New Toy for the Little Miss

I.T. is love, at least for today… They just installed In Design and Photoshop on Jehleen (my work PC). I needed In Design for creating an automated index for a particular title that I am editing. They have this really neat function of making indexing so much easier. It’s also a feature present in MS Word but here at work, it is better to do it in In Design to complement the layout artists’ files and paginations on each book.

Photoshop installation was just a bonus. It just so happened that the I.T. guy’s installer was a package containing the In Design software and Photoshop. I was so fascinated with the illustrators’ creations in Photoshop and I am a little, just a little, curious about it.

The installation took so long, but just like finding a nice woman you can spend the rest of your life with, it was worth the wait…

And my reading list just got increased anew. I managed to get 100+ e-books from a friend here and I have not yet finished my bedroom reading list! I am super swamped and swimming in books. And add to that around five pending movies to watch. I truly wish I had 50 hours extra this whole week just to cram them all in.

Now that I have all these things in my computer, the possibilities of learning are endless. But I still have herculean editing tasks in my midst and time is something I am struggling to manage better. I still have to figure out how to achieve all these goals.

Here I am again, wanting so many things. And at the same time, wanting to be all Zen and calm.

I hope the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde split on the things I want be settled very soon.

(I can’t go on pining for many things and living like this, this is already so inhumane.)

Meanwhile, I resume my editing and hope that time management improves and life simplifies, eventually.

The League of Extraordinary Employees: The Job Fulfillment Tightrope

The last two months of my life had been marred with tough choices. I applied in 24 companies before getting this job as engineering editor. And if I may visualize my path, I am balancing manuscripts while walking in the tightrope of intellectual and monetary fulfillment. And if you are an average Juan (not one of the million or six-digit earning retired young entrepreneurs that I look up to and admire), you can relate. For you will also have to walk this tightrope before you reach the pinnacle of your intellectual flow state and your financial freedom out of the paycheck rat race.

There were some companies that offered twice the compensation I receive here. Not to mention the fact that I earn way much more as a freelancer. I could have stayed with  my online Internet jobs and just file my own SSS contributions and stuff. My bosses did not particularly want me to leave the online world for this very time-demanding work. One of the things I had to adjust to is the reporting to the office from 8am to 6pm. As a freelancer, I was used to just coming up with articles at any time that the writing Muse decides to take a visit. Now, Muse or no Muse, the manuscripts need to be settled asap. Deadlines come in hordes here, mind you. And I am often too tired to do anything when I get home.

But why did I decide to leave the freelance world for this time-consuming thing? Why did I choose to trudge my career path as precariously as this:

I am not sure if other people will find my reasons valid. But it’s different strokes for different folks. Let me give you an overview of what I am beset with on a typical day here at the publishing world.

Behind me is a woman with an American last name who bested most of us in the big boss’ grammar exam. At my left is a super sexy married woman who makes me look at my belly in concern. I’d kill for her waistline, really!

Behind that sexy editing woman is a freelance photo model who hails as a magna cum laude from Ateneo de Naga university.And has the dimples I have been trying to poke on my cheek in fourth grade (With no success, of course!)

Somewhere in the Northwest from my desk, there is a cum laude in Journalism and a Palanca awardee. Seated near them is a SPED specialist and a writing fellow in the prestigious Iligan Writing Workshop. Farther up, there is the top 2 in the recent Licensure Exam for Teachers by the PRC. If you climb up a little, you will be acquainted with some of the country’s best illustrators.

Oh, did I mention that our editor in chief edits the works of famous National Artists for literature? (there is a separate post about him, by the way)

For some people, these things do not matter in a job. But to me, THEY DO. Not because they have titles. But because I am in an environment where I am intellectually challenged to stay on top of my game. Here, excellence is not extraordinary; it is expected. So as I juggle all these manuscripts due by the end of this month, I make sure to check if I dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s correctly.I am just happy people here are most kind and they do not really brag about how kick-a$$ they really are, intellectually speaking. It’s a good environment to be in; people wear their intelligence like their underwear (Everyone assumes they have it but they don’t flaunt it for the whole wide universe.)

I am just so lucky to be here. The pay may not be that high, but I know I am so fulfilled with the benefits of being with these people, these people who are so good with what they do. And they do what I love most, what I love naturally.

In terms of money issues, I have Bo Sanchez’s useful advice to help me out: save 20% of whatever meager sum I am earning each paycheck, and set aside 10% for the Lord as thanksgiving and tithe.I plan to do it as faithfully as I possibly can.

I write everything here not just to advise the job hunter to find work that suits his natural inclinations and passions. But also to remind myself of how lucky I am to be here, in case certain irritations and frictions try to kill that passion I have for this path I chose for myself.

