Batang Politiko: Educated but inexperienced

This phrase struck me this morning as I was talking to my younger sister about the system of politics in the province. “I guess it’s just how it is. Yes, you are educated but sad thing is, you are inexperienced”.

Perhaps its is not just about the politicians or government employees, but also related to the private employment. After getting your bachelor’s degree in science or arts or engineering, etc., you earn some respect to your name. Especially when you pass the board exam for your course. You got employed in a prestigious company and started working in the real field. But sometimes, with our age comes various challenges brought about by seniority in a certain organization.

We hear such phrases as “I had been in this industry for so so decades”, or “There is nothing in this field that I haven’t experienced for the past 30 years”. They wow us with all their stories. Truly, it is amazing, and we must really seek for learning from them. Our seniors who have come a long way to be there in the position deserves respect.

But what if you got yourself instantly in an organization where you become the leader and your subordinates are your elders? They, who had been in the service for years. While you feel like you stepped into the spotlight with just your sneakers and jeans! You are now rubbing elbows with the honorable, and they even call you honorable! What should I do?

Here comes the self-talk:

“Oh, I passed the board exam, I am well-educated, I can do this”

“I shall not fear, I have the degree in Law, I have the right to be here”

Some of us felt like we woke up one day and we became a legislator. We comfort ourselves that we have the degree and that we are well-equipped with the theories. But in the field, it is different. Do not be afraid to experience a different kind of system from what you have learned in school. Expect that there will be a lot of situations where you are certain that the answer is White, but everybody is doing the Black. Just know that you are educated but it is also important to acknowledge that you are inexperienced. So you will be needing mentors who will guide you along the way.

Choose a mentor who is not very close to you. Someone who is not a friend or a family member. Why? Because that’s how it should work. You choose a mentor who will not kiss your ass, instead will tell the truth in your face. Someone who can tell you that you do not look good in your blonde hair while in public service, or that you should stop scratching your head when you speak. Someone who can be honest that you should change your choice of words because they appear improper. Someone who will tell you that you did wrong when you actually did the wrong thing.

When you have a friend as your mentor, there is a greater possibility that he will be hesitant to tell you the truth because it will hurt you. Or that he/she will tell you that you look sophisticated with bright blonde hair while you are in public service. Things like that. I understand that it is comfortable and convenient to choose someone who is familiar to you, but you need an honest opinion and guidance. I am not saying that you choose a harsh and rude person. I meant that you choose a person who is of good standing (not self-righteous), and someone who will be your critic.

Choose someone who knows the law. You can never go wrong with this. Always have a lawyer by your side. While I chose a senior colleague who had been in the service for more than 10 years, he is a bit more formal than I am. He is retiring from the service as a municipal councilor and he is known for drafting most of the good resolutions and ordinances in the LGU. So I asked him to teach me how to make drafts. He is often the person whom I ask when I have questions on certain matters.

It is sometimes challenging to find someone who will be honest with what I am doing wrong. Since I am the youngest member of the Sangguniang Bayan, they tend to be gentle to me. I personally am not learning everytime people become lenient to me. I want an honest opinion.

Choose someone who is not a trapo. Because you do not want to be a trapo.

The power to choose your mentor is in your hands. I cannot dictate you nor choose for you. Remember that you should acknowledge that you are inexperienced (if you are), but you have to do something about it. Seek to learn. Seek growth.

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