Hi, my name is Gemma and I just turned 28 two weeks ago.
I’m writing this in bed. It’s a rainy Monday morning in Manila, zero-visibility when I look out my window. I’m propped against my pillows, I’m under my blanket, and I just finished brunch. Most people my age are probably in their place of work, doing what they do, in meetings, or staring at the window wishing they didn’t have to go to work in this weather. I think to myself, “ahhh the life”.
It’s not always the case. 🙂
I was supposed to vlog this. I was going to put a twist and vlog about it while doing my make-up. I tried, but it was hard haha! I couldn’t multitask talking and putting things on my face. With the weather being this way, the wonderful gloomy-cozy feel of my bedroom made me want to write about it instead.
I was supposed to vlog about how I can be in bed on a “work day” (no I don’t have thriving work-from-home business) and the reason why I couldn’t think of an opening line in my vlogs. The usual “Hi, I’m (insert name)! Welcome to my channel where I (explain what I do in channel)“. It’s because I hardly even know what I’m about right now haha! Adding “haha” there to make the anxiety of the unknown pass as funny but really, it sucks feeling like you don’t know yourself so much.
My friends have been asking why my Instagram stories show me in malls or other places at 2PM, a time when most people my age would be in the office. Or how I post more in Instagram, have time to edit videos, and how, and they’re surprised about this, all of a sudden I have this blog!
So why all this “free” time?
I resigned from work. Bye corporate life (at least for now)! I’ve been officially unemployed since March and have been on a mix of resting and occasionally blogging or vlogging.
A brief background about what I do or used to do –
I’ve worked for most of the past 6 years in the tech industry. I’ve had different roles from SAP consultant, to product manager to project manager, in different companies. You could say I’m an example of what some would say “what you studied in college will not necessarily be what your job will be when you graduate”. I took up Behavioral Sciences and Business Management in college and thus I didn’t have a solid technical background. But I was always “willing to learn” and had a pretty good learning aptitude.
My first job was in Hewlett Packard (HP), now known as DXC. This was less than a month after marching to get my diploma. I learned SAP, did long hours, made good friends, and a year and a half later decided tech wasn’t for me. So I tried other roles briefly. I worked as an EA, then worked with my dad for his small business, until I found myself back in tech again. And at that time I thought to myself it must really be for me.
Reasons why I liked the tech industry –
- It made me feel smart, and I liked it. Tech (generalizing its broadness here) usually deals with topics that are not always the easiest to grasp on the surface. You have to give time to learn it. And so when I get to know about something, and pick it up, and be able to talk about it, I think to myself – heck yeah I’m smart!
- Out of all my close friends, I was the only one in tech. I felt unique. This ties up to feeling smart. I liked feeling unique and smart and I felt it was an edge to who I am and could be something I could leverage on.
- The pay. It’s good. Check this article about how the more tech you have in your job, the higher your pay. I was earning enough to keep a pretty good life. I could buy things I want, eat at really good restaurants, and travel.
But fast forward to the last few months in my work, all the like I had for tech was overshadowed by the thought that I DON’T LIKE IT. I was struggling because a huge part of me doesn’t want to know about the technical process, or how a particular enterprise system works, or talking to people and managing issues and risks for them. I was exhausted. I was dragging myself to work. Every single day. For at least 3 months. And it wasn’t something a vacation could solve. I once took 2 weeks off and I remember the last few days of that vacation, I broke out in rashes because I was too anxious knowing I’ll be back to work. It was THAT bad.
It wasn’t some spur of the moment I-don’t-like-today-so-let-me-get-away decision that society has recently been attaching more and more to people my age – the millennials. It took time before I actually did resign. But my dilemma then, which I still have now, is what I would do. Because I just didn’t know what I was good at, I was doubting my strengths, I didn’t know what I’d like to do. People would tell me I was good at this or that but I just couldn’t identify to what they say with the same confidence.
My head was just the most disorganized state it has ever been in and in one corner of that mess all I could think of was that I couldn’t figure things out if I don’t step out of the mess first. I thought the only way I’d get a start in sorting things out is if I get out of my current work environment and start experiencing other things.
