A Checklist Of All The Help You’ll Need To Survive The Workforce
I honestly don’t understand why my own mother, my professors in school, and even my friends from the higher batch never bothered to coach me about workforce survival. They probably wanted me to learn and see for myself, but for me I think it’s also well-meaning to share what you know if you do have valuable information.
We have our own mind, willpower, and conscience anyway, so I’m not one to write a guideline of sorts and then worry afterwards that whoever reads this will blindly take this as a workforce bible and not wisely apply these tips into his or her own life.
Readers, I trust in you. Meanwhile, here's what I think you'll need:
AN EMERGENCY KIT TO SAVE YOU IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
I don’t mean your little pouch of toiletries. That won’t do. To be truly prepared for emergencies and life, here are a few things you should always have in your bag, or tucked under your office desk.
- Heels to save your social life, because you’ll never know when a sudden event or client meeting comes up and you’re the one assigned to go!
- Likewise, you need an extra pair of shoes (can be the foldable ones or a lightweight sandal) for truly emergency days, e.g. when what you're wearing gives up on you or you step on something absolutely ungodly not worth mentioning here.
- And since we’re on the topic of feet, you’ll need petroleum jelly to use as a lubricant for new shoes that need breaking into, and the gel insoles that make heels a fun experience to wear!
- Band-aids, for physical pain and suffering.
- An extra elastic to tie your hair with, especially when you’re annoyed with a co-worker and just don’t know how else to channel your anger.
- Alcohol (not the type that you drink) to wash away all your sins.
- Tissue to wipe away all your sins.
- Pen and a notebook, for when you need to pretend you’re paying attention to the client, when you have to draw out an idea, and for keeping a record of all the expenses you’ll file for reimbursement.
- An umbrella, rain or shine. Aside from shielding you from the natural elements of the world, it’s a good self-defense tool, too.
- A snack pack. Suggestions include tea bags, 3-in-1 coffee sachets that you wish you'll never have to use, a banana that should be consumed ASAP, bread and loads of it, and yema from Pampanga.
A COLLEAGUE-SLASH-FRIEND TO COMMUNICATE WITH WITH JUST LOOKS
She’s the friend who totally catches all the moments you secretly eye roll and the one you immediately turn to when a situation beyond your comprehension happens, work-related or otherwise. It’s not easy to find this rare breed of a colleague-slash-friend so when you do have her (or him, *wink wink*) in your life, never let her go. Because the time may come when your conscience will ask you why you haven’t resigned from your mediocre job yet, and she will double purpose as being that one good reason for not leaving—yet.
A VIRTUAL SHARED SPACE WITH THIS AFOREMENTIONED WORK FRIEND
A group WhatsApp, Viber, or Telegram, or even Y!M if you may, that’s totally off limits to other office people. Here’s where all the unforgivable happens. Your deepest and darkest thoughts about your the co-worker you saw in a place where she shouldn’t be, the co-worker you dislike with a passion, and the co-worker you adore with a passion.
This is definitely a must for work survival because sudden jolts of emotion, be it anger, excitement, or shock, needs to be dealt with accordingly, and a virtual shared space that’s safe, too, is a healthy way to do that.
NEARBY FMCG KIOSKS FOR DAYS WHEN YOU’RE ON A BUDGET
Also known as the last three to five days before sweldo, because by then you’ve probably spent all your cash and are living off what's left from the last two weekends. These FMCG kiosks may come in the form of a Dunkin Donut mini branch that allows you to buy munchkins by the piece, a nearby 7 Eleven that you can run to for cheap but bearable brewed coffee, or a Digibabe kiosk for when you need an emergency cable to charge your phone with.
A HIGHER UP WHO REVEALS TO YOU ALL THE INS AND OUTS OF THE COMPANY
She is most likely generations older and wiser than you, in age or in work experience. With absolutely no effort from you at all, she will voluntarily tell you about the myths and legends of the company you’re in (including the office multo!), how the place used to be and how it is now, former employees and their wild, wild history, et cetera.
Having a higher up who has your back is also one of life’s greatest blessings. If you have a superior or boss you consider more than a work friend, but a life friend as well, then you are, truly, intensely, beyond the hashtag, blessed.
Like a mother, an older sister, or a tita, she will most likely be the first to cheer you on on all your career milestones, be it within the company you first met or beyond, and she is the first person you always put for character references when applying for another job. Lol.
In return, always remember to send her goods like boxes of lengua de gato or pastillas, face masks, a hot guy to date, et cetera, as a token of thanks and gratitude.
A ROOF DECK TO BREATHE IN ALL THE CBD POLLUTION AND YOSI SMOKE
I say this because, really, it is inevitable. Roof decks are where people come up for air, polluted or otherwise. It’s where you can unload off all the bad energy you’ve accumulated in the past three hours or so, due to the unlikely behavior of a client, a co-worker, or even your own.
SSS, PHILHEALTH, PAG-IBIG, AND ALL THAT JAZZ
When we’re young and full of youth and energy, we don’t really care about what the future holds, well at least, in terms of good health and security. But believe me when I say they don’t kaltas your sweldo for no good reason. It’s actually for your own good and benefit.
I’ve experienced it myself when I got confined and missed work a week and was pleasantly surprised that my hospital bill was reduced by a significant amount, thanks to PhilHealth. That time, it has been only around two years since I started working, and my little contribution has already helped me hugely.
A MALE CO-WORKER TO SAVE YOU FROM ALL THE DRAMA
Work life is much like television, what with its regular episodes of drama. Or to be more specific, girl drama, an inevitable reality of life that can be partly blamed on hormonal imbalance and such.
I have to admit that back in school, I never really cared about PMS because I never had the physical symptoms like cramps and getting dizzy. But work life is all a different story—it’s when I realized that, oh, I do have my PMS mood, too, and surprise, so do all my female colleagues.
It’s literally a red flag for the rest of the office when one female employee is currently on a PMS rage. You can just imagine if there are two of them. Or even more. So it always pays to have a male co-worker who will fish you out of the red sea and take you back to safety.
He will listen to whatever you’d like to say, share, or even in your sulking silence, with a level-headed, reasonable mind and often with no judgement at all.
Photo by Miguel Alomajan.