Paglagpas mo sa intersection ng EDSA at Ayala Avenue, you will approach Magallanes Interchange. Kung pupunta ka sa Manila, take the outermost lane. Kung didiretso ka naman ng EDSA papunta sa Pasay Rotonda or sa Nichols, take the left-most lane at aakyat sa flyover na diretso lang.

Kung pupunta ka naman sa Alabang, sa Airport, or sa ano mang city or municipality sa Laguna o Cavite through the South Luzon Expressway, take the middle lane. Aakyat ka rin ng flyover pero it will curve to a circle and bring you towards SLEX. Ngayon, kung hindi mo alam ang tamang lilikuan mo, you might end up going back to where you came from: mapapa-North Bound ka na naman sa EDSA.

In the past decade or so, ang laki ng development sa South. You have progressive cities such as Alabang, Parañaque, and Las Piñas. If you go further South, you’ll also encounter Dasmariñas and Tagaytay in Cavite. At siempre, makikita mo rin ang rapid developments sa Sta Rosa. Bukod sa mga Real Estate developments sa mga lugar na ito, makikita mo rin na maraming companies ang nagtatayo ng offices dito. In fact, if you want a less hurried life compared sa Metro Manila, you could probably relocate in these areas.

image credit: jaydigital via Flickr

image credit: jaydigital via Flickr

Even job websites such as JobsDB.com.ph notice that more and more job hunters are considering location when they look for jobs. Kung kaya mong kumita ng salary na katumbas ng sa Metro Manila pero ang expenses mo ay pang-probinsiya, mas makakaipon ka, right?

Hindi lang naman sa Laguna at Cavite ang development. Even if you go straight through EDSA, you can’t miss the developments near the airports. Sobrang dami nang International Hotel brands ang tumayo near NAIA 3. Magkakaroon na rin ng Expressway to our airports. At super aggressive din ang pag-reclaim sa parts ng Manila Bay to pave the way for more buildings, malls, and other developments.

You can also go abroad. Madali lang mag-abroad ang mga Pinoy na may skills na puwedeng ioffer sa mga job markets abroad. Magkakaroon na ng greater economic integration ang mga member countries ng ASEAN. Ibig sabihin niyan, mas madali nang ma-absorb sa Southeast Asian countries ang mga Pinoy na willing magtrabaho sa alinmang bansa rito.

All of these things reflect on the economic and infrastructure development of the Philippines. We now have a lot of career choices. Maraming directions. Parang pag-akyat lang sa Magallanes Interchange. Pero ang tanong, saan ka ba talaga pupunta? Given all these available choices, how can you make the best decision while in your twenties?

Too Many Options

You know the best thing about being a young professional these days? Maraming options. You know the worst thing about being a yuppie? Too many options!

We’re living in exponential times at nakikita natin ang maraming opportunities. There are many kinds of jobs that could pay you a significant amount of money. Ang mga magulang natin at mga grandparents natin noon, kung ano ang trabaho nila after graduating from College, doon na rin sila magreretire. Exception noon ang palipat-lipat ng work.

Not our generation. Ang exception ngayon ay maging empleyado ng isang company sa loob ng matagal na panahon. Pagdating sa employment, wala nang forever. Marami kasing options. Our parents were, more or less, consumed with only one thing—get out of poverty as fast as they could. Hindi na rin nila masyadong iniisip kung nag-eenjoy ba sila sa trabaho. For a lot of them, work is something you do from 8am to 5pm. And then you live your life. In our generation, gusto natin extension ng identity at pagkatao natin ang trabahong ginagawa natin. That’s why if you hate, or don’t like our line of work, it feels as if our lives are being squeezed away from us. Nakaka-drain. Nakakapagod. At parang nakakabobo na rin.

So ito ang tanong, how do you choose a path for yourself?

Ang direction mo ngayon, puwedeng galing sa parents mo or galing sa mga tao sa paligid mo. This is what they expected you to do since you were young. Puwede rin naman that you succumbed to the pressure from your parents. Your parents may be more controlling than others. Or they may want you to become part of their family tradition or that ikaw ang magtuloy ng family business. There’s nothing with this as long as gusto mo rin ito. Otherwise, it will be a source of frustration in the future. It would be like an itch that you could not scratch, a wound that would not heal, and a desire that may never be fulfilled.