I’d pause the flow of my writing first to address anyone reading my article thinking “well good for her, she probably doesn’t have as much responsibilities so she could just drop work”. And I’d say, the irony of it all is that with that argument, I actually think “good for you”. Because I envy that you have such a strong resolve to motivate you to do what you do; even if you may not like what you’re doing. A part of me wishes I could be like you, because then I think it MAY be easier. You have your goals, maybe imposed on you, maybe not, but you have them and so you follow those. But I have none imposed on me, and I couldn’t figure out what it is I want to set for myself, and so I can’t be like you, at least not yet. But I hope you’ll be okay and that your motivation is correctly placed on your shoulders. Because the danger of where you’re at is disliking yourself for pouring from an empty cup. We all have our battles; I’m rooting for us both. 🙂
So going back – start experiencing things. You know the process of elimination? That. I mark the things I dislike doing until I arrive at something I like. In my dilemma my sister gave me a book for my birthday. It’s What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson. It’s a compilation of stories where the author interviews people who went through that question. There was this one story I related to, a woman also aiming for the same thing, she quit her work and tried to assess herself… she was trying to figure out what she was good at. But by the end of the story, the author provided a perspective which knocked a whole new sense to me. I mean the thought could have been in mind before for sure, but it has presented itself with more clarity. He said, sometimes the question “What are we good at?” should not be the starting point of things… because YOU CAN GET GOOD at things. He says the true search is for “what you believe in”, because if the heart is engaged, then you can accept the small or big nuisances that may come to get good at something. And I think reading it is/was pivotal in my life. And if you’re wondering, the woman in the story went back to the same industry she was at, using most of the skills she learned before, but in a different sector that she believed in.
Looking back in my 28 years of existence, I do have the capacity of getting good at things! I loved dancing when I was kid until my teen years, and I learned to dance year after year, new routines and new skills… no matter how much my body ached or how late I stayed with my dance group at night… because I loved it! Heck I even got good at something I didn’t even know if I liked in the first place. I was actually applying for a marketing position in Hewlett Packard when I got offered for an SAP role, a role I didn’t even know existed! But I did get good at it… just not as good as someone who believes in everything that SAP is all about. 😉 I need to do something I wouldn’t mind learning for, no matter how hard. Something, as Po Bronson says, I believe in.
Also in hindsight, the reasons why I liked tech are in a sense, my insecurities. 😦 Why should I feel the need to feel smart or to feel unique? I have my own very personal thoughts about it that I won’t divulge in for now, but do you get it? Thinking aloud in case it lights a bulb in anyone reading this – Why the need?? It shouldn’t be the case! You shouldn’t feel the need to feel smart or unique when you’re already that. Do yourself a favor and check what you like about you’re doing. If it’s because it feeds on your insecurities… it’s okay. It’s okay to have them, but now it’s good to be aware of them. With this awareness comes the chance of coming to terms with them and focusing on other things. 🙂
So now I’m here. In bed on a rainy Monday, still with a dilemma, but a different guiding perspective that will hopefully get me through what I’m going through now. I feel I’ve been slow in self-discovery these past months but today I give myself a pat in the back, my direction is still a bit murky, but a bit clearer. And I pray it gets clearer and clearer until… I hit the mid-life crisis! Haha I kid! Well I half-kid. Because the truth is these crises, quarter-life, mid-life, they really do happen. For some, regularly. For me I take my awareness of it as both a challenge and a blessing. 🙂
Closing my thoughts with this –
Hi, my name is Gemma and welcome to my blog (vlog)! So far it’s been about mostly about food and travel here but more and more I experience things that help me figure out what I should do with my life and I share that too!
If you can relate with what you just read (or watched), and have some things you want to share or just want to discuss, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below. I’d like that a lot. And if you like what you read (or watched), then do hit that like button and subscribe to hear more from me. 🙂
I genuinely hope you are loving yourself today. 🙂