To the twentysomething who wants to change the world
By Antoinette Jadaone
MANILA, Philippines - Dear Fresh Grad,
I think I saw you yesterday along Makati Avenue, wearing the most smart-casual attire your closet will allow, waiting for the traffic light to change to red. You were clutching a brown envelope — they contained your résumés, right? But you looked a little flustered. Did your job interview not go so well? It’s your fifth interview in six weeks, I hear? Don’t worry, they say “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” to almost everybody. Hindi ka nag-iisa. Oh, your best friend nailed her interview on the first try? And your other ka-barkada, too? Well, good for them. Wag ka lang inggitera.
I know, I know. You’ve imagined yourself to be in your dream job immediately after graduation, getting paid (a lot), and doing what you love to do (so “it doesn’t feel like work at all,”). You saw yourself changing the world, while live posting it on Twitter.
I must say, your imagination’s pretty impressive, and you must’ve been reading a lot of Steve Jobs. Darling, the real world doesn’t work that way, and definitely not that fast. So your two friends who nailed it on their first try? I’ll bet you’ll spend at least one Friday night with them at a karaoke bar, singing your angst away. Alanis’s Hand in My Pocket is a good first song, by the way.
You’ll find a job yourself soon. It won’t be your dream job, but hey, at least it will pay for happy hour. You will be asked to buy Starbucks for your boss’s guests, and while walking out of the office, you’ll tell the universe, “Nag-graduate ako ng cum laude para lang bumili ng kape?” When you return, the boss will be angry to know that you forgot to put Splenda in his coffee, and the universe will tell you, “E kape nga lang hindi mo mabili nang maayos, cum laude ka pa nyan ha.” You will print the wrong report. You will be yelled at for a lousy job someone else did, and you will be yelled at for a job you put your whole heart into. You will be told you’re stupid, and if you’re lucky, the whole office will be there to hear it. You will cry in your cubicle. You will lose the promotion to the boss’s son, or to someone less hardworking than you. You will learn about dirty office politics, and you will be frustrated to know that you can’t do anything about it. You will figure in office tsismis, and you’ll make your Twitter account private. You will see your friends going to Boracay, Bangkok and Europe, having the time of their lives, while you’re left here, living paycheck to paycheck, wishing you were born an Ayala, a Gokongwei, or a Gosling. You will think about quitting. You will lose the sparkle and the passion. You will forget about your ultimate dream when the real world crushes it right before your eyes.
But please don’t.
Make Passion Last
The truth is, you will never be as passionate as your Fresh Grad self ever again. Make that passion last as long as you can. I don’t want to be dramatic, but really, that sparkle? Once it’s gone, you can never take it back. Oo, parang virginity lang.
So while you have it, savor the moment. Go make mistakes, while you’re still expected to be imperfect. Go cry in the cubicle, while your age allows it. Go sing Hand in My Pocket and You Learn at the karaoke bar, while you’re still “young and underpaid.” Go chase your dreams and change the world. The best time to change the world? It’s right after college, when you are f*cking sure you can.
See, you will become 26. Then 28. Then 30. And you will be busy looking for money to pay for the bills, or yelling at your assistant who printed the wr ong report, and you will just forget about the world you badly wanted to change before.
How old are you again? Actually, I don’t really need to know. You were glowing from where I saw you, and that gave away your age. So stand up straight, clutch your résumés, hold on to your dreams, and stay glowing as long as you can. Make the most of your youth. I swear, you’ll miss it when it’s gone, and by that time, you will only be able to write about it.
An Ex-Fresh Grad