Career Choices-A A +A
Friday, September 27, 2013
LAST Wednesday, I was privileged to be invited to share my thoughts on "career choices" to about 300 graduating high school students of St. Louis Center, my elementary school alma mater.
How good it felt to be able to face young people at the crossroads of their lives, eagerly looking forward to a great future. They are blessed to have such opportunities to explore and be exposed to different options in life, even before dipping their feet into the waters. I do not remember having attended any such events during our time, over 40 years ago.
Engr. Boni de la Pena, my friend, had earlier given his insights on his career as an engineer. Thus, it was no wonder, that when I asked them if they had made their decision on what course to take up, about 80 percent said "yes", and out of the "decided" ones, about half of them chose to be engineers. I am almost certain, Boni's successful career, with his humble ways, had inspired many of them.
While I never got to publicly practice my profession as a CPA, I shared how useful my background was in our family business. It was not for money nor a passion for figures, that made me take up the course. As my dad finished only grade 6, and my mom, grade 4, it was my parents’ need for someone with such a background, that motivated me to pursue a BSBAA degree at UP.
Did I encourage them to pursue a similar degree? I mentioned its usefulness, and advised them to have at least a few units of accounting regardless of the course they will take up. I revealed that I would also take up the same course, if the hands of time were set back.
I was deluged by over 40 students raising their hands eager to ask questions after my talk. Perhaps, having some McDo gift cards to share helped. Their questions were well formed and quickly thought out. They were also good communicators of their ideas. Their teachers did a good job with them.
My Dearest High School Students,
As an interviewer of job applicants for over 25 years, I have encountered so many people who took up courses they regret having taken, simply because their parents “forced” them.
My advice. Follow your heart. Choose a career where your passion lies.
But what if your parents “force” you to take another course for reasons you do not agree with? Or “twist your arm” to take a course you do not like?
My suggestion. Talk to them. Listen to their reasons. Share your dreams and aspirations with them. Convince them or be convinced. Pray for the right decision. In the end, obey. (This is the general rule, so long as what your parents tell you is not wrong or sinful) Remember, you can still continue convincing them, and still shift course, after a semester or two.
I am glad my daughter, Jessica, was with me during the talk.
For an unbiased and honest answer to a question on how I balance work and family life, I requested her to come on stage to share how I fared as a father. She also confirmed that all my children were given the choice of what career to pursue.
I shared that never in my wildest dreams did I dream of doing the things I am now doing. Nor did I expect God’s abundant blessings and mercies to be poured out on us. In like manner, God can also delay or deny one’s dreams, and give something better, and what’s best for us. And all in His own time.
I quote my late father’s oft repeated line,” Man proposes, God disposes.” This, I call to mind whenever things do not go my way, or when my dreams do not come true when I expect them to, in spite of the fact that circumstances are favorable for their fulfillment. I thank him for his guidance and the values he and mama have taught all of us.
His quote finds basis in Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but God’s purposes prevail."
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 28, 2013.