You may still be trying to figure out your own direction. You may not know your path right now. But you’re trying things out, looking for that something that you could definitely pursue for the rest of your life. The danger with this, though, is that you may find yourself lost sa dami ng twist and turns na dinaanan mo. You could also end up going back to where you started from.

Here’s an important question: where do you get meaning and purpose?

Ano-ano ba ang mga bagay bagay na ginagawa mo where you feel really, really great. Yung tipong kahit hindi ka bayaran or kahit na minsan ikaw pa ang gumagastos, okay lang. The types of activities that you could just do all throughout the day at kahit na minsan magdamag pa. Eric Liddell, isang Olympic gold medalist, found his purpose and meaning in running. Sabi niya “When I run, I feel [God’s] pleasure.” He was able to connect his deep faith with the one thing na gustong-gusto niyang gawin—running.

How about you? What activities do you enjoy deeply?

If money were not a problem, what would you be doing instead?

A lot of us are caught up in the rat race. Kailangang magtrabaho para kumita, masuportahan ang mga kapamilyang umaasa sa iyo. Or puwede ring nagtratrabaho ka para may pambili ng air ticket, gadgets, at iba pang mga luho. Still, may mga yuppies na kailangang-kailangang magtrabaho para may pambayad sa pagkarami-raming utang. Kumbaga, lubog na sa utang at ilong na lang ang nakalitaw.

But what if money were not a problem? What if, puwede mong i-pursue ang misyon mo sa buhay, what would you be doing instead?

If you could find the answer to this question, then you’ve found an important clue to your purpose. If you knew your purpose, waking up in the morning is more enjoyable. It’s as if you’re looking forward to the things you will be doing. As you work hard that day, you’ll look forward to the end of the day and take your well-deserved rest. Masarap magpahinga after a full day of working on things you really love.

Kaya lang, even if you know your passion at alam mo rin kung ano ang purpose mo, kung may roadblocks, then you may need to look for an alternative road. In that case, puwedeng mag-detour. But you should always hold on to your destination dahil at some point in the future, you could go back to your original direction. If you need to take a detour, here are some tips on how to pursue your passion and your purpose.

Create a buffer: secure your needs.

Hanap ka muna ng isang career na puwede mong pagkunan ng source of financial support. Earn money and save aggressively. Look for sources of extra income. That way, makakabuo ka ng buffer so that in time, you can chase after your dreams and your passion without endangering your financial situation.

Try new things until you stumble on something you’d really, really love doing.

I keep saying this, because it is true. Your twenties is really the best time to explore and do different kinds of things.

So if you don’t have a lot of responsibilities at wala ka namang ibang pinagkakagastusan, then by all means, try different things that you could pursue eventually. This could be risky, though, because it might mean abandoning some of these pursuits midway through pursuing them because it’s no longer working. The problem, though, with this approach, is that you may end up starting a lot of things without waiting for things to end properly. At baka rin sa kaka-try mo ng something new, you may end up making big mistakes that will prevent you from doing more things in the future.

What if you get stuck?

A lot of twenty-something yuppies feel stuck at some point in their life and career. There are times that you feel that you’re no longer growing, you’re not learning anything new, and that you’re stuck. And sometimes, you start becoming anxious and worried. You start second-guessing yourself, while asking if you are in the right path. If this happens, you can even start showing some signs of depression.

The Comparison Trap.

Isa sa mga puwedeng mag-trigger nito ang comparison trap. Especially these days na may social media na. Habang nandiyan ka at iniisip ang directions mo at kung ano ba ang mali sa mga naging choices mo in the past couple of years, one glance on Facebook at makikita mo ang mga bagong kotse o bagong bahay ng mga batchmates mo nung High School and College. You’ll see them enjoying the beach in Boracay, or nakakabiyahe na sila sa Europe or somewhere else. And then the comparison starts. The questions whisper in your mind at sobrang hirap nilang i-control.

