Working with a Purpose

Today, I woke up with a different mindset on what I do for a living – that is:

“I do what I do at work, for His great purpose. That I am in this job not because of accidental turn of events in my life or because I don’t have a choice… but because, He specifically assigned this to me, it was part of His great and grand plan.”

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Since I am working in the IT industry, what exactly are my tasks in a non-technical explanation? To sum it up, there are basically three main tasks:

  1. Travel to different countries
  2. Resolve problems
  3. Help people

For the past 1 or 2 years, I regularly find myself complaining and thinking that maybe this is not the job for me… that maybe I’m supposed to do something else!

I became indecisive on whether to finally resign or not, because I’m seeking for that greater purpose. Before, it felt like I’m wasting my talents and that I am not doing what God intends me to do. But today, I miraculously and unbelievably had that change of mindset. I will consider this as His answer to my relentless prayers…

I’ve been in the company for over 9 years already (and will turn 10, June next year…omg… that’s a decade already!). The company molded me into a matured and independent individual. I clearly remember that particular interview day, wherein I was warned that the job will require me to live a fast paced life and that I have to mature fast as well. I cannot say I was not warned, because oh boy, it was really fast paced!

I find myself traveling every week! Note: Mode of transportation = by plane!

Sometimes, I just go back to Dubai only to change my luggage contents, and then off to same or another country for a new assignment. This crazy traveling back and forth went on for a number of years. It’s quite a good thing that now it is ‘a bit less’ hectic.

Indeed, my work was the key to several accomplishments. I get to provide for my family’s and sometimes, relatives’ needs, send my siblings to school and see them graduate, own a house and car, and buy the luxuries that I cannot buy before. It is great, it feels great. I also got to live in my own apartment in Dubai, see different places and meet different people.

But oftentimes, I find my work tasks daunting and stressful. There are scenarios when I talk strongly and confidently during client meetings, but right after, I will cry in the toilet and tell myself, I cannot do this anymore. So much pressure, indeed. Many times, this led me to being at the brink of giving up…resigning from work.

But not all days are like that, I also have several surreal and great moments, wherein I am in awe. Until today, I cannot actually believe…

…that I am conducting meetings with different company’s general manager or the IT department’s vice presidents.

…that I can train people and share my technical knowledge and experiences to them.

…that I can actually resolve complex issues and find solutions to clients’ problems.

Where did all those confidence and knowledge come from? Of course you know the answer, it is from Him, and I thank Him every day for blessing me with these.

I love traveling. I told myself before I wanted to travel not for work, because I get jealous when I see Facebook feeds from friends that travel for leisure most of the time. All the pictures, landscapes, city lights, autumn foliage, snowy mountains, green fields, OOTDs, yummy food pics, etc… feels like they have lots of free time and resources to frequently travel. Why can’t I do that too? 😦

They go to US or Europe or Australia, and where exactly do I go?

I go to Africa, Lebanon, Pakistan and other places that maybe a normal tourist would not ever plan on going to mainly because of security reasons. Truly, it is depressing if I think that my friends are having fun walking under Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms, celebrating Octoberfest in Germany or skiing in the cold Swiss Alps, while I am stuck in a dark office with a PC and my laptop and sometimes, cockroaches too (hahah!). Not to mention that there are few instances,  where my security is also compromised…

But now, I think, “Hey, maybe this is okay. Maybe I’m already fine with it.”

My job is to resolve issues and help people. Maybe not poverty or economic issues, but this does not always mean I will be in a nice fancy place. It is a form of service. Not the missionary or religious type of service. But still it is serving other people, and this job requires lots of sacrifices.

Am I reasoning out? No. I’ve realized that it is also actually nice to travel the world with a greater purpose in mind. Not just to do sight-seeing, trying and eating good (and not so good) food, meeting local strangers and late night partying (anyway, I still get to do these things on the side and for free, if time permits…). So I must lessen the comparing and complaining.

To travel the world, resolve issues and help people – these are my three main work purposes. Hmmm, I think, I’m going to add one more – learn something new from the assignment.

When I go to a new country, I become really excited. Who would not be, right?

It means that it will be another check on my not-so-very-long list or on my personal world map.

