Some of you are probably wondering why I made such a pact with myself when it comes to my purchasing habits. It's not like that happened overnight but it also needed a little work. Now I know that if I tell you the reason, it might bore you but I'm doing so anyway. I'll tell you how my life has changed in the past few months.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012
In the last quarter of 2011, when I was taking a little time out from blogging, I was busy at work, getting shocked and eventually getting used to it. And most importantly, I was doing a bit of reflection. See, from the corporate world, I made a drastic shift when I accepted a job offer from a cooperative, which is pretty much the same as credit unions. I won't tell the specific cooperative I am working at but it is pretty much known in the whole Philippines. Anyway, here's a little flashback on my first month at work.
It was a culturally-shocking first month for me because it is so much different from the corporate world, more so, the people are so much different. These people are so simple. So simple that anything more than Php 250 (less than $6) is already expensive for them. Why? They definitely know the importance and value of money. With the little pay they get because a large portion goes to paying off their loans from the coop, I know that every little cent counts.
I remember the first time I did the payroll and made a mistake (her salary was short by Php 18 (less than $0.50), she called my attention and wanted to know where it went. That's when I realized that every single cent do count for them. I also remember when I was computing their overtime pay when I noticed that some of the security guards do double shifts even on their supposed rest days. For what? To get an extra earning of Php 2000 (less than $50). At that moment, I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom. That hit me hard and made me realize how materialistic I have been over the years. How selfish I was to complain that what I was earning wasn't enough when it was actually more than enough for someone else's family. Yes, it wasn't enough only for my material wants and not even needs. I felt guilty that I spend that much on just one single foundation when someone does not get enough sleep for a day just to earn extra money so he can feed his family.
I felt bad because I also wanted to help them but knowing that I cannot do much is even more frustrating. And I cannot believe how annoyed I was at first when they keep checking out my things and keep saying "Mahal siguro yan" (that's probably expensive) and "Mayaman ka kasi" (because you're rich) and I am not. I think it was pretty normal to get annoyed but the moment you understand why, you'll realize it's nothing really annoying.
So I asked myself, "What if I want to try something and my lemming's really strong?". That's when I thought of making a pact. Instead of buying and buying, I should let go of something in exchange for that new item. So instead of spending the extra money I have, I can use it to help others instead. I'm helping two people from work who are both old enough to be my parents. When they no longer have money left even for fare, they come to me and I'll give them something. It's an arrangement I made with them. I don't care if they use it somewhere else but all I know is that I am doing that in good faith.
Yes, these people are so much different from the people I used to work with. They don't care much about material things. They'd rather spend their money on their family than buy something for themselves. Most of them are from the provinces. Most of them only finished high school. But that does not make me any better than them. They are the simplest people I have ever met. The ones who made me realize the value of money. They are the ones who taught me that we can be happy even without having too much material things. That I have been selfish all along. That I can live a minimalist life. They helped me become a better person and appreciate what I have.
Then I realized another thing.. Maybe there is a reason why I keep quitting my jobs back then even if they pay really well. And that is for me to be able to work at this company so I can be a better person.
That, my friends, is how my life has changed in just a span of a few months. Of course, I am still a work in progress but I am getting there. I am not the same impulsive buyer that I am. I now know how to eat at turo-turos, and best of all, I have quit smoking (hey, I wasted a lot of money on cancer sticks). My mom even said that I'm no longer as snobbish as I used to be. Yey!:) Anyway, you might not have finished this post out of boredom but a huge thanks for bearing wit me.
Please do note, however, that this post isn't meant to insult anyone. I am only sharing my story.
Have you realized anything lately?
Happy Thursday, super awesome peeps! :)