Happy to be ghosted and rejected

My friends didn’t know, my relatives won’t believe it, but I was jobless for almost five months or during most of the lockdown period brought about by the pandemic. It was a personal struggle that kept me off the grid. And it would have been a terribly depressing situation, except I thought this can be an opportune time to finally get it rolling with starting our own business, which we did. And thankfully Camia Eats is doing well and kept me busy and my mind off my personal worries.

When the community quarantine became less stringent and companies started opening their doors to work opportunities again, that’s when I started sending out applications. I would almost always intro myself as having 25 years of professional experience but that didn’t prepare me for the onslaught of nonreplies. LinkedIn at the time was fraught with posts from budding and seasoned professionals being let go then getting frustrated from recruiters that ghosted them. Devastating to a candidate especially when one thought it was a promising lead. That’s several months of job hunting and some, if not most, are beginning to doubt they’ll get their careers back on track given the gloomy prospects of the health crisis that have yet to end.

Perhaps due to the global pandemic, there are a lot of companies that couldn’t do business anymore and too many people lost their jobs as a result and are now all looking, and recruiters are simply overwhelmed – I was trying to convince myself with this reasoning but the more I realized it was the same case for me as those frustrated posts on LinkedIn. I thought my 25-year career is already impressive but that ain’t a guarantee. It tested my faith and I was starting to lose my confidence. Until recently, I didn’t know job hunting was this tough and frustrating. Thing is, what if the job ghosting and rejections are actually pointing you in the right direction?

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Out of crisis comes opportunity

“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” said Albert Einstein. And this was my first thought when I was faced with a very difficult situation at the height of home quarantines and lockdowns due to the pandemic. The timing was as bad as the growing number of people getting the virus. I wanted to move on from my longest career stint to the next, but there seem to be not that many opportunities available back then as more and more companies struggle to keep the business going or just end up quitting the fight and close shop. It sure is no good not to be able to earn a living at a bad time such as this global health crisis.

The crisis that made it even more difficult to get essentials – food, medicine, day-to-day needs, during the first few days of the first lockdown – that extended to weeks and even months. As the head of the family and the one issued with a quarantine pass, I was the one braving the long queues at the nearby supermarket to secure essentials for our household. I dreaded going out every single time, for fear of picking up the virus and putting my family at risk. That’s when I realized I needed to start what my wife and I have been wanting to do but really didn’t have the time. We’ve been planning to turn our garage into a small food park of sorts; no longer a workable and practical idea given the restrictions in the new normal.

So with what’s left of my savings, I instead converted a small space of our house fronting the street into a tindahan or sari-sari store and called it Camia Eats. While the original idea is to make it easy for our community to get access to essentials, we wanted it to be the go-to place for anything needed for home – from combo or paluto meals, tube ice, and purified water to prepaid loads, cash-in to electronic wallets, and printing services. And as if awakening a long lost passion for food (me being an HRM degree holder), I started baking – initially with Ube Cheese Pandesal, then later other flavors and baked goodies. After several recipe trials and oven fails, we sold bags of our flavored pandesal to our very supportive neighbors and friends and relatives from as far as QC and Novaliches.

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