Last April, God made me go to Cebu. I resigned from my job here in Manila and ran away without knowing what would happen to me trying to “fit in” in a totally new environment – like if I could get a job. In fact, a month before that, I’ve been sending out resumes to different architectural firms in Cebu that I could find in the internet. It was a month of wondering if someone really takes time to open their company’s email account. HAHA. I was praying and literally pleading to God, that those companies would stumble upon my resume I have emailed them and hopefully contact me for an interview. I was blessed. Out of I think almost 15 emails I have sent, five happened to read it and replied to me.
I was interviewed via phone by the first “probable employer”. I could remember the time I was waiting for the call. I was at a coffee shop and nervously thinking of the possible questions the caller might ask. And I waited for like an hour and a half because I had to fit in her schedule. When she called, that was the longest phone call I could ever remember in my entire life. I even had to transfer outside because I don’t want people to hear my first-ever-interview-via-phone. Hahaha! So, I had to spend the next 30 minutes trying not to melt in the extreme heat. Take note: that was mid-March.
I was desperate. After that phone interview, I was begging God to give me the job even though they just focus on interior renovations. I didn’t care. I thought that would be the first and last prospective employer who happened to read my email. After several days and no feedback from the interviewer, I was becoming hopeless. My plan of having a job right away when I get to Cebu is becoming impossible. But God told me to wait, so I continued praying.
The second “probable employer” replied to my email asking for some documents. Again, I had my hopes up the moment I attached my portfolio and transcript to my reply. Indeed, God is good. The next day I checked my email, I was scheduled for a personal interview the day after my flight to Cebu. I was overjoyed.
The third one contacted me through a text message saying I’m scheduled for an interview on Friday. I received that message I think Wednesday so that means I have an appointment in two days. And I still have about three weeks in Manila. Great. I asked my dad (since he works in Cebu) if I should request for another schedule, and when He told me that the company is located very far from where he is staying, I decided to ignore the message. Screw it. I already have a scheduled interview on my second day in Cebu so I told myself that I’ll settle with that for the meantime.
I was contented, for a while, that I already have a possible job when I get there. Haha! Until I got a text message, again from another company, setting up an appointment with me. I researched about them and found out that they’re one of the biggest construction companies in Cebu. I replied, asking if we can have it moved on the last week of April since I won’t be leaving until the 22nd. She said okay and scheduled me the following day. I agreed and was so excited that I almost forgot that I already have an appointment on that day. Good thing, the first one is in the morning and the other is in the afternoon.
All was going well until one morning I opened my email and found a new reply. I stared at the message for a few minutes and realized that it was the owner/president who replied to me. It wasn’t like a typical/formal type of reply HR people usually does. He said that he is currently in Manila for a convention and he wants to set an appointment with me. I actually forgot the reason why I wasn’t able to meet him but I’m pretty sure that it was related to my busyness at work since I was already turning over my projects that time. So he told me to just contact him once I get in Cebu. Honestly, the offer quickly left my mind.
The day after I arrived in Cebu, I was expectant, that I will get hired right away. But all my expectations were flushed down the drain after my two interviews. The first one actually went fine. In fact, they were offering me a position wherein I will be supervising my co-draftsmen and report directly to the head architects. Based from my qualifications, I was told that I’ll be in constant communication with them and act as if like I’m their right hand. Wow. I was excited. Until they told me that they could only offer me an allowance — which is technically less than half of my salary in my previous job. I was speechless. It is for the reason that I don’t have my license yet. I just don’t know how to respond. I left the office telling them that I’ll think about the offer first.
The second interview was another bullet through my chest. Indeed, it is a big company that I GREATLY forgot too that the possibility of getting hired in such companies is less than 50% unless one: you already have a license; two: you already have a lot of experience; and three: you know someone who works there. And guess what, I don’t have any of those (yet). So I went home that day quite depressed thinking if I have made the right choice leaving Manila. Yes, day two in Cebu and I’m already having doubts if I’m on the right track.
The following days were basically another job-hunting experience. I even had to search for architectural firms in the Yellow Pages (yes, Yellow Pages still exist. Hahaha). A week has passed since I arrived in Cebu and no signs yet from my future employer. Out of desperation, I was actually considering the offer of the first company. Then I remembered someone. I quickly opened my mail and composed a message addressed to the guy who told me to contact him once I get in Cebu. I have totally forgotten about it! I clicked send without much hope that he will still reply to my email. But to my surprise, HE DID! He asked me if I could come to their office the following day (even if it is a holiday) for an interview. It’s my last option.
The next day, the moment I entered their office, I said to myself that “this is where I’m going to work”. I don’t exactly know why I said that. I don’t know if I’m just getting really desperate or the environment is actually nice. Hahaha. The interview went well yet I’m expecting the same offer of the previous company for the compensation. And I was right. At the back of my mind, I was thinking: if all the companies here in Cebu that would hire me would have the same offer then I better take this one right now. Comparing it to the first office where I was interviewed, the people here seems friendlier and more approachable. They have big projects plus I get to have a cool boss. So yeah, I accepted the job.
God has opened a lot of opportunities for me the moment I entered ArchiGlobal. In less than two weeks, I was given a project right away which is quite similar to my thesis (which is basically the reason why it was given to me). It was new for me, yet “quite old” for them since they already have previous design proposals for this project. It seems like the clients were hard to please. The first time I looked at the set of drawings handed to me, I was scared and nervous, asking myself, “Are they sure they are giving me this big project knowing that my previous work has nothing to do with this?” I came from an interiors and furniture design company so the last time I actually did architectural conceptualization and design was way back in college. But they were serious. I was the team leader for Apple One Banawa Heights.
The clients only gave a set of photos for inspiration. It’s a housing community and they want the concept to be something new. The country is being filled with so much “contemporary/Asian” style. They want it to be different. They have no idea how much pressure that was for me. Haha. So I had to do research on periods of Architecture. Funny how I really hated the topic in school and yet it turned out that it has something to do with my first ever real project.
It was really stressful. I had to do a lot of overtime and even overnights just to meet deadlines. Constant research, sketches, and coordination with my other officemates who helps me with the SKP models was really necessary. I had to forget the ratio of workload with the amount of compensation. I even remember a few times I cried because of difficulties with handling people. I had to swallow my pride and open my design for criticisms. I had to be confident, to defend it. I also had to be tough so that they will do exactly how I want it to look/happen. It was definitely a hard work but it was all worth it.
The moment it was approved (click HERE for my previous entry about the project) and ready for the construction documentation, I was the happiest person on earth. Hearing my office-mates and boss saying “Congratulations” was one of the best things I have heard in my whole architecture life/career. Ms. Yvet, Apple One Inc.’s executive vice president for operations, even said, “…we just can’t get the right concept, until Renel came in.” I can’t believe I did it. We did it! It was when I fully grasped the thought that my once sketches and ideas are now becoming true. I worked on that project for my whole 7 months of stay in AGI. It’s true, ArchiGlobal had been my last resort for work options, but God has been so good, it turned out that it was also where I had the privilege to practice and enjoy what being an architect is all about.
Yesterday was the grand launching of the project. If I didn’t leave Cebu, I would also be there, seeing the fruit of my effort and hard work. But I believe God has other plans. Just the way He MADE me LEAVE Manila, being rejected by my first “probable employer”, being depressed by the second, declining the third and being forgotten by the fourth; I believe that He has planned it all. He has prepared everything way before because He knows that I’ll be writing about it today. All praises to God! Amazing grace!!
Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”