Where I’m supposed to be

Where I’m supposed to be

Bituin Abuel

My path was something that I did nounderstand back then, but I recognize it now. I am in a job that I am passionate about. I still call myself a practicing nurse and I get to promote my passion for health and wellness to the people I consider my family.

 

All the things we do are interconnected. Whether they are successes or failures, you will realize that  these are steps that have helped you reach where you are now  the place where you are meant to be. 

Let us start with the first year of my two-decade journey in INNOTECH. I started not knowing much about the Center. They were looking for a phone operator at the time when I realized that I no longer fit in my old job. I was a nurse working under the marketing department of a fitness center. The changes in work shifts and the long hours made me realize I needed a change in my career. I had no trouble starting from the bottom. I was grateful that I was given an opportunity to work in the Center and I wanted to do my best. 

I started with a one-month contract and continued for the next three months as a regular employee. I knew I had the potential so I actively sought more opportunities to grow. When I had free time, I went to a different unit in the Administrative Office and asked if there was anything that I could help anyone with. I tried to be proactive. When I answered calls and the person was not available, I made sure to take the message. I did not want callers waiting so I checked each employee’s schedule with the guards to know who are present or not in the office. I made sure everything was easier for people. 

It was also during that time when I found out I was pregnant with my first child.  The Center let me have my maternity leave despite being relatively new. While on leave, Ma’am Carol Rodriguezthen Information Officer under the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), informed me that Ma’am Ching CabanatanICT Program Director, was looking for a secretaryI was encouraged to apply. I was hesitant. I barely knew anything about computers. I was not good at writing and I did not know if I can do the job. INNOTECH has certain standards and I was afraid I would not meet the bar it set.  

I was interviewed the day I got back from my leave and thankfully, Ma’am Ching was gracious to let me have the job. I took care of everything  filing, taking job requests, taking calls, and assisting the whole ICT Office. I learned a lot along the way and I started to reassess my place in the organization as the years went by. After 10 years as a Secretary in the ICT Office, I began to rethink where I belong. I wanted to do more.  I reached a point when I looked for jobs abroad as a nurse which I thought might be a better path for me.  

Ma’am Carol, who eventually became the Knowledge Management Office (KMO), encouraged me to expand my horizons. It was something that I am extremely grateful for. She informed me about openings and wrote recommendation letters even if that meant she would be losing her secretary. It really helps when there is someone who believes in you. 

In 2011, the organization underwent restructuring. Ma’am Carol suggested for me to be transferred as Center Nurse under Ma’am Sharon Chao, the former Manager of the People Development and Management Office. After the Management Committee’s approval, I was officially transferred to the said job. I had to prove myself then. People did not see me as a nurse so I took extra steps to take care of the staff. I renewed my license and took recertification trainings like Basic Occupational Safety and Health (BOSH), Basic Life Support (BLS), and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS). I also attended workshops on workplace wellness. I wanted people to understand that I took my job as a nurse seriously.  

I took part in organizing wellness activities. Our wellness program, G2G, was probably the time I hit my stride. Dr. Bacani, the Center Director, supported the program and had the wellness activities conducted regularly. It was something that I had ownership of. I set up the Center’s gym, reached out to partners for the event launch, and conducted other sustainable activities.  

     

I wanted to try everything  I wanted to teach Zumba and yoga and I wanted to be a fitness trainer. I even took a diploma course on Exercise and Sport Science. I realized then the complexity of studying while working. Managing the house constrained me in pursuing the things I wanted to do. After taking a step back, I realized that my passion lies in conducting events. My strength is being a health and wellness program organizer.  

Despite the good job, I remained open to other options. I looked into leveling up my position. I expressed to Ma’am Grace Cuadro, the Manager of the Administrative Management Office, that I could do other tasks in Human Resources while remaining as the Center Nurse. However, she told me that staying in my position and focusing on what I was doing would make me feel more fulfilled. This is how I would be able to reach my full potential.  

Last year, I had this idea called BOOST’ which stands for Break Out Of Shell Therapy. This program conducted activities quarterly to promote wellness. It is an informal gathering designed to serve as a breather outside of work. This idea comes with a strong belief that happy employees are productive employees. I was able to help people, not just as the Center Nurse, but as a person who promotes wellness. As the years pass by, my focus is evolving from wellness to a deeper meaning of well-being focused on promoting not just good health but also happiness, fulfillment, and employee engagement in the Center. 

Everything went by so smoothly in my almost 10 years of managing the Center Clinic  until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. Everything became uncertain and people were advised to stay home as it is the best and safest form of protection. With this global health crisis, everyone came to realize the value of prioritizing health over work and other personal agendas. I became a frontliner. I was challenged by the various concerns in protecting the health of the staff: screening, monitoring, vaccination and other administrative tasks, and ensuring the health and safety of everyone in general. I could not have done all these without my long-term companion, Dr. Jeremiah Trinidad III, who has been my constant mentor in managing the Center Clinic and in implementing wellness programs 

have always believed that God has provided a path that I needed to follow, so I trusted in Him. Here we are, 20 years later, with all the struggles, challenges, successes, and learnings. My path was something that I did not understand back then, but I recognize it now. I am in a job that I am passionate about. I still call myself a practicing nurse and I get to promote my passion for health and wellness to the people I consider my family. 

Sometimes, you keep looking for places to go, but you do not realize you are right where you are supposed to be. 

 

 

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