2 03 2011

Sun setting over the Arabian Sea. Shot taken by the shores of Goa, India.

“SIR?” the front desk personnel asked me from afar.  I snappily pointed to my nose, as if articulating “you talking to me?”  It was a knee-jerk reaction, having watched a lot of Chinese martial arts films.  “Yes Sir, kayo po (you).”

If it were not for her question, I would’ve probably dozed off in my seat – a cushion in the lobby of a building called MoNo2.  It was quite a comfortable sofa – I remember it to be in a shade of dark blue.  But my almost catching some zzz’s was because the day before, my friends and I walked the whole stretch of Ayala Avenue, knocking on doors, and leaving our resumes for possible consideration for any job openings.  I was dead tired.  I was running out of my job-hunting allowance – I splurged on an eat-all-you-can lunch at Triple V Express the day before – and worse, I was becoming uninspired.

When you graduate at the top of your class, you’d feel like the job offers would come pouring in.  Like somebody owes you some form of recognition or special treatment.  But it wasn’t in my case.  Bordering on desperation, I culled from memory any hints in the past when companies sort of invited me to apply for a job with them.  A light bulb lit and I remembered, “That multinational company.”

In 1995, the year before, I led a team that finished first runner-up to UST – losing by a mere point – in that multinational company’s “Eng’gkwentro ng Talino (Battle of Intelligence).”  It was a by-invitation quiz bee participated in by UP, UST, DLSU-Taft, Don Bosco College, and MIT.  Shaking my hand in congratulations, the that multinational company Manager who led the show said, “If you need a job in the future, see us.”

“Sir, do you have an appointment?”

“No.  I told the guard I’m here to apply for a job.”

“Ganun po ba (Is that so)?  Placement is done at MoNo5, our building along the expressway.”

The front desk personnel proceeded to give me directions.  I must’ve looked lost that she ended up pointing to the van outside, “Sundan nyo po yang van.  Di kayo pwedeng sumakay.  Sundan nyo lang makakarating kayo ng MoNo5.  (Follow that van.  You can’t get on it.  Just follow it and you’ll make it to MoNo5.)”

If at MoNo2 I was able to rest my back and almost fell asleep, at MoNo5, I didn’t even get to set one foot in the door.  The guard asked why I was applying for a job.  Was I answering an ad?  No.  Did I get a call?  Most certainly not.  I told my “Eng’gkwento ng Talino” story and that was when she asked for my resume.  She took it from my hands and with one quick motion, dropped it in a nearby box.  I turned around and left, thinking nothing would come out of it.

I arrived home and at the door, my mother told me that that multinational company called up and asked me to come back the following day.

I didn’t know what to expect as it was to be my first job interview.  I went back just to show up.  Dressed in a Ralph Lauren yellow long-sleeved shirt tucked in faded Levi’s jeans – not a problem at 106 lbs. and no beer belly – all I brought with me was a green necktie I kept in my pocket which I put on just before the interview started.  I looked so casual and indifferent, not meaning to impress, especially when compared to a group of UST graduates in business attire occupying the other end of the long sofa.  All the confidence I had seemed to disappear the moment I saw them whip out textbooks.  I espied the Boylestad.  I felt unprepared and shivered in my seat.  I stammered at some point in my interview and left expecting not to hear back from Human Resources again.  I bid that multinational company farewell.  Just in case.

Within a week, I became one of 10 members of the 1996 New College Graduates (NCG) of that multinational company, the last time they called such group as NCG.  We were welcomed with a banner at the lobby on our first day, handed a welcome letter, given our individual job training plans, and sent off to our ways.

It’s been 15 years since. 

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