MenagerieThe real deal: Lessons from OJT
The real deal: Lessons from OJT
May 19, 2014
May 19, 2014

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OJT or On the Job Training is one of the last challenges a college student will have to face before getting that sweet, sweet diploma. Let’s face it, no matter how much you ready yourself for your future career, even with the help of your many cramming nights, “terror” professors, and unhelpful group mates, the nearest thing you have to getting a taste of your future is your OJT.

An OJT is either backbreaking or plain “chill” (some may be a little of both), but the one thing you really have to do is to make the most out of it, because that line of work could be where you’ll end up in after your graduation and until the graduation of your own offspring/s. Read on as I detail some of my experiences during my own OJT with ABS-CBN.


Discomfort zone in the world of television

TV production, as I am sure every communication arts student knows, is very fast-paced and fickle. You can never expect things to go according to plan because there will always, always be that one person, detail, prop, grammar fault in the script, or a fly landing on the host’s hair to delay taping. Everything has to go through the hands of the executive producer and one wrong move will create a ripple effect that will cost you the trust of everyone on set.

I didn’t know if the show I was assigned to really needed the extra hands or if the OJT in ABS-CBN was really that demanding, but I felt I felt like my OJT was more strenuous compared to my other Communication Arts classmates who were sometimes just waiting for stuff to do or were just actually doing nothing during their OJT.

Nonetheless, I was never comfortable with mine. I was always afraid of disappointing my producer. I hated how the air conditioning was much colder than the classrooms in Andrew. I hated that my OJT took half my summer. I hated how I had to come up with topic proposals about personal financing when I didn’t even know what an alternative investment was or even how to manage my day’s allowance.

Don’t get me wrong, I like always having something to do with my time, but I hate doing that work for someone I don’t know and even more the feeling of being undermined by people who don’t know me back. I knew that I could do more; I just didn’t know how to establish it in a personal finance show. I hated how all these petty little things stressed me out when I knew in the back of my brain that they were just really small problems; problems I should have gotten over during my college stay.

Most of all, I hated how, in four months, I was going to be on my own in the workforce with nothing but a diploma to wave around to production houses and media conglomerates, asking them to hire me when I’d barely be two decades old.


But OJT isn’t college; it’s the real deal

It’s “On-the-Job” training, it’s the real thing. And that’s when reality dawned on me like wildfire.

I realized that a job at first isn’t supposed to be comfortable ever, especially when you’ve only started. There is more pressure for fresh graduates like us to do great even though we know there’s a high possibility that our work won’t be as praised as they were in college. There is a possibility you won’t always get the job right, but it’s always the learning process that’ll make us sharper in the future.

“This is the real deal,” my executive producer said on my second day. He was telling my fellow intern and I how precious time is in the biz and how the schedule can never be bent even by a dental appointment or your mother. It’s a place where you will naturally forget about yourself and just think about your job.

Although comfort and experience is what a fresh graduate doesn’t have when starting a job, I think it’s these two that make one stay in it. Being comfortable in a job does not mean being stagnant and at ease (I don’t think one should ever feel secure in his or her job as the point of having one is to be constantly developing and innovating our industries and selves); comfort in a job means that you have fathomed the science and complexity of your job to society, that you have fully and confidently understood that you are working not only for the fulfillment of your wallets but also to be of service to other people.

And what drives this comfort to action is the experiences we have because experience is what justifies our decisions and actions in the future, not only our desires. I think that once a person understands the balance between these two, that is when one can confirm that they have found their true calling, as cliché as that may sound.


Testing the water’s temperature

What’s good about discomfort is that some of it, if not entirely, will go away when you start looking at it as a reason to reflect on its origin other than seeing it as a stump that’s stopping us from utilizing ourselves. In reflecting why we are uncomfortable, we get to finally see the real (and sometimes small) things that we continually avoided in college like critique, failing or the pressure of making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. Although it’s hard to accept, the first step to comfort is discomfort.

And in a way, how we see our OJT will be how we will see our future. It’s one of the moments which will make you think if the major you got is actually your true calling; it’s one of those moments which will make you see if the last three or four years of your life were not spent in vain; it’s one of those moments wherein you actually take a peek at your possible future, which makes it as nerve-racking as that first day of LPEP.

OJT is our first taste of the real deal.