I work as a marketing man for my company, an IT company at that.

When I go about rounds with colleagues visiting clients, I usually get the usual questions “How old are you?”, “Where did you graduate? (sic)“, and the classic question, “So, ComSci ka, hijo?”. Those questions are strung in a such a fashion due to three factors. One, I look unusually young to be handling certain responsibilities required by my job position (Yes, I am only twenty-two). Two, Filipinos just do give a hell lot of premium for the university from which you graduated. I graduated from U.P., thank you very much. Haha. Three, I work for an IT company.

More often than not, it’s the third one that people get the most shock. When I reply “English Studies: Language,” they would go “What? Ba’t ang layo? (What? Why is your course unrelated?)”

So I would go about explaining how I have been around computers. trying to curb bragging about how I graduated magna cum laude from UP, got an A+ grade in my computer subjects back in the Ateneo, a 135+ IQ, specialized in discourse analysis, worked as corporate communications manager right out of college… Oh well.

For one thing marketing is a different discipline from Computer Science so that makes the third question a bit dumb, the logical thing being that a person in marketing is a business graduate. But I am an English major. Marketing and English have a subset of communication and that is about it. And we English majors do generally abhor math. And business involves a lot of Math. See the disconnect? Haha.

Though self-obsessed as I am, I do avoid patronizing remarks from people. When they say “Ang galing mo naman!”, I reply with a smile and a mouthed “Thank you” feigning humility. I am not a fan of ass-kissing or flattery and if ever I truly get those as praises, I am honestly (and quite ironically) underserving of praise. I believe praises should be given to those who go extra miles and for not just being oneself.

What I have done so far, people see as accomplishments. And when I get asked how I am doing it. I often reply “Diskarte.”

Anyhow, the concept of diskarte can be summarized by MacGyver i.e. making bazookas out of lead pipes and grenades out of light bulbs.

I do not do those things but if you can do things short of making water out of wine, then you probably have diskarte.

Diskarte does not mean that I am fidgeting around doing some sly moves here and there inside the company. Hell no. It just means that I just find ways of delivering many (definitely not all) of the things assigned to me. Workplaces are always toxic. You just have to find ways to do create scoring opportunities.

I have been in the company for a bit over a year now and I could say that I have been involved with the different departments and functions save for accounting and finance. I does pay to be quite versatile. At times. Let’s just say that I have been the office troubleshooter for many different occasions.

Now being ma-diskarte is all about street-smart skills acquired over many different experiences. I would be proud to say that I learned those skills mostly in my stay in UP. UP as opposed to other universities push you to become fit to survive. A discussion of the hostile jungles of UP will be reserved for another discussion, however, let me just put it at this. Sixty people vying for a single slot in a class, and taking that class for that particular semester defines the difference between graduating on time or being delayed for two years, watchagonnadoo?

To some extent, I would attribute most of what I have done so far is outside what I learned in theories of semantics and schools of grammar. People skills, troubleshooting skills, organization and life skills in general are not what one would find in De Sausseure, Chomsky or Halliday.

Still, above everything else, diskarte and acquiring it are still personal roles. No matter how much life throws at you, you have to know how to make things work. You think therefore you are. You fart therefore you do. Haha.

Now I will not be hypocritical in saying that I can handle whatever life will throw at me. I am twenty-two, still young and quite vastly inexperienced. I am just glad that given this very shitty world we all are living in, I am still alive. And so are you. And let us all congratulate ourselves for that.

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