Technically, where I’m working now isn’t my first job.
As with most kids who just got out of college, I spent a great amount of time sending out CVs/résumés and applying for work. And there were rejections—mostly because of my religion. I didn’t take offense. I knew they’d happen. And not one of them was my last option.
One particular ad I sought asked for an editorial assistant. I was confident that I met the basic requirements. So I sent it out with great hopes. And I wasn’t disappointed. I received a date for an interview.
Despite getting lost and working up quite a sweat from walking so much, I made it to the office. I gave the name I was to ask for and there she was. She led me to a small room then in front of a table, which she cleaned while talking to me. So the air smelled of disinfectant and was heavy with my nervousness.
Some questions later, I was showed where I might be working. It looked okay. And the people I might work with. They looked okay too. She told me she had a meeting to attend so she had to cut the interview short. I was hired.
Wow. I mean, WOW!
But it didn’t end there. She turned around and invited me to go with her to attend the meeting with her. I felt like I couldn’t say no. And I felt privileged! So I slid into the SUV and went with them, praying that we were really going to an actual meeting. Because even though they were now my employers, they were still—technically—strangers.
Our meeting was to be held in the house of the president himself. It was a really huge house. For a house set in the middle of a secured village, it had quite high walls, higher than the surrounding neighbors. It had quite a number of guards. And dogs!
Just before I got lost again, I was called into the office. The president looked fatherly. His daughter greeted him when she came in. There was nothing that remarkable about him. That was until the rest of the staff addressed him.
Well, I’ve seen a lot of Asian films. And it’s not strange for me to hear people address an old guy like that. But the more I listened to the proceedings, it dawned on me that—to understand what I would copy and edit—I would have to know what this company was about. And I was right. When the master took notice of me, they introduced me as the newbie. He asked if I had already been “trained.” They said no but quickly added that I would be.
Suddenly my stomach went into knots.
There was something about this company that I just couldn’t sit well with. So for the rest of the meeting, I was uncomfortable. Thankfully it didn’t last long.
I was told to report next week because that was when they would work on their new project: a book meant for kids. Also that was when I would start my “training.”
As soon as I was out of the gate, I hurried away. I wanted to get home as fast as I could. I couldn’t explain it but something about that “training” offered very unusual stuff. I looked up the terms I remembered from the meeting. And while technically it’s not all that bad, the training to have the understanding to edit the stuff goes beyond life changing. It would also affect my faith.
No but thank you for the offer.
Other applications followed. And like the ones before, they challenged what I believed in. If the company couldn’t accept me for my faith, I was not one to bend to their will just to land a job. Eventually, I found one where my religion isn’t compromised. But there are moments when, even there, my faith is being challenged. And when that happens, among the stuff I go back to, I remember that time I almost became trained. And yet I said no. I will say no.