You end up questioning your own skills. Maiisip mo na mas matalino ka naman kaysa sa kanila. That you were a better student than your friends ever were. And then you may start thinking na baka may ginagawa silang kababalaghan para magtamasa ng kayamanan. That’s the power of the comparison trap. It brings out the worst in you. At kapag hindi mo yan napigilan, it may blossom fully to envy at baka maapektuhan ang relationship mo with your friends.

Just keep in mind that Facebook does not show the entire picture. Most of the time, pino-post lang natin sa Facebook ang pinakamagagandang anggulo ng selfie natin. We also want to portray all the new things, the best and enjoyable things in our lives so far. At ang mga problema at trials sa buhay? Why post them online, di ba?

Quarterlife Crisis.

Sometimes, the quarterlife crisis can come early on, like right after College. Puwede mo rin naman itong ma-experience in your mid or late twenties. Nakaka-stress ang quarterlife crisis. Magkakaroon ka ng unsettled feelings—marami kang questions tungkol sa life, sa direction, at sa worth mo bilang tao, bilang isang individual. Sometimes, it can even lead you to do crazy things.

Don’t worry, it’s a normal phase to go through. Hindi naman lahat ng twenty-something ay dumadaan dito. Pero I’ve seen my fair share of friends who went through this. At the heart of this crisis ay isang tanong—ano ba talaga ang gusto mong gawin sa buhay mo?

May mga yuppies na dumaan dito and emerged as better persons, more sure of their direction and discovered new friendships and relationships that help them achieve their dreams. When I first talked with Ace, she just resigned from her job of two years dahil napapagod na siya and she felt stuck. So she took up MBA, met new friends and expanded her networks. Nag-try siya ng ilang businesses. But along the way, she was able to clarify her goals, nakilala niya ang sarili niya, and a year after, she was happier because she was confident that she was on the right path.

Lui, another yuppie who graduated with a degree in Nursing in 2011, went through the quarterlife crisis after graduation. Iyon nga lang, he was not able to indulge himself because his father died. Kailangan niyang tumulong sa family niya. But along the way, he managed to get several online jobs. Eventually, he started his own blogs, which led to significant income na nagsupport sa kanya at sa Nanay niya. Hindi lang iyan, he also managed to establish Filipiknow.net, an expression of his passion for Philippine History.

road-street-sign-way

Keep Moving Toward the Right Direction

Dahil masyado tayong maraming options sa panahon ngayon, if you found your calling, go fot it. Keep moving toward the right direction. More options will be presented to you. Mas maraming mga tao ang puwedeng magsabi sa iyo to move into this or that direction. But if you have found your calling, then stick to it, even if at first ang feeling ay parang walang nangyayari.

Paano?

Make sure you’re on the right road.

May iba’t ibang daan tayong tinatahak. Ang tawag dito minsan ay “career” o “field.” Nasa tamang field ka ba? Kung gusto mong makarating sa Ilocos, siempre, sa NLEX ka dadaan at hindi sa SLEX. If you know your destination, figure out the best vehicle na puwede mong sakyan. Do you want something safe and secure? Then go on the road well traveled, be an employee. Trips mo ba ng risk and growing your very own enterprise at kaya mong mag-raise ng funds para sa mga personal projects mo? It makes sense to go the Entrepreneur Route. But if your heart is breaking for all the pains of the world and gustong-gusto mo to make a difference, the path of the Social Servant might be for you. It is a difficult path pero sobrang rewarding. (Footnote: Inexplore ko ng mas malalim ang mga paths na ito sa aking aklat na “Start Up: Find your place. Engage the world. Sustain your life.”)

Read the signs.

Bago ka bigyan ng drivers license, kailangang maipamalas mo na kaya mong kontrolin ang sasakyan mo, at kaya mong magbasa ng mga road signs. This will help you stay safe on the roads, at para maiwasan mo ring makadisgrasya ng ibang tao. In the same way, if you are traveling the road toward your dreams and your aspirations, you also need to read the signs para malaman mo kung nasa tamang daan ka nga ba at kung ano ang mga gagawin mo in case may mga aberya sa daan. Makikita mo rin naman sa mga road signs kung gaano na kalayo ang narating mo at gaano pa kalayo ang kailangan mong daanan.

