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Life of Canadian PI by Ethel Clemente Fernandez

Taking a leap this year

by Ethel Clemente-Fernandez

“…I read your column, you never wrote one about you…” – from the Runaway Bride

Writing about myself is not something I am very eager to do; my life is boring…. but then on second thought, I decided my life in 2015 is something worth sharing.

Three themes dominated my life last year: profession, health and family life.

The year started out to be promising on the work front, I was full of hope as I had the opportunity to move one level up and take on a bigger role. But things happen, and sadly, it did not materialize. Needless to say, I was disappointed and despair started to set in. But before it got deeper, I remembered a quote I read years ago: “We can’t live a positive life with negative attitude.” And so with a renewed optimism, I put that episode past behind me and focused on doing well with my current job duties and responsibilities. I also exhausted some of my energies volunteering with Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba as a member of the Experience Review Committee and being actively involved with the Filipino Members Chapter serving on the executive committee and chairing its fundraising committee. These activities effectively helped me cope with frustrations brought about by failing to progress professionally at work.

Halfway through the year, I noticed that whenever I buy new clothes, I seem to always have to get one size bigger than my last purchase. I feel sluggish, get tired easily and heavier every single day. I thought it’s time to do something about it before it’s too late. I took advantage of a corporate gym membership and started hitting the gym. I decided to take classes instead of using machines. I am not a very disciplined person so I know that the only way to get me motivated is to take classes – to start and finish the class with other members. I found a class I thought was suitable for me – low intensity, easy to follow, perfect for beginners. I’m determined to make the most out of my membership. Towards the end of the year, I’ve taken other challenging classes and I’ve also discovered that I can somehow shake and move to Zumba beats. I admit I am not very good at it. I never thought in a million years that I would ever dance, but surprisingly, I managed to keep pace and enjoy every single class.

While I did quite enjoy spending some time alone for myself, it came with a cost measured in time and energy. Family life in 2015 had its own share of challenges, which I won’t go into the detail of here. I was faced with a situation, which I thought would be difficult to get out of. But as with every hurdle in life, you manage to find a solution.

Towards the end of the year, my boss informed me that I would take on a new role by the start of 2016 – the job that I’ve always wanted and had hoped for earlier in the year.

With continued trips to the gym, I lost unwanted pounds and never felt better, not to mention the added bonus of gaining more friends.

I found a way to balance work and family life, while also taking the much needed “me” time.

Slowly, things are getting better.

What I experienced and learned from the past year is something that I hope our Canadian PIs can relate to and learn from: work harder and maintain a positive attitude at work. Despite being in a challenging and difficult situation, someone will take notice. Take time for yourself. Try something new and lastly, do not take your family for granted.

This year I will continue doing what I have started. I might also find time to take a leap and attempt to learn how to swim or sing. If I fail, well, it is a leap year.

Ethel Clemente-Fernandez is a professional engineer registered in the province of Manitoba. She is an active member of the Filipino Members Chapter - Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (FMC-APEGM)

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