For yuppies who want to quit, a word from Jesse Robredo

Aika Robredo

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This graduation season, Aika Robredo shares a touching email sent by her father, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, when she wanted to give up in 2008

GRADUATION DAY. Aika Robredo poses with her father, Jesse, and her mother, Leni, during her graduation in 2008. Photo courtesy of Aika Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – This graduation season, the daughter of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo blogged about a touching – and timely – email from her father. In this letter, Mr Robredo advised his eldest child, Aika, not “to quit early” even if she feels “unhappy and stressed” in her career. Rappler is republishing Aika’s blog entry with her permission. Except for details that Aika omitted, the letter appears in unedited form.


This is probably the longest email I received from Pa, in response to an email sent to him by my clueless, whiny, too idealistic, feeling entitled fresh grad self back in 2008. Reading this again made me realize that my perspective on work has significantly changed since then. Work is both humbling and, for lack of a better word, dignifying (uplifting?). 

This is for fresh grads and not-so-fresh grads, and people who think that the grass is always greener on the other side (occasionally guilty of this).

From:  Jesse Robredo <j……>

Date: XX/XX/XXXX 9:26 PM    

Subject: Re: 🙁

To: Aika Robredo <a…>


dear aiks,

do not worry. i also felt like that when i was working. kaya palipat lipat ako ng office sa san miguel corporation. give it a little time. meanwhile, actively look for other options. (you might want to help me muna. ha.ha.ha.)

it is too early to tell what you are meant to do. but quitting this early will not be good for you. while you may be unhappy and stressed, there is a better way of coping with it. the more unhappy and discontented you are, the more you will dread every day you work. as i have said, you are not in the worst place at this stage in your career. sometimes, having too many choices is not that healthy. i think sticking on to your job for a significant amount of time is a good idea. it will test your ability to cope with something you are not too happy doing. the sad reality is that we have to bear it because it is part of the learning process. If i encourage you to quit early, the next time you feel the same discomfort, you will not learn to cope but quit again.

I know of quite a number of people who were as good as you – or who were even better than you, but did not achieve their full potential because they always wanted to be happy with what they were doing. we need not go very far. Person A and Person B had to struggle with Company X because they did not have much choice. It is only now that they can do as they please because they have established themselves already.

I do not think you should lose sight of what you want to do. If you do decide to quit, be responsible enough to find another job before quitting. It will not look good if you quit without any definite job waiting.

i do not suggest that you immediately take the NGO route unless it is the CSR of a prominent company. while it is true that you will study later on, remember that your studying will require you to return back to the real world that you are in right now. burn out ka na, bok. you might want to take a vacation muna. madali naman maghanap ng rason at this point in time. while i am not against you doing social development work, i must say that those who succeeded in this field went through the regular careers that we have gone through. Tony Meloto worked in the private sector for a long time. Manny Pangilinan, etc.

i will always support you in any way you want me to. while the job might not be for you, you might have to grin and bear it while you are looking for a new one (whether corporate or NGO). i have taken less fulfilling jobs in my career but i have looked at them as the dots that connected me to where i am now. the more you despair, the more you will be unhappy. many people would love to take your place, given the opportunity. just look at this stage as the difficult stepping stones in testing your character and patience. probably, later on, with the benefit of hindsight, you will conclude that it was all for the better that you were not too hasty in making the decisions on this matter.

having said what i think, do not be afraid to make the decisions you think that best suit you. lagi lang naman kaming nandito. but as they say, do not make decisions when you are unhappy (or emotional). they tend to be the less logical ones.


labs always, 



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