Congratulatory Address to the PUP – CCIS Graduating Class of 2017

I’m here to make a confession. I did not in any way, practice for this. I have done talks before, but they’re all technical though – Sir Ablir asked me to make it inspirational. “Inspirational” – it’s kind of funny because I’m not much of an inspirational person.

I work 48 hour shifts, I swear a lot, I engross myself with imaginary anime characters, and from my almost 3 years of working – I still haven’t had any savings.

Now from that, what makes it worthwhile to listen to my blabbering today? Again, I work 48 hour shifts. I think I work more than anyone at my age. I applied as a web developer back then, but I mostly do project management and network operations nowadays. Believe me, they’ve been trusting me to do human resource management and procurement too. That is, I usually look for leads and do interviews AND buy laptops, chairs and tables for new hires. So, Research and Development Engineer – it checks out.
So, I’ve been doing a lot of things – tasks I can’t put on my resume, and stuff that isn’t said on my job description. It might sound I’m ranting but you need to hear me out. And no, I love procurement – I’m a big fan of consumerism and buying things are one of my few guilty pleasures – now you know why I still don’t have savings.

Coreproc, the company I work for is only 4 years old. When I got hired, I was the second employee. In the first six months of my career I got involved in 3 large projects – an online skill assessment system, a wedding e-commerce site, and a platform for SMEs – the latter of which I’m still part of right now. Today, we currently have 13 – 5 of which was realized three weeks ago, and 24 people, four of which have been hired three weeks ago.

Things has been moving very fast and I believe, I am one of the reasons why that is possible.

10,000 hours – Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” My boss told me about this a while ago when I asked him how he got successful. He told me that he used to sleep in the office just to get work done, and Baileys being his daily work tonic. I was confused by the Baileys part – he told me he learned how to focus by getting drunk as much as possible and going to work and get things done. No – haven’t tried this one, YET. The 10k hours might be working though, really well in fact.

10,000 hours of work might seem like it’s very hard to achieve. You see, if you do one thing in 8 hours, you’d be doing it for 3.4 years or 1241 days. Nothing but the same thing, over and over again – for 1241 days. That is, my boss should be drinking for 8 hours, in 1241 days – wow.

Of course, you shouldn’t take that literally. What he means to say here is your capacity to dedicate yourself to something you want to succeed from. I have dedicated myself to my company, that is, all my sleepless nights, my holidays, my weekends, my time with friends – they all didn’t matter because of my willingness to get my company to succeed. More peers, better salaries, a better office, more clients, more profitable products. 10,000 hours of work from Coreproc made me realize my work is not for naught – that everything I did mattered.

Now let’s get back to how I got hired.

I thought I was graduating so I posted my portfolio in a group called Startup PH – Jobs. I am not a member of that group now because they kicked me for some reason (probably because they thought my Facebook profile is a spammer or a fake account, I used to have Japanese characters for a name up until Facebook flagged them three months ago). I got a lot of offers then, from comments of that post, to emails.

Ah. I felt needed. That felt wonderful. Got some calls, but I only attended interview to one of them – that is where I am right now.

It’s funny how I got to start working right away. Believe me when I was hired on April Fool’s Day. What’s funnier is, when I got to our office, I thought it was a scam. Ladies accessories and sales personnel populate the room I was in at. I was hired in the notion I’d be working in IT – but then, I was shocked to see the clerks labeling and packing earrings, shoes, and hairbands. Fun times.

Now, they told me it would be temporary. The office I was in was the other company my boss is managing – pretty surprising he does retail actually (he also does real estate, logistics, and charity). Fast forward 6 months we got our own office and some 6 more developers. This is to say, we did 48-hour work shifts, literally gallons of coffee, and thousands of emails. It’s not easy. We had to sacrifice some of our holidays to get tasks done on time. We work on the promise of over-delivery. Work fast, ship fast – all while not being too costly.

We had our share of successes but we also had failures. We had deals we couldn’t close, we had projects that didn’t follow but we do not dwell on them. I say, we have learned a lot – from dropping database tables, to getting servers down when they release to the press/media – those aren’t the best times.

I don’t remember how many hours it had been for me though. Well, I realized it didn’t matter. I was so in love with work, nothing mattered anymore.

I actually thought twice before accepting to doing this stint because I have to take a leave and I was still processing candidates for hiring. My boss told me it was okay though – because he wants me to deliver something that would create my own cult following so I could have them hired and do my bidding.

Well, it was mostly the fact that my time from the university I barely graduated from – Polytechnic University of the Philippines made me that way.

It all started here. With my time with Sir Michael dela Fuente at the dean’s office – I was made to do things not stated in the syllabus too.

