Work and Self-actualization

On top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is the ability of an individual to find meaning in things, to realize full potentials, to create and imagine, to do something that will contribute to society more, and to work more on the inner self more than the external self. And everyone will reach this very peak in his or her lifetime.

The Filipino student is expected to graduate from school to be able to earn a living, and that is just about the purpose of living. That’s how society defines living. The price that is placed on things and even skills is highly embedded in the social fabric that even the student himself or herself just gets carried away along with the standards and norms.

The Filipino student is expected to take up courses that will cater to the very needs of society. Skills in health care, construction, sales, marketing, and labor is very much appreciated and honed. The prime concern is to get the skills to be able to earn, as simple as any logical causation puts it.

But what is left behind is the internal affirmation of the skills that are so expected to be honed in such society to the point that the individual lags and is left in mediocrity, lost and uncertain, undecided and drifting. It is rather good to point out that these individuals who have adapted in such setting and adopted the ideals imposed upon come to the point of their lives that they are “drifting,” and by drifting, it’s meant that one couldn’t give that 100% in any work because there is that ambiguous desire to do something else. Again, it’s because that self-assessment and contemplation is disregarded because there is the dire need to survive, to stay financially stable, and to provide for the family.

In western countries, there is this 2-year gap between high school and the university. The two years is supposed to allow students to reflect on what is desired to be done. Will it be writing, singing, painting, or performing? Should it be getting into the academe to do research? May it be the doing skilled jobs just because it is one thing that one does best? These two years are meant to clear out everything and work on what has been taught in high school, to synthesize, contemplate, decide, and just pick the right direction for the future.

In the Philippines, the two years or so is considered the “bum” years. There is this stigma that one couldn’t get a good job because of incapacity and inability. But probably, to the bum ones, they were just actually taking on the contemplative years before landing the right job for them. Sadly, this just happens right after graduation.

This is not to point out that the two years need be implemented in the system despite its plausibility. This is simply to allow time and opportunity for the students, soon to be college students to be exact, to think about the best option for a job for them. Granting that one wishes to do construction because it’s something he passionately does, then so be it. If this drive and passion just exudes and spreads, work won’t be any better.

Linking it to realizing the best potentials, in putting meaning to work and self, finding the best job just makes it easier for one to sustain throughout his or her life. And sustenance does not confine oneself in finances and physiological needs solely. One has to be psychologically, emotionally, or even spiritually grounded. By allowing that great and tireless passion to do one thing, one can go a long way in the future.

This may be a discussion on generalities, but one is expected to find that one job or ability to create on his or her own. There are no hard rules to searching and finally taking grip on that one thing. It is an experience that one ought to have. By finding that “cup-of-tea,” there is no way staying in suspension without a direction.

To live is not to satiate one particular need alone. The whole person is to be fulfilled in depths, in an inner self experience and realization. Probably, just by looking within, one can get hold of success, though not that exact, planned one, but just that will make one go along in life.

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