Adulting 101: How it really feels like to be out in the Real World (Part 2)

I'm exhausted.

This isn't what I planned. I was going to be like Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City–journalist, independent, fabulous, and a little sad probably. I was going to live at a confined, expensive ass apartment in New York City without getting to know my neighbors. I was going to live alone and successful in life, not needing anyone but myself. But as the saying goes, "Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone."

I work nine long hours a day. The daily train passes by my station at 7:55 AM. I'd travel for 25 minutes, leaving me with just enough time to arrive at the office by 8:30. Oftentimes, the train would get delayed, implement cut-off, or the rail track would break. These are the unfortunate scenarios where I won't be able to make it to the office on time, leaving me with memos from the HR since we are only allowed four lates per month. The Philippine transportation system sucks, and I have no idea where all our fare hike is going. It's either you get stuck in traffic jam or you get stuck in long train queues. The only in between is when the train suddenly stops in the middle of nowhere due to breakdowns or coaches decoupling (which actually happened just recently)  then you're practically just stuck there and even more wretched.

I was going to be a successful film director someday. I would only work for stories that do not go straight to the junk because they are either stupid or too mainstream, which also translates to being stupid. This is what I envisioned in college, at least, but the thought it might happen in the near future already left my mind months ago. Directors are supposed to possess a strong personality, one who can shout at his subordinates just because it's his job to do so. For starter, I can't even speak straight with a client on the phone, and I always look at the ground because I feel so little in this world full of superiors. It sucks, but what's worse is I don't even know what I want to do anymore. Sure, I am a writer, but is it my destined lifelong career path? Writing seems easy and fun. Don't get me wrong though because it is indeed fun, but the truth is, it is never easy. And when you write about specific topics with a deadline to meet, the fun goes away. When you make writing a living, writer's block just isn't an excuse anymore. You have to think and think until all the words come out of your little brain because unlike your good understanding professor, the printing press isn't going to wait for your late article submission.
Each morning, I struggle to wake up thinking about everything I have to face throughout the day. The hustle and bustle, the workload, and the anxiety of failing, in addition to last night being sleepless, all contribute to the lonely fact that I wasn't really prepared for the adult life. Perhaps school provided us the knowledge that we needed to enhance our skills, but it didn't exactly give us the whole dish of cultivating into this new life. It only gave us a hint of the taste, but it is us who must do the learning the hard way.
It's been seven months since I started my journey in the real world, and I have already learned so many yet so little. But please allow me to list seven things that I learned in those seven months of being an 8-5 employee. It's a short list, but it may be of help to those who are struggling just as I am.

1. There is no easy way out

"Two roads diverged in a wood," as Robert Frost said. "And I took the one less traveled by." Some call the other road the "easy way," but I believe such is non-existent. Many people choose to be stuck with a weekday desk job, form a family, and take leisure times in between. This is the road often taken, and I wish  I could say the same as Frost, but I am one of the travelers of this road. 
But the truth is, no matter how many people take this road, it is and will remain a one treacherous path to walk by.
There is no easy way out. Both roads require effort, determination, and non-ceasing faith in yourself in order to find success. There will be times that you'll meet a dead-end, but that's okay. All you have to do is turn back and try againno matter how long it takesuntil you're finally led to success.

2. Adjustment isn't an option

It's a choice. If you're like me who's so used to ugly university habits, then you have to make serious adjustments when it comes to work. I have mentioned earlier that I travel at 7:55 AM by train, but lately, I've been taking the earlier one or another route so I can avoid further disciplinary actions. It's just one thing though because in those nine hours you need to be in the office, you'll find yourself getting bored or other times questioning yourself 'Why am I even here?'

There are no extra break times anymore when your professor isn't around. You cannot skip class to go to the mall or stay in bed for as long as you want. 
You have to set your mind straight because in those nine hours, you'll have to be in your best self or you'll find yourself getting burned out each day that passes.
Furthermore, free day translates to no pay. Being fake sick just isn't going to cut it straight. We're only allowed five sick and seven vacation leaves per year, and as a newcomer, I'm still not eligible for them. That's why if I'm feeling too lazy to go to work, I can't just inform my supervisor through text that I can't make it to work today, unless I'm actually sick. I have to pay the bills, and if I'm going to do that, then I have to work my broke, lazy ass to get paid. Failing grades will not starve you but being broke will.

