After spending six years in college, I finally graduated. It wasn’t as emotional as I thought it would be (I even contemplated wearing liquid eyeliner to my graduation so black streaks would run down my face because I thought I was going to cry) but a different series of emotions took over me as I was in the ceremony: boredom, excitement, some fear, and a tremendous relief as the weight of so many responsibilities were taken off my shoulders. Of course, I still have to publish my last issue as editor-in-chief (yes, we’re still not yet done) and edit all the writeups for the yearbook but knowing that I’m a graduate makes it easier for me to breathe. I received a gold medal for leadership, by the way. But right now, what do I do next?

As I was celebrating at Yakimix with friends and family, I realized one thing. I’m now unemployed. I have now joined the millions of Filipinos with no jobs and no futures. So I cruised some job portals and decided on a career in public relations. I don’t know where it came from but it seemed like a natural choice for someone as talkative as me. My original choice was to apply as a writer for a fashion magazine (I even applied for Mega late last year but they couldn’t accept me because I was still in school) because I wanted to marry my two loves: writing and fashion. But I guested on a show on TV5 and one of the hosts, Direk Joey Reyes (director of Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo and its sequel Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo) said that there’s no money in writing. I knew that but ever since my mother stopped giving me allowance, I panicked and realized that I need to replenish my supply.

I was advised not to make writing my primary source of income because there’s no money and I might tire of it. But because it’s my edge, I decided on public relations. I might pursue corporate communications but PR sounds a lot more fun. I have most, if not all of the requirements, so I think I have a chance. I don’t have a degree in journalism or mass communications but I have six years of experience writing and have had four editorships, I have participated in three journalism seminars hosted by the prestigious universities in the country, have organized one myself (with Charie Villa as speaker, among notable others), I have been nominated for Best Personal Blog at the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards, was awarded a gold medal for leadership (in case they want someone who works under pressure), I speak good English, and I interned for the marketing department of my school.

Ever since I told my mother I’m qualified to graduate, she kept bombarding me with job opportunities. For some reason, my mother is well-connected and she is friends with or related to media moguls, founders of film production companies, celebrities, executives, and owners of some of the hottest real estate companies, clubs, bars, and restaurants. She kept suggesting that she could help me find a job, which I kept saying no to. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I want to make it on my own. And I think I can.

I know many people would kill to have a contacts list like my mother’s, but I plan to be one of those people who will get a job based on what he knows, not who he knows. If I knew that I could get a job at Viva Films or Century Properties, I wouldn’t spend six years of my life spending sleepless nights trying to get a grade of 1. I would have settled for 3s if I planned on getting a high-paying job because I’m related to an executive or I’m friends with a COO (child of owner). I wouldn’t have joined three papers, the student council, the debate team, the theater group, two socio-civic organizations, and the yearbook committee twice if I was aiming for nepotism. I have good credentials. And I want to use them.

I’ve always been called an idealist. Perhaps I am, or maybe everyone else is cynical. You might tell me that there’s not enough jobs to go around but I had a chance to talk to Ms. Criselda Sy, the director of Bureau of Local Employment at the Department of Labor and Employment and she told me that the unemployment rate of the US is higher than that of the Philippines, and the primary reason why so many Filipinos are unemployed is because of choice. Being unemployed sounds terrible to me and I have no plans of becoming a bum. The thought of lounging around and doing nothing for a year just doesn’t cut it for me. I’m sorry but I have ambition.

Direk Joey laughed at me good-naturedly when I told him of my writing plans. He said that it’s either I’m an idealist, or I’m rich. I might be neither one of them, I might be one of them, or I could be both. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s my morals but I think the only time I’ll ask for help when it comes to my career is when I find myself stuck in a rut.

Half a million a year with a monthly trip to Singapore and London, you say? Thanks, but no thanks, mom.

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