Friday, May 26, 2006



The saying goes “To whom much is given, much is expected”. As people discover you can do many things, they expect more from you, extracting every bit of your talent. Some people rise to the challenge, others prefer to keep their talents hidden and far far away from prying eyes who might someday want to exploit them.

I have some talents, or so my mother says. I am constantly getting myself unintentionally involved in this and that project by happenstance. I don’t usually complain when I like what I’m doing.

Recently, I was invited to help out in a farewell project for our long-time parish priest. I didn’t know how I could be of help but I suspected I would be doing the computer stuff and much to my un-surprise, I did.

The people are pleased with what I’ve done with the layout of pictures and texts. I find it quite simple. Of course, to them it probably looks difficult. But it really isn’t. I feel like a newbie in front of techie greats or the proven tech-savvy.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of building their expectations and then letting them down. In my younger years, I was very self-confident. I always knew the extent of what I can and can’t do. I put my foot down for things I knew were not my expertise. I was adamant in saying NO.

As I entered linguistics in college, I thought this must be easy sailing. I had always excelled in school so I thought, piece of cake. When I got my first almost-failing grade, I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I didn’t know what to do. I eventually got the hang of the subject but I decided to shift to journalism. There I was initially getting good marks, acing the homework, then all of a sudden, I got a failing mark on one of my articles. I was utterly crushed. I remember being randomly asked, “How are you?” by a classmate of mine and I broke down right there and then at the walk between the College of Social Science and Philosophy and the Faculty Center. She must have thought me mad. But it was the start of the incessant self-doubt and decreasing self-confidence. I didn’t know what I was really good at. I seemed to get good grades by sheer effort. I wasn’t as smart as everybody portrayed me to be. I felt like a cheater letting them think it.

But I guess at some point, God must have put something there in my head. I did know what I was doing. I got by even if I had no idea how to go about what I was supposed to do. It all worked out. It always worked out. But I was always afraid. I woke up late in the mornings. I became complacent. I lost my edge.

Now, I am here at a job that expects only excellence because it is simple enough. You have to be in on time so no late nights or sleep-ins. But despite my rigid schedule now, I still feel doubtful about my other responsibilities. As I complete each task, each activity, if I come out slightly triumphant, I am expected to do it again, even better next time.

All this thinking began because I did a good layout for the church and I was praised for it. I wonder how I would feel if my boss at work actually praised me. I would probably cry.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"What a waste"

Not a lot of people have openly expressed disappointment about what I'm doing right now. It's not to say they don't like it, they just think it's a waste of my talents. It's the first time I actually heard it out loud. She said "what a waste" when I told her I worked in the English typing pool at the UN. As if it wasn't bad enough that I've been feeling frustrated the past few days because I know that I could really be doing something more suited to my skills. But I have no choice at the moment. I haven't had proper time to look for other jobs and I can't afford to take time off so I can look for one. It's one thing chained to another thing and it becomes a vicious cycle of cannots.

I just hope I can get out of this rut soon. I look at where my batchmates are right now and I compare myself, which I shouldn't do. Everyone is different and we make different choices. Right now, I still don't know what I want to do in life. Five years ago, I was so sure. I planned to finish my master's degree and I was going to be some big shot somewhere. Well, I didn't know exactly where but I was going to be.

I'm at the UN now with a clerical job. Some people would say it's a real blessing. It is of course and the pay is not bad. But there is still something missing. As I go through the tedious task of encoding corrections after corrections from the translators, I am inclined to think - can I do better? Shouldn't I be doing something more?

I guess I compensate with all the extracurricular activities that I do. But it still doesn't feel right. Maybe I'm just complaining. But I really hope that something will come of my life soon. Something I can truly say I love to do. Something I can do for the rest of my life.