Would You Trust this Applicant?
by Oliver Carlos
I got frustrated so many times in my life. The instances were too many to count. One of them was when I got unemployed for a long time after graduation. Even though I was oozing with confidence that I would land a job easily because my achievements in college, more than a dozen employers snubbed me.
I finished the degree BS Human Ecology, major in Social Development Services in the summer term of SY 1991–1992. I graduated cum laude. What’s more, I completed my course in a record 3 years and 1 summer! I’m supposed to finish it in 4 years, but I graduated 2 semesters ahead of my real batchmates. And so I thought I would be very marketable in the labor force. But I was wrong. I applied to be a teacher in more than a dozen schools, only to be turned down. I got my first teaching job after 2 full years of job hunting.
I really wanted to be a teacher, so I applied first in my home college. Unfortunately, there was no vacancy at that time. I next applied at the Social Sciences department of my university. The Chair said he can’t take me in because I couldn’t speak Spanish. That language was needed in understanding historical documents. The next school up was a national high school specializing in the arts. Still, I didn’t get accepted because they said I’m just 3 years older than their oldest students. That’s the same thing I heard when I applied in a famous all-girls exclusive school in Malate. Their students were 16 to 20-year old collegialas, while I was just 19.
The internet was not yet invented during those days, and so job hunting was really difficult. I just relied on announcements on bulletin boards, newspaper ads, and word-of-mouth advice of friends. I travelled far and wide to present my credentials to employers. My quest led me to as far as Metro Manila to the north, and as far as Calapan, Mindoro to the south. I always ended up empty-handed.
What I felt in this experience was that people judge other people like a book cover. I couldn’t blame them, I was so skinny, bepimpled, and geek-looking with my flat top hairstyle. They didn’t give me even an appointment for a teaching demo. I got axed right there and then on our first meeting. I was always rejected at first sight.
Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge as I look back after teaching in the last 27 school years. I believe God allowed that disappointing chapter in my life to teach me a lesson. I guess he wanted to humble me so I would focus my eyes on him. He doesn’t want me to dwell on my strengths. When I hit rock bottom, he doesn’t want me to sulk on my weaknesses and misery. But rather, God wanted me to ride on his strength. He wanted me to rely on him.
When I landed my 1st teaching job in SY 1994–95, I really cherished it so much. I thanked God endlessly. I gave all my best in every minute of my teaching career, inside and outside the classroom. I took good care of the trust that was given me by the school, the parents, the students, and God. I knew I couldn’t afford to waste away this job I prayed so hard for.
My situation 3 decades ago was similar to Timothy’s predicament. His mentor, the apostle Paul, recognized this. Timothy was a young man whom Paul wanted to hand over the leadership of the church to. Paul knew how daunting that challenge was, as the people Timothy would lead were older than him. But Paul saw the richness of the power of God that Timothy can hang on to. Thus, he encouraged the young man in I Timothy 4:12 (TLB):
“Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live; be a pattern for them in your love, your faith, and your clean thoughts.”
I believe Timothy took these words to heart and successfully led the church assigned to him. Timothy’s life shows us that it’s not how young or old you are that matters, but how much you allow God to work in your life and use you for his purposes. It’s not about your weakness, but it’s about God’s strength.
So cheer up! Don’t let anything discourage you. Rise up and remember that there is God who believes in you and in what you can do.