This is about a place that taught me to smile at every stranger I meet along the way, pinned me down at some of its night parties, let me experience the joy of just sitting and staring at people from almost all walks of life…a place that I learned to love. Sometimes I think, maybe I can sit all day on one of its open park benches and write hundreds of poems, songs or even stories taking various inspirations from the place’s spontaneous sceneries – its seemingly dreamy walkways, the giant skyscrapers, lovers holding hands and hugging and kissing and (you know what else when they’re inside their units), cafes and bistros’ busy staff, balikbayans shopping, employees rushing to their offices, foreigners talking with their Pinay househelpers, or partners rather (I’m not sure) who can’t give any better response than a nod, grannies who grew old with each other, agents like me who patiently give out flyers to prospect real estate investors and the world knows what else is to expect from this place! Just like how Shakespeare put it, “All the world’s a stage,” – the same can be said with this city. It’s a grand piece of art. It’s a huge spectacular production design in itself that time-travels from the colonial times to our era. It can be very versatile and adaptable when it comes to lighting. It is friendly both with daytime, with the sun as its only source of light, as well as with the night time when it uses the colorful lights of restaurants, bars, corporate and residential buildings and malls, and even the street lights and cars’ headlights. It is indeed a city that never sleeps (some foreigners would say it’s like a mini New York Times Square or Singapore). Also, as an 18-hectare-stage, it can house up to 6-digit-figure of spectators especially for blockbuster stageplays; the like of New Year’s Eve fireworks display or when local and international celebrated bands and artists perform on stage (now I say this is an enormous stage after all!). If you would see this city that way, it’s like you’re watching an everyday-show participated by famed actors and a huge ensemble.
EASTWOOD CITY, that’s how it’s called. A “work-and-play” ground beyond compare. Considering that I am part of its ensemble, I have been playing the role of one of the many Property Specialists in Eastwood City for almost ten months now. Sometimes, I would also play as a dreamer sitting by its benches, a tour-guide to friends and family members, or a wannabe-writer like what I’m doing now. And in this place, I remember that once…or twice, I sang. It was unforgettable and rewarding to sing in front of my fellow agents and bosses and even the president of the company. Maybe I can count it as one of my best decisions. The moment they asked me to sing for them, I thought that it could be my first and last time to do the favor, so I said yes. And I’m happy about it, that in a way, I’ve shared a part of me…a big part of me I must say. I’ve always considered singing as important and as intimate to me as any part of my body.
I believe everyone is doing his share for the company’s growth and for building up good working relations. Of course for the company, we sell. We should; it’s our job. Some excel. Some prefer to stay on mid-level. Some don’t even make it to one cut-off. Camaraderie and acceptance are two real experiences in this company. It’s not a make-believe concept or something that you should strive for to create in Eastwood. It springs out naturally. I recall my first few days of work – I didn’t almost notice my transition from being a college student to a worker. Thanks to my boss who welcomed me warmly to her team and to her ‘then-fiancee’ (now husband) who helped me in getting started with the sales jungle. The next thing I know, I already knew the names of all the managers and other property specialists in the house and some of the corporate staff, and eventually my name appeared on week’s sales production PowerPoint slide. Lunch and dinner with co-workers has never been a strange thing for me, or even assisting someone else’s client to the showroom. If there’s something that prompts our proper work ethics, I believe it’s the friendship that binds us. Friendship rooted in selflessness – selflessness to the extent of (sometimes) working for a teammate who’s struggling to meet his quota or giving out an excess sale for someone to get maintained. The company wants everyone to stay, as how every salesperson desires to. This desire doesn’t just come from a stray wind but from something deep within – stories. Sometimes, I have to admit, I would get distracted and trapped into storytelling-sessions while finding prospects along the city walk. We’d flock together around one of the tables outside The Distillery (an all-wines-and-liquors-drink-till-you-drop-bar) and hear one another’s story. There were times when I would just stare at the person sharing, absent-minded I’d find myself awestruck by these wonderful people and the tear-jerking burdens on their shoulders – unwanted pregnancy, broken families, sick parents, siblings to send to school, need to prove oneself, and more stories beyond. I could hear a beautiful sonata from their laughs and giggles. I could see a bright rainbow in those wide smiles that prevent their tears from flowing. These people are courageous.
Courage is a must-have virtue. It’s something indispensable especially in sales where you have to surmount quotas or even gain excess for promotion. “Only the best will stay”. This is what our president would always remind us during sales meetings. True enough, staying in the company requires hard work and perseverance. Our managers and other veterans are the living statuesque. I’ll always remember a baldhead manager who would greet me with a smile and a tap on my shoulder (even though I’m a bit taller than him). He could light up anyone’s mood with his candid smile and simple “hello”. In sales meetings, when our president is in a cheery mood, he would call any manager in front to motivate us, and luckily, this happy baldhead manager is always on his list. He’d hesitantly stand from his seat, walk in front, grab the mic from our president’s hands, and he would gasp, sigh, stutter and stagger before he could even utter his first word, and the room would be filled with giggles. But the moment he takes good hold of his confidence and language, everyone is silenced by this man’s inspiring stories and motivational talks. The sniffs and handkerchiefs can tell how moving his speeches are. There are some of us who are like him – FOBs (Fresh Off the Boat) or more commonly called as “Promdi” (promdi province) but lo and behold how he’s climbed up the sales career ladder!
Sadly, it has become a proverbial statement in our nature of work that “People come and go”. This time, I am one of those who will go. I am leaving for the reason of wanting to study again and to start my career in the government as how my parents requested me to take into consideration (I may still do selling on the side they said). As I remember my days in this incomparable city, I realize that selling has also been a part of me, as is singing. I am glad that it has been my first job. I learned a lot from being a Property Specialist, most of the lessons I must say were for building up my character and shaping some perspectives. I will keep whatever skills and lessons I learned and carry them as I journey on with my career path. Everyone has a different path to take, and in my case now, God would want me to take a different route.
I will miss the city where I first tasted the experience of ‘work-and-play’environment. No more sight of the grand showroom, no more sitting and staring at people walking by the park, the smiles of the agents and managers that can uplift anyone’s soul. I may not take this city and fold it to my pocket nor can I kidnap all these wonderful people and take them with me wherever I go, but this one can be handy: the city’s natural provocation to always look at the brighter side of life and take a good grasp of hope.