3. You'll start questioning the government, if you haven't yet

Why is the transportation system getting worse? Why is the country still abundant with poverty-stricken families, with homeless people? Why are death incidents and crime rates soaring higher? Why can't the government protect its people?
As a taxpayer, seeing the downfall status of the Philippines got me really wondering where all the government funds are going. 
There are just too much questions that cannot be answered because they don't want to hear our voices, and some don't want to call out. Many Filipinos still think that the country is getting better under Duterte's watch, but I cannot disagree more with that statement. Not to mention the killings, but the country is totally going astray as more Filipinos get divided by political colors. And yet, they can't seem to realize that those in position they praise so much are shamelessly stealing from them.

4. You'll learn the value of money

I earn a basic salary of P12,000 or about 240 USD per month, minus the tax and other necessary contributions, so I get a total of around 220 USD per montha decent salary for a fresh graduate as they call it here in the Philippines. It's just a jumpstart and will eventually get higher, they say. It doesn't really pay the bills though, and my parents still give me at least half of what I earn because they can't take the idea in that I might have to starve myself when I run out of money.
As I continue to live off this salary, I get to further realize that I have to set aside my wants for my needs, at least until I find a higher paying job (then maybe I can find the time to buy more things for myself or travel).

5. Bedtime and wake up time will get earlier eventually

There's no other way to be attentive at work than having a good night sleep and waking up early so that you're not cramming to get ready. 
Get as much sleep as you can and make a habit of dozing off early so you get all the energy you need to face your tasks the next day. 
Steer clear from snoozing the alarm so you can beat the morning traffic rush and not look like you haven't been sleeping for months.

6. Fridays just aren't for night-outs anymore

My friends often ask me to go out on a Friday night or on weekends at least, but they seem to have gotten tired of "I can't make it." Not that I don't want to spend time with them, but I just need this graceful time to rest.
I'd also rather save some money for the week than spend my hard-earned salary in one night.
Sorry friends, but maybe in the near future when I'm not too tired and broke anymore. LOL!

7. Your skills are nothing without passion

This is rather the most important thing I have learned so far. In college, my friends and I often used to say, "Tamad lang tayo pero mas magaling tayo sa kanila" (We're just lazy but we can do better than the others), and I'd lived by to that thought for so long. Only recently when a friend told me "Ikaw, ang dami mong skills (You have many skills)," that I've come to think of it and realized why I feel exhausted, always thinking about leaving and searching into job listings without any concrete plansit's because I've been looking for the wrong things.
I've been trying to dive into anything that's in front of me without considering the long-term outcome.
I can write and make basic graphic designs and layouts, and ever since I started looking for jobs, these are the areas I've been trying to explore. However, what I didn't realize is that I only enjoy doing them as a past time. I don't have the burning passion to do them every single day, to use them for a living. And perhaps, that is the reason I don't love my job the way that I should.

Writing, for me, is a hobby. It's not really a passion or a dream that I want to pursue for the rest of my life. But it provides my food for now. Maybe someday I will learn to love it more or I'll find something else that will keep my enthusiasm atop. Either way, I'm only certain about one thing:
Wherever life takes you, always keep in mind that no one is going to bring you success; you have to work and come for it.
I still have a long way to go, and even though I'm already tired, I have to keep going and chase my goals. I'm still uncertain where I'm headed to, but in due time, I know I will find myself happy wherever my feet will have taken me. It may take years or even decades, but I'm not the one to buckle down easily, and I would like to promise myself that no matter how tough life gets, I will always keep my walls up and not let anyone or anything break them down.

This is the last of the two-part series story of my transition from being a full-time student to being a full-time corporate employee. The first half can be viewed here: Read



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