But again, I am not there just to do sight-seeing. The primary purpose and objective is to help my local clients –to provide consultancy services, resolve technical or functional issues, or improve overall operations (sometimes all of them). Of course I will no longer discuss and disclose these issues. But that’s basically it. I should not leave the place, without accomplishing my tasks.

By the time I leave their country…

  • I should have left at least a little mark there, and made some difference, big or small.
  • I should have done something that could improve their local operations.
  • I should have resolved issues that are keeping them from doing their work efficiently.

Throughout the course of my traveling life, I have definitely met a lot of people – of different nationalities and races. Apart from my work clients, there are many unforgettable ones, which I consider actually, as the real bonus from this type of job…

The person who warmly greeted me at the airport despite of my late arrivals…

The receptionists and hotel manager who noted my requests and addressed my complaints…

My daily drivers to/from office who I sometimes hire to also become my local tour guides…

The housekeeping at the hotels and the laundry staffs that asked me every day if I’m okay and how was my stay so far…

The chef at the restaurants that gave me free sushi plates…

The servers at the local café and diner who can’t speak English but happily talked to me in Arabic French…

The lady who I share the same name and gave me advises on natural hair treatments…

The vendor at the souvenir shop who gave me lots of words of wisdom…

I also encounter a lot of Kabayans working tirelessly either to provide for their family back in the Philippines or for their own families in that country. I talk to them whenever I meet one abroad, especially in countries that I did not expect Filipinos would go to.

Some do not have their passports with them, and tells me that they have not seen the Philippines for over 7 years or 15 years. Others are quite successful in their chosen field.

Each person has a different story to tell, and listening to them either while I’m on my way to work or after work, is heartwarming and inspiring. They may not see this post, but if they do… “Hello, please know that I am very pleased to have met all of you.”

I get to live in their city for at least one or two weeks, experience their culture, dine with the locals, speak a little of their language (oh how I dream of being multi-lingual but studying languages is just soooo difficult, these encounters are the closest that I could get for now…)

On the other note, I have been to countries wherein poverty is really a problem. It is really visible in their streets. I can give these people food or money whenever I see them, but for a long term solution, these are not enough. Locals complain on their countries corrupt government. I tell them, Philippines suffers from the same problem. 🙂

I cannot directly help the poor people of that country on a long term basis. But through the work I do, I am hoping that my clients could do their job better also for the benefits of these poor people. It may not be a direct approach, but I am hopeful that I have somehow contributed in making their lives better.

So there, I get to see different countries, on a different level, on a different perspective. Not just as a tourist, but as a worker of God. Maybe the people I met will remember me, or maybe they won’t. But that does not matter anymore. They have touched my life, and our encounters are already blessings to me. I hope I have blessed them as well.

All of us have our own cloudy, rainy and sometimes stormy days. But that’s okay, they will eventually pass. Last week was when I had my cloudy days, but now, it’s sunny again. God had put me into that cloudy moment to appreciate the rainbow that is hiding behind those nimbus clouds. Not just the rainbow actually, but also that great ray of sunshine, which once you have finally let it in, will give a new mindset, a better way of looking at things. There will be clarity and peace of mind.

Now I am seeing my profession differently, under whole new perspective… Perhaps, I will no longer wake up and say, “oh no, just another working day…” but  rather, “oh yes.. time to do God’s works!”

Before, I frequently say that I don’t like being an IT consultant. That I should do this, that I should do that, that I will resign, etc… But now, this changed. Maybe, He really paved my way to becoming a confidently-beautiful-with a heart-IT consultant. 🙂

Of course this does not mean I will not resign or leave my company. If circumstances require it, I may have to. Who knows right? I might get redundant after this. 🙂 It is not the company. It is just the work that I am doing that makes sense now, regardless of the company that I am working for. I have prayed for this for a very very long time, and He finally answered my prayers. My profession is no longer a job that just pays me well to live a comfortable life, but also, an important instrument in accomplishing my four main work purposes:

  • Travel the world
  • Resolve issues
  • Help people
  • Learn from the assignment

I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one in this world who felt confused and lost. Who were undecided and often ponder on whether they are at the right job, are pursuing the correct profession, and who think that they are not doing the things that they are passionate about.

Profession and passion are two different entities, which I think can be combined.

Either you find a profession that you are passionate about or be passionate towards your profession because you know you are serving for a greater purpose and for a greater Boss.

Have you realized yours?

Love lots,

Mary 🙂

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