Do you love your job? OMG, someone finally asked. Or I finally get to answer the question. My answer hasn't been stark since college graduation.
First year at work: I was happy with the lowly ginanggang and an 8-ounce bottle of sprite for dinner. Less than six weeks after I began teaching, my father sent my mother to see how I was doing. It was a bit humiliating to think how he must have thought of my pay to supply me with edible goods stored in a detergent box. But I'm used to my pride being harmlessly dented by the man who nourished me up until I was supposedly ready to be on my own. Students were okay. One got mad at me for giving him a low grade. Later he dated my co-teacher who gave him high marks, lol.
The most fun I had was establishing the academy paper. Writing all major articles of its maiden issue, the lyrics of the class song, and arranging the piano accompaniment were extras I decided to just enjoy doing since resources were scanty. An assignment of introducing the commencement speaker later in the year fell on me. I thought introducing a provincial vice governor to graduates, parents and guests wasn't bad. Even better was when this politician mistook me for the school director's daughter at the luncheon table. Yehey! I didn't look that old. Of course I didn't. I was wearing sneakers from my teens when I wasn't outlining introductory speeches.
Succeeding years: better pay, more challenges, more fun. Better pay by the way means the figure has increased to a few pesos which consequently meant I could buy fish balls and a gown to wear to the academy pageant. The gown, well I had to as I was 'emceeing' the night away. Introducing more politicians to a few more graduating classes made me ask: why politicians every year? Why not scientists for instance? Or nobel prize winners? The fish balls must have smacked me with delusions of grandeur.
Performance standard kept me alert. In Davao city my academic dean verbalized his evaluation remark, "Hazel, why did you talk about dying the whole hour?" I stiffled my laughter, "Doc, an elegy (the one written in a country churchyard) happens to be the topic for the day and I'm sure you know that an hour may not be enough to round up a literary classic." Actually the camote tops I had for viand muted that response. The truth was I merely smiled and hoped I passed the evaluation so my plan to break away from teaching wouldn't heed the summon to join the innumerable caravan where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death... I clacked off to the next room - a class of eighty-four, all-male marine engineering students scrambling to ready mode for a dramatization of The Prodigal Son.
My present job is not spared from issues of the teaching industry. It's a daily rock n' roll. (Boss, I marvel at your business acumen) If the annual bonus budged after I concluded my latest written requirement with a blab about an annoyed pig, it wasn't anywhere near torture. The fingers of my CA 600 dipped into a sensitive issue at the Institute. It didn't go unnoticed at the national graduate research conference. The ferocious chilli on the yummies served during oh-so-long faculty meetings smoked my nostrils into presenting my findings before that research committee chaired by a vicious but glamorously brainy Chulalongkon U professor. She was ready to eat me alive, but when Dr. RK gave me a congratulatory hug at the end of the grinding, I decided I could survive a few more years.
So do I love my job? It's a yes when I think of the space the administration allows me to use hypothesising an association of a communi-biological perspective of CA among Thai students; plus the ease of working for an employer whose buildings are rising to the skies in the midst of the current recession. And no. But then I never whined a calorie-burning traipse at Gaisano because I knew I would relish a tread at Harrods soon enough. And tread I did. Perks override the cons.