As I write this column, at the back of my head, a tiny voice repeats the same words that are written on a resignation letter I just submitted.
A few weeks ago, I found myself ranting nonstop to my brother about this job where I’d start the day with a bowl of being unappreciated for breakfast, followed by a serving of ridicule for lunch, and lastly a plating of being suffocated by a sudden amount of work for dinner. Often times, I would wonder if it’s because of the age gap between me and my bosses, or the fact that I’m still technically a student and a child in their eyes—at least, since they never failed to remind me of it.
Every day had become a struggle to fool myself that all this would be worth it by the end of each project, and that the paycheck is more important than my childish feelings. More often than not, it helped get the job done—and to the approval of the client—but the satisfaction and pride for the work was no longer there. Instead, I would always dread what would happen next.
With only a few months left until I officially level up and graduate from the university, I finally asked myself if this was really how I’d want to go about my remaining college days before I receive my diploma. After months of working for them, I finally decided that enough was enough, and that this was not how I wanted to waste my youth.
All in all, I still feel fortunate for the experience (and the pay). It’s likely that I encounter similar scenarios once I leave De La Salle University, but at least I can say now that I would know better on how to respond and act, and am grateful for the new sense of dignity and different grasp of society.
All our lives, we were either told to follow our dreams or to do what it takes to get the biggest paycheck. As clichéd as this will sound, it’s not always that easily graspable. You will encounter events that would force you to sacrifice something important in exchange of scraps just to help you get by a day, and you will meet people that will make you question if they really were people. You will be forced to “suck it up” sometimes, and you might burst out your frustrations only to be ridiculed even further. There are situations where professionalism is dead or nonexistent, and empathy is replaced with enormous egos.
Right now, it may sound exactly the same as those nightmarish stories your parents and professors would tell you about what happens after graduation, and let me just say that it’s all true. If you do end up one of the fortunate few who won’t encounter this in the near future, then good for you. But just in case that you end up in the same position as me, here’s a little food for thought:
Taking that well-deserved break is just as important as working. Caring for your mental health should always be a priority, and you shouldn’t always be hard on yourself. Find time for yourself to reflect; to take a breather and remember your goals, purposes, and priorities. Assess why you’re doing this in the first place. Will the pros still outweigh the cons in your current position? Why are you still staying despite knowing—and experiencing—how toxic things are? Is it holding you back from working to your full potential? Are you still motivated to do anything?
When work loses its meaning to you, or just feels heavy on the chest, that’s an indicator that something isn’t right. When you start beating yourself up or putting yourself down, stop for a moment and think back on all the things you’ve already accomplished. Look back on all the struggles you’ve conquered and put behind you. Take the time to realize you are where you are now because of those small achievements. You are worth so much more and can do more when you’re in your best disposition. You don’t exactly need the extra drama and unnecessary weight in your life. It’s always best to know your worth.
Ups and downs will always be part of life and no one in the history of man has been able to perfect living it. Just remember that once you’ve hit rock bottom, it can’t get any worse, and the only place else to go is up.