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Throwback: Happy 6 years in the workforce!

I caaaaan't believe it! I'm getting old. :O

This deserves a throwback so bear with me as I try to recount my entire work history, its ups and downs, and how I got where I am today... which is the present, not like I'm at a certain peak yknow hehe. If there's a peak I've reached today that's certainly my weight.

Story time (also, long post ahead):

Photo from Pixabay

6 years ago I worked as a Software Development Analyst at one of the biggest telcos in the country. It was crazy. The work was mostly stressful, but the compensation is good. As a fresh grad I knew I was earning more than what most entry-level IT practitioners are getting, and thanks to their HR's high flyer incentive, my basic pay was even upped by 2k/mo because I graduated with honors. I was so proud of myself. Just carrying their ID feels ecstatic. Everybody knows this company, and I was there working as a programmer. I felt badass. The benefits are amazing too. Every Christmas they would give a Megabox full of groceries (one that required me to be fetched by car because I can't possibly commute with it), that's on top of 2 fiesta hams, and a 10k incentive. Each. And then there's the guaranteed 15th month pay. And the not-guaranteed performance bonuses that reached 18 months, at least during my stay. Too bad I wasn't there yet when they gave out 22 months worth of bonuses. Needless to say, we were showered with incentives. There's always something going on in the company. Parties, freebies, promos, celebrities, blah.

But the work? Oh damn. I would've stayed longer if I lived nearer, for real. But the stress levels of the work and the super long commute took a toll on my health. Physically and mentally. I felt so incompetent, working there. My kryptonite was Java, something we barely touched in college. Most of our applications are Java-based and it's frustrating how I can't learn it on the fly, no matter how hard I try. Everyday I would feel depressed that I couldn't freaking get this framework to work, that I don't get how beans, objects, and OOP work. The only thing I'm confident in doing is clearing our linux servers of temp files. 

I once spent my birthday in the office overnight because we had to rush an update for a fraud management tool. We would spend weekends developing a revenue system because our timeline was so bad. I always had to answer a call in the wee hours of the night because our systems are always flooding with alerts. Looking back I could've blamed the leadership for not properly estimating our timelines. Because it happened all the time. But back then I had no one to blame but me and my incompetent self. I was so sure I was the cause of delay. So I resigned. I wasn't getting the right motivation I needed to continue further. I concluded that I wasn't ready for the real world, and that I needed relevant training before doing anything.

And so I applied as a trainee at an IT consulting firm. The benefits are the exact opposite from my previous company. I wasn't proud carrying its name because it doesn't ring a bell in anyone's ear aside from having a "hard" qualifying exam. They call it The Hardvard Exam. I think it's just a really long IQ test. I remember applying to this same company when I was a fresh grad. I got in and they gave me an offer, but I had to decline because I got a better one. Who would've thought I'd be taking the same damned exam again. It was scary, taking the exam for the 2nd time. I was afraid I'd fail, that my mental state has deteriorated so bad because of stress haha. But thank God I got in. The first time I took it, I was the only one who passed in a batch of ~30 applicants. The second time I took it, 2 of us passed. The offer is so much smaller than what I used to earn in my previous company, and the benefits are basic and drab. But factoring in the shorter commute and the 3 months training pre-requisite, I figured it's about okay. 

Training was awesome. I almost failed on the first part because I suck at Mainframe/COBOL, but our Java Web Apps module was a frkn big help. I learned a lot. After our training I was deployed to a Java development team, servicing one of US' biggest airlines. It was crazy. It was at this point that I realized I'm not developer material. I don't like this track, it's eating me alive. Thankfully there was an internal opening with our QA team. I never considered software testing but at that time I was willing to try anything not programming. I requested to get transferred. My manager helped me out and signed me up in one of their trainings. This training was supposed to help the client pick 2 people to let in his team. I was one them. 

So I got on-boarded on my new team and got to the learn about my new function. From Software Engineer to Software Test Engineer. Eventually we got invited to visit onsite to meet and greet our other team members in the US, and to get better exposed to the airline applications we're testing. It was amazing. A month into my new team and I was working on my US Visa, getting excited at the prospect of staying 3 months in a foreign country. What a dream.

My 3 months stay in Minnesota was extended to 5 and that was, so far, the happiest point of my career. I was earning in dollars and I felt rich haha. Even though I was just on a per diem allowance,  the fact that my transportation and lodging is free, plus my peso account is still earning... I've no words to say. I even got promoted while I was there, so there goes more peso savings.

The 5 months came by so fast and I wish I could've stayed longer but oh well, not this time. I returned to the Philippines, 12lbs heavier, and came back to the grave (yard) reality that our country is in a seriously wretched state. There's something about going back from abroad that makes you despise your own country even more. I have zero nationalism in me.

Then things started to get awry for our company. One of our major healthcare clients terminated their contract with us, so that left us with waves of redundancies. Being in a different market circle, we weren't affected... yet. But the thought is slowly creeping in. I waited for my 3 year bond to end before actively pursuing other opportunities. There weren't a lot, but they were all so promising.

Then I got engaged. I forgot about job hunting and focused on saving for our wedding. But bad news came in, my fiance got redundiated from his company. And with our wedding all set and half our suppliers paid, his losing his job came totally unexpected. So I started job hunting again, hopeful that I'll get something that pays more so we could get on track with our wedding savings again. I trusted that my fiance would be able to get a new job quick, but I thought this was also a good opportunity for me to look out. I also wasn't feeling so secure about my current job anymore. So you know, jump ship before you sink with it. Thankfully, my fiance got a new job almost immediately after his last day on his previous and we were so grateful about it.

Also around that time, I found out about this company that has an open position that fits my skill set almost perfectly. I was a couple of years under-experienced but there were just so many checks on the position brief that I had to try my luck. I wrote about it here. It's super long and boring just like this one hahaha. So yon. That's pretty much how I ended up here. I'm sorry about this super long post. Hindi na uso yung ganito e no? Haha. I have a problem shortening my stories lol.

Funny that on this exact day last year, I was worrying about the results of my job interview with my current company. And now I'm a regular employee of theirs! Yehey!
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