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Finding your purpose: What’s your why?

Finding your purpose: What’s your why?

by Cristina Estacio-Reclamado

My company is going through retrenchment. Can you help me with my CV?

I have just chatted with M, a gym barkada.

She fears her company will have another round of lay-offs after purging 30 of its workers. After many years of having a stable and very secure job in a large multicultural firm, she is now worried.

I could sense her anxiety in her written replies. Her first concern was her age. At just 38 years old, she was having a bout of insecurity and feared that recruiters would favor younger, more savvy professionals.

What about me, am 46?!?

I am past 40. Should I grovel when I become jobless?

Four years ago, I went on a three –year hiatus. I didn't have a schedule. I was free.

This was a time that I spent re-evaluating and rekindling my passion for HR. Regardless of people thinking it was just indolence, I spent a huge amount of time on introspection, thinking of how I could recalibrate my career direction. I wasn't really lazing around. I kept a simple routine of doing yoga, working part-time, and doing household work. I did temporary jobs where I can be exposed to a new group of people, mostly children of expatriates living in the Philippines. I opened a business that allowed more time to spend with my husband.

Since I was used to being in the background as HR or Administrative support for business owners, I also pushed myself to teach payroll or communication seminars. I upskilled, and I learned to find my niche market.

I am working full-time now but have retained my HR advocate work because I continue to learn from members that ask questions or comments.

I re-traced my "WHY" during those years. Why did I become an HR Professional? I wanted to be a coach and mediator rather than a feared HR Manager who writes company policies and dispenses memos or disciplinary notices.

Looking at my "WHY" allowed me to go back to my purpose and re-discover my career direction which got buried underneath the stress of juggling work, family, and ambition.

Your WHY isn't just about your calling. It's your core reason for doing things. Your justification. What makes you tick.

"I desire young Filipinos to have career jumpstarts early in their productive lives. In spite of my love-hate relationship with my HR career, it showed me that every Filipino is an important part in our economic machinery, and the best asset", Benjamin Caruncho III, an HR professional turned educator, describes what keeps him continuously motivated.

"Teaching was my first love. In terms of skills and purpose, my passion for it is a good match with my HR career and my advocate work in HR communities," Donabelle Verzo-Culala shares, one of the moderators of HR Shouts and Whispers. "HR was a second career and am 100% sure that I am gifted with teaching skills. By a twist of fate, I was invited to apply for a vacancy in HR by a friend of a friend."

The strongest "why" usually emerges when you're in pain and struggling out of it.

TR Gutierrez, a motivational coach, says, "either you decide if you'd stick with the pain since there's your "why" or look for the slightest opportunity to get out of it." This ability will help you respond to adversity, cruelty, face reality, and still be in abundance in spirit and mind.

For M, yes, she will lose out to younger and tech-savvy applicants. But is that the job that fits her? She may not have discovered her other strengths yet.

She'll most likely benefit from a few months' break in her career. This may sound crass, but I went through it and survived. And back then, I was 42. When I was returning to the corporate jungle, I had to also go through a lot of negative bias from recruiters. That too shall pass.

By what she tells me, I think she will overcome this trying period. She's been preparing financially for that impending 2nd round retrenchment. This soul searching will unearth deeper personal insights that will lead to better clarity. Going on a job search or a new path with a clearer head will make the journey much more productive.

About the Writer 

Cristina Estacio-Reclamado – She has an extensive HR portfolio from Entertainment, Manufacturing, Retail, BPO and IT industries. She is currently Head of HR of E-commerce Global Integrated Innovations, Inc. Her expertise is Employee Relations, HR Operations & Payroll, and Total Rewards Management. She is a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) and TEFL-certified coach. 

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