The prelude to my career was slow. “Trust your own pace,” an honor to left-behinds like me. This is what I held on to the entire time from graduating from college, board exam, ending up my first job as a misfit, trying out other fields, and getting sick along the way. But when I landed on the best job I think I could find, it felt like I skyrocketed. What’s the right pep talk for the fast-paced ones? Trust your own pace was harder for me when it was quick than unhurried. Not because it’s fast, doesn’t mean it’s all fun. Somehow, struggle finds its way to every one of us no matter what pace we face.
I began working as a therapist for kids with special needs in June 2018. As I’ve mentioned, to me this is the best I was able to find. Or, to put it a better way, the best job found its way to me. I get to be with amazing kids every day, a challenging but fulfilling experience. They and their parents became family. My colleagues were like home and our leaders were sincerely nurturing. I told myself once, “I can do this forever,” and I knew I’d be staying if not all my life, surely for a long time.
After around 6 months, I was promoted to lead subgroups. While it felt exciting, I pondered whether I was ready. I told myself, “I’m enjoying my everyday. Am I willing for a step up?” The span of time felt so short for me, being accustomed to the gruesome journey Filipinos marvel their way up their ladder. But our unconventional company takes growth seriously: “We don’t have time to wait until you’re ready.”
Only about 2 months after, another opportunity fell from heaven. I was notified I’d been appointed to apply for a managerial position. Compared with the previous promotion, this felt 10 times the rattle. I’m not yet even fully adjusted nor sure if I’m ready! But I just went with the flow. This time, our mentor told us, “say yes now, and learn to do it later.”
It started with passing essay requirements—which I wrote as honestly as possible. I poured out how uncertain I was, how thrilling it was to receive such a chance, and how I was willing to take on the challenge even if I had some doubts. The day of the interview—which had some more surprise parts—was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I had in my entire life. Even if our leaders were kind and gentle, the anxiety inside me was not. In my mind, the whole time was: Will I make it out alive?
And I did! Just like when I took the licensure exam, days were going slow and fast at the same time, anticipation and fear coming together as we waited for the results. It happened shortly.
I found myself on June 2019, my work anniversary, invited to training to be part of our company’s leaders. Since then, my life was never like before. Amazing how 2 months’ worth of training could make a better you. I learned to value growth, not giving a chance to stagnancy. I can never forget what our CEO told me when we had a small talk on the last day of the training. “Don’t be sorry for being good. Keep doing you.”
There are days that you’ll feel like a turtle, a slowpoke, tired and heavily burdened. Go, trust your own pace; waiting teaches us patience. And if there comes that time you feel like a rocket blasting off from the ground to the space unprepared, I leave you the same thing. Trust your own pace; promotions can teach us humility.