Passion for the job

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


BEING in public service for nearly two decades can be considered as a feat. Starting in 1996, Usec. Janet Lopoz, career executive service officer (Ceso) 1, rose from the ranks from a humble economic development specialist of the then Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco), now the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), to the executive director.

The smart and vibrant executive director of Minda said what kept fueling her passion to stay in the job is the fact that her job gives her a sense of mission or purpose allowing her to be part in creating changes in Mindanao.

"There is always a sense of mission and purpose to do something. [Because here in Minda, it is the] repository of all the information in Mindanao," Lopoz said, adding that this allows her to identify problems that challenges her to find solutions and do something about it.

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On top of it, her job allows her to go out of the box and innovate new solutions that will help resolve the problems identified.

"This is the kind of organization where you can innovate, that it is not so constrained with a very precise mandate.
Under Minda, it has power and authorities that allows you to innovate and create a concept or program," Lopoz said.

One of things she learned in her 18 years of service is that when developing programs, these usually do not apply to all, rather these have to be context-based where the situation on the ground is a major consideration.

"I also saw that it pays to consult people on programs that will truly respond to their needs. Ang nakasanayan talaga is there are ready made programs that will then be cascaded to the regions but there really needs [some] tweaking [in some] programs," Lopoz said.

"[The program still has the] same purpose and same objective but if you apply it in [the different parts of] Mindanao it has to be implemented differently," she added.

Lopoz also said that in her job, there is always this challenge to always look for that kind of intervention that will make a difference.

"Every time when there are problems in a [certain] industry, you know within your mandate, [you are able to] do something to make a change. And you are able to get results [immediately]. That sustains the passion and challenge for the job," she said.

She added, "You also have a chair who has direct access to the National Government, so if there is any intervention that you need, importante ang direct access."

Lopoz also said part of loving her job is being able to balance her time with her family.

"It comes out naturally that part of loving your job is being able to deliver without sacrificing family time. There should be a close communication with the family," she said.

Lopoz said in her job she travels frequently around Mindanao and BIMP-Eaga region, since she is also the National Secretariat for BIMP-EAGA, and sometimes have over time work, it is important to keep a close communication with the family. And with the advent of technology, she is able to spend time with them even if she's away.

"Thanks to technology we have Skype and through it I am able to tutor my kids on their assignments. Sometimes they email their assignments to me and I can guide them through the phone," she said.

Lopoz also said that it pays off to keep the family in the loop of what she is doing or where she is going.

"I make sure they are able to follow me [of what I am doing or where I go] because they also become excited. This strategy works for me," she said.

"When you love your job and enjoy it a lot, even managing your time become less difficult becaus it will come naturally," Lopoz adds.

In the future, she sees herself to continue to walk the path of her profession.

"What is very clear in my part is I don't lose what I love to do whether its with Minda or another development agency but for as long as that kind of job will continue to help me fulfill my being. I would like to continue development work and pass it on through teaching," Lopoz said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 23, 2014.

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