Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Same Old, Same Old?

OKAY, let me try to finish the year in almost the same way I did in 2008. Below is a Note I wrote for my Facebook profile page last year shortly after I filed for early retirement from my day job at the Philippine National Bank where I was connected for 21 years.

My last day of work was originally the last working day of December, 2008. However, I was granted an extension of three more months so I remained at my desk until March of this year.
Much of what I said below still holds true. And while there's a lot to like about doing freelance work where I pretty much control my own time and my own pace, not to mention where I can also choose the subjects worth writing about, there's something about my old office routine that I still miss.

The manangs with their dirt cheap meriendas. Lunch with officemates at the office cafeteria on weekdays and somewhere special (in our case, a nice restaurant at SM Mall Of Asia) during paydays. The two-gives, four-gives and whatever gives installment items (clothes, jewelry, health supplements and what have you) we buy from our suking vendors. The health cards and annual executive check-ups. The camaraderie, the office politics and the gossip that goes along with the whopping eight hours and sometimes more that we spent in our respective desks.

And of course, the power clothes (the nice shirts, ties, slacks and dress shoes) that pretty much belies how underpaid most office folks really are.
Which is also probably why there's a part of me that wants to go back to at least some of that. Or maybe not. Or maybe..never mind.

The more things change, the more they stay the same? Just as I wrote below, I have no clear idea what's in store for me in 2010. But even with the not-so-pleasant things that took place in 2009 (i.e. Ondoy, Maguindanao), there are still plenty of things to be thankful for, many things to be hopeful for and oh, yes, a few good reasons to keep smiling about.
At some point, we do all have to move on.

Here's how my year ended in 2008.


In a pretty good year when almost everything went my way, there were still a few things that didn't.

Call it second wind, third wind, nth wind, whatever wind, I guess you could say I got my mojo back in 2008. I re-discovered the joys of working, be it at my regular job at the bank where my 2007 promotion led to an important role in our division or at my freelance writing on the side where there was a lot of personal fulfillment with what I thought was some of my best work in recent years. The best of both worlds became truly the best of both worlds in 2008. I guess you could say I was on some kind of a roll or whatever that is.

At some point, we all have to move on.

2008 was also some kind of transition year for me. And graduation day as far as my work in the bank is concerned came at the last quarter when a recent merger that many of you may have read about resulted in an early retirement offer that was simply too good to pass up.

There's a part of me that always wanted to quit my day job so I can finally pursue what I really wanted to do, to go where my heart truly belongs. It still felt a little painful, though, when I told my bosses that I'm leaving because I intend to "follow my heart." Only this time "following my heart" takes on a slightly different meaning from what I had in mind just a couple of years ago.

Just as it felt a little painful and yes, a little emotional when I was asked to co-host our office's Christmas party, something that would turn out to be my first and last at the bank, my second home and my second family for, oh, just the last 21 years. What can I say? My bank job was a nice little gig that, at times, broke my heart, lifted my spirits, made me proud and yes, ultimately paid my bills.

Truth to tell, I'm actually a little scared about all the uncertainty that the near future brings, especially with all that crisis talk and financial doomsday scenarios people are predicting for 2009. At the same time, I'm a little sad that with all of this also came an opening, a possibility, however remote, for a much-awaited second chance that I was hoping to pursue at the right time. Unfortunately, some opportunities present themselves a little too late. Sometimes, things have a way of simply not working out.

At some point, we all have to move on.

I said goodbye to a lot of things in 2008. A long career that has by and large, been very kind to me. A comfort zone that I worked very hard to establish yet was largely criticized by some well-meaning friends. And yes, the many people that I'm used to being around me for quite some time, some possibly for good.

There's something to be said about closing doors and opening windows. I absolutely have no idea what's up for me in 2009. They say things are supposed to get worse before they get better. Well, I do hope the worst is over for me by now.

As much as everything didn't go my way in 2008, there are still plenty of things to be thankful for, many things to be hopeful for and oh, yes, a few good reasons to keep smiling about. Yes, I'm also actually excited about the options and prospects I'm looking forward to for the coming new year.

At some point, we all have to move on? As a friend would put it, to move forward is more like it. Happy new year, everybody.

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