So, Where Have You Been?

By , on February 1, 2014


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Pangarap: So, Our Journey Begins


DO NOT COMMIT THE MISTAKE OF BEING A STRANGER IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY. VISIT AS MANY NICE PLACES AS YOU CAN BEFORE THAT JOB HUNTING KEEPS YOU BUSY.

Among newcomers, some may have psyched themselves up so much that they have already convinced themselves that no time can be wasted in beginning to look for a job. So, off they go on a 24-hour stint of planning their moves and assessing their chances of getting that job.

Let me not make judgment of how immediate the need for that job is because I am pretty sure if any of us could truly afford to sit around for a while and savour the moment of new freedom and new environment, we would. Why not? We could have come from a place where hard work was our easy daily companion, by necessity. And for sure, because you had worked hard, you gained this reward of being able to qualify to come as an immigrant.

If you honestly qualified to this immigrant program, chances are you were able to show enough proof that you could sustain yourself and your family for at least 6 months without a job. This is not to say, that you should stretch your luck, but simply to remind you that it would be nice if you got to know the country that you have chosen to embrace for the rest of your life.

Upon arrival, whether you like it or not, you are a tourist in this new place. Tourist comes from the word “tour,” implying that you owe it to yourself to make a tour and get acquainted with the place. Not necessarily for the place’s sake, although that could come with the immigration program business plan, but more importantly for your own sake.

May I refer again to where I am based—British Columbia, Canada. If you can afford it, visit at least those places that your friends talk about as must-see places, or places that are classified as “you’ve-never-been-to-Canada-if-you-have-never-seen-them.” Some of them may require you travel a few hours or cross the waters, but I guarantee you that these places will make you fall in love with British Columbia. Talk of Whistler and Victoria alone.  Some others, you get by simply riding a few minutes in a public bus or the skytrain.

Other would-be immigrants come as tourists before applying or getting accepted as permanent residents. Many of those who do that end up saying that yes, this is the country where I want my whole family to grow and make a life. Not only do they see how beautiful it is, but also how habitable the country is. For example, Vancouver, always voted as one of the top 5 liveable places in the world, has the best climate, especially for those who come from tropical countries. From where I live, nature is at my doorstep.

The other significance of doing this as soon as you arrive is the reality that you may never be able to do it once you start looking for a job. The job hunt can be as consuming as it is frustrating at the beginning. The feeling of frustration can weigh you down so that you do not feel like you will enjoy anything else you see. The passing days without a source of income can also weigh heavily on savings, making touring and enjoying the place will be the furthest thing from your mind at that point.

When I was doing my tourist thing even only by walking or commuting, the only thing that was always running through my mind was the fact that I was getting more and more convinced that I wanted to live here for the rest of my life. And that life would be complete if I found a job. With my own job, even if it was only a humble job in the beginning, I would be able to sail off and conquer better grounds in this new country that I would eventually call my own.

Touring and seeing your new country should be able to reinforce your decision to come. The same can also mean being able to learn and acquaint yourself with your new environment and feel more confident about yourself. Be a tourist as soon as you arrive. You may not have the time to do this once the job hunt or the new job starts to consume you.

How Hard Have You Explored?

ONLY WHEN YOU GO AND TRY OUT WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD NOT DO WILL YOU BE ABLE TO TRULY SAY YOU HAVE EXPLORED AND CONQUERED.

For purposes of discussion, I will differentiate “exploring” from the just-concluded section of “touring” the place. If you had the chance to visit other countries as a tourist, it is easy to understand how one gets into the feeling of being able to love the country by appreciating the different places that you see.

Let me therefore limit our definition of “touring” as referring to your senses of sight and feeling. And the definition of “exploring” references your cognitive and creative senses, both of which have to do with the mind. They can easily overlap because, as always, what you see travel to your mind as well as to your heart. But let us not debate on it for now.

Exploring also implies an inner motive or hidden agenda, in the positive sense of the word, of course. You explore because you have something in mind that you want to accomplish or achieve and not simply to know or to see.

But I wish for you to learn the word “explore” to come to terms with wide-ranging possibilities of being able to put yourself in a match to a job you are looking for, or a job that is waiting out there for you.

When you go out and explore a mall, and wish to get a job, you look around for “Now Hiring” signs and enter the first shop that has one. Without a hiring sign, you can further explore and go in to ask at the cashier’s counter that you are exploring the possibility that they are hiring. That was what exactly happened to me in my very first job.

I had landed as an immigrant much, much earlier than one of my college chums, but she got a job as early as one week after she came in and had moved on to a second job after six weeks to get to something nearer what she wanted. At that point, all I had was a list of volunteer works. This is not to say I did not want my volunteer works, I enjoyed and learned from all of them, but my college friend had said it was time for me to be more pro-active in exploring my chances of getting a job.

I promised her that the very next day after our reunion dinner, I would visit one of the biggest malls near my place and enter every store that I fancied. This meant I also wanted to work for a company whose products I wanted or patronized. I anticipated that, as an employee, I would be entitled to a big discount on my own purchases. True enough, I had just entered a third store and as soon as I handed over my resume and described myself, I was HIRED!

Was it luck? Maybe. But that luck would not have come if I did not explore.

Exploring also means shedding off your inhibitions. It is going for something and winning it. Although I was a marketing person for many years, I was never sure if I could sell myself at any instant. Or perhaps I was not sure whether selling myself boldly was something I wanted to do, as if a job meant the world to me.  But I did it!

You will never know what in the world is waiting there for you if you will not go out and explore.

To explore is to find out what is out there for you and whether what you wanted is existing there for you. Exploring can also mean being able to do what you thought you could not do and actually realizing that it can happen. Be proactive. That is the first rule of exploring. Walk the mile and bring home the bacon.

Nobody ever said that our journey, will be easy. But as I write and as you read, we share our strengths and we can hold to the promise that “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20.

Bolet is a marketing communications practitioner and dabbles in writing as a personal passion. She is author-publisher of the book:  The Most Practical Immigrating and Job Hunting Survival Guide, proven simple steps to success without the fears and the doubts. The book is available in Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, the Reading Room and other online bookshops worldwide, and in National Book Store and Power Books in the Philippines. Please check out  https://www.amazon.com/author/boletarevalo