Sunday, January 25, 2009

At the Job Fair

What with graduation being only a couple of months away, I found myself wandering amongst the booths at the Engineering job fair last week, checking out companies like a shopper in a supermarket. Actually I felt more like a teenager window-shopping at a mall - I didn't have any copies of my resume with me, because I didn't know that you could fill up application forms and leave your resume at the booths. I was wistfully looking around, avoiding the glances of representatives from companies that had nothing to do with IT. A few of them reminded me of the sales attendants at department stores, the ones who watch your every move as you browse through the merchandise; as soon as anyone stared at the signs on their booths or the flyers on their tables for more than a couple of seconds they would home in, like flies to exposed meat. Most of them, however, seemed not to care if anyone took interest in their companies, leaving me to read their posters in peace.

My curiosity got me talking to the people manning booths that I found interesting in one way or another. I didn't visit every IT booth - I skipped the ones I had no interest in, like IBM and Accenture. (Sounds snooty, I guess, but I'm just not into mainframes or COBOL. XP) I suppose that was an unwise decision, given the current state of the economy, but at the time I was just looking at what the participating IT companies I'd never heard of were offering. It was only after I had met up with other Computer Science students at the fair that I realized they were holding many, many more flyers than I was. ~.~ Anyway, I got to talk to different kinds of company representatives at the job fair, and each one falls under one of four broad categories:

  • HR people
Most of the people manning booths belong to this category. Some of them had nice smiles, and actually recognized me when I went back a couple of days later to follow up my resume. Unfortunately, a lot of them couldn't describe in specific terms the type of work being done by the software developers from their company; one in particular barraged me with spiels with a stubbornly serious expression on her face. She seemed impatient with me whenever I asked a question, and she didn't smile at all while she was talking, even when she first approached me. She was exactly the kind of representative I don't want to talk to at a job fair. -.- At any rate, it was probably a good thing that her company's software developers worked on mainframes; I only approached her booth 'cause I was curious about the snazzy (but uninformative XP) posters.
  • young Engineering alumni
I usually see these people giving testimonials at company talks, but at the job fair I saw a couple of them manning the booth of a big company. They were dressed in crisp corporate clothes, like the students who were coordinating the job fair; if they weren't manning booths I could have mistaken them for upperclassmen. They looked bored, and weren't so keen on telling me about their company and the kind of work they did. (I guess they must have been in the HR department, but they still seemed like students...the UP vibe hadn't quite worn off yet. ^^) One of them perked up when he saw from my resume that I was from Manila Science High School, like him; sadly, that was pretty much the highlight of my talking with them. ~.~
  • managers
These were the people I wanted to talk to at the job fair. They have a solid knowledge of the kind of work their company assigns to software developers, and thus are able to answer all sorts of questions. The longest talks I had were with managers. One of them was a middle-aged woman from a startup company; after I handed in my application form she asked me all about my programming background, then proceeded to give me a detailed overview of what work would be like if her company decided to hire me. It was practically an informal interview, the only difference being that I was clad in old jeans and a loose T-shirt instead of a knee-length skirt and a blouse with puff sleeves. (Now that I think about it, I wish I wouldn't have to go through the whole business of putting on a corporate costume and being in a formal atmosphere. It's so much easier to talk least, I won't be as nervous. o.o;;)
  • invisible people
Quite a few booths were manned by people under this category. They don't put in any effort at all in recruiting the students wandering amongst the booths; they don't even bother to pick up the fallen flyers on the floor. They just hang around, silently watching the goings-on. I avoided their booths; they looked kinda creepy. :P hehe.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Four guys. Ski masks. Lead pipes. A black car, parked just inside the entrance of Fine Arts. A pudgy male victim, with a torn black shirt and a slightly bleeding head.

Me, in an ikot jeep that slows down as the driver, interest piqued, watches the goings-on with a look somehow akin to wonder on his face. My eyes taking in every detail - the broad shoulders of the assailants, the shiny finish of the getaway car, the car's plate number, one of the assailants taking off his ski mask behind tinted windows as the car smoothly slithers past us and away, never to be seen again, perhaps.

I took note of things that might have been helpful, if I had decided to go to the police. What the assailants were wearing. How tall they might be. The color of their skins. The car model and, yes, the plate number. I don't remember the exact time or date, but I could ask my classmate; I was on my way to meet her when I saw the whole thing. I wouldn't be able to identify the four guys - I was too focused on the victim, watching them pummel him as if I were in a dream, unable to move or look away - and the car probably belonged to someone else who would deny ever having a part in it. I remember what one of the guys was wearing, though - a blue- and white-striped polo shirt, and denim pants, just like the others. Bits and pieces. Nothing that could really help, but I saw it. I was there.

Maybe I'm writing this down to convince myself that I really did see it happen. I was already looking out the window when I saw these four guys running in front of Fine Arts, surrounding a fat guy, hitting him with slender pipes and grabbing his clothes. I was thinking, hey, what are they doing? They can't really be trying to hurt him, are they? Those must be rubber sticks or something. The fabric of the fat guy's shirt ripped; I thought, no, this is real. Since the four were running, they couldn't land a good hit, but one of them stood still for a moment (or did I just imagine him doing that?) and hit him with what must have been a solid crack on the skull, drawing blood. Then they were at the driveway, the four running for their car as a security guard came running and shouting. In the back of my mind I was aware of relief as I started to register what I had just seen. The fat guy was lucky. Apart from the bloody head (which wasn't really bleeding much, from what I saw) he had gotten away with just a torn shirt, and maybe a few scratches when he tripped and fell. He was lucky, I thought. He's okay.

It took me several minutes to think that maybe they had just mistaken him for some other guy, since I had never heard of anyone with ski masks and lead pipes attacking someone in Fine Arts; they were always at AS, NCPAG or Engineering, or even right outside a dormitory like Molave. At least one guy had been killed by getting mistaken for someone else. A few days later I thought, maybe they had gotten him somewhere else, if they were really serious about it. Maybe he wasn't really lucky.

Now that I know this, I wonder what I'm supposed to get from knowing that it really happened. Or what I should have done, even if I was sure that what I had to say wouldn't have helped much...and there were many other people who saw, many students at Fine Arts who were watching with dazed expressions while someone who was probably another student was attacked right in front of them. Other students like me. What would they have done? What did they do? They might even have known the fat guy. Maybe they talked about it or blogged about it (I never looked, or thought to look), maybe it will be reported in the year's first Collegian issue. Maybe no one will even remember that it happened. Except for me, and maybe you, if you believe me.

Monday, January 5, 2009


One week without a dial tone means not being able to:

  • check if there's a new chapter of Goong
  • read the sequel to Hana Yori Dango
  • browse for aXXo rips
  • listen to A-sides, the Soundgarden best-of collection I'd never heard of until recently ~.~
  • look up the voice cast of Mononoke Hime
  • catch up on Butch Dalisay's recent articles
  • read the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler
  • check for updates on my friends' blogs, send messages to my brother who was in Switzerland, greet my YM contacts a Happy New Year, discuss draft revisions with my thesis partner, join the World Peace Project...