So, after 2 months of searching and applying, not to mention various emails to friends and acquaintances, as well as innumerable ignored job applications, informal meetings and job-related talks, I had my 8th interview last Friday.
I got a job offer, no, actually 3 of them so far. I turned down the first one, because they obviously just wanted me for a short period of time, assigned me some time-consuming and boring job, paid me a cheap salary and when the manual labour is done, they would let me go. I turned down the second offer because they took too long to respond and seemed uncertain even though I like the atmosphere there and they wanted the position filled for at least 6 months. I accepted the third one. They offered very good salary for a fresh graduate with little experience. The job’s description seems interesting and suitable with my ability and interest. A team of 9 was selected out of almost 200 applicants, so it was competitive enough to make the offer an achievement in itself. There are many opportunities for growth, development and promotion, the employers promised.
But now I find myself fed up with it, even though officially I haven’t started working yet. One week of training has passed; I spent no more than 3 hours every day for workshops on writing news. Another week is coming. I already feel like walking away from it.
I don’t know whether I am so lazy that I don’t want to work, or whether it is really not a good job for me. I couldn't answer my friend convincingly when she asked what it is about the job that I don’t like. The newly-recruited team is my age. The whole company seems young and devoted. I will be working as a reporter/editor for the English news of a channel targeting Vietnamese oversea and audience worldwide. The salary is higher than my sister’s, who has worked for the same bank for more than 4 years. Can it be more ideal?
I am just confused all the time. “That’s the same situation to every new employee, you’ll learn along the way” – you will say. The job will probably take up a lot of my time as I see many staffs work until 9pm every day. “Everything has its own price, if you want a good pay, you have to work harder” – you will say. I don’t see enthusiasm. I don’t see love. I don’t see meanings. There is acceptance, patience, devotion, but no one is excited about what they are doing. They seem to go through the old familiar motion, with no change day after day, even when they talk about the future, new ideas, coming opportunities and “we are like a family”. I can’t bear being in a tired group. “That’s life. Everyone has to work. There is no other way. Better have a job than nothing.”- you will say.
I don’t know if I get another job, would I feel the same way after one week? Would I feel so exhausted, tired and fed up, so bad that I want to cry for no particular reason? Would I be grumpy to people then regret it later, because I hate what I’ve been through in one day and what I will have to do the next day? Is there a job I will enjoy so much I will do it with will, joy and hope? Can I find something I will love for a long time? I don’t know who is to blame here, myself or the current job?
I asked around. No one seems to have such a difficult transition from school to work. My friends enjoy working, they hate studying. It’s not totally because I like school and reading that I find work so lifeless. It’s more about the prospect of going into the same place, doing the same thing in 8 hours every day, just to get enough to feed myself and others for the rest of 16 hours, nothing more than a herd of cows, who go eat the grass for some time to chew on later. Humans willingly confine themselves in an intangible cage for a number of hours, in order to survive that day and the one after. Such an existence, what awaits me, is just so depressing.
Now I understand Marx’s humanity a bit better when he struggles for a society in which people can have the substance covered, so they won’t worry about daily needs like food, clothes, shelters, because everything is provided equally, and they can spend their time and labour force on what they feel like doing. That’s very humane, indeed. I wish I could just do whatever I like and satisfied with the self- fulfilling inner peace of being active, productive and helpful to whoever I care about. Not a salary for my parents to boast to their friends, a job title to answer my own friends when they ask, a secure position with retirement plan to tell a date when he inquires.
I don’t know. Maybe Im just overwhelmed by the greatest transition has ever happened to my life. For 16 years, I orient myself with a school-based calendar. Good marks are purposes of life. Teachers’ praises are greatest rewards. Now, all of sudden, they are all gone. And Im left alone, struggling to find a new system of orientation, new values and new purposes. Money has never been a big motivation, now it is acting as pressure. You have to earn this much and that. Maybe, all I need is time. I will adapt. I will stop feeling depressed for having to work and doing what I find no joy. I will find happiness in the routine. I will once again feel in love with what I hate at first.
Amy, the girl I shared my room with during my first year, when witnessing my great depression and a flood of tears, comforted me by saying: “Don’t think of 4 years. Focus on one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Live today first.” Not exactly so, but I clearly remember her saying “Just take one step at a time.” A good advice for now.
Tomorrow is another fall into confusion and exhaustion.