Who let the dogs out?

/ Sunday, September 26, 2010 /

Quitters never win.

Oh yeah, the hackneyed phrase above is perpetually battered as your running shoes; even 4-year olds nowadays can figure out the supposed wisdom behind it. Persistence is the key to attaining one's goals, they say. A little bit of Kung Fu moves and some Coelho quotes coupled with a sprinkle of Pacquiao punches to those so-called stumbling blocks, you're on your way to the Bahamas, Paris or wherever you want to live the sweet life. You might want to add that dark alley somewhere in Mabolo where you can have a slice of heaven for an hour or so with those controversial Lingam massage parlors.

There's no denying that the majority of the human race itself is immune to failures, disappointments and rejections. "Try and try until you die!" was what my seatmate back in Grade 4 wrote in those cute autographs being passed around in class. How can you explain those thousands of starry eyed hopefuls who line up, rain or shine, just to get a slot for that reality TV show? How about those highway carolers who poke you nonstop inside the PUJ until you fish for coins inside your pockets? Or that tenacious suitor of yours who in turn became your full-time online stalker? We do not easily give up because we witness and hear hundreds of success stories everyday from people who lived to tell the tale. We learned from each story that it’s all about hanging on for dear life until the gods themselves decide that it's about time that we get what we want.

But it's entirely a different tale when it comes to coveting one of those Public Health Nurse positions in the city. It's still about persistence but with a little twist: it's about being friends with public officials in Facebook.

You see, I am one of those displaced nurse graduates of our time. It's a fact that majority of us are now working in the BPO industry; others work as ESL instructors, flight attendants, office clerks and department store supervisors. I even heard from the grapevine that some of us are employed as masseurs in spas. Only a blessed few are given the chance to practice what we were taught back in nursing school.

Last year, the City Health Office was on the lookout for public health nurses. Of course, I wanted to get in so off I went with the exam, interview and procuring the requirements. But we all know that all those were next to nothing if you don't have "someone from the inside" who can back you up and make sure that you get one of those highly-coveted slots. I summoned my network provider's unlimited calls feature, spoke to a couple of friends and voila! I got myself a piece of paper from a city councilor recommending me for the position. With the glossy paper in my hands, I was positive that I'll get in. The exam questions were a breeze and the interview really went well. My masteral units, I thought, was an icing on the cake.

But I didn't make it.

According to one of my classmates in graduate school who got in, she had to do the following: shoot a private message to this local official in Facebook about her need for him to back her up, visited the same official's lair at the City Hall to remind him of her application and dropped by at his house to personally asked him to include her in the final list of that year's new hires. The stress and embarrassment that she had to go through when the official's security hounds chased her on the way out of the house was even worth it, she said. And by the way, the local official is their family friend.

I recently found out that the City Health Office may hire another batch of nurses next month. Now that I've learned the tricks of the trade from my dear classmate, wish me luck with the dogs! After all, it's all about persistence. Really.

Published in Sun Star Weekend (Crossline), September 25,2010

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I usually say, in the end, okay, it’s love and it’s work — what else could there possibly be? -- Maira Kalman

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