Friday, January 19, 2018

In Search of a Career Part 1: GET (Genetic, Environment and Training)


Dr Abe V Rotor

Career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life, perhaps a lifetime, with opportunities for progress, though not always. In its broad application, career is synonymous to profession, occupation, job, vocation, calling, employment, line, line of work, walk of life.

Quite often the career of a person is his imprimatur: Maestro Selmo (school teacher), Doktor Ferrer (family physician), Aling Maria (sari-sari store operator), Pastor Nelson (religious minister). These are informal titles popularly conferred by the community these people serve. 

Down to the grassroots are people identified according to their particular expertise or occupation which they earned through the years. The quaintness of village culture developed such personalities as Nestor partidor (butcher), Nora kumadrona (midwife), Eustaquio herbolario, fondly called quack doctor, Pedro kutsero or kalesa driver, Perla labandera or laundry woman, Emilio kartero or mailman. They are the subject of stories in telenobela, movies, paintings, or simply happy gatherings, such as barrio fiesta.

There is no community without these “experts” whom people trust and hire for their services - electrician, plumber, jeepney driver, coconut harvester, cargador, house painter, kantero, kapintero, latero, and the like.

Name an occupation or odd job, and you can associate it with a kabarangay or town mate. Under a rural setting, for generations, careers have been regarded as lifelong occupations and people are simply happy and proud, of their calling by the community. 

Based on this social structure, a career therefore has a dichotomous definition differentiating the “professionals” from the “ordinary” workers. Society has always been keen on the importance of both, and the community has many good reasons to have them integrated into the village life. On their part, they are just too willing to serve for reasonable pay, and in addition often compensated in kind. On the other hand they work on bayanihan, in deference to village customs and values.

Career is a unifying force in a traditional community, now being threatened by modernization and exodus of people to live in cities and to work abroad. For one, such change is financially rewarding, especially to OFWs who are getting as much pay as the “professionals,” particularly those at home.

To keep up with finances many career professionals settle down for non-professional jobs. A teacher works as governess (yaya) and gets higher pay than being a teacher in her home country. An OFW engineer becomes a heavy equipment operator, a doctor as healthcare worker, a management expert as clerk – all these make little distinction in today’s standards, on socio-economic parameters.

It is not unusual to meet a doctor turned poultry man, a lawyer turned gentleman farmer, professor as private tutor or bible study leader, engineer resigned from a lucrative employment becoming an entrepreneur. Ask a carpenter foreman and he will give his credentials as board passer in engineering. There must be reasons behind these diversions, or change in career, which can be treated as case studies in this research. 

Triad of Human Development

Without exemption, every person – personhood to career – is a lifetime product of three interrelated factors of development, namely

· These are fondly coined into an acronym GET. In his entire life he encounters the six Ws: What, Where, When, Which, Whom (things often encountered in everyday living), and Why (the underlying philosophy of life, its reason and meaning of one’s life), and one H – How, which leads the person into a career path, involving strategies and methodologies. 

Here is a general illustration to show the interrelationships of the three factors. The core is the totality of such interrelationship. Ideally, the bigger the core, the more benefits the person derives from the contribution of each factor. 

These factors vary in their contributions to the person’s development. The governing principle is that of integration and compensation. Genetic potential is expressed under a favorable environment, and appropriate and thorough training. However, no amount of training will guarantee a person’s success if he is not gifted with a particular talent. Such is the case of music. It is said that a musician is born a musician, so with a painter who is born with visual-spatial talent. Poor or improper environment on the other hand, impedes an individual’s career, even with favorable genetic and training background. This is the irony of a society which cannot ensure the welfare of its citizens, more so under an environment of conflict and hostilities. This is rationale of governments to keep peace and order in the community or the whole region or country for that matter.


“It runs in the family’’ is a common expression. Hence, there is a family of doctors, family of engineers, of teachers, of farmers, artists, religious leaders, journalists and writers, politicians, soldiers, and many other walks of life.

But there are also families that may lack any distinctive career pattern that is traced to heredity. What is the importance of knowing the hereditary background of a family?

It is used as valuable reference in choosing a career. Other that this it is often used as medical reference. He would ask, “Is there any cancer victim in your family?” Organizations refer to it in tracing moral background, employers in hiring, people in choosing their lifetime partners. 

Exceptional talents however may skip detection based on phylogeny or the family tree. Many great people came from simple families. On the other hand, not all potential genes are transmitted to the offspring. Whatever happened to the children of great men and women attest to this scientific finding. 

Career therefore has hereditary structure like a tree, if only the genes past and present can speak. This is a challenge posed to educator, sociologists, and primarily parents. With the Human Genome Map lately developed, a person’s genetic pool can be now analyzed, at least partially. The map indicates the chromosomes and component genes that govern the traits of the subject person. Medical science has begun using it in diagnostics, opening a new field of detecting a potential disease before it affects the individual. It has opened an unconventional approach in assessing personal character which is useful, say in employment and sensitive positions. 


Environment covers a time span “from womb to tomb,” exposure of anything mainly perceived by the senses. It is the totality of a person’s connection with the physical, biological and institutional world.

The home as the basic unit of society plays a primordial contribution to one’s career, the community as its extension, and the institutions that form a network in which every person is an integral part. .

Environment may be modified to suit career path, but limited to periodicity, a phenomenon that a person cannot choose the time and place he came into this world. History attests to the role of this phenomenon in the life of people, their society and civilizations for that matter.

With the breakthrough in science and technology, the present generations are witnessing more discoveries and inventions than what have been generated since ancient times. Environment today has grown complicated and encompassing, such as the power of cyber-communication, nuclear energy, automation and robotics. These feats of the Homo sapiens, the (only) intelligent being enabled him to live a 
postmodern life (that is, living ahead of the times). Which leads to the question, “What careers lie ahead for the millennials and Igen or social media generations?

City environment and rural environment divide careers into two fields: the street smart and the agrarian kid. One knows life from the blocks, the other from the field; one from books, the other from actual experience. One on the niceties of a comfortable life, while the other, on survival in a raw environment. In the movie, The Gods Must be Crazy, there is a charming sarcasm pitting the intelligence of a lady PhD holder and the instinctive intelligence of a desert dweller, a bushman, who without the latter, the lady guest could have been devoured by beasts or died of thirst and starvation. 

Career in postmodern times is driving people to seek better work conditions: hourly pay, security of tenure and benefits, among others. Others simply quit and would rather move away from poor socio economic conditions and from force majeure which is increasing in occurrence and intensity, as a result of global warming and other man-induced calamities. Today there is an irreversible phenomenon called eco-migration to illustrate this fact.


The global trend to standardize school curricula pushed the Philippines to adopt K-12 to keep up with global competitiveness in job opportunities in other countries.

The new curriculum with two additional years an added is indeed a burden to parents, and opportunity loss to young people to work, and become responsible like grownups. It came at a time when whole libraries are at fingertip search with the smart phone, world geography on Google Earth, publication on the Internet. What then is education, its purpose and its contribution to personal and social growth when the “world has shrunk into a village and wired in all its corners?” 

On-line teaching, open-university e-learning have virtually rendered on-site campus education outdated. Students earn their college degrees and certificates of proficiency on-line. They are not disrupted in the present work and displaced from their present domicile. 

Two universities in Thailand have a combine enrollment online students taking up academic and short courses, specialized courses and graduate studies included. Bangladesh ranks among the advanced online education in Asia. On-line education has been perfected so to speak, in Europe and in the US. The Philippines has yet to develop its own on-line curriculum for countrywide application.

Continued ....

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