Language or Numbers

Language or numbers.

My obvious answer would be language. I love reading books and I was the president of our English Club back in fourth year high school. So yes, I would definitely choose language. It’s not that I’m bad at Math, but I’m not great at it either. In all my years in school, I was never the “Math wizard” who would participate in regional and national quiz bees. Oh, I almost forgot. I was part of the Math team when I was in Grade 6, together with two other Math geniuses (they are the real geniuses!!!). But even then, I did not consider myself to be a Math wiz. I believe that I was just chosen because our teachers did not have any other choice in our class, or it was just out of pure luck. And as far as I could remember, when we reached the division (or regional?) finals, only two students were required to represent the team – and of course, I was the lucky one NOT to be picked. So I knew that I was not really great at Math. Somehow, you get the picture.

But with some kind of sorcery and for the first time in a very long time, someone praised me for being comfortable with numbers. “Are you being sarcastic to me?”, I thought. I don’t even remember any of my teachers telling me that! Haha! In a job interview, I was given a set of math problems. They were very common textbook problems – getting the food cost, breakeven point, and the like. Knowing that the problems were very simple made me even more nervous. What if I’m being too simplistic, or what if I still get the wrong answer? My reputation as a graduate of the premier university of the Philippines was on the line. Fortunately, my brain worked hard enough not to embarrass me. And because of this, my boss was quite impressed with me. He told me that he liked me because I am fluent in English, and that I am comfortable with numbers, which, according to him, is a rare combination. Comfortable with numbers?? But those problems were too easy. I told him that anyone among my classmates in college can solve those problems. But he thought otherwise. He said that out of 10 applicants that he interviewed, maybe only 2 or 3 got it correctly. Really? I don’t know if he is just saying this so that I can gain some self-esteem. But whatever, at least I passed that interview.

One month after being hired, I am still thinking whether I am suitable for this job. I mean, yes, I like it because I do learn a lot of things and it really challenges me to think and think and think (mostly about numbers). But is this what I really want in life? Being on top of revenue management? Sounds like a very sophisticated job, huh? In layman’s term, it just means that the owners/bosses want me to ensure that sales are constantly high, or that the business is being profitable. But, what is the purpose of this? To make the company (and the owners) even richer? Why would I want to slave myself out just to make other people reach the top of the economic ladder? I know I should not be thinking about these kind of things. I could just stop over-thinking and over-analyzing things. Make Iife simple. I should be thankful that I have a job, that I am able to provide for myself and for my family, that I could buy the things that I want and need. Still, there are many times that I ask myself: what am I really doing here? Why am I sitting in front of the computer, staring at these lifeless numbers, and not out there, conquering  the world (literally and figuratively) with whatever skill and talent that I have? A very difficult question, indeed. How can I answer this when I cannot even make up my mind – language or numbers? God, help me.

To anyone out there who is as confused and as lost as I am, just hang in there. Perhaps we just need to go through this phase to be able to figure out what we really want to do in our lives. Let’s just do our best on whatever we are doing right now, and continue to chase our passions and dreams. These little doubts and confusions? DO NOT ignore them. These might the signs that a change – a BIG change – is needed. Eventually, all the puzzle pieces will fall perfectly into place.


(Eleven months after writing this, I finally gathered my courage to post it publicly, and to quit my job. Off to a whole new chapter in my life!)




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