Your limitations are opportunities to be creative. 

You can't do what you want when you want all the time. That would be boring

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I started looking for work early because my family didn’t have enough money to pay for my school tuition fees. I wanted to work in a call center at an early age because I heard that the good companies pay really well. For the longest time my dad told me that he has a college educated teacher who worked as his maid. Working as a security guard required a good number of years in college. My mom told me that I should get a low paying job at a fast food or a department store and eventually pay for my tuition.

I found out about call center opportunities from friends in college who had worked there. My mom recommended that I take a telemarketing and customer service course. Call center training schools didn’t exist back then. I couldn’t find any. We were afraid I’d fail so throwing money at tuition fee seemed to comfort us against the possibility of being rejected by companies. I ended up staying at home.

I wanted to get a job then. Sitting on my ass all day at home is fun during the first week. Internet use was not mainstream then so I spent the day listening to Linkin Park, Disturbed, Papa Roach, Mudvayne, Slip Knot, Incubus, Rage against the Machine, Chris Cornell and most of the bands back then. When I got tired of lying down, I went outside to strike metal with my fists and shin then practice martial arts moves. It’s fun but after a few weeks, you would want to go outside and meet friends. Cigarettes and booze cost money so I had limited options. I told myself I really need a job. I feel like a loser constantly asking for money from my family.

I met this girl at a hangout. Her name was Ice or something like that. I need to find a job soon. My parents are about to kick me out. She told me. She also stopped studying because of financial difficulties.

I got her number and we agreed to apply the next day. We were so drunk from the night before, we both woke up late afternoon the next day. I spent the rest of the day crafting my resume that evening.

I had no idea what to put on my resume. My mom told me to use the resume wizard at Microsoft word. Bad idea. I spent three hours adjusting fonts and alignments. I put my one month experience working part time at a friend’s gun store. I put everything they asked me to do under duties and responsibilities. I put martial arts under special skills. I put body building and formula one racing under hobbies and interests. I printed three copies.

I met the girl and her friend at the bus stop. We started late again. We thought that since call center companies operate at night they are closed during the day and we should apply at night. As a result we ended up only submitting our resumes. The Ice girl was smart, she only knew three companies so whenever we entered a building, she asked the guard if there are other call center companies in the building and what floor their hiring office is in because we’re submitting applications. I ran out of resumes then. I only brought three. She had about twenty with her. We ended up submitting our resume to four companies then. I, obviously submitted mine to three. I need to get more printed out.

Day two, we decided to start earlier.  We left Paranaque at lunchtime and got to Ortigas at two pm. We had a few interviews. I kept getting good scores at the exams, pronunciations but kept failing the interviews. I had no idea why.

Day three, Ice told me that her friend gave up and will just take the job at a fast food or something. She told me she got a callback and will be going to an interview later that day. I felt bad because I kept getting rejected. I obviously had better pronunciation than Ice but over time she got interviewed longer than me. Mostly we were processed as a group, then eventually it’s just us and another applicant. The rest were sent home because they got eliminated. I went to another company, while Ice went to her scheduled interview. She texted me that she got hired. If I don’t get hired, I’d have to apply alone. I had nobody to practice on. I pretend that I’m on the phone again. Telling my imaginary phone interviewer that I’ve been applying straight for a few days now and that I’m having a hard time getting a job. This had been a big improvement for me. I told myself. I met a girl who joined me in my quest to get hired. I had no social skills in the past. I can only talk about games, anime and martial arts and now I’ve been on interviews on my own. That’s pretty awesome I tell myself. I worry people will notice I’m not really talking to anyone. I confess more of my hardships to my phone. I tried a few more companies and end up at Ambergris solutions, they eventually changed their name. The interview setup was different. I was taken to a classroom type of place with ten other people and were asked to introduce ourselves one by one and was asked to wait outside. I failed miserably. It took me a long time to tell them about myself, where I’m from and what I do on my free time. That’s when I realized I’ve been asked the same set of interview questions throughout most of the interviews. I need more practice. I tell myself. I also need to practice the right thing. I can’t think. Time for a smoke. I tell myself.

I went to the next call center in the building. I went down for a smoke after submitting my resume. I started a conversation with one of the guys in a smoking area. He was a bad ass looking guy with tattoos but looked nice enough to talk to. Kind of like my best friend’s older brother who looked like he can punch you in the face without a second thought but would rather be friends with you kind of vibe.

I asked him for tips. We spoke in English and he told me that my English skill level was good enough for the job. He asked me if I was nervous in my interviews. I said yes. He told me that if I can speak like I did to him to an interviewer, he’d definitely hire me. I found out as we parted ways that if I passed my initial screening, he would be the one who would interview me next. I felt so encouraged then.

I continued applying. True story.

What lessons were you able to pick from the story?