Here I am again facing a blank MS word page which after a few minutes will be filled with the excess of my overflowing thoughts causing my emotional exhaustion. Lately, I have observed that my stress is not even caused by my academic obligations but by my unexpressed fear of the unknown. I think too much. I plan way ahead of today and maybe even of the next day and the day after that. I worry for things that are yet abstract. I worry about my future. Today, I am going to take this dark soul trying to consume the happy virus in me or out of my system. I can’t let it control my life. By doing so, I have to admit I am emotionally troubled, in which by far of no serious consequences. I have to write down what bothers me today because as always, it is in these pages that no judgment is given to what I say or do. I only have to express. Yes, expression is my way out of whatever is bothering and slowly drowning me every day.
I sent the 17th job application to a university today. Yes, 17th! In the Philippines, I have never been so determined of landing to a teaching career with this desperation. Maybe because back home I know that among the other applicants, I possess the necessary qualifications to get hired. But in a foreign land like Korea, the game is totally different. I was once prejudiced by one university simply because of my age. I am not sure if in other first-world countries, having a young university teacher is as unappealing as it is in Korea. But, again in my country, the younger you are, the better as long as you are competent. Today I discovered that one of the universities nearest to where I study has already ended their interview period, which means, I have to cross their name out of my list now. It saddened me because my chances of getting a job in a nearby university for travel convenience have now got slim.
One time I told myself that the first school which will hire me will get my “yes” at once, be it in Pyongyang, North Korea! I am this desperate! In my previous post, I have mentioned the need for me to work while studying starting the spring semester. What is really the meanest effect of this usual rejection in job hunting is that it indirectly pulls down your self-confidence however towering it may be. And mine is just slowly crashing down. Like every job hopeful, I am also capable of getting discouraged and worst question my capabilities. It is a must that as a person, we must maintain our self-esteem unhurt. It is the very core of our being which is once ruined may cause us our sanity and optimism. A strong person like me suffers from this threat at times. But, the fight isn’t over. So far, in my list of universities, I have only maybe lost 5 of the 17. So, 12 is still a good number considering I only need one school to see what I am capable of as a teacher. Every time a threat to my self-worth is howling, I hurriedly look for a counter-attack. This time, for this particular dilemma, I remember that I have the quality to be hired internationally.
September of last year, an offer came. While I was just enjoying my first summer breeze in Korea, I was hired in an elementary school in Barcelona Spain. The salary is very inviting. Imagine earning US$4,500 a month! But then, it was a turning point for me. I was torn between financial reward and a PhD diploma from abroad (a childhood dream), later found myself choosing the latter. I have a little regret. That’s fair. Even my own Professor asked me why I let it slip away. My family and friends also thought that I couldn’t be more stupid letting that slip away. But in life we must accept that we can’t have everything we want. Choices must always be made. I am certain that same or even better opportunities may come along the next time. Earning my PhD will surely take me to places. One indication is that, I was able to visit Japan and Canada for free this year because I chose to stay in Korea. God is fair, always fair.
Right now, I am tired and anxious of this job hunt. But I have to remind myself that rejections don’t mean as dead end. They are leadings to where we should be as planned by our Divine Master. The bible says, “Be still for I am God,” therefore I should put all that is bothering me to Him and be calm. May God hear my prayer!
(screenshot of the contract sent to me by the school’s HR)