Tricks of the Trade


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Life has been tricky lately.

There’s a global pandemic which has left us stuck at home. Celebrations have been cancelled or postponed. Some family friends have died from the disease. I wish I could say something profound about the circumstances, but I’m just genuinely tired of being in this ‘new normal’. In fact, the ‘new normal’ is a phrase I personally dislike.

Oh yeah, the politics too. It’s been a mess in this country. Everyone seems to be acting out of money or personal vendetta, not because of any genuine desire to help others.

And then there are the professional challenges, too. I like the work from home situation. I know others who are not huge fans of it, especially because of the added costs on utilities, and just how hard it is to be focused when there are a million house chores waiting to be done. But I live with parents who do have underlying conditions, so not having to go out is something I am grateful for. I know they worry a lot about people who do have to physically go to the office. The coast isn’t clear—especially in the Philippines, where our national government has just been horrible at handling their response of the disease.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t been paid for months now since I started a new job. Granted, the circumstances were not the most conducive. Banks were closed. And when I tried applying for a new account that was supported by my employer, I was told—after waiting for hours—that only front liners were being processed and entertained. After 3 months I finally did get an account, only to find out another month later my employment documents had not been processed properly because of some details the admin missed out on. So, I’ve been going on 4 months without any salary.

Fortunately, I found a side gig that’s paying me. But now, my current employer has been adding more and more tasks to my plate that’s making it difficult to do my side gig. And while my regular job is pretty good, with lots of opportunities to make an impact on the community and meet people, there simply isn’t any incentive especially when you wake up knowing you’re not getting paid. The side gig, on the other hand, offers more flexible hours with a few perks. It isn’t something that would probably boost my career, but I am happy with it. I get to work from home. I just put in a few hours. And I get paid on time.

I’ve really been contemplating on resigning. Well, I’ve tried resigning. When I submitted the letter, I was asked to reconsider. It’s been 3 weeks and they now want me to do things part-time. But even a part-time load puts a strain on my ability to carry out my side gig, which, if it still isn’t clear, is my main source of income now.

I really want to quit the job. But, the same old me is plagued by doubts once more. Will this be a good decision? Isn’t it stupid to resign in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, I have my side gig, but will it be stable enough? Aren’t the people in my regular job going to get angry at me resigning. The defects of the people pleaser in me have resurfaced, and I’ve just been spending my nights sipping wine while I overthink my way through this decision.

Sometimes, I just wish I didn’t care about what people think. I wish I had that daring, or that audacity, to take a leap of faith and say, you know what, I’m done. I’m moving on. I’m quitting.

But my obsessive desire for certainty keeps me stuck. I want to please people, even at the expense of my own happiness. I don’t want to make the wrong decision, so I don’t make one at all. Frankly, it’s tiring.

I wish I could just go somewhere and take a breather. You know, fly to Siargao or Bohol or in some nice laidback province. I want a change in scenery. I want to be free.

And then, there is the loneliness too. Amidst the health crisis and my professional dilemmas, there is this yearning for companionship that’s been bludgeoning my heart. There’s this desire to just be with someone. Maybe, not even be in a relationship, but just have someone I can talk to—some stranger who doesn’t know me, so I can just unburden. Not my friends. They’re too familiar. And sometimes, they’re just so used to who you are. On some days, you just want to know this someone, and allow yourself to be listened to with no judgment.

Life has been really messy lately. I’m not even proofreading this entry.