Lessons from the Job

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By Ma. Doreen Era E. Murata

When I was a kid, I make it a point to wake up early morning and watch my mom and her sisters’ prep up to go to work. I was amazed by the thought that they are going to work wearing those nice clothes, bags and shoes. Plus, those oh so fancy lipsticks and cheek rouge they use. And there are several times when after my pre-school class, I would be at my mom’s class watching her teach to several bunch of rowdy, hard headed teenagers. I cannot understand why my mom put up with them. But every night, when I asked her why she does it, she always said “ It’s because I love my work. I love the thought that I am helping these young people get educated. They are my friends, and they are also my children.”. I did not like the thought that mom loves them like they are her children but the thought that she’s helping them was enough to pacify me.

Way back, for my young mind, what my mom told was way too hard to understand literally. But then, since I can feel that she’s happy with them and she really laugh with them, I had an idea when she said she love her job, even though it takes her away from me for days and weeks because she had to attend conferences and seminars. Something I detested then. Yet, now I totally understand.

I started working when April 2010. Fresh out of college with a degree I still can’t believe I was able to finish since I spent more time doing extra- curricular work rather than my thesis, I got hired by the Aklan Provincial Population and Gender Office. Getting the job was rather a bit easy because since 2003 I was already a Volunteer Adolescent Health Peer Educator and Facilitator by the Provincial Government of Aklan. My first exposure to their training was at the age thirteen. And that’s when I realized what my heart’s real desire is.

Working at the Aklan Provincial Population and Gender Office as Assistant Focal Person for Adolescent Health and Youth Development Programme (AHYDP) and Focal Point for Pre Marriage Counselling Programme was a very nurturing and self improving journey. The opportunity to be directly in contact with young people thru AHYDP was something I will never forget. My heart and my life were forever changed because of that program. The harsh realities that I saw when we went to communities to educate young people about life skills and reproductive health is a constant reminder for me that I play a role in changing and shaping the society. In several occasions, I wondered on the irony of it; I am teaching teenagers life skills and their reproductive health yet they have with them their babies in the workshop. And yet, I made friends. Not just with the young people at the community but with their families, their folks, the communities. And always, they say thank you that I came into their life. They will never know that it was my life that changed because of them.

Being the Focal Point for the Pre Marriage Counselling Programme was not an easy job. On several instances, I have to get tough with Municipal Population Officers to be more diligent and efficient in submitting their reports, or being strict with the Municipal PMC team to strictly follow the process. Yet, they said they were lucky to have me as their FP. I pushed them to excel and helped them achieve their potentials. That’s heartwarming isn’t it? What I can vividly recall however, in relation to the PMC Programme was the raised eyebrows of people when my boss would introduce me as the Programme Focal Point. And I always get their underlying message , “ A kid?! Are you freaking serious?!” But that never hampered me from doing my job and pushing myself to be better.

There are times when we question ourselves: why we are doing these things? The job I had at the Population Office required me to go beyond the usual 8 am to 5 pm routine and Mondays to Fridays only job. During weekends, I was still on trainings and meetings, usually in areas that I fondly call as “ far from civilization” since it would took a lot of time to get there. Working with young people is also an emotional investment. I can still vividly remember how from just being a Fcailitator, I became everyone’s Ate in trainings and workshop. By and by, those young people started sharing their stories with me; something that not everyone is given the opportunity to do so. It was a journey that I consider as the most enriching and soul searching one. It taught me to be selfless and share whatever I have, even a part of myself. And I know that those young people I met is a part of who I am now. When people asked me why I invest time and money for those, I simply smiled and answered, “ I love my job.”

My job at the Population Office ended last December 2010. I resigned to look for bigger opportunities in Manila. I resigned to be able to move on from something tragic that happened. Yet, I didn’t leave without saying goodbye and thank you to the people I met at my job. I owe them that. They invested in me and pushed me to do better than what I usually can do. They have touched and changed my life in ways they will never know.

Often, I hear people grumble about how they hate their job, how bossy their boss is, how underpaid they are, stuff like that. And on times like that, I want to hug them tight and whisper, “ God is watching us 24/7, taking good care of us and he’s got the toughest job of all, protecting more than 7 Billion people. Did we hear Him complain?”. The job that we have right now, no matter how tiresome and boring it may be, is our contribution in shaping and changing humanity. As the saying goes, “ We cannot change the world, but we can change one life.”


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