i can't even remember now how it all started. maybe it was a bad day, or maybe it was when we were at the thick of a variety of things that weren't particularly happy. it could've been after my brother treated me after he got yet another promotion or it could've been after i found out that my friend who gets paid insanely well already was getting overtime and holiday pay on top of the pay she was already receiving. all i know is that i was feeling tired, frustrated, and poor.
always a bad combination.
so when a text message arrives from an old officemate telling me of an opening for a lawyer at this real estate firm which will pay me enough to get my roof of my house fixed, well, i felt it would've been downright dumb not to even try sending my resume. so i did.
for the record, i wasn't feeling very confident about it. after all, when i first started trying to get a corporate job after my work with the law firm, i almost always never made it past the HR interview. yep, it was horrible. so imagine my surprise when i got there and the HR manager took me straight to the SVP for my interview and how, at the end of our conversation, the SVP told me, "you know what, i like you."
and she was a girl. and i'm not always a hit with girls.
i had to send samples of my work (i have this bunch of work samples that i always send out cause i love them - a decision in a case, the gifts policy i drafted for a client, and a pleading in a labor case which i won) and it was a tense week before the HR manager finally called me and said that yes, they want me. i wanted to jump and scream and shout but something in that conversation stopped me short -- i was asking for her to send me a formal offer and she asked me what else would i like to see considering that the take-home pay they were offering me was a 65% increase over what i was presently receiving.
i was dumbfounded. so when i told my friends about the situation, all but one were unanimous in telling me that if the HR manager had acted that way, then there's a huge possibility that things would get even more complicated when i get in. oh, i insisted and insisted this was the right thing (yes, the 65% increase blinded me with greed!) and cited what would be the argument i'd use to shut people up whenever they'd ask why: tumutulo ang bubong ko.
incidentally, at the time i was waiting for the real estate company's decision, i had mentioned about the application to a friend and he told me -- as he always does -- to forward to him a copy of my resume since they had an opening in their legal department. since my resume had been recently updated, i forwarded it to him and thought nothing about it until i got offered the job by the real estate company and was given a july 31 deadline. i then followed up with him and he told me that he forwarded it to their hr and their hr forwarded it to the legal department so it would be up to the legal department if they'd call me or not. my initial thoughts: maybe it's a no-go.
apparently, i don't have the ability to predict the future: three days after real estate company offered me the job, they asked if i could come in for an interview. so i did and let's just say that while the salary wasn't 65% more than what i was currently receiving, it would still be higher than my current pay. and the non-cash benefits, well, the non-cash benefits were things that powerpuff girls were made of: sugar, spice, and everything nice, and a good dose of chemical x.
i spent an entire flight to cebu thinking about both jobs and while the second job trumped the real estate job on all fronts except the take-home salary, the real estate job was a sure thing.
those two weeks (i got an extension on the deadline since i was negotiating for some other benefits with the real estate company) were nothing short of hellish. all of a sudden, the things my friends were saying about the real estate company (i shouldn't go for it, the HR manager is a premonition of things to come, something good is bound to come sooner) were all fighting for attention inside my tiny little brain. i'm sigurista so if it were just a matter of certainty, i would've so gone for the real estate job. after all, the second company was this giant corporation with a giant parent company and giant sister companies and giant subsidiaries so i wasn't so sure that they'd accept someone (1) who didn't pass the bar on her first take (2) had barely a year of corporate work experience and (3) like me.
the notebook i carried around? oh, it was full of prayers and questions and charts (yes, i do charts comparing pros and cons when i'm worried) and got even riddled with more stuff after i sent the email to the real estate job turning down the job offer even with zero certainty that i was going to get the second job.
it was a tension-filled waiting period: the interviews were fine except that they were considering a number of other candidates. the test was easily scheduled but it was this complicated online thing that kept restarting (which made me afraid i was so screwing it up). the pre-employment medical check-up discovered i had an enlarged heart (all the more to love my crush with). they couldn't contact any of my references. but on the ferry between caticlan and boracay i received the text that would change my life forever.
okay, this has been a long-winded post and i've yet to explain the title or the song. so here goes:
had i been stubborn, i would've accepted the real estate job in a flash. but in the end (which required major prayers, major patience, and major trusting in God's perfect plan), i got what i needed. and it isn't just the money, or the perks,or the benefits. having been accepted by this job and all the wonderful words people have told me after they've found out i was leaving affirmed the fact that i am good at what i do and i deserve the things that come my way.
in between the real estate job offer and the second job offer, i received this email from my gwapo boss. my previous bosses had all asked me to stay, MPC telling me that i was crazy to leave government work and the partners telling me i had so much promise in litigation to give up so soon, but this one letter, sent even before i had made a decision to move forward, was the letter that told me that the day i tool the LAE was the day i said yes to not just work as a lawyer, but to a vocation of changing lives.
Now that you have been with our company almost one year, I wanted to give you some observations of how you've done with the Company and your possible future.
First, you have been very valuable to the Legal Department and to the entire company. Specifically, the work you participated in ... November 2010 and more recently in June and the governance processes that resulted despite challenging circumstances demonstrates your willingness to do the tough jobs and produce material results. Additionally, your work on labor issues ... has been very helpful. In fact, as one of your interests, specifically, your enthusiasm with labor issues can contribute tremendously in building upon a culture that has made [the company] a leading local company but will need help and guidance in transforming it into a regional player. Also, your work on the ... project illustrates your initiative and management skills in coordinating the info gathering and communication internally and with our external partners. Moreover, the professional and personal way in which you comport yourself and perform your work is an excellent model for other women and men in our organization. We need more examples of young professional women.Second, for your professional development, working under the guidance of Atty Jewel, you will have no better mentor in the legal field. She's one of the best I've encountered and you are extremely lucky to be able to work with and learn from her. Third, as I know you are also interested in CSR, you have a lot of opportunity to initiate some projects; you are only limited by your imagination. Please begin to design and implement any CSR projects you may be interested in leading. I will ensure you get the necessary support.Finally, we are in the process of building a great company. It has not been easy nor will it get any easier changing the way people think or act; that's the challenge of building something great. At the heart of all this are the people - and Jewel and I see you as one of the key people who can help lead this company into the future.
I know that we still have a long way to go to pay compensation that is market rates. Hopefully, with the professional freedom, development, and significant responsibility to lead your own projects, we give you compensate for some of the financial sacrifices you make when working for us.
Atty Jewel told me that you are considering another offer. As you are an excellent worker, I am not surprised that you are receiving offers. While it is a very personal decision for you, I can say that working for our company you will be contributing in an important way to the community but also to our company culture especially as it goes through a transformation. Atty Jewel and I hope you can help us with this daunting challenge, something both visionary and frustrating. If you do decide to leave, I wish you much success. And if you ever need help or a recommendation, I would be privileged to write one. In such a short period, our company has been lucky to have you. I hope you will continue with us for a long time and have patience with us as we move toward a brighter future for the company. Please remember my door is always open to you.Thank you,L