The Number 12

Early this afternoon, I went to the publishing house to sign my job offer formally… I was already informed some weeks back that I stand a good chance of getting the job. There were delays, but I eventually got it. I just patiently held out to this offer because I knew deep in my heart of hearts that this is where I am meant to work. This is the final applicant pass that I had to secure from them. From today onwards, I am officially part of the company.

the number 12

Inside the waiting area, I was fidgety and ultra nervous. It felt like I was taking the board exam again. I left the Umberto Eco novel and my notebook so there was nothing to do except stare at the Applicant ID, which happened to bear the number 12. All my fears were gone when I saw that number, because I knew that everything’s settled. It was a sign I did not ask for, but a sign that helped me calm down, nonetheless.

What’s so special about 12?

Our Lady of Guadalupe, the intercessor of the unborn, has a feast day on December 12 (12-12). And I visited her national shrine in Guadalupe, Makati around 2 weeks ago. I prayed to her in particular about this job and my love life. Since I converted to the Catholic faith, I struggled with the concept of the Virgin Mary. But ever since things got clearer for me spiritually, I have this super devotion to this particular apparition of Our Lady.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Ever since I started venerating the Virgin Mary again, I actually say four Hail Marys in front of any Our Lady of Guadalupe image. It has become a habit for me. I pray her Memorare too whenever I feel sad or whenever I feel that one or more of my friends need some motherly love.

Anyway, when I was in the National shrine (that was my first time, by the way), I stood for what seemed like an eternity in front of her giant image there (which was taken from the original cloth of St. Juan Diego himself). Nag-emote lang ako dun, I did not care about the people around me. There were so many people there, but I didn’t care. I just stayed there for as long as I can and I told her everything a child will tell her mother.

What made me love her so much? The story of her four apparitions was the thing that struck me the most about Our Lady of Guadalupe. I may have all the information mixed up or something; I don’t remember all the details from the book verbatim but I hope my story works to give a good backgrounder on why she means this much to me.

There was a certain saint named Juan Diego in Mexico who walks around 64 miles daily in the cold dawn to attend Mass. At the time, Mass was only allowed weekly. Today, we can have Mass everyday, with schedules of 2-4 times a day even in some cathedrals or churches.

This guy happened to be walking around the Mount of Tepeyac when Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared to him. It happened again three times after, with him being sent to the Bishop for an instruction to build a church in that very place where she had the apparition.

Apparently, Juan Diego was asked to pick some flowers at the top of that hill. Our Lady arranged it in his tilma (laborer scarf). So Juan Diego carried that scarf with the sweet smelling flowers. But then when Juan Diego reached the Bishop’s office, the flowers fell off and they saw the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Scientists have studied the tilma that continues to be preserved in the Tepeyac shrine in Mexico. There are no earthly colors to describe it. Also, the tilma was very fragile. If not for some stroke of miracle, this image would have been reduced to ashes already. Also, in all of the apparitions of Our Lady, Our Lady of Guadalupe image was the only image that she knitted herself. All the others were artistic depictions; this was an original gift from Heaven.

Of course, it wasn’t all clouds and chocolates for Juan Diego. He was a very poor man and he had a very sick uncle. His uncle happened to be sick somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd apparition. He did not want to follow Our Lady’s instructions anymore. But Our Lady talked to him, comforted him and told him that his uncle will be cured.

True enough, after he delivered the magic tilma to the Bishop, he went back home to see his uncle alive and well. Also, the uncle said that he saw her and healed him personally.

So there. Sounds like a fairy tale but this is supported by the Catholic Church doctrine which I have faith in. And for the many times I prayed to her really huge intentions, I felt her helping me get close to God each time.

I prayed that I be given strength to get out of a toxic relationship. I prayed that I find the job that will not let me give up writing or engineering. I prayed for more consistency in the way I do my work. These were all given and more.

Her and the novena to St. Josemaria Escriva. Plus of course my quiet time with my Bible and mental prayers in the mornings before I do any work.

On with the symbolisms of her appearance. The tie below her bosom is a sign of maternity (ancient Mexican women wore that when they are pregnant). Also, her trampling the snake below her feet represents a certain verse in the book of Revelations. (The woman trampling the serpent). The stars in her cloak made her the woman clothed with the sun (Also from the book of Revelation). The flowers were a typical Marian association.

When one says the rosary, you actually create a garland of flowers that you offer to Our Lady. Among many other things…

I really want to go to Mexico someday to see that place where the apparitions took place.

But for now, I rest happily in this humbly compensating, highly intellectual and stimulating job in QC. Perhaps the first thing I will put in my work desk is an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I will definitely need all the motherly reminder I can get to stay strong as I build my career as an assistant editor for engineering books.

Thank you so much God, for helping me find and get my dream job. =)