Friday, May 30, 2008


I have this pattern of changing job every 1 to 2 years. Maybe I am addicted to orientations --being paid to listen to human resources staff go on and on about company policies and procedures, watching endless boring educational videos and learning my future duties and responsibilities. Yes , orientation is sweet and I did not mind it. Probably, I am afraid of long term commitment of dealing with the same craps with the easiest way out is to quit. For whatever reason, it is not easy to hop from one job to another. It depresses me to fill out those long applications as I have to list all the jobs I had. Also, I have to learn new routines all the time and it is stressful. The longest so far is my current job. It will be 2 years this coming July. This, according to Jason, is a cause for celebration. The miracle is that I have no plan to quit. I am not craving to view the job market section of Sunday paper anymore.

It's been eleven years! That's how long I am rendering service to people who needs me and in return I get a paycheck every 2 weeks. It's called work. Looking back it amazes me on how I grew emotionally (yeah, lots of it) and professionally. My regret probably is that I changed job so many times. Sometimes it was my own choosing, others times not. Don't get me wrong, I have never been fired (at least not yet). Sometimes companies lose their contract in a facility. Usually, in therapy world, a company is contracted to a facility to provide therapy services. It is not all like that, for example, hospitals usually do their own hiring, but in the 90's, most facilities and hospitals had companies contracted to provide them staff for their rehabilitation services. I apologize if I go on and on with this information but I believe that if you know how therapy staffing works then you might (lots of emphasis on might) understand what happened to my career.

I was 23 years old when I came to the United States. My only experience in the Philippines, career wise, were applying to several hospitals and clinics, ending up to be rejected so many times, and volunteering for a month. Also, it took time and travelling back and forth to La Union (where our agency was located) and US Embassy to process papers. At least those are my excuses on why I did not work in the Philippines. Well in short, I was young, naive and inexperienced. Despite these shortcomings, I was amazed on the ease of finding a job in my profession here in the US. There was such a shortage at that time. When I was interviewed in my first job, the rehab manager told me that their only concern was that I might get homesick. I was so proud to tell them "Never." Boy, how wrong I was to say it! In a week or so, just after excitement of having a job waned, I found myself lonely, stressed and intimidated by the daunting task of being responsible for my patients' well being. I thought I was too young for that kind of responsibility. In the Philippines, physical therapist is dependent on a physiatrist on what they can do to a patient. Here, physical therapist is independent and usually makes decision or recommendation on patient's placement, such as nursing home vs. home. Also, in my first job, I had people who are more experienced and better in English working under my license. I was very intimidated. These, in my recollection, were never taught in school. Damn you, E.A.C. (Emilio Aguinaldo College)! To be fair, my managers and other therapists were very helpful and patient to me during those long learning times.

I also found the culture very different from what I was programmed. In the Philippines, we have so much respect, bordering on worship, to people with authorities. Here, everyone is equal --everyone is vital to the organization. So, we call our bosses by their first names, not ma'am or sir. It is okay to question doctors' decision and to speak your opinion. It is confrontational. Honesty is also a culture here. Everyone logs their time accurately all the time. They finish their paperwork on time. I, on the other hand, am a procrastinator. Managers do regular reviews of your performance. They usually start with the positive then, here we go, the dreaded things to improve. One Filipino therapist told us when we were just an ignorant new graduates that Americans are generally lazy and a lot of them are not educated. He also added that most of them have never been out of the country. Well, I did not find those Americans in my first job. Most of the people I work with have Master's degree, always on time, hard worker and spent some of their college days in Europe. Do not get me wrong, I work with very diverse people--some are highly educated and others are not. Overall though, I learned that generalization does not apply anywhere!

Anyway, I changed job frequently in my hope to find my dream job. I have not found it. Actually, I don't even know what my dream job is. It is sad but work is work. I need it to pay my bills and be able to live the life I want. I feel lucky to have a good job in hard times like these when unemployment rate is higher. My goal right now is to keep this job for at least 5 years as I will be vested for retirement. Well, it is a big goal for me and hopefully I can make it. Let's wait and see. Abangan!

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