A few days ago, I finally confessed to my boss that I was utterly miserable at our (wonderful) company, where I am supposed to be the SEO manager but have been doing nothing but mind-numbing, soul-crushing online marketing for the last 3 months to cover for a manager on maternity leave. (How I ended up doing SEO despite my total lack of interest in Internet marketing is a long story, but suffice to say that I thought I should get a grown-up job that offered stability and a ladder to climb.) Being constantly depressed at work made me realize that even though my job had all but killed my imagination and zest for life, I still found solace in writing and am seriously considering being a freelance magazine writer. My boss suggested that I eventually transition into a part-time position so that I can focus on my interests, a possibility that looked promising, until I crunched some numbers and realized that I may not be able to meet my expenses on a part-time salary.
On a whim I took a look at Manila Craigslist to see if there were any SEO jobs that could offer something better – specifically, part-time work that offered benefits like paid vacation days or 13th month pay. What I found instead were two job postings that are making me think twice about ditching my cushy grown-up job for an uncertain future as a magazine writer.
The first job posting was for a German company that specializes in alternative energy sources like solar power and thermal systems. There was a lot of information about their mission to find sustainable solutions, as well as a bunch of stuff about what they were looking for in their candidate. But what really caught my eye was this little requirement:
Must be willing to travel (the first 3 months of training will be held in Germany)
I have never been to Germany (or any European country for that matter). Count me interested!!!
The second job posting is for an American company looking for someone in charge of similar responsibilities that I take care of today. I was about to hit the back button when something in the fine print caught my eye:
Compensation: From 100,000 PHP Pesos to 300,000 PHP Pesos per month, depending on experience
Where do I sign up?!
But for a brief moment there, I did flirt with the possibility of throwing my dreams aside for the chance at a better paycheck and work-related travels (Europe!). What brought me back to reality were memories of how I greeted my promotion with tears of anxiety rather than tears of joy, and thoughts of how much I’d rather defenestrate myself than spend hours uploading and tracking ads for our Adwords campaigns. I may be climbing the corporate ladder but with every rung I pass, I can’t help but wish that I were climbing a mountain, maybe, doing work that makes a different to humanity rather than our profit margins. I’d rather be deeply immersed in the creative work of writers, filmmakers, and poets, and devote hours trying to untangle the hidden meanings behind their words rather than spend a second trying to detect what’s causing the errors in our CSE feeds. What makes me think that a better-paying job somewhere else will be any more bearable? If anything, it will require more responsibility, and more long hours doing work I don’t care about.
This would be a good time to clarify that I do actually love the company that I work for and have nothing but great things to say about the culture, my managers, and my co-workers. But what I grew to realize over the last few months is this: no matter how nurturing your bosses are and how generous incentives can be for hard workers, you will never feel truly satisfied and happy with your life if the work that takes up 8 hours or more of your day is something that simply isn’t for you. I’m really happy that my boss is willing to give me a part time position even though we don’t normally hire part-timers, and I hope that this offer allows me to experience the best of both worlds. (Maybe I’ll try to negotiate for benefits?)
So for now I choose to feed my soul, though I may regret this decision if/when I stop getting a regular salary and have to resort to diving under the sofa for coins to pay my condo‘s mortgage. But if I can a) get my ass back to UP Diliman and finish my MA, b) somehow get articles published in the country’s leading magazines, c) find the fulfillment that has eluded me in the other career paths I’ve traveled on, then I wouldn’t trade my soul for all the money in the world.Google+