Rafe, 21, of average height and above average looks, woke up to a conundrum one overcast Sunday morning.
The Friday before he went on a job interview at this newly created communications group of a government agency. A friend had referred him the job; the group was understaffed and was barely producing any output. His friend, hired just a week before, had already been thinking of quitting. She didn’t think all the slow days would be worth the handsome salary she’d be getting. “There’s nothing to do here,” she said.
But Rafe, undeterred, combed his curls back and went to the interview. The Assistant Secretary who interviewed him was a niece of a former president.
“Don’t you want to work in the media?” was the Assistant Secretary’s opening salvo, seeing that Rafe graduated with a journalism degree. Rafe did get offered a job at this TV news site he interned for last summer. “So why didn’t you take it?” she asked. Rafe said he wanted to see his other options were before committing to the job. It was partly true. When he followed up on them just the week before, however, they told him to come back after the elections.
But did he really want to work in the media? Of course! There was the public service part of it, yes, but Rafe, more than anything, was vain and ambitious, and these were what continuously fueled his desire to get published (or be seen on TV).
Then Rafe was asked to define who the poor were, and identify which sectors of the population he felt were the most underrepresented in the government. The agency, after all, deals with poverty reduction and human development. Rafe, who had taken courses as diverse as LGBT psychology and reporting on PWDs (persons with disabilities), found it easy to deliver impassioned replies.
On the bus ride home Rafe did a lot of thinking, mostly about how come he hadn’t think of getting into development work before.
Before 10 that evening, Rafe got a call from one of the group’s staff, informing him that the Assistant Secretary wants him to be on the team– on a position two salary grades higher than what he applied for.
The job would be contractual, there wouldn’t be fancy benefits, and it would require him to commute at least two hours everyday. But Rafe talked to his friend who was already working there, and they realized that they could change the agency. There was no website, no active social media accounts, not even a newsletter! And the agency coordinates with 26 other departments in its day-to-day operations. They saw its potential, and decided to give their jobs a chance. He was due to report next Monday.
When Rafe woke up on Sunday however there was a text message in his phone. It was the news site’s editor-in-chief, asking him to send his CV again.
Rafe sat on his bed and attempted to smooth his unkempt curls. He knew he’d be scratching his head for a long time.