March 1, 2018

Finding one’s path

by Johsa Manzanilla  (Published in Pilipino Express March 1-15)
PHCM Youth Forum for Building Success

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Ah, the age-old question.

As a little kid, I dreamed of being a doctor. I was fascinated by science, the world; I loved to explore the outdoors; I loved people. But my grades did not reflect that I understood the concepts, and my interest and attention span waned in science class.

By high school, I was set on becoming a lawyer. I was a meticulous reader, excelled at public speaking, and found I was analyzing everything inside and out – unpacking, deconstructing and discoursing were my favourite things to do. But by the time I graduated from university, the thought of three to four more years of school stressed me out. So I decided to do a Master’s in human rights, a topic that I had slowly started to gravitate towards in my teenage years, a way of processing my experiences as an immigrant.

I never thought I’d end up in policy. Looking back, however, one might have been able to predict I would – but as a young person, I didn’t have a clue. It was only by living through my experiences, learning what I was good at and developing those skills, learning what I wasn’t good at and changing my course, and discovering passions previously unknown, that I got to where I am at this moment. And my path continues.


For some, the process of choosing a career is a daunting one. The choice does not come easy, like selecting which candy bar you want from the vending machine. There are many steps: finding an area or subject matter that you are interested in, considering your skills – and what you might want to further develop, exploring the various occupations (positions) that work in that field, narrowing down which one(s) you would like to pursue, and developing a training plan that will get you to your goal. And of course, it is not always this linear – people will go through the process again and again, inevitably a number of times throughout their lives, as they look to transitioning to different experiences.

Life is not static; change is the only constant. Likewise, so is one’s employment journey. Even for those who stay in the same job their whole working lives will have various opportunities come up where they are able to learn or do new things, whether they are offered a promotion or have to adapt to innovative technologies in order to do their everyday tasks.

Career development is a lifelong process, and isn’t just about holding down a job. It’s about growing as a person, building financial stability to support oneself and their loved ones, and finding one’s place in society as a productive, contributing citizen.

Johsa Manzanilla is ANAK’s Director and invites all students and parents to the 4th Annual Youth Forum on Building Success on Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 from 5:30pm - 9pm at DMCI (720 Alverstone Street), where identified leaders in their industries and fields will share their personal stories of career development.


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