I designed PowerPoint presentations, posters, fixed printers, assisted in events – BS Computer Science – yeah it checks out. Probably, my love of work stemmed from that. My peers honed me to sharpness – all of which I give my eternal gratitude.

Now, remember I said, “I barely graduated from” –
Now, I believed I was graduating so I tried to find some work. Well, I didn’t – at least I got a job though. I failed in Linear Algebra. It held me back for two years, and I only got up the podium last April 2016 – I was supposed to graduate at 2014. That was painful. If not for my friends, I wouldn’t have the courage to take up tutorial units and finish the course.

From 2014 to 2016, at the time I haven’t got my degree yet, there was this feeling of regret and sadness – all of which I kept to myself until sometime in October 2015.

I got with my boss to the elevator and asked me if I have graduated yet. I think I had replied with a smile but he got it already. He actually told me, about the time when he marched, he wasn’t with his family then, and he got straight home carrying his diploma. He told me it was okay, but he wanted me to finish it because “sayang”.

I was at a loss. I thought I was successful. I was paid higher than most of my peers back then and I could probably boast the number of projects I have been into but I was sad. I couldn’t say I graduated. There was a time when I got mad at the professor who gave me a failing mark.

Looking back it was very fair for him to give me a failing mark. Actually, I thank him for that.
Reason is, I have been joining hackathons and some of them require me to be a student – well guess what, from 2014 to 2016, I joined them in the guise of me still being a student of PUP. It made me feel better I guess, getting our school recognized everywhere, even internationally.

Yes, I got to carry the name of the school last November 2015 to go to Jakarta, Indonesia for a competition involving cybersecurity. We placed third there.

It was kind of cheating though – me being a professional and a student at the same time. I guess that’s what we call tactical advantage lol.

Well, I finally got to attend to PICC, got to march and all. I wouldn’t say it was a breakthrough for me, but as I come at the stage to get my diploma (it’s a certificate for claiming the real one though), I felt a thorn plucked free from my feet. It was like, the feeling of release – that feeling after taking a dump – that kind of feels. I feel fresh. I can’t get into details because Sir AJ told me to be wholesome – but believe me, when I was writing this, I can’t help but put in some stories that – you know – haha. god, I wish I could get into details. After this, I think I’ll begin swearing again, posting lewd stuff in Facebook, and go back to work. But hold on, this is supposed to be inspirational.

Going back, that feeling of release – all my regrets were gone in an instant. The feeling of redemption, the feeling of forgiveness.

Now I realized why it was “sayang”. Sayang kasi I wouldn’t have the chance to forgive myself for all my hard work, the friends I made in college, the opportunities my professors gave me to get me to the top, the money my parents gave me for tuition fees and living expenses. My books, my laptop, my phone, my clothes – everything then was spent for the ultimate goal of getting that degree.

The degree which is proof of everything you stood for. The degree which is proof of your sacrifices. The degree which is proof of your patience. The degree which is proof of your honesty. The degree which is proof of your hard work. The degree which is proof of your strength. The degree which is proof of your loyalty.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.

Six words. Six words which is proof that you uphold the values, the integrity, and the vision the Polytechnic University of the Philippines is carrying.

I have been very proud of our graduates. Time and time again, they break my expectations, they exceed them.

Most of the first employees in our company was PUP graduates – some of which was inspired by their experience with me. They were happy. They were satisfied. I’m actually not surprised when I saw JobStreet (was one of our clients) tell that PUP has come to the most wanted graduates for hiring for this year.

It shows. Definitely it shows. I believe our graduates could do 10k hours too, probably more.

This is because we are selfless, grassroots ika nga. We keep our feet in the ground. We do not hate. We do not envy. We do not discriminate. We stand tall to challenges. We grab opportunities. We serve for the people.

Passionately, we drive ourselves to rough terrains – through the thorny bushes of hardships, through the slippery slopes of failures, we stick our feet, whilst for each step we make, we bleed. With our blood we paint the ground with pathways – that of which will serve to remember, we have been there. Our sacrifices, they serve as our proof of life. The disappointments, they serve as our inspirations to victory. The goals might not be clear but our adventures are made by principle. We never stop. We never surrender.
So, congratulations my dear graduates. You’ve made it this far and trust me when I say I feel very proud for you.
Let me end this with the first paragraph of the last essay I’ve made in my blog.

“Wandering between reality and dreams, I stood up and took a deep breath. I felt the cold air seep through the window – it’s morning. I haven’t had a chance to sleep again. I was too preoccupied thinking about the past – a colorful passing albeit dread with regret and sorrow. No, I couldn’t forget that of which molded me of what I am right now.”



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