May mga times na guts lang talaga ang tanging basehan mo kung nasa tamang daan ka nga ba. Minsan kasi, ang tingin natin sa will ng Diyos para sa ating buhay ay isa lang. Parang destiny: that we are created to do ONE thing and ONE thing only, at kapag hindi natin yun nagawa, may mga mananakot sa atin at sasabihing “hihintayin mo bang mangyari sa iyo ang nangyari kay Jonah?” Tapos, after that, parang magui-guilty tayo doing the things we love doing kasi hindi iyon ang “THE” will of God para sa buhay natin.

Adjust as needed.

Siempre, walang silbi ang mga road signs if you don’t respond properly. Kung alam mo nang sarado ang isang bridge o daan dahil under repair, aba, kailangan maghanap ka na ng alternative roads. Otherwise, ma-stuck ka lang sa traffic kahihintay magbukas ang saradong daan. Lalo na sa mundo natin ngayon na sobrang bilis ang takbo, maraming pagkakataon na kailangan mong mag-improvise at mag-respond sa mga issues at bagong obstacles na lilitaw sa daan mo.

Ayos din naman kung may plans ka, pero don’t let those big plans lead you astray from God’s plans for your life. Si Moses, na-disrupt ang buhay dahil sa isang burning bush. Dahil sa encounter niya with God, he said goodbye to his sheep and took on the role of a prophet. Sina Peter, Andrew, James, at John, nagbago ang buhay nila at ang career directions nila just because they met Jesus. If you encounter a problem sa career path mo, don’t dismiss it right away. Don’t just look for the quick solutions. Instead, isipin mo rin kung anong sinasabi ng heart mo, at kung ano ang plano ng Dios sa buhay mo. You might be surprised: pleasantly surprised for what God has in store for you.

Tools and plans are great, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Since nagkaroon ako ng smartphone, medyo naging dependent na ako sa Google Maps sa paghahanap ng directions. Para mag-check ng traffic, binubuksan ko ang Twitter at ang Waze app. These are great tools. They make our lives easier. Kaya lang, in times na nagmamadali ka at kailangan ng quick solutions sa problema mo sa direction, mas nagiging practical ang pagtatanong ng direction sa mga taong nakikita mo sa paligid mo.

So if you feel lost and stuck sa highway ng buhay, check your own plans. But that may not be enough. Ask people. But the thing is… don’t ask just about anybody. Kasi kung naliliga din yung pinagtanungan mo, then pareho lang kayong maliligaw lalo! While your own friends and peers might provide you with social and emotional support, they may be at the same place as you—trying to figure out this thing called life.

Instead, hanap ka ng kuya o ate na hinarap na ang problema o challenge mo. Let them tell you the stories of how they faced their own challenges at paano sila nagpatuloy o nag-change ng direction sa buhay.

Ask mo rin si God. Remember the Bible verse “ask and it will be given to you…” (Matthew7:7)? Yes. God can answer your prayers. Pero it might not exactly be what you expect. Oftentimes, God’s answer may even get you started on a new direction.

Listen. And listen well. For such a change will be super life-changing, indeed!

* * * * *

This is part of the #BiyahengEDSA series of reflections for the Pinoy young professional. Read other parts of this series below:

Introduction
Monumento: Out of the Way ang Idealism
Balintawak Cloverleaf: Entry Level
North EDSA: Ito Pala ang Rat Race
Timog Avenue: I Just Want to Have Some Fun!
Cubao Traffic [Poetry]
Ortigas: Relihiyon, Rebolusyon
Swerving after Crossing Ilalim on a Monday Morning [Poetry]
Boni-Guadalupe: Shifting Lanes
Ayala: Traffic sa Fast Lane.
Magallanes: Divergent Roads
EDSA Extension: Ito ba ang aking destinasyon?
Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads