I search hard and work even harder, I know I’ll get my well-deserved relaxation pretty soon.

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